Ghosts of Christmas Past…..

Dad Pic3

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.

Pre C-Mas 2012 040

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.



From Attitude House 12/2001




(for her)


….  And you cling to me

like last Christmas’ tinsel

always at my heel

trailing my step

forever caught to the fringes

of January kissing December

goodbye again.


I can’t seem to elude…

to brush away that last thin

crumpled glimmering stray strand.

You cling to me.


And I cling to you.

Just a slight silver echo

of winter

a reminder, rejoinder

that stubborn summer whisper

stuck in a broken finger of light.

Somewhere between lint and hint

a sigh and a lie.


There was never any choice

in the thing.

It was on your coat selves

then deep in your pockets

last time I saw it

you had strands tangled in your hair.

Attitude House 2000


Pre C-Mas 2012 031 this one

Just Last Christmas


I danced her last with her

as the lights shimmered on the tree

like a string of pearls

I brought him his last gifts

as he sat confined to his chair

Never knowing it was

just their last Christmas


All the gifts exchanged in this world

never last as long as the memory

of what you gave them

and what they took away

and the next day

all the beautiful wrapping paper

is crumbled and just thrown away.


In that soft glow of the decorated room

where the candles flickered

in shadows silhouette

where your eyes shown

into mine

never believing now

it was

just last Christmas


Lost in the strands of tinsel

and garland strung in circles

a captured moment in a glass orb

so gently will sway

and in our hearts

a picture of them

will never go away.


Dickens’ wrote

of our ghosts

of the past

the present

and the future

and just how short

all this time of us

very well may be

and in this end of the year

we dream still

of just last Christmas.

                                               Uncollected   12/2011


C-Photos 2.0  2012 001 this one

Her Merry Christmas


 Somebody’s Mom

Maybe sister…..daughter … perhaps Aunt

is sitting out there

wishing you would walk in the door

of the kitchen

the barroom

the bedroom…..

and give her just one good reason

to believe/forget the world’s cold shoulders

and hard edges and all that shit she has had to eat over

all the years might that have meant something

more then the ex-husband/lover that barely speaks to her

and the old friends that seldom call

not to mention the children that

ignore/take her for granted.


She’s listening to the Christmas music

sitting in the colored lights with a glass of wine

the tears are barely an after-thought

as she wonders why you never showed up

in her life and perhaps if you did once

why she ever…

ever let you go.


                                                        Attitude House    12/99


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.


From  Attitude House   12/99




 Can you find any words left

for the long runway and this familiar foot rest.

All day miles melted past

and you were able to sit still silently propelled

just reading and taking notes.

Your big idea of time off.

Now before the last leg of the trip

you heel toe briefly at rest

  before pushing on the sidewalk square

with an older eye.


Attesting to this as I walk in the door

overheard from the local boys over the pool table


“Here comes the professor…..

wonder where his footnotes are tonight?”


So you take your place at the bar and

drop a tentative temporary anchor


always remembering, remembering

where you came from.


                                                                                                Greenport Christmas 98

Attitude House 2000

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