Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday's Poetry: "My Poor Yvette Is Dead"

by Pa Rock

Last year over the Memorial Day weekend, three friends and I traveled just north of Okinawa to a small Iapanese island called Yoron.  As is my custom, I took a book along because reading is something that I regard as truly pleasurable.  My book at that time was a favorite from my youth, Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  

While we were on Yoron I finished my book, an accomplishment that left me in a strange mood - and we were assaulted by a very severe typhoon, an event that drove us into our respective rooms for a long night of sitting up listening to the winds howl.  Somehow, the confluence of those two things put me into a writing mood, and I began the effort which follows, a long, narrative verse entitled "My Poor Yvette is Dead," a fictional account of a pair of murders in a French resort community.  One of the two speaking characters in this tale is a policeman name Captain Aronnax - with a tip of the hat to Professor Aronnax, the narrator of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Although I was able to piece together much of this tale during the typhoon, I brought the unfinished product back to Okinawa and spent way too much time tinkering with it.  Now it is finished, and "My Poor Yvette" is yours to do with as you wish.

My Poor Yvette is Dead
by Rocky Macy

My poor Yvette is dead.
She drowned last night, and her naked body,
Willful even in death,
Rode a dark current to the depths of the sea.

Later today Captain Aronnax will inform me of my loss
When the rags of Yvette’s reputation
Have been collected and bagged.
His heart will be heavy – heavier by far than mine.

Yvette left the casino at midnight. 
She had a bottle of cognac in one hand
And Claude, the Captain’s son,
Grasped firmly in the other.

(Emil, the doorman, will swear to it. )

The street dogs sniffed her skirts,
Aching to be Claude,
As she pulled him down the alley
And out onto the vacant beach.

The frenzied lovers littered the sand
With debauchery and evening wear
Two free spirits of the night
Displaying everything but shame.

Yvette ravaged Claude like an ocean tempest
Leaving him wrecked at the water’s edge -
Yet another of her broken boys
Stinking of alcohol and sticky with sex.

I watched from beneath the balcony of La Bella Vue,
A tourist cafe whose windows all too often
Fall prey to the wanton wrath of nocturnal creatures
Who roam the beach in gangs.

Yvette knew her voyeur was near,
Another street dog aching to be Claude.
She sat beside her unconscious boy and finished the cognac
As the retreating tide pulled me from the shadows.

I came to her in silence,
Letting my clothes fall among theirs.
Yvette smiled sadly as she rose into my arms,
And walked with me along the shore.

We danced our dance beneath the stars -
A sandy grind of heat and comfort,
Slow and sensual,
Played out on the rim of the ageless sea.

(But we both knew that the music was ending.)

Later, cooling in the surf, rising and falling with the waves,
I held Yvette close for a moment,
Or an eternity,
Before gently pushing her beneath the hungry brine.

She watched me through the moonlit waters
A sense of mild surprise in those soft eyes –
 Sad eyes that slowly slipped from vague to vacant
As her life peacefully seeped into the darkness.

I dressed above Yvette’s boywreck -
A hard, tanned carcass of mangled virtue
Lying on his back in the debris of passion,
Mouth agape, snoring softly.

The boy was no concern of mine
Yet I could not leave him in quiet repose.
His clothes I threw into the sea,
And a small measure of sand I poured into his mouth.

The Vadun gods could deal with his virtue.
If they deemed Claude to be merely a victim of my Yvette
He would awake calmly, spit out the sand,
And wonder at his folly as he strolled home naked.

But if the gods felt otherwise
And awoke young Claude with a start…
Well, I could hardly be blamed
For his fatal lust after another man’s wife.

Now the sun is well into the morning the sky. 
My sleep, though brief, was restful,
And Marie, my faithful housekeeper,
 Set an incomparable breakfast table.

Captain Aronnax presented himself to Marie
Before the breakfast dishes had been cleared,
Long before I had expected his arrival.
She brought him to me in the parlor.

His face, though calm, was tinged with sorrow.
And his eyes were red with rage.
The Vadun gods, I thought smugly,
Had shown no mercy on the hapless Claude.

“Captain,” I said, as he stepped into the parlor,
“You look distraught, my friend.
Pray, be seated by this sunny window
And tell me what has happened.”

“It’s my son, Claude,” he remarked solemnly.
“He died this morning
Convulsed in bewilderment and fear,
The victim of a sadistic swine.”

Captain Aronnax continued,
“Yvette has also died at the hands of the same mad man,
Although her body has yet to wash ashore. 
I knew that you would want to be notified at once.”

“Yvette?  My Yvette?”  I was incredulous.
“My poor Yvette is dead?”
I sank down next to my guest on the grand divan,
Swallowed up in blue velour and grief.

The tears rolling down my face were real,
Though hardly the product of sorrow -
Yesterday’s slave to obsession
Was transforming to a man long forgotten.

I sobbed unashamed for a respectable time
Before drawing myself up in righteous wrath.
“The devil who did this must be brought to justice.
“We will try the animal in my very own court!”

“If there is a trial,” the Captain said calmly
“You will be standing in the dock
Bearing witness to your own foul deeds
As you await the rope of justice.”

“But I have killed no one, you imbecile!
All last night I paced this very room
Alarmed by Yvette’s absence,
Concerned for her safety.”

“That is a sad story, Monsieur le juge,
But we both know it is false,
As false as your heart
And as cold as Yvette’s body.”

“But you don’t have her body,”
I fairly shouted as I stood above the peace officer
And scowled into his pathetic face.
“Who is to say that she is even dead?”

“Yvette had Claude on the beach last night
While you watched from the shadows -
And when she finished with Claude
You claimed your marital rights.”

“Nonsense! “ I roared.  “Utter falsehoods!
I was in this very house all night
Secure in the warmth of my sweet Marie,
Though it’s not as if I’ll need an alibi.”

“No, an alibi would be quite useless,”
The Captain smiled, but sadly.
“And Marie would not perjure herself
When I inform her of the evidence.”

“You have a witness?” I inquired.
“Some beach derelict seeking revenge
Over a verdict he felt was unjust -
Or with some other maligned motive?”

“There were no witnesses,” he sadly replied.
“Just the film from the security camera
That Claude himself installed this week
Behind the La Bella Vue.”

“A camera?  But why would…”
My voice stumbled as it fell across a sudden memory.
“To combat the vandals,” the Captain said.
“The work order was signed by your very own hand.”

Captain Aronnax slowly arose
And placed his pistol on the table in front of me.
“There is only one bullet,
And my men are stationed at each door.”

The Captain turned as he reached the kitchen door.
“After I share a coffee with Marie.
I will come back
And we will effect your arrest.”

The pistol was in my hand
Where I felt its firmness and heft
“And if I choose another option?”
I cocked the gun and aimed at my friend.

“Do as you must,” the Captain replied.,
“But know that by murdering my son
You have already thrown me through the gates of Hell.
It’s your bullet – choose wisely.”

(And with that he left the room.)

No comments: