Two Poems by Nate Pritts
The Ending Was a Total Surprise to Me
Today’s newspaper gives names
to those five sad puppets who couldn’t hold
their stuffing in as their plush & colorful bodies
ejected from cars in the shattered dark
of a distant midnight. There was a stilly hush
as hands were retracted from openings;
there were icicles glinting in sunlight
as the animating principle sped.
I snored or growled during the opera,
was labeled rude by well-dressed
persons. I slumbered as the voices sang
their pain in gorgeous syllables.
But I refuse to be implicated in the droning.
I proclaim allegiance to this fragmentary
grenade smuggled in my chest.
I am a poor orphan boy surrounded
by affluent Londoners clutching farthings
in their palms. I am fresh coffee at sunrise.
There’s a shining warmth I need to ingest.
The newspaper turns me into a lake,
two spillway devices implanted in my face
where the run-off water leaks if the build up
gets to be too much. In my dream,
the driveway was lined with tulips, flashlight
landing petals for the luminous aircraft.
In my life, it’s November cold & I wake up
every day without you. In my dream tonight,
I’ll plant tulips inside your body, blow on them
gently until their fire takes root. Their blooming
can light my way to you. After take off
I’ll crash back to the right planet
by tracking the lovely scents. You Flowerpot,
You will be the archaic & silly endearment
I enunciate as my gossamer wings drift me
gently into a new tomorrow. Today’s newspaper
tells me today is ending for billions of people,
hands stretched to the sky to hold up
the clouds as they plummet.
No more news from the front. The pain
I’m feeling is theatrical. The blood I’m bleeding
is fake. The self I’m selfing burns like a lollipop
held to the sun—not melting or exploding,
though that would be the graceful thing to do.
Honest dissolution. Black & white. Newsprint.
But I’m just here getting brighter.
I’VE WRITTEN ALL OVER THIS IN HOPES YOU CAN READ IT
Send me some dispatches, some sultry spring grasses,
some water from the sky on the windshield
all in droppings. Tell me this burgeoning is a spring
from the future & the hopes that I’ve harbored
are structures fulfilled. These buildings can reach
way up to the sky. This sky full of rockets or other projectiles.
This some kind of booming. I’m sitting here
waiting & I know what comes next will come next
no matter what, that ready or not I’m not ready
for what today will turn into if I blink my eyes slow
& slumber through the tragedy. These words
that I’m saying are all part of my programming.
I’m a goddamn Romantic, a poet or a puppet.
I’ve got a voice of my own & maybe four others
to master. There’s a mournful cadence & a flustered
two step. There are bodies & there are bodies
& they’re crushing against us. Tell me what it looks like
in your sparkly tomorrowland. Are there people
or less people or masses pulsating? I’m living today
but aware of my past; I’m hoping people forget about
the cities I’ve burnt down accidentally. The towns
all abandoned & the villagers bereft. I’m scanning
the horizon for signs of something lovely. I’m scouting
green hillsides in search of some treasure. I’m loaded
& tired & I’ve been given permission. I’ve been told
I deserve it though my deserving is unintentional.
I’ve been dared to make sense of the illegible bluster
but the trick is I’ve walked down the aisle twice this life
already & I’m regretful & lonely. I’ve made nothing
but messes so let me stand still to see what runs right
into me wrongly. I’ve taken some notes on this paper
I’m sending, along with some hopes enveloped within it.
Write back & say what this scrawl means to you.
Nate Pritts is the author of three full-length books of poems—The Wonderfull Yeare (Cooper Dillon Books, 2010), Honorary Astronaut (Ghost Road Press, 2008) & Sensational Spectacular (BlazeVOX, 2007). Nate teaches gifted students online through Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. The founder & principal editor of H_NGM_N, find him online at http://www.natepritts.com.