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—




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




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

Syd Staiti

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