Richard Siken

(1967 / New York City, New York)

Richard Siken Quotes

  • ''“You’re in a car with a beautiful boy, and he won’t tell you that he loves you, but he loves you. And you feel like you’ve done something terrible, like robbed a liquor store, or swallowed pills, or shoveled yourself a grave in the dirt, and you’re tired. You’re in a car with a beautiful boy, and you’re trying not to tell him that you love him, and you’re trying to choke down the feeling, and you’re trembling, but he reaches over and he touches you, like a prayer for which no words exist, and you feel your heart taking root in your body, like you’ve discovered something you didn’t even have a name for.”''
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  • ''“Eventually something you love is going to be taken away. And then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you: you’re falling to the floor crying thinking, “I am falling to the floor crying,” but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it — you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying you look at the place where the wall meets the floor and you realize you didn’t paint it very well.” ''
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  • ''“Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.These, our bodies,possessed by light.
    Tell me well never get used to it.” ''
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  • ''“We have not touched the stars,nor are we forgiven, which brings us back
    to the hero’s shoulders and the gentleness that comes,not from the absence of violence, but despite
    the abundance of it.” ''
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  • ''“Im battling monsters, Im pulling you out of the burning buildings/ and you say Ill give you anything but you never come through.” ''
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  • ''“Sorry about the blood in your mouth. I wish it was mine.

    I couldnt get the boy to kill me, but I wore his jacket for the longest time.” ''
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  • ''“A man takes his sadness down to the river and throws it in the river
                        but then he’s still left
    with the river. A man takes his sadness and throws it away
                                                                            but then he’s still left with his hands.” ''
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  • ''“You go to work the next day pretending nothing happened.
    Your co-workers ask
    if everythings okay and you tell them
    youre just tired.
    And youre trying to smile. And theyre trying to smile.”''
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  • ''“Everyone needs a place. It shouldnt be inside of someone else.”''
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  • ''“I’ve been rereading your story. I think it’s about me in a way that might not be flattering, but that’s okay. We dream and dream of being seen as we really are and then finally someone looks at us and sees us truly and we fail to measure up. Anyway: story received, story included. You looked at me long enough to see something mysterioso under all the gruff and bluster. Thanks. Sometimes you get so close to someone you end up on the other side of them.” ''
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Best Poem of Richard Siken

Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors

To have a thought, there must be an object—
the field is empty, sloshed with gold, a hayfield thick
with sunshine. There must be an object so land
a man there, solid on his feet, on solid ground, in
a field fully flooded, enough light to see him clearly,

the light on his skin and bouncing off his skin.
He's easy to desire since there's not much to him,
vague and smeary in his ochers, in his umbers,
burning in the open field. Forget about his insides,
his plumbing and his furnaces, put a thing in his hand

and be done with it. No one wants to know ...

Read the full of Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors

Detail of the Woods

I looked at all the trees and didn't know what to do.

A box made out of leaves.
What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn't be inside of someone else.
I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.

From the landscape: a sense of scale.