Poetry

‘Bleecker’ and other poems

By David Francis

Bleecker

A girl in the bar
said What are you about
I said A kind of date
but it didn’t work out

She said she’d been there
I said I thought I was the only one
I guess you can be alone
but not alone

My hands are cold
when I have a handshake
and my heart is scared
to make one more mistake

She said Dating is hard
I’ve given up
Not me I said
I want the loving cup

###

Sound Man

I go to the shows
no one knows
I cock my head
and bend my ear
I’m interested
in making the sound clear

I listen to the mix
it’s my job to fix
the instruments I blend
the vocals I adjust
I’m the band’s best friend
in me they trust

Turn up the mic
turn down the guitar
something’s buzzing, like
hey man, I’m a star

They do not realize
from my point of view
this is just a disguise
I’m a musician too

but then after the show
who comes up but
the punk girl
and she says I
am the best
sound man
in the world

###

At Josie’s

The church bells are tolling but the produce
refrigeration truck is idling, lights
blinking, eighteen-wheeler—so it’s no use,
I’ve lost count, contrapuntal days are nights
and then a neighbor walks by and I feign
wakefulness due to my absurd reserve:
“You can’t talk or you’ll be late for the train,”
my good deed for the day I’ve done—the verb;
I side-glance: there’s a man standing stock-still
like a pointer, as if frozen in time—
side-glance again, blatantly stare, ogle,
ashamed but paralyzed because I’m
unable to discern in this sleep-lost
state: if the church bells have or have not paused.

###

Aftermath

Amongst the trash,
the walkups, the deserted streets,
the rats, the last people
in the bars friends of the bartenders
closed, the fire escapes, corners,
the depletedness—

piping clear birdsongs
from where?—
declare the morning—
the stunted trees—

Categories: Poetry

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