Smoke, Lilies and Jade
He wanted to do something . . . to write or draw . . . or something . . . but it was so comfortable just to lay there on the bed . . . . . . his shoes off ... and think ... think of everything . . . short disconnected thoughts-to wonder. . . to remember . . . to think and smoke . . . why wasn't he worried that he had no money ... he had had five cents . . . but he had been hungry . . . he was hungry and still . . . all he wanted to do was . . . lay there comfortably smoking . . . think . . .wishing he were writing . . . or drawing . . . or and thought . . . but what did he think . . . he remembered how his mother had awakened him one night ... ages ago ... six years ago ... Alex ... he had always wondered at the strangeness of it . . .she had seemed so . . . so ... so just the same ...Alex ... I think your father is dead ... and it hadn'tseemed so strange . . . yet . . . one's mother didn'tsay that ... didn't wake one at midnight every night to say . . . feel him . . . put your hand on his head ... then whisper with a catch in her voice . . . I'm afraid . . . sh don't wake Lam . . . yet it hadn't seemed as it should have seemed ... even when hehad felt his father's cool wet forehead ... it hadn't been tragic . . . the light had been turned very low... and flickered ... yet it hadn't been tragic ... or weird . . . not at all as one should feel when one's father died ... even his reply of ... yes he is dead... had been commonplace ... hadn't been dramatic there had been no tears ... no sobs ... not even realized thata sorrow . . . and yet he must have one's father couldn't smile ... or sing any more ... after he had died . . . every one remembered his father's voice . . . it had been a lush voice . . . a promise . . . then that dressing together . . . his mother and himself . . . in the bathroom . . . why was the bathroom always the warmest room in the winter . . . as they had put on their clothes ... his mother had been telling him what he must do . . . and cried softly ... and that had made him cry too but you mustn't cry Alex ... remember you have to be a little man now ... and that was all ... didn't other wives and sons cry more for their dead than that . . . anyway people never cried for beautiful sunsets . . . or music ... and those were the things that hurt ... the things to sympathize with ... then out into the snow and dark of the morning ... first to the undertaker's . . . no first to Uncle Frank's . . . why did Aunt Lula have to act like that . . . to ask again and again ... but when did he die . . .
when did he die... I just can't believe it ... poor Minerva ... then out into the snow and dark again ... how had his mother expected him to know where to find the night bell at the undertaker's ... he was the most sensible of them all tho ... all he had said was . . . what . . . Harry Francis . . . too bad . . . tell mamma I'll be there first thing in the morning . . . then down the deserted streets again . . . to grandmother's . . . it was growing light now . . . it must be terrible to die in daylight . . . grandpa had been sweeping the snow off the yard ... he had been glad of that because ... well he could tell him better than grandma ... grandpa ... father's dead . . . and he hadn't acted strange either ... books lied . . . he had just looked at Alex a moment then continued sweeping . . . all he said was . . . what time did be die . . . she'll want to know . . . then passing thru the lonesome street toward home . . . Mrs. Mamie Grant was closing a window and spied him . . . hallow Alex ... an' how's your father this mornin' . . . dead . . . get out . . . tch tch tch an' I was just around there with a cup a' custard yesterday . . . Alex puffed contentedly on his cigarette . . . he was hungry and comfortable . . . and he had an ivory holder inlaid with red jade and green . . .funny how the smoke seemed to climb up that ray of sunlight . . . went up the slant just like imagination ... was imagination blue . . . or was it because he had spent his last five cents and couldn't worry ... anyway it was nice to lay there and wonder . . . and remember . . . why was he so, different from other people . . . the only things he remembered of his father's funeral were the crowded church and the ride in the hack . . . so many people there in the church . . . and ladies with tears in their eyes . . . and on their cheeks ... and some men too ... why did people cry . . . vanity that was all . . . yet they weren't exactly hypocrites . . . but why . . . it had made him furious . . . all these people crying . . . it wasn't their father . . . and he wasn't crying . . . couldn't cry for sorrow altho he had loved his father more than . . . than . . . it had made him so angry that tears had come to his eyes . . . and he had been ashamed of his mother . . . crying into a handkerchief . . . so ashamed that tears had run down his cheeks and he had frowned . . . and some one . . . a woman . . . had said . . . look at that poor little dear . . . Alex is just like his father . . . and the tears had run fast . . . because he wasn't like his father . . . he couldn't sing . . . he didn't want to sing . . . he didn't want to sing . . . Alex blew a cloud of smoke ... blue smoke ... when they had taken his father from the vault three weeks later ... he had grown beautiful . . . his nose had become perfect and clear . . . his hair had turned jet black and glossy and silky . . . and his skin was a transparent green . . . like the sea only not so deep ... and where it was drawn over the cheek bones a pale beautiful red appeared . . . like a blush . . . why hadn't his father looked like that always . . . but no . . . to have sung would have broken the wondrous repose of his lips and maybe that was his beauty . . . maybe it was wrong to think thoughts like these . . . but they were nice and pleasant and comfortable . . . when one was smoking a cigarette thru an ivory holder inlaid with red jade and green ...........
he wondered why he couldn't find work a job . . . when he had first come to New York he had . . . and he had only been fourteen then was it because he was nineteen now that he felt so idle ... and contented . . . or because he was an artist . . but was he an artist ... was one an artist until one became known . . . of course he was an artist . . . and strangely enough so were all his friends ... he should be ashamed that he didn't work ... but . . was it five years in New York . . . or the fact that he was an artist . . . when his mother said she couldn't understand him . . . why did he vaguely pity her instead of being ashamed ... he should be . . . his mother and all his relatives said so . . . his brother was three years younger than he and yet he had already been away from home a year ... on the stage ... making thirty-five dollars a week . . . had three suits and many clothes and was going to help mother ... while he. . . Alex ... was content to lay and smoke and meet f riends at night . . . to argue and read Wilde . . . Freud ... Boccacio and Schnitzler . . . to attend Gurdjieff meetings and know things . . . Why did they scoff at him for knowing such people as Carl . . . Mencken . . . Toomer . . . Hughes . . . Cullen . . . Wood . . . Cabell . . . oh the whole lot of them ... was it because it seemed incongruous that he . . . who was so little known ... should call by first names people they would like to know . . . were they jealous ... no mothers aren't jealous of their sons ... they are proud of them ... why then ... when these friends accepted and liked him . . . no matter how he dressed . . . why did mother ask . . . and you went looking like that . . . Langston was a fine fellow . . . he knew there was something in Alex . . . and so did Rene and Borgia . . . and Zora and Clement and Miguel ... and ... and . . . and all of them ... if he went to see mother she would ask . . .
how do you feel Alex with nothing in your pockets . . . I don't see how you can be satisfied . . . Really you're a mystery to me ... and who you take after ... I'm sure I don't know . . . none of my brothers were lazy and shiftless . . . I can never remember the time when they weren't sending money home and your father was your age he was supporting a family ... where you get your nerve I don't know . . . just because you've tried to write one or two little poems and stories that no one understands ... you seem to think the world owes you a living ... you should see by now how much is thought of them . . . you can't sell anything . . . and you won't do anything to make money . . . wake up Alex . . .
don't know what will become of you ........
it was hard to believe in one's self after that . . . did Wildes' parents or Shelly's or Goya's talk to them like that ... but it was depressing to think in that vein ... Alex stretched and yawned . . . Max had died ... Margaret had died ... so had Sonia ... Cynthia ... Juan-Jose and Harry ... all people he had loved ... loved one by one and together ... and all had died ... he never loved a person long before they died . . . in truth he was tragic . . . that was a lovely appellation ... The Tragic Genius ... think . . . to go thru life known as The Tragic Genius . . . romantic . . . but it was more or less true . . . Alex turned over and blew another cloud of smoke . . . was all life like that . . smoke ... blue smoke from an ivory holder . . he wished he were in New Bedford ... New Bedford was a nice place ... snug little houses set complacently behind protecting lawns . . . half open windows showing prim interiors from behind waving cool curtains ... inviting ... like precise courtesans winking from behind lace fans ... and trees ... many trees ... casting lacey patterns of shade on the sun dipped sidewalks . . . small stores ... naively proud of their psuedo grandeur . . . banks . . . called institutions for saving ... all naive . . . that was it ... New Bedford was naive . . . after the sophistication of New York it would fan one like a refreshing breeze ... and yet he had returned to New York ... and sophistication . . . was he sophisticated . . . no because he was seldom bored ... seldom bored by anything ... and weren't the sophisticated continually suffering from ennui ... on the contrary ... he was amused . . . amused by the artificiality of naivety and sophistication alike ... but may be that in itself was the essence of sophistication or ... was it cynicism . . . or were the two identical . . . he blew a cloud of smoke . . . it was growing dark now . . . and the smoke no longer had a ladder to climb ... but soon the moon would rise and then he would clothe the silver moon in blue smoke garments clever idea he had had about color music but truly smoke was like imagination
Alex sat up ... pulled on his shoes and went out ... it was a beautiful night ... and so large the dusky blue hung like a curtain in an immense arched doorway . . . fastened with silver tacks ... to wander in the night was wonderful ... myriads of inquisitive lights . . . curiously prying into the dark ... and fading unsatisfied . . . he passed a woman . . . she was not beautiful ... and he was sad because she did not weep that she would never be beautiful . . . was it Wilde who had said a cigarette is the most perfect pleasure because it leaves one unsatisfied ... the breeze gave to him a perfume stolen f rom some wandering lady of the evening . . . it pleased him . . . why was it that men wouldn't use perfumes ... they should ... each and every one of them liked perfumes . . . the man who denied that was a liar . . . or a coward ... but if ever he were to voice that thought ... express it ... he would be misunderstood ... a fine feeling that . . . to be misunderstood . . . it made him feel tragic and great ... but may be it would be nicer to be understood . . . but no . . . no great artist is . . . then again neither were fools . . . they were strangely akin these two . . . Alex thought of a sketch he would make ... a personality sketch of Fania ... straight classic features tinted proud purple . . . sensuous fine lips . . . gilded for truth . . . eyes . . . half opened and lids colored mysterious green hair black and straight drawn sternly mocking back from the false puritanical forehead . . . maybe be would made Edith too . . . skin a blue . . . infinite like night . . . and eyes . . . slant and grey . . . very complacent like a cat's . . . Mona Lisa lips ... red and seductive as . . . as pomegranate juice . . . in truth it was fine to be young and hungry and an artist ... to blow blue smoke from an ivory holder
cafeteria ... it was almost as tho it had journeyed to meet him . . . the night was so blue . . . how does blue feel . . . or red or gold or any other color ... if colors could be heard he could paint most wondrous tunes . . . symphonious . . . think ... the dulcet clear tone of a blue like night ... of a red like pomegranate juice ... like Edith's lips . . . of the fairy tones to be heard in a sunset . . . like rubies shaken in a crystal cup . . . of the symphony of Fania ... and silver ... and gold ... he had heard the sound of gold ... but they weren't the sounds he wanted to catch ... no ... they must be liquid . . . not so staccato but flowing variations of the same caliber . . . there was no one in the cafe as yet . . . he sat and waited . . . that was it . . . from clear rich sands . . . that's nice
after all he was a monstrous clever fellow . . . Jurgen had said that . . . funny how characters in books said the things one wanted to say . . . he would like to know Jurgen . . . how does one go about getting an introduction to a fiction character . . . go up to the brown cover of the book and knock gently . . . and say hello . . . then timidly . . . is Duke Jurgen there ... or ... no because if entered the book in the beginning Jurgen would only be a pawn broker ... and one didn't enter a book in the center . . . but what foolishness . . . Alex lit a cigarette ... but Cabell was a master to have written Jurgen . . . and an artist . . . and a poet . . . Alex blew a cloud of smoke . . . a few lines of one of Langston's poems came to describe Jurgen
Somewhat like Ariel Somewhat like Puck Somewhat like a gutter boy Who loves to play in muck. Somewhat like Bacchus Somewhat like Pan And a way with women Like a sailor man .
Langston must have known Jurgen . . . suppose Jurgen had met Tonio Kroeger . what a vagrant thought ... Kroeger ... Kroeger . . . Kroeger ... why here was Rene . . . Alex had almost gone to sleep . . . Alex blew a cone of smoke as he took Rene's hand ... it was nice to have friends like Rene . . . so comfortable . . . Rene was speaking . .
Borgia joined them . . . and de Diego Padro . . . their talk veered to . . . James Branch Cabell . . . beautiful ... marvelous ... Rene had an enchanting accent ... said sank for thank and souse for south . . . but they couldn't know Cabell's greatness . . . Alex searched the smoke for expression . . . he . . . he . well he has created a phantasy mire ... that's imagery . . . life and silver . . . and silver sands . . . imagine lilies growing in such a mire ... when they close at night their gilded underside would protect . . . but that's not it at all . . . his thoughts just carried and mingled like . . . like odors . . . suggested but never definite . . . Rene was leaving . . . they all were leaving . . . Alex sauntered slowly back . . . the houses all looked sleepy . . . funny ... made him feel like writing poetry ... and about death too . . . an elevated crashed by overhead scattering all his thoughts with its noise . . . making them spread . . . in circles . . . then larger circles . . . just like a splash in a calm pool . . . what had he been thinking ... of ... a poem about death ...
but he no longer felt that urge ... just walk and think and wonder . . . think and remember and smoke ... blow smoke that mixed with his thoughts and the night . . . he would like to live in a large white palace ... to wear a long black cape ... very full and lined with vermillion . . . to have many cushions and to lie there among them ... talking to his friends . . . lie there in a yellow silk shirt and black velvet trousers . . . like music-review artists talking and pouring strange liquors from curiously beautiful bottles ... bottles with long slender necks . . . he climbed the noisy stair of the odorous tenement ... smelled of fish . . . of stale f ried fish and dirty milk bottles ... he rather liked it ... he liked the acrid smell of horse manure too . . . strong ... thoughts . . . yes to lie back among strangely fashioned cushions and sip eastern wines and talk . . . Alex threw himself on the bed . . . removed his shoes . . . stretched and relaxed . . . yes and have music waft softly into the darkened and incensed room . . . he blew a cloud of smoke . . . oh the joy of being an artist and of blowing blue smoke thru an ivory holder inlaid with red jade and green . . .
the street was so long and narrow so long and narrow . . . and blue . . . in the distance it reached the stars ... and if he walked long enough . far enough . . . he could reach the stars too ... the narrow blue was so empty . . . quiet . . . Alex walked music . . . it was nice to walk in the blue after a party . . . Zora had shone again . . . her stories . . . she always shone . . . and Monty was glad . . . every one was glad when Zora shone . . . he was glad be had gone to Monty's party . . . Monty had a nice place in the village ... nice lights . . . and friends and wine . . . mother would be scandalized that he could think of going to a party ... without a copper to his name . . . but then mother had never been to Monty's . . . and mother had never seen the street seem long and narrow and blue . . . Alex walked music . . . the click of his heels kept time with a tune in his mind . . . he glanced into a lighted cafe window . . . inside were people sipping coffee . . . men . . . why did they sit there in the loud light . . . didn't they know that outside the street . . . the narrow blue street met the stars . . . that if they walked long enough . . . far enough . . . Alex walked and the click of his heels sounded ... and had an echo ... sound being tossed back and forth ... back and forth . . . some one was approaching . . . and their echoes mingled ... and gave the sound of castenets ... Alex liked the sound of the approaching man's footsteps . . . he walked music also ... he knew the beauty of thenarrow blue . . . Alex knew that by the way their echoes mingled . . . he wished he would speak . . . but strangers don't speak at four o'clock in the morning ... at least if they did he couldn't imagine what would be said . . . maybe . . . pardon me but are you walking toward the stars ... yes, sir, and if you walk long enough . . . then may I walk with you I want to reach the stars too . . . perdone me senor tiene vd. fosforo . . . Alex was glad he had been addressed in Spanish . . . to have been asked for a match in English ... or to have been addressed in English at all . . . would have been blasphemy just then . . . Alex handed him a match . . . he glanced at his companion apprehensively in the match glow . . . he was afraid that his appearance would shatter the blue thoughts . . . and stars . . . ah ... his face was a perfect compliment to his voice . . . and the echo of their steps mingled . . . they walked in silence . . . the castanets of their heels clicking accompaniment . . . the stranger inhaled deeply and with a nod of content and a smile . . . blew a cloud of smoke ... Alex felt like singing . . the stranger knew the magic of blue smoke also ... they continued in silence . . . the castanets of their heels clicking rythmically . . . Alex turned in his doorway . . . up the stairs and the stranger waited for him to light the room . . . no need for words ... they had always known each other ......... as they undressed by the blue dawn . . . Alex knew he had never seen a more perfect being ... his body was all symmetry and music . . . and Alex called him Beauty . . . long they lay . . . blowing smoke and exchanging thoughts . . . and Alex swallowed with difficulty . . . he felt a glow of tremor ... and they talked and ... slept . . .
Alex wondered more and more why he liked Adrian so . . . he liked many people . . . Wallie . . . Zora . . . Clement . . . Gloria . . . Langston ... John . . . Gwenny . . . oh many people . . . and they were friends . . . but Beauty . . . it was different . . . once Alex had admired Beauty's strength . . . and Beauty's eyes had grown soft and he had said . . . I like you more than any one Dulce ... Adrian always called him Dulce . . . and Alex had become confused . . . was it that he was so susceptible to beauty that Alex liked Adrian so much . . . but no . . . he knew other people who were beautiful ... Fania and Gloria ... Monty and Bunny . . . but he was never confused before them . . . while Beauty . . . Beauty could make him believe in Buddha . . . or imps . . . and no one else could do that . . . that is no one but Melva ... but then he was in love with Melva . . . and that explained that . . .
he would like Beauty to know Melva ... they were both so perfect ... such compliments . . . yes he would like Beauty to know Melva because he loved them both ... there ... he had thought it ... actually dared to think it . . . but Beauty must never know . . . Beauty couldn't understand . . . indeed Alex couldn't understand ... and it pained him . , . almost physically . . . and tired his mind ... Beauty ... Beauty was in the air ... the smoke . . ' . Beauty . . . Melva . . . Beauty ... Melva ... Alex slept ... and dreamed ..... be was in a field . . . a field of blue smoke and black poppes and red calla lilies ... he was searching ... on his hands and knees ... searching ... among black poppies and red calla lilies ... he was searching pushed aside poppy stems . . . and saw two strong white legs ... dancer's legs ... the contours pleased him . . . his eyes wandered ... on past the muscular hocks to the firm white thighs . . . the rounded buttocks ... then the lithe narrow waist ... strong torso and broad deep chest . . . the heavy shoulders ... the graceful muscled neck ... squared chin and quizzical lips . . . grecian nose with its temperamental nostrils . . . the brown eyes looking at him . . . like . . . Monty looked at Zora . . . his hair curly and black and all tousled . . . and it was Beauty . . . and Beauty smiled and looked at him and smiled ... said ... I'll wait Alex ... and Alex became confused and continued his search . . . on his hands and knees ... pushing aside poppy stems and lily stems ... a poppy ... a black poppy ... a lilly ... a red lilly ... and when be looked back he could no longer see Beauty . . . Alex continued his search ... thru poppies ... lilies ... poppies and red calla lilies . . . and suddenly he saw . . . two small feet olive-ivory . . . two well turned legs curving gracefully from slender ankles . . . and the contours soothed him ... he followed them ... past the narrow rounded hips to the tiny waist . . . the fragile firm breasts . . . the graceful slender throat . . . the soft rounded chin . . . slightly parting lips and straight little nose with its slightly flaring nostrils . . . the black eyes with lights in them . . . looking at him ... the forehead and straight cut black hair ... and it was Melva . . . and she looked at him and smiled and said . . . I'll wait Alex . . . and Alex became confused and kissed her ... became confused and continued his search ... on his bands and knees . . . pushed aside a poppy stem . . . a black-poppy stem ... pushed aside a lily stem ... a red-lily stem ... a poppy ... a poppy ... a lily . . . and suddenly he stood erect ... exhultant ... and in his hand he held . . . an ivory holder . . . inlaid with red jade ...
and green ............ and Alex awoke ... Beauty's hair tickled his nose.. Beauty was smiling in his sleep ... half his face stained flush color by the sun . . . the other half in shadow . . . blue shadow . . . his eye lashes casting cobwebby blue shadows on his cheek . . . his lips were so beautiful . . . quizzical ... Alex wondered why he always thought of that passage from Wilde's Salome . . . when he looked at Beauty's lips . . . I would kiss your lips . . . he would like to kiss Beauty's lips ... Alex flushed warm ... with shame . . . or was it shame . . . he reached across Beauty for a cigarette . . . Beauty's cheek felt cool to his arm ... his hair felt soft ... Alex lay smoking ... such a dream . . . red calla lilies ... red calla lilies ... and . . . what could it all mean . . . did dreams have meanings . . . . . thousands . .
Fania said ... and black poppies millions . . . Beauty stirred . . . Alex put out his cigarette . . . closed his eyes ... be mustn't see Beauty yet . . . speak to him ... his lips were too hot ... dry ... the palms of his hands too cool and moist ... thru his half closed eyes he could see Beauty . . . propped . . . cheek in hand . . . on one elbow . . . looking at him . . . lips smiling quizzically . . . he wished Beauty wouldn't look so hard . . . Alex was finding it difficult to breathe . . . breathe normally ... why must Beauty look so long . . . and smile that way . . . his face seemed nearer ... it was ... Alex could feel Beauty's hair on his forehead . . . breathe normally . . . breathe normally . . . could feel Beauty's breath on his nostrils and lips . . . and it was clean and faintly colored with tobacco . . . breathe normally Alex . . . Beauty's lips were nearer . . . Alex closed his eyes . . . how did one act . . . his pulse was hammering . . . from wrists to linger tip ... wrist to finger tip . . . Beauty's lips touched his . . . his temples throbbed . . . throbbed ... his pulse hammered from wrist to finger tip . . . Beauty's breath came short now . . . softly staccato . . . breathe normally Alex . . . you are asleep ... Beauty's lips touched his ... breathe normally . . . and pressed . . . pressed hard ... cool ... his body trembled ... breathe normally Alex . . . Beauty's lips pressed cool . . . cool and hard . . . how much pressure does it take to waken one ... Alex sighed ... moved softly ... how does one act . . . Beauty's hair barely touched him now . . . his breath was faint on . . . Alex's nostrils . . . and lips . . . Alex stretched and opened his eyes ... Beauty was looking at him . . . propped on one elbow . . . cheek in his palm . . . Beauty spoke . . . scratch my head please Dulce . . . Alex was breathing normally now ... propped against the bed head ... Beauty's head in his lap ... Beauty spoke ... I wonder why I like to look at some things Dulce ... things like smoke and cats . . . and you . . . Alex'sForno's . . . every one came there sooner or later ... maybe once ... but .....
up ... up ... slow . . . jerk up ... up ... not fast .. not glorious ... but slow ... up ... up into the sun ... slow ... sure like fate ... poise on the brim . . . the brim of life . . . two shining rails straight down ... Melva's head was on his shoulder ... his arm was around her. . . poise ... the down ... gasping . . . straight down . . . straight like sin . . . down . . . the curving shiny rail rushed up to meet them ... hit the bottom then ... shoot up ... f ast . . . glorious . . . up into the sun . . . Melva gasped . . . Alex's arm tightened ... all goes up ... then down . . . straight like hell . . . all breath squeezed out of them . . . Melva's head on his shoulder ... up ... up ... Alex kissed her ... down ... they stepped out of the car ... walking music now over to the Ferris Wheel . . . out and up Melva's hand was soft in his . . . out and up over mortals . . . mortals drinking nectar . . . five cents a glass ... her cheek was soft on his ... up ... up ... till the world seemed small ... tiny ... the ocean seemed tiny and blue ... up ... up and out ... over the sun . . . the tiny red sun . . . Alex kissed her . . . up . . . up . . . their tongues touched ... up ... seventh heaven . . . the sea had swallowed the sun . . . up and out . . . her breath was perfumed ... Alex kissed her ... drift down ... soft ... soft ... the sun had left the sky flushe ...
drift down ... soft down ... back to earth ... visit the mortals sipping nectar at five cents a glass ... Melva's lips brushed his ... then out among the mortals . . and the sun had left a flush on Melva's cheeks . . . they walked hand in hand . . . and the
moon came out . . . they walked in silence on the silver strip . . . and the sea sang for them . . . they walked toward the moon ... we'll hang our hats on the crook of the moon Melva ... softly on the silver strip . . . his hands molded her features and her cheeks were soft and warm to his touch . . . where is Adrian ... Alex ... Melva trod silver ... Alex trod sand . . . Alex trod sand . . . the sea sang for her . . . Beauty . . . her hand felt cold in his . . . Beauty ... the sea dinned ... Beauty ... he led the way to the train . . . and the train dinned . . . Beauty . . . dinned . . . dinned . . . her cheek had been soft . . . Beauty . . . Beauty . . . her breath had been perfumed ... Beauty . . . Beauty . . . the sands had been silver . . . Beauty . . . Beauty . . . they left the train . . . Melva walked music . . . Melva said . . . don't make me blush again ... and kissed him . . . Alex stood on the steps after she left him and the night was black . . . down long streets to . . . Alex lit a cigarette ... and his heels clicked ... Beauty ... Melva ... Beauty ... Melva ... and the smoke made the night blue . . .
Melva had said . . . don't make me blush again ... and kissed him . . . and the street had been blue . . . one can love two at the same time ... Melva had kissed him ... one can ... and the street had been blue ... one can . . . and the room was clouded with blue smoke . . . drifting vapors of smoke and thoughts . . . Beauty's hair was so black . . . and soft ... blue smoke from an ivory holder ... was that why he loved Beauty ... one can ... or because his body was beautiful . . . and white and warm ... or because his eyes. . . one can love -
... To Be Continued ...