Farewell, Friends | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

Farewell, Friends 

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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.

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