Vagaries & More

Poetry by David Francis


I have seen houses
that went dark early
and you heard your footfall on the tile
but I did not know I would come to live in one.

Have you seen houses
where the shadows of evening
started after noon
but did you know you would come to live in one?


I walk down the lonely street.
A breeze is blowing—
which is welcome in this heat.
I know where I’m going.

A man and a woman
are standing on the sidewalk,
staring at someone
at the end of the block.

In the trees that intersect
at the entrance
a worker and I connect
from a distance;

off the repair truck he climbs down
and his red face nods,
he knows I’m down,
he knows the odds.

I head toward the boulevard.
A whiff of garbage bin
hits me in the nose hard
and it’s good…it’s all good again.


Listening to the music
he wouldn’t know how to put the violins together
how to harmonise their parts

He knows the place
the ensemble came from
but how did they arise from there?

Into it, its refinement
mystifies: he half-gets it
but decides he doesn’t like it

He looks so sad
as only a human can
as only a settled nomad…


The ivy twists upon
itself on the wrought-iron fence—
summer night.

Where’s the light come from
shining on the tabletop
amidst these shadows?

The tattoo parlor
is open—the church next door
is closed, I presume.

A very slight breeze
wavers the sunflower
drooping from its own weight.

The toppling buses
are gone—one with a single
passenger shies home.

The shadow of one
on the brick floor—alone at
a table for four.

A shaky table
but it doesn’t bother me
in this mood somehow.

Lighted from within
those windows must have a curious
life only glimpsed.

Living the moment
is a cliché except when
it’s not a cliché.

Takes one to know one—
I judge harshly and smugly
overheard rubbish.

Shallowness survives
the shadowy depths of the
most romantic night.

The kinds of laughter—
like crocodile tears—hyenas
also devour.

A shadow-flecked face
rattles on from its mouth like
a worm-eaten hole.

Given half a chance
some people will talk like a
stuck horn or siren.

The lone bicyclist
runs the red light to stay ahead
of the traffic.

Exquisite voices
are rare but a desired voice
has tones on reserve.

Coveting gardens
can make one under-appreciate
the dogwood.

Hoarse from over-talk—
some persons talk as if they’re
always in a bar.

Houses that are close
to an all-night establishment
always seem sad.

David Francis has produced seven music albums, Always/Far: a chapbook of lyrics and drawings, and Poems from Argentina (Kelsay Books).  He has written and directed the films, Village Folksinger
(2013) and Memory Journey (2018).  He lives in New York City. 



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