The City is Small


The city is small:

I see her on the subway

and I see her in the library.


I go out,

I think I'll return

and wait;

I try to imagine

if there are benches there.


Of course I

don't get back in time,

five minutes late:

I go looking for her

in a place near...


I'm walking, crossing

the wide avenue and the

same city is too large

though it's closing in on me.




The Thief


Four apples

six plums

a hard cheese

a loaf

and a knife


on the little table

beside the bed

where they are


having their dialogue


a trouser leg

comes through the curtain

without warning



pulls back





"No, no..." - she -

but he

walks with the knife

to the raised window


bends out


to the right a terrified

man flat against the


"What are you

doing here?"


the bread knife

clutched and ready


"Go, go away!"


The older man

cowers, confused,

maybe drunk


The younger man

stands in the middle

of the room with the knife


opens the door

and sees the man

in the hallway


"Get out of here!"


There is a door to a



but their balcony is



with a sheer drop

to the pavement


No, he didn't come

to steal


He must have come

from inside, gone

out and climbed

to their balcony


It doesn't make sense


But what if the young man

had gone out and left

his wife alone?


In disquiet and disbelief

was spent the rest

of the night

and with the cheap

dim hotel light on


the couple stared

at the knife

placed back on the table




The Ocean


We stood on the long hopeless road

out of the horrible industrial small town

in between the place where they check the trucks

and millions of hills going south.

We had crossed the country in one day

and had taken all day to walk out of a city;

now here we were on a Sunday

with no traffic during no vacation season.

When one sits long one has to entertain

oneself with humor, reminiscences and songs

and try to make the hours seem one hour

and try to forget about the fading sun.

So when nothing came we hopped across the field

beyond which was the ocean without a beach

where junk and weeds made the eroding edge

and far-off derricks pumped away the sludge.

Listening for wheels we began to hum

and then again silent with the despair of patience

and started to run when we saw the dust flying

to beg in the middle of nowhere to be wafted.




As I Wait for Her


Bells sunlight through the trees

curving trees with hidden roots

others with roots for seats

hills launched from their pads

cool firm mud in shade

pigeons flying from a child

fluff floating through the air

eyelash glare of the sun

eyelid eyebrow reach of rays

a breeze that drives things

an exposed root far away

darkness of recent downtown

unheeded windows in the distance

blossoms as colorful as bicycles

and nearly cleared jungle vegetation




Stream and Current


The man’s unlit cigarette

on the baby’s head,

waiting for his wife

pinned by a bus,

a red light and a workers'

hole whose barricade

a narrow stream of people

have to go around,

cornered, to go right,

waits, an overlong

pause, an individual space

of belonging I flit through

like congestion at teatime.

A mother, too, hangs back

on daughter’s arm, at

least it seems so in

their relation, innocent

as before in the fresh

morning when exhaust

is only the strange light.

The baby without pacifier

is lulled by movement

and possibly it is only he

who does not know the day’s

movements to night.


© David Francis


Bio:  David Francis has produced six albums of songs,

one of poems, and "Always/Far," a chapbook of

lyrics and drawings.  His 2013 film "Village Folksinger"

has been screened in the US and England.  David's

poems and stories have appeared in a number of