I know I love the forbidden.
Even the moon, the stars know
I mean to do what I must.
I'm that fucker, the poet
Why I leave on the first train,
catching a ride to that city
I can kiss and go all the way,
inside her, she makes me feel
so good getting there, finding
her rainy night, sleeping,
pulling her up and over me
tomorrow and the next day,
however long she can stand
my praise, now that I know
to spare her my paranoia,
my child dying to be the man
where Job'a dun-colored earth
bears the weight of dusty feet
coming, going, never staying.
I have seen one foot cut off,
my youngest uncle Ernest's
fate inside doomed Detroit.
Leaving the Bud Wheel plant
at day's end, coming home
to Stella, drinking beer until
he sleeps, he has nightmares
he's back on the Pacific war
destroyer his mates deemed
fit only for those meant to die.
Waking, one leg lopped, soon
to be followed by the other,
he drinks to quiet the nerves
that in the city were sirens.
In the Upper Peninsula now,
no more punching in and out,
he knows he has little time
to live full time with Stella,
who always wanted a Queen
to replace the sagging Twins.
When he dies, I am with you
in your home near the Atlantic,
loving you, and you showing me
around where your mother moved
you south from Virginia, the name
you gave yourself once you knew
your father was gone, never why.
Your long dream was you were
Virginia Dare, for whose lost home
we searched, seeking her shadow.
Now I am talking you into going
farther south to show you
what I saw once, though never
again will I see the city before
it was my mother's New Orleans,
my beloved, demonic city
where I mean for my body to lie,
making its eternal home in an urn
above that watery earth, so like
the floating, monstrous Mexico City.
I love the pitch your Southern drawl
makes into song, your voice honey
soothing my ear, your body
welcoming me into your hive.
Veering west, I have shown you
my birthplace on the Arkansas.
On its other side, we followed the path
through Oklahoma to Albuquerque,
turning south to Ciudad Juarez,
then west to Nogales, musky Tijuna--
towns greed keeps going, el pueblo
dying, narcoterroristas thriving.
I shall never forget Mexico City,
nor will I forget you with me here.
When the sky clears, from high up
we see those volcanic lovers
who are said to live forever:
Popocatepetl, the fat man
who loves the sleeping woman,
Ixtacihuatl. Malgre tout . . .
Be with me in our sprawling city,
my love whom I call Esperanza,
tell me again through your lips,
You will have the time. I know,
though long ago I loved a whore.
None came before or after her.
My whore took me in her saddle,
then lay back and let me ride her
until we were spent. How I lived,
knowing no one would call it living.
Mornings, around the corner,
in the flourishing cantina,
drowning hangovers with cafe
con leche, I called the whores
ladies. And they were. They made
you feel good if you helped them
make a living. They were so many.
Now only you make me feel the way
I hope we share until our last day.
(18 June and 7, 23 July, 5 August 2014)
copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander