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Frank Stanford

Frank Stanford (August 1, 1948 – June 3, 1978) was a prolific American poet. He is most known for his epic, The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You— a labyrinthine poem without stanzas or punctuation. In addition, Stanford published six shorter books of poetry throughout his 20s, and three posthumous collections of his writings (as well as a book of selected poems) have also been published.

Just shy of his 30th birthday, Stanford died on June 3, 1978 in his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the victim of three self-inflicted pistol wounds to the heart. In the three decades since, he has become a cult figure in American letters.

Freedom, Revolt, and Love

They caught them. They were sitting at a table in the kitchen. It was early. They had on bathrobes. They were drinking coffee and smiling. She had one of his cigarillos in her fingers. She had her legs tucked up under her in the chair. They saw them through the window. She thought of them stepping out of a bath And him wrapping cloth around her. He thought of her walking up in a small white building, He thought of stones settling into the ground. Then they were gone. Then they came in through the back. Her cat ran out. The house was near the road. She didn't like the cat going out. They stayed at the table. The others were out of breath. The man and the woman reached across the table. They were afraid, they smiled. The other poured themselves the last of the coffee. Burning their tongues. The man and the woman looked at them. They didn't say anything. The man and the woman moved closer to each other, The round table between them. The stove was still on and burned the empty pot. She started to get up. One of them shot her. She leaned over the table like a schoolgirl doing her lessons. She thought about being beside him, being asleep. They took her long gray socks Put them over the barrel of a rifle And shot him. He went back in his chair, holding himself. She told him hers didn't hurt much, Like in the fall when everything you touch Makes a spark. He thought about her getting up in the dark Wrapping a quilt around herself. And standing in the doorway. She asked the men if they shot them again Not to hurt their faces. One of them lit him one of his cigarettes. He thought what it would be like Being children together. He was dead before he finished it. She asked them could she take it out of his mouth. So it wouldn't burn his lips. She reached over and touched his hair. She thought about him walking through the dark singing. She died on the table like that, Smoke coming out of his mouth.

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