August 1, 2008

Your first burning breath
Was a symphony
And a ship full of horses
Was going down at sea



Unknown, Frank Stanford's grave in Subiaco, Arkansas

Three poems by Frank Stanford, who was born sixty years ago today:

Brothers on Sunday Night

We'd been dreaming
Or at least I had
About peanuts that grow in the river
And oozed sap
When you bit them

A woman bootlegger shook her dustmop
That was the moon

In the fields
Something barren like a journey
And echoes of salt
Sprinkled deep on the table

Where they said the young mother
Walked into the water

With her dress full of rocks
I laid down
And ate a peck of bruised peaches

A fisherman went to sleep on his mule
Riding to the store
For a roll of wax paper
Then we heard
Shouting that tore out the light.


Sanctuary

a woman came to take my picture
she told me the time of day in a letter
I wanted to be dressed
fit to kill
and ready when she took it
I wanted to be lying on the edge of a pond
smoking a long pipe
and an unsaddled horse would be grazing
beside me I wanted a gaze no one could forget
without a word of warning
I heard the whirring come to an end
bumble bees sucking a rose
this woman should have told me
these pictures wouldn't be still
I'd of ridden the white horse


Only One Set in the Singer's Eyes

He got drunk looking at a woman from his past
And this is what he wrote down on a paper sack
In the tavern one night while I watched him:
Your body is a plantation
I worked on for seven years, all of them solid,
Deep in summer it's uncleared timber, backwater
Ditch and slough, the years of the bad-assed
Sax, the years of bad cotton, nights and crops
I went shares on, evenings with gars,
Lord God Almighty didn't it rain,
So long, say love, say night honey, pull
A stump, court with your crowbar,
The bedrooms like trembling bridges,
Like women holding mirrors in the spring,
And here I am, the snow all around me,
A match in my mouth, like the high water,
Crazy, sad, and dangerous, a log
Chain on your floor, what love
There was, bee on the rose, buried in the year
Book in the attic, common and pretended sleep,
No one loses their shadow because no one
Is a boat on a river without wind,
And there are screws on the window sill
Never will be sunken to hold a pane,
You can listen to the rain, you can lie
Yourself back into bodies you never
Touched, cruelty, cruelty, cruelty,
That's what I told her.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home