I want to hear the gritty Christmas songs,
The ones about being alone, or lonely.
I want the Christmas songs where the snow is always heavy
But heavy for reasons gone untold.
I want the Christmas songs where the lyrics sound concerned
But everything is just so damned old.
In this Christmas song,
You are at a truck stop on I-95,
Right past the miles of construction cones,
the last of which is decorated with garland
and the end of the garland is blowing in the wind.
The heat is pouring out the vents,
Hands are rubbing together,
Stopping to adjust the air flow,
And Santa knocks on the car window.
The window goes down, just a crack,
because you never know,
And Santa says, “Merry Christmas,”
and he also says, “Do you have anything to drink?”
It was never noticed how, up close,
Santa has glossy, distracted eyes,
And you think about asking him if he’s like that all the time,
Or only on this night.
But no, you don’t have anything to drink.
And he walks away.
“I knew he was real,” you say. “I knew it.”
But the car is still cold,
and you’ve got no place to go,
And everything is real.
Everything is so very real.
[December 10th 2014]