August 2001 / Volume Two / Issue Two
Larry Griffin
Arbitrary Alabama

-May.  Gulfshores.  Sand.  Sun.
Sea.  A few purposeful porpoises
circle us as we swim the salty sea.
Your breasts bulge from your new
bikini, and I lounge later on the beach,
one eye always open, as I admire again
the beauty of your body.  I grow hard
knowing I will know it each and every night,
intimately.  Our sex together shows
a quality and depth of performance and achievement
rather than mere length of time spent in a condo at the beach.

.  .  .  A crowd in a wreck of building,
the bar straddles the state line, takes
the elision of its name from both states.
Laura, restless, holds me close,
and we dance into the depths of the drunken
crowd where all I want
is her who's close in my arms.

Having lost nature, we invent culture . . .
EACH EVENT!  The surface of each
we slide in time and in space
inside each other for perfect fits,
like a matrushka stacks each doll
inside the moment of its memory.
Will it all come back to me?
I capture in these few images
then present, now lost, in which
my soul first opened . . .

She's more beautiful than you remember Pulling her
out of your memory you guide her into the myth
music has made in fashion What lengths you went
to in loving her then in the bright sun
you could see  and in the dark sun you could not see

You drive together south on 51
to Millington . . . At the art show
you introduce her to your friends;
proud of the kindness she gives
you in her praise of your paintings,
you cannot wait to show her how much.
Arbitrary Alabama continued
Before noon you have her alone
in a nearby Mexican restaurant-
"Have you ever dived off the Turks and Caicos Islands?"
. . . Her answer; my . . . memory,
hardly now so firm, so that I shake my head.
Should I have shaken my fist?
Such is the power of pleasure . . .
How it hooks the soul
into the pain of the body!

Later, out for an evening piano recital,
I hold her hand while we sit on folding
chairs-the musician, only eleven, is
a prodigy-and afterward we take up
the same rhythm of the last piece
he played as we make a piece ourselves
from each other:  The next week
while I'm in England, I desire
the bed of no woman I meet there-
I only depart from each smiling-
"But who is the best lay?"

In Deddington or Stow-in-the-Wold,
I tease the woman with me about sex with her;
I know she wants me, but I
want only Laura, long only to return
home as soon as possible and have only her.
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