Olde Yule Memories


For those of us of a certain age, much of what we have during the holidays is memories. With that in mind I recently rediscovered several Christmas poems I wrote many years ago and thought I would share them here. Please be kind. These are the ruminations of a much younger man. My apologies for the spacing irregularity. Formatting is apparently beyond my pay grade.

Christmas ‘96

Christmas comes and and our family is larger
We know it now
Because we’re meeting under several filtered suns
After weeks of spinning in our quiet cocoon

The way it used to be, so much simpler, collides with the way it is
And it launches us to the freeways
Our tires flapping one-thousand miles

We know it will be more complicated
After we deliver some little ones

We’re hoping the tires will press this way then
We’ll host feasts for Jesus
And prayers to Santa
And unspoken wishes for the revered


Christmas at 30

30 is supposed to represent the top of some kind of hill

Never again physically as strong

Never again mentally as limited

The top of one hill, midpoint of another, undiscernable locations on a whole bunch more

Gray hills

30 is old when you’re 10

And Christmas is Santa Claus


What’s this thing with age, anyway?

You wonder what it’s like to be old

In 20 years you’ll still wonder what it’s like to be old

Development creeps…you don’t ever wake up to proclaim sudden transformation

What about those hills?

30 is blurry when you’re 30

And Christmas has changed


And hills become plateaus as you go along

Wisdom is your muscle, and there is much less strain

Work to the point where you sit calmly on mountaintops

Throwing ropes to the uninitiated

This time, these years, the experiences

They all count

30 is young when you’re 70 (or 59 for that matter)

And Christmas is celebration

Christmas ’91

I’m taking my time in a clock shop
Studying the different tools for measuring our lives
And I think of my grandmother
Dead only recently
I gave her a clock for Christmas 1991
I didn’t have a lot of ideas
Didn’t have a lot of money
And this affordable, presentable clock jumped out at me

As I shipped it I wondered
How will she read this?
She was in her mid-90’s then
Did she really want to know what time it was?
Or, would she see it as hope for her limited future?
She revealed nothing
As she praised the gift with enthusiasm when we talked on Christmas Day

After she died
As we parceled out her possessions
I passed on the clock
I wish I hadn’t now
I could glance at it and remember the vow I’m formulating in the clock shop
A vow for my old age
Out with them all
The calendars, too
I’ll rest with the ancient circadians

Have Yourself an El Segundo Christmas

Sleigh bells on the Geo Prizm

For our trip over the hills

And through the woods

To grandmother’s house

She’s just not our grandma

And the forest features palm trees


Southern California…

Where the meadows are filled with sand

And the waves thunder down with rhythm

We listen for “Sleigh Ride” in the white water


The Valley…

Where the season smells like gas

And the Christmas lights filter through schmaze

Good thing they don’t burn in the day


The Prizm sports new snow tires

Because we forgot our destination

Still, we’re ready for those flurries

But it’s 85 degrees

Yet the women wear Santa hats

As they saunter nearly naked on the shore

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