The Raging Tide

By brian francis

I walked away from home so early
Set out across the nation wide
I found in sorrow life’s true measure
With just a thumb I hitched a ride
City parks with tramps and strangers
A welcome to a fire’s side
Lurking eyes just beyond the shadows
Swept away in realities tide

I met a welfare lady dancing
Around a bush to praise the sky
Her six kids had almost nothing
Yet bathed in love they smiled wide
She said she saw that I was hungry
And took me to her family’s home
She fed me love by the spoonful
It was like an amusement ride
The ganja gods their mist seductive
Lured me to a twist of fate
a monkey appeared on my shoulders
and always stayed right by my side
Illusions cast a strange new vision
A supple state of unawareness
Neon flowers and melting faces
A psilocybin and acid tide

The monkey used his hands as blinders
So lost became a natural state
Family was little more than a memory
yet hidden deep were seed of strength
I met a man who promised pleasure
And money too it seemed a deal
Piercing my soul to bind my spirit
He carefully spread my defenses wide
Soon it seems my senses found me
And struggled hard to clear the fog
storms wreaked havoc and confusion
and when it cleared I still was lost
the man he said to seek redemption
to call on him when I was through
the monkey said he’d make it better
his claws dug in to stay and ride
Fears and frights soon came upon me
And secrets tore my soul to shreds
Yet I held tightly to the pieces
yearning for some daily bread
Staring out from behind the curtains
Paranoia held me in his arms
Assuring me that they were coming
And ever staying by my side
Somewhere inside a seed had sprouted
And for a moment the skies grew clear
A ray of love some how had found me
To warm my soul my mother’s touch
Strength grew fast in fertile soil
My will somehow had found its voice
reaching out I grasped for security
resisting hard the under tide

I pleaded for some help from Jesus
And demons came in robes for me
Openly they praised the glory
On the altar robes held open wide
Yet in the darkness of their secrets
They stole the very best from me
Without esteem and bound but anger
I vowed to let the monkey ride
I turned away from God and heaven
And danced among the living dead
Waiting for some insightful moment
And dying slowly no heart inside
Then came a voice that brought back anger
And a hand reached out from in the fog
It grabbed and grabbed ‘til it caught me
And pulled me from the relentless tide

There on the beach I found redemption
My eyes were finally open wide
The monkey left and found another
Because he always likes to ride
The storms were raging all around me
Yet my mind was clear on every side
I walked the beach and picked up morsels
Left behind by the raging tide

Copyright ©2021 brian francis

Lifting Praise

By brian francis

Here together we sing his praises
Here together our faith renewed
As we worship His great creation
The gift of life a choice imbued

Singing psalms; oh, how we adore him
We lift our hearts in praise and song
Devotion to his truths his teachings
We implore Him keep us from wrong

Call out His creed our sworn devotion
Raise Him up our great Lord and King
Kneeling down we receive His offering
By the gift of faith, our soul’s restored

Offering our love and peace to others
We reflect His true and precious grace
We live our lives to inspire by doing
Hoping that we might take our place

Author’s Note: On a recent visit home my mother dragged me to worship with the Lutherans. I moaned and trudge along. This was the result.

Copyright © 2021 brian francis

Conjunctive Sorrow

By brian francis

Sometimes, I wonder what you are trying to say,
when somehow, your sorrow seems more of a ploy.
Someone should teach you; about true regret,
because, it hasn’t a coordinating conjunction.

If you mean that you are sorry
Then “but” has no place
Neither does “although”, “even so”, or “yet”.
And tone is important to meaning too
As well as is facial expression

Not to be picky or drag out the scene
I don’t want to fight anyway
I’d rather not hear insincere words
Meant to avoid real perception
So next time, before offering
A verbal illusion
Meant to appease your inner self-pride

Just throw up your finger
And say what you mean
We’ll both sleep much better I’ll bet.

Copyright © 2021 brian francis


By brian francis

Here I stand beside your grave,
unwilling to release you still.
Remembering you, hauntingly clear,
smelling you, and feeling you close.
The chill of fall is upon me, damp
and cold, are these lonely nights

I find myself tending our memories,
tending them like a garden;
nurturing them with my tears.
Listless and sorrow-filled
I wonder through yesteryear,
cherishing what I had once been:
whole, happy, united with you

Now here alone in the drizzle
I stand beside your grave.
Blinded with grief, longing release,
wanting to follow you,
to find where you are hiding-
to embrace you just one more time.

Copyright © 2021 brian francis


By brian francis

There are always smiles when there should be
The weight of all the world can be pressing down
The ques are subtle, hidden almost completely
concealed beneath the face paint of this clown

Stress like a plumb into the ocean’s depths
a constant unbearable pressure from all around
Worry, almost my occupation or my devotion
twisting and spinning me, like I’m being ground

But I won’t cry where they can see my tears fall
Pride is still a small thing but it is my very own
And I won’t beg for help from anyone ever
you don’t get to reap the harvest you’ve sown

broken and worn, creeping towards the very end
Weary and tired of all of life’s disturbing content
the path so clear as it reveals itself to me at last
One final hailing gale becomes the last event

Copyright © 2021 brian francis

Salted Fields

by brian francis

I have sat before the easel
my eyes closed reaching for inspiration.
Blackness pervaded all of my thoughts,
Creation’s smolder subsided
before I even dirtied a brush.
For months I tried, I studied,
I ached for months I sought an artist.

I still own those paints
they lay with the fallow fields of my creativity-
in a heap in the shed.

I have peered through polished lenses
of photographic devices
that have found art in all places –
the perspective avoided me.
Flat and pedestrian, became my images;
gathered over all these years
and saved in a box
with their curling negatives and fading color.

I have sought passions embrace,
yet, found myself laying
with the drunken illusions of my curiosity.
Shame wrapped itself around me
concealing my stupidity.
Blinded I struggled with dragons
in barren hallucinations
driven by chemical enhancements
to my oh so imperfect self.

I have filled reams
with pages covered with embryos
of creative masturbation.
Rarely ever to find a flower
un-withered by self-criticism’s searing gaze.
Casting aside heaps
to decay and rot forgotten.

Kindness has allowed them
to refer to me as “Poet”.
It is an ill-fitting rag,
holey and stained with failure.
Vanity holds it together
like the repairs of a novice seamstress.
Sorrow leads the way
and I can only hear death’s whisper
calling me away.
Yet, I cling
to this world’s
unfinished torments
and sorrowful songs.

Copyright © 2021 brian francis

Memories from Before Covid’s Parting

by brian francis

Trodden and spent refuge found among the drunken
Leaning upon the bar and engaging a draught
Watching as the women of red lips and bright colors
Sway across the floor greeting every eye touching a glance.

The foot bar an anchor with the stool my support steady.
The mirror stacked with pricey pours and names old and famed,
reflect the images of drunken encounters as one stares.
Fleeting the glimpses between bottles coyly concealing,
hiding the room behind their fire and oak stained contents.

Feeling a finger draw upon my back, I turn to find a smile of love.
Sally from the market whose fire is warming and forces a smile
Taking a seat at my side. “It might rain.” She says without conviction.
She peeks. A reflection from beside the “Sapphire” laying out her bills
Asking for a PBR and a bowl of pretzels. She tosses me a Blind Robin.

The evening passes with conversation and disjointed laughs mistimed.
The stumble home finds the wind tasting of rain’s sweet cleanness.
The inner-city lights, shining their orange mercury glow, cast cavorting limbs
whose swaying dance climbs walls and dances into the night sky.

I awake in the morning to greetings as I am perched on the steps,
where, I had watched the dancing orange shadows; now gone.

Copyright © 2021 brian francis

Harbor side in Cork

By brian francis

The cobblestones, the narrow streets
the gray and dreary, overcast sky,
the harbor with its swaying masts.
Nature’s smell, the ocean’s breeze,
pub steps – worn – a welcoming door.
A drunken chorus sung in rounds,
an ode to whiskey, a smooth pour,
her warmth, her taste, her bite.

A pint of stout, a biter embrace,
a thick and heavy, hardy pour.
Chips and salt blunt the taste
and leave one still craving more.
The plain and jolly smiling faces
of an, Irish, home spun crowd.
The burning hearth, warm embraces,
a friendly peaceful sound.

Copyright © 2021 brian francis

Deep in the Mountain

By brian francis

The cold and the dark refuse the flicker
Of gems who lie so deep in the ground
bones lay scattered among the trophy
the lost, the magic reach out to be found

With less of a slide and more of a slither,
Of silver and gold, the dreams the drive
The piles discovered beneath the great mountain
In heaps and mounds the treasure resides

A whiff of sulfur drifts in the darkness
A glow almost seen through the cover of gold
Rumbles subsonic reach in and touch you
stories of dragons not believed when told

The burden too much to carry escaping
Dribbles and drops dancing away
Better to flee and lose all the bounty
But greed alas has a loathsome way

The bones will be scattered among the piles
As Draco reclines and cleans off the flesh
Casting them about for the next warning
And settling again to gather his rest

Copyright © 2021 brian francis


By brian francis

Your restlessness torments
your angry soul
A nervous feeling
Out of control
Every time
you try to fight
you lose

Her eyes are hard now
They have a steely cold
A tired sadness
Making her look old
Her smile’s faded
From the burden
Of her dues

The time you spend
Chasing happiness
Earning more
With each success
She sits at home
By her self
And lives the blues

When you come home
Stars are shining bright
Your meal is waiting
It waits every night
The table set
For one alone
To use

And in the morning
When the alarm calls out
You’re drawn awake
So you sneak about
The confrontation
And abuse

You fear the day
That you’ll return to find
That she has left
She has changed her mind
No meal waiting
You will sit alone
And muse

That is when
you will finally realize
How much you miss
her lonely sad eyes
and in hindsight
you will learn
to sing the blues

Copyright ©2021 brian francis