About this poet

Philip Schultz is the author of The Wherewithal (W. W. Norton, 2014) and received the Pulitzer Prize for Failure (Harcourt, 2007). He is the founder and director of The Writers Studio and lives in East Hampton, New York.

Philip Schultz

Philip Schultz is the author of The Wherewithal (W. W. Norton, 2014) and received the Pulitzer Prize for Failure (Harcourt, 2007). He is the founder and director of The Writers Studio and lives in East Hampton, New York.

by this poet

poem

for RJ

You always called late and drunk, 
your voice luxurious with pain,
I, tightly wrapped in dreaming, 
listening as if to a ghost.

Tonight a friend called to say your body 
was found in your apartment, where 
it had lain for days. You'd lost your job, 
stopped writing, saw nobody for weeks.
poem
Grandma climbs a chair to yell at God for killing
her only husband whose only crime was forgetting
where he put things. Finally, God misplaced him. Everyone
in this house is a razor, a police radio, a bulging vein.
It's too late for any of us, Grandma says to the ceiling. 
She believes we are chosen to be
poem

Suddenly
everything feels afterwards,
stoic and inevitable, 
my eyes ringed with the grease of rumor and complicity,
my hands eager to hold any agreeable infatuation
that might otherwise slip away.
Suddenly
it’s evening and the lights up and
down the street appear hopeful,