If you’re reading this

If youÂ’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 youÂ’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 youÂ’re reading this, and I hope you are, you may be waiting for me to get to the point. If youÂ’re reading this, IÂ’m thrilled. I thought IÂ’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 itÂ’s really quite unlikely that youÂ’re reading this.

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

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

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

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

If you’re reading this on your mobile phone, you probably have Manish to thank.

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

12 thoughts on “If you’re reading this

  1. Can someone tell me what the post was about? I didn’t bother to read it.

  2. In one sentence: it was about whether you or not you decided to read it. But I have a feeling you knew that, without reading it, somehow.

  3. I did read. And I am awake. While I have been awake for a while now, I really didn’t read it till now. Thanks muchly. For the linky-love.

  4. If youÂ’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.

    SWOOON. :)

  5. This is quality procrastination material, prof.

    Fabulous. I just killed 10 minutes of my eight hour slave day! Good stuff… Do you have mutineer discounts for Villa Shanti? :-)

  6. Interestingly, I am reading this in China. I’ve been a bit of a lurker on SM for some time now, this is my first comment. Just wanted to let you know, that I did read this, and that at least one person is breaking the stupid law…. A great read, thanks!