Published on Academy of American Poets (

Year of the Tiger

This new Chinese New Year we were in a film
Holding hands and daring each other
To close our eyes in the surrounding mayhem
On one beautiful hell of a dancefloor
In memory, in black-and-white
Two strangers clutching in a crowd. Like close-ups

By Fellini, the drunk midget and the wounded
Cripple dancing on a cane,
The pit-roasted pig with its pineapple glaze,
Nothing but the excrement
Of blissful minutes, budsmoke, temporary inebriation
The rooftop clamor at last
Falling off the cliffside of a starry abyss

And braceleted Madonna in 1983
Still digitally singing, you must be
My lucky star, cuz you shine on me
Wherever you are—and I can feel it
That splendid nothingness of wine and vicodin

Like someone hypnotized by the fireworks
Of being alive inside an accident
Like this body—
A sickness that feels the same as a cliché.
Let’s get out of here, I say, and kiss you
To celebrate the darkening

Damaged miraculous happiness—
To enter the opening coffin-like fact of each other.
For no reason some night happening to me
Is happening to me. O my lucky fucking
Star, I want to use
Your sweaty machinery. We are infinite

Tonight! We’ll never wake to touch like this again.


Copyright © 2013 by Miguel Murphy. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on June 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"A friend of mine in Venice throws a Chinese New Year party every year in his glass and concrete modernist home paid for by a chair he designed for IKEA, lots of food, music, eccentrics. It's a party, you feel a bit as if it's the last night on earth, but you're happy. Underneath the riotous din is a kind of serious intensity. You're lucky, this pretty young thing is into you, you've got his eye on your eye, and you're not going to waste it. You feel a prelapsarian courage, the whole world is just some beautiful accident you can't get enough of. Let it all fall down into ruin. I mean, why, just why in the hell aren't you already dead? You care, you don't care, you care."
—Miguel Murphy


Miguel Murphy

Miguel Murphy is the author of Detainee (Barrow Street Press, 2016).

Date Published: 2013-06-07

Source URL: