Image used by permission of Wikimedia Commons, thanks to KLNMAX
The era after World War II
when “I’ll be home for Christmas” came true
People craved security
Best shown beneath the Christmas tree
War-worn dads took comfort in
their jobs, affording clatter and din
of toys beneath the Douglas fir:
endless bounty for him and her
The dolly really wet her diaper!
A toy gun for a future sniper
Pink for girls and blue for boys,
tearing paper off new toys
Thus was born a new tradition:
Lots more gifts! Spend with ambition!
As songs of Santa replaced carols
Jesus was lost, all was sterile
Once, one gift, just one – no more
Now Christmas spent at mall and store
This season is depressing; why?
Because the Christ child gets passed by
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
You know most people are burnt out on pseudo-Christmas by now. The constant post-Thanksgiving pop music. The who-can-buy-the-most-presents crap. Endless parades of ugly sweaters destined for the Goodwill shop.
The Longest Night, also called Blue Christmas, is a Christian service on the Solstice, this year Saturday. If you’re not feeling “holly jolly,” if you want to get a little Jesus back in the equation, check out a service. Lots of homeless folks, people who’ve lost loved ones, who’ve lost jobs… people who are simply soured on the commercialism, all get together and share stories. It might be the best Christmas present you give yourself this year… and let me know how it turns out.
No prompt for this one. Just sending it out into the ether(net) and hoping you don’t get “the Christmas Blues” like so many. Peace, Amy
UNDER THE HARSH
Sleeping on a park bench
Living in a Chevy beater
Winter covers each with
an unwanted blanket of snow
pay them no mind; while
searching for deep discounts,
they discount these folks
Tonight, under starlight that
sets the frost a-twinkle with
thousands of crystals, remember
Jesus is sleeping under cardboard
not too far from here…
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Michael Crawford sings this song with heart, with understanding. May we all remember the homeless during this HOHOHO season of frenzied gift giving, as we fatten our credit card balances buying crap made by child slave labor in China.
Five BSODs (Blue Screens of Death, so, grammatically speaking, perhaps it’s BSsOD) in two days, and my computer was out for the weekend… and then some. So glad to be back.
About comments… I am hopelessly behind in replying! I’ll peruse and visit you all, but if I ever hope to get a chapbook together (and most people don’t read responses anyway, which is fine), I will take a break on the last few poems and start fresh. If anyone has a comment on that policy, please let me know. Hey, take it from me: Don’t hold back; tell me what you REALLY feel!
A peaceful Independence Day to my US friends, and prayers for folks in Colorado who are suffering with wildfires, as well as all who are in the grip of this heat wave. Peace, Amy
SNAPSHOTS OF THEN
Mom’s crimson best, one sister
colors the other’s lips with the delicacy of Monet
Big sis hanging from
the branch of an apple tree
The ways of children
A gesture, a look
Laughter caught in
grimaces of belly-aching joy
Little sis tries to puff powder
on the older girl, whose skin
needs no embellishment
but whose soul craves it
This places, close to heaven
A wink, a giggle, teasing
A kick under the table
An unforeseen hug from behind
They stand still for the Easter snapshot
Shoulders almost touching, like troops
The Christmas tree, stringing red lights
Middle sis rearranging tinsel “until it’s perfect”
Brief moments caught
by the old Ansco camera
Sweet, looking back
Who knew? Who could guess
how far apart they would grow?
Poetic Bloomings asked for a poem about traditions; the Sunday Whirl tossed this motley group of words at us: amorous, subtle, genuflect, precipice, inkling, vanilla, mission, December, laden, bark, crusted, trivet. A retelling of the kind of family dust-up that eventually goes from legend to a smile, this is dedicated to the memory of my former mother-in-law, Hanna Weinberger; and in honor of her husband, Len, and Rob and his fantastic second wife, Donna. Peace and twinkly lights, Amy (P.S. Lex and I also light a menorah to this day, in Riley’s honor.)
Christmas Tree With a Schmear
“Will I have to genuflect to it?” she grimaced.
An inking of the controversy to come, December of ’86.
My mission, to host my husband’s folks and to
decorate our Christmas tree. No big deal, right?
Intermarriage: He, a Jew; I, a pseudo-Christian.
(His faith only observed when his mom set
the Passover table, lit by silver candlesticks,
laden with luscious food on fancy trivets.)
But every year, my vanilla faith called for a tree.
My Episcopalian upbringing had brought me to this:
On Christmas Eve I’d sneak into church;
in the spring we watched “Easter Parade” on TV.
Interfaith civil wedding: A generic Man of God
found in the yellow pages; a hoopah in our living room
(no rabbi or minister without promises of Hebrew or
Sunday school… not ready to even have kids!).
We lugged home the best (cheapest) tree in Queens;
its bark shredded during trunk-shoving, leaking
pestilent, resinous sap. My allergic splotches
crusted over just in time for The Big Party.
Mom was less than amorous about the whole affair.
She felt her shiksa daughter-in-law had exposed a subtle agenda:
Trying to make her son revere a tree that (apparently)
was a symbol of Jesus on the cross. With tinsel and lights.
They entered with trepidation; this was a precipice in our
relationship. I had gone to every Seder, Hanukkah… and
my husband loved having a tree (the pagan aspect, too).
Within ten minutes, we had gravitated to places of safety:
Mom, smoking a cigarette, looking at the wall, peeking
out of the corner of her eye in downright disgust. Wife
telling stories of each ornament; husband happy, stringing lights.
Dad, singing along with a Crosby record, “White Christmas.”
Ain’t compromise a wonderful thing?
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil