Bryan Franco


Thousands of years ago,
people were born with only one ear.  
The ear was created 
to replace a third eye.  
The gods or the spirits or Gaia 
decided humans having third eyes 
 was a wasted privilege.  
There was no need for hearing 
when we had third eyes, 
but suddenly were functionally blind 
and needed a new sense 
to keep us sensible.
We heard birds 
that sang sweet songs, 
but some birds 
screeched like banshees.
Wind, rain, and thunder became noises 
that forced us to stay in our caves.
This new sense we possessed 
held anxiety, 
something altogether new, something 
that confounded minds beyond 
the basic purpose of brains.
Taking away our third eyes created psychology.
Being able to hear the world around us 
created chaos.
So, the gods or the spirits or Gaia 
added an extra ear 
to balance our behavior.
Of course, noses came next
which allowed us to understand 
 we can stink.
Then we opened our mouths 
to express our disgust 
which led to speech 
which led to language 
which led to opinions 
which led to trying to make sense 
of stuff that made no sense 
which became belief.


I admit I doubt I could cut it as a Buddhist monk.

But to chuck everything and move to Thailand or Nepal? 
(I think Nepal is choice #1.)

I certainly couldn’t survive a period of silence. 
(Maybe, I could get dr’s note from my shrink 
or find a Reform Jewish Buddhist order.)

To live the life of a Buddhist monk sounds like 
a wonderful idea, but I don’t think they do 
1-or-2-week trials for people who think 
it’s a wonderful idea.

I probably won’t be allowed to have 
my iPhone and my iTunes account 
with all the music I’ve accumulated  
from decades of CD purchases.

I wonder if Buddhist monks in Nepal 
are allowed to paint as a hobby.
Where would I get paint?
What would I paint on?

The thought of doing tai chi or something similar daily 
or gardening on a mountain steppe sounds like a stressless fantasy.

There would be no cheesecake or mac-n-cheese
or clam chowder or pastrami Reubens or apple fritters.
The ingredients for meals would be severely limited,
and I might get healthier in a manner 
my cardiologist wouldn’t believe.

I might learn that I don’t need so much stuff.
All the stuff that overstuffs my life 
like a cheap giant stuffed animal won playing whack-a-mole
or shooting targets from a rifle with a bent sight at the county fair.

Those stuffed animals are too large 
for the most kids’ and adults’ bedrooms. 
The unpremium stuffing is never soft enough for hugging.

Buddhist monks in Nepal don’t play whack-a-mole 
or eat pastrami Reubens or become monks to destress. 
Becoming a monk isn’t an idea or fantasy. 
Nepalese Buddhist monks don’t need an extensive iTunes library 
or meditate listening to Stevie Wonder or Bossa Nova.

Plus, they can’t take a roadtrip to Trader Joe’s on a whim. 


It sits atop a table.
He is hesitant to touch it.
It is ice cold to the touch.

The single second he felt his palm hug the handle,
the exact moment he allowed his trigger finger to finger the trigger,
he felt the whites of his eyes lose their bloodshot. 

At the practice range, 
he aimed his new possession 
at a life-size human-shaped piece of card stock paper 
with bullseyes printed on face and chest.

He knew he held a new power.
He knew he held the power to end a life.
He also knew better.

But there were times
he wanted more bullets 
and a larger magazine, 
an opportunity 
to write his story 
with more power.

Bryan Franco is a 55-year-old gay, Jewish poet/spoken word performer from Brunswick, Maine. He competed with the Portland Maine Rhythmic Cypher slam team in the 2014 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. He has performed live on stage at The Nuyorican Poet Café in New York City and in Zoom open mics in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Australia, Singapore, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Lebanon.  His poetry is published in the US, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland and has featured for poetry events and podcasts in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. He hosts Café Generalissimo Open Mic, is a member of Beardo Bards of the Bardo poetry troupe, painter, sculptor, gardener, and culinary genius. In November 2021, his book EVERYTHING I THINK IS ALL IN MY MIND was published by Read or Green Books.

Flights, Issue Four, April 2022