April 4, 2023

Week One: Bob Pope, Eva Grace, Sal Difalco

Week One: Bob Pope, Eva Grace, Sal Difalco

Bob Pope returns to FC with a provocative poem

Samantha Quince Devastated  

by Death of Biological Mother  

  1. dramatic dialogue 

The fingertips of one of the older woman’s hands land lightly on her breast like a mosquito.  

Excuse me? she says. 

You are my biological mother, Samantha Quince says.  

Ah, I see, she says, a film crew.  

Mother said to come when I can drive myself.   

How nice you got your license.  

That’s my adoptive mother’s car.  

It looks so easy to handle.  

I wanted, no needed to see you.  

I have lemonade. Do you like tea?  

I was inside you. I came like a moon out the side of a planet. 

  1. inner monologue  

…this woman this stranger my mother, so familiar and weirdly unfamiliar at the same time staring like she doesn’t know me… Wait, what’s this? 

  1.  hysterical rantings 

Taken in their ship for days or weeks… I blocked it out of course… You have genetic me in you as well… All fine until they took me back, hovering over my parents’ house, and released us… 

  1. denouement 

The older woman put her wrist to her forehead/ 

fainted dead away neatly on the couch hands/ 

coupled on her belly pretending to be out cold/ 

or actually out cold or as we might have guessed/ 

no longer as they say among the living/ 


Robert Pope has published several books of fiction, most recently Not a Jot or a Tittle and a book of selected flash fiction, Disappearing Things. Both re available on Amazon. His new work appears in Granfalloon, Fictive Dream, and Dark Lane Anthology

FC introduces Eva Grace and five of her poems

a walk through the national art gallery 

the gallery begins with a ticket machine,  

advertising Winslow Homer exhibits that run until June 

I have a pound in my pocket, about fourteen short 

and I promise myself I’ll come back another time, 

when I’m not running on an expired tube ticket 

and a bottle of water from the corner store, 

then there are the stairs, two flights that make my knees ache 

the purpose is a reminder of the old adage 

all the masters hanging on the wall killed themselves 

I confess to not having read their biographies, but the art 

tells me their stories clearly 

there are several rooms  

some order of Dutch and Italian eras 

I skip over the flowers, all arranged as ampersands on the canvas 

there is a poem waiting in that shape but it belongs to someone else 

the chart map is vague, designed to make you wander 

I just missed the Raphael exhibit 

closed yesterday, I feel sad, 

as if I could have come or even known, and they’re taking 

down the little sign to replace it with Gonzalez 

I walk past the plein-air room without a peek, even 

though my fondest museum drinks drown in Colosseum 

there are better ones in another place I saw a month ago 

I lie when I say the memories are fresh because paintings with strike a chord 

and vanish like they never existed 

lingers like a poem you can’t quite remember 

as if there’s a difference between the two 

I find what I’m looking for in the busiest room, they like the sunflowers 

I do too but I don’t pass over the frozen lake with slashes of grey 

don’t quite fit in but neither do analogies of Aeneas I passed by ten minutes ago, 

frames are art 

this one is black wood 

it suits the painting 

like the lack on Monet 

end through the giftshop, your reminder that art has to be sold 

can’t just exist, but I’m a hypocrite for the comment because my pound goes for a notebook and I write a poem on a train 



a genetic memory for somewhere else I’m meant to be 

the body remembers long after the mind has forgotten who it was supposed to be 

where the winds feel like home and the birds fly north at night 

the chaos of this room, the mind map of morbid misery 

at the coffee shop exist because home’s compass driven 

to forgotten traces of my hands 

cobbles under my feet recognized in another generation of my family 


it was grace 

lines just lines, that don’t fade like the others,  

rhymes are like prayers 

I didn’t know how to say? 

never learnt the notes to these hymns 

on my knees and to all the poets  

whose words were sent to heavenly gates 

freed me a little more the grave dug into this earth 

hold me like you always have, 

since I was just a kid and saved by a howling bluebird 

the poets all killed themselves  

their deaths rescued another one who almost did 




a road that goes into the mountains, red dead grass lines the grey pavement 

I’ve never stuck long enough for nostalgia to be crippling 

here it almost doesn’t exist, in the bales whose individual stories I traced and killed 

since when does a season provoke anger as much as the end of fall does in a trapped me 

the mountains are grey and black and snow-capped with dangerous thoughts 

explosives of giants that died in the canyons of the south 

the yellow trees guide the path of my engine, car in reverse 

of where I’m supposed to go because the quest to find myself is a one-day destination departure 

away from here 

I’m ready to find the shape of a soul I painted over and hid in boxes 


the road led to the beach and the dunes lead down to a warm ocean eating away at the sand,  

there’s a dipping sun struggling over a wash of white and blue waves 

seagulls, here, are silent like my thoughts, all stilled by vast imcomprehension 

foam sprays onto my cargo pants and I don’t bother rolling them up 

there’s no grand revelation 

and the ocean makes you feel just as lost, really, 

but it’s safer on the sand than in the trees, I can tell by faint memories 


still : stands 

there is a day old tea in the sink unpoured, the tea bag still inside, the rim stained with colour from the water, 

a bag of chips and their dipping sauce, serving spoon lying on the lid, crumbs splattered on the floor 

the fridge door isn’t closed, just barely cracked open, all the magnets are jangled from a desperate grasp 

keys on the ground, knocked off the table with a vase, large glass pieces make it an illusion 

windows shuttered, front door ajar, curtain still open in the dark 

she’ll be back to haunt it later but she won’t return as herself anymore


Eva Grace is a poet and author hailing from Calgary, Alberta. She finds the winters there both poetically beautiful and horrendously cold. She alternates between wanting to wander the nearby natural parks and take pictures, and huddling by the fire watching her favourite shows. She has published several poetry collections and has novels scheduled for the next two years. You can find more about her works and projects on Instagram at @evagracewrites or on Tiktok at @evasfiction. When not writing, Eva can be found drawing, knitting, or reading the latest release by R.F. Kuang. 

Welcome back, Salvatore Difalco!

It’s been a few years since Sal graced our e-pages with his short stories, but we’re very pleased to publish these seven works of his poetry, which we recommend you read in sequence.

Carbon Dating 

Why begin in the dark? Well, that’s where  

we begin, in the dark, blackened with dust,  

bending at the waist, rolling shoulders  

toward the chute and dumping the load.  

Uaine Archibald down the street told me 

that her pa delivered coal before the war.  

The present leads to a dead end where we  

find a tarpaper shack. Inside the shack,  

a human sits in the dark gently rocking.  

A knock on the door is met with silence.


History of Light 

We move like ghosts in vapours, 

nothing like walls hold our thoughts 

back from dashing their teeth 

on the rocks that cross our path. 

We can never see ourselves 

outside this freak procession. 

Gasoline glistens the asphalt 

and a single flame gives way 

to dissonance and faces melting 

as if with laughter. We call this 

planet home exactly why? It’s 

burning, it’s not burning. 

The clanging fire brigade arrives  

too late to be of any use to us  

with only our imaginations intact.  

How long will this take, boss?  

The answer might kill you, man.  

And I thought I was already dead. 


Red Telephone

The false alarm at work: copy. 

Incoming missile verification 

with maximum music: ominous. 

This happening works like a joke. 

Someone smiles behind glass. 

A kiss on the lips like a cigarette 

—her red hair a flame-volley. 

For kilometers she sits on hands. 

Her airplane letters are treasure, 

a maiden song, a border patrol. 

Who wallows in the phone booth? 

Bodyguard or actor—you ready to die? 

A fugitive look, the greatest thing 

the thumb can cock,  

lock, rock and roll. 

Super nice job man, outstanding.  

The fenced place houses the sun  

of a Minuteman III 

Hair-trigger intercontinental 

with the beauty of a tight-waisted woman 

set to go at 15,000 mph. 



A belief in the absurdity of the past 

barricades a man and a woman’s 

imagination in a sunlit field. 

Animals graze in buzzy green light. 

       The red light of authenticity  

       notifies the engineer 

       of a birthday party.  

       Do you know what time it is? 

Paranoia: computer correction. 

       Keep working, green jacket. 

       Keep keeping time. 

       You need a neck rub?  

       A data panic night? 

I imagine acceleration, a fan blade. 

       Do you know what time it 


Field Fidelity 

Desire begins there (not desire) 

listening to the hiss 

White and red define the exteriors 

we follow through glass 

This wasn’t meant to be art 

as much as a heartbeat 

is electric, representing a bridge 

between the cage 

and elemental (um) externals. 

What we thought what we  

thought what we thought. 

Then too late, the field relieved 

itself of our pulsing. 

Listen to the hiss 

that’s how it starts. 

At least that’s what we thought.



The hand rush to the face sparked a red cloud. 

What’s happening? Calm, all. 

More people warrant the Lord’s mercy 

than forces wired with readiness  

are ready to admit. Their toys 

overkill with little red buttons,  

glycerine glistens their brows. 

Responsibility is a blue cloud, 

a flag ship wavering five minutes from the echelon. 

No panic please. Come on, visual patience. 

The hallucination could be just your eyes 

shouting at the heart to trust nothing. 

The observation zone microphone whines. 

Apparatus stations, five minutes. 

Wrong. Millions, repeat, millions. 

A sinful meat-grinder system. 

Yes, it’s heading toward people this minute. 

Store the idea that this is serious, 

you number one human being. 


The Long Ago

Talking to the earth, hello now. 

Where are the wilds we watched 

in documentaries? What happened 

to the lush green, the burning blue? 

We broke it down and still couldn’t 

make it work for us—we don’t 

like the horizon anymore, it puzzles 

the children, horrifies the old ones. 

We take it in stride, like the locusts, 

like fires, like forgotten floods. 

But we do not take it in stride. 

We stand like monks in quagmires. 

We know it is summer, we think 

it is summer, though no blue and fiery 

yellow differentiate that season 

from the last one or the next. 

We welcome all fictions to alleviate 

the dread that our histories spur: 

we rode horses into bloody sunsets, 

we incurred the wrath of mad gods. 


Salvatore Difalco is a Sicilian-Canadian poet and short story writer. He has authored five small press books and his work has appeared in many print and online journals. He lives in Toronto. 

Your baristas hope you’re enjoying this wonderful poetry as much as we are! Next week we introduce three more poets to you all. And the week after, and the week after that! The poets would love to hear from you, so please send us your Comments below.

#Bob Pope#Eva Grace#National Poetry Month April 2023#Sal DiFalco#The Fictional Cafe Week 1

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