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The Poetry of Thom Francis



Radio Man

the radio man says

it is all right

to breathe again

the radio man says

it is all right

to live again

the radio man says

it is all right

to go out and

take in the sun

take in the sights and sounds

of this city

the radio man says

take advantage of this

temperate climate

breathe in this

peace-time stillness

the radio man says

you never know

when the next bomb will fall

from the sky

or when the next one

through the door

will blow himself up

you never know

when the next chemical

will react

and we will all have to

wear our masks again

the radio man says

you never know

when the next genocide

ethnic cleansing


population-control campaign

is going to start

you never know

when another plane will


the radio man says

this could be his last report

without the word


The radio man says

Stop your digging

The job is done

Officials report

That they covered their tracks

5 and a half years ago

The total count has been tallied


There is nothing left to see there

the radio man says

take advantage of this

temperate climate

and breathe again

the radio man says

our transmission

has been interrupted

our towers are down

this could be the last time

you hear my voice...



Another One Taken

There will be no intermission tonight
this is just a read-through

the curtain is coming down
another show ending
too early

the curtain is coming down
the lights on stage
slowly dimming
to permanent darkness

the neon buzz from the marquee fizzles out...silence

the program of the last show
blows across the empty stage
dust kicked up
by the final
curtain call
with the star leaving the stage
his run coming to an end
the show closing
the audience has left the theater

the props are coming down
stagehands hard at work

the star looks on from above it all
that one day
there will be a revival
of the show
and he will be in the front

but in the meantime
take your bow
great talent
take your bow
you earned it
take your bow
take your bow
you will be missed

take your bow
we’ll all be together again soon



Finding God

Neon flickering crucifix
The buzz of electricity
The buzz of the night
Just wearing off
And my sight is coming back
My sense of direction
Sense of balance
The touch remembered as a child
Memories back
Past as new as early morning stumbling
Sight of that
Neon flickering crucifix
Atop the church down the street
Flashing codes
Flashing lights
Strobing confusion
Stumbling again
Toward an intoxicating pull
I walk
Toward that
Neon flickering crucifix
Dulled by
Sirens and flashing

Emergency lights
But closer I come
I fall at the steps of the church
My search for truth almost over
I open my mouth to speak
But the
Neon flickering crucifix


Where is this God now?

Thom Francis has been a member of the Albany, New York, poetry and spoken word community since the mid ’90s, reading and performing at such venues as Valentine’s, Lark Street Bookshop, Albany Center Gallery, and Night Sky Cafe, and at events like Albany Word Fest and the 2006 LARKfest. He is the president of Albany Poets, an organization whose mission is to increase poetry and spoken-word awareness and activity in the Albany area.

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