Hail and well met! It's time to sing
The joyous hymn of everything
We've learned this year (and maybe later,
Tape up to our refrigerator).
A song to friends, all creeds and races,
The color draining from their faces,
As we, in toasty living rooms,
Salute the year that saw their dooms.
(Even the ones who weren't ready.)
So gulp your eggnog, toss confetti--
Providing that you're still alive.
Chin chin! A toast to 95!
What's that? Are you some kind of dork, or
Don't you read Ms. Brown's New Yorker?
As timely as its yuletide list
Are those who shall be sorely missed
From all the yearly Christmas cheer:
The ones who are no longer here
To celebrate among the famous,
Or trade a jab with Kingsley Amis,
And eat tan M&M's in back
With Li Zhisui and Wolfman Jack.
Come! Light a fat red Christmas candle
For Les Aspin and Mickey Mantle.
Let Harold Wilson carry it
Over to where James Herriot
Snarfs Boston Chicken with Bob Ross.
What does Burl Ives make of the loss
Of Joe Slovo, Calvin and Hobbes,
And others bringing year-end sobs?
Let's celebrate John Cameron Swayze
With Kathleen Tynan and Eazy-E,
Vladislav Listyev, Paul Monette,
The HotHouse, and the Coronet!
Look there! Who is that chatting with
Selena and Margaret Chase Smith?
Why, Stanley Elkin, Maggie Kuhn,
Bobby Riggs, of course, and Shannon Hoon!
Replaying highlights, Howard Cosell
Drops his Milwaukee Sentinel
To stand and smooch Eva Gabor
And sing the "Song of Singapore."
A farewell toast to the ex-wife
Of Ringo Starr, "My So-Called Life,"
Bob Stinson, Michio Watanabe,
Sol Tax, and "Moon Under Miami."
Yitzhak Rabin and Michael Dash
Greet Art Kane, chatting with Jim Nash.
Why must you let your face go splotchy
Recalling ruined Saatchi & Saatchi?
Cheer up! Belt out a hearty "See ya"
To Joseph Gould and Jerry Garcia--
We crack up at their crazy talk!
Now Henry Roth and Jonas Salk
Kiss Ginger Rogers, as Ray Johnson
Is sketching Sterling Morrison.
Oh, don't look now, but Stephen Spender
And Junior Walker are leading a tender
Ghostly sax-and-vocals carol
By "Righteous" Rudnick and James Merrill!
They write so well. Still, we're not sorry
To hear Mohammed Siad Barre
Disclose a primo shopping bargain
To Louis Malle and Mehdi Bazargan.
Arriving late--oh, yes! It's him!
Bill Kunstler! And Sunnyland Slim!
Both rise to toast Dorothy McHugh,
Pancho Gonzalez, and U Nu.
But listen up! The dulcet tones
Of Tar, For Squirrels, and the Ramones
Thump all four walls, the floor, the ceiling,
So Warren Burger and "Friz" Freleng
Can boogie through this festive night
With Glenn Burke and J. William Fulbright.
Look! Leafing through the stuffy Nose
(Bought--natch--at Kroch's and Brentano's):
It's Donald Pleasence and Fred Perry,
Ingrid Bergman and Don Cherry!
Well, Terry Southern! Have you met
Our dear friend Lana Turner yet?
(Nice dress, for sure, but we're still partial
To the widow of J. Howard Marshall.)
We can't be sure we'll stay too long
To chat with Prince Souphanouvong,
While Matthew Tassio, to our elation,
Quotes Robertson Davies and Subnation.
A shot by Alfred Eisenstaedt
Reminds George Abbott where he's at.
Rose Kennedy and Leon Day
Howl at The Far Side with Ron Kray,
And Orville Redenbacher's led
Hymns to Chicago's Board of Ed!
At last it's time, although it's hard,
To say good night. Murray Rothbard
Sends one last wish of Christmas cheer,
And hails the brand-new (fateful) year.
A snarl of tidings, fairly terse,
Concludes this joyous "Farewell" verse,
from Shane MacGowan (not technically dead):
"Merry Christmas. Now fuck off to bed!"
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Slug Signorino.