It's hot as hell
the bird's nervous, high strung
about being alive, maybe about being a bird.
All this has to do with madness,
& getting your ass kicked by love.
Patrick, an old friend,
sits adrift in an antique chair,
a leftover from his divorce,
his ex-castle and his ex-wife;
anyway, there he is: fat, bloated,
beered-up & broke and, as always,
looking slightly remorseful;
hanging onto a saddleback chair as a life-raft
& his sinking life the Titanic.
A shadow from an ancient parrot cage
spills over his face. Film Noir.
He talks. And talks.
I try to concentrate,
amidst the crap & clutter of the room.
I stare listlessly at the parrot,
as Patrick talks about how tough things
were in our early days in Hollywood.
The bird screams. I'm thinking
about being in & out of love.
Patrick talks about managing
apartments on Gregory Avenue in Hollywood,
how Raymond Carver couldn't pay the rent;
how together they'd get drunk,
tell lies, dream dreams.
"Isn't it shitty," he asks,
"now he's dead & everybody's
putting him into textbooks,
or making movies of his stuff?
Shit, he couldn't get arrested
when we lived on Gregory Avenue..."
Steve De France MFA has traveled widely in the United States. On more than one occasion he hitchhiked across America. He rode rails on freight trains, worked as a laborer with pick up gangs in Arizona, dug swimming pools in Texas, did 33 days in the Pecos city jail as a vagrant, fought bulls in Mexico, and dove for salvage off a small island on the coast of Mazatlan. His poetry has been published in most of the English speaking countries of the world. Some recent publications include, The Evergreen Review, The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Sun, Rattle, and many others. He has won writing awards in England and in the United States.