New Year Poetry with James Goertel

New Year Poetry with James Goertel

A VEIL OF MEMORIES and CLOSE YOUR EYES AND SING from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, stop to consider “time” on this New Year’s Day and its connection to what may lie ahead and what lies behind.

Under the Same Moon. James Goertel

Under the Same Moon. James Goertel


The year beyond brings
a blur of what is to come;
our impatient déjà vu
triggered by anticipation,
not a veil of memories
of all we yet will do.


I sleep
clutching complex, incomplete melodies
from either side of two centuries.

Stolid nights arrive endlessly

and in a dream one hundred years on
I bury my own abandoned children
along with the lullabies I sang to them

in a calm, quiet, lulling tenor
which befits me
and the end of a year I have slept away
while wide awake in a walking yawn

too tired to dance down the days,
up all night as I am writing

poems concerning poets,
poems carrying the light of the moon
far beyond its expected throw,
poems cobbled together from remnant memories
and a cannibalized assemblage of

songs without music
discarded regrets,
the tongue’s own translations
of feelings become thought;

all adding up to a collection of smoke
without the penance of fire,
without the ephemeral, sacred spectacle
of a last match strike struck

to make them anything more
than merely the varying weather
of any random month:

sunny, but forgotten;
cloudy, but misplaced;
rainy, but disregarded,

though I still find myself eating alive the hours
and their mortal chorus of rain, sun, and cloud
which remain between now and eternity,
between now and nothing but the silence
of music at last devoid of want, need, desire;

devouring for myself the solipsistic round of
what is left of what is left.

I wrote, then rewrote
the lives of my dead relatives.
They did not have the final say

their love became my humming,
their dreams became my whistle,
their hopes became my song

I close my eyes and sing
as night draws down a melody
drenched by rain,
parched by sun,
occluded by cloud

no more a poem
than the disjointed words
I mutter while sleep
draws itself upon a soul

rendering a primitive,
but poignant sketch
of before the beginning began,
of after the end arrives,

that which rests inside us all,
though mindfully ignored
while knowingly carried across
accumulating decades,
over the imaginary line
between one century and another,
across the shared slumber sung
between the living and the dead.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


View Comments (1)
  • James Goertel

    Happy New Year to Martin, Isabel and to all the devoted readers of Yareah Magazine.


Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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