Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Heads Up poetry column: New Year’s Resolution

Vol. 36 No. 10 December 2019

A Poetry Column By Philip Appleman

New Year’s Resolution

Well, I did it again, bringing in

that infant Purity across the land,

welcoming Innocence with gin

in New York, waiting up

to help Chicago,

Denver, L.A., Fairbanks, Hon-

olulu—and now

the high school bands are alienating Dallas,

and girls in gold and tangerine

have lost all touch with Pasadena,

and young men with muscles and missing teeth

are dreaming of personal fouls,

and it’s all beginning again, just like

those other Januaries in

instant replay.

But I’ve had enough

of turning to look back, the old

post-morteming of defeat:

people I loved but didn’t touch,

friends I haven’t seen for years,

strangers who smiled but didn’t speak—failures,

failures. No,

I refuse to leave it at that, because

somewhere, off camera,

January is coming like Venus

up from the murk of December, re-

virginized, as innocent

of loss as any dawn. Resolved: this year

I’m going to break my losing streak,

I’m going to stay alert, reach out,

speak when not spoken to,

read the minds of people in the streets.

I’m going to practice every day,

stay in training, and be moderate

in all things.

All things but love.

(New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996)