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A Christmas Poem
By Raj Bavnani
Christmas is America,
And America, Christmas
It's commerce nirvana,
And financial bliss-ness;
A profit-based thing,
Mandated and enforced
By TV, and Wall Street,
And charge-card remorse.
Oh, where are the carols,
In lyrical rhyme?
Drowned out by hip-hop,
And wailing whine;
Where are the kiddies,
All snug in their beds?
Out riding skateboards,
And piercing their heads.
Christmas is madness,
And madness is Christmas
It's manic and panic,
And lunatic business;
It's plastic and Mylar,
And fake paper branches,
And trees that are slaughtered
At Christmas-tree ranches.
On Dasher, and Dollar,
And Avarice, Greed,
On Cunning, and Mark-up,
And Hallmark Card screed;
To the top of the heap,
To cackle and sneer
At the poor slobs gone bankrupt
On holiday cheer.
Christmas is crisis,
And crisis is Christmas
What chance has peace
Against rancor and bitchiness?
The pressure is on
To be sweet and convivial
Till everyone's nuts
Over anything trivial.
Oh come, all ye Big Gulps,
And SUVs brimming
With women on cell phones
And holiday trimming;
Fight for those iPods
Through shopping mall mess,
Oh come ye, Oh come ye,
To Ross Dress For Less.
Christmas is excess,
And excess is Christmas
Your last dollar clutched
In sweat-slimy fist-ness;
C'est la vie, come-what-may,
Fa-la-la, la-de-da,
Your bills are postponed
Till next spring, so hoorah!
It used to be sweet,
All the holiday charm,
When folks were cut off
From the make-a-buck smarm;
Yule logs and carols,
And long popcorn strings
Were all that were needed
To make the heart sing.
Christmas is goofy,
And goofy is Christmas
With toy trees that talk,
And whirl with dervish-ness;
Where Santa Claus rocks
To a funky rap bass,
Singing, "Yo!" and "Get down!"
"Jingle bell in yo' face!"
With 90-proof nog
And six-packs of beer,
Some drown their sorrows
In cheap Christmas cheer;
Alone or depressed,
It just feels worse
When the fat man in red suit
Comes 'round like a curse.
Christmas is garbage,
And garbage is Christmas,
X-mas-morn trash
Was Xmas-eve richness;
Ribbons and gift-wrap
And festive decor
Will soon decorate
The big dumpster next door.
How did folks change,
And get so transformed
Into points on demographers'
Marketing score?
Are we hapless consumers,
Such unthinking saps,
That we fall every year
For this same sorry crap?
Christmas is envy,
And envy is Christmas,
Where the sad and disgruntled
Throw jealous hiss-fit-ness;
Now Kwanzaa and Chanukah
Are industries, too,
As if there weren't enough
Bankbooks to woo.
And so we are left
With such hollow occasion,
Part pageant, part purchase,
All shallow sensation;
The emptiest thrills
That money can buy,
The "what" part of Christmas,
With none of the "why."
Christmas is dreaded,
And dreaded is Christmas
By all those who yearn
For times not like this-ness;
Who wish they could still hang
Their stockings with care,
And hope that St. Nicholas
Soon would be there.
There are a few souls
Who somehow still manage
To avoid all the hype
And the pocketbook ravage;
Who carry themselves
With sense and kind spirit
Every day, let alone
In the Yuletide and near it.
But they're mocked and ignored,
Trampled and jeered at
By the money machine,
And all that it's steered at;
Integrity, civility,
Discretion, and grace,
Attacked by a world
On which profit is based.
Christmas is ironic,
Ironic is Christmas;
Humans consumed
With themselves and their gift-ness
Stay home, self-indulged,
Expanding their girth
And for hours, at least,
There's some peace here on Earth.
---Rajendra V. Bavnani
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