By Frank Stanford 1948–1978 Frank Stanford
We go on and we tremble.
God says we can screw now.
God says to give up all your lovers,
Time to die.

When I was younger I drove a Lincoln.
God said to trade it in.
A tad lovely, then, and terrible,
And sick of my own kind,
I wanted to become a woman.
I wanted to wash the feet of other women
In public, I wanted his eyes
On me, olives on the ground.

I gave you my hand,
Now I go around with my sleeve
Tucked in my coat.

I climb no trees, touch
One breast at a time,
Hold no hands myself.

I go on and I tremble
With your back in my blood,
The clap my mother left me.

With me no more, and now,
And forever, and even always
The dust of my feet
In the desert
I give you stranger my sign,
My peace,
But God you remember
You fucked me out of my hand.

Estate of Frank Stanford © C.D. Wright

Source: Last Panther in the Ozarks (Unpublished Collection, )

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Poet Frank Stanford 1948–1978

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Nature, The Body, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Born in 1948, Stanford was a prolific poet known for his originality and ingenuity. He has been dubbed “a swamprat Rimbaud” by Lorenzo Thomas and “one of the great voices of death” by Franz Wright. He grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, and then Arkansas, where he lived for most of his life and wrote many of his most powerful poems. He attended the University of Arkansas from 1967-9 and studied engineering while continuing to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Nature, The Body, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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