Where It Happened Vincent Francone Poetry

local_library Where It Happened

by Vincent Francone

Published in Issue No. 246 ~ November, 2017

When, that summer, the humid nights

drove him to smoke on the fire escape

and once or twice sleep on the grate

waking with the impressions on his skin

at the sound of god’s basest creatures

scurrying in the alley below his body,

he often spied the bicyclists,

a dozen late-night riders led

by a baritone-voiced tour guide.


The guide would pass his arm across the air

indicating the very spot

where Bugs Moran’s men were shot,

and then offer his favorite line:

referring to the Tommy gun:


he’d say, then go rat-a-tat-tat,

tell them to snap their photos fast

they’re running late.  “IT’S NEARLY ONE.”

The tourists would take their pics,

snap and dial to the next frame,

another snap, snap again.

Why, he wondered, would anyone want

a picture of an alley, however historic? 

Perhaps, he wonders today, I’m in one

of those photos; buried in an album

along with birthdays and old friends,

he pictures himself on the fire escape

in the background, smiling, smoking,

twenty years younger, tired, sweating,

with no idea what all was coming.



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Vincent Francone is a writer from Chicago whose memoir, Like a Dog, was published in the fall of 2015. He won first place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition (Gwendolyn Brooks Award) and is at work on a collection of poems and stories. Visit www.vincentfrancone.com to read his work or say hi.