Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #1. Theme: Day After

So I am not only participating in NaNoWriMo this year (my Creative Writing professor assigned it as an individual project; the minimum he requires is 25K words, since slackers make up half the class of 6), but I am also participating in the Writer’s Digest Poem-a-Day challenge (the same challenge I completed in April).  I have to say, considering November is NaNoWriMo month, I think this particular challenge should have been held in October, but I am going to do it regardless, because I am crazy (and it’s a great way to significantly bump up your number of WordPress followers).  Completing the challenge might also lead to something even greater:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-guidelines

As for the challenge itself, when I saw the theme, “Boxing Day” (the day after Christmas) immediately came to mind.

boxing-day

Boxing Day

The shelves in the shops have been ransacked—
all but the candy,
which won’t be on clearance for another week.
There is glitter everywhere,
coating every surface like fingerprint powder—
the evidentiary aftermath of consumerist crimes.

Packs of wild-eyed women grab and toss,
their carts queueing up like battering rams,
juxtaposed against a mass regurgitation of goods—
a symptom of the holiday hangover.

The joy of the season has smoked like a pipe dream,
and all that was so prettily placed,
has been leveled to plastic ruins.
Broken glass,
like Kristallnacht,
has been swept under the now skeletal fake firs;
the silver has worn off the angels,
the gold off the goodie tins.
None of it was real after all.
Time broke the spell.

The tableau is reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic surreality,
following the celebration of a divine birth—
ushering in the red death of retail.
Santa is hungover somewhere under the Northern Lights,
hatching his next Socialist experiment.

Few got what they wanted,
for most buy for themselves throughout the year.
The unwanted little darlings that ended up under their evergreens
are regifts for next year’s “Dirty Santa” parties.

Congealed gravy sits in the fridge,
and hambones star in crock pot Yankee Bean Soup.
There is one last slice of pie that no one wants;
a cranberry has been crushed into the carpet.
The rubbish bins runneth over with the corpses of dead trees.

The carols have gone silent,
the bells have stopped ringing,
the lights have went out,
and the bleakness,
known as Christmas Come and Gone,
has become an oppressive presence.

Churches will be half-full (optimistically) once again,
and the snow will no longer glisten red and green.
The metallic tinsel dangles from the chandelier
like an instrument of flagellation,
of strangulation,
choking the life out of the year,
as it breathes its last breaths.

The lustre of Christmas is pined for,
for Christmas is a stopping place;
the New Year marks a start few of us want to make,
but feel we must,
for the quest of self-improvement is a road that never dead ends.

It is 364 days till next Christmas.

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