ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Louis Phillips


How shall we ever know
The truth about ourselves?
Time sifts the ashes,
But we shall be long gone.

Our friends, God bless them,
Attempt to protect ourselves
From ourselves &
From our enemies,
While our enemies are kind,
Showering us with envy
and/or bitterness.
The natural world,
With its many beasts
& monsters, & billiions
Of scattered human beings
Manifest indifference.
Tho sometimes spirits,
Ghosts on stilts,
Memories stained & smudged
Enter our time & space,
Shaking their heads with wonder.



What we did, where we were,
Who we were then,

I no longer remember,
& every so often names escape me,

But your face remains firm
Where once my heart beat wildly,

Remembering your wide skirt,
Your laughter

That made days open & close,
 So today I bring  these words

Opening & closing, closing &
Opening. I bring them to you

Because the flower lady
On our corner

Had sold out the irises
Which you love so much.



Saps at sea
Yes, I am talking to you.
Why aren't you rolling on the floor,
Holding your sides,
Are eating sponge meatballs &
Your ribs aching,
Saying "What a card!"
Exquisite planets never laugh, &
Stars have sharp teeth,
Features that hold their own
In every storm.
Spaghetti made of rope.
What bites my universe in half?

God made only one joke in His life,
Guess what He named it.
Look at the fine mess
He has gotten us into.


Louis Phillips' most recent blog post on the Joys of Writing can be read at

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