Saturday, June 9, 2012

Xbox Xmas

image borrowed from bing

Xbox Xmas
Christmas Eve, 2007, and my youngest daughters arrived
ready to cook for the old man, then play some canasta
and phone their mother who happened to be visiting
our oldest daughter nesting in Baltimore, and the two
grandsons; one brand new, one not.
My girls
           stayed until
                            i was exhausted
                                         hoping to help
           that after all I was home alone.
Christmas dawned cold, wet, and gray,
another yule tide in the northwest,
but I was joining dear friends
for their family breakfast;
mounds of butter-fried French toast
flipped about in huge black pans,
with a marzipan eye on each piece,
smothered in apricot syrup,
accompanied with spicy sausage, 
thick bacon and fresh fat eggs.
I was the stepchild at the table,
yet still we laughed, burped
and farted warmly, surrounded
by fir sprigs, red ribbons, bright bulbs,
and Santa’s elven figurines, 
serenaded by the dead carolers, 
Bing, Perry, Dean and Doris;
when something moving outside,
something fluffy and falling
caught our eye, yes, yes,
it was snowing,
fat pointy flakes of purest white,
first a few squads
                            then battalions
                            then whole armies
jackslamming the sky--snow,
holy Christ, snow, the whole of Puget Sound
turning white on Christmas day;
but then as I drove off the blizzard
was reduced to a flurry, becoming
snain or raow, just overweight overwrought
drops slapping my windshield and the pavement,
                           like slapping the bad dog
with the rolled up newspaper,
arriving home to just drizzle,
the alley’s potholes puddled up to greet me.
Much later awakening from a nap in my recliner,
the television screen splashed with holiday anime,
I realized that I was hungry
and my foraging of the cupboards, fridge and freezer
did not reveal that festive sustenance I craved;
finding myself in my vehicle 
roaming the wetness,
driving in senseless circles, biting my lip, 
staring into an infinity of decorated windows,
faced with empty streets, escalating darkness,
and posted on the premises I drove by, 
the message was clarion, impersonal, cruel;
“Closed for Christmas”.
But then, thank you Jesus, my solo crusade
garnered gold as I saw the sign, Denny’s,
and it was open, brightly lit, welcoming;
swinging into the place 
I parked in the last open spot,
and pushing open the door
I was greeted by a whoosh 
of warm air laden with happy voices
and a young greeter who said,
“Merry Christmas, welcome to Denny’s.”
She seated me in my booth
and presented me with the one page menu,
a spartan ten choices of “holiday specials”.
I ordered the meat loaf, home fries, and apple sauce
with a strong cup of cafe coffee,
drumming my fingers on the plastic table top,
interrupted, nearly overwhelmed by
like a silent sob, 
a throbbing stabbing ache
rising up from my innards,
The imp behind my left ear asked,
“What kind of losers come to Denny’s
for their Christmas dinner?”;
looking around I saw all kinds,
entire families, truck drivers, junkies,
street people, whores, and three old ladies,
and for a moment they were
all staring at  me
staring at them.
I heard myself mutter
as the feast arrived
and I rolled up my sleeves
and consumed the meal
as if it were the finest prime rib
served on silver platters
by ten naked dancing girls.
Driving home, listening to a religious choir
I began to recall the events I read about
in the morning’s newspaper,
reflecting on the holiday choices
we had all made that day:
23 dead from a car bomb in Baghdad,
15 dead from a suicide bomber in Bombay,
and all the deployed armed forces of the
American Empire of the United States
were fed a special meal,
30,000 frozen turkeys 
and a ton of cranberry sauce,
and this god damned All American
City of Tacoma had counted up
800 homeless souls who had crowded
into the city’s flophouses and missions
on Christmas Eve.
Glenn Buttkus
June 2012

posted over on dVerse Poets-Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Brian Miller said...

this is sad for me man. on several levels...alone at christmas...the jerk at denny's...and then the roll of the news in the end as well...the statistics putting such a sombre tone on the whole thing...

Anonymous said...

Yes, agree with Brian - and yet you chose to make the best of it too -- then life goes on - good and bad, worse for many. k.

Chazinator said...

This is a very real and wise poem, man. I think you've revealed a lot about how much loneliness and need there is in the world, this American ersatz reality that often goes unnoticed. What's great about this poem is that you are able to step outside your immediate awareness and provide that background context that provides deep insight into more than just the hunger, the loneliness, the sorrow of being alone. Also... I been there, knowing how great it is that Denny's is open 24/7/365! :)

Anonymous said...

was this back in 1986 if Puget Sound was covered with snow that much?

at least when you are lonely, you go places, and feel, and live, and don't drown in depression

Princess Vadar

Anonymous said...

"Xbox Xmas", choices & their results, as they relate to the good, old American way of life; well done, particularly the last part...