You’d Better Not Cry

It’s Christmas concert time! Oh, joy!
A time when every girl and boy
Shangaied into a junior choir
Raises voice on high–no, higher–
In a shrill cacophony
Of avarice for you and me:
You’d best not cry or pout, they’ll shriek
(About 400 times a week)
‘Cause Santa’s watching, and he’s pissed!
(I paraphrase, but that’s the gist.)
Their choir teachers don’t have time
To coax a melody sublime
From tense preadolescent throats,
But even if they bleat like goats
Or stand and blink instead of singing,
Parents hear the welkin ringing
With the “notes” their children bellow,
Each one louder than the fellow
Next to them, in their own key,
And know, no sound could sweeter be.

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Patriot’s Day (Observed)

On Patriot’s Day
Back in Arlington, Mass.,
We’d go out on the porch
To watch Paul Revere pass
(Or maybe his doctor friend–
Didn’t much matter)–
What thrills for a five-year-old!
Watching them clatter
On horseback across the bridge
Spanning the Mystic…
Making us work today’s
Simply sadistic.
A childhood in Arlington
Ought to exempt me;
(I still can recite that whole poem–
Don’t tempt me).
Today it’s too late
To stay home, but that’s fine.
The Commonwealth moves its day off,
I’ll move mine.

No Joke (Not Funny)

Vacations by their nature are especially seductive
‘Cause you’re busy being lazy while surrounded by productive
People laboring to please you or at least despite your presence
And as good and bad experiences go, that’s among the pleasants.
Manichaeistic package tours aside, there always is a catch:
A fox is always waiting to return you to the briar patch
And all vacation genies must withdraw into their crockery
As worker bees like me must to our cubicle time-clockery.
Just knowing that reality is waiting makes me feel annoyed
And cranky, but my hanky’s dry because at least I’m still employed
And have a place from which to plot my next escape from day-to-day.
I’m growing sick of sleeping late and daily napping, anyway.

Holiday Ritual

Do a thing one time, or two,
It’s something that you sometimes do
(Or did) and may not do again.
It’s lifted to tradition when
The doing’s done to consecrate
An action, milestone or date
And, henceforth, if the thing’s not done
The celebration’s much less fun
And one can’t help but heave a sigh
Of disappointment, which is why,
Like last year and the ten before, we
Plop and watch A Christmas Story,
Sated on take-out Chinese.
Pass your fake teeth forward, please.