Two Poems by Luis Francia

BOMB 80 Summer 2002
BOMB 080

Revolution’s the Thing

All revolutions have good stories.
There is the regime.
There is the unregimented.

There are the mistakes of cruelty
Where reprieve is impossible,
Assassinations that do not discriminate

Between the guilty and the innocent
Between the gun-loving soldier
And the civilian in the wrong place

Who is always in the wrong place.
How this can be addressed
Can never be addressed, neither

By the regime nor the unregimented,
Their cannons arrayed on
Streets like arguments, pitched

Voices now pitched battles,
The state a stage whence
Come tales of horror

And valor, revolution a traveling
Theater where all roles try
Actors, the previews

Excite more than the play
And by opening night
It’s curtains for

The audience


Password for a Hybrid Century

The world is full of speech unheralded
Each creature, each thing, fashions
Words not said, nor heard

Mankind, beast, flower, fish, atom cell

On the avenue, in the city’s
Fields of streets
A language of secrets unscrolls
Rich in the grammar of love

Pure as an infant’s theology

I sense it in this room when
Your beauty navigates this space
By osmosis
When your seaweed hair announces
Itself as a sacrament

I sense it on the days of
Longing, when this trill and utterance
And weave, this eloquence beyond the
Exultations of art, beyond the scribbles
And bankrupt narratives, blesses and

Bathes me, drowning the pornographic
Stutter of a center that devours its young.

Speak me as I speak you,
And not only you, my beloved,
But all of you who are my beloved
This speech without speaking, this

Covenant and testament
As the measure, the love of

All the invisible and real.
Sometimes am I blessed

By such tongue, to move through the
Interstices of being and put

My head on the twin laps of
Pain and pleasure in
Whose hymns I

Taste death, that passage
Out of life into life
Where in a vast hall

New music plays, and each one of
Us, from particle of dust to deity,
Is a scale of ancient lore

Read me read you

Speak me then as I speak you
As notes for a song
Between speech and nonspeech

Between a living that is a dying
And a dying that is a living

Make me a part of your speech
An act looking for silence and utterance

An O lodged in the mouth of a mute god

Luis Francia is the author of The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems (1992) and Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago (2001). The two poems published here are from a new, unpublished collection, “The Museum of Absences.”

Days and Nights in Manila by Luis Francia

Originally published in

BOMB 80, Summer 2002

Featuring interviews with Petah Coyne, Glen Seator, Ben van Berkel, Reynolds Price, Dubravka Ugresic, Michael Haneke, Donald Margulies, John Zorn

Read the issue
BOMB 080