n a t e    p r i t t s








I fill a whole page with ovals
working fast to train my hand

now all I can see are lopsided circles
hurt & floating everywhere.
This is a precise observational exercise.

Outside the shadows are blue
                        & even the light is blue.

The people I know are very connected.
            They know a lot of things
about other people
as well as about this planet

but they have chosen their beliefs
just as I am trying to choose compassion.

I think too long about writing a letter to you
& then donít do it.

My heart is feeling very off center
& the weather doesnít help much
            since itís so hard to see & Iím trying
to rely much more on the evidence of what
is directly in front of me instead of living

in some kind of shelter that I carry with me
that protects me from feeling or knowing
anything directly / I think this

rapid sketching can help me cover a lot of ground
with joyous speed!
But my new happiness comes from patience.




Already the heat is too much for me
            the reminder of all those days when I thought I was dying.

The windows in the house are open
            the ceiling fan cycling & thereís no cross breeze.
These are statements of fact only

I donít try to see too deeply into things.
I keep myself protected from getting too excited
or too destroyed.

The mail man brings four pieces of mail
& each one of them tells me something about myself.

I have never been good at belonging to anything.

Everything anyone says about me could apply
to almost anyone else
                        so Iím careful not to make the mistake
of believing in anything.

I like to jot down instances of empirical data
which my consciousness has perceived
                        & then refer to it as it starts to get dark

as I start to drink many beers into the night
or a few glasses of wine.
                        It gets cooler

& easier to have faith after the sun goes down
lying in bed listening to the trains pulse
after Iíve closed my eyes.




Every new part of the machine
makes it hard            to feel anything

just like every breath reminds me
of some regret            some lack.

My daily routine                     saves me
from becoming an automatic process.

I take the country roads to work.

I want to enjoy           the resonant morning
sun instead of fighting it
                        & all the other people
for position.
                                    I lose myself
in manageable speed instead of racing.

I get to see the simple faces
                                    of the other drivers
stained smooth with light.

Sometimes Iíll see one          a woman
passing so quiet & intent
alone.              I want to take her face

in my hands
                        move them delicately
over the closed lids.

I would like to translate her
            problems into words.


NATE PRITTS is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Right Now More Than Ever. He founded H_NGM_N, an online journal & small press, in 2001 & continues as Director & Prime Architect for its various endeavors.

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