Poem-A-Day: Stan Crawford

For our last day of National Poetry Month, I’m featuring a piece by Stan Crawford, whom I met years ago in a poetry workshop and whom I now see around town at poetry events every once in a while. He’s a very kind and interesting person, and it’s always fun to hear him read his work. In particular I admire his blend of accessibility and intellectualism and his subtle sense of humor.

Stan is very much a Houston poet, as this piece which refers to Ken Lay (of Enron infamy) will hint at. The devastating impact of the Enron debacle on Houston probably can’t be overstated. Even though it was nearly twenty years ago, we haven’t forgotten about it, or its perpetrators, or about the crimes which radiated from their choices.

***

After Reading in San Francisco About the Death of Ken Lay, and Consulting Orwell and Balzac

I scrutinize my morning face,
all folds and puffs.
Hair slack, gray-streaked,
random as straw.
A balcony of skin beneath each eye.

At fifty we have the face we deserve.
I too must be guilty of something.

Near Embarcadero a homeless man
with dreadlocks tangled as CIA plots
defies the signs that forbid feeding pigeons
and scatters his scraps of illicit bread.

Disheveled panhandlers and skateboard punks
hang on Haight Street and litter the park
with detritus of undertow
drenched in gold light.

Behind every great fortune, a crime.
A prison placed near the golden gate.
Sour inextricable from sweet
inside the chambers of our grapefruit hearts.

***

Stan Crawford is an attorney and poet who lives in the Houston Heights with his wife Dawn and their menagerie of pets. His poetry collection Resisting Gravity (Lamar University Literary Press) was selected as a Finalist by the Texas Institute of Letters for its First Book of Poetry Award in 2017.  

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National Poetry Month — Day 15

At the last reading I went to, I shared the stage with an old poetry colleague of mine, from many years ago: Stan Crawford. He and I had been published in the same anthology, Untameable City (Mutabilis Press), about the nature, interpreted broadly, of Houston. This reading was to celebrate the book and some of the poets who’d been included in it.

Stan and I had taken workshops together back in the day, and it was so good to run into him again, as it always is. He graciously agreed to let me include his poem “Hedge Fund” here on the blog this April.

 

***

 

Hedge Fund

 

Make a bet about any arbitrary thing:
for example, when a line of bushes
will at some future time enclose a field, or
a pasture, or any predicted area of vivid

growth. Then hedge the bet you’ve made
upon that hedge, to the amazement of those
who hadn’t quite understood that this is now
a world securitized, protected, bet by bet,

increment by increment. Sell this knowledge.
Reap the standard fee of “2 and 20.” Hedge
again. Buy gold, buy oil, buy lithium, buy
homes designed by different architects

on opposite coasts of several continents. Buy
influence, when control is not for sale. Expand
and merge. One day you’ll be too big to fail,
and what is more, you’ll be a man, my son.