Micropoetry Monday: Twisted Christmas

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Cracked Christmas

When Rachel Larsen was awakened
one smoggy, Christmas Eve night
by a conductor of an air & noise polluter,
she boarded The Solar Express
renamed to keep the EPA off their backs.
When little Rachel reached Santytown,
having shared chai tea & gluten-free crumpets
with the other ragamuffins,
she saw all the toy factories
belching carbon dioxide like a charcoal grill;
she had a vision of the ice caps melting
at the The North Pole
so that The Solar Express
had to become a monorail
to navigate over the rising sea levels;
she envisioned Santa and his “little finds,”
moving from a cave to a Jetson-style house,
for the land below had become
too polluted to even harvest
all the plastic from the ocean
to recycle into plastic toys.

Fractured Fable

Santa Claus was the happily drunken,
gelatinous taskmaster,
who was productive but once a year,
his disgruntled elves having done all
the real work
but forced to stamp “Made in China”
on their handiwork.
When Santa found Rudolph,
the ne’er-do-weller North Pole pub dweller,
& praised the boozer for his snoot—
cherry-red from pint after pint of snootfuls—
the other reindeer,
willing to show Rudolph the 12 steps,
welcomed him with open antlers.
However, after Rudy continuously
made an icehole of himself
at every G-rated reindeer game
by trying to impress Cupid,
the single female reindeer
who had shot herself with an arrow
& was in love only with herself,
the other reindeer,
fearful of an FWI (flying while intoxicated),
made sure that “Ruddy”
went down in history
by making him history.

Cranky Christmas

When he was a young’un,
he’d watched his momma kiss Santy Claus;
when he grew up,
he’d watched her kill Santy Claus
for runnin’ Granny over with a John Deere,
marking Bama Montgomery’s last Christmas in Dixie.
This son of a sawed-off shotgun,
whose child support had come
in the form of recalled toys
that had washed up on Misfit Island—
which had been a “Dirty Santa” thing to do—
knew what he had to do.
But, rather than throw Momma from The Polar Express,
he threw her under the city bus
& staked his claim (courtesy of ancestry.com)
to the snow-white tundra & its 70, pointy-eared dwarves,
where he was stuck making crappy toys for Beall’s
& dreaming of a green Christmas.

Family Christmas parties, Dirty Santa, and the art of regifting

Shrimper

Every year, my husband’s family has a Dirty Santa Christmas party. There’s the pepperoni bread that all the teenagers love, the Bisquick sausage and cheese balls that are like savory truffles, and the peanut butter balls that take an insane amount of powdered sugar to make. When my husband’s aunt was alive, it was an Italian feast, even though she was from Maine and of French heritage. (My husband’s father, however, was Italian.)  

I don’t even bring food anymore because there is so damn much, and there are always too many desserts.

My brother-in-law (BIL) works for a liquor distributor, so there’s always plenty of boozea must-have for any holiday gathering where you’re seeing people you only see once a year and only because you happen to be related. 

As an introvert with social anxiety that I happen to hide very well (unless I’m around someone I think is hot or who I swear is laughing at me on the inside, which is sometimes the same person), I’m not a fan of parties with lots of people I don’t know well. It’s emotionally exhausting, but my six-year-old daughter is an excellent buffer.    

As I am not friends with any of my husband’s family on Facebook, and my husband ditched his account last year, we’re like the black sheep (my husband likes to call himself the stray sheep) of his family; in my family, I’m like the golden fleece, so think what you will about that!  

I cannot compete with my husband’s successful sisters, whose careers have been established for years, while I’m just figuring things out. Their kids are either grown or practically grown, whereas my daughter is in the first grade, and I am working on my bachelor’s degree at 38. I guess my husband and I are both late bloomers.  

So, “Dirty Santa” is always my favorite part of the party. I don’t have to mill around and mingle, as we are all sitting in a circle, opening presents. Honestly, gift giving is a lot more fun when it doesn’t cost anything, and it’s all in fun—when you don’t give a rip about what you’re going to get because you already know it’s probably going to suck.

The year I was into couponing, I tossed some Maxi pads (with wings; it isn’t an angel in need if it doesn’t have wings) in a gently used gift bag. That might have been the year I threw in a Bing Crosby CD in which he dreamily crooned about white Christmases (what the hell is wrong with a green Christmas where we don’t have to worry about dying in a blizzard?). So yes, sanitary napkins + Bing = a hard candy Christmas. 

Another year, I gave away some DVDs when a lot of the same movies I could just DVR (I will never, however, ever part with my Wings and I Love Lucy collection). Last year, I threw in some unused candles (from my candle collecting days), and this year, there’s “The Shrimper”a running gag that’s been passed around my husband’s family for years. I don’t mind getting stuck with it, as I am the queen of regifting. Most of the gifts probably end up donated or regifted anyway; I am not spending money on a nice gift so I can get a bobo present. A good third of Dirty Santa gifts were left behind last year, which, to me, shows a complete lack of regard for the hosts, who have to figure out how to (probably) dispose of them.

Since I have run out of things to regift (ain’t minimalism great?), I thank God for “The Shrimper,” as it’s recurrence keeps another item out of the landfill.

Micropoetry Monday: The Faultlessness of their Stars

When the learned astronomer went blind,
he hired a foundling—
a lost soul hovering between heaven & hell.
A wealthy intellectual
(which was an oxymoron, for some),
he asked the boy to be his eyes,
to describe everything he saw.
And it was through the eyes of the blind,
that the learned astronomer’s apprentice,
through service to another,
reached his potential.
When the learned astronomer closed his eyes
for the final time in earth-space,
the boy’s eyes had been opened,
for there’d been nothing he’d ever had
that had been of value to anyone,
except to the learned astronomer
whose last sight was feel of the boys’ wet face
in his hands.

She bicycled, upcycled, & recycled,
burning calories,
not waste.
Her collar had faded from blue to white,
only to deepen into green.
She planted herself where she would grow the most–
an environment where she could be her most creative.
And with every ripening
& every reaping,
there would not be an uprooting,
but a replanting,
for she would leave a seed in her place–
ready to help the next person grow
in that place.

As Angel & Demon walked side by side in a parallel universe,
they came upon an impressionable human being
hitchhiking their way through the galaxy–
now standing before that split in the wishbone.
These 2 otherworldly beings were on a mission:
the former,
to gain a soul,
the latter,
a lost one.
The Demon told this being
that all their senses would be heightened
to anything they had ever experienced on Earth;
the Angel said that what they would experience
beyond the mythical pearly gates
would transcend all senses.
When the human being chose the planet
of the sun rays & the moon beams
over the one of candlelight & firelight,
they realized that they’d been to this place before,
& that the life they’d known had been a scavenger hunt–
where only a minority had figured out
that it was not themselves they were looking for,
but the Ticketmaster with the unlimited tickets
that had already been paid for.

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #21. Theme: Protest

The Accidental Environmentalist

Mrs. Gladys Georgana Green lived in the poor house—
just under the poverty line.
She wore her shoes till they lost their soles,
her hand-me-down clothes till they became careworn,
after which she would tear them into strips
for the rag rugs that scattered her floors.
Her margarine tubs were repurposed as Tupperware
and often filled with potato cookies at Christmastime
for the less-fortunate children.
All her furniture had come to her secondhand,
sometimes even thirdhand,
and she was grateful to get it from those who had
cared for their property so well.
Her electronics were outdated,
and her desktop computer was a dinosaur near extinction,
but they worked well enough to suit her needs.
She was not a minimalist by choice—
she’d never been privileged enough to make that choice,
for it had always been made for her.
Yet this frugal way of living had become a part of her,
for she saw the wisdom in making things last.

On Thanksgiving Day,
when she was minding her own damn business,
enjoying her weekly indulgence of Salisbury steak,
and her holiday slice of pumpkin pie that had her name on it
(in whipped cream, no less),
some whippersnapper in a Greenpeace shirt
started filming this “cow killer”
with his brand-new iPhone.

Being more going-of-age than coming-of-age,
she’d had enough of these people and their hypocritical crapola,
and so, with a spry little sprint,
she confronted this little mockumentary maker,
this propagandist punk,
and rammed her paper straw where it never meant to go.

2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21

Writer’s Digest November Poem-a-Day 2017 Challenge #25. Theme: Remix

So I went back through the poems I’d written this month and chose five titles (hence the underlines), implementing them in my newest creation.

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The Town that Cried Atonement

She lived in this stranger world
where a life, in 7 days,
ended not with a day of rest,
but in an atonement day.

Everything would be closed,
and everyone in the town of Cantonement
would meet at the Universal Church,
where the newest child sacrifice
would be made—
for all babies were born into sin,
but the unborn were worshipped
as little angels.

For they saw this as not only saving their souls,
but saving the planet,
their stem cells saving
those who saved the planet.

These little beings had no voice,
but were the property
of the vessels in which they gestated.

But then Vera Donna
chose to be selfish, they said,
and retain her property rights—
so that her property
would grow,
and perhaps yield more
after its own kind
and
after her kind—
the closest thing to
immortality
on earth.

And when she told them the story
of That Final Atonement,
there was joy in the limitless grace
that released this town
from these bloody offerings,
reminiscent Old Testament times.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-25

Writer’s Digest November Poem-a-Day 2017 Challenge #16. Theme: Poem to the World

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Dear World,

I believe you are older than they say you are. You’re looking rough in spots, but aging gracefully in others. I get that people can be real pimples—pimples you try to wash away through floods, exfoliate with earthquakes, or cauterize with wildfires.

Just know that even though you will outlive every last one of us, you are not eternal. You have no soul, for you show, with your volatile temper, your inability to discern the good eggs from the bad.

I tell you this: I worship your Creator, not His creation, meaning you—the earth was made for humans, not the other way around.

However, I realize we’re supposed to take care of our home, yet so many of don’t even take care of ourselves. I’m sorry that some have turned your waters into hormone baths in an attempt to reduce your population. I’m sorry that others rape your body for your organs, but isn’t that called industry? I’m sorry that still more poke at your oily pores until those fossil fuels run into your waters, but those fuels help keep that industry going—at least until we find green solutions.

Mother Earth, I can only help you by not hurting you, but to live the way I want, I must consume concrete things (i.e. resources), so that I can create abstract things (stories and the like).

You are but a glimpse of the world to come—heaven and hell coexisting. You were once so Edenic, but I know you blame us, especially those with the double X chromosomes. I wasn’t there, you know, so don’t get all huffy (or naturally disastrous) with me.

Maybe you should look at a planet like Mars and thank your lucky constellations that you aren’t just a ball of red dust. Believe me when I say that you are so beautifully diverse, so cosmically cosmopolitan, with your mountains and your valleys, your deserts and beaches and rainforests. Be thankful that you weren’t stuck with a name like Uranus, or demoted like Pluto (maybe if Pluto had people on it, it would’ve been better off). It’s your inhabitants that make you special—the fact that you can sustain life, so there! I mean, really, if we didn’t live here, would we care so much about saving you?

Sure, the other planets are left the hell alone (that’s the Libertarian way of life), but they won’t live near the life you will. You probably have all the diamonds our solar system (stars aren’t really diamonds, any more than the moon is made of cheese), which makes you quite a rich lady. And think about it like this: When we die, you keep all the spoils. So many jewelry cases (you say coffins, I say treasure chests) are buried in you. So what if they come with bones? Just think of skeletons as deconstructed jewelry trees.

My advice? Enjoy all this while you last.

Yours truly,
Sarah Richards

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-16

 

Micropoetry Monday: Things We Set On Fire

She blurred him from every record,
burned every photograph,
the ink dripping off the page,
mixing with the ashes at her feet,
but it wasn’t till he returned to the earth
in a pile of dust,
that she was able to breathe it all back in.

One man discusses climate change,
the other, pro-life policies.
Two futures—imminent & distant—
the former, having affected his ancestors,
the latter, his descendants.

It was a book of drunken incest,
& admonitions for slaves
to obey their cruel taskmasters.
There was the genocide of children–
rainbow promises that never again
would God destroy the earth with a flood,
but rather,
with every other thing.
It was the story of a jealous God,
a God who played favorites,
but a God who sent His Son–
a better version of Himself.

For here lies the Morgan family memorial–
the Morgans,
who lived together by choice,
who died together from having that choice
taken away,
& whose ashes,
in the same vessel,
were scattered–
death imitating itself.

When they lost their wealth,
they softened their conservative values,
for to accept help long enough
was more important than making
what was already hard,
harder than it had to be.

Makeup on Empty Space: Poetry Reading Night

“Poetry can be a transmission to help you notice things.”
–Anne Waldman, 22 April 2017, Pensacola State College, at The Lyceum

Last night, I attended a poetry reading by poet, Anne Waldman, whose workshop I attended Friday.  I don’t write about these things so much to report, but rather to highlight the impact the event had on me.

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Anne’s son, Ambrose Bye, played the piano, which added to the ambiance, and behind them, flashed images of what she called a “family album”, or “honorary album”–pictures of poets, brain diagrams (which the medical student in me appreciated), indigenous peoples, nature (and perhaps environmental devastation–I’m not sure), so one could say that Anne had the three “poeias” down (words, music, images). 

One of the lines that captured me was “her century needed her to see above the height of the grass” which conjured up images of antitheses to anti-Christs (the latter who may always come in the form of a man).

Her poetry was written (and performed, rather than recited) in a woman’s spirit.  It wasn’t even her words so much that moved me, but the musicality of her words.  At heart, I am a storyteller; I like characters, and so many of my poems read like stories, so I saw, or rather heard, the expression of poetry in a new way.

The only thing that wasn’t for me were the chants, because it reminded me of speaking in tongues (except hers weren’t creepy).

She opened with singing the “Anthropocene Blues,” which sounded like an old-time religion church hymn.  (Btw, anthropocene is the name for the geological time we’re living in, where mankind has a significant impact on the environment.)

She also spoke on the theme of “archive,” which she defined as “an antithesis to a war on memory.”  We are living in a technological age where our words will be out there forever, which makes me very happy as a writer, but probably wouldn’t if I were a politician.  Politicians often wage a “war on memory” by trying to con their constituents/employers, saying they never said (insert inflammatory statement) if they did, as there is usually video to back it up.

Her poem on suffering was recited in a way that made me think of bullets being shot or bombs being dropped in rapid succession.  No, we don’t want to be seen as the age when people were killing each other or destroying the planet, though every age since the beginning of time can claim the mantle of the former.  We just have the power now to execute the latter.

One of Anne’s refrains was “pushing against the darkness”; I think of poetry as a way of illuminating the world.  It is the color where there is only black-and-white.  (The movie Pleasantville comes to mind.)

She recited what she called a “feminist love poem” about the g-spot (reminiscent of an apostrophe poem), which she described as a “genie trapped in a bottle.”

I concur.

I learned that the manatee is related to the elephant, and what human doesn’t love a herbivorous animal and one that won’t kill you for the hell of it?  She made a good point about man having no use for the manatee, which I took as an allegory for how humans judge one another’s worth–by their perceived usefulness or productivity (even to them).

Because racehorses have use for man, men breed them.

There was a question-and-answer session at the end, and, as Jamey Jones, the local Poet Laureate put it, “Anne really cares.”  She believes in her work, and that poets can change the world.

I will say that it already has, for is not the Bible a book of poetry?  Does that mean something has to be packaged as religion, or absolute truth, to change the world?

Something to think about.