Saturday, January 05, 2008

Made to be Broken

This is in response to the prompt at readwritepoem

We do not know how to make resolutions,
That is the problem. Not that there is anything wrong
With resolve. But making a resolution
Is not so simple a matter as we think.

Anyone can make a list of what
A better person would do, or would
Refrain from doing. To wish we were not
What we are, is a skill we need not cultivate.
We are all too facile at that.

No: to make a resolution
Is to build a box of intention. First of all,
The bottom. We must decide exactly what it is.
No vagueness. No "more of this," or "less of that."
Numbers. Three cigarettes a day, or none, but not some.

Then the sides. Every day you must repeat it
Aloud. A resolution spoken or written once is nothing.
It must be said over and over, affirmed again and again.

And then
You're wrong
We do not make a top.

We watch for the first time
We do not stay in the box.
If it's a real resolution, one that matters,
We almost certainly will not keep it.

And now, now is our chance.
Now is when the resolution means something
Now is the payoff.

When it's broken, we must look
For the hole in the box.
There is an intention we have not understood
A consequence we have not reckoned on.

And that is what resolutions are for.
Not for keeping: a resolution that can be kept
Need not have been made in the first place.
What a resolution is for is to bring our attention

To what we are driven by
But have not acknowledged.
To what we intend
But will not see.

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