Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 18

I have sleep to do.
I have work to dream.
–Bill Knott (1940-2014)

’case it all gits outa hand
make yerself a mask ’n be sumthin
yer not
(who could not spell let alone talk)

It’s pleasant on Pleasant Street.
Besides, I love to walk,
go to the Jones Library
read in the Sir Francis Drake bar,

the one upstairs.
Downstairs I meet Charles and Mary
from Lowell: he’s black, she’s white,
they love their life. 

I walk over to Cronopios
where the book required, Cruelty
by Ai, “is selling like hotcakes.”
So I’m told. I’ll tell the students.

Next door, in the Quicksilver,
Tricia comes by for a kiss.
She asks me to go home,
it’s not a question or invitation.

I have pickled herring aplenty,
I say we can hit the mattress
and sup later. 
She says OK and doesn’t move.

I could go on. Patrick Johanson,
Paul Stevens, Lance Walker
of Amherst’s VVAW chapter, ask,
How was Korea? I answer, I was too young.

Lance was on the DMZ, with LLRP
(or LURP): Long Range Reconnaisance
Patrol over the De Militarized Zone
and into North Vietnam . . .

Johanson (of Saigon) works as bouncer
where Paul (from An Loc) is 86'd . . .
whereupon he got kicked bloody and bruised
in the cellar of the Drake

by a gang swearing he raped a woman
in ’nam, “Where were you?” Paul asked.
“What’d I look like? Why was she there?
How come you’re still alive?”

Paul cruises floors in town for lost money.
Johansen comes on duty. I leave with Tricia.
Night surrounds us. We have love to do,
I have work to make.

                            To the memory of il miglior fabbro
                            Adam Hammer (1948–1984),
                            who once roomed with Bill Knott
                            in Boston
                            –May the gods bless their old souls.

(25 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 17

You chisel ice from the windshield
after starting the engine and 
gloves on, turning the heater down
once you’re on the road,
I wake by the time you are there,
thirty miles down the freeway where
you teach another day and drive
all the way back where I am not
waiting, I am nowhere, not here
nor there. I keep scribbling, hearing
actual voices around me,
curious why I was led here
to her house. All the others knocked
on her door, read dust in the air
and listened hard to the silence
whip the wind into dust devils
in no country you have come to,
though still you hear rivers flowing
and see the waterfall falling,
and say what there is you feel here
or you die too soon, you give up
but why when you have all the snow
and ice New England has to give.

(24 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 16

No one catches on who was elsewhere.
Look at his eyes, their red rims.
Nonetheless happiness rings change.
She’s smiling, remembering. What?
Don’t even try, she loves him now
as then, when young he held Canipis
with both hands while she shot them
with the safety off: German shepherd
with her, Manuel working the mines,
a long sight better than rows of cotton
but not what he wanted. Moved north,
cleared overgrown fields, strung wire
and got the blue grapes to grow again.
By then Canipis was long gone.
By then they’ve lost their first son.
Here’s the second son. Can’t you tell
by the tentative, all-too-wary words?

(16 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Fascicle of Amity: 15

Put back in the dresser drawer
your dead son's baby clothes;
shift them to a tiny blue box
someone not me keeps forever.
Next time around he’s replaced
by one who must die in the north,
so it goes, Farmer’s Almanac
of souls that linger in limbo
and see everything writ large.
Not so now with the small words.
Settle for life itself. No worse
here than there. What death takes
fits in a boat, pennies on both eyes.
Some souls die to never quite rise.

(16 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, March 14, 2014

Give Us This Day

Give us this day, our endless war.
In your closet, find duds to wear
to wage war. The earth longs for seed,
but is filled only with the dead.
The end of cold war means the hot
war resumes. There’s no time for thought.
How else employ the youthful poor?
Otherwise, population soars;
the rich grumble, stomp, and threaten
the government with extinction.
After all, what’s government for
but to make sure good money pours
upward, gravity overthrown.
The coup of 1981
still mutes the voice of poverty
gone underground to live for free
out of sight, out of mind. Rats thrive,
feeding on the dead. To survive,
sink to your knees and learn to pray
to see again the light of day.

(13 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Dawn only begins to think about showing its face after the moon surfaces, even with a night of clouds about to weep because the light is still so far off, and the morning star is dawn’s mother, and daybreak is dawn’s father, although dawn was not meant to be a mere child. 

We were being very coy, the roosters were about to chase the hens, and we were no better, our beloved awaiting our touch, which we always wanted to make anew, but time was the destroyer. Also, we knew what the others wanted us to worship. We lived, dying came next.

The rapture is nothing new. Alone with one another, we pick up where we left off, the rain begins falling and we lie on the bed naked and too alive for the good of our aging bodies, but the rain will melt the snow now that spring is beginning to show its rowdy face, summer its drowsy body, autumn the first signs of the winter returning and nothing but the ice that no longer competes with fire in Frost’s warning, yes, a warning more than what people like to call poems because poems never sink as deep as California mud that slides your house into the canyon for starters, though maybe it was a poem since wildfires returned with the drought. Time is always short. For droughts will increase. And flames burn only the future.

(12 March 2014) 

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Once he had finished, he would dismount, but for now he was pouring into her what she liked to call his “thick saliva.” Invariably, she would urge him to sink deep in her, as far down as his wand could reach. Then, flooding her thighs and soaking the rug under her, he wore pleasure like a crown.

A sudden gust of wind seemed to trip the latch and the door swung open. There, framed in the doorway against the backdrop of a bright clearing, was what he took to be a naked man, possessing what the salty dogs called a “unit” when they sought to console one another in the waterfront bars. This creature seemed to groan uncontrollably, as though his body were filled to overflowing with great need.

The man sprang to his feet, quickly lifting his lover, and her hand in his, they scrambled quickly to the top of  the stairwell, slamming the door to her bedroom shut, locked. Now they could cavort on her bed in a seemingly endless sequel to their frolic on the floor downstairs. In their frantic play, loving with abandon, they began to topple each other to the floor, regaining the bed only to fall off again. Finally exhausted, she breathed in his ear, “mon frere,” and he knew, as always, she was about to grow more personal.


Go back, naked brute, beyond the clearing, where you dwell with your own sister, who refuses to break God’s law by submitting to what you call your need. Then she must hound you out of the cave to hunt for what she hopes to prepare when night falls. “Your prowess in killing must never fail you,” she likes to say to you by the fire. “That’s the instinct you need to perfect.”

(19 February–10 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

The Road

The road seems to end in the sky, where we dislodge grief by wiping our eyes, waiting for the thaw to commence; meanwhile my frozen spine feels like a swarm of giant ants biting, and to break the chill we sip hot tea in a roadside café.

–with gratitude to Meg Pokrass

(published in righthandpointing.net –number 73, “one-sentence poems,” March 2014) 

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 14

At times mysteries are foretold.

If Cathleen was and is my wife
Esperanza lives in my dreams,
where when she disrobes
I lie naked and pull her on me
to put myself inside her,
surely one way to dream of hope
in this country promising life.

Icicles plummeting,
the sun rumored to be near,
thaw melts by day
and freezes with the falling dark.
Nothing here stays whole.

In Mexico blooming orchids
fresh from the jungle
fill a street vendor’s cart,
all sold by nightfall in San Angel.

To make a way through ancient, tangled trees,
all day I wield a machete
to open the only path
that grows invisible under the moon,
and when I turn back at dawn
I carry the fragrance of orchids home.

If only Esperanza were here now,
what would I not give to sleep between thighs
I dream, her lips all over me?

Remember pulque’s resin on our tongues
soothing our bodies for the plunge through sleep.

(25 February–6 March 2014: II)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Fascicle of Amity: 13

Same time last year
ice spread to the window sill
worn down already
by the baleful heat
that is the only other weather here.

Two falls in two days,
though spared injury
by the gods of my birthplace
come north to watch over me
as I wear down like bone
whittled inside my skull of stone.

How I miss remembering what I knew
from Southern birth to boyhood
or what I learned in towns
sharing the latitude here,
though not the terror of this cold and ice.

I want to go south,
yet after a quarter century
frozen by my needs and desires,
it’s all I can do to walk on the earth
upright and think before I step.

(25 February–6 March 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander