I Float in the Midst, The Archangel Guideth Me

Christmas’s calm places, captured and pasted
on shop posters, post-haste, did properly satiate
Shop-goers browsing the show-stopping light spaces,
making the rounds in the blown snowy day.

Marking the minutes in God-holding minuets
made us the Maker’s fine marionettes, we did
wonder on sheepherders wandering wistfully,
wishing on stars to the Christ Child’s hay bed.

Knit scarves a-blowing and carving their places in space
as the leaves did wheel down like His grace,
And the cherry-faced babies so chapped by the cold
but in wonder of all in the star-studded place!

Reeling with wonderstruck, caught in the merriment,
silver bells rolling in the songs gone afloat
And the people did crowd in their bits of laced crimson,
gowns green and hats chestnut like photos of old.

Sweet, calm and sepia tones of nostalgia
for times I was absent from swept in the coals.
Heard the heat popping chestnuts and swung the cast iron
right quick from the flames, whitehot flurries did go,
Cascading radiant shines on the table
like rose petals molten, the red forms did glow!

Flurries went raining and rustled like paper.
The parcels, department-store courtesy bound,
in a neat bow of wax twine and rag timing wood cuts
crisp-printed, we kept the best ones that we found.
Eve of the loving day, sunlight did fade away,
giving its space to the stars and the moon.

I put out my head to the cold for a smoke, shivered cold,
for the sill was all frozen and smooth.
Aye, gentle wind of the night, and the smoke of the pipe
 did go billowing up ‘round the eaves.
I was caught in the moment, by way of my watching,
the black-clad old figure downstairs as she grieved.

Sharply, the shiver did wash o’er my body,
from cold and epiphany, wonderless strife.
So easily did I forget the great season
and fade to the trappings of treacherous life.
I felt the urge pull at me, beg me to drift,
and I took up my coat and my hat to oblige

As I walked down the stairway I scratched at the ruts in the banister,
chipping the paint at the sides.
I heeded the look from the landlord who sat
in his proud little wicker seat, leaned on the brick,
and was cognizant suddenly that waves of depression
were rising and bubbling and making me sick.

I walked past the district and out to the darkness beyond,
to the slum yards and poor children’s calm.
Visage greeted me, rough sleeping beggar with busted-up face,
wrapped in wool, and a cross in his palm.

Wispy and woven in star-shining tapestries,
smoke of my lips was a black drifting dancer-shape,
crawling in wind like a lecherous plague rat
o’er floor of the alleys and up ‘round the fire escapes.

An alley just off from the road did I lay in,
and choose as my forum to rant on atrocities,
Belly was screaming and aches not receding,
I laid down my head, weeping, gnashing my teeth.

And I gazed at the moonlight that burned in my eyes,
on the floor of the cobblestones, scales of leviathans,
Tossing my haggard speech out to the heavens,
reliving the room that my mother had died in.

I closed my eyes, fading, to sleep of the angels,
I whispered my prayers to the Lord as I went,
and I slipped away gently to sleep on the floor
of that place, tired heart, and my energy spent.

I was greeted with visions which blazed of the Father,
who went to my form in the shape of a man,
and he bid me to follow him out to the wildlands abandoned,
to see where the white winter ran.

By the cold of a creek, he did show me the whole of the world,
cast my mind out, away and beyond,
to the peoples set weeping in wake of atrocities,
and others who gazed at the graves of those gone.
And the children, the lanky and running in fields
in the sunlight, the joy of the rich and the poor.

God-sent celebrations and joyous occasions,
the reading of bibles in house-church and moor.
I saw the harsh battery brought, and the tragedy
cut with the smiles of the saints and their ways.

And I saw the twin places I kept in society,
of terrible evil beset with his grace.
I awoke and went walking, the sun giving light to my step,
and the people shined, joyous and kind.
And I saw that the blatant and malice of evil
was purged from the hearts that his highness would find!

A Very Shanty Christmas 

In Shanty Town the hobos ’round

Glimpse quite a dreadful sight.

A taxpayer, in Santa furs,

Sits begging for his life!

With little bells and signs as well,

He uses up the space

The bums must use to ask all of

The passers-by for change!

Not right, this plight, on Christmas night!

“How can it be!”, they wail.

“When we lay here and ask for change,

They lock us in the jail!”

Injustice! Slander! Unfair laws!

Some bums come from the bar,

And demand of poor old Santa Claus

The money in his jar.

“I simply can’t!” The Santa says,

“This money’s not for me!

It’s going to a soup kitchen

To buy a Christmas tree!”

“A Christmas tree! How can it be?”

The hobos yell and jeer.

“This stash of cash’ll come with us
To buy some yuletide beer!”

They take the jar of change from him

By the force of pointed shanks,

And buy some booze and brand-new shoes,

For those among their ranks.

As they wander in the city eating food

And guzzling drink,

The feel of warmth and happiness,

Is all that they can think.

“Christmastime is quite sublime!”

Says a bum in merry jest,

As juices from his onion dinner

Drip along his chest.

“Quite!” Says Dwight, by the moonlight bright,

He’s happy as a lark,

As the entire drunken company,

Happens on a park.

And blazing forth in brilliant green, like from a dream, an evergreen!

“Best ol’ tree I’ve ever seen!” Says Shmee, as he wipes his fingers clean.

And they stare in awe at the pretty sight,

The entire troop of hobo guys,

and one is moved to tears that night,

For something stirs inside their minds.

“Say…” says Jay, what’d Santa say?

About the kitchen by the way?

Maybe we can take this tree,

And bring it to other bums to see!”

They cheer and set to hacking it

With shivs and shanks and teeth,

And they work until the dawn breaks

To cut the mighty tree.

Lines of pinkish light emerge

The sky is grey and wizened,

And city windows shine with orange

Light from the horizon.

The hobo kin, with one last heave

Do fell the mighty tree,

And finish by the light of morn

That final selfless deed.

And they carry on their shoulders

Through the streets the evergreen,

And raise it like a victory flag

For all the world to see.

A worker from the kitchen brings the

Horde of poor ones out,

To see the might and splendor

Of the tree the boys have found.

“It’s tall and bright and shining!”

 Says the worker as she stares.

“And though it may just tip and crush

The expensive building there,

I’d say the risk of lawsuit is a

worthy price to pay,

To see this wondrous plant life

Which has gathered us today!”

And every heart’s a flutter, every person

Moved to tears,

For this gathering of the hobos

Is the biggest one in years,

They hang garland wreaths of garlic stink

Upon the tree so fair,

And they light the glowing trash hearth

With the greases from their hair.

Merry Christmas to the Shanty Towns,

And taxpayers alike,

Merry Christmas to all,

And to all a good night.

Christmas Time Writing

I’ve been working another original blog post lately, so stay tuned for that. Until then, enjoy this Christmas themed short story I wrote during December. Just in time for Easter.

My heart was aflutter with yuletide machinations, and my esophagus was mildly scratchy with wonder and awe, and also strep throat. I lay snuggled as the proverbial babe underneath the silken sheets, too exited by far to drift away to slumber as the thoughts of my extensive wish list passed softly through my brain’s spongy gray corridors. Would jolly old Saint Nick creep softly down my chimney tonight? Would he bring along his sheepskin wish sack to fill my living room with crisp, piney scent and color bound capitalism cubes filled to the brim with a gooey, materialistic center?

As it turned out, my young heart need not want nor wonder for the jolly celluloid elf’s sweet passing by, as at this very hour there sprang from the living room such a din as would keep the dead from rising for fear of permanent damage to their boney ears. I threw the covers from my pajama clad frame and dashed swiftly onwards towards the soft shining of the room beyond my hallway. I turned the corner and slid with my dirty red socks along the polished brown hardwood, propelled, rocket like, into the Christmas fray.

The chimney shook something awful with the vigorous entrance of the red man Claus. My heart leapt when, with one last concerted push, a blob of red and green fell with a thud and a plop from the confined chimney space. Upon a further eye full, however, it was revealed to me the alien nature of the gelatinous being that swayed gently before me.

“Hey, guy, what’s the situation? Are you an amoeba? Some kind of weird fish?” I called out to the gently swaying emerald blob.

“Yeah, the amoeba one.” The mound responded casually.

An awkward silence ensued. The blob coughed several times, followed by a period of vigorous throat noises. I couldn’t think of anything to speak, in fear nor in friendship, so I pretended to notice something underneath my fingernails, which I proceeded to pick at slowly. Finally, the amoeba’s soft voice cut through the growing tension.

“So, umm… I gotta put presents under the tree and junk. You wanna, like, Sleep or whatever?”

“I… So… Are you actually Santa, or what?”

The beast moved slightly, seemingly calculating its reply thoroughly.

“Yes. I am.” It said simply.

“Ahhh. So, like, out of curiosity… You look a little different on Coke cans…” I said.

The blob shrugged, I think, and then replied.

“Yep, artistic liberties and all. Apparently giant amoebas aren’t ‘marketable’, or whatever. But look, it’s cool. I still have gifts and junk.”

At this I brightened. The materialism that flowed through my red American veins showed me the upside to the situation, such obviously being the plastic bounty I was to receive on the dawn of the morrow. I nodded my head solemnly, and receded into the black, angular shadows of the hallway. As I climbed into my soft, twin size palace, bliss washed slow across my contracted tendons, releasing them and sending a sigh through my stomach and out my mouth.

I awoke suddenly to the gooey touch of a frantic pseudopod, jostling me awake with it’s rhythmic motion. I jolted up, and by the bed sat the warped, bubbly Santa beast I had previously spoken with. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.

“Oh, hi, uhh… Santa… thing… What’s up?” I said, groggily.

“Oh, nothing much…” It replied. There was silence for a few seconds, then,

“Oh, yeah, except for how I accidentally opened a portal to the fringe dimension Veenue.”

I jumped out of bed and bolted for the living room. Inside was a massive, purple crack that I assumed was in time and/or space, and flopping gracefully from it’s recesses was a rather unhappy looking snail person.

“Hey.” The snail person said.

“Sup.” I said.

Blob Santa shuffled in from the hallway and rolled up to the portal.

“Yeah, so I was trying to get back to the North Pole, but I overshot it and accidentally expanded the universal rift to encompass the left most corner of the Veenue fringe dimension. Whoops.”

“Oh.” I said.

The snail person glanced from me to the blob, and then back again.

“Look, I have an appointment at three… Can we hurry this along?”

The Blob pulled a little black box out of one of his cargo pockets and tapped a few buttons. The portal rippled, but stayed it’s anomalous course.

“Aww, crud. Well, I’m out of ideas.” Said the yuletide mince pile.

“I have an idea!” I shouted in earnest discovery.

“You guys can come to my family Christmas get together!”

The snail person glanced upwards, deep in perpetual snail thought.

“Yeah, a’ight. My name is Snail Samantha, by the way.”

The blob wiggled slightly in what I can only assume was an emotion of some kind.

“Okay.” It intoned, monotone.

I smiled.

“Cool Cool”.

That Christmas there was prepared such a feast as would satisfy the cravings of many a man, or Snail person. There was mash stew, and a lovely white castle burger tray topped with the finest shavings of 18th century collard greens. The colors, huzzah! The aromas, huzzazzah! The glorious and numerous hunger growlings which fill the gold tinged halls, huzzazzazzazah!

Snail Samantha raised her glass and tapped it gently with her salad fork.

“Hey guys, I just want to say that the true reason we gathered here today isn’t because of presents, or food, or trees, or even snail family, although those things are all pretty good. It’s because Jesus Christ was born 2000 years ago to save his people and snail people from their sins.”

“Amen!” Said Blob Santa.

“Boy, Snail Samantha, you sure know your, uhh… stuff and all.” I said, impressed.

“Yeah, I’m writing a thesis to graduate from Snail Seminary.”

“What’s your minor?” asked Blob Santa, In the spirit of polite conversation.

“It’s in North Snailmerican literature.” She said, happy he had taken an interest.

“I’m studying books that end abruptly without any coherence.”