This Is the New Year

Perhaps in this new year we give up first our talents,
Offering them to children & the dying
While we settle unencumbered in the cellar,
Earning grace by firing the furnace & spearing
Rats to keep the home life stable.
Cabin fever & barely winter. This new year
Red Stripe through the afternoon & half-hearted
Allusions to Caribbean vacations. The clear water.
Zest in our evening martinis.
                                          We remember
Years. Hard-luck ‘75, the justice of ‘99.
Generally, we move little. We err & forgive.
Even now, perhaps, we stop our various smokings,
Name our compatriots & stride like an ox from this city.
Even now.
Returning, the streets will whimper & lampposts,
Already lit, will turn to parked cars, whispering, Love
Like a tiger, work like a stone—alone . . . alone . . .

Then we will shovel our stoops with our
Hands & leave the avenues smooth
As undiscovered lies all the while muttering
Nonsense to our secret selves.
                                          We’ve understood:
Something will happen. Resolutions are for jerks.
Have we interviewed the past through our bruised knuckles?
Wound the day like piano wire round a neck?
Ever stood on a city roof, salt in our lungs, screaming?

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