Mike Faran

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San Francisco, 1963

Mr. Gathercole was curious about
this business of me writing poetry-
it disturbed him.

He made it a point to have a talk with
me soon after we
were settled in.

He made it his duty, but never could
quite find the nerve.

From across the chest-high hedge that
separated our two small houses,
Mr. Gathercole just

smiled and nodded,
but behind the thick lenses of his glasses
churned the burning questions:

Was I a communist
Was I a homosexual
Did I write those kind of poems that didn’t

Over the years he discovered that only
one of the suspicions was true,
but we never became friends.

Why Is He So Evil?

by his slanted
blue eyes
hooded like shark’s
you can tell that
he’ll be in jail

maybe for shoplifting
maybe for
it doesn’t matter

it’s sunset now
his feet  -  like
battleships  - drift
into our city

if he drank or did drugs
we could

even if he had a wife &
there might be grounds
for comprehension

but he doesn’t have

Mike Faran is the author of We Go To A Fire (Penury Press) and has appeared in Barbaric Yawp, Homestead Review, The New Laurel, Iodine, The Main Street Rag, and many others.