Louse Point


I've wanted to write my way into paradise,

leaving the door open for others... Instead

I am scribbling, beneath its wall, with the door shut.


-- David Ignatow



This is where we came to swim

around the grassy islands, past dories

and osprey nests hoisted high

under the muted blues, ravenous reds

and lush hospitable yellows

of the wide East Hampton sky --

a place, you said, where one

can almost forgive oneself.


Once you visited late to say

your wife, mistress and daughter

all hated you, that love wasn't fate

or salvation, but a cold back room

of paradise. Neither of us asked why,

after a lifetime of writing about sorrow,

you lived in a back room of your house.


You loved me like a son, you whispered

on my fortieth birthday, ready

to rush off if I looked displeased.

Our favorite game was guessing

how much truth someone could tolerate.

For P, you wrote on your last book,

the passionate pilgrim through this sickness

called the world. The truth is, I think,

you wanted the world to father you,

to heal the sickness of your soul.


I saw you, weeks before you died,

In the A & P, straining to read

a soup can in the hard flourescent haze.

I wanted to explain why I avoided you,

chose love, but you shrugged

and turned away when I tried

to introduce my wife. I didn't go

to your funeral, but late at night, I

bathe in the beautiful ashes of your words.


I think of you today as my wife hovers

like a mother swan and my sons fish

for hermit crabs scurrying sideways

across the surf. You, too, wanted to shed

your life, renew yourself. Still the waves

are jubilant, slightly off-key, the wind

whispers its few small truths to the earth,

and the migrant clouds stretch forlorn wings

all the way to the open door of paradise.


Philip Schultz


Music in the HOUSE!
    posted 2020-07-15

    posted 2019-07-10

    posted 2019-04-29

I Love the Dentist
    posted 2018-11-06

Balloon Girl
    posted 2018-10-08

West Coast Journal
    posted 2017-10-24

Home Stretch
    posted 2017-06-07

Hashtag Kitchen
    posted 2017-03-09

This very old house
    posted 2016-12-13

The Big Move
    posted 2016-12-01

See Archive