by Nate Pritts
Think for five minutes
about whether repetition suggests emphasis
The leaves the leaves.
Syracuse / this season.
Everything a pattern that can be
discerned or else
everything a pattern
because we say so.
Make a silent deal
with yourself to do something
one speci`ic other thing happens.
If that leaf falls right now I’ll. Now.
If that leaf falls right now.
Elements that could be introduced.
Elements that are happily forgotten.
Finally everything forgotten.
I step out of the house
The taste of morning coffee
still fresh on my tongue
I keep my head down
ride my bike through the streets of this town
Because I don’t want to see
don’t want to see what’s to come
Do I think what I think
Because of somebody else
Or do I really believe it myself?
On the side of the bridge says ATTACK
ATTACK / ATTACK / ATTACK
Every person that I ever loved
Is just a trace on the screen today
Just a ghost in my soul
So I need to know
do I feel what I feel
When the machine tells me to?
When can I believe in myself?
Help me believe in myself
Mute behind living room windows
Autumn road is an image created
Red hillside tree the symbol
Ungrasped leaves Hallways of yellow forever
Hindered by memory &
I am a closed system
With unwanted precognition
A broken system in need of repair
The theme of the day
That action leads to action
Unthought A word underlined in red
Jagged red the underline
We are told thing that are real
Aren’t real Aren’t things
I don’t have one story to tell
can’t find myself by returning
to any unified narrative
since I am always cycling / discovering more parts.
Coherence is not a value I believe in
& has brought me nothing but pain.
You recognize some surface
place your palm on it follow it out
to the edges / the corners.
You’ve spent so many nights
trying to learn a shape
you thought you could hold
an object you thought you could give a name to.
So many miles of night & still
no name for it no understanding.
My poetry remembers & forgets
this one self
the way my life has learned routines
only to leave them
to lose faith
while my body empties of what it collects.
I don’t have one story to tell
though I want to create something I can understand
that puts pieces in even provisional place
temporary convenient demarcations
even if just for today / right now
while I am lost.
Something that began somewhere.
Something that will end.
I want something that will end.
“Think for five minutes” appeared in Pattern Exhaustion, a chapbook published by smoking flue gun
“I step out of the house” appeared in THE EQUALIZER – Second Series
“I don’t have one story to tell” appeared in Powder Keg
Nate Pritts is the Director and Founding Editor of H_NGM_N (2001), an independent publishing house that started as a mimeograph ‘zine.
He is the author of six previous books of poetry, most recently Right Now More Than Ever (2013). Publishers Weekly described his fifth book, Sweet Nothing (2011), as “both baroque and irreverent, banal and romantic, his poems […] arrive at a place of vulnerability and sincerity.” POETRY Magazine called his The Wonderfull Yeare (2009), “rich, vivid, intimate, & somewhat troubled” while The Rumpus called Big Bright Sun (2010) “a textual record of mistakes made and insights gleaned…[in] a voice that knows its part in self-destruction.”
Pritts is Associate Professor at Ashford University where he serves as Curriculum Lead and Administrative head of the Film program. He lives in the Finger Lakes region of NY state.