Decking The Covid Halls 2020

Over the years the decking of my house has become more elaborate. Every room  had its share of holiday decor – figurines, snow globes, even action figures. Of course there was also the tree, the lights, the porch ‘treatment’ & of course festive towels & linens. Friends would add ornaments to the magic. Much of it was done for our Christmas feast guests or friends who would drop by. Thanks to covid19 restrictions that isn’t going to happen to the same extent this year.

Perhaps that’s just as well so that I could give some of those things a rest. Let’s leave the snow globe collection in the box for change, what’s the point of that kitch crèche? As a result things remain in their bins & boxes. In fact as I sorted what to put out this year I tossed things. Thanks for the memories but bye bye.

Opting for simplicity meant less staple gun noise 🙂 The lights went up, the tree went up, the linens got washed & will be used but the bulk of the treasure remain in their bins & boxes. You know not having all that hanging tinsel is fine. Next year maybe they’ll get hung in the trees on the front lawn. 

The festive lights remained a must though because they aren’t just for me, they are for everyone & anyone who sees them. This year, in out neighbourhood, they seem to have gone up sooner & gotten fancier. I’ve going out some nights after supper to do a walk around different blocks to enjoy them. I stopped to talk to one woman about her lights & she said, what I figured most people are thinking, ‘we need lights in this dark covid climate.’

https://topoet.ca/2016/12/16/lights-delight-2016/

Yes, let there be less interior clutter & more external light.

Christmas 1983

The Word Is 

this was this word 

I knew a child

it was Welsh or Gaelic

it meant love

a kind of love 

I no longer experience

<>

I learned it from a neighbour 

of my grandmother’s

when I was visiting Wales 

one summer

she gave me toast 

with mayo and tomatoes

she baked the bread herself

I’ve never tasted bread like that again

sort of burned and peppery

<>

I didn’t really like it

but I liked her

she taught me all these words

how to say things

I don’t remember

about plants playing 

the in sunlight

about kittens saving puppies

she made me laugh

<>

then I came back to Canada

all I could remember was that one word

the word I’ve forgotten

for love

not just any kind of love

I used to feel for a boy in school

he wasn’t even in my class

I would feel it whenever I saw him

but when I didn’t see him

I didn’t even think of him

I never even knew his name

just the way his eyes would make me feel

even if he wasn’t looking at me

I’d spot him

and feel this yearning

not to know him

but just to look at him

to watch him

playing with the other boys

they would run shout tackle each other

<>

if you asked me what I was feeling

I couldn’t tell you

I might have said that word 

I no longer remember

for a feeling I no longer have

for someone 

I can’t in my mind

beyond his eyes

<>

all I see is this scramble of bodies

tussling in the school yard dirt

then us lining up to go back into the school

sitting in rows in the class room

trying to learn math 

spelling

that feeling gone in the terror

of being asked to answer the teacher

I didn’t want to be there’

wanted to be lost in the feeling

in that yearning

<>

what was 

that word

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Creche Landing

the cat and the cradle

waiting for the inner glow

Santa snow globe swallows the reason for the season?

I bought this at Honest Ed’s decades ago & it is one of my favorite ornaments

season stained

stained for life

amazing crèche built into an old TV chassis – asking price $1200.00

close-up of the blessed event

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy more Christmas kitch– sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Santaphohohobic

For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1fT for links previous pieces in this series.

Santaphohohobic

to this day

I cannot hear the name Santa

without shuddering

the first few times it gets uttered are the worse

a tremble comes from my toes

my teeth chatter

I squeeze my arms tight to my body

to contain myself

it’s as if I’m going to fly to pieces

 

though I get used to hearing his name

I always dread the start of the festive season

and go out of my way to avoid

any reference or images of his likeness

I don’t know when this started

honestly, I had a fairly normal childhood

Christmas was nothing special in our house

I was never dropped off Santa’s knee

when taken to see him at the strip joint

I never woke to find

his white bearded visage

kissing my Mom or Dad

I once did get to undress

one of the elves

 

I was always satisfied with what gifts I got

I was an easy to please child

this Santa-shudder didn’t start

till I moved here to the big city

in our village

there were few likenesses of him

the usual ones of him harnessing a moose

or sneaking a beer out of the fridge

so how it came to be

that the very mention of his name

would cause this reaction in me is puzzling

it led my coworkers to think

I was some sort of xmas hater

when the opposite is the truth

 

I decorated my cubical with a little tree

some garlands

but would resist any likeness of him

it wasn’t if he was the centre of the celebration

but they would take great delight

in putting crystal Santas on my desk

once replacing my mouse with a Santa head

my shrieks were mocked for weeks after that

ho ho ho scream

my demands to be transferred to another section

were greeted with  ho ho ho no no no

those fuck heads

how could I do my job with such disrespect

luckily this only happens once a year

 

next year I won’t be here to put up with it

I’ve already made reservations

to spend that time of  year at a xmas free resort

where one can just float in the sun

drink tall cool drinks by the pool side

be undressed by cabana men

and then return to the escapist reality

that I was escaping from

This is one of the few pieces written in which my narrator has left the Village but is still enmeshed in mythology – in this case the festive myth of Santa. Personally I have no issues with Christmas or Santa or the Elves. As in many of these pieces the allegory is of those things in the world that go from annoying us to blocking our happiness.

Santa has become more a symbol of Christmas than the Jesus. Though both symbols have been commercialized to the point where they are meaningless beyond their commercial potential. So in some ways my hero is reacting to this reduction of a symbol to a logo for consumption as opposed to a symbol of generosity & fellowship.

My hero is like many who have left a small town for the freedom of the big city only to be trapped in a cubical. The childhood bullying has been replaced by the office mocking of his Santaphobia – by people who apparently don’t even question their own belief systems. The fact he doesn’t toe that line is enough for them to single him out. There is also a sense that some myths are considered superior to others.

I knew a guy who hated Christmas to the extent that he would fly to Australia on 23rd or the 24th & thanks to date line & time change arrived there & would skip Christmas Day. He flew back on New Year’s & got two New Year’s eves as a result. But like my narrator he had to return to a cultural reality he might avoid but could never escape.

 


For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1fT for links previous pieces in this series.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org