Canton CXVII

I’ll make a hash of carving up the chicken,
the veg will overboil and the spuds
will still be pale when all the meat is done.

But all that’s still to come, right now my mood
is high as it could ever climb because
we’re slow dancing to Johnny Cash instead,

your bump presses into both of us,
it really feels like we are three today,
two generations held within our clasp,

and maybe it’s soppy, but I’ll still say
that this is all I wanted for Christmas,
so even as the next CD track plays,

not even Michael Bolton’s voice can spoil this.


Canto CXVI

Suburbia for Christmas, nothing like it,
a low half moon, no towers in the way.
It’s been a while since I last trod in dogshit

while gazing at the wide December sky.


A shortish, grey haired woman, late forties,
is three floors up, outside someone’s front door.
Whoever’s in there hasn’t even noticed

her singing Christmas carols, sans a choir
or brass and woodwind backing track. Who needs
a barely tuneful blessing around here?

The gentlemen are rare and none are merry.

Canto CVI

I’ve seen so many things in this queer world
that it’s a feat to render me agog
and yet I saw them lined up in the cold

outside the Church, the entire pavement hogged
by well groomed, bourgeois middle class families.
The line stretched out the full length of the block

and this was for the bloody CofE,
a queue that rivalled any Apple store
the night before they ship the IPad 3.

Perhaps consumerism was no more
now that the banks were belly up like whales,
eviscerated on some Norway shore?

As if to prove my point a father told
his daughter that this was the other side
of Christmas when she asked if Santa would

be waiting for them when they got inside.
A few feet further on the penny dropped
when I glanced to the side entrance and spied

a line of children clutching toy sheep props
and wearing tea towels on their precious heads
with face paint beards, an infant acting troop

to tell the tale of baby butcher Herod
and pregnant women turned away from inns
to give birth to the only son of God

among the cows, donkeys and some chickens,
though these seasonal Christians would be spared
hearing their children use the word “virgin”.

I can only hope this whole thing will be dead
by the time that my kids act in Christmas plays,
we’ll keep those tatty tea towels off their heads

and dress them up like each member of Slade.

Canto XCIX

Father Christmas is a Capitalist
and a bastard as well to boot. Exhibit A:
he gives the rich kids ponies and X Boxes

while all the kiddies get down the Estate
is pound shop knock offs of their actual requests—
Barbette, Transform-trons and GI James.

Though he hates Jews and Muslims even worse,
leaving them out of the giveaway completely,
a NATO carpet bombing in reverse

as he rains gifts down casual Christian chimneys.
Exhibit B: You’ve seen The Snowman, right?
Don’t tell me that the bastard didn’t see

the bitter end to come, the snowman’s plight
to melt into a mush on Boxing Day.
That’s why he gave the kid a scarf that night,

so that, when Frosty’s soul drifted away,
the scarf would say, ” Ha ha! It wasn’t a dream!
It happened! You mate’s now a Slush Puppy!”

So poor kids, don’t waste your letters on him,
the walking soft drink advert, write instead
to Karl Marx to redress the fat man’s crime

to take the surplus from the rich homesteads
and spread them evenly to every creed—
from each according to their Christmas excess

to those according to their daily needs.


The Christmas ad campaign for Marks and Sparks
has got shot of the condescending mugs
of Peter Kay, Twiggy and Mylene Klass

and offers us a twinkly little plug
for X Factor, all wide eyed beams of hope
from contestants on their first corporate gig

to sell the same old tinsel covered rope
while singing, “When you wish upon a star,
your dreams come true.”  But here the slippery slope

comes into play: for each week as one more
is booted off they also lose their place
on the advert, which could be, to be fair,

a masterwork of irony, seeing as
all but one of these bright things will fail
in doing what the cheerful lyric says—

reminding me of that same Disney tale,
how at the end all of Pinocchio’s wishes
have come true so that we can forget all

the other kids that got turned into asses.

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