I always miss people on New Year's Eve. It's an arbitrary fictional line in time. Time itself is a fictional construct with no real basis. Yet every New Year's Eve, waves of longing and loneliness surge through me. For people on other continents, people I've loved and lost, people who've died, people who are alive and only a few miles away, but I may never see again.
It always starts with the thought: Where was I last New Year's Eve? Who was I with?Nairobi, London, Calgary, Berlin,
what city was that, what year?
What poem was I writing, what fear
did I tango with; face
did I search out
across that room, what shape
was that love?
So it was good tonight to be at a small party, with a group of close friends who know how it feels to have threads attached to your heart that tug across oceans, across mortality. To bask in the sanctuary of our shared art and histories, the ways we feed and nurture each other, make a haven for each others' dreams and hopes and heartbreaks.
It was Vivek's birthday. Shireen brought a cake from a Chinatown bakery that specializes in wedding cakes - extravagant white confection bejewelled with strawberries, kiwi and melon. Vivek and Philip told us how they met. Mamuka and Irma told us how they met. Vivek talked about the years of his and my friendship, the growth and change he's seen in me. Shireen and I got into a heated debate about art and commerce.
We didn't notice midnight coming until the noise began. Then we raced up the narrow staircase to the rooftop of Irma and Mamuka's building, for one of the best views in San Francisco of the fireworks. Punam, Shireen and I had our arms around each other; we all screamed spontaneously at the ones that ended in clouds of glitter.
Shireen said: "Why are we screaming?"
I said: "Because we want to be large enough to hold the beauty of them."If every face my hand has cupped
on every continent could be condensed
into a single microchip, embedded
in the delta veins of my left
inner wrist, I’d raise it
to my mouth. Give thanks
for all that falls
but glittered before it fell
for joy and pain
of growing larger.