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Unread 12-26-2019, 01:42 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,360
Default Bring It On

Bring It On: A New Year’s Poem


For several decades I have been one cold,
one fall, one monthly bill, away from living
derelict under cardboard on the street.
Why is it, now that I am halfway old,
my mug a mug of damage and defeat,
that New Year’s has become its own Thanksgiving?
Why do I sit here typing words of praise
about the world’s largess? Why do I sing
heart-felt ballads about each silly fling
and psalms of hope about the coming days?


From California I can see Times Square,
one of the chakras of America.
The ball has dropped. I’m sorry I’m not there
to add my whoop to the hysteria.

Tourists and buskers mob the streets, and you,
my friends, are wild among them. Pop the cork,
loose the confetti, sound the shrill kazoo.
I heart the mess of you, New York, New York.

Midnight has come to Minneapolis.
While, here and there, a raucous air-horn blares,
my friends from school, as wives and husbands, kiss
on couches, with their kids asleep upstairs.

Oh Uptown rife with music, theater
and Madeleine—the things I love the most.
In memory of a twenty-something blur
of poetry and wine, I raise a toast.

Cheers have gone up all over Salt Lake City.
Futurity has driven out December!
I wrote my first book there and kissed a pretty
red-haired girl (whose name I don’t remember).

I see her, hunched and fearless, on the slopes
of Alta, snowboard-footed, goggles on.
I hope that she has Rocky-Mountain hopes
for 2020 and is up till dawn.

Finally, in Pacific Standard Time,
I feel fireworks erupt at Disneyland,
and I can see my niece in Anaheim
agog in bed, stuffed elephant in hand.

Just so I journey westward, zone by zone,
while sipping whiskey at my laptop here
in Fresno, at my mother’s house, alone.
How should I resolve to spend the year?


This year I will bottle
my animal candor
the way Aristotle
honed Alexander.

The redolence of
this martial spirit
will vanquish like love
all who come near it,

and a sip will lay
the taster out.
This year, I say,
will know no doubt.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 12-26-2019 at 02:24 PM.
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Unread 01-13-2020, 05:51 PM
Roger Welsh Roger Welsh is offline
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 20

This interesting three-structured design invites comparison with the classical music form of the sonata, with its unique structural requirements of exposition, development, and recapitulation or coda. Of course, it’s impossible to transcribe one medium directly into another. But it is interesting to contemplate.

Working backwards, in part 3, we have the concluding New Year’s resolution. It is a kind of summary, recapitulation of the speaker’s sense of self stated in new, more ethereal terms, facing forward. Unfortunately, the connection between Aristotle and Alexander is not that transparent to a modern audience; still, it serves to lift the moment out of time and place it into a frame of permanence. In any case, the key in this section is the rather mysterious “animal candor,” which seemingly pops up from nowhere. What is it? It is resolute conviction, the instinct to move forward. So it is like “love” itself, irrational, undoubting, committed. It doesn’t matter what you’ve resolved; the spirit (Whiskey! Drink it!) of resolution is complete and sufficient in itself. Doubt is banned.

The middle part, the sonata’s “development,” if you will, provides a wonderfully playful but serious journey mixing ‘real’ time with the speaker’s historical memory as the shadow of New Years moves west across the country, approaching California from its start in NYC. So it is sort of a review—and a reverie, with female forms and forms of love taking center stage and embraced in recollection and raising a toast for their contributions to the speaker’s history and his current state. Most remarkably, the stanza marking arrival in Anaheim seals the journey, uniting the speaker with his niece, who stands for innocence, renewal, the world refreshed, “agog.” And then the resting point is the origin, the wombic beginning, your “mother’s house”—full circle. Safe home.

And the first part is the beginning in New York, the exposition, as sonata form would have it, which does follow, one can argue, both the literary and the musical sense, in a metaphorical way. It sets the scene quite clearly and places before us the central issue which is to be resolved by the development and resolution/coda to follow: ‘Given my miserable life, why shall I be thankful for another year?’ The answer will be a spiritual journey of renewal across time and space and mind.

I have to shamble off regarding the bits and pieces, the dictional and metrical shifts from part 1 to part 2 to part 3. They’re there and not to be neglected…they work, with perhaps a few flaws or caveats, but…I'm exhausted for now, and my wife has just fired up the drone for a ride to a rendezvous somewhere east of here...

I love poetry that sets my mind to work. This piece has me working overtime. And thanks for it, Aaron.
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