I took two little girls with me, my daughter, Nanny, and her best friend, Allison Mitchell. They had never been off Cape Cod before. When we saw a river, we had to stop so they could stand by it and think about it for a while. They had never seen water in that long and narrow, unsalted form before. The river was the Hudson. There were carp in there and we saw them. They were as big as atomic submarines.
We saw waterfalls, too, streams jumping off cliffs into the valley of the Delaware. There were lots of things to stop and see--and then it was time to go, always time to go. The little girls were wearing white party dresses and black party shoes, so strangers would know at once how nice they were. "Time to go, girls," I'd say. And we would go.
And the sun went down, and we had supper in an Italian place, and then I knocked on the front door of the beautiful stone house of Bernard V. O'Hare. I was carrying a bottle of Irish whiskey like a dinner bell.
It is the second-to-last day of Slaughterhouse Five and Kurt Vonnegut. He's on a journey in this little passage, going to visit his old war friend. It's the start of the book that will take him to Dresden and Tralfamadore and back, over and over and over. Billy Pilgrim hasn't made an appearance yet, and time is still pretty stable.
Journeys always seem to begin and end in the same place. You leave home, fly or drive hundreds or thousands of miles, and then return home again. That's what this year has been like for me. I started off, walking hand-in-hand with Vonnegut, into January, 2017. And now, the day before New Year's Eve, I'm still walking hand-in-hand with him toward January again.
A snow storm is on the way today. According to the National Weather Service, we could receive up to ten or twelve inches of fresh white stuff. It's like God is getting ready to erase 2017 off the face of the planet. He's taking out the trash. Out with the old, in with the new.
Of course, I must say that, while 2017 was the year of Donald Trump and his Nazi cohorts, I have had a pretty good twelve months. I was named Poet Laureate. I've traveled from one end of the Upper Peninsula to the other, giving readings, raising money for causes that are important to me. This month, I was given a teaching award from the university.
So, I will remember 2017 as a good year for me, personally, but a pretty shitty year for my country and the world, in general. I have great optimism for the future. I think that Donald Trump will not be President of the United States next December. I think that all of the Republicans who've screwed over the middle-income and lower-income citizens of this country will be voted out of office next November. There will be a quiet, peaceful political revolution.
And Saint Marty will continue to write poems and teach and do Poet Laureate stuff, trying to make the world a little better.
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