The purse

August 15, 2011

The purse is written about a girl I met. I lived on Church Street. Toronto.  Alone. Sometimes I would sit on the front steps drinking tea. Sometimes she would sit with me. Talk about life in Buffalo. Where she was from. We got frisky a few times. She laughed when she saw how white I was. Like to call us OREO. She was a smart girl. Had been an RN. So she could have earned money doing something else. She didn’t like taking care of old men. One time I went to visit her. She lived a couple blocks away. She was being thrown out by her landlord. Called her a whore  and several other things. She wanted me to beat the old guy up. I refused. She laughed. And we went looking for another apartment for her. Later she asked me to be her pimp. That made me laugh. I turned down her offer. And then she disappeared.


The Purse

His letters from prison. Filed under anger. Words barked. Broken pieces of glass. Cut into my heart. Made your eyes bleed. He cursed the iron madness of prison life. Body felt so heavy. Some evenings he wished his heart would stop. So that he could get a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Wished he was deaf. To the sound. Of metal on metal. Tore away at his flesh. Tried to dig the fillings out of him mouth. Even his lashes slammed shut. Like a jail cell. Jerked off. Against the prison wall. Wishing his come was acid. Row up row of men. Without women. Fantasizing about a Greek goddess. Legless. Armless. Headless. Only thing left was her purse.

Loved him. He was the night. Seeping into my heart. The mist rising. Between my legs. He was a poor soul. Locked in penance. A dream waking in my sleep. I was his skin. Walking free.

At the time i was a registered nurse. Not much bread in it. Sent him every dollar. I could spare. I opened a bank account for him so that he’d have a stake when he was released. Had to get some more cash. Started blowing my patients. It wasn’t difficult. Pretended every john was him. In the dark. Everything tastes the same.

When he got out he lay on the room of our place and cried. Into the sky. Slept under the stars. Made love until the sun rose. And the dew tickled down my thighs. For a week life was paradise. One day we went to the racetrack. Bet half my savings on a horse called FREEDOM. And won. We went dancing. Snorted some coke. I was never so happy. I knew that this wasn’t going to last forever.

Then he found out. How I was bringing in extra cash. Didn’t seem to mind. At first. Later. Wanted his own place. I moved out. After a few days i was invited back. Redecorated. The apartment was dark. Turned on some black lights. Curtains were drawn. Posters of animals and jungle life up the walls. All i could see of him. White gloves and his smile. He beat me. First with his belt. Then with his fists. He cried. As if there was still some tenderness inside trying to bust out. Ripped off my dress. Took me from behind. I couldn’t stop coming.

I would have forgiven him anything. Until he called my momma a whore. My mother was shattered. She didn’t cry. Just sat rocking back and forth in her chair. A faded yellow dress holding together her flesh. After momma passed on I moved to Toronto. From Buffalo. Fresh start. Canada. What I discovered. Black women are exotic amidst all this snow. I’ve never been called beautiful so often.

Strange clients. One like to watch me cut his nails. Another like to be blown while watching a hockey game. Another paid to fill my pussy with ancient coins. One old guy Harry like to recite poetry. THE CREMATION OF SAM MCGEE. Another took me to expensive restaurants. Another who asked me to look scared. & a young red headed kid who was researching a novel. All these lonely men. Shooting their pain into me. An alchemist. I turn come into gold.

A new boyfriend. Met through business. Viking. Called Ray. Peddles dope. Cracks anyone over the head who tries to get rough with me. I like that. We get along real fine.

Sometimes when Ray is inside me. A dream. Fall. And there is a tree. Its branches bare. Doves land until the tree is almost filled. The branches begin to bud. Buds turned into white blossoms. I am the tree. The blossoms are a wedding dress. And then the doves begin to sing.

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