Tag Archives: christmas




(originally posted december 2012)

Certain days were made holy—diamonds
wedged into the dark ore of drudgery
so we migmht twinkle and remember
what we wanted never to forget.

We made them special
with our voices and our feet,
with song, dance, gifts,
beautiful vestments, roasted meat.

Not to mention drink
drunk to the point of hilarity
until no matter how we tried
to keep the thing, the thing

we wanted never to forget,
it slipped away again
while we were laughing, laughing
O so hard, we cried.


And here’s a Christmas card to all my faithful readers with best wishes for the season…

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The Christmas Fake Book
slumps a little, limp
beneath the piano light,
looking a bit leftover
this december twenty-sixth–
as if it could not hark
to one more herald angel,
little town of Bethlehem or
not-so-silent night.

It has served well
the eye, the ear,
the memory in the fingers
dancing on the keys.
It has sustained the loud,
the tone-deaf-but-sincere,
who gathered here to sing
those half-remembered verses
come to haunt again this year.

Now it’s done,
like christmas day itself–
all noise and wonder
packed in a small space.
It will go back
to live among the sheaves
of music on a shelf, there
at the very bottom of the stack,
to take its usual place.



Choosing among apples at the supermarket
just the other day I heard
Bing Crosby singing “Jingle Bells.”
Background music so I’m told
can motivate a buyer in a store.
But Bing?  Bing Crosby?  This must be

the day marked shopping day for us
I say to a green pyramid of Granny Smiths.
And sure enough here comes a busload
slowly from the home for seasoned citizens.
I doubt the muzak moves them any faster
though most likely they’ll remember Bing.

Bing Crosby, ah, Bing Crosby,
how you crooned and nanna swooned
in nineteen-fifty-something—
how you spun inside the gramophone
seventy-eight revolutions per minute
dreaming of a White Christmas just like

the ones you used to know.  Was that how
I came to think of Christmas mostly as a longing?
Strange and difficult to satisfy.  I try
to re-create the pleasures of the past
(and leave the woundings out), but it’s a task
unfestive, one I’m loathe to be about.

All I hear are someone’s memories.
All I see grows gaudier, each year
more desperate to enforce the thing.
All I want is willingness to let the night be dark
(except for stars), dear friends, these apples
red and green, and (maybe) just a bit of Bing.



He has no idea
he’s old and dying
or that Christmas is
four weeks away

since something in the
night destroyed his leap
half-blind he hobbles
bed to box to dish and back

what little gusto’s left
within his scrawny, scruffy
ever-hungry self is saved
for circling ankles in the kitchen

and proclaiming “now!  now!”

his history is unknown
he came “as is”
indoors from darkness
many Christmases ago

and since he cannot jump
nor can I any longer bend
to gather him up high
he sidles to my chair

I grab him by the nape
the way his mother might
have done in kittenhood
and lift him to my lap

we clean the corners of
his dear green eyes
then hug and stroke and
purr and whisper lies

about this age of ours
about what always was
about how Christmas comes
and he has no idea.