16 October 2007

I woke up fat and almost unhappy, but the bigger the laugh the bigger the belly

Angel of Death
--Frank Stanford

A man came down the road.

I told him he better watch his step.
He asked me what I was doing,
Sleeping in the middle of the road.

I said I was an orphan.
See these suspenders?
They hold up my pants.
I sleep where I please, says I.
My pillows come from the best roosters.

The moon went back into its night
Like a blue channel cat in a log.

The man cast no shadow.

My shoes wore out
Like a thousand years in the desert.

There was a snow drift in my heart,
And in the broken mountains of the South
The smoke rose
Wet on the edge with blood.

I am getting out of here, I told the man.

He spit a fish bone on the ground.
He took off his glove.
He laid it on the bone.

What I wanted to do was run.

The moon beat like bait on a black hook.
Then there was a new fish
Sucking wind in the road.

Take off your pants, he said.
He had an egg in his hand.

Anything for the angel of death.

--David Walker
Frank Stanford 1949 - 1978

Sometimes when a man is old
enough to take his own life
soberly, he takes that life.

At dawn, the light blue with cold,
I go out past the corncrib
to the chickenrun, gripping
the shotgun; behind a pile
of grainsacks, I make my space
against the weather. Then wait-
taking the risk a man must
live by- for the fox to come
or not; the dead rooster hung
bloody by the cornerpost.

Sometimes when what you wait for
arrives, it's like a river
with a shifting undertow
stirring up silt and trouble.

I sit there for hours; gun
growing into my hands, eyes
held by the drip... drip slowing
beneath the body. Nothing
has come from across the cold
pasture, no leap to trigger
the dumb darkness alight.

And sometimes it's like
nothing at all. Then a man
may walk to the river, gun
in hand, to stir up his own
sober trouble. A taking pains
as though the current might clear
if he shadowed it forever.


Evilyn Garnett said...

The Frank Stafford poem is chilling, lovely, like all the midnight meetings at all the southern crossroads all in one still moment...your pics' haunting the words, too, melody to lyrics.
Tema has you on her bloglist, and she was right. Sometime please check mine out, and leave a comment if you can...we need to know that we exist....
thanks for the words and pictures.

Karen said...

This is an excellent set of photos and I've been struggling to come up with a comment that encompasses their awesomeness. I can't. I'm drawn to the sky and the vines in the first one, then the crisp foreground and mottled reflection, after that its the selective focusing, and then the popping pink of those flowers. The bleached out sky works in that photo. Finally, there are the fake deer. I can't decide if I'd rather they be found deer or ones you put up.

Each photo holds something that makes the right corner of my mouth twitch. This is good stuff. Keep up with it.

mark burnette said...

evilyn and karen,

thanks for the comments. i've been feeling a little disappointed with my photography lately, so it's nice to get some reassurance. i love the feeling i get from being out there, actively observing/engaging with the world, but i'm often not sure if any of that feeling is carried over into my photos. as you say, evilyn, "we need to know that we exist," so i really appreciate the words/acknowledgement.