Sunday Poems 57: An old year, a new year

In the last year, a recurring fear which has  possessed me is being found out as a fraud. As a writer firstly, but secondly as a human. I’ll lay aside the second, at least for the time being, as it’s more bizarre, and I’m tempted towards meditating on John Locke’s “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” as a solution, which feels like a bit much for a the first Sunday of the year. (Your hungover mind can thank me.)

That first fear strikes me as a waste of time, but if I don’t spend some time picking it apart here then there’s probably no hope but to continue wasting time on it. Lewis Hyde, in his “The Gift”, discusses first what a gift is, and the mechanics of its exchange, then moves on to consider then what it means to talk about an artistic gift, and why that’s a useful way to think about the energies granted by an artist. Perhaps I can consider my fear a small gift today, because now I get to write about it. In the process, hopefully, I can excise it.

Why do we become afraid? And why was this year particularly bad for it? In my mind, fear tends to sound like an echo, both as synesthesia, and as a small thing which begets a less small thing, which begets a medium sized thing, which begets a larger thing which begets something very big and difficult to ignore. Addressing this sort of thought pattern can take on two angles: eliminating the tiny, first, habitual worry, or slowing the process by which it grows into something larger.

I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution sort of person (excepting the Carla Thomas and Otis Redding song), but this year I’d like to attempt to push back the pillowy oppression of my imposter syndrome, and I hope you’ll be along for the ride.

Sundays are nice days to be somewhere else. You close your eyes. You’re on an island, there are chickens roaming, palm trees overhead. It’s cool, but very sunny. You feel it especially on your shoulders and on the crown of your head. Making your way down to the water, past gardens crowded with unfamiliar blue flowers, you encounter a friend you weren’t expecting to see here. You embrace. Everything is warm.

Below is a poem. Consider passing it on to someone who might enjoy it. As always, I’m here if you need to chat. I have some new projects which will start to appear on this blog shortly, and I encourage you to check back here for those in the coming weeks. Sunday Poems continues to be supported by a few generous backers over on Patreon. If you have an extra dollar or two a month and you appreciate reading these, please consider becoming a Patreon backer, so that I can dedicate more time to writing on this blog. Have a great week, everybody.

cold water tastes like love

i hope you can find this useful
there is a net stretching
under candidates
for small affection,
larger affection too.

the wastebasket kind of
lawnmower strike
at the television’s place
in your apartment.

deadlines turn to
shaping chicken bones
for so many sewing needles.
white walls turn baby blue
at your insistence.

we hang from balconies
and street signs,
trying to turn the ocean
to glue.

back again,
a late lunch turns
to spring,
winter comes with dessert
and with eyes closed
you can barely see the sun set.

Theodore Fox is a poet living on Treaty Six land in Canada.
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