carols (20161220)

christmas carols play on the radio
a classical station
so i don’t get to
hear any bing, frank, mel, or elvis

one wall separates my office
from the garage
allowing me to hear
the washing machine draining
the dryer spinning
tossing clothes on the eco-cycle

i lower my head
to the desk
and strain to hear
domestic music
but it’s all horns
and violins
and the dog obsessively
cleaning his paw

Poem 20151224

white-faced and alone
in the evening sky
this christmas-eve moon
looks lonely
her light so bright
she’s driven away all
but the brightest of stars
who drift outside her halo
just out of reach

i too have felt this melancholy
at christmas
this outside
this feeling
that everyone is connecting
and enjoying the season
except for me

so, i’ll keep you company, moon
and you keep shining
your light may be cold
but we are fast friends
here in the dark

Post 20151220


So this is prose and rambly, and won’t be very skillfully put down.

Tonight my wife and I went to a local mall. If you live or have been to Southern California (or have ever watched one those news programs about malls and how much money they make at Christmas), you may have heard of South Coast Plaza. It’s been around for years and years, and has evolved apace with the unending passionate consumption South Orange County. When I was a kid, the had a Woolworth’s and my dad would take me to the lunch counter after church for lunch, usually greasy deep fried burritos.

I have no idea how or why Woolworth’s was selling these fake-a-ritos. I’m sure they were the Mexican analogue that Chun King chow mein in a can is to Chinese food. But to a kid, they were good.

That was over forty years ago. Woolworths is long gone. Many stores appeared and disappeared like capitalist fever dreams over the years. Sears has remained, maybe the one and only store to not change. That and the carousel.

Tonight though, my wife and I went to get her an early Christmas present. Spur of the moment thing, something she’s been wanting, but not really asking for. We are weird when it comes to presents for each other. We avoid waiting for birthdays and holidays, and if one of us really wants something, we just buy it and the gift is presented with a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Birthday” even if those events a half a year away. So this was a little unusual, this trip so close to Christmas to buy a present. (Though to be be true to our own natures, there was no wrapping or waiting. She opened the gift when she got home.)

After buying her present, there was no need to rush home, so we walked around. And I discovered, that, without the pressure of having to be there, of needing to find the perfect present or toy without which Christmas would be ruined and our children would have to seek therapy later in life, without that hanging over my head, it was really kind of wonderful to walk around. To see people.

Yes, there were some, rushing, pinched, panicked faces, and I could relate because I have been where they were. But I wasn’t tonight. I enjoyed the happy people who were just enjoying themselves, the kids excited to see Santa, the kids screaming because they wanted to be anywhere else, the couples clinging to each in the crowds, the music, the bells, the lights, the lights, the lights.

The press of people, for once, didn’t bother me.

And for that, for being able to enjoy that time with my wife, I am grateful. And I wanted to say it.

Well, write it.


Poem 20141208

the police set up barricades
that didn’t stem the endless tide of cars
in and out of the neighborhood
just slowed them down
and we had to park pretty far away
since you wanted to get out and walk
which was the better way
to see the christmas lights

it was cold for a southern california december night
and talking with you
i watched my breath form vapor clouds
your breath came out like steam too
and our breath mingled
a miniature weather system
between us

i gave you my jacket
the long green overcoat
i had bought secondhand
and we walked close
like we shared ribs and organs and bloodflow
and we barely noticed the grinch and snoopy
the parade of lit-up wisemen
a hundred santas that burned
as bright as the afterimage of fireworks

when i slipped my hand into the false pocket
and found your skin
warm inside in spite of the cold
we had to hurry back to the car