Saturday, January 2, 2010


There’s an art
to everything.

How the rain means
April and an ongoing-ness like
that of song until at last
it ends.

A centuries-old
set of silver handbells that
once an altar boy swung,
processing …

You’re the same wilderness you’ve always
been, slashing through briars,
the bracken of your invasive self.

So he said, in a dream. But
the rest of it—all the rest—
was waking: more often than not, to the next

Two blackamoor statues, each mirroring
the other, each hoisting
forever upward his burden of
hand-painted, carved-by-hand
peacock feathers.

Don’t you know it, don’t you know
I love you, he said.

He was shaking.

He said, I love you.

There’s an art to everything.

What I’ve done with this life,
what I’d meant not to do,
or would have meant, maybe, had I
understood, though I have
no regrets.

Not the broken but
still flowering dogwood.
Not the honey locust, either.
Not even the ghost walnut with its
non-branches whose
every shadow is memory,
memory … As he said to me
once, That’s all garbage
down the river, now.

Turning, but as the utterly lost—
because addicted—do:
resigned all over again.

It only looked, it—
It must only look
like leaving.

There’s an art to everything.
Even turning away.

How eventually even hunger
can become a space
to live in.

How they made out of shamelessness something
beautiful, for as long as they could.

Civilization -Carl Phillips