Another New Year by Joanne Burns

the first week of the new year and
indolence drops in as usual uninvited:
here’s lassitude like flat champagne flatter
than sorrow flat as the image of the year
ahead — a schedule of trivial and significant
failures making its prescience felt; any humour
of self parody is frizzled by the heat, an insect
voice rasps        make it new        make it new —
a decision to give up writing for sandwich
making seems quite positive, the first new year’s
resolution approximating common sense in quite a while yet

in a slow thin panic you begin pigging out
on poetry: surrounding yourself with texts, slimthick volumes
of verse, biographies, essays, articles, interviews, as if
you’re building a formidable sandcastle at low tide:
american essays on poetic truth-honesty-sincerity make
you want to puke
to burn the lot pity about the fire bans there’s nothing
more pesky than the pieties of american poets doubling
as lit crits up to their crowns their laurels in
certainties and eloquence, a rhetoric that’s never lost
for words, and cee-vees long as the mississippi; to grow
illiterate, mute (not to be confused with vocally challenged)
is what you crave: a big long sleep on a blank white page.


Date: 1999

By: Joanne Burns (1945- )


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