Transcribed as numerals, the New Year
always looks futuristic. “2013” doesn’t always
designate the same thing. It lacks the riot of
other forms.* Take two-thousand thirteen Common Era.
This epoch of sound in which little (could stop)
ole’ me (from) asking around about how veterans measure time—
how they couldn’t quite get it, quite get how sound is made—
sound like some old crusty mademoiselle, some ether night,
some Latter Day Lady Saint Django who lets McFly remain
an enigmatic constant [. . .]. I’ll admit this: it ain’t
the most pleasant aria, nor line of questioning* : this ridiculous
half-haphazard 2013, this considered inversion,* this year
of fabulous living,* of old reality, of new petty tragedies:
it means reliving the past through its constant addictions and failures.
* Take, perhaps, a militant anti-children stance.
* Pink’s shit day. (And yellow, half red and black, and etc.)
* of nukes.
Turn around w/ your stupid conviction, autistically
prostituting yourself for the betterment of your ancestors.
You’re so profound, so, how shall we say, liked; you’re a
cancer upon the digital age, a fathomless apex of Prufrock-
like despair. Thank god it’s you and ain’t me. For if it were me
I’d disown my family, turn aside all invitations to contribute
or sympathize, caustically pretend to feel stuff that I’ve never
even admitted admitting the legality of feeling in the first place,
and then close the warehouse door, slam shut the liminal space
b/t you and some other thing, b/t me and the things that have
only been suggested—we’d all be fantastic in the night delirium
of standard forms and new friends and your spare heroes.
This is the volta. This is the moment where the above ceases
to resonate. We’ll be fantastic. We’ll drown upon waking. Yes.
Hello. You are reading this poem. You are
reading it for the journal that you’ve agreed
to wade through mountains of shitty poetry for.
Aren’t you special, aren’t you fantastic. For you
are. You are the cutting edge of the literary scene,*
a paragon of judgment and authority, w/ a fair share
of democratic spirit thrown in. Congratulations. But
I imagine you ain’t proud of yourself, or think you’re
“elite,” or whatever. You’re just wading through this
stack of poems, hoping something comes out the other
end, hoping something hits you enough so that you can
go to your editor saying, “Hey, this one, amongst the
trash heaps of everything else we got, this one ain’t so
bad, so, you know, maybe we could publish it?” Yes.
* Whether you like or realize it or not.
Bradley J. Fest received his MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, where he is now a Visiting Instructor and PhD candidate studying nineteenth through twenty-first century American literature. This April he will defend his dissertation, “The Apocalypse Archive: American Literature and the Nuclear Bomb.” His work has appeared in boundary 2, Studies in the Novel, and Critical Quarterly, and he has an essay forthcoming this spring in The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World. His poems have appeared in Open Thread, BathHouse, Flywheel, and elsewhere. He blogs regularly at The Hyperarchival Parallax.