—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA
Enid holds Christmas snow
a precious gift
hardly ever obtained
in a china-thin hand,
the cost of losing virtue
is well worth it
albeit it goes so quickly
up the nose.
Brodie mixes holly berries
into the Christmas snow,
another year without
of a soul
does not merit
a carol to be written
or one to be forever sung.
I improvise on the fly:
"There is nothing Jewish about snow"
but after the gig is gone
I then pause and recall:
Nana used to gather some
to convert this solid into a
by a weak fire
during the few hours
the goyim allowed her
to have on
during breaks in the pogroms.
There is nothing Jewish about snow
except common pain.
A SEASONAL WISH
I want a cello
to play in Montebello
date a woman named Seraphina
living in South Pasadena
a house on the Isle of Man
and musical abilities like Pan
and a collie dog
a genuine Dali
at an auto rally
star in a Pinter play
rest in the bath all day
and a chocolate bath
and golden iPod
no plates of scrod
some apple tarts
without the farts
some peace on this planet
we all are worth it Janet
Snow covers all but
the gloved hands of a cellist
who hits sour notes.
ONE FINAL TO GO: 9:27 a.m.
Lost my reading glasses
nearly as bad as dying at Manasas
computer set up not to be done
until Wednesday's noonday sun
jury duty is a callin'
interesting papers make me bawling
the new place now has no chairs
have to postpone some holiday affairs
the last set of papers
will not induce capers
but after the last page is marked
my jolly spirit will be resparked.
just the way
William and Jessica hope
the turkey is always dry
Clive is stuck in England
due to weather or homeland security
and Prudence is always minorly
pestered by the law.
good does come
from the slam jangle
between December 10
and January 2
Martin comes back home
and one out of many
is just fine by them.
CHRISTMAS MY WAY
—Trina Drotar, Sacramento
The cousins are sunning in the Bahamas.
Grandma’s photo’s at the table’s head
Nine and One on the cake, and me thinking
I should have used the one of Donald Duck
feeding her French fries that year in Disneyland
where I’d rather spend Christmas. Mom’s
photo, the one where she didn’t look so old,
so tired, so done with the holidays, placed
at the second position, a wine glass full
of cran-pomegranate because that’s what’s
in this house, and perhaps because of that
time when she and her friend, Paula, made
pomegranate wine. To Mom’s right should
be a photo of my dad, but he never spent
Christmas Eve with us, although I did bring
him for Thanksgiving one year to the horror
of my grandma and her yappy little dogs.
Instead, I’ll place a photo of Bob, that gray
and white cat who never really belonged
to anyone. Next to Bob, perhaps I should
place a photo of my sibling, there’s the one
I grew up with and the ones I didn’t. Then
again, maybe a photo of Sidney, the basset
hound my dad supposedly gave me as a birthday
gift when I was two. Maybe, just maybe,
I can set up the photos, plates, glasses,
and the silverware, and go for a bike ride.
When you were two, I think it was the push toy
that looked like a gumball machine. When you
were three, it was a truck or car or something
with wheels and made of metal. When you
were four, it was another vehicle – larger –
and when you were five, it became a test
to see just how fast you could break those
GRANDMA'S NEW DRESS
made her look like a madam in an old-fashioned, yet contemporary, whorehouse, all of the foster daughters, granddaughters, and other females sitting at her feet. The dress (from the crazy aunt who never made it out that Christmas because of snow or some other reason) slit from ankle to mid-thigh, sleeves exposing wristbones, and a plunging v-neck. Silver jewelry decorated neck and ears that usually wore none. Silver, heeled shoes upon feet that never even wore pumps, and a bouffant wig in platinum blonde (the same color that the crazy aunt always dyed her hair and tried to say it was her natural color) upon hair that was permed monthly at the shop where the “old ladies” drove this eighty-five year old grandma just a bit crazy.
FOR THE LOVE OF FRUITCAKE
My cousin must be the only person I know who likes fruitcakes. Not just any fruitcakes. Oh no. Only the fruitcakes that Grandma used to make with dried fruits we’d purchase each November at the Farmer’s Market on Alemany (it’s still there, you know). Only the fruitcakes that Grandma gave her each year on Christmas Eve after she moved here from Japan. Only the fruitcakes that Grandma wrapped in brandy-soaked towels and stored in the front basement (nowhere near that Christmas tree, though) until the following year when the cakes would be removed, packaged, wrapped, labeled, and given to people who could appreciate them. People like my cousin who kept each year’s cake a few extra years just to make sure that it had fermented properly. Like a good wine, Grandma’s fruitcakes were not to be eaten too soon.
appears prominently in every photo taken at Grandma’s on every Christmas Eve since we were toddlers. No taller than three feet four inches with a gold-colored imitation metal topper and filled, or over-filled, with nondescript glass balls and too-large lights set in those star-shaped tinfoil reflectors.
Brought upstairs from the front basement where it resided eleven months out of each year (in between the canned goods and paper products), set upon the table with great aplomb by the parlor’s front bay window that looked out to Silver Avenue. The green plastic lawn and leaf bag removed, the cord unwound and plugged, and we’d all cheer.
Being the fastest
of Santa's staff
ain't all that great
when you are looking up