July 7, 2016

Three poems by Vincent Francone: "When We Are Not Together...," "Announcement," and "Butter and Bread"

Vincent Francone is a writer from Chicago whose memoir, "Like a Dog," was published in the fall of 2015. He won first place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition (Gwendolyn Brooks Award) and is at work on a collection of poems and stories. Visit www.vincentfrancone.com to read his work or just to say hi.



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When We Are Not Together…


…my life is not in shambles.
I am in silence for I only listen to music when you
are home as it is better to listen to you
listening to my music not always appreciatively.

My appetite is not changed.
I eat eggs, toast, roast potatoes, taste chocolate,
make tea and—if I am home for the night—drink whiskey,
read a poem or watch hours of TV I have already seen.

I am hungry and bored when you are not here
just as I am when you are present,
though I have the option of watching what I like.
I do not watch romantic comedies when you are not here.

The dog sleeps in my lap when you are gone,
and I try to write with him snoring
and the laptop balanced on my knee.
The dog and computer keep me warm when you are not here.

And then you are here and we are together.
I have you to kiss and I brew you a coffee,
make us both a late night snack, kiss again
and feel so much better—not whole but complete,

for my life was not in shambles when you were gone
nor was it total.





Announcement


Maybe in the Camero, or something less flashy
I can’t recall much but the imposing dashboard
preventing me from seeing the streets
I saw on my daily trip to first grade.

My mother swerves, hits the brakes,
shakes her head and seems so much
the woman she wasn’t, a nickel under thirty
brown hair curtain straight, sullen in the AM.

She moves us into the parking lot
of St. Albert’s—my church and school—
I’m eager to join my cackling pals
have a foot out the door when she says:

“I have to divorce your father today,”
uncharacteristically lights a cigarette
the curling smoke in no way at all
helping the calamity in her eyes




Butter and Bread


It’s a certainty that you’ll live well after I’m dead
Remember: you once said
after a long night of silly conversation
and in an effort at further levity
that if I died you’d immediately
join a nunnery
as if I were Hamlet imploring
and making reference to
imaginary whoring

But why would you want to sacrifice your life
because I had the bad taste to die?
I asked,
or something along those lines

You smiled, said you’d be well taken care of—
God would be your butter and bread
more than I gave you living or dead

~Vincent Francone 

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