I usually hate New Year's Eve. When I've been in a room and people were leaving to go somewhere or other and I knew "Happy New Year" greetings and hugs and kisses were coming, I've always tensed up, hoping the people offering them wouldn't come for me, praying at the same time that they would. I've always found an excuse, at that moment, to get up and leave so I didn't have to deal with the unwanted physical contact, the absence of the much-needed physical contact, my horror at the meaninglessness of the conventions etc etc. Have you never thought that the words would turn to concrete in your mouth if you spouted some socially mandatory cliche like "Happy New Year"?
I have spent every new year I can remember on my own, imagining the fun that other people were having, hearing the fun in pubs along the street from the Lookout, watching the fun on television, reflecting self-laceratingly on all the horrible mistakes I've made in life right from the beginning that have left me so isolated, so frozen inside my own stiff and ageing shell. And boy have I made mistakes. I think if I lived another one hundred years I wouldn't have time to put them right, or exorcise the bad spirits from my mind and from my heart that cause me to repeat them. But I will try.
Oddly, this year, New Year's Eve has no really negative overtones for me at all, however. Perhaps it's because I had my first great Christmas for twenty years or so. I will be on my own tonight; but on Christmas Day I was at Serena's house eating a beautifully cooked dinner and drinking too much wine in intelligent, interesting, amusing company. Who would have thought it. So I must be travelling in the right direction in life in some ways, roughly, even if it has been a bad year in many ways, with blackouts, trouble at work, and still no romance on the horizon, a year and a half after I finally gave up on her.
I want to have another go, while I am still alive and kicking. Muster the courage to get my health in order, if I can. Start living like a grown-up at 44, eat vegetables, be worthy of someone's love instead of an arrogant solipsistic phoney manipulating my environment for the satisfaction of my ego. And then if I can do that--or while I'm doing that--really satisfy my soul (though I don't have one) by getting into performance with my poetry. That's the plan for '09, though my karma might have other things in the store.
In the meantime I'd like to say thanks to all the people who've made this year better, more entertaining, more instructive, more full of love or wine or great food, more inspiring for poetry, than its recent predecessors, even if it has been hard, and weird; and--hopefully without the words turning to concrete in my mouth--wish everybody a Happy New Year.