Poetry by David Francis
VAGARIES 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? EMPATHY FOR HUMANITY 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. IGNORANT MAN 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… OBSERVATIONS (FROM A NOCTURNAL PATIO) 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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