Patrick Phillips lê o seu fabuloso poema "Nathaniel", poema este que integra o seu último livro - "boy".


Patrick Phillips

Whatever it was
that made the Reverend
Barker stoop that way,

it meant no matter
how much he screamed
at my friend Nathaniel

for being late, for not
raking the leaves,
or for raking the goddamned

leaves the wrong Goddamned way
(his huge, gin-blossomed jowls
quivering with rage,

his great whale-eyes
lost in the gray
depths of his brow),

he could only ever scowl
at the tops of his wingtip shoes
or at the cuffs of the black wool suit

he always seemed to be wearing
when he’d thunder into the yard,
or down the stairs,

or through the little speaker
of some payphone
we huddled around, God

damnit Nathaniel, I told you,
I told you, Nathaniel, Goddamnit!

his fury repeating itself

so precisely it became a joke
we hollered through the halls,
changing my friend’s name

to Goddamnit Nathaniel, as in
Where the hell’s Goddamnit Nathaniel?
I told you, Goddamnit, to get me a Coke!

which was stupid but funny at fourteen,
and still just as stupidly funny at nineteen,
when we’d yell across a bonfire,

Don’t bogart that joint, Goddamnit
Nathaniel. Haven’t I told you
to pass the fucking bong when you’re through?

which is still funny to me even now—
even though I look back and see,
as I could not have seen then,

that the Reverend Barker
only stooped that way
because he was dying,

because cancer was eating his liver,
and because with each day it became
both more urgent and more unlikely

that he would ever manage to say
whatever it was he meant
when he’d sit at the kitchen table,

or grip the black phone,
or stand in the darkened driveway
after we’d all gone home,

staring at the ground and saying nothing
to his sweet, beloved boy
but Goddamnit

Nathaniel, listen to me.
Listen Goddamnit.
Goddamnit Nathaniel, now listen.