Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Her Greatest Gift

Through the smoke
and patches of blaze
still smoldering,
I see her
and I cannot help
my movement toward her:

I must be
by her side.

That is where I belong,
where I thrive.

Christmas after Christmas
we collect memories,
all our own,
that no one can touch.

Every year,
I gratefully remember
her greatest gift
to me:

I have never
wished to be
anywhere else,

never envied
another’s coupling,

since I found my place
beside her.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Off-White Christmas

One Christmas
I ventured far from
the West Coast
land of my ancestors
and spent the holidays
in Maryland
where the people
were pleasant
and surprisingly
multicolored.

On Christmas Day
as I strolled the boulevard
with my white companion,
a warm blanket of security
and belonging
and perhaps universal
love
surrounded me,

and as we walked past
others I greeted them

“Merry Christmas!”
“Happy Holidays!”
“Season’s Greetings!”

I was thankful
for the profound effect
the birth of Jesus
had on peoples' kindness.

It felt good.

Two young white men
approached us
and they appeared to be
more than a little drunk
and carrying a few more
6-packs
back to their home
and as they walked by
they said something,
and I answered them with
“Merry Christmas”

but something didn’t feel right.

I stopped and
looked at my companion
whose face betrayed
a puzzled expression.

She asked
“didn’t you hear
what they said?”

“Didn’t they say
‘Merry Christmas’
or something like that?”

She said
“No, they said
‘Happy Beaner Christmas.’”

Shit.
Really?
On Christmas?

I shrugged it off -
what can you expect from
a couple of
gabachos borachos?

Perhaps they had their fill
of love and brotherhood
this holiday season and
my appearance afforded them
an unexpected chuckle.

Perhaps
they saw me as a gift
from their twisted
and diseased god.

Mercifully,
I was scheduled to return
to Southern California
the next day

and I’ve decided that
I’ll spend the rest
of my Christmases here

just as my ancestors
always have.

(Notes: "Beaner" is a derogatory term for Mexican-Americans, which is what I am.  Gabachos borachos translates to "drunken White men.")

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Enemy, Defined

To people like us,
the enemy is clear:

creativity,
the flight of the feather
is weighed down
by the brick
of perfection.

It can never
be attained
by human hands,

so stop trying.

The quest for
perfection
arrests the dreams
and ambitions
and freezes them
in a cycle of review
and rewrite.

So, stop trying.

Rather,
burrow deeper within
and find the
soft
sweet
center

and then
go back there
daily,

taking everything
you see,
dipping it inside
and then
bring it out,
let it dry,
buff to a high polish,
then put it
on display.

It won’t be perfect
but it will be
yours and only yours

and you won’t be
paralyzed
or feel compelled
to make that

Big Statement,

but you’ll make
of lot of
small honest statements,

sometimes
30 days in a row.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December

I’ve no rustic,
romantic imagery
of cabins
in the snow.

No,
December is cold
and wet
and harsh,

but when experienced
under warm blankets,
against the soft skin
of a loved one,

December can be
a quiet respite,
a sacred prayer.

December softly
compels an accounting,
demands
a grateful response.

Days run out
the calendar,
hours run out
the daylight.

With certainty,
there will be
tomorrows,
and blooms
will dot
the near-naked
branches,
the chill will
escape from
these bones,

and I’ll await
December again,
trying to love it all
not as a memory
nor a mirage,

but rather
as a moment.