Sanford Fraser







A Pigeon on the Sill


Lying in bed this morning

in and out of sleep

I wake up years ago with you.


Is that your voice laughing?


Wait. Don’t stop. Don’t go.

Snow is falling outside

filling the room with light.


Come here. Together

bound tight, our separate selves

will fall away, before


before this winter returns

a pigeon on the sill

no other voice.



At my desk


my legs are numb as stone

my head, stuffed with words


I stop reading

see myself running at the shore


feel hot sand beneath my feet

cold waves breaking, over my head.


Il ne me suffit pas de lire que les sables des plages sont doux ;

je veux que mes pieds nus le sentent.



André Gide, Les nourritures terrestres




above the honking street

the train lifts me

in my gray suit.


Below the track

a biker zooms

through traffic.


My hand twists the throttle.

My elbows cock

like wings in black leather.


Happy Hour


In front of the Riviera Café

a layer of sand

softens the sidewalk.

5 beach umbrellas spread shade

on the metal tables.


Near the curb

a fake lifeguard stand

overlooks 7th Avenue.


I sit with my gin & tonic

waiting for something to happen.

Waves of traffic roll by

or slam to a halt

at the light.


Is that you on the N°10 bus?

I see the wide door opening

feel the soft tar give

below my feet.


In the bar a piano plays ragtime

the notes splashing

through us.


You’re here.

We’re at the seashore.



In My Garden


In my garden

I’m always shaved

and fully dressed

the tree always trimmed

the hedge clipped


each flower labeled

with its Latin name

a Bachelor’s Button

(Centaurea cyanus)

in my lapel


everything fixed

on display

laughter and children

strictly forbidden.


Where’s Love?  you ask.

Next to me

in the white evening gown

the mannequin



and thin.





I see his face



on tv

in the street


a wooden face

that’s like a wall


without windows

the eyes turned







Sometimes I want

to be him :


wear a new T-Shirt

carefully torn


use the latest drug

drive a Harley


turn on

a leather girl


fit her to me

like a glove.



Plastic Man


Through the window

the sidewalk of trash bags spills

into my room

plastic bottles roll beneath the bed

giant waves of them flow

into the kitchen.


I shut my eyes, then open them —

the bottles are still here

my Cheerios, everything I eat

tastes of plastic.

I swallow, digest it

my face, my smile

my words are plastic

I’m indestructible.








They march in single file

along the fashion highway


super-thin models

their faces frozen.


For awhile, you’re up there

with them




your hips bouncing back & forth

to the hip-hop beat


your eyes shouting to the applause:

Look at me.


Don’t look at me.

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