Christmas Lights Are the Stars of the Firework World

July 7, 2012

Born in plastic
Light in hard times and soft
Light times and heavy
and sometimes just strung across
an empty space for no reason
Oh, you saw him. Stood in line
to endure your place into history.
Got lost wondering about what someone else’s deal was,
Ticket No. 402.
Last night I saw where your v-back might have began.
The dull, endangered remnants of the herds
that shot their blanks for a million damn years,
if it was one, into the dull unflinching ash of a fire
on a 45-minute wait–
Two drinks on the patio, darling;
wave to your friends when the table’s ready.
For most of the rush, totally uninterrupted,
polishing classes, adjusting forks,
until the first all-star walked in
and forgot how to order.
“Hey! Enough with the stage direction; how ya doin’?!”
Grabbing the hand a little too closely–
“Good to be here– is there any way
we can do anything about the heat.”
with a period instead of a question mark.
And in defiance of all odds, there was!
Manager turned it down — with the herd’s help —
and here we were, in defiance of all odds.
Meals went out, metaphors iced it off and applied a knee-brace.
From there to here the ash received
Impact winters, rocket summers,
and the pools of an electric bond.
Big gray piles of buffalo
Making glass of every premature Roman candle
Static and socks, static and socks, static and socks–
For years! Until finally–
And suddenly the fireworks were so much better.
You would go down to the gray, dusty buffalo shop–
lime-infused beer and ice; for some reason there were
never any ice trays in the mini-fridges —
and the man behind the counter would ask you if you were
goin’ down to the Square tonight,
and you just knew he capitalized it.
And no, you would say, no; you seen one you seen ’em all.
But no, no, he would say, this here’s new.
And so you’d wait on a wind to carry you down to the water
and hey, nothing you’d say in front of mixed company,
but yeah, a little different.
But then after too long, of course, it was everywhere and
you were nothing. You were the soup they swam in.
And fair play, for awhile.

Slowly. Like the moon rounding a corner
to light a cigarette against the wind.
Slow, and inevitable as a train on train tracks. Or as
evitable as a train in Wyoming–
Slowly, dumb and immobile,
naked and desperate useable,
the purest charity.
And then,
I mean, man, it was so long before any of them
became Christmas lights. The waiting, O Lord,
the waiting.
But here we are. The moon has rounded the corner,
squared the circle, all on its own.
And dying in our beds, many years from then…
there is no after-hours bar.
There is too much sugar in my drink. There is a crew girl here.
There is music, jagged and incomprehensible
trumpet noise, upstroked guitar, loud and lifeless
energy, dicking around at the corners of my ears.
I’m surrounded by bamboo from the far corners of the Earth,
Christmas lights from before, when the fireworks
were different, and the pregnant memory of a herd of water
buffaloes charging towards me at the speed of
dust, eyes blazing.
And yet here the purest charity is the plastic shell
surrounding Christmas lights, and all the light inside
them. And why bother with the bamboo if it bothers you.
Here, in time and space, it’s inevitable as a train on
train tracks, or a crowd leaving. Yet even as you
collect yourself, it’s hard not to notice that it’s only
five to close, and two o’clock in Buffalo.

3 Responses to “Christmas Lights Are the Stars of the Firework World”

  1. allearsalleyesallthetime Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, man. Great, great stuff.

    • jd1220 Says:

      Thanks, Andrew. It’s been awhile but I’ve got some stuff in the pipeline that I’m going to start putting up here.

  2. […] year, the only poem I wrote during my summer in Pittsburgh that wasn’t totally depressing, Christmas Lights Are The Stars of the Firework World, will be […]

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