Welcome to my Electronic Chapbook

The following is a collection of poetry compiled through my life.  Several of these are the results of assignments in a college writing course (or two).  Others just kinda came up.

Read on at your own risk.  I can't take any responsibility for the torrents of emotion the following words may evoke (nor can I take responsibility for the utter apathy they may invoke).  I put them out here.   You're welcome to them.

Please do me the courtesy of not taking them for your own.   The poems are copyrighted to me, but I recognize how little that means on this electronic medium.  If you'd like to borrow one, to pass on to your friends or to post on your refrigerator, please drop me an Email and let me know.  It strokes my ego at the same time as it stokes your positive karma.  Thanks.


a collection of poems by

Phillip Loughlin


Rockabye  (For Miriam)

The Place in the Vines

This is just to say. . .

On a snake skin


A Note in Passing


Inspired by a photo of my father holding a fish that someone else caught

Nocturnal Envision I & II

Before the Beginning

One Last Word- (For my grandfather, JC Parker, Jr. In Memoriam)

Or for something completely different

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A whimper in the dark

I respond

Starlight sifts

through the screen with the breeze

that ruffles

the pale blue curtains

that should have been pink

Do you know, little one

that I stand by your crib

filled with the sound

of your slow, deep breath

and the smell of new diapers

baby wipes

and sour milk

Do you know the struggle

when I restrain my touch

I dare not wake you

but your skin

so soft


beckons me

Sleep, baby, sleep

Daddy's here


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The Place in the Vines

The path grows wild

and I


Then there is no path at all

But I seek a virgin realm

Refuge in 60,000 acres

surely exists

I plunge on

through briar and brake

Thickets thorny

tear threads from my coat

Gun butt and knife swing

I make my way, undaunted

In my heavy booted dance

Break brush like a baby



At last

the green barrier

with cat-claw barbs

forces acquiescence

It will bend no more

Beyond the green wall

a shimmer

like steel spreads

a pond in the midst of nothing


A flock of teal

jostle like marathon runners


cant and pitch

into the pond

the soft sigh of set wings

and the liquid swish

as feathered breasts break


and coast

safe from leaden death

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This is just to say. . .

that playing with


late at




and throwing them


on the ground


at a gas station

is probably,

it seems to me


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On a snake skin

Wait, snake!

You forgot your clothes

shrivelled and torn

between two stones.


Come back and

dress yourself.

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At the point where

caffeine becomes an opiate

When shaky hands

and shaky mind

have difficulty



This is when my eyes

full of fine

and acidic grit

blink once then

twice then remain



Ah the dark panacea

May I stay?  NO!

But sleep closes overhead

like warm water

Oh please

Just let me drown

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A Note in Passing

I spoke to the wind last night.  It whispered to me, "Time to go."  It has been seven years since I last heard that call.  I have never been able to defy that invitation to freedom, but there was so much to keep me here--a home and love.  It was no easy choice.  But I chose.  I packed the things I could not leave behind, some clothes, the five by seven of the three of us in the snow last Christmas.  By now, you will have seen that I am gone.

You will read this in the hallway.  Look around you.   At our portraits on the wall.  At the coats piled high on the rack.   Docile images of domesticity--sedentary still life.  See the wood floor, worn from walking.  In and out, the story of my life.  Right now, I am out.

I ask you not to blame yourself.  You will for a while.  But the only one to blame is me.  Selfishness was always my fault.   I accept this.  Maybe you will say, "that selfish son of a bitch," when you speak of me.  Or maybe you will not speak of me at all.  I understand.   I don't expect you to.

Tell your mother I love her.


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Wake up, darling

You are not the only man

strolling the streets

of this city


Do you really think

I am such a fool

to await your call

unmoving 'til it comes?


Do you believe, dear

that you can just walk

through my door at will

and always find it unlocked?


Do you imagine, love

that only you have needs?

That I have no feelings?

That I exist merely for your amusement?


Then wake up, darling

and wake now

If you dream too long

you will wake up all alone

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Inspired by a photo of my father holding a fish that someone else caught

You wear your lucky hat

cocked as usual

angling across your black curls

"Rakishly tilted" Fitzgerald might have called it

Hemingway would have just said, "cocked."

And as I look at you there

your face jolly red from too much beer

and too much sun

holding up that sailfish that your buddy caught

I think Hemingway is most apt


He would have called that look on your face a grin

or, in a more expansive mood

a victorious grin

Hemingway was always good for that

No frills or flowers, the facts

barren and unmoving like white elephants

Like you

in your cut off dungarees and dingy white t-shirt

and that hat

I really miss that hat.

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Nocturnal Envision I

Two figures are there

Greek sculptures

Shoulders and throats fade in foggy shadow

Pale breasts

white hot, flushed

Nipples brush male chest

sharply shaped

Abdomen, ridged marble

hovers above soft belly, taut

Torsos twine at the hip

Matted dark curls mingle with light wisps

then part like tree tops

tangle in hurricane wind

No sound


Fuzzy focus

Something probing seeks something

buried in wiry brush

Diving deep in darkness

then emerges as for breath

then again plunges

Pan back

She becomes he


He takes her in as though

nothing has changed

part II


Nocturnal Envision II

Curve of upturned throat

awaits vampire kiss

Pouting lips part

tongue tip darts


Lips close, come away bloodless

then return for more and

meet lips

Mouth covers mouth

Serpents entwine inside

Tongues with rhythm of bodies



Breasts and chest crush, close

tender violence

Torsos tightly bond, meld

No darkness comes between

Two figures

are one in tension then


a sound

a sigh

One Last Word

To Paw Paw


Words don't work

When I try to sum it up

try to say it all

But there's so much to say

And words don't work

When I want to thank you

for the lessons you taught

Lessons about love and family

Common sense and deeper things

How do I tell you?

Words don't work

You set the bar for us

Then showed us that we could reach it

All we had to do was try

And you were there to catch us

if we fell in the attempt.

Words don't work

Now you've gone far away

Leaving us in a world that is emptier

for all your legacy of love

There's still a big hole

that we will never fill

And words won't work

How to say good-bye

To say, "I love you"

one more time?

To say how you will be missed?

Words don't work.

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Before the darkness and the beginning

When the sound of the softly storming gale went unheard

Through dreams of love those above

conceived an offspring

down below

Those Above:

See there our children cast from our hearts to populate the world below. The silence and solitude ended by their laughter and cries of joy.


Those Below:

Our parents above have brought us here, and have given us light and love, in this place we dwell beneath their loving gaze.

Those Above:

See them dance and frolic. What happiness we have given them. Let us give them now the power of dream, so they may raise their thoughts above the limits of their reality.

Those Below:

What new thoughts are these? It seems we go beyond ourselves to realms of art and music. What beauty we have discovered. Our lives are full now with song and glory.

Those Above:

We have done well by our children. Their dreams have opened their eyes and their hearts. Through these dreams, we can show them our world above, and they can rejoice in the splendor.

Those Below:

Would that we could share in this paradise we have seen. All our art and all our song fades in its glory. Pale imitations at best. Why are we so tortured with visions we cannot attain?

Those Above:

All is not well? Our children seem listless and sullen. What more can we give, that their joy will be restored? Shall we show ourselves to them, let them see us in their dreams and make ourselves known?

Those Below:

Ah, they add insult and mockery. They tease us with images of their lives so far above our own, yet here we are bound to this lower space. See how they dance and tease, just beyond our reach.

Those Above:

What more can these children want? We have shown them the beauty of the ages, let them hear the songs of life, yet they reach skyward ever more with longing. What do they wish of us, and how can we make them happy?

Those Below:

Why do they withhold that ultimate glory? To show us all that we cannot have, and leave us stranded in this prison we would call home. . .what injustice is that? If only we could soar above this place, and experience paradise.

Those Above:

Can we show them grander visions? Should they be privy to our own dreams? Yes, then let them hear the music that only our hearts can know, and show them the worlds that exist only in our very imaginings.

Those Below:

This is not bearable. They tear out our hearts with these visions, yet they have rooted our feet to this ground. We build our tallest towers, but come no nearer to them, and when we leap and grasp for those heights, we only plummet screaming back to where we began. How could those who made us hate us so?

Those Above:

Are they trying to join us? Why do they build these towers to the sky, and reach out so imploringly? What is it here that they could possibly want so badly, when we share all there is? But if they wish to fly, then let us give them the means.

Those Below:

Oh, what new torture is this? This pain, these things growing from our bodies! Our creators have chosen some new evil to inflict. As though it were not enough to tempt us with visions of paradise which we could never touch, now they have attacked our very bodies.

Those Above:

Why don’t they fly? Don’t they see that we have opened the very gates of our world to them. They need only soar aloft to come home to us, their parents and creators who love them.

Those Below:

Look what we have discovered. This change, this agony, this torture inflicted on us by our fathers has turned to our advantage. See? We fly. We soar into the heavens. Those above could not have expected their evil designs to turn in our favor. The gates are open, and we enter paradise unopposed. Now is the time to wreak our vengeance, to extract the bloody toll for the evils perpetuated upon us by those evil ones who made us. They will laugh at our misery no longer. Nevermore to be teased and mocked by their images of glory and peace.

Those Above:

What goes here? Why do they come on us in anger and hatred? Already the first of them have arrived, and they exterminate those who made them. What hatred do they bear against us, why do they wish us harm?

Those Below:

We will kill them all. This paradise will be ours forever when they are expelled, and none will there be to deny us.

Those Above:

But we loved you.




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Copyright 1997- 1999 Elwing Enterprises
All text and photos by Elwing Enterprises unless otherwise noted
Last revised: October 7 , 1999.