124.1: Nate Pritts:: Messenger Particle & Simultaneous Events & Horizon Problem 124

Nate Pritts’ poetry has been hailed as an exciting descendant of the New York School. Apt as that observation may be, the poems before us today push my genealogical radar further north, to Gloucester, MA, and its association with Charles Olson and projective verse. Readers familiar with Olson’s essay will remember the poet urging young writers to compose by field, to reject closed form and to embrace the organic possibilities associated with breath. Though I would not go so far as to say that Pritts kept Olson in mind throughout the process of writing these poems, his verse could be said to be compositions by orbital rather than compositions by field. Each poem below is a thought experiment on the order of Shrödinger’s cat, a modern take on Hamlet’s infamous soliloquy: to be or not to be.

These three poems incorporate something of the “spookier” effects from quantum physics: superposition, anti-particle pairs, wave-particle dualities. But these are not dry incorporations. Note the way that Pritt foregrounds the similarities and differences associated with synonyms, how the reader, like the physicist, must make a choice. The poem “Simultaneous Events,” for instance, splits “a structure” from “this architecture,” at once begging for and warning against comparison. The poem itself seems to establish a parallel between the general and the deeply personal, leading to a question ambiguous as it is devastating: “If I ever solved these mistakes & made them right / Would I disappear completely?” Ryan Winet

Messenger Particle

This is like driving through the rain.

Two people
occupying similar emotional & physical space.
The car.
She turned the windshield wipers off

to hear that distinct hush.
Each individual instance of rain
smacked the glass becoming

a discrete dot & the rush

of the car through time blurs

those moments

connecting them / changing them
so that her eyes aren’t her eyes anymore

they’re only what you remember of them

the only color left is what you can’t let go.

You            can’t recall what you

really said       at certain times of crisis
& all this inability accrues              the water

creates a sheen you can’t see through

but it’s clear there’s something you need to be aware of

a force which you didn’t respect

& from which you need relief.

Simultaneous Events

You have introduced a new narrative into my life

a structure / this architecture

& we will see if I am equipped

to fulfill this challenge

if I can be what you’re asking me to be

or if I am        what you’re asking me to be.

Now this course of already / actions I thought of as fixed

disintegrates / is unreadable

has stopped having immediate bearing on my morning

elements from yesterday & before

that were dismissed are now shining & important.

There is a new way to see all of this time.

Light gathers slowly in the tree outside my window

& I believe it is getting later          can feel that flow

but I’m still here imagining new lives      I can’t stop

now that they’ve been made possible

by just one smile      by the clatter of photons against my heart.

I thought I knew where this was going

or at least understood / had control over the variables

that might cause the course to veer     as when

my morning commute is fixed but fraught with disparate elements

that might cause deviation

a collision to shut down the lane

getting off the highway two exits early

just to see the trees rush outside in different patterns.

I am nothing but my own many problems with living

management / organizational difficulties

within the delicate throng / thrum of my soul.

If I knew & could generate / some coherence

would I immediately & gracefully cease?

If I ever solved these mistakes & made them right

would I disappear completely?

Horizon Problem

The past is so easy to read

written on top of everything

though I know there was
plenty of intervening time

some of which took me away

from myself.

I remember

every building & storefront
in terms of what it used to be.

I feel as if I have to be         declamatory
about my feelings or else that I

should make my simple emotions
smarter.                   More worthy of an audience.
Some people think that form

is what makes things worthwhile
but I like talk.

Cars zip by

not noticing the night.

Maybe what makes them real
is their spontaneous flow

that they aren’t forced together

with brute fists. I like things
to be graceful though maybe
even in that admission you can see

the chaotic energy                boiling over.
Like how I traveled from low
entropy to high entropy.

Like how even thinking about

a specific crisis moment

doesn’t help me understand.