‘Bell Peppers and Beef Blues’ by Ariel Francisco

— Joyce Chong

This week, I have something short, simple and vaguely nostalgic for you all. This Cowboy Bebop inspired poem by Ariel Francisco is an exercise in brevity, the distillation of a story and character into its simplest division while remaining a whole number. No broken partials, no half measures. Part diorama, part summoning of longing, ‘Bell Peppers and Beef Blues’ mirrors the melodic genre of its namesake. Francisco works rhythm and simplistic clarity to recall the past in a way that is mournful, lonesome, and singular in its illustration. I imagine this is what it would sound like if a still-life painting were a poem.

same way
you say an ex’s

name aloud when
no one’s near

Passages North