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Sample Poems by Steve DeFrance


This morning I woke thinking of Oblomov.
A 19th century Russian Count
He refused to leave his house, refused to leave
his bed. Believed in nothing. Wanted nothing.
Got nothing. In short, a nihilist.
It was a biography I read while studying
in Paris. I stand at the sink shaving, this Russian
aristocrat’s  image hangs in my mind.
Perhaps it was too much Sartre and Camus,
but I identified with this Russian’s malaise.
I smiled into the mirror. I have a case
of rampaging Oblomovism.
I thought at the time we had things in common.
Both nauseated by each day’s banalities,
both filled with a rational dislike for existence

both feeling a conscious self loathing.
Each dead at times.
So the image of Oblomov ruminating
about the pointlessness of his life
burns in my mind. Confined in self–exile.
Is there nothing he wants, needs?
Yes!. There is Love.
Behind imported windows built in France,
time was running out.
“Dimitri, he cries, “bring the carriage.
And for the love of God, hurry man.”
Feverish– flushed–away he flies for love!
Unfortunately for Oblomov–the Countess
of his romantic dreams is quite fickle hearted.
And to be plain she has a carnal appetite,
a real thirst for young lieutenants.
I cut my lip with the razor.
My blood soaks the Kleenex,
as I remember–it was a naked poet
who told me: “a paranoid is simply
a man with all the facts.”
I linger on this thought.
Love & illusions of love did–in Oblomov.
After this final disillusionment, he returned to his
country estate. There he grew old,
quarreling obtusely with his
overly inbred servants.
And with a revolver under his pillow,
never quits his bed, as he
counted out the remainder of his days.
I leave my apartment.
Drive the Harbor Freeway,
it’s clear I can’t afford
the luxury of suffering from
truculent servants,
even romantic love.
But like Oblomov,
I grow older.
More empty.
I check my revolver,
it’s loaded
the safety’s  off. . .

Fine Haired Sons–Of–Bitches

Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks
simply replied, “because that’s where the money is.”
Bonny & Clyde were a little more complex––murky.
Consumed by sexual failures––flirting with death.
Butch Cassidy and Sundance––asking then–– the question
we ask of them now, “Who are those guys?”
Black Bart the robber–poet
left poems in exchange for stolen cash.
“I’ve labored long and hard for bread
For honor and for riches
But on my corns you’ve too long tread,
You fine haired sons–of–bitches.”
Why had Joaquin Murrieta tried to right the wrongs
of Americans stealing Spanish land grants?
Stepping out of another century
Highwayman in lace & silver buckles.
Stand and deliver!
Down comes a chest of golden Sovereigns!
Everyone pays.
Except attractive ladies.
Today Enron types are not called BRIGANDS
but Vice Presidents for internet infidelity,
or a CEO in Coitus Com
These corporate criminals jack–up prices
SELLING swamp land as real estate,
flood insurance in the desert,
education as if it too weren’t propaganda,
coffins designed with a view & a cell phone,
political correctness as if it weren’t oppression.
Thanks–but no thanks!
I’ll take my bank robbers as robbers!
My crooks clearly marked “crooks”.
No secrets––No legerdemain––No hypocrisy.
Something plainspoken. MAYBE EVEN. . .
“Howdy folks―this here is a bank robbery.
Kindly reach for the sky!”

Gregor’s Wings 

The village clock strikes eight chimes.
Moisture forms on my upper lip,
precisely the minute hand shutters
& clicks over locking in on 8:00 A.M. 
Somewhere I hear distant thunder.
The imperial bank doors swing open.
Polished marble glistens in morning light.
Strangely serene, I carefully consider the endless
accounting–journals waiting inside for me.
I check my brass pocket watch.
Its linked chain loops across my tattered vest.
in the shape of a beetle’s back.
I walk briskly to my work chamber
as my wings rustle under my suit.
A gypsy on the street begins playing the violin.
I consider the bank’s ornate gilded–clock. 
7 minutes past eight.
Closing time seems an eternity from where
I take my post in the metal counting cage.
I sharpen my No# 4 pencil.
My green visor covers my eyes
which have grown so sensitive to the light.
I begin the column of figures.

Counselor For The Moon

The moon is feeling much maligned.
I represent my client the moon.
First––She does not like being referred to as
the man in the moon.
She wants no more tales of werewolves
turning with the moon.
No more covens dancing to the light of the moon.
My client is lactose intolerant, so no more claims
she is made of green cheese & most importantly,
she wants no more poems, songs, or ditties
capitalizing on intellectual properties
that belong to my client the moon.
For example: The moon never beams
without bringing me dreams
of the beautiful Annabelle Lee–
The moon knows of no one named Annabel
and especially Lee for that matter. 
Another case. . .  the moon, sick & pale with grief
that thou her maid are far more fair than she.
This absolutely must cease. She informs me
She hasn’t been ill in a over a billion years
& despite a few years is fair as ever.
Another instance: The Highwayman
came riding on a ribbon of moonlight.
Let’s get this straight: she does not support
lawbreakers & furthermore. She has never met
Bess The landlord’s black–eyed daughter.
A word or two before I go–––
The moon, citing general principles objects
to the following slander:
moon for the misbegotten,
moonshine, moonfire,
sending Alice to the moon,
fly me to the moon
fullmoon & empty arms,
moonlight in vermont, 
mooning or being mooned,
moonstruck, moonwalking, moonbathing
swathed in moonlight, religious moonies,
moon dazed, moon dazzled,
moon shadows, moonbeams,
Buffalo girls dancing by moon light,
moon gaggeled, moon charmed,
moonstones, moonfaced
quarter, half, full, horned, harvest, autumn
& especially moonfish dancing on the sea.
& all other such derivatives
stairways, shafts, paths, et al.
In short, all comparison & analogy & equivalence
& in the future SHE must be addressed as:
your Goddess,
your Divinity,
or as your own Personal Savior.