Nate Pritts

Wake Up Call

All of my dreams get interrupted
by waking up, by the distraction
of having to actually live—
to walk around & bump into things,
to breathe real air with consequence
& weight. Still the basil in the window
quietly getting bigger, the cilantro
brazenly becoming pungent
& filling the house. My pillow
aches with loneliness which makes it
just like the small patch of weedflowers
wanting those deer to come back.
Every morning, your face
right beside mine, & me hidden
under my hair, behind my very own face,
no matter what I dream in the dark.
Most nights I find myself
in situations I can’t get out of,
trapped through celestial mechanics
in some different story while my own
real feelings hover just out of reach
like pollen in the air in summer.
Invisible but with repercussions.
Surrounded by a flurry of questions.
Sometimes you just need to get
belligerent in the face of the whole
universe getting sappy. We fall
the way the leaves fall, slowly.


Alarms at Noon

I’m always talking about the soul,
about the divine hovering

like a voyeur outside my window.
But what I’m wondering is how

the early season bumblebee,
size and shape of my fist,

fits into the overall scheme
as it knocks against my window

like a drunk friend jabbing
a finger into my chest

to emphasize how we were done,
really done forever?

Such beautiful armies are gathering
on my hilltop stronghold,

all their armor glistening
like a birthday cake, the mud

turning green under their
aggressive boots. I mean tulips,

of course, & all those stick trees
getting full, baby yellow buds

screaming on the branches.
When the bluebird stared at us,

tiny beak chittering,
we saw the soft white throat,

we saw that it was good.
We guessed there were other things

we couldn’t possibly see.


Infinity’s Kiss        (Sunflowers)

My primary habitat is memory

                a space opened up

inside of regular time

                where duration cannot be calculated

because none of these frames of reference

                mean anything        condensed as they are

into a field of stunning engagement

all these different waves of light

                find themselves entangled

some stories move without any action

                devoid of memorable occurrence

nothing happens

but the tension builds

                anyway        clipped reactions

inexplicable to our planet or the inhabitants

                with their complex incompressible souls

we worship geometric figures

we worship remnants

we believe in something solid

                an eruption of sunflowers on the side of the house

in a memory someone is having

                we are all experiencing the thrill of past life

reified & alive now

                a single compact moment

when everything good / every pleasurable memory

                comes back to haunt us

to live ghostly        permeating the present

                & we believe in something solid

                we believe the stories we tell about ourselves
are ourselves

                we believe that everything is lost around us

& we believe everything lost can be found.

Nate Pritts is an alum of SUNY Brockport where he took classes with William Heyen and Anthony Piccione and spent a lot of time walking by the Erie Canal. He went on to earn an MFA in Poetry (Warren Wilson College) and PhD in British Romanticism (University of Louisiana, Lafayette). He has published six books of poetry, most recently Right Now More Than Ever, as well as several chapbooks including Pattern Exhaustion and Life Event. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Southern Review, Black Warrior Review, The Boston Review and Poets & Writers Magazine. He founded H_NGM_N, an independent literary press, in 2001. He lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York.