alexandre goes to dakar inoculated against misery;

back in new york he left that girl alone at the train station,

her blonde hair sun-bleached and carrying a braided scent of

salt water, her skin as sharp as sea spray, sunblock patterns along

her bare back. she was morning in his apartment, standing at

the window as he woke, watching the sun along the East River,

as it backlit the skyline, straight prisms of heavy summer yellow

through the steel spired canyon

she listened to bruce springsteen all the way home, the train

winding its steady way down the coastal tracks, leaving behind

the roots of the city for where the atlantic hushed its way against

vanishing sand dunes, storm-poor and waiting for the next weather turn.

alexandre goes to dakar and waits at the market for his

friend; around him french echoes its tropic accent, the longest-lasting

remnant of imperial malaise, malarial twist of phrase, here this place

should have been blood, long ago; that tradition does not die out with

time, only rusts and beholds itself as myth

there is the modern curse of growth and the unwieldy cities of

africa, here in a far place of sudden flowering and blinding dust,

toxic midday horrors and the perfume of evening; alexandre goes

to dakar and thinks of blonde hair and tragedy and when he

and his friend fight the streets back to the hotel, he hears a catch of

song, english incongruent, just another empire-

springsteen is singing about vietnam in a place that has always had war-

alexandre goes to dakar and the girl sits outside on her front porch,

smoking a cigarette and playing with her hair.