Everybody Who is Dead

By Frank Stanford 1948–1978 Frank Stanford
When a man knows another man
Is looking for him
He doesn’t hide.

He doesn’t wait
To spend another night
With his wife
Or put his children to sleep.

He puts on a clean shirt and a dark suit
And goes to the barber shop
To let another man shave him.

He shuts his eyes
Remembers himself as a boy
Lying naked on a rock by the water.

Then he asks for the special lotion.
The old men line up by the chair
And the barber pours a little
In each of their hands.

Estate of Frank Stanford © C.D. Wright

Source: You (Lost Road Publishers, 1979)

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Poet Frank Stanford 1948–1978

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Death, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

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 Living, Death, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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