Poem

today was the day

 

we were going to make it

 

all the way over to there

 

before we knew it—

 
 

“they should’ve done it differently”

 

“it was never there in the first place”

 
 

the ground drops out
shaky ground

 
 

nothing ever waits for you to take it

 

sometimes vampires lurk in the dark waiting for your thickest vein

 

and you would have done it differently

 
 

still can, someone says, but you hadn’t heard them say it

 

didn’t get the memo

 

things being what they are

 

in algorithms and scenes

 

it’s not so easy to—

 

listen

 

a sun rises and sets     every seventeen seconds

 

—in your hand

 
 

in the dark

 

someone waits for a vein to suck

 

another licks what spills out on its own

 

someone else is tending to their wounds

 
 

when I no longer remember the situation that I describe

 

but keep describing it anyway

 

letting some other thing come in to inform, take over

 

—the narrative

 

of the first that had gotten lost because I stopped

 

writing for a few months between the first version and the second

 

the missing part, this absence, getting filled and maybe for the better

 

defying coherence within the frame

 

as I want to tell you a story of a world

 

imagined, as to the real thing, you could get it

 

being in that closed system yourself

 

 

but also to tell a story of this world

 

to those in the beyond

 

as time stretches lengthwise

 

covering over experience

 
 

everything has already been done, they say

 

for instance, when I got here, I told myself something would happen

 

then something else happened

 

I didn’t let go of the first thing, the thought I had, held onto it

 

later I looped back to let it happen, then I wrote about it

 

so as not to forget the occurrences

 
 

if I look at the networks for too long

 

tossed this way and that—

 

things can always be differently arranged, is that something they say?

 

so you consider becoming an arranger

 

leaving space for whoever has the quickness

 

of mind and fingers, time and investments

 

an ability to generate the right kind of thing

 

writing not coming easy

 

taking time and focus, a patience hard to hold

 

I think about giving it up, spend time with plants instead

 

or do something more useful like help people that are suffering in the city where I live

 

 

but the drive is there, still

 

still I need to get it down

 

it was a commitment made long ago

 

to the histories of absence

 

that stretch over time in all directions

 

feeling the burden with every passing year

 

with the world being what it is

 

more so they say these days

 

I’m not so sure

 

two friends I talk with this week, Justin and Morty—

 

about writing and living as a writer

 

I say something about directing intentionality toward it

 

if that is what you want

 

whether or not the writing is happening

 

how in my case it is not, or how slowly it goes

 

and Josh reminding me I once said—

 

reading and thinking are part of the process of writing

 

and texting about that with Justin too

 

a way of thinking, a way of being

 
 

part of the history of absence—

 

the mystery swirling beneath the story of progress

 

a romantic notion, I wonder

 
 

on a walk, Juliana says—

 

today everyone is a writer and no one is a reader

 

we’re talking about many different things

 

later, maybe two weeks later, I realize how little I’m reading

 

not half as much as I used to

 

as I want to

 

I had known this already but I was thinking about it

 

differently

 

how I do not read others

 

as carefully

 

as I would want others to read me

 
 

links to poems fly past me in the feeds

 

I click on them often, scroll down the poem’s length

 

to see its form and glance at some words

 

get a sense of whether I could be drawn in

 

it feels a bit like looking someone up and down

 

but everything else pulls at you too

 

tabs close seemingly on their own

 
 

do all poems care equally about being read?

 

some poems seem more like a tool

 

used by the poet

 

to get a notch in the brand

 

or as a step toward something else

 

something the person desires more than being a poet

 

the poem looks good

 

you give it a look

 

you affirm the post with a click

 

the exchange is over

 
 

but if the poem wants more from you, if it longs for a different kind of attention—

 

how does a poem ask for what it needs?

 
 

as I continue to work on this book

 

and complain to everyone about how long it takes me to write a book

 

I remind myself that there is all the time in the world

 

however long it takes

 

and also that I need to step on the gas

 

if I want to get all the books out of me

 

that I know are there (at least three)

 

the narration is to bounce around

 

as the zone tightens around the thought you held

 
 

which is the zone of the terrible world, again?

 

and why would anyone want to be there

 

when there are all these other places you could go

 
 

I had a way of talking and it ended

 

the way of talking was to keep the message buried underneath

 

but where are the diggers anymore–

 

everywhere, but hidden

 
 

when I return to the subject behind the poem

 

how we were attempting to get somewhere

 

—never getting close

 

whether the ground was there or not

 

shaky or firm

 

or whoever else was there or not

 

and for whatever reasons

 

to find myself spun around

 

the interior of the poem

 

which is the interior of myself

 

in a vortex of the world spinning

 

and feel the genome tighten

 

a history of such things

 

the ways of us

 
 

histories absent, the history of absence

 

poets know this

 

time is longer than all of your words

 
 

sometimes I get so resentful

 

with the ones I love most

 

wanting to fight

 

so I can know my own lines, boundaries

 

where I start and stop in relation to them

 

never so clear for me

 

and remembering that everyone’s doing the same

 

circles upon circles

 

a rings of hell existence

 

in friendship and love —with fury hope sadness longing

 

a desire to destroy what holds us back

 

from being, and from being together

 

in the meantime though—

 
 

we bleed all the time

 

some slurp up the drops as they emerge on the surface

 

others pretend they don’t notice what’s seeping onto the pavement

 

from their own gashes and wounds

 

–you always point to something else, it’s never you–

 

that we are the ones who are hungry

 
 

most of the time

 

I am

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Syd Staiti

Syd Staiti is the author of The Undying Present (Krupskaya, 2015).