As I raise my flute in drunken glee,
I look upon what was once a live tree.
So concerned with this planet and global warming,
my resolution to do better can wait til morning.
For tonight, I celebrate with friends and acquaintances,
spreading well wishes and exchanging whispered confidences.
The wrongs of this world, for just one night
can wait a little longer for us to do what’s right.
A sick child with no health care will have to hold on
until I open my bleary eyes to greet the new dawn.
The Black man being dragged by the Ku Klux Klan
should have seen them coming, he should have ran.
Of course I care about the people who have addictions
just like I care about my neighbor who can’t afford her prescriptions.
I know about the homeless who have formed a tent city.
But for just this night, champagne will take away my pity.
And as the seconds tick away towards the New Year,
even champagne cannot stop me from shedding another tear.
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland
I wrote this one because as we celebrate the ringing out of the old and in with the new, I cannot help but believe that more misery, cruelty, suffering, chaos, war and all things of horror, will follow us into this new year and beyond, for what will have changed?
As we head to our parties tonight, break out our party favors and drink our champagne toasts at midnight, wish each other a “Happy New Year,” are we really going to think that this year will be any happier than 2017 or 2016 or 2015? What is going to change to get us to actually mean it when we say, “Happy New Year?” It will be just another year of the same because we won’t change. We will continue in our old ways of ignoring those who are less fortunate. We will pretend as though there are not wars being fought just because. We will never for a minute think that we have aided and abetted in the destruction of this planet through our selfish acts as we scream, “Happy New Year To One And All!” If we really meant that, we’d know it because it would show, but when you look around, does it show? Does it look as though we give a damn about the children who go to bed, hungry? Does it look like we give a damn about the homeless? Does it look like we care about those who are in unimaginable pain because they have no health insurance? Does it look like we are going to start doing something to hold our elected representatives accountable for the way they continuously make the working poor pay for the idleness of the rich? Does it look like the ‘new year’ will bring about a change in the human psyche which seems hell bent on self-destruction? If any of you ponder these questions, I already know what the outcome will be. Exactly how you were in 2015, 2016, 2017 is how you will be in 2018 and on and on it will go until they plant you. Because we are always going to wait til tomorrow to ‘do’ better. Just like each and every year, we are bombarded with ads to lose weight and get in shape and some people actually make a resolution to do just that and then after a month, what happens? Back to square one.
And so, I will not say, “Happy New Year!” I will merely say, “Welcome to the rest of your life!” War, misery, homelessness, joblessness, starvation, income inequality, racism, ignorance, selfishness, arrogance, greed, lust, apathy and complacency and your solutions to getting through all of this; heroin, crack, alcohol, weed, mass murder and suicide.
“Welcome, To The Rest Of Your Life! Cheers!”