This Number Is Disconnected

by Steve DeFrance

Steve DeFrance

Kelly Cole, illegitimate son
of the famous crooner
Nat King Cole, is dead of AIDS.
We first met at the falcon’s cage
at the Museum of the Desert
in Palm Springs. Good looking, thin,
wearing jodhpurs, riding horses,
playing polo, driving a Mercedes.
We talked poetry. Eliot, Pound,
Hopkins & Thomas.

We were people of the poem.
Special souls. Always alone.

He went to France
to drink sacred waters
that promised a cure.

A Republican.
He loved men and women alike.
Didn’t tell them he was infected
with the virus. He had his own don’t
ask? don’t tell policy.

He drove down to Long Beach.
I told him I wasn’t looking for a lover,
but a perfect poem, one with the final word;
the faultless phrase, like a Euclidean
line disappearing at the horizon,
or like the great reverberation
of the C major chord
sounding in all parts of the world
at the same time.
In short, a poem that eats your heart
not your private parts.
He laughed.
So, we talked about poetry instead.
He read me parts of his unfinished book.
Abstract and unknowable.
He left at three in the morning.
Called a few times, late at night.
Lonely to hear a word or two.
Died a few months later,
his book unfinished.

So Kelly, this one, I finished for you.

Steve DeFrance's picture

Steve De France is a widely published poet, playwright and essayist both in America and in Great Britain. His work has appeared in literary publications in America, England, Canada, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, India, Australia, and New Zealand. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in both 2002 and 2003. Recent publications include The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Mid-American Poetry Review, Ambit, Atlantic, Clean Sheets, Poetrybay, Yellow Mama and The Sun. In England he won a Reader's Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem "Hawks." In the United States he won the Josh Samuels' Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem: "The Man Who Loved Mermaids." His play THE KILLER had it's world premier at the GARAGE THEATRE in Long Beach, California (Sept-October 2006). He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing. Most recently his poem "Gregor's Wings" has been nominated for The Best of The Net by Poetic Diversity.

Last updated September 01, 2016