Phase Study

There’s a reaching – it’s reaching –
I’m reaching & we’re stretched

out together – through rain, through
the grey, stretched in weather

that cramps us in this current this,
this furious nanomoment, this

electrical activity, this rainbow fire,
this explosive O! Yes, I can see

the mess on the horizon, that it starts
here or is coming here & anyway, yes,

Amen to the colors of the catastrophe.
It’s destruction. It’s about the reverse,

about me – it always is – & the integration
of the me-tumbling-slowly against

a field of order, those orders unfollowed,
the phases unmarked, the phrases

unspoke; it’s 1) there’s a part that’s a part
and the whole is spent, it’s the this in that

& from whence & what then it’s 2) drastic impact,
frenetic flowering – the colors uncolored

& sense warped to 3) where it starts, a begin
to begin, a basis to base the progression

upon & then 4) burst from one to the
next, burst burst & you’ve bursted

5) hit the wall of the you, knocked out & back
in to 6) inner scaffolding, a structure that holds

in or out, a beast to wrestle or quietly pass
7) where what’s left is just space,

& it’s empty – you’re trapped in the everything
of nothing around you where the you

that you knew could go this way then that,
together or nowhere in the reaching of this

reaching to nowhere & back, this furious
expanding contracts to the end.

[Note: “Phase Study,” as a poem, loosely responds to a series of paintings of the same name by Nikki Painter which can be viewed at her website.]

Nate Pritts is the author of The Wonderfull Yeare (Cooper Dillon) as well as two previous books of poems – Sensational Spectacular (2007) & Honorary Astronaut (2008). The founder & editor of H_NGM_N, Nate teaches at the Downtown Writers Center/YMCA in Syracuse, NY. Find him online at