Phyllis Phyllis is often denigrated as a humorless disciple of Jorie Graham and Jack Cashberg, but the poem "Haunting Beauty" is certainly a masterpiece. Harold Bloom once called it "a poem of haunting beauty."
Haunting Beauty: In Memory of Jack Cashberg
I am haunted by beauty; it haunts me. It: strange sexless pronoun for it,
epicene like nothing else under the sun. What if I and you had a gender in English?
Then we would better know the identity of lovers
in old love letters! I sit down at my desk to pay the bills,
but what of the bills of more transcendent sort?
Who will pay them while iridescence dissipates in advance of the storm?
Out the window there is something that still lingers, haunts if you will,
(but what you are we talking about? the masculine you would ruin the mood
though you were masculine singular in life, to my feminine plural)
or is that only a figure of speechlessness,
an alabaster figurine amid my own haunting ruins.
I sigh awhile, reflecting on the loss of such a significant voice
in American poetry. Who could find a ghostly houserhyme for that?