francine harris


Coward - Poem by francine harris

I'm telling you it's not like you disappeared, that's not the point.
The point is you didn't vanish, or trail off or come all out in your hazen gown.
The point is you brought it on. fifteen boy, with your dropping stone,
the pull your own, the i-skip-railroad-tracks
and moon ties over the city. the point is you could have, Sully-eyed.
You could have rinsed with water or staved it off, instead
you left the bowl alone, heeded the time's roadside signs.
The point is you took it upon your self to bring that out and leave it out to dry.

They say … well, they say nothing about you, Mr. DogEared,
because you disappeared. Side rocking and silly toed,
vanish man across the sideways bricks of buildings, hesitant.
They say – they say nothing because when they remember your name,
it's some other man they remember, not some other man, but some other man.
So it isn't how you came or jumped on what bus, long ride trainside
to find other vacant buildings to house up and nod over,
it's that there in your appearance, you always disappear.

If I had to tell you, I'm saying it's the pulley mechanics of dodging,
you soggy tongue. It's just that nice. just that calm
and vapid gunloaded machismo, it's just that watch the window all night until
it disappears off into that phosphorescent fade and slip shod and finish
what you started, Gooseyneck. It's that dream you gobble, Gingerbake man,
broiling off the daily risk of disapproval. You're so safe in delirium,
no one's beefsteak without your street clothes. Doorag Monster, prickly Scarbum. You're that magic trick who never thinks to cheat. Never has to be around to
believe in anything. oblivious needlework scratching at your neighborhood face.
Sick of you, bloated Proper Speech. They say, they say you're sleeping.
They say leave you alone, you're poor, harmless. harmless. harmless.


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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird



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Poem Submitted: Sunday, September 30, 2007

Poem Edited: Tuesday, April 12, 2011


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