Richard Siken Tells Me We’ll Never Get Used To It

by Po, Editor-in-Chief

 4/2 - Richard Siken Tells Me We'll Never Get Used To It, by Po, EIC

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out (1-13)

I don’t know when exactly I first read Richard Siken. It was the beginning of last semester, early fall 2011. I had arrived in a new city on the heels of the hurricane. That should have been the first sign.

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out (55-58)

I have his book, Crush, highlighted, underlined, and annotated like only a book of poems you’ve read more than a dozen times can be. Well, actually, I don’t have it. I gave it to Layah and then to Sima and then I asked Jesse if he wanted it but now it’s Elie’s turn, because I do these things, because I give words to the people I love/appreciate instead of warmth. Handfuls of sentences instead of hugs. Poetry instead of me, in person.

I’m Facebook friends with Richard Siken, did you know that? I also sent him an email at precisely 4:10 AM this morning. It’s not that I think I know you, I said. It’s just that I talk about Crush the way some people talk about their spouses.

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out (16-25)

Richard Siken lives in Arizona and edits spork, another online-and-in-print lit magazine. It’s the only one I’ll ever promote on this site, because it’s the only one Siken is involved with.

Last semester I was reading Richard Siken nonstop. Crush, poems I could only find online, printed-out editor’s letters from spork…I was going crazy in a school outside of Boston, and Siken had lost his mind six years ago. Or really, eleven years ago, it just took him five years to write about it. Or – to write about it like this.

"Ornithopter," Editor's Pages, Issue 1.1, Spork

I learned a lot about storytelling from Siken’s poems. They’re all one novel, really. And that’s the genius of them. Each a different chapter in the same book, the same characters, they just keep changing names.

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out (30-40)

Siken said things to me at a time when I couldn’t even say things to me. Leave the gun on the table, he told me – this has nothing to do with happiness.  I think that’s all that got me through last semester. That and the promise of the first poem in Crush, that elusive “Scheherazade.” It’s not like the tree where the roots have to end somewhere.


That one time I was lying in the bathtub on too many pills and she was out drunk at a club, I told heread Richard Siken, maybe then you’ll understand me a little better. I told her you still get to be the hero. I told her every morning the maple leaves. She thought these were a suicide note.

* * *

I want to tell you this story without having to confess anything, he said. That’s what I wanted, too. That’s what I’ve always wanted. But those last lines of the first poem, more than anything: Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us. These, our bodies, possessed by light.

Tell me we’ll never get used to it.

Visit Richard Siken's website
Visit my favorite Richard Siken tumblr, richardsikendaily.


  1. […] POETRY MONTH 4/2 – Richard Siken Tells Me We'll Never Get Used To It, by Po, EIC 4/3 – William Carlos Williams: This Is Just To Say, by Layah, CD 4/4 – We Are All […]

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LANDFILLS is a grassroots literary, arts and culture online collective based in Chicago. All work is original, except the featured images that accompany text posts (which are blatantly stolen from Complaints should be directed to Po via Twitter.
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