Richard Phillips

Head lifts up like a hunting dog’s

Overnight, it seems
the lilac bushes
have grown heavy
with lavender and white clusters
and their lush familiar scent
lightens the air,

the spreading trees
overhead fill with petals
and the tender growth
of early spring,

my chest rises as I
inhale deep
my body lightens
my head lifts up
like a hunting dog’s
to the many morning scents
and I wonder
how little it takes
to make us happy.

This seasonal process of nature
happens whether or not
we are there to see it –
smell it – feel it —
      why then
are we so self-centered
to believe all this
is made for our pleasure
like a work of art
or finely constructed clock.

Pleasure of it

A black cat with white chest
and paw strolls down the hill
across the street into the fall
sun and stops on the sidewalk
    below me
looks around and stretches
as only a cat can stretch
paws to the cement
back bowed, front legs
straight out quivering
    then rolls over
to scratch it’s back
against the rough surface
mouth yawning wide open
for the pleasure of it;

I pause at the open window
looking down then
put my glazing tools aside
walk down the hill
to the waterfront
select a weathered bench
in the warm sunlight
pull off my sweatshirt
stretch my arms out
lean back to watch
boats moving up stream
    and down
waves making a V-line
to shore and break
against the wooden bulwark
for the pleasure of it.

Slipping thru

Extending his arms
in front of him
and moving his hands
in circles as if he
were an elephant
swinging his trunk
gracefully in the air
he tiptoes lightly
down Tinker St.
in his cowboy hat
slipping thru
the molecules
tipping the brim down
over his brow
at the pleasure
of his thoughts—
the images—
the unraveling story
that is his life
then turns right
into the alley
by the liquor store
and out of sight.

About the Author

I have worked in many jobs to make my way, although I have always thought of myself primarily as a teacher [In Kenya, East Africa, where I taught in secondary school, I was known as the 'Walimu']. Along the way I earned my MA & PhD in history and political science, at Columbia and NYU, and taught for many years; my current reincarnation is as a Reference Librarian and teacher of computer researching. On this journey I have always had a love for writing and graphics, and the current form this has taken since 2000 has been in writing poetry and in photography. In both I work above all with imagery and with suggesting a story.

(click here to close this window)