All is quiet on New Year’s Day

1 01 2014

I know how to leave.

A job, a city, a relationship: I can book it with a handshake, a grin, a fare-thee-well, and I’m gone.

I also know how to deal with the run-up. I like rehearsals and planning and while packing is an enormous pain in the tuchus, I’m pretty good with the clearing out and stashing away.

All of this is to say is that I prefer the eves to the day (and not just because I’m a night person). It is the time before that I’m accustomed to, and the anticipation that I enjoy. I’m not bothered by endings—I know everything ends—and, against much of my own agoniste sensibilities, I take the view “it’s done; let’s go”.

Beginnings, on the other hand, I’m not so great at. You’d think that I can end because I know what comes next, but the coming-next is the burden, not the gift, of the ending.

New Year’s Eve? So long and farewell. New Year’s Day?

Oh shit, another year.

But let us take a more poetic look at the back and the forth; from Agha Shahid Ali’s A Fate’s Brief Memoir:


There between the planets the cobwebs thicken
Depart now. Spiders look for my heart lest
I forget the final wreck of all that’s human.

Farewell—and if thou livest or diest!
What poverty lets death exert its affluence?
The earth will receive you, poor honored guest,

and I minding my threadbare subsistence—
poor host who could offer you nothing. What brocades
spun from gasps I tear to polish our instruments. . .

threads searchlit, the universe dazzled, burnished blades. . .
Feel a new sun pounding—Dear Heart, this once!
See the famished sighs I’ll lock into braids.

Don’t forget this sight when by desolate chance
from your breath Belovéd! this evening fades.




2 responses

1 01 2014

From my window, one hand on the phone, I strain
to hear the argument playing out below in a parked car,

a loud fight punctuated by slammed doors, a revved engine,
the man pounding the dashboard, yelling, “I didn’t do anything!”

while the woman shouts back, over and over, “Just shut up!”
A giggling troupe of girls emerges from the pool hall

that serves anyone. They toss a pack of cigarettes back and forth,
stray out of the dark alley toward the lights of Main Street,

while hurrying the other way, a lawyer who’s been working late,
briefcase bulging around mounds of paperwork,

heads now for her car, the last one left in all-day parking.
A collection of elderly restaurant-goers strolls purposefully

down the sidewalk, well-dressed, inaudible, unflinching
as they pass the arguers’ car. I should be asleep.

It must be after eleven; the movie marquee’s lights
have just shut off. Something large crashes out back

behind the building. My bed is empty.
When I lean out at just the right angle, I can see the ocean

scarred by moonlight, the glowing zero of the moon’s face
poised above the window, looking in.

“Full Moon” by Kristen Lindquist

2 01 2014

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