What About This

By Frank Stanford 1948–1978 Frank Stanford
A guy comes walking out of the garden
Playing Dark Eyes on the accordian.
We’re sitting on the porch,
Drinking and spitting, lying.
We shut our eyes, snap our fingers.
Dewhurst goes out to his truck
Like he doesn’t believe what he’s seeing
And brings back three-half-pints.
A little whirlwind occurs in the road,
Carrying dust away like a pail of water.
We’re drinking serious now, and O.Z.
Wants to break in the store for some head cheese,
But the others won’t let him.
Everybody laughs, dances.
The crossroads are all quiet
Except for the little man on the accordian.
Things are dying down, the moon spills its water.
Dewhurst says he smells rain.
O.Z. says if it rains he’ll still make a crop.
We wait there all night, looking for rain.
We haven’t been to sleep, so the blue lizards
On the side of the white porch
Lose their tails when we try to dream.
The man playing the music looks at us,
Noticing what we’re up to. He backs off,
Holding up his hands in front, smiling,
Shaking his head, but before he gets half way
Down the road that O.Z. shoots him in the belly.
All summer his accordian rotted in the ditch,
Like an armadillo turning into a house payment.

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 Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Crime & Punishment

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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SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Crime & Punishment

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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