On Juliet Art Magazine, Interview Italian and English

On Juliet Art Magazine, Interview Italian and English

Francesca Coppola Awakens to the Truth



Dear Samuel,

We drove for about eleven hours. We stopped for gas and I walked out of the car. I smelled the fall and the forest. I always notice the change in my senses when I leave the city. It reminds me I spend my life at the front steps of sleep, till I occasionally awaken to the truth of a gush of wind at dusk. 

I feel something in my stomach, because it reminds me of him, when we used to drive up to Connecticut. It’s a twinge a heavier breath in my lungs, carried all the way up to my neck and shoulders; it stops on my eyelids and lingers there for a moment…

My friend gestures for me to come, and I remember the gas pump. 

Oh, Samuel! All the coffees, and books, and drinks with friends, and driving, and the internet, and me writing to you –

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Such a fun night and a great honor to be featured here!!

Never been so nice


This is the first dvd you ever gave me. All the real girls by David Gordon Green. I remember the two of them standing in front of each other, and staring at each other for a long time. I remember thinking this is the opposite of awkward, despite the fact that they were standing in front of a building and it was cold and they were silent the entire time. Maybe that’s a good definition of love – the opposite of awkward.

Once you got upset and you took this back. This item is now in a plastic bag that I will leave at your brother’s. I like to think we’ve been this close in your blue room on hot summer nights, our eyes half close half open.


This is my living room wall. We painted it together when I first moved in. I asked you what color I should use and you said yellow. You said yellow makes me think of you reading in a café on a fall day in some other country. I went to the store and picked the color, Lion’s Heart. We used a sponge and couldn’t quite get to the corners, so the wall is smudged on the edge. Then we had a fight, and then we opened a bottle of wine and then we went back to your place. In the empty apartment the paint dried up, as the cold air came through the open windows. The corners remained unpainted and the tape was left on the ceilings for a month or so.

Looking at the clumsy unpredictable strokes on the wall makes me think of October, of a lit candle and a small white clay sculpture right beside it. It makes me think of your grey sweater and your backpack in the corner.



I broke up with you here. I clearly remember this pole as I spoke to you on the phone. I sat on the grass and looked at it for a long time after we talked. The thing that really stuck with me is the moment we said bye at the end of the conversation. It sounded like any other bye you’d say to anyone in any phone call. And then we hung up.

I haven’t spoke to you since, or heard your voice and I’m not sure when I will again, if ever. I bike through here every day to go to work. Sometimes I see the pole, sometimes I don’t. Perhaps one day it will be gone.



The only time you got me roses. It was a cloudy afternoon and you had been working all night and hadn’t slept. You did not return my calls all day and the day before and you showed up at my door with roses and wine to congratulate me. But you were not very happy. You were not happy when you were supposed to be happy, and this has always been true with you. I liked it better that time you got me an empty candy wrap in the park and kissed me on the cheek, and told me I tasted like cherry ice. This wine and roses made me sad, or perhaps it was the grey-coated sky, or our silent afternoon nap.

This rose once in bloom is now dead. My joy never saw the light that day. It faded before you walked into the apartment. I glance at this every once in a while as I make myself a sandwich in the kitchen, and it reminds me of time gone and of things stolen.


This is your subway stop. You can easily jump the turnstile, in absence of a security guard. There used to be a flower shop in the corner, now closed off by white panels, and a fat man dozing off among the roses. You took a picture of him once, and he mingled perfectly with the plants, a still life, lit by a flare of neon light. You told me the story of Sam who, on his way home from work, got flowers for Becca on their anniversary. The flowers sat on the vase as they left their apartment for the night.

We never had an apartment together. But we must have both thought at some point of a door quietly closing behind us as we entered the night, no one else’s but ours, the stillness of a room watching us walk down the streets, further and further away, to the fading honks of the cars and the city lights, like flickering dots above us.

This flower store is no more, and it won’t be long before there will be a booth at this station, and I won’t be able to sneak under the turnstile and get a free ride.

We’ve never been still. We have moved and pushed and stumbled, and hit. But at times we’ve held hands and waited in silence for the train to arrive.


This is the deli by Tompkins. I came here a few times. One late night we were having beers at your place. You were going away for the weekend the following day. I told you that I loved you. You said, now what, and I said, let’s eat. So I came here to get groceries and we made pasta with tomato and cashews. We listened to your Joan Baez record and I asked you if you wanted to come to New Orleans with me.

Much later I found out that you went Upstate with someone else, another girl, that weekend. We were still together then. I don’t know how I feel about that now. But right there and then I hurried, got everything, paid and ran back to you.

We also stole avocados from here a few times when we didn’t have enough money to eat. We’d plug in the toaster under your desk and make sandwiches.

I still have your toaster.



There needed to be a record in this. You’ve never been good at talking feelings, and you played music instead. I understood a lot about your moods and place of mind by listening to the lyrics of the songs you played for me. You bought a guitar, but never learned. You never learned much to be honest, and that’s because I think you never truly listened to me. It’s one of those things women say, but believe me it’s true. Had I sang for you, perhaps things would be different.

But April did come, and we danced in my living room. Around us the walls became trees, and below us the grass was soft and wet, like a spring morning.  I smile as I think we danced ourselves to the end of love, just like we said we would, driving upstate in your car when you used to say to me - what are you smiling about?



This is your old apartment. I buzzed and ran up your stairs so many times in the middle of the night. You’d be by your computer. There was always music playing. It was your way, and I let you.

I stood here the night you puked after eating shark at the restaurant. I got you grapefruit and you cut it up and put sugar on top. I sat on those stools wearing a red dress on your birthday with a tiny creature on my lap, waiting for you.

I walked down the block the other night, and I saw us walk in the opposite direction. As I turned to see, we disappeared behind the corner. I paused for a moment. A girl scooped from behind me and opened the door. She turned around and smiled at me, before disappearing in the hall. 

Sometimes I like to think there is a blue room somewhere with a boy, a girl and a cat, and an open window that looks into a courtyard with a tree, in a place where is always night and never winter.

Sometimes I remember that feeling. But then something catches my attention, and through an open window I see a woman getting ready for the night, and the yellow cabs rushing down the avenue, and they remind me that you, like all things, have passed. I stand amazed, always behind this flow of things that, just like you, has escaped me. 


To Self

Tulips on the porch
once in bloom,
now tired
look down the stem
Yellow shade of a color
A sad sunset.

A certain thought
Seeps slowly
Through the heat:
How many times
I could have died.

A crib left by accident
Wheeling out on the road
A lucky pause before
The scaffolding inevitably

A young girl
Starved me to the bone.
I could have passed then,
An afternoon after school
When mother
Sat me on the bed
And held my hand as she spoke.

Or the night the artichokes
Went cold in the oven
After the phone rang
The only time I saw
My father cry.

A second behind the speeding car,
A slip into the crack.
I could have let him
Kill me
Not so suddenly
A mountain
An inch lower every century.

My thick skin
Burns under summer sun
A cat stops and looks
Then goes on in the quiet street.
In the house
Someone is making dinner.

Perhaps a sip of water
To celebrate
That today
I’m standing on my feet
And under crushed petals
My heart is tender still

17 and unarmed

What is it about witnessing
Injustice that haunts me-
A crippled dog by the side
Of the road, a black man shot
A lie too many times told.
What can I do with it
Now, when the only
Choice I seem to have is
A taste in coffee.

Or it could be
That this feeling of nausea
sipping from the cup today
is real and my heart is
pounding and rage-
the first word of a war fought
and won but most important
told -is what makes the stomach

Perhaps these things
do matter when you
wake up in the morning
with an inexplicable
urge to say something

This sickness must be
A definition of human


you said to me a tree
is not the oak
on the road back home
or the shade in the backyard
of your school
worms dug up
by tiny hands
from the roots

it’s just a tree:
learn how to see that

but you don’t look at me
you don’t see me
or the tree

I could watch the stars
in another field of lonely grass
someone else’s home
histories unknown
and the effort that takes
to know them
to know things
and not yourself really

I breathe next to you
another creature
how many times will we say
I love you
before it doesn’t mean anything

or I could just leave now
back on the train
into the night
behind me a trail,
a memory



Today I feel Revolutionary To throw my everything Away Strip my naked body Of worn out seasons And make art with my breasts Black and white. But I don’t mind the cold Outside this yellow room. A serious being With wide bold pupils I turn to marble Again.

I feel

To throw my everything
Strip my naked body
Of worn out seasons
And make art
with my breasts
and white.

But I don’t mind the cold
Outside this yellow room.
A serious being
With wide bold pupils
I turn to marble


The last time I saw my grandfather
Or the time before that
The last time I saw him
Ante hospital bed
And bone cancer-
He drove me to the train station.

I had paid him a visit
In his hometown
My father’s
Who said his father
Made boy’s ill ear bleed
And sister in the convent
Left him with a bag of poop
The other children around
In a circle

I met for lunch, them
My father’s sister and her demented mother
the son, the brother, is missing.
A few months earlier
His heart stopped and the ball dropped
Grandfather held his head
Hot still, from blood pumping
But no more.
It was Christmas’ day.

We sat and ate
Ravioli half by half
Sometimes quarters
Eases the way down the throat
And occupies time.
On the cabinet
I used to stare at
On the tip of my toes.
The indifference of objects through time
Makes my heart sink
Resting on the lace

We sat and ate our last meal.
Grandma died in May
on the same day
grandpa died too.
I’d see him again
Shrunk under thin sheet
White bones crackling
Brittle dry crumbs
On the tablecloth
I push into
With my fingertips

I hopped on the train
Wet, stark and grainy
In the crepuscular fog
Darker every second
The shape of an overcoat
Hunched with a hat
Smaller every second
As I moved further

My grandfather never bought me chocolate
Or let me jump on his bed
Or taught me how to grow roses
Or dive in the lake
But that one time
He took some good care
Of me
And off with a silent blessing.
And I – I for wanting to leave so fast:
This poem
And smoke rising from the rice fields
On cold winter nights.

In my eyes
You will never stand again,
And today
this grey sad world
Passing by the train’s window
Will remind me of home.

 GREAT WARS  On the ride back, in the cab, he told us a veteran he knew, who strategically hid each part of his gun in secret places of the house, hoping he wouldn’t remember where he hid them, when he woke up at night wanting to kill his wife. I listen in fear. Fear, because my memory is stalwart and I’ve never had a plan. Outside it’s raining as we drive, finally silent, contemplating our next moves.

On the ride back, in the cab, he told us a veteran he knew, who strategically hid each part of his gun in secret places of the house, hoping he wouldn’t remember where he hid them, when he woke up at night wanting to kill his wife. I listen in fear. Fear, because my memory is stalwart and I’ve never had a plan. Outside it’s raining as we drive, finally silent, contemplating our next moves.