Carl Philips


A boy walks out into a grayish distance, and he never comes back.
Anger confusable with sorrow, sorrow canceling all the anger out . . .
It’s the past, and it isn’t.  It’s forever.  And it isn’t.  The way, in hell,
flickering’s what they say what’s left of the light does – a comfort,
maybe, and maybe not.  Sometimes by innocence I think I’ve meant
the innocence of carnivores, raised in the wild, for whom the killing
is sportless, clean, unmetaphysical – then I’m not so sure.  Steeplebush
flourished by some other name, lost now, long before there were
steeples.  I think we ruin or we save ourselves.  Comes a day when
the god, what at least you’ve called a god, takes you not from behind,
the usual, but pins you instead, his ass on your chest, his cock in your
face, his mouth twisting open, saying Lick my balls, and because you
want to live, in spite of  everything, you do what he says, heaven and
earth, some rain, a few stars appearing, harder, the way he tells you to,
then not so hard, a tenderness like no tenderness you’ve ever shown.