I knew a guy named Red from Concord
who robbed whorehouses for a living.
You couldn't tell just looking at him:
his time in San Quentin, his love
of the stolen .44--he was good in bed,
biceps hard and waxed from years
of prison workout--a real American
centerfire revolver--When I asked why
he did it, he said: to see the look in their eyes.
We took long walks on Stinson Beach,
talked Social Science & World Geography--
what he studied in prison. He god hard
when he talked about the suffrage movement:
all those heroic women & their struggles.
Sometimes he would turn me over, call me
Susan (like Susan B.), and then come
reciting the 19th Amendment:
The right of... citizens... of the United States
shall not be denied... or abridged...
he could never make it past abridged,
something about that word let it all loose.
But his eyes most electric blue
when he talked about the robberies:
in Richmond, Martinez, Pittsburg,
down Highway 4, when he'd yell:
Give me all your money!
and the hard girls in gauzy nighties
& push-up bras squealed with fear
wooden doors slammed, & half-naked men
did a jittery dance with their socks
Those nights he'd fuck me standing and yell:
give it to me!--the whites of his eyes glazed
& gleaming, immersed in the maelstrom of
peril & hot thrill, then he'd run to the waters
within him, to that solitary jubilant lake.