March 10, 2010

I drink my liquor from the palm
of a child who spoke in tongues
and smelled like sun

RIP Mark Linkous

-- Linkous, who was a big fan of the poet Frank Stanford, committed suicide with a gunshot to his heart, exactly as did Stanford.

The Light the Dead See
-- by Frank Stanford

There are many people who come back
After the doctor has smoothed the sheet
Around their body
And left the room to make his call.

They die but they live.

They are called the dead who lived through their deaths,
And among my people
They are considered wise and honest.

They float out of their bodies
And light on the ceiling like a moth,
Watching the efforts of everyone around them.

The voices and the images of the living
Fade away.

A roar sucks them under
The wheels of a darkness without pain.
Off in the distance
There is someone
Like a signalman swinging a lantern.

The light grows, a white flower.
It becomes very intense, like music.

They see the faces of those they loved,
The truly dead who speak kindly.

They see their father sitting in a field.
The harvest is over and his cane chair is mended.
There is a towel around his neck,
The odor of bay rum.
Then they see their mother
Standing behind him with a pair of shears.
The wind is blowing.
She is cutting his hair.

The dead have told these stories
To the living.

Humming This Song Trying to Remember the Way Another One Goes
-- by Frank Stanford

For a moment the hour is two mad doves
For the rest of your life
Your blood is a sketch
I have drawn from memory
Like a missing deck of cards
Under the bed's ditch
A gardenia turning brown when you touch it
Or a stone
Sinking in the low pond's mud
It all seems
To swarm obediently
As a fugue
I am going to dream
I hear the sleep of figs and bulls
Pollinating the next second
Like a scar with no wound
There is a lightning before death
Without thunder and melody
A taproot disheveled as a shadow
And the boats remain
Waiting to be launched
A dead reckoning of birds
Flying at ninety degrees
Like lost gloves
The bodies forbear
The bodies
Burning the pillows of the sick
That have written the last lines of songs
Sores down on their knees
Begging to be marooned
The horsefly's legs the lady's cameo
A close brush with the ancients
The other one
Went like this
Night and her moon
Like a widow with child
The wood of a wild cherry will kill you
And the barefoot gypsy slicing her melon
Will kiss the ground you walk on
The rest of your life


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