A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by
Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.
Poems by Louis Phillips
I AM WRITING THIS POEM TO FORGET
Cannot remember one thing about her.
Not the tattoo of a tiny boa constrictor
Upon her left thigh. Not the blonde hair
All in tumble; nor her silk underwear,
Nor the large bed, usually unmade,
Nor seductive musings she said.
So far, so good.
A WINDOW BOX OF ORIENTAL POPPIES
GLIMPSED FROM THE WINDOW OF A
Spending my days on the high iron dog,
Shuttling my life between New York &
The struggle to make known
Discontent defining who we are,
Sunlight on a red building reveals
A window box of oriental poppies
3 stories up. Rapunzel, I think,
My mind being 3 stories up.
If these hardy perennials cd
Let their own hair down,
I cd, if I had strength enough,
Climb up to them. Lucid recognition.
Like Camus, I too have lived
Amid “poverty & sunlight.”
ANOTHER KIND OF NIGHT
Spiders spin their own universe,
But I wish to make another kind of night,
One in which the moon
Firmly planted underfoot,
Flashes fresh springs,
Fragmented & elusive,
In the northern sky
The full round of changes,
Then torrents & tidal creeks
With curlews in tight bunches.
Up! Up! Nothing is ordinary
Unless seen with an ordinary eye.
How many times has it happened
A love-sick swain
Smitten by a fair young woman
Ends up killing her brother,
Say in Faust, Romeo & Juliet,
& in the western Dodge City
When Errol Flynn shoots a drunken lout
Who has stampeded the cattle.
Killing a brother
With a rapier or with a Colt .45
Engenders a wound
As deep as any kiss,
One more obstacle
True love must overcome,
Tho when it comes to breaking out
Of a sexless domestic scene
To rush into an erotic clinch
Every sister knows
Brothers can be such a nuisance.
LAST MONTH ALONE
Last month alone,
With its 32 days of rain, whining, & tsuris,
More than 336,732 poems,
As reported by the U.S. Department
Of Ecstatic Transportation,
Were lost, stolen, or mishandled.
2 or 300 were deliberately misread
& many others cold-shouldered
Or ignored by short-sighted editors.
Aren’t you glad
That this poem was not one of those?
LITERARY NOTE 1
I merely want to
Point out that Squanto,
Also called Tisquantum, a Patuxet
Indian, did not have the opportunity to read No Exit.
LITERARY NOTE 2
The poems of To Fu?
Way too few.
Louis Phillips is a poet, playwright, and short story writer. He has written some 55 books for children and adults. His sequence of poems –The Time, The Hour, The Solitariness of the Place –was the co-winner in the Swallow’s Tale Press competition (1984). Among his published books of poems are: The Krazy Kat Rag (Light Reprint Press), Bulkington (Hollow Spring Press), The Time, the Hour, the Solitariness of the Place (Swallow’s Tale Press ). Pleasure Boat Studio has published his The Domain of Silence/The Domain of Absence: New and Selected Poems this Fall. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
This is Louis Phillips' first appearance in Offcourse.