Friday, April 12, 2013

bright world - carl phillips

—And it came to pass, that meaning faltered; came detached
unexpectedly from the place I'd made for it, years ago,
fixing it there, thinking it safe to turn away, therefore,
to forget—hadn't that made sense? And now everything
did, but differently: the wanting literally for nothing
for no good reason; the inability to feel remorse at having
cast (now over some, now others), aegis-like, though it
rescued no one, the body I'd all but grown used to waking
inside of and recognizing, instantly, correctly, as mine,
my body, given forth, withheld, shameless, merciless—
for crying shame. Like miniature versions of a lesser
gospel deemed, over time, apocryphal, or redundant—both,
maybe—until at last let go, the magnolia flowers went on
spilling themselves, each breaking open around, and then
apart from, its stem along a branch of stems and, not of
course in response, but as if so, the starlings lifting, unlifting,
the black flash of them in the light reminding me of what I'd
been told about the glamour of evil, in the light they were
like that, in the shadow they became the other part, about
resisting evil, as if resistance itself all this time had been
but shadow, could be found that easily. . . What will you do?
Is this how you're going to live now?
sang the voice in my
head: singing, then silent—not as in desertion, but as
when the victim suddenly knows his torturer's face from
before, somewhere, and in the knowing is for a moment
distracted, has stopped struggling— And the heart gives in.

Phillips, Carl. "Bright World" The Pushcart Book of Poetry. Murray, Joan, ed. New York: Pushcart Press, 2006.610-1.