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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/20/21

A Six-Pack of Christmas Sonnets

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A Six-Pack of Christmas Sonnets

by John Kendall Hawkins


Be Here Be Now Christmas

Since Black Friday I've had the blues for white Christmas.

Down here, down under, down in the bowels of this hell

Santas wear red shorts and deliver by surfboard;

they're fit as fiddles at Nero's arson sale. Word.

Not fat f*ck Yank gift-bearing trojan reindeer -- Tell --

who can't hold their liquor, run lights, can kiss my ass.

Obesity's fine. I don't mind. It's a duty

each year to spend debt slave dollars on the fools

who surround you each day. You push the envelope

to mobsters, pollies, and, at Mass, one for the Pope

watch for enforcer dogs, especially the drools.

And BTW Santa's helper's a real cutie.

One year Santa ran out of coal to gift bad ones;

the deer were on the Oxy, the elves packed stun guns.

Lights in Grand Bazaar
Lights in Grand Bazaar
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A Turkey Christmas

Teaching English in Istanbul was so stressful

that à ğretman who lived together got sh*t faced,

slept with each other in a moveable orgy

of Anglos, Aussies, lone Yanks and pretty, gorgy

Romanian girls, eager for the West, displaced

back home by Daddy's fall as a Bucharest tool.

I bought a rice-stuffed turkey on BaÄŸdat Caddesi

for Christmas, hailed a dolmu...Ÿ home, and shared the bird,

and all the à ğretman came to my flat and ate

with bonny seasonal smiles, and filled with hate

for me, the lone Yank, who was both shaken and stirred,

merry back-slapped by Empire, I, sad aggressee.

The Turks strongly prefer Anglo English to Yank,

and the Poms pretend Gallipoli was a prank.

Snow Flake, darkfield microscopy
Snow Flake, darkfield microscopy
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The Intertextuality of Snow

There's a secret silent language in ice crystals

I long to understand. They hold the solution.

To Democracy's wide power and grand allure,

the broad sweep of powdery ones and manys -- sure,

each unique flake falls like scattered intuition

and compiles outside the fey windows of Mistral's

in back Vermont, where we old friends have come

to talk the talk of time, eat haughty cuisine -- O!

at this fine faux French-style eatery. Dave says,

Guys, we're lucky to be alive. Here and now pays.

A cute waitress takes our orders. We split Cioppino,

drink beaujolais. Mike eyes the waitress, What a bum.

I drift back to the flakes and wonder why I'm here,

a naked snowman among snowmen who'll disappear.

Hawkins family
Hawkins family
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Johnny Six Shooter and the Xmas Tree

I don't really know what my mother was thinking,

strumming so soulfully on a stringless guitar,

in front of a silver tree without an angel star,

her three young boys packing heat. The photo's winking,

in a way that disturbs me now, Twilight Zone sh*t.

Like it could read the future and predict the path

we'd each go down, in the past, like some screwy math

from a twisted continuum that would not quit.

Was that the Christmas I got the Johnny Seven

and tossed my six-shooters away, lost the handcuffs,

was a mercenary diamond among the roughs,

prepared to gun down evil to get to Heaven?

All those hours I had to hear sad Hank Williams tunes

amplify my mother's deserted afternoons.

book cover Jonathan Livingston Seagull
book cover Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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Christmas at Groton

One Christmas I gave everyone the same gift --

Jonathan Livingston Seagull. With no money,

I had to think quick. Bookstore credit was the lift

I needed, but the awful Seagull -- well, too funny --

was all they had in numbers. Had to suck it up.

There I was, known to be a teen reading Nietzsche;

the looks on their faces when they tore off the wrap!

Like watching Sisyphus get rolled back to Ditzy.

Hard part was answering the whys that came my way,

their eyes begging me for irony or a prank.

It's all I could afford was not something I'd say;

to remind them of class differences was rank.

I heard the f*cker wrote a sequel to Seagull.

but I quit school ere the next Christmas moon was full.

Pakua with frame.svg.
Pakua with frame.svg.
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Umbrella Christmas in South Korea

Amidst all of the pettiness of pagodas

past, long forgotten in the blues of Japanese

rape, the razed landscapes of occupation cry out,

and I can find no sign of Christmas cheer. I pout,

as I so expected to find the season's trees

on sale; I'd heard the Cross had replaced the lotus.

My umbrella becomes the Christmas tree I need

and I decorate it with paper mà che' stars

that express my homage to a dead tradition

of cosmological wonder. Our sedition

manifested in our materialism leaves scars

that we see in our preoccupation with greed.

Maybe we should have let the Koreans decide

their fate together, but no trees I can't abide.

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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