after Lawrence Ferlinghetti
New Year’s Eve, waiting for the ball to drop
again. Waiting for the dancing
to begin, the band to wail like it has no choice.
It has no choice.
I’m waiting for the woman in red shoes to move
her sinuous self my way
and smile. I’m waiting for the stores to close.
I’m waiting for America
to grow weary of money and move on. I’m waiting
for one of the football guys
huddled over beers in the raucous bar to say, wait,
what would T.S. Eliot say about that?
I’m waiting for the young woman showing serious
cleavage to think about it.
I’m waiting for myself to stop. New Year’s
Eve, waiting for a storm,
the evening’s tinsel to peel back and the innards
of a year to be revealed.
I’m waiting for spring to start tomorrow
and the moon to take over.
I’m waiting for pro hockey players to take up
knitting, and knitters to bristle
over politics. I’m waiting for the president
to be one. I’m waiting for a job
to be more, and to be no more than it should be.
I’m waiting for cell phones to yield
to conversation. I’m waiting for the prisons
to be opened so we can meet
the million we think are not like us. I’m waiting
for dinner with the Chinese woman
who made my shoes and shirt. I’m waiting for comfort
to remove its anaesthetic needle
from my brain. I’m waiting for comfort to blush
with shame and confusion,
to wonder why it finds itself so uncomfortable.
New Year’s Eve, and I’m waiting for some words
to jump the barbed wire and throw off
their orange jumpsuits: liberal, feminist, intellect —
dangerous felons all. I’m waiting
for grade schools to embrace children and lock up
the tools of control, instead of all that
vice versa. I’m waiting for some intelligent design.
I’m waiting for the body to howl
and the spirit to listen. New Year’s Eve and I’m
waiting for the war to be fought
with razor-sharp love, waiting for the battle to turn
inner. I’m waiting for the troops
to come home and tear the little yellow magnets
off our cars, say you call that
support? Say to hell with support. What’s needed
now — Sinatra knew it, sing it again,
Frank, why not — what’s needed now is all of us.
New Year’s Eve and I remember now the ball
has been well and truly dropped,
again and again the fireworks splayed against
the played out sky. What becomes
of that spinning globe each year after its midnight
fall? We hardly know. Now
I’m waiting for the ball to rise and silent rockets
spray the sky with color
beyond all telling. I’m waiting for the dancing,
and the music to be heard.