Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For Christ's Sake

Painting by Marc Chagall

For Christ’s Sake

The wind whispers it wistfully
to empty pueblos, to the shadow tribe,
from tundra to timberline, forming
the words in ice crystal and lichen--
billboards herald it on buses
and on the side of buildings,
on iphones, ipods, and kindles;
force feeding us counterfeit cheer
and carols from venues untolled,
bombarding every orifice
with electronic compositions,
bright tinsel, plastic wreathes,
and Obama chia-pets--
the unemployed engineer mumbles it
to his landlord, the store managers,
his doctors, the pharmacist and mechanic,
and his children who know much too soon
that there is no Santa Claus--
to the career criminals who will be set free
during the holidays because we can no
longer afford to incarcerate them--
to the mentally ill who find the doors
to the asylum locked, and their demons
run ahead of them through the throngs
of shoppers, commuters, and clogged traffic--
the administrator droned it
to his robotic staff
on a taped message, with the proviso
it only be shared during break time--
our sons and daughters in the military
mouth the words while
sitting in a ditch holding their severed limb
under one arm like a holiday ham,
staring at the severed head of the soldier
who had been standing behind them
a moment before bitching about missing
their skype call home that morning;
dry lips moving mechanically, the words
suddenly rushing out in a barely audible
hiss, then repeated three times
until the volume becomes wailing:
“For Christ’s sake, it’s Christmas-- rejoice.”

Glenn Buttkus December 2010

Listed as #44 over on Magpie Tales 45

Would you like the Author to read this poem to you?


faith said...

Wow, this is such a powerful and sad take on the season. A nice reminder that not all will find it easy to rejoice at this time.

Tess Kincaid said...

Dark, very dark. There's nothing worse than the force feeding of counterfeit cheer.

On a lighter note, "White Crucifixion" is one of my favorite paintings by Chagall. It does fit your piece quite nicely, Glenn. Good choice.

Jinksy said...

force feeding us counterfeit cheer

And how!

Greyscale Territory said...

Sometimes, even counterfeit cheer can grow and become magically real! And the weary spirit can be glad of the break, even if there is no real reason within physical sight!

A powerful piece of writing!

Berowne said...

You can write, Buttkus...

Jingle said...

thanks for the reminder ...
Merry Christmas.

Mary said...

Wow, that's got impact. But I also love the way you are so artful with words, (i.e.'tolled')

gautami tripathy said...

Sad, powerful and deep.

a picture

Helen said...

Awesome! In every sense of the word!

Paul C said...

This is an assault as merciless as our world.

Jannie Funster said...

Hey, I thought those Obama chia pets were deemed racist and taken off the shelves because of the fro?

severed limb like a holiday ham, deep visual, Glenn.

Nice poem.

You are a true talent!!


Rick Mobbs said...

Powerful, my friend. Keep them coming. Make a book. Even a homemade one. A hand made, limited edition

but maybe that's my secret ambition and I'm laying it on you.


Peter Farnum said...

good images, a pretty dark poem, but starkly accurate in places


Clystie Pruden said...

This give's me goose bumps. So emontional! Very nice big brother.

R. Burnett Baker said...

Ao many images that most people don't want to confront. You've illustrated these images strongly, yet with undertones of delicacy. Profound.


Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...


Peace ~ Rene

Kristen Haskell said...

Force feeding of counterfeit cheer, that is why I am making all my gifts this year. I have not set one foot in a mall. I just can't handle what its become. I love your poem Two thumbs all the way up!

signed...bkm said...

excellent take on the realities of this time of is hard to ignore all the darkness in this season of light...powerful Magpie...bkm

Trulyfool said...


A wail of a breath!


Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Wow....just powerful deep and dark wow. Love the painting, I've not seen that one before.