Wednesday, May 17, 2006

If you're reading this

If you’re reading this, you are reading a poem, and you are worried it will be one of those poems, the kind that is confusing, precious, and obscure. The kind someone makes you read.

If you're reading this, you're choosing to do so, probably wondering whether poetry is worth your time and energy, since "normal" writing is much more rewarding, and the weekend is coming up. It is a good question to ask while you're reading this.

If you’re reading this at work, you are thinking about your boss discovering that you spent the whole afternoon dawdling on the internet. But your timepass is our business, so please keep dawdling. Your boss needs to read this too.

If you’re reading this, and I hope you are, you may be waiting for me to get to the point.

If you’re reading this, I’m thrilled. I thought I’d lost you at the Capitol steps years ago, on a day when everything ended too soon, and no one had any knowledge at all of the hard road ahead. But you disappeared that day into a mosh pit, and it’s really quite unlikely that you’re reading this.

If you’re reading this in a beautiful room with a view of the ocean, I am probably envious of your life. I am resigned to rocking the suburbs.

If you’re reading this, I want to impress you this time around. I know the last thing I wrote wasn’t so hot, though it had some good bits, if I do say so myself. I know you’re busy, and you’re probably just skimming anyways, so I’ll keep it short.

If you’re reading this, are we friends again? I’m sorry for what I did, and I take back what I said.

If you’re reading this in China, you may be breaking the law, but it’s a stupid law, so I’m glad you’re reading this.

If you’re reading this in Delhi, Bombay, Chennai, or indeed, Taiwan, either I’m asleep right now, or you’re up very late at night, or we’re both awake, but in rather different moods. Consider the gap in time and space. How can we connect?

If you’re reading this looking for lyrical precision and poetic wisdom that is hard and clean and perfect like a diamond, sorry to disappoint you yet again. This poem is only a dusty mirror hanging under the buzz of fluorescent lights in a hallway someone may or may not reach.

If you’re reading this in a toilet stall, try coming back here tomorrow around the same time. You know what to do.

If you're reading this in a literary magazine, then clearly it must be pretty good.

If you’re still reading this, thank you for reading this.

[X-Posted at SM]


St Antonym said...

I like my poems hard and clean and perfect like the slices of ham in a ham sandwich.

This is the vegetarian version but it's still tasty.

After all, I read it to the end.

7:53 PM  
Ravages said...


9:39 PM  
Ravages said...

While I don't profess to understand this post, much thanks for the link. And then putting it up on SM too! Woah!

9:40 PM  
zigzackly said...


2:11 AM  
Joan Pinto said...

tender, rough, nostalgic.

2:53 AM  
dhoomketu said...

if you're reading this, then you either have too much time going through comments on posts, or you are the blog-owner yourself.

2:53 AM  
neha vish said...

Hemph! Dhoomketu stole what should have been my line. Keep it running Amardeep. It reads well. :)

3:06 AM  
gautami tripathy said...

I read all this and I am still me!

6:27 AM  
Albert Krishna Ali said...

And thank you for writing this!

6:59 AM  
S.K. said...

This was brilliant, a perfect companion on the lunch time break.

7:18 AM  
Fingers said...


10:37 AM  
Shreeharsh said...

What is this? A poem about itself? Too meta for me, thank you very much.

Still, that was fun to read!!

3:16 PM  
david raphael israel said...

Am I writing this? Am I dead? or alive & particular?
Who is writing this? Is he housed? or at present vehicular?
If you're reading this I would not be exceedingly startled
Are you reading this? Aha! you're sight-line's perpendicular!


5:15 PM  
Ms. World said...

I read it and liked it! Enough said!

7:01 PM  
freeadman said...

come to this space occasionally,enjoying your articles.

1:53 AM  
elizabeth said...

wonderful. (though dude: no one ever had to make me read eliot.

12:03 AM  
Queenie said...

Its always the little things in far places that keeps our imaginations buzzing yet...

The next message you need is right where you are.
-Baba Ram Das

Have you heard of the Loft in MN?

thank you for these words and SM!

2:12 AM  
eM said...

This was brilliant, thank you :)

5:52 AM  
ResumesExperts said...

Would like to be different from other comments, but it is really magic. No more compliments, keep on impressing people with works like this one.

10:46 AM  
amit varma said...

Just saw this. Thanks Amardeep, lovely stuff.

When I read online, I often tend to just skim through stuff, and your post made me stop and read carefully. It changed the rhythm of the moment, and that's a great thing.

I suspect I'll go back to skimming soon, though...

5:46 PM  
Dev Kumar said...

If you have read it I recommend Douglas Hofstadter's essay on Self Reference which was originally published in Scientific American and later as part of his book titled Metamagical Themas. It has stuff like 'This sentence has five words' or was it 'This sentence does not have five words'? Not sure. Read the essay and find out.

10:08 PM  
Ms. V. said...

I rarely find something online that gets to the quiet places inside. Online texts usually turn up the volume knob, turn up the static.

Your poem did what poems are supposed to do, and more.

Thank you.

8:21 PM  
Divya said...

Whoa nice!! I'm a tad lost in the sea of words there but bravo!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous said...

I am reading this
Wouldn't give it a miss..

1:33 PM  
T said...

how fresh! thank you! i go home from work happy...

8:40 AM  
Lady Writer said...

Thanks, and admiration.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous said...

I read this post on 17th May. I am reading it again to be sure that we, while in India, can read some blogs not blocked by the authorities.
dated 19th July 2006.

8:14 AM  
chocklitsnoman said...

very good escape from english class...i was enthralled

1:57 PM  

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