At Last! 2016 Is in the Past

But Before We Reach Out for Something New—a Poem to Bid the Past 12 Months Adieu

You’re game for the year ’17, so you say,
It’s time that the drear of ’16 went away.
Let’s keep the murk past, back where it belongs,
Stop dwelling on all of the things that went wrong.

To you, we now say: have you lost your sense of humor?
That George Clooney break-up is still just a rumor.
And besides, this past year wasn’t really so terrible.
Zócalo rhyming just might make it bearable.

This year, after all, the Cubs took the Series,
Gravitational wave detection proved Einstein’s Theory.
But, yes, the U.K. left the E.U. in the dust,
California, meanwhile, voted In Pot We Trust.

Once again #BlackLivesMatter put “post-race” to the lie,
Obama saw Cuba. Castro—finally—died.
Zika—dread virus—wreaked despair ’cross a continent,
Whilst ’round the world, populism was dominant.

The Olympics took Rio, Simone Biles charmed the nation,
Russian dopers were banned, Lochte trashed a gas station.
Civil War destroyed Syria and thousands lost lives,
The world followed on Twitter—with those who’d survived.

Peyton Manning claimed a Super Bowl, the Rams moved to L.A.
But sports’ biggest triumph was won by Beyoncé.
“Formation”—last-minute—stole the halftime show,
Then in dropped Lemonade, and the rest? Well, you know.

Justice Scalia’s death meant SCOTUS purgatory,
Sequels won the box office—Captain America and Finding Dory.
Fake headlines in newsfeeds, fake accounts at Wells Fargo.
The Mexican marines recaptured El Chapo.

Attackers flayed Brussels; Belgium was in mourning.
A Bastille Day assault forced France back to high warning.
Pulse nightclub, Orlando—an American tragedy.
Death and destruction all across Turkey.

Violence hit Germany at a Berlin Christmas market.
An ambassador in Ankara was an assassination target.
Oakland’s Ghost Ship fire left 36 killed.
Dakota pipeline protests kept oil from being drilled.

The Philippines picked Duterte and got a bloody drug war.
The refugee crisis worsened; countries didn’t open doors.
In October, Hurricane Matthew hit the Atlantic region,
Then earthquakes rocked Italy; fall was disaster season.

LeBron James redeemed himself and his hometown,
Leicester City won an unlikely Premier League crown.
Hamilton crushed the Tonys but the Oscars stayed so white,
Bob Dylan got a Nobel but declined Sweden’s invite.

All across America the fight for $15 was raged,
California led the way in passing a new minimum wage.
The state banned plastic bags and slapped a tax on cigarettes,
Kamala Harris went to Washington to rep CA Democrats.

Brangelina called it quits, Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris.
About that Damn Daniel video … we’re all a little embarrassed.
After one too many rants, Kanye was hospitalized.
Roger Ailes was dumped by Fox News, then by the guy he advised.

Harambe was killed but lived on as a meme.
OJ Simpson again invaded TV screens.
Vin Scully retired; Dodger fans took it hard.
Exploding Samsung phones left their owners slightly charred.

RIP to Gwen Ifill, Merle Haggard, and Ali,
Gene Wilder, Janet Reno, novelist Harper Lee.
Deepest mourning went to beloved musicians
A handful of stars to whom we still listen:

The ballads of Juan Gabriel, the lungs of Sharon Jones,
The enigmatic verse that was Leonard Cohen’s alone.
The virtuosity of Prince that electrified us to the end,
That ineffable, inimitable David Bowie blend.

The year wasn’t all bad; Zócalo had moments great:
In London and Berlin—and the Aloha State,
With stops in Spain, Riverside, and downtown Fresno,
We pondered movies, demagogues, and even GMOs.

We dug into the depths of pothole covers and dictators,
The secret of an “Indian” star, and Minnesota’s love of taters.
A philosopher’s wisdom and a rising South L.A.,
Russia in the imagination and California neighborhoods today.

Did you read to the end? Did we miss a big story?
(Though by now you’re full up on sadness and glory.)
That’s it, for Zócalo rhymes and reviewing,
There’s more ahead next year: events and more brewing.

Leonard Cohen’s where we leave you, as the new year begins:
“There are cracks in everything / that’s how the light gets in.”