December 19, 2009

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I'm sitting in front of my computer on the Saturday before Christmas and looking out my window at the snow that has been falling since about 10 o’clock last night. For now, I’m not going anywhere.

I heard a report on the radio that retailers are not at all happy with the snowstorm that has hit the eastern seaboard this weekend. The Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year, but it surely won’t be that in Pittsburgh in 2009.

The shopping that few are doing reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago. It is one of my least typical and probably one of my best. I offer it below as a Christmas gift of sorts. You can also read the poem on Lionel Deimel’s Farrago, where I offer background information about it.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
by Lionel Deimel

The jingle bells are back,

Ringing jingle-jangle ding-dong-ding

On the street corners and at the mall,

Where the giant Damoclean snowflakes

Hang menacingly from the store ceilings

Over the heads of the make-up consultants,

Displaying their perfect faces, Santa Claus hats,

And belligerent helpfulness.

The colored outdoor lights are back,

Contending with high-pressure, sodium streetlamps

To banish night and veil the pallid twinkle of the stars,

Letting the phosphor-white icicles,

Dripping electrically from the eaves,

Highlight the unnatural landscape

Of rotund, glow-from-within snowmen

And teams of gene-damaged reindeer.

The entertainments are back—

The last-minute, Oscar-hopeful blockbusters

Playing beside cheap trifles luring the momentarily vulnerable;

Pick-up-choir, stumbling-through-the-notes Messiahs

Competing with earnest Amahls and Peanuts Specials;

The cute-but-clumsy, tiny ballerinas tripping through Nutcrackers

Sorely in need of crowd control;

And the latest made-for-TV, hanky-wrenching, feel-good melodrama.

The emotions are back,

With love-thy-neighbor, brotherhood-of-man yearnings

Schizophrenically vying with loathing for the driver ahead,

As we pursue our private quests

For perfect love-showing, obligation-meeting, or indifference-disguising gifts,

Our anticipating the giving-terror, receiving-embarrassment,

The disappointing joy, and the exhilarating letdown assuring us at last

That Christmas is upon us.

1 comment:

  1. Christmas is a horror. Kwanzaa and Hannukah are trying to catch up, but any holiday that tries to get your attention two months ahead of time is bound to make itself unwelcome.
    At no other time of the year am I more relieved to be an atheist.


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