By Henry

© Port Whitman Times 2017

As I lay me down to die
I scratch my head and wonder why
So many things remain undone
But then… I had a lotta fun

Laying down to die, I muse
That with so many things to choose
I selected what I did
From all the things I lived amid

So when they go to cut me up
And look inside me, I sup-
Pose they’ll find some unused stuff
To be developed “in the rough”

As the body comes apart
The inability to fart
Makes guts grow bigger it would seem
And prominently spoil the dream…

But now I lay me down to die
And as I do, I wonder why
‘Bout this or that I didn’t do
(Given the chance, wouldn’t you?)

But we fantasize regardless
Even vagrants, house-less, yard less
Grab our dreams from atmospheres
Where opportunity appears

Growing up on 18th Street
In a polyglot I meet
Folks of varied ethnic backgrounds
Experience which then redounds

To infuse my bland poetic mind
With thinking of a different kind
In each abundant character found
A bit of newness pound for pound

Innovations of a different sort
Pals with whom I could cavort
Moe Gross, Bootsie, Betty Myers
Teaching me street lessons, flyers

To a moon I could not fathom
Influencing down a path them
Kids who surely made their mark
I still remember in the dark

Just before I fall asleep
Praying to the Lord to keep
My soul to play again
With my early childhood friends

In my own backyard or theirs
Trotting right up Heaven’s stairs
To meet them there once more again
And thenceforth God’s Eternity spend

© Port Whitman Times 2006

In life... we're cast in roles,
Condemning us to play a part
Until the current plot resolves.
"What do you do?"
Says the mother of your date,
And you must do something,
So you essay a part,
A self-made character,
Disguised as you yourself.

We never are perfections that we seem,
Agleam in life's display.
Instead we're goods
For buyers to beware of,
Shortcomings to take care of,
Ere our asking price is paid
And we're redeemed from solitudes
Imposed upon ourselves.

This is Burlesque, this life,
This bill of acts we do as mortals,
All of us are strippers
To one nakedness or other,
All nakednesses really are the same,
And yet a kind of nudity is just the thing
If we're to come to know the best performances
We're capable of giving.

It's been said the world's a stage,
And we who live this mellow drama
Can't help but think the audience
Sometimes be the players too,
Who participate by living life
As fully as they can.
After all, don't we who speak the speech
Deserve a higher role
Than just to say our words into each others' ears?

No, act we must, which includes interpretation
Of the way that others feel,
Though actors who give unreserv'dly of themselves
Need directors' tastes to tone them down
To what the viewers will accept.

Ah, the roles we play,
Each in sad or laughing mask,
Showing to the world
What we can permit them all to see of us.
Henry Francisco

© Port Whitman Times 2010

I said "I only want to love you."
You said "Don't. I love another."
But love is reckless, heedless don't you see?
It falls, drags us downhill like a ball and chain,
And grasp though we may at branches and protruding things,
We're dashed o'er the precipice our dazzled eyes had missed,
Plunging to the fate awaiting us below.
Will it be jagged rocks, or soft and foamy surf?

With rocks, the end result is certain, swift:
We feel naught but dreamy exhil'ration as we tumble down;
With surf, the end comes slower,
As we struggle 'gainst the leaden weight,
Sure to perish in the depths.
"Asplash" we go now, instantly resigned
To the slower, ethereal demise.

But wait - The surf is but a few feet deep,
Allowing head to breathe, arms to pull us to and fro,
Mind and body to embrace the warmth of love given in return.
"Give in, give in, enjoy, enjoy" we tell ourselves,
Soon succumbing to the tepid currents
Of the sea of feeling that engulfs us now.

There are many of us there, we soon perceive,
Bobbing like buoys in the tide,
Warning ships away,
Lest they run aground in love infested waters
And lose there well-plotted way, to romance.

We enjoy, then, while we may,
For we recognize the om'nous feeling of the end
Somewhere beneath the waves that soothe us.
But our eyes avert the fate we fear,
Visiting upon another of us above
Pushing dangerously along the cliffs of kismet
Toward the fall we all survived
If, indeed, survival is what our end has been.
"Wait! Stop! Think!" we shout
And suddenly the figure, barely a step or two from toppling
Halts, looks, sees the result that further headlong rush could bring
Wanders pensively, fin'ly picks up ball and chain,
Turns, and leaves.

We congratulate ourselves all 'round
For saving such a helpless soul;
But then it reappears a few feet up the path
Ball and chain in hand,
Thinks a moment,
Then impulsively leaps to the jagged rocks below,
Laughing, loving all the way.
Henry Francisco

© Port Whitman Times 2009

Ev'rything is game
For the artistic mind
That's something most people
Don't seem to understand.
You become a writer
When you finally realize
It's the only way
You can get your point across.
Don't ask...
Don't tell...
Don't assume...

Henry Francisco

© Port Whitman Times 2006

This is not the life I planned
But then,
Did I plan?
Perhaps only dreamed... uh,
To plan someday later.
Planning now needs help, advice
As writing needs shaping
To make the trip from fantasy to fact.

For real dreamers, though,
Fantasy will always do.
The dream's the thing
From which the plays are later made;
If not your own, then
Theirs, ours, yours,
Never mine, the dreamer knows.

But plans, ah, plans then,
They require... connivance,
Unnatural behavior,
Thus collaborators need participate
To make them acts, successes,
Causes, movements, systems!
...Realities all.

Alas I only dream
And wonder at the plans I hadn't made
Opportunities lost
Fame ignored
Life without honor
Only fun.

But fun I've had:
Surfed the waves of life
And never learned to swim,
Leapt from apogee to zenith
Propelled by sheer bravado
Spiced with curiosity
And a curious knack for seeming.

Oh yes,
There's something to be said for seeming...
You get the credit then and there
Though maybe not the prize
If you only seem to be, and do it well.
Alas, seeming finally leads to being...
And being what you seem's not easy,
Depending, of course,
On what you choose to seem
To be.

Oh the things I've seemed to be
Ultimately turning down the chance
To really be.
Not being this or that just yet,
Just seeming. After all, why be,
When there's a thousand things
To seem to be,
And seeming is your gift?

Henry Francisco

Henry Francisco ©1997

World War III, is begun.
Life so precious,
So, ah, delicate
Must be lived
To degrees concomitant
With mere existence.
Mere. Hah!
Sans existence
There's no life,
Thus are we slaves
To this or that which
Keeps us, oh, un-dead.
Or, if we've sense, at least
Alive the longest.

One cannot o'erlook the cause of
Life snuffed rudely in its bloom.
Somewhere lies the fault
Even with, at last resort, society,
The constant villain
That lets untimely things go down.
That's us, you know,
We let them happen
Nor can we prevent them
Unless we do it as a group.
But then ARE we that?
A group, a race of humans
Or merely a collection
Taken once the sermon's done
And spent on mindless kindnesses.

Can we mandate t' that which
Refuses to be told,
Can we make it happen, yea
Make it WANT to happen where it "won't?"
Where they've refused to see what really is?
Can you force advice
Into the mind that
Doesn't want to hear it?
How long can you say "Sit"
And expect them to be still,
How long can you say "Listen,"
And hope that they will learn
Or even lend an ear?

How long a style of life
Chose by those who would have-not,
Who'd BE have-nots
With nothing left to lose
Except what's yours to take
Each time you look away.
IGNORANCE is the enemy
That brings rebellion
To the shores of islets in our minds.
Ignorance that laps away the sand of time
Stealing grains of sense
Till raw roots facing bitter winds
Shrivel up and die,
Wither down from lack of
That which only we together
Can impart to them.

The War is ON
World War III;
The enemy is IGNORANCE
Its bliss, its curse,
The blight of ignorance
The so-called "right" of ignorance
Which has become of late
A rite of ignorance.
We, the caretakers of this shameful state,
Must smother its useless life away
With a blanket of knowledge
Given from a caring group who knows
To individuals who don't,
Then vigilantly ensure,
As we protect our shores,
Against its resurrection.
Henry Francisco


An end-of-life question:

"Did you have a good time?"

Not to be put into rhythm or rhyme

But truth-be-told frankness

As a looking-back thank-ness

For an existence sublime

Or maybe not worth a dime

You might think it over

Pose it to yourself

So if there's more to come

Before life's put on a shelf

Take a chance on the fun stuff

You might collect just enough

To make up for losses incurred

By foisted duties inferred

After all, life's worthwhile

Take it all and knowingly smile

At those who might criticize

Or God-forbid politicize

What you might choose

So just follow your muse

To your earthly reward

Heaven for now ignored

It's time will come then

After you're dead when

The Lord you will greet

Then His graces He'll mete

According to how

You maneuver the now

To do yourself well

Thus dodging the fates of Hell

Henry Francisco


God's a spirit after all
Right here in my mind
I'm told not what to do
But how to do, I find

A way that's suitable
To both of us right now
Something indisputable
A partnership allow

'Tween me and The Lord
'Pon which we both agree
A kind of umbilical cord
Connecting Him and me

God and I we have a deal:
A quid pro quo, a pact–
I behave, don't act the schlemiel
Then transmit His word, as fact

You could also get connected
Striking a specific deal
Beware though, you're unprotected
So when negotiating, kneel.

Henry Francisco


There once was a poet from Camden
Whose words were conveniently crammed in
To Haikus, saving having to rhyme 'em
Or having to meter or time 'em

What counted were thoughts (not words)
That're flyin' around like birds
Lookin' for places to land on
Finding few minds with abandon

Unwilling to venture to fantasy
Stuck as they are in reality
Making a living to pay for stuff
Hoping to live to have enough

To satisfy appetites whetted
By advertisers indebted
To stockholders making dough
On sales to gullible viewers, though…

Who's to criticize decisions
Of people's visions
Of themselves as winners
Indebtedness beginners? Well…

It's their lives to live
Their money to give
To whomever has the guile
To accept it and smile

Saying "Thank you, consumer
For tending to whom or
What ever your fancies be, fine,
Thus profiting me and mine."

Henry Francisco


Yo! Fool! Stop lusting after
That new car you're gonna buy
With your cash that you've
A snowball's chance in hell of winning

It's a dream! A pipe dream
Presented as a reality
Because what you see on TV
Seems oh, so genuine

Can't you see they're
Taking advantage of you
And your human predilection
To fantasize, to see yourself

In circumstances beyond
What could be, with
What might be, or even
With what they can imagine

Wildly encouraged by
Pictures of winners who
Just by playing, won
Their dream hallucination.

It's a stupor induced
By an ad produced
To separate you
From your dough, so

See it for what it is,
Don't throw your cash away
Unless you don't need it
And if that's so, lucky you.

Hey, "Lucky" – Hmm,
Maybe there's a chance
That snowball might
Make it through the fire

But don't count on it
Dream of things that
Might just come true, or
At least have a shot at happening.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

Maybe the world isn't ready for the Lord again.
Gotta grow up another couple thousand years.
Perhaps we're not ready to be dictated to again.
For that is what God does, dictates,
Sends us the word, thru somebody.
Either we listen or we don't,
Which signifies that we believe
Or not.

Which of us, confronted with a major turn in life,
Doesn't ask another for advice?
Fact is we need telling what to do.
And if we don't believe in God,
Then who's counsel can we take?
We can't tell ourselves - too many opinions.
If God doesn't tell us what to do,
Who will govern our morality?

I asked God what to do;
He said to tell you what I think he thinks.
After all, if you don't talk to Him,
– You're not on speaking terms –
He won't tell you and you won't listen,
He has to talk thru someone else.
A voice which you can hear.

Before you benefit from God,
You must believe that God exists.
If people who've been hammering "believe" at you,
Taking up collections,
Exist for your support alone,
You cease respecting them.
You go, you listen, but without the deference
That is the soul of religion.

In these days of talk of the end of the world,
It makes good sense to get down
To the nuts and bolts of our behavior.
It doesn't seem to be law
That determines what we do or don't;
The growing numbers who flaunt the law
Wreak havoc with the rest.
To get to them you have to go beyond the law,
Beneath, to the supports, to morality.

God dictates morality.
If you don't believe, ok then
Ideals support morality.
Cast God as the Ideal,
Or call your ideal "ethics."
Whether you think we thought up God
Or God thought up us, doesn't really matter
If you pursue the ideal.

The first ideal of course
Is belief in the ideal,
That there can be an ideal,
Then, that there is;
After that, finding the ideal.
And your ideal may be just as valid as mine.
But God's Ideal. That's another story.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

The freedoms that we chain ourselves to
Oft become undoings
But then, we welcome something, anything
To liberate us from ennui.
"Being" is a lifetime occupation don't you know;
Yet, not so strongly, we believe the roles we play,
Cast ourselves in dramas, yea impromptus
To suit the audiences we see through prisms cut by teachers
In our cumulative past right up to now.

But then,
Has someone found a better way?
Earth is but a stopping place,
A spec in space and time,
An oasis where we gather strengths
To travel on to others similar in scope
Where Hope is very life
And God is just as close or far away as one would have Him be...
Within our minds' imaginations,
Which, alas, reside inside of His.

Have we audacity in sufficient quantity
To act on faith that this is true?
Pursuing private goals as souls
With temporary homes in bodies given life
By entities we barely fathom?
Ah, there's the point about which dances all...

Your body's just a card your soul is dealt,
Plucked from the deck at random
And tossed face down on the table that's the world
Property of those who hold you in their hands awhile,
Then throw you in the pot
To make you play yourself in unfamiliar games
Of which you can change the character only if you dare,
No matter the size of your heart, diamond, spade or club...

But our club's the most exclusive, isn't it?
Or so we would believe.
So out we trot to take our trick or win our pot of gold,
Win or lose at face value,
But that's not the end, oh no,
We're played and played and played
Slipped into the deck each time only to reappear
Later under different rules.
So chase your rainbow, spit into the wind.
You might even find
The world will come around to you.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2007

He fakes you one way
Dribbling 'neath his other leg
And goes where you're not

Fakes you off your feet,
Then comes gently under you
To score and be fouled

Leaping t'ward the rim
'Mid the treetops in the paint
Slyly dishing off

At the very end
Tenths of secs, game on the line
He bags from beyond

He is The Answer,
Small stature bright lights no fears,
To be used to win

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

I'll for you invent a new adventure ev'ry time we get it on.
Today we'll be theatrical producers in New York, the toast of lunchtime Broadway
But basic'ly a coupla small town kids from Erie, PA, come to make it big in The Apple
We'll bite the apple too, in its most rosy spot, like biting of the flesh that lovers do
Through we'll bite into the meat most succulent that longs for naked teeth...
With truth amaze the sophisticated so-and-so's
just waiting there for signs that we are come
We who they perhaps were waiting there to see, or maybe just perceive through
Do we fathom yet the nature of the mission we're obliged to carry out? There among the rich, the hoarders of the bread?
The poor no longer have the pow'r to change the nature of the place in which we live
We're being given access to the world at large thru Sutton Place
For they who live there till the soil of minds through advertising, modern mind control
Extol the virtues of the soap they hope we'll grope for in the shower ev'ry day.
"LUNCHTIME CABARET!" we'll shout, about a half an hour bgefore the show which must go on goes on
They'll flock to see whatever we perform, that's socially acceptable, of course
The trick's to slip the message in like farts go through your underpants
They'll catch the scent in song and dance
But not before it penetrates to where it cannot be erased
Face to face with life itself.
Let me describe to you the dream we shall pursue
And you must ooh and aah to see me see it through
For you are who I do my best for, all the rest forsaken when you're here to cheer me
Dear me, how I do go on!
But actors must go on for someone or their lives are lived for naught
Not for the small rewards that living of a life can bring when done as well as anyone
No, the praise we crave does not know bounds
And so we break our legs to please,
Please see that as you ponder what we say and do
You who would stand by and see us suffer for the lives we live both on and off the stage
Being all the rage for now, but later left alone to face the dark of night without a spot to see by
Be by ourselves we must at venture's end.
But early on, the sun will dawn
And we will don the costumes of the craft we do so well that you applaud
Odd, you say? Not so, methinks.
The clinks of coins will show, and you I'll know again.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

On the seventh day, man rested.
From the dust of the ground, his creature had been formed in his image

And his life breathed into it.
Man's machine.
It transformed the world into its own Garden of Eden.
Man saw that it was good. Progress.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Spurred by man, the machines worked for man, thought for man, reproduced, fought for man, destroyed themselves, and in turn their maker, man. Sucked from his nostrils the breath of life, and man's remains became the dust of the ground.
Every thing that crept upon the earth fell victim to man's inventiveness.
And it was so.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
The creatures that filled the water and the fowl that crowded the air

Were stricken in their elements.
Man's progress had begat abundance; his abundance, sterile, begat scarcity;

Scarcity begat extinction.
The earth was quiet of creatures.
It had been good.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
No stars lit earth's skies. The greater light that ruled the day, and the lesser one that presided over night, withdrew to the heavens, rebuffed by civilization's foul clouds, and so there were no years, no seasons, no weeks.
Just time.
And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Darkness. The trees bore no fruit, the herbs no flowers; no seed continued life.
The vegetation withered, died, and became earth.
The seas rolled together, ocean joining ocean, and the dry land sank beneath the waters.
God saw that it had been good.
And the evening and the morning were the second day.
The firmament that divided the waters - Heaven, vanished into the deep.
And so it was.
And the evening and the morning were the first day.
The night and day became as one.
Man had wrought darkness, and it lay upon the face of the deep.
Earth was without form, and void.
The Spirit of God moving upon the waters.
No earth, no heavens, only God.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

We create our own racket
Conversely our own silence
Even as other noise intrudes,
And exist within ourselves,
Exposed, in one, down front and center
On the lip of the stage in the theater of life
Watched, performing for a sea of faces
All our own, alas
And by their reaction, live our lives.

If we ignore them,
They'll do likewise, and
It's flop sweat city, you know the feeling...
But if we do our song and dance,
They'll sit up and applaud;
But careful...
Have another number waiting in the wings
Lest they tire and let us die
Dead, deader, deadest.
No tux, can't travel, no point, really.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

The Holy Ghost is in you
Believe that the Holy Ghost is in you now -
The Father is in Heaven;
The Son came down to earth,
Ascending later to the Father,
But the Holy Ghost, God too he,
Is everywhere
Is in you
In me,

Be He there
In what e'er part he be,
You will recognize Him,
For I tell you so, and
I am His messenger.

Who is your ideal?
Is it you?
Or some fair creature in your mind?
Be you He? Close as you can?
Or just thee?
Be your Ideal,

No matter that you're happy
With your way,
Ever comes a better one
Demanding your attention to be paid,
If you think in that direction.
So, Think ye
In that direction.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

There's a fence now
Between me and them
To protect us from one another
Effectively saying that one of us
Might steal or bite.
Right, one of us might.
So was made
The fifth Commandment,
Or was it the seventh?
One of the shaltnots, anyway.

Hm, the Commandments...
Not much talk lately 'bout false gods...
We have those in our avarices.
Or coveting thy neighbor's wife
They're doing that on TV!
Or Honor thy father and mother:
Kids today are suing parents,
And parents showing no,
Thus not getting any, honor.

That whizzed by a long time ago, y'know
And the rest - "Bear false witness"
Hey, came the little white lie -
We sang songs about them.
As they grew,
Became The Big Lie.

Nope, it's dog eat dog now,
And they're erecting fences
So my dog won't eat your dog,
If you don't steal my car.

Don't you find it odd that God
Hasn't given any orders
Since Moses, Christ, Mohammad et al?
Perhaps God has waited each time
For the dawning of a new Age Of Man,
Thus new man. 

Well, this certainly is that, and
I admit to being The New Man,
But not because He sought me.
No, I sought Him,
And he asked me to tell you some things.
(This is no kidding).

He said to tell you to "LEARN."
Your primary job isn't just to survive,
Though places are where that's the main concern.
No, your destiny's to find out
At first enough to pull your oar.
Then later, more.

My job's to help you figure it,
To apply His wisdom now, today.
He gave me hints, or orders to reveal:
The first is "LEARN."
Painless, eh? - Ok, so get on with it.
Read: papers, books, browse TV,
Embed pictures in your mind
Then use them all.

Sure, I talk to God, and sometimes -
He talks back.
I'm just as sure He'll talk to you.
Call Him up.
He's a regular God,
Not big and grand, or microscopic
But an inner list'ning ear or seeing eye.

Yes, I hear a certain voice,
I'll tell you what it says...
It says "LEARN."
Learn what's right from wrong
According to the laws.
That's for starters.
...Now about those fences...

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

As we walk together you and I,
Let's make sure that what each has is given to the other,
And the other has in fact received what we have sent, ere we completely let it go.
I say to you our bridge is not yet built to walk across,
And when we part, one of us must leap across a chasm,
Not too long a jump, but a shat'ring fall if you should miss.
Come let's complete the span that we may travel freely to each other,
Meet and take the air upon the way of life
To part with naught transpired but help and wisdom from the other.
Yea, for each our sakes, let's build and walk right now.
I have for each of you a message that I cannot throw across the gap,
I'm out of blocks to build,
And you must find a way that we can stroll together by ourselves.
We can, you see, for I was once a man like you,
Yes, sometimes a God, but only in the eyes of men,
For gods are men's inventions just like TV tubes and bombs and travel into space.
(There is another place in space like ours, you know,
And with your ingenuity, you'll fix upon it soon.
I won't be there, of course,
But you and yours will lay your feet upon that virgin earth
By living, not by dying.)
Let us promise to each other as we walk from time to time,
To find that land of promise, and further promised lands to be,
So that mankind shall not perish
From anywhere,

Henry Francisco

ONE (For lack of a better term)

© Port Whitman Times 2006

One can live
Without another reassuring him he's there...
If God is love,
We tell ourselves we need that love exchanged
To demonstrate the providential force we found our lives upon...
God is love within.
There, inside us all,
In it all,
Just like the catechism says.
We only suffer Gods in Heaven and Lucifers in Hell
To banish from ourselves
The ultimate responsibility for playing host;
Yet, unwittingly,
Hosts we play,
That is to say,
We entertain the inspirations of them both
Within our souls,
The Limbo carried 'round with us like watchpockets,
Only used for time itself,
And there's the crux...
Our Gods, our Satans too,
Are surely time,
And how we bear it.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

That's me.
Because you said
"What would you do if..."
Apparently, subconsciously,
I decided I would,
And I did.
Whether I do
What I said should be obvious
I would do
Depends on you.
To say "You too?"
Would never do, it's true;
You'd be on the spot,
And that's not
Where you ought to be
According to you.
What would never do
Is what I always do,
So get on the spot,
It's up to you
To do or not.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

To Michael Williams, a blind friend who died young...
June 11, 1976

You were a son to everyone, an inner light,
The eternal student, yet teacher to us all,
Who found so much without the wherewithal to see,
And lived a life so full, there wasn't room for sleep.
Well, now you do, to wake again I'm sure,
For more existences to be voraciously consumed -
Just as this one was.

We speak of grace bestowed by God,
But we can only talk and dream of it,
While you possessed it from the start...
But then, had this life of yours a start?
Maybe it began somewhere before the womb,
In some more beauteous place than ours,
To be continued after eighteen precious years of grace bestowed on us -
Like shooting stars we see for but a moment,
And search the empty sky henceforth for yet another glimpse,
Or listen in the silent night perhaps to hear you say:
"Hell-Lo" or "Oohhh-Kay" or "Good Gugga Mugga" -
We laughed together in life, and sang our songs;
Now you play your restless melodies for other ears in other places,
And we are left with naught but memories of happy times with you;
For all our times were happy ones,
Even those of pain at this life's end.

So your new life has begun,
And we reluctantly release you to it,
But then, we know full well you'll always find your way
Through its confusing mazes,
Just as though you knew it all along.

Bon Voyage, good friend.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2002

If you want the perfect life;
Do not choose to do, to be,
Until you absolutely must.
In not choosing too deeply,
You can do many things,
Rise to many heights,
Sink to many depths,
Know them all.

I didn't choose in life,
Did a little of this,
A little of that, and
The onliest thing
I didn't get to dabble in
Was success.
Was that such a terrible loss?

In my eyes
I have all I want.
Eat and drink what I want
When I want,
But don't, alas,
Can take my walk
Play my piano, even fiddle now,
Go where I please,
Watch the rest of the world,
Nap when I'm tired.

Love whom I want? - Sure
But not too deeply now
Ah, the joys, the pain of love.

College got me out of bloody war,
That I'll allow,
But only made me worse.
I learned there, like how to get a D
When deep down I knew
I deserved less.
But that's a survival, isn't it?
That I guess I learned,
How to somehow survive
In spite of my shortcomings

So, Don't be a person, I thought,
Be an Actor!
Thence have many characters
To zip one's self up into,
A different reality, real-er somehow.
But - there were those couldabeens,
The brass rings that came around
And said "Grab me, grab me now!"
Lo, I hadn't the sense,
To stick out the proper thumb.
Oh well, I did survive.

Yo, I'm here in cyberspace.
I learned to walk with princes and good-old-boys,
But only to play at being one for a little while.
I cannot say I've kept my virtue
Nor acquired the common touch,
Or reached manhood in the eyes of some,
But I'm here so far,
Aimed in the right direction

Even on the stage,
Where I get to play at being all of you,
Dramatized - comic, tragic, wealthy, poor.
I can be everyone I want up there
Down here in life too I find,
Trial and error taught me...
Mostly error.

Hmpf - Writing as though my last day
Were to be tomorrow.
But then, who knows,
It's only life, eh?
You live you die.
You get to taste ice cream
And choose the flavor
Along the way.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2002

Ants in the sugarbowl
Flies on the pie
Drinkin' water organisms
Roaches that fly.

People are used to it
So are the bugs
Tho' not yet trading
Kisses and hugs

But food gets eaten
Ev'ryone's fed
In the eyes of God
We all wind up dead

Even then it don't stop
We're re-digested
(Thanks to the maggots)
And thus reinfested.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2002

We try to live long, longer, longest
Forgetting sometimes to answer the yearning
To do all we want
To sing all our songs
To learn. Is that not why we're here, after all
To find out...
Thus to wonder, alas
Therefore to dream.
To venture now to wondering
Perceiving things
The world of things either as they are
Or as they're meant to be.

Do I want to do it
Or just imagine it?
Today we can, you know
Take it from a dreamer who did.

Life has its beauties. Explore them, maybe to the ruination of friendships, of lives you might have lived, but if you prefer looking at, and experiencing ONLY life's beauties, that's ok, it's just that you'll have to spend some time paying life's taxes, earn your keep, pay for your mistakes, and someday die. But life's pleasures sure beat the heck out of life's agonies, no matter the so-called rewards, the medals of honor you get for enduring the latter.

Is it only my imagination? Well, yes, it is. I find I've come to the conclusion at my advanced age that imagining myself naked with a woman is quite more pleasurable than actually being naked with a woman, thus imagining her naked is better than seeing her live and naked. Probably the other way 'round too, especially looking at our old bodies.

Funny, after the war (WWII), the humorous depictions of Hitler stopped. After the grimness of his acts was discovered. Too bad too, because the ridiculous Hitler of the war years was kind of FUN. We all did Hitler, with the pocket comb in front of the lip under the nose...

"Ze baby Motzart zat I, Leopold Motzart, present to you, iss a muzzical genius, whose divine melodies zpill frrromm ze heavens into a strrratospherrre only ze baby Motzart can access."

Ja, mein Fuhrer. (Click heels & give ze szalutt).

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 1998

If you're going to be something -
Y'know - MAKE something of yourself,
You'd have been it, made it by now,
At least the seed of it, okay?
For being it doesn't come o'ernight
A sudden emission bathing you in a
Glow you hadn't yet suspected;
It's a constant thing you have within you,
A human rite that waits to be performed,
Secretly relishing the applause
It knows it well deserves.

But for some of course,
Being's quite a diff'rent prospect,
Y'know - "to be or not to be" -
For them just being HERE
Is quite enough thank you,
For their horizons go no further
Than survival that they
Blithely take for granted.
Hanging on by threads,
Ev'n to a life of suffering,
For fear of that which lies beyond.

I got news...
It's all one life - ONLY life,
With disparate forms abounding
Like flowers in the field, waiting
To be pollinated – serviced,
Transported to existence yet again,
To live whatever that may bode.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 1998

Mother had a saving grace,
A way of laughing with herself at silly roles she sometimes had to play.
Played them nonetheless, as was the custom of the time,
Yea learned enjoying of the doing...
Is not playing after all, a thing to be enjoyed?

A role! The Leading Lady's dream...
Out bestepped the actress in her wifely makeup,
A run-of-play contractual arrangement
Vowed, and sealed by God who joined together hands and selves
To cherish and obey. How simple, cherish and obey,
Yet not without a sense of humor necessary to enable one
To stand aside and fancy that.
What a laugh she must have had.

A role in life's eternal play.
It must be play, for could it be a life?
And so she laughed and taught us all to laugh,
So now you liberated mothers, don't forget the trick,
For only the oppressed know truly how to laugh,
And if you find the humor there, you'll find it absolutely anywhere.

To laugh, to cry, to live in easy reach of your emotions.
Hah, not us men, for we are STRONG, or so we would believe,
But secretly we seethe,
Not knowing how to envy your proximity to whom you are yourselves.
We banished all that long ago from rugged brave exteriors
Invented for the fight-or-flight charade.

Ah, a role to improvise upon, within the limits of the lines,
Entrances and exits all on cue
To say the things that wives and mothers of the time would say,
Appeasing hungry giants whose "Fee, fie, fo, fum"
Would shake the house and lay down the law.

Now we both relax and suck the golden egg,
The yoke is broken, shared by all;
Roles are shattered, we can be exactly who we are again,
Not just pretenders to a throne, nor servants to a king.
We see ourselves in new and different ways,
But laugh indeed, as mothers had to once, or die inside.

Mother dear, you're old, you're grayed, you're crippled and muted,
Still you see, you hear, think, and still you laugh.
I love you for it, 'cause you helped me learn to smile,
To see the comedy of lives we live and roles we play but once,
Helped us all progress, beneath the surface
Of the character that only seemed to be
And gave us what we need now, to emerge, enjoy,
To live what lives we will in years to come.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 1998

I've been adept
Persuading you who'd hear,
That I am what I'm not,
That I can do
What I really can't,
Won't or even fear,
For a little while -
So that I can bring you
What you want,
Seek, require;
When what I need
Is to prove to me
That I can make you
Believe in
What I seem to be.

Why do it?
Why do mountain climbers climb,
Or bungee jumpers jump?
Aha, to be able to say
"Been there, done that,"
Then go on to the next
Whatever, whomever,
Wherever that may be.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 1998

I am haunted by the errors of my ways
Like the old song: "These foolish things
Remind me of"... well, me.
Snapshots of my recollections,
Moving pictures playing this or that,
Display the fool in retrospect,
Leading me to where I find myself,
Tangled in a sea of qualm, to finally say
"Begone" before proceeding
With what is, with what shall be.
Withal I know I can't forbid them,
For deep within my soul
Resides the fool.

But how am I to banish him?
The feckless bogey's there, and
Evidence remains, embedded in my craw,
Ready to spring forth and say
"BOO!" whene'er a trigger's pulled.
I avoid reminders best I can,
But ever newer ones appear,
Then suddenly I confront
A glaring ghost of longtime past.

The apparition's me
With supporting cast of players
Depicted now in travesty.
Surely they've forgotten long ago,
Yet I find myself unable to ignore
A subconscious catalogue of rogues
That all boil down to what I was, and am.
...As though you cared, alas my illusion too,
But please retain a fragment of compassion,
For there it is, and I remain

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 1998

His eyes
Watching, noting
Your every move;
God can call your number
Or mine,
Anytime, anyplace,
And will
Sooner or later.

Why not now?
God has errands
For us to run
Missions to fulfill
And will take us
When they're done,
And only then.

Then we
Who'd follow Jesus
Can say indeed,
As did He once,
"It is finished,"
But only when it is,
And so it will be.

Henry Francisco


Henry Francisco ©1997

Major triads, minors too,
Major seventh
Dominant seventh (leads to IV)
Minor Seventh (leads to its own IV)...
It's the leading part that counts,
Going where a triad beckons,
Or, by changing a note or two
Going someplace new.
Blazing a trail in the woods.

Chords are little keys to the ears.
Opening parts of the mind
Into which melodies are stuck.
A melody gets embedded in your ear,
It rattles around
Sometimes trapped until
Expelled by force,
You whistle or hum it out In to other ears
To rattle and escape again...

Melodies have logic,
And, as with ideas,
Once planted they're hard to dislodge.
We have logics too of course,
But it's not unheard of to be captivated
By a logic other than your own.

Who can argue with a fetching melody
Leading down an unknown trail.
Listen... There's another tune,
On another path not far away.
A counterpoint.
The two frolic together
To the rhythm,
In the harmony,
Out of the maker's mind.
And into yours.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

Henry's Ice Cream is the place, you
Stick the ice cream in your face
Gobble it down and ask fer more
At the Henry's Ice Cream Store
(We make lotsa flavors, even spinach, and lima bean)

Mister Henry the ice cream man
Makes ev'ry flavor that he can
Dips it up and serves it to you
Covered with lotsa sticky goo
("You vill eat ze ice cream, und you vill LIKE it!")
(Gobble gobble, slurp slurp, drippin' off your chinny chin chin)

You wanna have fun, I'll tell you how to do it
Get some ice cream and dig into it
Not just any ice cream, silly
Henry's Ice Cream, naturally
(An ice cream a day keeps the psychiatrist away)
(God bless ice cream!)

Henry lives in the back of the store
And he makes sure that you get no more
Than you should be gettin' if you paid a quarter
An ice cream cone and a glass 'o water
(Ice cream hath charms to soothe the savage beast)
(Whip cream's extra, cherries too, and no readin' the comic books 'less you buy 'em)

People come from miles around just to
Scarf Henry's ice cream suckers down
Lickin' their sticks real clean, you see
Hopin' they'll get a "Henry's Free."
(I scream, you scream, we all scream fer a "Henry's Free")
(Nice guys finish fast)

If you ever get to Erie PA
Just go right in the store 'n say
You've never been there but always meant to
One of Henry's grandkids sent you.
(It's ok, he's got lots of grandkids, all over, like goats)

I am Henry's first born son, and
In the store I'm one 'o the ones
Who gets the ice cream all for free
But I don't save it all for me.
(I give it away, to ev'rybody – Well, for a price)
(The life you live may be your own, but your ice cream should be Henry's)

You wanna get to Henry's I'll tell you how to do it
Get on 18th Street and drive right to it
You'll know when you get there, my friend, 'cause
Henry's Ice Cream is the livin' end
(...of the line. No line at Henry's,
Just that good ol' fashioned home made)

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

Funny how we flatter ourselves
Us old young bucks
Hearts on our sleeves
Trying to achieve the impossible, or near it
To hear it all said by some sweet young thing,
To listen to coy coquettes a paean sing
To our virility,
When it's really our senility,
Not ability or agility
That makes our jingles ring at such a thought.
Ought we not to spot that right away?
At our age foreplay dominates the act;
In fact, for many it's the end all
If not the be all of the game.
So if it's all the same to you,
I'll just sit our one or two -
As a third-string substitute (In case I'm needed)
And root home the studs out there on the field,
Yea, yield to the hopeful lads in the shoulder pads
Whose dads I'm sure will join me
To drink a glass of memory...
A toast to the days
When we carried the balls
To vault the walls
Of all the young lasses
Of various classes
Who love to make love because it enthralls,
With no other motives at all
Ascribed our declarations;
Only palpitations of heart
At each phrase we would start
To describe the surge of that sensual urge.
(Such declarations, by all indications
Seem to keep us apart).

Henry Francisco


©Port Whitman Times 2010

I love you
How I love to say "I love you"
And fin'lly really mean it
Ev'ry time, to each of you
I do, you know, of course I do.
I love the you that you present to me
The best you,
The one I see.
My personally fashioned blinders
Make it so
I only see the you I love;
Thus I love you, no?
Yes, you there,
With the eyes that read these words,
That's right, you, OK? Okay...

Now that you understand
Just where I'm coming from,
I'd like to tell you all the things
I love about you,
The ones that really "Turn me on"
(Praise, not flattery)
For if you ask me
I'll also flip the coin
And tell you why I don't...
Love you, that is,
And to tell the truth,
I really don't, especially
When I see you do the things
That make me want to turn my head
The other way.
But I don't turn 'round
For fear I'll miss the things
There on the flip-side.

So let's not turn the ways and means, my love,
Just leave it as it lays, and
Sure we'll end up
Loving one another...
All of us.
It's only fitting that we should.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

I hear a humming
Maybe somethings catching up
Gonna run me down

Spirit of the Lord
Out there, in here, ev'rywhere
Yet talking to me.

I matter after all
I'm too part of the spirit
One with it, I'm told

The only spirit
That, pervading earth and stars,
Owns a piece of us.

Can't imagine it?
"God" if you gotta name it,
Identity: Us.

Ev'rything He did
Also been done after us
Somehow in His past

Made the blind man see?
Watch your ophthalmologist
Replacing your lens

Continuum is...
We've all got to be somewhere
In whatever form

We all go somewhere
Some to ashes, some, worm poop
We don't disappear

Take a different form
Undertaker helps decide
But our spirit? No!

Join the soul army
Go inhabit the bodies
Of humans to come

The spirit moves more
Quickly than the speed of light
Anywhere you like

Be a slinky chick?
Or a big handsome he-man?
Then will be your chance

Part of Entity
You live now in the spirit
Even moreso then...

Change water to wine
Raise the dead, preach to sinners
In your newest form

All been done before
There, on another planet
(He points to the sky)

Stop input! Put out!
We've seen what surfeit can do
It's buying our souls.

Fight now for the cause:
Progress of the human race
The Black Shirt Army (Sell Black Shirts)

We are at center
The world in adjacent squares
Thence the Universe.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

I'm just a phase you hap' to wander through,
What you think you want to love
If only you can get the chance.
So, opportunity presents itself
And I become your stepping stone
To new existence only dreamt before...
I must therefore become a rolling stone
With all the kayo punches I receive
As you perceive the light and say
"Fantastic that you tripped with me awhile."

While we were, we really WERE as one,
Into each other's "space"
And boring into lives we'd never known were there;
Yes, I too can live anew each time,
With each of you, around you all, and in you,
And while I do, I love you so,
Hold you to me even when you're not around;
My dreams abound with images of you
That maybe don't exist except as fantasies of night,
Or day,
Far away from what you actually are deep down
In depths we know I'll never plumb,
For fear of bursting out the other side
To nothingness beyond.

While there's you, there's only you,
But in reality, you're me,
And I'm a tunnel through which passes
Inspiration from the muses,
Fusing us together in our way
That no one else could know
Or even care to spy upon.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

I only loved the you I thought could be,
My dream of you my sweet, sweet Adeline
With head thrown back
And eyes that shone the sunlight
Of a new idea that came to life
Or maybe just emerged anew
From an incarcerated limbo in the snakish skin
That covered over all the latent beauty
That is you, yourself.
My darling Adeline, I beg you to forgive me
For the hurt I've done you.
Somehow I won you, then let you starve
A germinated seedling without benefit
Of sun or even mist
And kissed only on the blossom yet to come.
Such a flow'r I saw,
The like of which I'll never find again
Even if I look,
Which by now you surely know I won't.
I remember fleeting images
That raced like thoroughbreds
Before the grandstand of mindless eyes
Sleek and suede, relentlessly pursuing life
Leading the blind down a misty street
Never looking back
Oh the things you are my Adeline
When you shed your things and stand before me
I worship you that way.
When you took my arm and uttered
"Thank you for bringing me."
Gawd, I knew I'd scored,
Not even realizing I had the ball.
The light was there, you know
The shining one inside yourself
Let it out, let others wear the shaded lenses
Leave your other life behind
Become the radiant star lurking there
'neath the bowed head and concentrating mane

We played the scene we knew the voyeurs would enjoy
We found it there and lost it too
Pity that we couldn't use it just to find our way
Then cast it off like clothing out of style
Nothing but a pile of wasted weed
That kicked the stilts from under
What we thought ourselves to be
Life becomes too big for mortal minds
To solve it when affected by the Wack
The beauty surges, yes, and insights gained then
Seem to dwarf what's left behind
Although the line of average remains
With equal space for value over and below it
Ugliness and beauty, joy and sorrow
Pleasure and pain, all swollen by the Wack
Each time I caught a glimpse of Adeline
I pitched forward o'er the cliff of love
Into what turned out to be my own sweet dream
And alas my demise.
But I know I can dream without the Wack
Somehow it turns all my functions into dreams
With it I can only be an opera character
Playing a life that fits more closely on the stage.
Emotions pour like a cauldron's water
Yet... teaspoons would accurately spice the soup
We both are stirring.
Somehow I can't conclude my thoughts of you
So I won't, except to say again "I love you Adeline."

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

You know, I've never written love letters...
Why did I wait so long?
It's something I've always wanted to do...
Well obviously now is the time.
Some things are better
Saved until later, savored
Desserts, just desserts,
And I'm sure I'll get mine;
'Course I'm hoping you're what they'll be,
For you mean more to me
Than the pies, cakes, had and eaten too
More than the meal itself
My bread, my wine, my you.

Fire in the hearth,
Mozart in the air,
Me in your eyes,
The words on my lips...
You only in my dreams, alas.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

I'd be lying like a sleeping dog
If I said I didn't love you,
"Cause I do.
It's just that
Ev'ry hour I'm awake,
I see so little of you.
And when we sleep,
You really sleep
While I am only dreaming,
Actually I'm scheming how to wake you
And perform the act
To our mutual satisfaction,
What I usually encounter is the reaction
Of the Sleeping Beauty
Whom the toad has kissed.
Honestly, I won't give you warts,
And what you could give a horny lizard
Surely won't be missed.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

Come share my fire with me
And let me share my life with you
But you too must tell your dreams and plans;
We'll stab at life as flames lick air, for sustenance,
Then watch the coals burn red and searing hot
To exorcise the demons we invent,
Till ev'rything's consumed and naught remains but ash
(Which we all become in time when life's inferno wanes)
But now we burn, baby,
Kept alive by bellowed winds arising from our souls,
Fueled anew by inner stimuli, as lovers always are.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

Fear O'erwhelms the bravest of us all;
We want to run...
And hide among the artifacts of former lives' successes,
Small but closely guarded as their mem'ries fade away,
But we resist, and fly to lofty heights we've only dreamed were there,
To find the contrails of but lesser hearts
Who've pierced that sky before.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

The end of The Fourth and I'm back at home
All day I've been wanting to write you a po'm
A little ditty with a meter and rhyme
But I've been continually pressed for time.

My mind, however, has been dwelling on you
On how lovely you are, and keen witted too;
You see, you've completely reduced me to doggerel
So I'd better shake off this lovesick fog or I'll
Never be able to write something serious -
Like newsy bits, and dreamy delerious-
Ness over how much I miss your company,
Your touch, your laugh, your physiunknowmy*

*(Courtesy Rojay, whose Thesaurus I search in
To find words and phrases my mind can lurch in-
To and clearly describe my deepest emotions,
Whimsical fancies or just idle notions)

The point of all this terrible verse
And slick (!) repartee I've come to disburse
Is that during the Fourth of July's celebration
I wished I had been in another location,
i.e., There.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

Is it only sorting nuts and bolts
Washing dishes, changing sheets
Tuning up the car and driving to and fro
This life of ours?
Must it only be the never-ending struggle
Just to live?
Will there ever be the peace to think and organize
One's mental odds and ends?
We must do this or else...
We can't afford to lose...
Be there on the hour,
Go for broke
Stop on a dime,
Our lives rule us,
That's the way it's been till now...
Hey! Man has conquered earth (If not himself),
Even space lies at our feet...
We've got it made!

But those who, born in desperation,
Still remain to haunt the liberated,
Always seek the partnership of yet unfettered souls;
Their mis'ry needs the company of the other guy,
He's having it too good, with sails that never luff,
Winds that never die,
Having it too good.
But that "too good" is in the estimation
Of the wretchedness that lies in one
Whose life was borne of trouble,
Whose soul was spared the freedom
Of having to create,
Whose energies are spent in "coping with the world."
Now the world must cope with us, God save it.

Man has plowed and fought and killed
To bring us to our dotage;
Now we (What's left and what we ourselves bring forth)
Must sit back, do the necessary,
And learn to love the rest,
Become a part of nature's structure
Now that we have triumphed.
We must, like animals, kill only what we eat,
Eat only what we need to stay alive,
Let bigger, better, more luxurious emanate from within...
Within us, where we are, what we be, what we do.
The new world springs from inside us each,
An embryo borne of mind and spirit,
And nothing more.

The creative side in each of us
Tells us that we're wasting time:
"I'm doing this to make the payments on the car?!"
But we work on, to pay it off...
Just as it depreciates its final dollar.

Why try to get THERE?
What's wrong with HERE?
It can be better,
For Less,
For Longer,
And for You.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2009

Is it really so unthinkable
To take a cut in pay?
Perhaps some profits could be shared to compensate
After we compete...

Is it totally impossible
For Interest to go down
Growth ev'rywhere seems to be
Our national disease...

Must we rumble along
With old plants for new products
While our hon'rable friends the Japanese
Show us their backsides?

What about the national debt?
Three trillion is a source of shame -
Surely if not bitten,
The bullet can be nibbled at a bit.

Progress is happening
The world is changing to a butterfly
That sucks the nectar from the ripest flow'r
And leaves the rest to wilt.

We can't preserve the halcyon days
With potassium sorbate
Citric acid
Ammonium bicarbonate
Or Monocalcium phosphate

No system must grow too big
Too rich
Or too proud
To be manipulated.

Our fat economy
Needs a nutri-system

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

Just a moment, and I'll check to see
If I still love you anymore
For I've mislaid the feeling somewhere
Probably through lack of use
And cannot put my finger on it now,
Tho' figuratively,
I'd most certainly enjoy my finger
Put on you right now, there
In that certain spot we shared
When we together were.
(I loved you so then...)
You know the spot? You do, eh...
I still believe, albeit somewhat foolishly
That only I have touched that spot...
Ah, yes, and what a shock it was
And pleasant too;
Now I share with you the thing
I hold most precious 'mong the few I have -
My rhythm and my way with words
That beg the list'ner to say
"I love you from my special spot."

There's nothing like a special spot, you know,
Just ask the actor
Better still, get into his;
You'll find yourself upstaged and rudely pushed
To areas he knows (O the wicked stage)
Where no one looks at you
And that becomes your special spot.

I know I touched you there
And no one else could e'er come close,
Or what are special spots for anyway?
Perhaps we fool ourselves to think
That once we've hit upon the combination
Baring forth that thing
That only we could dream existed now,
We'd revel in it with each other
Excluding things that just might take the time
We want to save for revelry.

Oh, that's what I've been, a revel,
A revel with a cause
Because a cause is like a rose,
A cause is a cause is a cause...
You know the rest...
The rest revolves around the spot,
The spot in you, for I've had mine removed,
Well, gave them all away, and in so doing,
Came to be the donor for the world -
My world, for what other do I know?
Not yours, I think, as once I did,
And even now, that special spot
Is fading from my memory (maybe even yours as well).

I loved you so, then
Not in love, but love,
Loved you so but never said it,
Hmm, intimacies saved for pen and ink;
To think we let it slip away,
Or maybe it did us,
But what's the fuss?
It's only love, only life,
Only I want it all to be those special spots...
Now I've had one taste I'm hooked.

Well, it never can be, that's the rule...
But I've never bode by them,
So I'm doomed to stretch the prizes I can grab
As time goes by
And just make do:
The brass ring,
Beer and skittles,
A Bowl of cherries,
A final bed of roses.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2008

I write with my Levitra pen, thus
My words are hard, firm, fully erect
Loaded with seed that are ideas
Bound to mate with fertile ova.

I stab into a juicy willing mind
With yearning muscles teasing and massaging
Till they join with brutal logic
To exist in whimsy ever after.

Ever after - Think of that.
Is Levitra Ever After?
Hardly. It's Here and Now.
Fuck Ever After, we sometimes think;
But sadly, Ever After's here to stay.
It is. Simply is. Will be.
As was Ever Before, All the way back to God.
Yea, before God, if the scientists dare to go, And can get there.
But God is far enough, thanks,
For most folks anyway

Then, maybe God's just a link in a chain.
A chain of Gods, with a head God, hey, a CEO
And a cabinet of secretary Gods, running the departments.
Planet maintenance, Weather, Disease, Sin, Gruppenfuhrer Gods.
Come now, you really think Top God
Is gonna waste His time dealing with trivia?
Arbitrating minor disputes?
Not on your throne of gold, my friend.
God's got a life too. Everlasting. Before, After.
Forever either way.

Casting call for actor to play God...
Any age, any build, any color, any____________
Type cast in the mind of man by all the pictures
In the churches, the museums prayerbooks and the media;
But waitaminute...
The Muslims, they don't represent God.
They believe, but
Without pictures, statues, drawings, so...
Allah could be Any-One.
(Kneel and pray before the picture in your mind.)

We are corrupt to the limit of the law
And then some.
After all, who can resist? The pleasures are there.
To be had, bought, if not then to be dreamed...
But who's to say the dreams don't beat reality?
Sure enough they do for some. And take up far less time.
What's so good about reality anyway?
Just watch the news. It's all there.
But we needn't go there. Better "Go where the weather suits our clothes."
Same thing in thought. Sorta.

Yet we need to join God.
There, in eternity, after now, after here,
After this.
Thus our faithful mind believes there is a place
A dimension unbeknown,
Where our souls will go.
With our communal corruptions.
World of the Spirit
Where all we ever thought and fancied
Is fair game. Our darkest secrets,
Dreams, hallucinations, temptations, revulsions, fantasies -
Present in the mind of God (alas there is no hiding).
Where that spirit world exists,
Then with us in the afterlife. No escape.
So why not escape now, while the chance presents?

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2007

Life's this grand banquet, see
To which we're all invited -
You especially, and
Not to worry 'bout your weight
The only limit is the time
And your appetite.
Every single course is filling
Depending on your limits
But you needn't have just one.
Sampling each
Will fill you just as full.

In fact who's to say
You must taste singly
Of many entrees on the table
When bites of each
Will sate you equally,
Off'ring exotic savors to the tongue
With every nibble.
You may find, of course,
You'll want to gorge on one
Until life's belly is distended,
With digesting racing to catch up.

Isn't that our special wonder, tho?
That eventually we level out,
With stomachs like tortoises
Eventually o'er taking hares of eyes
Proclaiming alas,
That we have lived.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2007

People do
What they wanna do
You can't
Tell 'em nothin'
If they wanna live
They're gonna live live live
But if they wanna die,
They're gonna try try try
Till they do.
If I,
By what I think and say
(For much that's thought's unspoken)
Can push the process
To the new mile post,
I've helped
To show a way-
My way, conceded,
Someone has to
Carry a lantern
Into the darkness,
Trip turns to stumble
With fall not far behind.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2007

Graduating ...
To what?
Where are you going
And Why?
Why do you want that thing that you've got to have?
Remember, if you really want it,
You've got to go get it,
Else it's nothing but a fad.

That we don't see that what we had
Might have been better than what we've got,
And That
Could be a whole lot better than what we thought could be.
But that logic's for dads, not young tads.

When you took that diploma in your hand
The "trials and the troubles of the world began"
For you.
You made an entrance to the stage of life;
Well, take a little tip from Mack the Knife
It's rough...
What you're gonna do is tough,
But not enough to turn you away.
You might even like it,
After all, you chose it; you're graduating to it.
Pursue it,
Do it, starting now.

Some graduate to new life
Some to trouble;
Others just keep on keepin' on
From bein' trampled on like rubble.
Well, there's more than tramplin’
Tramplers, tramplees, health, disease and all...
There's doing what you like,
And liking what you do,
For you, all by yourself,

So here's how;
You know where...
There - Right in front of your face
In the same place it always was,
And always will be, with any kind of luck.
So tuck it under your arm, and off you go...
Hello goodbye we love you.
See you then,
And there.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2007

Life is going, going
From one place to the next
Here to there, birth to death, ship to shore
Good to bad or better
From the bliss of ignorance to the responsibility of knowledge
We all travel so, and when we stop,
Life stops within us,
For our journey then is done

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2007

Like basic matter
Life is not destroyed
Ending here,
It begins elsewhere

It escapes, as mercury does
When pinched between the fingers of fates hand,
Flees existence that's become incarceration
And squirts away through time
To other places where it's hailed anew.

Each death is thus a birth
Celebrated by new parents
Pretending they created it,
When in actuality
It always was,
And will be ever after.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2006

Many just are.
Some, however, must be.
Why there's so much being to do,
Why should you just are?
(You there... Wake up!
Why are you just ARE-ing?")

Don't worry that we'll think you're
What you be...
Be it.
We'll see what you are
In HOW you be.

Now, you don't have to be free.
You are, or you're not.
But you have to be alive,
Or be somebody (Somebody else...
You are yourself already).

For example:

Is the Supreme Being.
That's why He's where He is...
'Cause He be's supreme.
His gig is being God.
Now you don't be somebody
Without somebody to be for;
So if there were no us being humans,
God would be out of a job.
You know, "Have robe, will travel."


To be or not to be
Really is the question.
Who to be,
What to be...
The answer doesn't be -
It is...
Be yourself... and more,
If you can.

Henry Francisco


I want to be each thing
Every thing
But only for a little.
The conductor who
Becomes the instrument
Returning to himself
Once the solo stops

But who is me?
I lose my essence
Within the roles I play
Misplace myself,
Stick me off somewhere
For safekeeping while I
Trip the light fantastic
From being this
To being that.

Having done so many
Characters' adventures,
I went so deep into
The forest of the new
I lost the pathway back.
Now the only way to go
Is toward beyond -
Where the unknown beckons.
After that...
Who knows?

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2005


I want to be each thing
Every thing
But only for a little while:
The conductor
Becoming each instrument
Then returning to himself
Once the solo's over.
But who is me?

Losing my own essence
Within the roles I play,
I misplace myself
Stick me off somewhere
For safekeeping, while I
Trip the light fantastic
From being this
To being that.

Having been so many
That led to new adventures,
I Went so deep into
The forest of the new,
I Lost the pathway back.
Now the only way to go
Is toward the great beyond
Where the unknown beckons.

And after that...
Who Knows?

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2008

We create our own racket...
Our private set of noises;
Conversely our own silence too
Ev'n as other noise intrudes;
And exists within our self...

...Exposed, "In One"
On the Lip of the Stage in the Theatre of Life
Performing for a sea of faces
All our own, alas.
And by their reaction live our lives.

If we ignore them,
They'll do likewise, then
It's "Flop Sweat City," know the feeling?
But if we do our song and dance well,
They'll sit up and applaud, but careful...

Better have another number
Waiting in the wings,
Lest they tire and let us die,
Dead, dead, dead.
No tux, forget travel.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

We were two pebbles on a beach
Washed apart by waves misjudged
But wait, wait... I can explain
Ev'rything (If you'd like to hear)...
The sun's come out after cleansing rain
And forced admission from the stone.
A misunderstanding, now I know why.
Would you care to know?
Would you care?
Would you?

No word from you and so
I manufacture stories,
Tales of woe to me
For all I see are gaucheries I've done
So I wax apologetic
Poetic, aesthetic - pathetic
Anything to hide my feelings
Concealing from myself awhile
The fact that once again I'll be without you;
Though I doubt you realize the size of my dismay.
If lovers could but love, actors but act...
Alas others are involved, so
We tailor our performances to suit us both
(We think)
And thinking, we neglect to feel,
Or in feeling, do we neglect to think?
Anyway, the show goes on,

We grab at life by handfuls, like sand upon the beach.
Some slips through our grasp though,
So we seize some more, not seeing waves of time
Eroding beach itself from underfoot.
Eventually we're left with stones
Too large to hold or even contemplate...
They grow so large we fall between them
At the mercy of the undertow.
Thus we learn to swim,
To navigate the channels of existence.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

There's a part of you
That wants to be the whore...
Thee that loves it.
There's a part of thee
That needs to be respectable...
After all, you're part of "us"
Our civilized society,
But then,
We could be wrong,
Or just a bit mistaken,
We who cast the stones that crush desires
Within the children in us.
"Hedonistic tendencies" we say accusingly.
Well, frankly, ma'am, ain't nuthin' wrong with them;
The pleasures of the earth are here to pick
Like flowers of the field,
Yet take care to gather
Only what thy house can hold,
Lest o'erpow'ring fragrance turn to stench,
For too much of anything so marvelous
Intoxicates the rushing fool
And sours the fruitfulness.

Thy desires art but thy self
Informing you (including thee)
What it must have to live another day
In yet another life in you,
To hide away inside till you comes
Peeking 'round the bend,
Then all at once springs out to startle you
With some bizarre behavior
Only you could see as reprehensible.

But don't be shocked, yea
Welcome parts of you you never knew existed...
You'll find so many thees
The more you free yourself,
And soon discover that you can be
All of them in time,
Unless of course you hang with those
Who would repress them, bless them...
They who find their pleasure
In what's wrong with life. Well,
I am he with whom you can be
All the thees you dare to
If you'd care to anymore,
Or has the joy receded down so deep
That things are all you can pursue,
Draping you with jewelry
That covers up the you you are,
Not to mention thee.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

We've come now to the point
Where you are fin'lly the ideal!
(Poets need ideals, you see, to mold the words.)
You said you wanted poetry
When you were just my friend...
"Old shoe" comfortable, my love - ha,
My wife, sister, everpresent shadow
There to reach and touch (warm);
Ideals are not the flesh, though,
Nor yet the word, really,
But visions of what flesh or word could be,
And you could never be that then,
Because poetic eyes pursue horizons
Which in turn beget more of same.
When one arrives there where one saw,
It's only earth,
Just like where he stood before
The pot of gold that's in the mind, however,
Glitters much more brightly
Than it could when seen up close as fact.
I could never give you poems then,
Nor could I anyone
Without the distance from each other
That we briefly pass through now,
For now I can recall the best, the times,
The You, the Me, the Life,
Good as any could have been.
We sang its songs, sucked it honey dry,
Lived its precious summer's sunlight beams,
Now catch it's Autumn's leaves in slumber's dreams.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

Remember just the good times if you can.
Can you?
Forget the agony, the doubt,
For without the feelings that we felt,
Recalled from depths of souls which met in space once,
There is nothing there to base one's reminiscence on.

So call up pleasant mem'ries of our time together, love,
There surely are many of them there,
And share your heart with souvenir emotions,
Lotions sweetly rubbed on aching psyches
Longing to be touched again sometime,

Can we capture love's sweet nectar
On another flower like the bee does,
Or must we constantly return in time and space
To places where we sucked its juice before?
Then was then, now is now,
Tomorrow is tomorrow.

We still can cultivate the seeds
Which haven't blown away, I'm sure,
Carefully transplanting seedlings
As they sprout again to seek the sun
Which shone from heavens
Once inhabited by you and me.

Love won't wilt away, you see,
And we fall heir to life that we produced,
A thing we started up from naught,
Created in our hearts
As sperm and ova spring from nothing in our loins,
Perhaps to grasp each other,
Holding tightly for a lifetime spree.

Could that possibly bear relevance to you and me?
Indeed it does,
For once upon a time is now,
And we but actors in a storybook romance.
Chances are it ended once, or maybe even twice,
But tales well made
Have multiple beginnings, denouements, revivals,
And sometimes finally conclude
Far off somewhere in Oz
Or other lands of fantasy, I'm told.

What matters now is not what comes to us,
But to the force that we created,
The feelings, words and poetries
That pass from heart to loving partner's heart.
That, forever, is the product of our love,
Which can be nurtured or ignored,
Depending on ourselves and how we feel again and where,
And most important, when.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

We've really only said goodbye but once
When none of us could bear to see
The last part of the other of us go,
But go we did, turned our backs and parted
Ne'er to see and know us all again
As once we had;
But once is once and now it's gone
And so are we, from one another,
Gone to other lives, with other things
Other people, other places naturally,
Having "went our sep'rate ways"
Just like they say.
But we never will in all our days
Forget the time we said "Goodbye,"
Where all our teardrops flowed as one,
We clove to ourself as if to say:
"Never, never can we part like this
When none of us is ready
For the other ones to go,"
But go we did,
There simply was no way for us together,
We couldn't find the wherewithal
To face the others' faults
And also seek the life
We had to find alone as well.
Well, now we seek it -
All of us in sep'rate ways.

A larger force pulled us apart -fate -
The hand of God, nature,
Even our own hands -
The facts of life remain:
We cannot stay the way we were,
And so we seek a higher happiness
At least a lower quotient of unhappiness
A time to bind our wounds
Make decisions concerning other matters
And live the life or die the death there
Where we are, without the others.
Well, now we say goodbye again a little bit
Each time our bodies hear the parting sounds
Conveying to the others
That some of "us" is gone -
That part of one anothers' lives
We could be sharing now, but choose
To keep unto ourselves instead.
Now we recommit ourselves to life
Without the things that are the other one.
Let us think among our many images
Of what we gained from knowing one another,
Touching all our lives together at a point,
And finding from that,
Food to feed part of our future lives
Wherever they may be.

Surely future partings will be pallid artifice
Compared to now,
When we must all embrace,
Then turn away to other things;
But what commitment can we make
To keep our common ethics,
Which was the stuff of which our love was made,
Its very fabric.
What can we take from one another still
That no one else can give us,
Keep and treasure it within our souls
Forever more, or till we die at least,
Then pass it on to those we know
In other worlds than ours?
We take that part of us that is Our Selves
The we we were when once we were as one;
And in that, we're one forever
And further still.

(to Margaret) Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

My love, my love
I always say I'm sorry,
Though I see no wrong I've done you;
Hon, you really have to
Get these matters straight,
For fate I think has dealt me
A pathetic kind of hand,
So to salve my feelings,
Perhaps to try to rescue yours,
I feel I have to go one better
Than a gift of someone else' verse
Or tune.

Soon I'll be writing you sweet mots full time,
Some sweet tender feeling to be sure,
Along with bald apologies required
For absent-minded slights,
Ay, more than that
My nightly amorata in the land of nod,
To be sure much more than you'd suspect
Or do your chosen act for
In your nightly fantasy.

This is Burlesque, you know,
This bill of acts we do
As portrayers on the stage "de vie"
And all of us are strippers
Down to one nakedness or other
Just as all the nakednesses
Really are the same one.
A kind of nudity is really nice, you know,
If we're to get to know
The best performances we're capable of giving -
"Living the role" as "The Stanislavsky Method" says.
"Oh why can't I be happy with the simpler things?"
Quoth the poet,
In yet another turn of character.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

Does it matter whose heart is broken
Yours or mine...
Or even if one loves and loses?
For we've both already won by slowing down
To cruise together side by side awhile
Before we each veer off to new adventures fatef'lly picked
To take us into newer galaxies we'll surely find,
Mind you staying here on earth part time
As if imprisoned for the days
But free
To roam the nights at will
To till the earths we've not discovered yet.
So let us fly formation for the time that is,
Probe ethereal reaches of each others' abstract thoughts
To find the things we know we ought to know
About what each of us has seen
Although perhaps not done
Till now.
I'll bet you can show me things about the living of a life...
And I to you the same of course,
Horses of diff'rent colors than orange or blue,
Hues to lose and find one's senses by,
If one has sense to come by...
Or to.
So come with me to my sensations now
And I'll with you to yours;
We'll each take tours of hot spots
In the tenderloins of others' selves,
Then hurry back to find the real we want,
Still knowing that the rest exists,
If not forever,
Maybe only for a while somewhere.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

The world is far away but you are close
Be it that our thoughts are what they are,
And viewing things the way they be
Instead of how they look.
I miss the part of you that does,
For never have I known a one
Whose spirit for the living of the life
Was quite the same.
But it wore off
As all the spirits do
Finally, when they've had their day.
Say, maybe we could dredge it up again...
No, best leave it lay, and if...
If there is a common ground between us
Where we could spend a major part of lives
That might, could, come to be
Oh surely it will rise, present itself,
And shout "Plunge in!"
So we will, in only ways that we know how,
Sprout up, to root, spread leaves,
Show our blossoms,
Shed their petals,
Then lie back to wait
For suns to shine once more.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

My life is like a train
Just a-passing through
Should you want to ride along
I'll tell you what to do -
Just hop on board and watch the scenery
Don't try to turn you car
Into a mountain greenery,
For I'm an engine
Chug, chug, chugging away
The tracks are down
The switchman's up ahead;
I follow his direction,
And somehow daily bread
Comes without my asking.
You must believe you'll get the same
While in this sun we're basking together,
For as far as I can see;
Am I not the light ahead
Into the night alone,
Or do you want another's sight
To set the tone
For your life's journey?
Nay, just fire my pistons,
Boil my steam, and
We'll be like flies in whipped cream.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

I can't express to you
The way I'd like to see you be:
Caricatures of characters in my cartoon,
Ella the goof, Najira the seductress, Eve the pushy,
Barbara the spoiled, Adam the gullible, Flip the slob,
Arik Quo Vadis, Sanjar the lover-warrior, Passionella the Dream,
For this week, all of you too...
What would they call you on your block,
In this neighborhood of myth?
Oh, but I forgot... Satan the Storyteller
Weaving tales of fancy to our bad selves,
For all of us are devils
(angels too, lest there be doubt)
Who both listen and perform.
So this week let us be our Lucifers,
And deceive the willing (Nay, paying) public
Into thinking we are demon fools,
E'en to taking each occasion
In our other, daily lives
To say our lines
Whatever they may be
The way that part of us,
That trods the boards of fantasy indeed would do.
Seek the chance to milk down that portion
Of a person we're capable of being,
But generally hide behind our good behavior;
Let us become them, the characters,
From now to final curtain,
In word only of course..
Not to really dream
Or dance or act or sing, or Pretend...
For pretending is child's play -
Aha! So we are demons,
And children too, can this be?
Maybe the Devil ain't so bad,
Or the child in us ain't so good.
No no, the child in us is good of course,
So let's become the children
Who imagine and conjure...
Just for a little while.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

If I Didn't Know myself a little better
I'd think I was falling in love with you
Lost control of my emotions
Want to swim across the oceans
To share the sky above with you.
If I didn't know myself
But I do
Only too well
To fall, to fall,
I know myself too well to fall.

Careful what you say to me my dear young lady
Else I'll want to lay myself at your feet
Let my heart beat only for you
(I'm so utterly lonely for you)
Until the next time that we meet
Careful what you say to me
Or you might have
A tale to tell
So tall, so tall
You might have a tale to tell so tall.

I wish I weren't such a sentimental person
I wouldn't be two thousand miles away from here
Instead of doin' what I'm s'posed to
I'm wishing I was close to
You my dear; it's pretty clear
Now that I think of it
I don't know myself
So well at all, at all,
I don't know myself so well at all.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

Once there was a dashing prince
And a perfect princess
But he was too old
And she chewed gum out loud
So a sardonic witch whose name was Loretta
Turned her into a caterpillar
And him into a '49 Chevy pickup truck
With a standard transmission.

You lit upon my chassis
Like a butterfly
Then you flew away without a word
Now I wait
For the dream that is the one of you to come,
But dreams of you
Only come true
In real life.
How absurd, utterly so.
But then, life is absurd,and
Theater imitates it...
Sometimes rather well.

Crowed the cock
(Ending the dream just before your entrance)
Prior to venturing
Upon his morning strut
"Now for my morning coffee
And Roles"
Would you play a role
In my morning coffee?

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

Apparently we've had all there is to have
Of each others' characters.
I think I know what there is of me to take;
Somehow I thought I also knew
What there was of you to give.

It's give and take with you and me, love
One of us giving, one taking,
And both of us faking it so well
(Let's tell ourselves the truth).
Just last suddenly, when you stopped writing
I saw that our affair had been all wrong
But by then it was too late,
I had started loving you
And fate had put me where I surely don't belong.

So pardon me, love
While I extricate myself,
A painful operation I do periodically
When my heart grows too big to wear upon my sleeve...
I just chop it down to size
And realize
That trying to retrieve a youth as lost as mine is
(Actually I've never parted with it, just mislaid it
And forgotten where the sign is, leading up to it
Or maybe, God forbid, disobeyed it).

Then a Susannah comes along
And shows me the sign
And I manage
To impale myself upon it,
So Jack dies
And Harpo is born,
Another actor on the stage of life to play
Presently at liberty...Ahem...But always list'ning
Bna by jolly thinks he's fin'lly heard
The ring of his agent's phonecall, and exclaims
"All is not lost, alas
I will then be summoned to perform again
One of the title roles in
The 999 lives of Henry, the Human Being.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

I only write you things because I know you care
As someone must for everyone.
And you're my choice for me.
Me? I only care for doing it for someone;
That's how I give my love, you see...
Burst forth with my talent, lay it at your feet,
Pray you pick it up and love me for it,
For it is all I have to give.

Oh, yes, money, I can handle that
But why, why bother
When there's genius to be tapped
To let run forth upon the page or stage
To be the rage of those who don't possess it.

Yes, it's there within you too;
Do you use it, take it from its private place
To burnish off the glaze of rust it will acquire
When left too long as idle matter in your soul?
You must, you know,
For that's the price you pay for having it.

And if you welch the bargain
That was made by God through you,
No matter that you gave not your consent,
If you do not race the horse,
In time you'll find he'll fatten and grow turgid
Wallowing in the comfortable life of "all"
Provided by the land,
And die the death demanded of us
Trapped within.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

You silly thing...
Poems aren't like ruby rings
Purchased o'er the counter, merely
Transfer of cash and "caveat emptor..."
They come at great expense
Paid in full with drops of blood
Or tears
Years invested in their mere invention.
MERE invention, hah!
I say these words so only I can hear
And to you.
Without you there would be no committing anyway
For you are cause, effect
Hopefully both at once.
Once there was a chick
Or was it just an egg?
Think it ovum.
Silly, like I said.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2011

You wanted poems once,
Well, now I'm in the mood...
In that never-never land
Between "she loves me" and "she loves me not"
So leave me there to revel in my words
Birds of fight for someone that I love
Or think I do.

The spell is cast,
But don't expose it to the light...
Right it,
Gently push it,
Like the sailboat in a glassy pond,
And watch it make its way to wherever it will go.
Maybe it will go away
But that won't be so bad...
At least we will have had it
For awhile.

Henry Francisco


© Port Whitman Times 2010

Tears race down a crying face
Only to fall off the edge...

Did you ever think you were
The only person in the world?
Well, you are, to me
When I'm with you...

In a dream you stand at my front door,
I reach out to hold your hand in mine,
All the things I've ever dreamed are you...

I watched you when we married in the play;
There was a look...
Then, peradventure but reflection of a wish,
My own.

In yet another dream
I saw you great with child,
Your cheeks, lips, breasts, womb in bloom;
If e'er a bush was meant
To bear the fruit of human life
It's yours.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in you
That I lose track of me;
I used to think I'm what I'm all about,
But now you're all about me
Even when you're not,
Which usually is always

In a slowly moving fantasy
Through bright brisk February air
I see you ride.
While your song is in my fingers,
You glide across a hill,
All browns and yellows,
Speckled sunlight through the trees,
My dream upon a horse, alone,
Pursuing the elusive fox of time.
Make it stand still, Oh Lord,
Make it stand still.

Henry Francisco