Frances McCue

NaPoWriMo #26
April 26, 2013, 9:08 pm
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Finding The Right Poem

                                                            For Jacob



Have you heard the one

about the goat-footed balloon man,

The little guy who sells balloons

so that eddieandbill come running

From playing marbles? Seriously, Eddie and Bill,

you see—are friends

And spend so much time together

that they blend into one, a two-boy clump,

And that poem is scattered

all over the place. Or the one about

The little girl who had a little curl

right in the middle of her forehead?

Well, never mind. That’s half the poem.

The rest of it doesn’t turn out well.

Spoiler Alert! The girl is horrid. Let’s turn instead

to lemonade and water towers.

Imagine! A big spigot on the outside

so that you and your brothers

and the whole neighborhood could

drink lemonade all year. That’s the poem

you want, my young friend,

                               something brick and sturdy—

a stockade for lemons, a huge vat

of tart and sweetness— built to last.


NaPoWriMo #25
April 25, 2013, 10:49 pm
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Cabin Fever



Rains came. We stayed in
For a long time and made
Paintings and poems;
We lit little candles.
Some days,
We made sandwiches.
Canvases filled up,
Turpentine sloshed
In the cans. Our finest
Prison, at first, and later
Our cloister.


NoPoWriMo #24
April 24, 2013, 9:21 pm
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On the Pretty Little Campus Lawn

In the Sylvan grove, I think
What kind of bullshit is this?
Just pillars in a garden—
Set into the lawn, Roman columns
given by some French people who were
Living in America, who gathered
Funds and built a memorial
for Lafayette eighty years after
he helped the wayward colonists
to win the Revolutionary War
Which was really a war of secession
And not much more, just another set of
Colonized folk who’d had enough
And the French who specialized in
Overturning anything the British
owned. Being so supercilious and
generally annoying, the Brits
Brought it on themselves. Red Coats?
Come on. Put those on and you are
Asking for trouble. Later, a sylvan grove
Goes up, erected by the French who
care about culture, or the shell of it,
Decorating the landscape until the locals
Start to believe, even in a city of Natives
And Immigrant Swedes and Norwegians–
In Seattle, a place elbowed in from the Pacific.
Maybe you’ll wonder if the pillars
Weren’t made from the loneliness,
Made by people so far from the action,
That the little shell of a place and I,
Out here so far in the west,
Find those columns both remnant
And full structure, intact and absent–
So much to see, how to carry on,
And set up here, dead center on the lawn.

NaPoWriMo #23
April 23, 2013, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sonnet On Lake Union

The dock slips and knocks against the pier
while the tide’s lip knees the boats and metal stays
ping masts. I’m running along the wharf-houses.
The planks once led into long, lit rooms
where sail makers sewed the sails and fixed
Sheet lines, bent over the little hooks
and cleats. Now software geeks move in
for the view and the old wood, paint scraped.

My city, once dim and slow, felt adrift
in mist. Now I’m running past holograms
set amidst the cedar-wrapped houseboats.
I hear the bilge at my back and the ropes
Slapping metal grating. Around the lake
I go—more awake—older than before.

NaPoWriMo #22
April 23, 2013, 12:24 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

To the Brain Researchers

Say what you will, neuro-blasters,
Nerve-clenching masters of the scan,
Must you carry those forceps?
The little saws ready to cross the scalps?
I don’t want my brain to be
Your last frontier.

Synapses firing in hemispheres
and globes that ignite our movements,
Whether we bark in slow motion
Or bask in the scrape of buzz saws
Along our necks. You have to start

Housed in a tiny cabinet: sweetest
Little thing, the brain nestles
In a pillowy lining, red and fed
By terrible sanguine corpuscles.
Oh my lobes, my terrain of left and right—
Leave them unexplored.

NaPoWriMo #21
April 21, 2013, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized



Here’s a man, a sweet man, coming my way.

Hello, Hi. You there, can you give me a hand?


Not that I want you to come in or stay.

Not that I want you to come onto my land


And boss me around. Here, hold this tray

While I figure out if I can even stand


Having someone else around. Better to delay

The chatter and keep everyone banned


While I imagine what to do, what to say

When a man comes through. and not as planned.

NaPoWriMo #20
April 21, 2013, 9:55 pm
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Letter To The Woodworker and The Poet While We are Together in Portland

Dear Wendy and Paulann:
Nothing could change Portland, not herds of hipsters on scooters or pods
Of food trucks; not the realtors who hold clipboards and make lists of people
Who want to see the old, ordinary houses; not the painters who show up
With heaps of canvases and ideas for galleries. Not our old Portland, the one
Where you grew up Paulann, and the place you came to, Wendy, the Portland
That slowed me down every time I came here, the city where we lolled about
In the little Victorian after ransacking Powell’s, where we screamed about
The outrages in poetry-land and carried on all night. Now I’m writing you from
Inside your Rose City, tucked under Mount Tabor, in the little yellow house. Some
Places are made by friends. God knows, the world is strung together on suffering so the sane locations are consoling: the Aladdin Theater or the Leipszig Tavern,
The thrift stores along Hawthorne, the dining room in Sellwood where my little
Maddy had a balloon tied to her wrist and learned to walk by going around and Around while we drank and laughed and read poems. Oh Poet Laureate of Oregon, Oh Woodworker of tables, steps, clocks and shelves– Such sanity, the makings of art.
Love, Franny