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The Wait 


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.

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About The Author

David Cavanagh


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