"What can go wrong is always

more interesting than what

goes right." Paul Bowles


Tell me those stories

about you as shadow

of Jane Bowles, breathing

on her neck, shining light

into her mouth, the pain

she suffered, waves

of pain from a bad

tooth--too much sugar

in her mint tea. Ha!

You suspected the majoun

sticky with raisins, dates,

honey, ground ginger,

walnuts, nutmeg, anise,

globs of goat butter

and of course cannabis,

cleaned of stems

and seeds.

                       If memory serves,

you profited as her dentist

in Tangier. No! You played

would-be biographer

trying to extract elusive

details about her wedding,

her marriage to Paul Bowles.

Persistent, you declared yourself

devotee but never noticed

she called Paul Bupple

or Fluffy--that man always

answering his door in necktie

and jacket named her his


            But she limped, didn't she?

She lived on a floor below him.

Did he choose a Jew to embarrass

his father and expect his mother

to believe Jane indeed was the

adorable bride,  a respectable

cover? Was it true her female

lovers poisoned her?



Karren L. Alenier