The Mausoleum

By brian francis

The gravel grinds as you walk the path
following the ankle high picket fencing.
The path delineated clearly – straight.
the grass groomed to perfection,
with little warnings. to stay off.
planted beyond the picket barrier.
Reading the words and remembering
what was said about the other side
Woody said, “it didn’t say nothin’ ”
now that’s the side for you and me.

The building is cold, monolithic, quiet,
like a temple of old it is solid built.
Even soft soles echo walking the isles,
my boots seem to clamor with every step.
But no one complains their sleep is eternal.
Candles burning by a cubby like around a saint
someone’s enduring devotion on display.
I look to see if tears have stained the floor
as I stroll deeper into the temple of loss
finally finding the nook and the panel.

Staring at the name, I blur and place my hand on it.
The cold raised letters burn into my soul,
sorrow fills my being, and I mourn, I cry.
Here in this place for eternity; to wait.
Three generations and yet we mourn
when will the visits end, the nook grow dusty-
the tears stop flowing for a soul so long lost.
The walk away is somehow refreshing
carrying away “life” a gift, all the more precious.
The grass caresses my steps as I leave.


Copyright ©2020 brian francis

In Opposition


by brian francis

People scream in rage and anger
claiming the right to defend their ways
with hatred as their loudest banter
they march and scream in a craze

Others stand to repel the onslaught
to shine a light on horror’s salute
they rise in waves of fury and conviction
rejecting the message of the jack boot

As words of anger and opposition
scream back and forth across the line
threats of angry violent intentions
swim and dance among the brine

The back and forth increase the tenor
the tempest whirling strains its chain
with violence being the final measure
rage released cries for pain

meted- out with joyous pleasure
Laughing while it does its work
Horror, moves among the people
as Death takes souls with a jerk


Copyright ©2020 brian francis

Sonoran Monsoon


by brian francis 


When rainbows cast across the sky
Like great and colorful, flying buttresses
For the storms of summer’s evenings

When Lightning flashes bold and bright
Alighting clouds and singing nature’s roar
Reaching to the ground; a screaming hiss

When the air you breathe seems alive
With the vitality of heroic clashes
As the clouds swirl and toss above

That is when the desert comes alive
The monsoon calls in ancient song
As life unfolds embracing the storm

The nurturing of the gods gives birth
As flowers reaching grasp at the sun
And all life in the desert lives brightly

Copyright ©2020 brian francis

The Eastern Patio

By brian francis

The sun still hidden paints the eastern sky.
Feathers rustle with a waking shake.
The coolness draws a shiver.
Cupping the ceramic mug
warming palms and fingers.

Sleep still beckons, a siren’s song,
whispers taunt a weary gasp.
Sipping and pondering my day
to the trickle of an artificial stream.

Stillness pervades this hour,
quiet thoughts drift through the mind.
Bats seen returning to roost,
dance among the trees of the orchard.
Down to the last drop
of french press brewed Kona.

Refill.

Just in time to see the first rays
as Helios blesses nature’s beings.
Even the trees turn their leaves
to greet him and his warming touch,
as he bathes the waking world.
A glowing moment.

The chirps and cries of the birds
soon joined by the beeps and chirps
of the electronic devices ever-present.
Texts, emails arrive, the morning gathering.
I hesitate to look and lose this moment
to the coming day’s chores and duties;
but as the neighbor’s cat rounds the corner
the parrots scream a fear-filled warning.

The cat enjoys his affect and strolls
slowly, as he displays his power.
The reveille announcing my day.
Thankfully, the neighbors rarely complain,
but, still I release the hound.
The cat skedaddles and peace returns–
my day’s begun.


Copyright © 2020 brian francis

A Bias Comparison

By brian francis

As a painter uses pigments
To make us see his thought,
All stretched out on canvas
A picture soon is wrought.

A poet uses lesser things
To show a grander view,
A rhymed or metered group of words
Makes us our lives review.

A painter stops a single breeze
As we see the flowers bent.
We see exactly what he wants
Exactly as it’s meant.

But the poet makes us feel the breeze
As though we were right there,
He takes us to a different time
And lets us smell the air.

Where the painter has his limits
In expression, depth and hue;
He can merely represent
A single time stopped view.

A poet’s brush is language,
His canvas is the mind,
His pigment imagination,
His space is not confined.

The painter and the poet –
Both necessary parts
Of what mankind can offer;
With and through the arts.


Copyright © 2020 brian francis

Variegated Digressions

by brian francis

The garden has been blooming
Flowers of every hue unfolding
The verdant stalks and leaves
Jostling for an embrace of the sun
My glory in full display; its regalia

The soil was once stony lifeless
Amendments, turning and raking
Creating a loam — a gardens foundation
Casting the stones to the margins
Lovingly kneading it into condition

This too speaks truth of life itself
The mix is lacking bland at first
Amendments added in the learning
The lessons cast off from those around
Settle on the innocent minds implanted

Weeds too, grow well in unbalanced soil
Lessons that lack integrity root fast
Tapping deep into a being’s very soul
Without the lessons of virtue’s worth
The Ph can run out of control: too acidic

Love an additive to sweeten any soil
Brings balance and soothes the soul
Strengthening the defense’s crenulations
A cleanse to any taint’s warp and stain
Can yet offer a thorny embrace

We each tend our garden’s many rows
Choosing the plant and its location
Learning as seasons come and go
The soul’s continuous edification
We become what we nurture

I’ve seen gardens rife with thorny weeds
The gardeners lost in life’s many woes
Addiction a test of lines one will cross
To attain that which hidden kills
The daily sacrifice on one’s soul

I’ve seen gardens of splendorous beauty
Yet found to be hiding a poisonous taint
Hidden among the green vegetation
Suffering those who visit leave infected
To carry their welts and wounds away

There are gardens too without any flowers
A green expanse of the herb and leaf
The season coming for blossoms and buds
Fruit for the birds, nectar for the bees
Built upon these sun catching leaves

No matter the gardening theory you follow
No matter the time spent on your knees
Pleading for rain, to then fear the torrent
Howling to fall upon this creation of love
Dancing to the wind’s whining measure


Copyright © 2020 brian francis

Chasing Inspiration

by brian francis

Pages, windows open to the world
I send them out to tease and tickle
A message or an observation
Casting them into the winds to
distant eyes

they dance on the tongues
and spill into minds,
nudging, provoking
inspiring an internal response
annoying, persisting, affecting.

“you’ve made me cry” they write
their tears my happy reward
let them cry great rivers for compassion

Rhymes – sometimes I can’t find them
so I walk on the other side of the street
a different rhythm becomes my strut
a feeling of freedom
freedom from form and confinement
stanzas become strophes
meter becomes flow
as the garments of creation are changed
to the colorful aspects of language
painted in poetic prose.

It feels like magic to wield the pen
to cast the lines in black and white
knowing readers will chant them aloud
to find, their, deeper meaning
in the words cast upon the page.


Copyright ©2020 brian francis 

A Ring of Chairs

By brian francis

Sitting in a circle strumming on a six-string
All of my friends making music there with me
Grandpa with his fiddle stomping and dancing
Playing hallelujah while his soul is flying free

Johnny has a banjo playing out the challenge
Six of us strummers reply in answering
Smiles paint the faces of the generations
Sharing this tradition of the music ring

Billie took his chair and sat it in the center
Standing there beside it, his guitar on his knee
He started to play an old church house standard
Everyone in the ring joining to accompany

Missy and her mama sang the words of praising
While working in the kitchen preparing all the food
Jim and Sammy Daniels joined in harmony singing
All about their constant and sorrowful mood

Woody Guthrie came in spirit to join with us
As we sang about the plenty of this land
And how Tom Joad just wanted some too
So, he could place it in a hungry child’s hand

All through the day remembering in song
The building of this republic, the journey shared
The troubles suffered all along the way
The joys and sorrows of how we’ve faired

Late in the evening before we broke and parted
We played some favorites of friends, passed away
We closed with Roy’s farewell song of happy trails
With embraces and kind words we finished our day

Copyright © 2020 brian francis

Dandelion Dreams

By brian francis

Sometimes in silence
I remember corn-cob summer days
And pig roasts: smoke and fire
and the ever spinning carcass
Grass grown by a blazing summer sun
nurtured with sweating sky drops
Family – the laughing voices,
and comfortable rhythm and tones
Flag day or the 4th or just a family gathering
because there was love
Softball
where generations laughed
and fumbled to play a semi-sober game
Baked beans and salads galore, sodas, cousins, cars
Sometimes I wish I could live in my dreams
Forever laughing surrounded by love
Sometimes I think I can

Copyright ©2020 brian francis

Trip to the Candy Abide

By brian francis

Sleep my child and soon you will see
A place where candy will grow on a tree
The place the unicorn calls its home
And many other strange animals roam
Close your eyes and lay down your head
So the angels can come to guard your bed
And the horse with a horn will give you a ride
To the place they call the candy abide

Close your sleepy eyes and dream, dream, dream
And take a long ride by the soda pop stream
Where licorice trees grow in groves
And the bread is made into teddy bear loaves
The grass is yellow, blue, green, and red
Where only the children are allowed to tread
So close your eyes and be off to sleep
For your ride is waiting and it won’t keep

I remember the place from years gone by
Where marshmallow clouds grow in the sky
And the rivers are lined with chocolate banks
The fences are made of graham cracker planks
But I have grown and can go no more
It now is your turn to go and explore
And find the tin soldiers who march in a row
So be quick and hurry before you too grow


Copyright © 2020 brian francis