Thursday, December 29, 2016

Auld Lang Syne

A year, like any other, but unlike
so many before.
This one came in, stumbled at
the threshold, spilled its wine on
the white carpet and didn’t
apologize. It was lost from there.

Like a lot of drunks, 2016 didn’t
intend to do it. It was just an accident.
A mistake. It started off with the highest
ideals only to fall into a house of ill repute,
with cocaine crusted around his bloodied nostrils.
It just happened.

So what if 2016 was a serial killer bent
on eliminating the worlds beloved
celebrities, musicians and idealists,
it also took care of a lot of bad people
no one will mourn. Who will remember
2016 did that? “Nobody,” snorts 2016.

2016 wanted to go to the classy bar,
the one downtown, where the tablecloths
are white, the drinks are fancy and the people
are beautiful. But the bouncers wouldn’t let
2016 in. They’d had quite enough of 2015’s
shenanigans and knew better.

2016 didn’t take it well, it went
on a bender of epic proportions. Drinking
and drugging its way from home to home,
heart to heart, and funeral parlor to funeral
parlor.  Shushing people like Dudley Moore
in Arthur and tripping over imagined bumps.

The world just watched as 2016 bumped into
furniture, street lamps, movie stars, gorillas,
politicians, cops, robbers, the guilty, and the
innocent alike. The world just did what enablers
do; they looked the other way and hoped 2016
would just figure it out on its own.  

So here we sit, 2016 and me, at the
end of a dusty bar, dust motes drifting
through the morning sunlight, swirling
around our breakfast beers, the jukebox
is stuck on “American Pie” by Don McLean,
and 2016 doesn’t feel well.

“I think I’m gonna throw up,” said 2016.
“You probably should,” I said.
“I mean, what happened? Where did it go
so wrong? Was it me? Was it them,” asked 2016.
“I really don’t know. I was too busy watching you
moon astronauts and eliminate critical thinking,” I said.
“Right, right, that was pretty funny,” said 2016.

2016 got up from its leathery stool and stretched.
“Maybe I’ll just go to the crapper,” said 2016.
“Yeah, maybe you should,” I said.
“Tell 2017 not to take my seat,” said 2016 as it stumbled
toward the restroom.
“Sure. I’ll do that,” I mumbled.

I looked down toward the opposite end of the bar,
a young 2017 was playing with a thin drink straw in
a fancy cocktail, with fruit and a little parasol.
2017 was eyeing us with lust.  
“Not yet baby,” I said, “Not yet.”
2017 pouted and turned away.

I heard a flush from the restroom and 2016
walked back into the bar room
with its pants around its ankles.
“One more round barkeep,” 2016 shouted.
The bartender frowned but got the drinks.
“I broke your toilet too, by the way,” said 2016.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Adventures of Christmas Man

“What’s that? Up in the sky?”
“Is it a man? Is it a giant bird?”
“Is it glowing? Is it all lit up?’
“Is it wearing underwear over
its clothes?”

The crowd mumbled and
shuffled in the cold December
night as they gazed skyward at
the curious red object streaking
through the winter air.

“Is that…? Christmas Man?!”
“It is! It’s Christmas Man!”
“Hooray, here to save us all!”
“He’ll save us, I’m sure of it!”
“Oh, lucky day!”

Christmas Man defender of
cheer and goodwill toward man,
a man of Yule and merry tidings,
a superhero born to bring hope,
and a Union chimney sweeper.

“I hope he can help me carry my
heavy shopping bags to my car!”
“I hope he salts this slippery sidewalk!”
“I hope he keeps my crazy Uncle quiet
during Christmas dinner!”

Christmas Man waved to the crowds
as he zoomed overhead. He had a mission
this night. A mission of mercy for the
needy. A mission to save Christmas from

“Hey! Christmas Man! Where are you
“Yeah, hey buddy, what the heck!”
“Salt this slippery sidewalk!”
“Where’s he going? What a Jerk!”

Christmas Man flew over the city,
he flew over the country, his red cape
trimmed in white fur, flapping behind
him in his speedy flight. He waved when he
could to the people below.

“Up yours Christmas Man!”
“Get bent Christmas Man!”
“Salt this sidewalk!”
“Get lost Christmas Man!”
“You’re a flash in the pan!”

Christmas Man had no time
for their jibes. Yet he did wipe
a small tear from the corner of
his eye. It might have been from
the cold wind in his face.

“Christmas Man, what a joke.”
“He only comes one time a year.”
“I fell on this slippery sidewalk!”
“I’ve never actually met him.”
“Yeah, he’s never done anything for me.”

The crowds on the city streets dispersed,
the country folks went back inside the
businesses on Main Street. They griped
and grumbled and fixed their collars against
the cold.

Christmas Man arrived at a small
village where a water borne
sickness had ravaged the villagers.
He offered to set up a Christmas tree,
with lights and bells.

“No thank you Christmas Man,” said the Doctor,
“but maybe you can hold that child there and
provide her some comfort in her last minutes.”
Christmas Man looked at the small girl, weak from
sickness, taking slow sluggish breaths.

“How about I sing a little Oh, Little Town
of Bethlehem,” asked Christmas Man.
“Um, sure Christmas Man, just stay out
of the way,” said the exhausted Doctor.
“Great! I’m sure that’ll help,” said Christmas Man.

The Doctor rolled his eyes as Christmas Man
began to sing. The child turned away.
The doctor moved on to the next sick child as
Christmas Man sang with his eyes closed, willing
the Spirit of good tidings to manifest.

“What is that madman doing?”
“I think he’s singing.”
“Why doesn’t he help clean the water?”
“I don’t think that’s what he does.”
“Who does then?”

Christmas Man finished his song.
A few villagers still able to move applauded
politely. Christmas Man gave them a quick
salute and turned to the center of the village,
“Merry Christmas to All,” he said with a wave.

Christmas Man shot up into the sky leaving
a trail of Christmas lights and the smell of
hot Gingerbread in his wake.
“Son of a biscuit,” said the Doctor.
“Is it really Christmas,” asked a sick villager.

“It is. It really is, somewhere” said the Doctor.
Somewhere there were sleigh bells jingling,
and church bells were ringing, and a distant
chorus sang carols on the night breeze.
“It is Christmas,” said the Doctor.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Bit of Mourning

The hardest thing to write about
is death.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
I can write about death all day.
Until it becomes personal.
Then, I really don’t know what to
say about it at all.

Sure, I can write a story about
the Grim Reaper coming into
someone’s bedroom late in the night,
waking up the soon to be departed,
having a chat about their life,
smoking a cigarette, and whisking the
soul to heaven.

No problem. Story practically writes
itself. But it’s tougher when it’s personal.
It’s not some mythological creature of
legend shrouded in a ragged black hood reaching
out with a bony hand. It’s certainly not as
dramatic as all that. 
There’s no special effects.

When someone dies.
It’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable. It’s sad.
It’s cruel. It’s inevitable.
Albeit, sometimes too soon; enhancing the cruelty.
It’s random, yet so targeted.  And leaves so
many in its melancholy wake to wonder, to mourn,
to grieve, and cry.  And I still don’t know what to say.

I’ve been going to funerals
since before I could walk. Death has been
constant in my life and it is nothing new.
In fact, it’s sort of old hat. Occurring with
such regularity that I’m almost bored with
it, or maybe, tired of it.  Yes, I’m tired of

I’ll get out the black suit. I’ll say my prayers.
I’ll kneel, sit, eulogize, and wish to God
that I could just go home and get
back to normal. I’m tired of the
bully that death can be.  I’m tired
of the saint death can be.
I’m tired of trying to figure it out.

I’ll pay my respects for the living,
the survivors of death, the family,
the friends. I’ll say that I’m sorry.
I’ll say that it’ll be okay, in time.
And it’ll be true.
Yet tinged with the mechanical motions
of a seasoned professional mourner.
With nothing original to say.

Death not only robs us of a loved one
but it robs us of the right words to say,
to write, to sing, the chance for new memories
before the old ones fade away.
That’s why it’s so hard to write about.
That’s why I’m not sure what this is about.

Friday, December 9, 2016


A growling and grumbling
in my gut is telling me
something I think I thought
I already knew.
I’m hungry.

It’s more than simple hunger, starvation
or emaciation. Food in my
1st world life is fairly simple to obtain.
Go to the store. Go to the restaurant.
Microwave a burrito.

The grumbling and growling
is much more than a need for food.
It’s a hunger for something more
sustaining. Something more filling.

I’m hungry for being wanted.
I’m starving for being lusted after.
I’m un-sated for love.
I’m craving an unspoken trust between
minds, hearts and smiles.

The buffet seems to be closed though,
my deli ticket number never gets called,
they’re out of the meat I like,
they’re not serving breakfast after 10:00 am,
they put pineapple in the potato salad.

I’m unaware of how to satisfy this hunger,
I’m not sure where to go to get a good meal,
I don’t have the right cooking utensils,
I won’t go to a Farmers’ Market,
I haven’t the slightest where you got yours.

A grumble and a groan,
from deep inside.