Christmas 2011 PO




Nor’easter for Christmas

(for Monk)

And he started

talking in

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

sport boners.


Of course

He did.

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

smoking alone.


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.


Door opens.

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

Fuckin Christmas.


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 ?


Could anything

look much better

than a white plastic

former Cool Whip

container presently

filled to the brim

with old-fashioned

glass shelled peanut

sized multicolored

electric red, green,

orange, purple

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?


Except you.




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

the projectionist

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.

I’m sleepy.

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.

  (for B.G)

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.



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