Time Forks Perpetually toward Innumerable Futures in One of Them I Am Your Enemy


I am going to die.

Friends who made good,
Friends who did not,
I am going
Down into the Egypt of your sex,
The lands of your mystery and death.

Do you still want me
To find you
Somebody to love?

I cruise through the delta of your love,
Paradise on Sunday,
Cold as ice on Monday.
A hundred pounds of it on the tongs,
A butterfly at the center.

Going home I cross the bridge
And throw a bottle out the window,
Hit all my friends in the head.

The crickets under the straw
Like old folks spitting in a paper sack.

Now my life the Sphinx
Laid by slaves,
My death the promised land.

A light rain falling, a split tongue
And sad eyes, no lie,
I’ve got you by the tongue.

I park my Cadillac outside your temple of madness.
You are worshipped there.

Look at your face, swollen from sleep.
Are you waiting for me
To unwind you from your last clothes,
Do you want me
To bury my long ship in your heart?

Your lineage like gravesites for the stars,
Way stations for great dreamers.

There is a six foot rattlesnake
Asleep in the birdhouse.
Are you taking crumbs to the warblers tonight?

Death is an isthmus, you can get there on foot.
But love had made its island.

What of the young?
I hunt them down,
Good winds in the desert,
Blue eggs in the junipers.

Tell it:

There is a fear without age or Christ
That goes through us
Like moonshine in a coil.

There is a stranger
You see more and more of
Every year, he is silt in the riverbed.
And the water tables of your mystery
Rise to their final levels,
The spitting image of your death.

If you leave a girl of your own,
Tell her to run off with your enemy’s son,
If you have a son,
Tell him to run off with your enemy’s daughter.
And if you have no enemies, inquire of me,
Your troubles are just beginning.

Text: Frank Stanford, What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford. Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2015
Image: Thomas Hart Benton, After Many Springs, oil and tempera on masonite, 1945, Collection of the Thomas Hart Benton Estate



One Response to “Time Forks Perpetually toward Innumerable Futures in One of Them I Am Your Enemy”

  1. Brandon Straun Says:

    Frank Stanford is my new favorite poet, thanks to your post, dear Tiger Loaf.

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