image borrowed from bing
Holiday Tale in Black & White
“Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day
in which we recall everything we have ever loved.”
---Augusta E. Rundell
Christmas Eve came,
and my youngest daughters arrived
to cook for me, celebrate, play cards, and to phone
their mother who was visiting our oldest daughter
in Baltimore, playing with our two infant grandsons.
My sweet girls stayed until I was exhausted,
hoping to make me forget for a moment
that I was home alone.
Christmas dawned cold, wet, and gray;
just perfect, no in climate weather
to impede my journey to join some friends
for a scrumptious holiday breakfast;
mounds of butter-fried French toast,
flipped about fragrantly in big black pans,
plates smothered with spicy sausage,
lean bacon and fresh fat eggs.
We ate by candlelight, chatting & laughing,
surrounded by ribbons and colorful Christmas
bulbs, silver streamers & gold confetti,
our thoughts twinkling as we discussed the spirit
of the day, and I was the first to notice that something
was changing outside the windows, my God--
it was snowing, fat pointy flakes of spiked white,
first a few squads, then battalions, before
whole armies blanked out the sky;
snow, holy Jesus, snow; a world drenched white,
a rare occurrence on Christmas Day
in Puget Sound; panicking me
as I drove home off of their hillsides, hoping
the roads would remain clear; but soon,
too soon, the snow became rain,
and those overweight snain-drops slapped
my windshield and the pavement like you
would slap a bad dog with a newspaper.
Later, while at home watching
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE for the hundredth
time, other friends called with a gracious
invitation for me to join their family gathering
for Christmas dinner, but I politely declined
the offer, not wanting to be cast as the pitiful
old fool brought in to be fed & fussed over,
dropped down hard amongst a swarm of strangers.
Of course later I did feel hunger’s prick,
and nothing in the larder seemed significant
enough to fit the image of festive fare, so
out I went with my car, roaming the wetness,
passing all those other homes lit brightly,
filled with family, and all those restaurants
that were darkened premises, festooned
with handmade signs all announcing
“Closed for Christmas”.
Driving in aimless circles, my lonesome crusade
garnered gold surrounding the bold neon letters
that spelled Denny’s; pulling in happily I marveled
at how full the parking lot was.
They wished me holiday greetings as they seated
me in a large booth alone, & presented me with
a special menu with only ten holiday choices.
I heard myself order #7; meat loaf, home fries,
and apple sauce, and while sipping my strong coffee
I looked about the place, and suddenly, without warning
I was overwhelmed with sadness, I mean what kind
of loser had to come to Denny’s for Christmas dinner?
But as my eyes roamed the room I saw complete families,
truck drivers, pods of seniors, some street people,
and three older ladies laughing heartedly; some
in work clothes, some in church clothes, focused
on each other, with no one staring back at me;
an invisible man munching meat loaf.
Driving home with my window down, enjoying
the cold air, I recalled that morning’s headlines
in the Tacoma News Tribune:
23 dead from a car bomb in Baghdad,
15 dead from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan,
the armed forces of the United States had received
30,000 turkeys and a flat ton of cranberry sauce,
and the city of Tacoma had counted 800 homeless
souls jamming up the missions & flophouses last night.
Damn, just another day in the life, no better,
no worse than hundreds of others that had occurred
in 2007, so I decided that what we needed to do
was take a serious shot at World Peace, treat
our planet better, watch our waistlines, and maybe
elect a woman or a black man as President,
so that Christmas 2008 could really shine.
Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB
Celebrating the dVerse Poets 2nd anniversary we will use past MTB prompts
to write from; I chose December 2011, Victoria C. Slotto asking us to write about Emotion.
Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?