SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: CARL PHILLIPS

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CHROMATIC BLACK
By Carl Phillips

Of the many things that he used to say to me, there are two
I’m certain of: You taste like a last less-than-long summer afternoon
by the shore just before September
; and

You’re the kind of betrayal, understand, I’ve been waiting for,
all my life
. When did remembering stop meaning
to be lit from within—bodily—
and the mind, briefly flickering
again out—wasn’t that forgetting? Somewhere
abandon’s still just a word to be turned away from, as from a man
on fire. Remorse, I think,
is not regret. How new, as in full of chance, the nights here
still can seem to be,
if you keep your eyes closed. Here’s a lullaby:
“No more bondage, no triumph either, no more the bluing waves
of shame…”


(Today’s poem originally appeared in Ploughshares and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Carl Phillips is the author of twelve books of poems, most recently Silverchest. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

Editor’s Note: Carl Phillips is a master of the-line-that-blows-you-away. “You’re the kind of betrayal, understand, I’ve been waiting for, / all my life.” “Somewhere / abandon’s still just a word to be turned away from, as from a man / on fire” “Remorse, I think, / is not regret.” This poet speaks the truth, rewriting the world in a way we all wish we could. I, for one, am humbled.

Want to read more by and about Carl Phillips?
Poets.org
The Poetry Foundation
Q & A on Smartish Pace

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