MK Sukach, Xmas


The boulevard is a galoshed maze of tire trenches,
I skid and slip by frosted storefront dioramas
of Captain America driving a tank-treaded sleigh
pulled by Incredible Hulk wearing a tiny red hat,
proportionately the size of an extra-small thimble,
chasing the Batmobile through snowy Gotham,
where Spiderman swings on a web of tinsel
between tenement chimneys—the whole scene appears
in the nick of time because Xmas is an action-packed
occasion, the world always in need of saving,
more phone booths for the men of steel,
until our milky-skinned savior arrives
from the darkest corner of the universe
swathed in his baby-blue wooby,
surrounded by caped Magi whose heads light up,
while carolers sing a hurdy-gurdy of hallelujahs
beyond the suspension of their disbelief.

Not that I mind or would know I mind,
the way change machines exchange change,
it happens automatically like the mail
or holidays in the 45th Street laundromat
where by some vagary I’m camped out with Jill,
whom I don’t really know, but there we are,
sitting washer to washer in our pajamas,
feet swinging freely,
flipping through last year’s Better Homes & Gardens,
Car & Driver, and the largely unmanageable penny catalogue.

It’s beautiful, I think, the way we’re together,
like being stranded on an island might be beautiful,
until it’s lonely and unbearable,
like telephone booths are lonely
when no one is in one
or when someone,
who is just leaving one,
looks at the sky for another answer,
and finding none, turns and heads away.

Jill is the kind of sexy that lights up,
and incredulous but giddy when I confess
she looks like Xmas in tongue studs
and highlighted mistletoe bangs,
delicate in her teddy-bear print PJs
smelling of lavender dryer sheets.
“It’s nice just small talking,” she says,
weaving her silk-string thong in a cat’s cradle,
her bracelets that jingle like slinkies
handcuffed around her wrists, elegant as tea cups,
when rummaging through her purse for more dollar bills;
what a wonder, the congeries of stocking stuffers that follow:
Chapstick and candy canes and condoms,
a pint of peppermint schnapps we drink from the cap,
she continues to replenish, asking me what I want for Xmas,
as if she would rush through hell and back to get it,
even though what I want is impossible,
the way shopping with kids or X-ray vision is impossible,
impossible the way I always wanted to be the Wolverine
or Saint Francis of Assisi, so birds would visit every time
I came back from the dead, instead of falling somewhere
out of a phone booth, only to find myself staring blankly
into a reflection of myself staring into giftshop windows,
at the ceramic miniatures of Bethlehem’s King of angels,
Archon of superheroes but the size of my thumb cradled
in straw and looked upon so lovingly by Lego donkeys.

It’s hard to reconcile everything at once,
the horizontal life of mild-mannered Clark Kent,
the vertical ascension of Christ,
the cross they bear in common,
an X factor, X-men, Xmas, the “ex”
Jill mentions in passing
but whom I can tell she still loves
or hates or both,
like a gift you never wanted
yet keep for keeping’s sake
but can never find, later.
With the laundry done, where will you go,
a ‘Jill’ without your ‘Jack’ or a pail between you
in this, the last hour of our eve?

We go where our affinity delights or hopes
is at least sufferable.
So, yes, ‘night, dear Jill,
‘night, envious green Grinch,
finding your heart through song,
risking death and rapture to make it
back to poor little Cindy Lou Who,
‘night, all you chimney sweeps and candlebearers,
assiduous elves and shopping mall cops,
red-nosed bums and Fortune 500 kids,
stock marketeers and captains of America,
and to you, 24-hour laundromat attendant,
who keeps his machines in good order
and doesn’t seem to mind that I’ve dozed off,
to you, magnificent polis, your circus of cabs,
billboards ablaze above our snowy streets
littered in effusively red Starbucks cups,
you, wonderments and accidents,
grand openings and foreclosures,
ledge walkers and paramedics,
purse snatchers and stage actors,
pratfalls and love makers,
even when they are one and the same,
you, saints and sinners,
sleep well, you’re safe enough.
Ite, missa est.

MK Sukach is the author of Hypothetically Speaking, Something Impossible Happens, and Impression of a Life. His poetry and reviews have appeared in a number of journals, including BlazeVox, Sharkpack Poetry Review, The Journal, Connotation Press, Spoon River Poetry Review, Construction Magazine, Yemassee, and others. He is a retired Air Force officer and lives in Nevada with his wife, Chris, and dog, Scribble.


2 thoughts on “MK Sukach, Xmas

  1. Pingback: Xmas – mk sukach

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