Terence Winch

Annual Report

I hate this entire year, the way it stops
and starts, dries you out, soaks you, lulls you
to sleep, then wakes you up in a cold sweat.
Not to mention the pills that are required
just to get through it. I’m on Tylenol
with codeine at this very moment.

It sees to it that the bills keep coming,
marked by o
bvious deceit. The dentist we despise
who keeps overcharging us, for example.
It is so objectionable, so unfair.
Where are the free lunches of yesteryear,
the Martinis, Manhattans, highballs
on the hotel terrace overlooking the magic
domes of the glittering city?

It was not like this in 1982, I can tell you that.
1982 let you smoke all the True Blues you wanted.
It said, go ahead—have fun! Eat giant hamburgers,
huge slices of cake, big platefuls of French fries.
Fuck all night, sleep late, call in sick. It told you
you had to listen to Van Morrison singing
“Cypress Avenue” over and over, all night long
till there was nothing left of it to inhale.

Terence Winch is the author of eight poetry collections, the most recent of which is The Known Universe (2018). A Columbia Book Award and American Book Award winner, he has also written a young adult novel called Seeing-Eye Boy and two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place, the latter drawing on his life as a traditional Irish musician. His work is included in more than 40 anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry, Poetry 180, and 5 editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors. Terence Winch edits the “Pick of the Week” feature on the Best American Poetry site.