Nate Pritts


Blue arrows point to the evidence of my defeat:
my hands become hammers then shatter
at the barest touch into hard streakings of light.
Purple sky & gathering winds, I can only change
my form so many times in one minute. First
a rocket to drag you from the dragging current

of your own worst tendencies. Current headlines
tell the whole sad story: my inevitable defeat
at the fumbling hands of my own fumbling self. First
the strange mechanical bird in the glowing sky, its shattering
cry, & then this dull but growing sense of change.
The future confuses the past. A green light

once gave me permission to live in the light
of your eyes. I shift my atoms & a shocking current,
a sudden jolt, tells me what I've changed
into is not for the better. I miss you, my defeat,
my firing squad, my sweet heart-shatter.
I run a race against myself, afraid to see who'll come in first.

Dull morning: aftermath: collision. Love's first
intentions split into their constituents: separate particles of light
& the slime of want. If I could I'd shatter
your expectations, pull myself together, keep current
the lagging exchange between thought & deed. My only defeat
is my sure-fire inability to affect lasting change

in the rock face of my soul. A carved name, some spare change
that collects but doesn't ever add up. First & second
chances are more than I can ask for in this song of my lingering defeat.
I started out the hero & am now the one who blocks light
breezes that bring comfort when the mind leaves current
times behind for better. But those dreams of the past shatter

to make way for the now. I hope my now can shatter
itself, convince you of its willingness to change,
to blast forth with the zillion colors of its living current,
to worry about the beasties lurking first,
before they thrust their questioning faces into the light.
I promise an infinity of win without a single defeat,

an inner strength that can withstand the present shatter.
Prophecies tell of dawning light, then change,
a first defeat that gets swept away in the currents.



Ekphrastic is too high-falutin' a term to use to describe this poem but it truly is; I've spent probably too much time looking at comic book covers in my life. This poem was written after gazing lovingly at five covers from the Silver Age era METAMORPHO comic book—Metamorpho the Element Man! Hero of 1001 Changes!

He gave me a vocabulary for talking about myself.