Frank Stanford sitting on a cumulonimbus near the gate that bypasses Purgatory
By Richard H. Fox

— It wasn’t a dream it was a flood — Frank Stanford, poet (1948-1978)

I need a wingman to watch my back
lemme know when old Gabe turns his peepers my way
cat’s ok when we mix chops with a bard beat
only horn player I ever met —
                        no eye for the blonde in the front row

that poem I forgot I wrote turned into a hymn
                        #1 with three bullets
                                Bach on harpsichord
                        got myself this attic office
                        quills, parchment, umber ink
a hymn a month, I stay golden

Old Scratch paces … waiting to collect
figures White Beard will see the real Frank
command Peter to dump me on down

but — maybe He sees what I never saw
                                collisions in my head
no peace until the poem’s written            then
                        moments before lyrical withdrawal
                        — wild turkey run cold
bad poetry ruins good nights

never read aloud to a crowd
never taught my ver-sed tricks
coffeehouses and classrooms
buffets of sweet yearning smiles

call me prolific
I had no choice

some say I killed myself on account of my wife and mistress

you be the judge

Richard H. Fox was born and bred in Worcester, MA. He attended Webster University, as much artist colony as college, in the early 1970s. These diverse cultures shaped his worldview and love of words. When not writing about rock ’n’ roll or youthful transgressions, Richard’s poems focus on cancer from the patient’s point of view drawing on hope, humor, and unforeseen gifts. He is the author of two poetry collections: Time Bomb (2013) and wandering in puzzle boxes (2015). Richard seconds Stanley Kunitz’ motion that people in Worcester are “provoked to poetry.”