Poem: “Blue” by Writer & Poet, Carl Phillips

0 Posted by - September 24, 2020 - BLACK MEN, LATEST POSTS

Carl Phillips is an American writer and poet. He is a Professor of English and of African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Phillips was born in Everett, Washington in 1959, and his family moved frequently around the United States. He earned a BA from Harvard, an MAT from the University of Massachusetts, and an MA in creative writing from Boston University. Before teaching English at the university level, he taught Latin at several high schools. He is Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches creative writing.

Phillips was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006, and since 2011 he has served as the judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. His debut book In the Blood was the winner of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize in 1992.

In 2015, Phillips released his 13th collection of poems, Reconnaissance, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Poetry and appeared on the Top Books list from Canada’s Globe and Mail. Phillips was also a featured poet in the “Picture and a Poem” series for T: The New York Times Style Magazine in December 2015.



By Carl Phillips
As through marble or the lining of
certain fish split open and scooped
clean, this is the blue vein
that rides, where the flesh is even
whiter than the rest of her, the splayed
thighs mother forgets, busy struggling
for command over bones: her own,
those of the chaise longue, all
equally uncooperative, and there’s
the wind, too. This is her hair, gone
from white to blue in the air.
This is the black, shot with blue, of my dark
daddy’s knuckles, that do not change, ever.
Which is to say they are no more pale
in anger than at rest, or when, as
I imagine them now, they follow
the same two fingers he has always used
to make the rim of every empty blue
glass in the house sing.
Always, the same
blue-to-black sorrow
no black surface can entirely hide.
Under the night, somewhere
between the white that is nothing so much as
blue, and the black that is, finally; nothing,
I am the man neither of you remembers.
Shielding, in the half-dark,
the blue eyes I sometimes forget
I don’t have. Pulling my own stoop-
shouldered kind of blues across paper.
Apparently misinformed about the rumored
stuff of dreams: everywhere I inquired,
I was told look for blue.

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