New Year’s Day

January 1, 2019

Once you reach a certain age,
they say it’s easier for you.
But on every empty page
lies an Antarctica for pushing through.

We say a lot of stupid things.
We say that wisdom compensates
for wear and tear and gravity.
For the absence of those we love,
For trauma, and for self-pity.

And with sufficient time arrives
a certain hard-won dignity.
The honored elder of the tribe
with no responsibility.

(You can wear purple
You can dance naked
For no one will see you.)

This morning’s jacket-cold and perfumed
with scrambled eggs and alcohol.
Last night’s wine’s corked and vacuumed
I’m glad we didn’t drink it all
Our New Deal’s been signed and back-roomed:
Fresh January feels like Fall.

Does the future lie unwritten?
Out there for anyone to mold?
Has it been foretold by the prophet
Has it been parted out and sold —
off piecemeal
to the dealers and the sharps?

To the glad great friends of Jesus
With their banjos and their harps?

Man’s a machine made for believing,
for being stunted on, deceived.
But what’s a ghost but still perceiving
once you’ve stopped being perceived?

Resolve to be a ghost then,
to know more than to be known.
Lightly haunt this shabby planet
And hope you don’t wind up alone.

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