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.

Grandma Climbs

Philip Schultz
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 disgraced and perplexed.
She squints at anyone who treats her like a customer, including
the toilet mirror, and twists her mouth into a deadly scheme.
Late at night I run at the mirror until I disappear. The day is over
before it begins, Grandma says, jerking the shade down over
its once rosy eye. She keeps her husband's teeth in a matchbox,
in perfumed paraffin; his silk skullcap (with its orthodox stains)
in the icebox, behind Uncle's Jell-O aquarium of floating lowlifes.
I know what Mrs. Einhorn said Mrs. Edels told Mr. Kook about us:
God save us from having one shirt, one eye, one child. I know
in order to survive. Grandma throws her shawl of exuberant birds
over her bony shoulders and ladles up yet another chicken thigh
out of the steaming broth of the infinite night sky.

From Living in the Past by Philip Schultz. Copyright © 2004 by Philip Schultz. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved.

From Living in the Past by Philip Schultz. Copyright © 2004 by Philip Schultz. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved.

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

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,

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.