25 December 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the house / not a creature was stirring--except me.

at two in the morning, a girl in her bed
realized sleep wasn't coming, and picked up her head.
she reached for the lightswitch to turn on the lamp,
hid her eyes from the brightness, and muttered a "damn."
even Santa'd be sleeping by now, she was sure,
having made his deliveries hours before.

so what's left to do in that time before dawn
when you can't get to sleep and the light's turned back on?
for a college kid back in her parents' abode,
not a hell of a lot. she'd been terribly snowed!
(but not by the white stuff that falls to the ground;
it was 50 degrees. there was none to be found.)

her mama was dozing, and papa still snored;
with no waking companion, she really was bored.
her brother's room just down the hall was quite dark,
but it wouldn't have mattered; her bite beat her bark
when they still lived together, and even though now
their exchanges weren't violent, she barely knew how
to keep up conversation. they weren't much the same:
she was into linguistics, he liked video games.

her frustrating awakeness forced some contemplation.
she figured she might as well try meditation.
she discovered her efforts were most absent-minded . . .
at least by that lamp she was no longer blinded.
philosophy wasn't the thing for tonight;
she could make up an answer, but it wouldn't be right.

she was too old for Santa, she knew that for certain,
but she couldn't stop peeking through her bedroom curtain.
maybe, just maybe, that sleigh would swing by
(but no one would believe her; they'd think she was high),
and Santa could give her a Christmas surprise:
a sure-fire method for closing her eyes.

she considered her options: she might have tried reading,
but she'd just finished one book, which had left her needing
to get out of bed if she wanted another,
and she knew squeaking floorboards would waken her mother.
so she did what any angsty teen does at home:
get a pen, and start writing a stupid-ass poem.

i will capture the spirit of Christmas! she thought,
then she realized the chances were practically naught.
although many had tried, and their copious verses
were some poor librarian's seasonal curses,
she couldn't help thinking the effort a crime,
for how could one fit Christmas in meter and rhyme?

even though Christianity no longer suit her,
despite years of nuns who had tried to recruit her,
she still hoped that Christmastime might do some good,
because Jesus was actually a pretty cool dude,
and the people who now gave Him another thought
might remember his message, so often forgot.

because Jesus had nothing to do with the gays,
with the war in Iraq, or with 401k's;
nothing of global warming or oceans that boil,
and although Middle Eastern, didn't care about oil.
His message was simple, and plain from the start:
BE NICE TO EACH OTHER! why is this so hard?!

she was quite sure that Jesus would not want the blame
for the majority of stuff people do in His name.
and that's what makes Christmas important each year:
the message goes out. maybe someone will hear
and remember to let petty differences lie,
because who wants to make the Baby Jesus cry?

with that thought in mind, she had new hope for sleep,
though the hour grew late. if only they'd keep
to that message, the new year could really be rockin'!
(but that might just be the insomnia talking.)
she sighed as she finally turned out the light,
"Merry Christmas to all! and to all a good night."

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