A New Year’s Poem from Times Square

January 8, 2018

Close up of a stained glass New Year's ball

Photo by Inhabitat/ Flickr

Happy New Year

Everyone’s waiting for the ball to drop.

The President’s son-in-law is going to jail.

Or maybe not.

Information is described as sensitive.

Someone is getting fired.

Or maybe not.

It’s all up there, hanging in the air above the city.

People will gather in the streets to watch it.

The President has banned the word vulnerable.

He wants you to believe climate change is a hoax.

Meanwhile, the ocean is suffocating; the sea stars can’t breathe.

There’s a simple answer to all that extra carbon dioxide we emit: solar power.

The President dares the eclipse to blind him.

We look up at the shiny ball and begin to wonder, did we really put a man on the moon?

Scientists announce, good news: we know where all the gold in the universe comes from.

The collapsed hearts of dead stars violently colliding.

A time ball, nowadays, is obsolete, but it was once useful for celestial navigation to keep
the whole ship from getting lost at sea.

Time ball.

Times square.

On New Year’s Eve, someone will get down on one knee and pull something bright from
his pocket, but we won’t notice.

We like to begin each new year the same, in each other’s arms, eyes closed.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Beth Bachmann is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow in poetry and the author of two books from the Pitt Poetry Series: Temper, winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize and Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Do Not Rise, winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. Each fall, she serves as Writer in Residence in the MFA program at Vanderbilt University.