Earth 2023: A poem for the new year

The water rabbit is still freshly unboxed, ribbons and
wrapping paper not yet stuffed into recycle bins, already
futility creeps up its skin like a phantom vein. People I
haven’t spoken to for months (and we are in times when
speaking itself is a metaphor for awkward texts), send
flashing rectangles, with words so corny, it would take
months to wipe off the artificial sweetness and toxic
positivity. A paradox this, in an age of over communication,
there is too little with any meaning. Like packing waste,
deleted texts find their way to a landfill, their tasteless
apathy never decaying. How do you relearn sustainable
conversation, biodegradable, returning to the earth to
bloom flowers? Somewhere in the middle of the day,
your message pings. You send me an AI generated
poem about hope for joy and prosperity and success.
I feel a dark kinship with the fish at the bottom of the
sea that has never set eyes on a human, still dying of
microplastics. Happy (and on this I insist) New Year.

** I’ve seen it being called the year of the water rabbit in some places, some others call it the year of the black rabbit, some more said both are right. Whichever it is, it’s here. Hope it is gentle and kind. 

9 thoughts on “Earth 2023: A poem for the new year

  1. I love this, especially your closing lines of kinship with fish at the bottom of the sea….and “Happy (on this I insist) New Year.” Smiles. Just perfect.


  2. What we subsist on today — those AI-generated messages of surfeit and sleep — were planted when we were much younger, chasing our commercial dreams. Can a tweeted poem matter, is there a penalty for holding it accountable on the same level as microplastics at the bottom of the sea? Who knows, but it’s what we must do. As Jorie Graham put it, our poetry must “keep the language capable of transmitting truth, the heart honest, to force averted eyes to witness what is being done in our name, to bear witness to atrocity as well as mystery, to make consciousness rub up against the most difficult reality it finds and take responsibility.” Every poem that bears witness in that way is a radical seed for the New Year. Thanks Rajani, and here’s to buckets and siloes and seas of apt poems!


    1. Thank you, Brendan. True that AI is being force-fed so many follies of our past, that it too can’t help spouting inanities. The need for people to twist everything into a “happy” exclamation, maybe just to avoid dealing with it – whether it is monumental like climate change or more micro like someone’s life, is the unnamed pandemic of our times. We need a nomenclature system for these too… like covid variants.


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