March 4, 2016

Three Poems By David Francis: "Midnight Detour", "Of Their Song", "Mercedes Merengue"

David Francis has produced five albums of songs, one of poems, and "Always/Far," a chapbook of lyrics and drawings.  In 2013 his film "Village Folksinger" premiered at Anthology Film Archives in New York.  His poems and stories have appeared in a number of journals.

MacDougal Street

Midnight Detour
One late night, going home
with my guitar on my back,
the shawarma man motioned
“Quick, come in!”
and sat me in the rear.
“Now, this is music,”
and brought me a coffee
and a flimsy gold ashtray.
I listened, studious,
nodding to the arabesques
and drumming my fingers
on the small table.
That was enough.
“Now you play me something.”
I obliged.
I put my guitar up
and zipped the case.
We sat and smoked.
He brought me another coffee.

The night was black
but not on MacDougal Street.

Of Their Song

It’s interesting
how two severed lovers
got along
once they realized
the importance of song

Once, they were querulous
and high-strung
until they succumbed
to the solace of song

To some extent
they would always belong
to each other
due to the arbiter of song

The years apart
had made them strong
not to disparage song

And so they sang
with a single lung
until the birds on the branches
stopped to hear their song

Mercedes Merengue

Mercedes merengue
that’s all she wants

Mercedes you know that
in advance

Mercedes merengue
that’s all she wants

don’t have a chance
why do you even ask

Mercedes, don’t you want to go out with me –
don’t you want to go out and hear some samba?
Where are you from?  You already told me.
Do you have a boyfriend here, do you have a boyfriend there?
She looks at me and says, “Go have a coffee –
what for?  I only want to hear merengue!”

(repeat chorus)

She says, “I want to talk to you but you have to start.”
“What can I talk about – politics.”  She looks at me and says, “Politics?”
She’s in her element when she’s juggling several guys
but that still can’t quench her hunger and I always catch her eye.
I ask her how she keeps her figure.  She says, “I exercise”
yet in her face she looks curiously old like a child who’s half-starved.

sad eyes
she dances where she stands
she seems to look at you

you realize
the mirror is behind you
she likes the view

you feel some
you wonder if she feels it, too

She tells me she had lived in Europe.  I say, “What were you doing there?”
She says a family brought her over, she worked as an au pair.
I say, “You miss your country, that’s one thing I know.”
She shrugs with that sour-lemon look and her eyes so hollow.
“I came here the other night – what days do you work?”
She says, “I was sick.”  I say, “Without you it’s not worth it.”
She gives me her winsome smile but she doesn’t reply,
but when I leave she makes me kiss her cheek and says, “Corazon, good night.”

(repeat chorus)

~David Francis

David Francis Photo by Dominic O'Rourke

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