on july 6th, 2009,  i wrote to S and sent him this poem by Carl Phillips. this was after i spent part of an afternoon in San Francisco in L’s apartment reading Phillips’ poetry.

Radiance Versus Ordinary Light
Meanwhile the sea moves uneasily, like a man who
suspects what the room reels with as he rises into it
is violation — his own: he touches the bruises at each
shoulder and, on his chest,
the larger bruise, star-shaped,
a flawed star, or hand, though he remembers no hands,
has tried — can’t remember…
That kind of rhythm to it, 
even to the roughest surf there’s a rhythm findable, 

which is why we keep coming here, to find it or that’s 

what we say. We dive in and, as usual,
the swimming
feels like that swimming the mind does in the wake
of transgression, how the instinct to panic at first 

slackens that much more quickly, if you don’t 

look back. Regret,
like pity, changes nothing really, we 

say to ourselves and, less often, to each other, each time 
swimming a bit farther, 
leaving the shore the way 
the water — in its own watered, of course, version 
of semaphore — keeps leaving the subject out, flashing 
Why should it matter now and Why, 
why shouldn’t it, 
as the waves beat harder, hard against us, until that’s 
how we like it, I’ll break your heart, break mine.

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  1. Pingback: Radiance versus Ordinary Light | rose in midair

  2. Pingback: “you’re very romantic, for a cynic.” – rose in midair

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