Christmas 2011 PO
Nor’easter for Christmas
And he started
back alley doorways
with a mug full
of parking lot teeth
as the gale wound
up her fist from
the east and positively
dared him to jump
across four feet of lapping blackness
from the aft deck
to the floating dock
gleaming slick in salt water ice
to square of that drag line.
Of course he did it.
Now the red and green
of the old Claudioa’s
liquor sign flickers,
buzzes and glows
around his head like
sucker punch halo
as the flags up on top
of the poles
From The Terrible Now12/01
He’s Dreaming of a White Supremacist Christmas
Just about a couple of weeks before Christmas
early evening quiet barroom
couple of regulars, off-duty bartenders
gentle snow at the window, soft music low in the background.
Easy holiday season conversation
locals drifting in & out between Christmas shopping
to get warm, grab a cold one, maybe a bite to eat.
In the middle of the sparse crowd sits this guy.
Beat up peaked ball cap, barn coat and muddy rubber boots
Bartenders all dolled up in her Christmas dress.
She even had a slight hint of glitter on her cheeks.
She’s flushed with excitement.
Big night later, annual staff party.
Just a little girl in Christmas morning still
peaking out of her eyes.
It’s drift and rift quiet banter time
between a few friends.
Every once in awhile our boy in the middle lets loose
with an unsolicited comment.
Like: Fuckin sucks, I hate all this Christmas crap.
(While staring straight ahead)
He’s getting expressly ignored.
Not getting a rise out of anybody.
Figures he’ll give another shot.
Fuckin assholes, fuck the lights, fuck this time of year.
Fuck that Jew bastard hippie carpenter, what bullshit,
if he walked in here tonight, I’d personally nail him to
that fuckin tree again with his own fuckin hammer.
Regular A shrugs.
He remarks, Yeah it ain’t Christmas till somebody dies.
Followed on the heels by regular B who counters with,
Yeah my grandfather was killed by a drunk driver a
couple of days before New Years back in
Girl behind the bar pales visibly.
Regular C walks in the bar and announces,
well that’s it she wants a divorce and the doctor
tells me today that my stool sample came back positive.
Christ pour me a shot…..hell make that double and
while you’re at get these guys something……Merry
Meanwhile laughing boy sitting in the middle of the
bar is staring at the regulars with his mouth open.
Scoops up his change and smokes and heads for the
door muttering over his shoulder.
Man what a bunch of fuckin sick losers, I’m going
somewhere where they know how to party, I mean
after all it is goddamn Christmas.
Regulars A, B, C. and bartender sit in silence.
Finally B goes, Anybody know that guy?
C pushing his shot glass toward the bartender
says, I think he’s the guy that plays Santa at KRAPMART.
musta had a tough day at work.
Yeah…. Regular A offers philosophically
the holidays can be rough on us all.
From Attitude House 12/00-2/01
Cool Whip June Christmas
Consider this question ?
look much better
than a white plastic
former Cool Whip
filled to the brim
glass shelled peanut
electric red, green,
Christmas bulbs just sitting
there on the workbench
out in garage
on a brilliant June evening
ending so slowly
the longest day of the half
disappeared year as a gentle twilight
shroud of dusk descends
so slowly ushering in another
fragile fleeting gift of Summer?
Greenport Christmas 1967
(-for my Dad)
I’m walking next to my father
on a chilly, but clear Christmas Eve
down to the movie theater
just past supper time
under a brilliant canopy of stars.
The sidewalks are hard solid grey
cracked and buckled slabs.
We walk the mile
side by side
as we always have.
We have been doing this
since I learned to walk
and was able to keep up.
Tonight I’m going down to work with him.
The town glows silently tonight
The storefronts decorated.
We pass swiftly the last few blocks
down to the other end of town.
We can’t be late to start the show on time.
We stand in front of the darkened theater
as he fishes his keys out to unlock the lobby doors
He has them attached on a long silver chain
There are a lot on the ring.
As I stand next to him searching for the right one
I can smell the low tide bay a block away
in the cool night air.
Once inside the theater is dark.
He goes in the office and I hear the snap of the circuit breaker
relays bringing to life the light the Deco Movie Palace
The orange chasers on the huge marquee dance in a mad circle
outside in the Christmas eve night.
The movie theater is alive.
Gushes great sighs of forced warm air.
The crowd is sparse.
I sit up in the near empty
orchestra/lodge in the front row
of the one thousand seat house
eating popcorn and drinking coke
and watch a comedy farce
that I hardly understand.
Even the second time.
I sit through the two showings..
the Seven and the Nine PM.
There are even less people for the last showing.
A little after eleven I watch my Dad
kill all the lights
with the same circuit breaker snap
I watch the movie theater go back to sleep.
We ride home with Jimmy D
in his work van.
I sit in the back with all the tools
on a overturned milk carton.
He smokes cigars
and barks a hard husky throaty laugh
as he farts
which makes him laugh harder.
I like him
and the sound of his laughter
but I hope when I grow up
I don’t find that stink as funny
as he and my Dad do.
He pulls up
in front of our house
near the Sound Bluffs.
As the engine idles
They talk in the front.
I ask if I can go inside.
Need to go to bed.
It’s Christmas eve
and I’m 12.
Too old for Santa
but not my dad.
Christmas Visit Snapshot
Nearly noon along the Hudson
Brilliant light about
descending rust wine
iron crane wench hook
set in blue and white midday relief.
McNamara’s daughter isn’t coming
Johnny in Singapore
You sit in here alone
listening to the bartender
tell that the pickpockets are
using box cutters this year
up on 86th and Lexington.
Back in the Big Red Mountain booth
way downtown beaten worn linoleum
I’ll call you from the payphone
in the back near the pool table
while listening to the killer jukebox
resurrect Spike Jones singing,
You always hurt the one you love.
Hot Horse’s Christmas visit.
On the night they made it official
that talking Plywood was moving his
plank into the White House
Hot Horse celebrated by sleeping
in his car at the train station.
Earlier in the evening
he sat in the bowling alley bar
out near the airport
with Frank Meyers and Billy Gas
in Lucky Ward’s dream.
They all traded their stories
while it snowed like hell outside.
It was black guy league night.
One dejected spade stood at the bar
with a small wooden sign hung
about his neck with a chain.
Engraved in the middle of it
was the word shitty.
They all accepted this.
Upon returning from taking a leak
down the other end of the alley,
Hot Horses reported that the white
bowlers were supplementing their
game with a deck of extremely
explicit pornographic playing cards.
Both Frank and Billy took turns
going to the can.
Later in the course of the conversation
all agreed that the deck beat the Shitty
sign hands down and the scene on the
joker card from the white guys dirty
deck was everybody’s favorite.
Gradually the rolling concussions of
strikes, spares and ten-pin splits subsided.
Frank Meyers asked, so your really going to
see Lucky Ward this time?
Hot Horse shrugged, looks like it…..don’t really
know what to expect, it’s been twenty years.
He’s hold up back at his folk’s house, the marriage
went south back on the west coast, wife got her nose
stuck in the whiff bucket, his kids are all grown,
and he’s been on workman’s comp.
I can dig it, Billy Gas interjected, I feel like
I could blow a gasket any day now.
At the end of the evening they dropped Hot Horse
off at his car at the train station.
The snow had tapered off.
Hot Horse produced a three foot gilded
imitation porcelain angel from his trunk for Frank’s mom.
She’ll love that, Billy observed.
Yeah Hot Horse went, just never know what you’ll
find out at BIG LOTS.
Frank beamed, Bet she puts it right on top of the television.
They left Hot Horse to sleep in his car and
ponder the new administration while waiting for
his train at dawn.
In the middle of the night
Hot Horse was startled out a thin nod
by the roar a long thunderous freight train
high balling through the station.
The resounding rhythmic concussion
detonated ton after ton of frozen steel down
the rails like a murderous immense bowling ball
gutter channeled with razor flange.
It pounded away with a ear puncturing madness
cyclone snow sideways in a
shattering nightmare of runaway motion.
Hot Horse groggily attempted to make sense
of what was passing him by.
Then the monster just disappeared into a shroud
of white vapors and powdery snow waves
as one trailing red eye winked while it faded
and faded into the gray swirling sponge of false dawn blackness.
Then Hot Horse set alone in silence.
Eventually he fell back asleep
and dreamed of frozen useless switches
on the main line
while he heard Lucky Ward’s voice,
even after you think you’ve learned the ropes,
you have to read so far between those lines on
that script that you begin to get the idea
the whole scene is better off left unperformed
and then one day you just get shut down.
Coldly cut out of it all
your just another derailment without so much as
your name on it.