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Happy Holidaze: A Christmas Ennead

i


It’s the summer,

and the sky a

cyan-azure meld,


eyelash wisp of cirrus

and varied flowers

perfuming the air.

Too colourful

to try and name.

I am not Adam;

it’s not my responsibility.



ii


Evergreens,

and I spot the twine

of Christmas lights,

hidden in hibernation,

around several inner

branches of this park.


I stop, pointing

out the tint

of tangerine,

in the most ascended

of the leaves—


that hint of autumn’s

approach,

and that snow will somehow

come before we know it.



iii


It’s the summer,

and you sense that

I am waiting—

for another shade of

white—not of cloud

but of frigid

frost and flake,

an acceptable kind of

reason to stay indoors,

from which I’ll never

choose to leave,

with curl of lights aglow—

blue and green and red and gold

burning in a wayward

hearth, never skipping

a single beat.



iv


I would dress as

Santa Nicholas,

were it not for the

oversized suit—

and for the fact that

its red would be stained

with charcoal

if I slid down the chimney

with care.


Therefore, make it black.

Make it seven sizes smaller

and forego the paste-on beard.

The eggnog has been spiked

and I will need to quaff it down

without a hindrance.



v


Outside, the wind whisks

the aforementioned flakes.

Inside, you shake my gift to you:

a snow globe

without a crack.

At least that’s what

the pawn shop said

the blizzardy night

before.



vi


Our cat is

curled in the corner;

the house mouse, drunk

on a fallen chocolate.

Both will sleep

as we,


on this night of cocoa

beans, flow of

German brandy,


from a box we would have

re-gifted

had our neighbour

showed up as planned,


grateful we are

for this quiet bestowed

through the blessing of a squall.



vii


It’s the second time around,

with the Eve on Epiphany,

wooden dolls within a doll

and the varenyky

warm on our plates.


This isn’t some lateness

in Kyiv,

or Julian stubborn

in his err;


it’s the tree still aglow

while the neighbour’s leans

discarded in the snow,


January’s gales

dispersing needles,


now brown

and under a star

unlike our own,

at least that’s what

we tell ourselves,

when we admit there’s

more liqueur than

shell of chocolate,


that Valentine’s,

just a number of weeks

away, isn’t worth the tarried

inebriation,

that a Saviour/Babe’s

been waiting

since December,


our slurring Peace on Earth,

good will to all,

and to all a blessѐd night.



viii


Putin has his

Devil’s Bomb—


we’ll all be

dead

before the morrow.



ix: an addendum


I didn’t want to

end the poem

this way—


you’re too dark,

too cynical,

a misanthropic

man, like Williams

of Tennessee.


He was born in

Mississippi, y’know,

M-iss-iss-i-pp-i.


We learned to

spell it

singingly,


like sparrows

which never knew

the rain could bring

in so much bounty,


not the worms

that writhed

in mud,

that would be

disgusting;


I mean the

open blooms

of life,


the pistils,

stamens,


knowing

bees

were right on

target,


birds

the poet laureates,

ones who tell the tale,


the descendants

of dinosaurs,


who saw the flaming

rock a-comin’,

had no words

for “duck” and “cover,”


melody

to soothe

the soon-extinction,


their death so bitter-


sweet.




Andreas Gripp

November 18, 2023


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