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christmas needs to come early this year

Karl was vacuuming the carpet like I had asked him to do while I flummoxed and flumped the furniture all over the narrow living room, making way for the fake but, to our eyes, gorgeous and redemptive Christmas tree.

‘Karl, Jonah,’ Manfred, our third roommate, stood in his coat, shoeless, spooning food from a foam plastic container into his mouth with his fingers; he and his fiance Victoria had been out to dinner, ‘I know you’re both lonely but-‘

‘Ahem!’ Karl cleared his throat forcefully and held the roaring vacuum up with arms outstretched towards Manfred. A warning.

‘It’s only November-‘

‘Christmas needs to come early this year.’ I said it more to the window-sill I was clearing of grit and low-wage-bachelor debris (cigarette butts, mugs, bits of paper, ash, two copies of Mad) than to Manfred. Karl and I had already dusted the high walls with the broom and strung three strands of lights around the room, making a quadruple layer of them, so long did they stretch.

‘I don’t know about anyone else,’ Manfred was not to be ignored, ‘but I’m not even done eating my Halloween candy, and now, what? Guys. Guys?’

‘Ahem! Ack ack ack.’ Karl ran the vacuum across the floor and just shy of Manfred’s shoeless feet, coughing on the dust and dog-fur storm scattered by the vaccuum.

‘I even saw some trees today on the way home, alongside the FDR, that still had green leaves, guys. Green leaves!’

‘Christmas needs to come early this year.’

‘And just ask the dog.’ Manfred was insistent. ‘Look at him, look at Pressler Dog. Look at neutered Pressler Dog.’ Pressler wagged his tail upon hearing his name, mouth open in what could have been a grin but just as easily could have been obliviousness. ‘He hasn’t even started growing in a new coat of fur for the wint-‘

‘Ack ack ack!’ Karl, vacuuming the corner, coughed after a gust from the open window blew some of Pressler’s hair – a harvest we walked through and upon daily – into his face.

‘The window, guys, the window! The window is open!’ Manfred ran across the room and pointed to the window in mock but genuine earnest, miming a mime. ‘You don’t have a window open in Brooklyn at Christmas time!’

‘Christmas needs to come early this year.’ I bit my tongue and waited, hoping to relieve the rising tension within me with flatulence, which did not arrive. In my heart, as little Lord Jesus knew, I was making hilarious if very unkind remarks about not having just been to a bourgeoisie dinner having romantic and personalizing conversation with a woman who not only gave proletarian handjobs (good ones) but related in some way to the goodtiming but utlimately emotionless male (Manfred) standing before us shoveling some sort of meat and rice into his open maw with three fingers. The tree, I figured, would stand on the empty and rather useless souvenir box.

‘Come on, guys, I know it’s been-‘

‘Ahem! Agh! Ack ack ack!’

‘-a longer period of isolation, rejection, confusion and meals-for-one than any of us could have imagined, even in our most feverish, thunderous and howling nightm-‘

‘Ah God, ah God, ack ack ack!’ Karl was vacuuming his pant legs, which of course needed it, but also gave him something to embrace. It was, if not necessary, at least beneficial, in that he did not need any further succor from us, so we let him be.

‘Victoria and I walked through the park tonight-‘

‘Christmas needs to come early this year.’ I rapped on the window to make a noise.

‘-and the lawn, the grass was just thick with greenness-‘

‘Yack hack hack!’

‘Come on, guys!’

Pressler Dog, standing, put his head low to the ground as though he wanted to whimper in pity and licked Karl’s face, easily done as Karl lay huddled on the floor, face already awash in tufts of Pressler hair, stuck to streaks of tears and now to Pressler’s saliva. Karl had turned off the vacuum and was spooning the appliance, which was at least two feet shorter than he.

‘Guys,’ Manfred warily eyed the decorations we had taped or stapled or hung from the walls, including the Christmas Ghost, which our married and departed former compatriot and roommate Derik had made two years ago from tissue and dental floss (to cinch the head and give it form), ‘Guys, we’ve barely finished celebrating Columbus Day and not even close to the celebration of the Pequot Indian massacre and you wanna-‘

‘Away in a manger – ack, ack – no crib for a place to sleep-‘

‘Karl, really.’

‘It’s a bed, Karl,’ I said, ‘no crib for a bed.’

Pressler had uncerimoniously crumpled himself onto the floor, his tail in Karl’s face.

‘Go tell it on the – ack, ack, agh! – mountain-‘

I harmonized.

‘-Over the hills and everywhere.’


‘Jesus Christ you guys.’

‘Jesus Christ is born,’ we finished in harmony. ‘That’s right, Manfred. That’s right, Karl. Go tell it on the mountain. I’ll shout it from the windows!’

‘Jonah, you don’t even like Jesus.’

‘Christmas needs to come early this year.’

‘-holy night – agh! yack, hog! – all is calm – … – utz! – all is…‘

‘Bright, Karl. All is bright.’

‘He’s gonna lose it on the virgin part.’ Manfred chewed the last of his leftovers loudly, swishing the food down with beer.

‘I’m gonna lose it on the virgin part.’

‘Me, too,’ Manfred said.

I stooped and retrieved Karl, slinging his left arm over my back like a wounded Hollywood soldier carried from a battlefield. Manfred clasped Pressler Dog’s front legs and walked with him – sort of inverted wheelbarrow style – and we harmonized in the November night, windows open to the chilly breeze and street illumination, somewhere up above our heads the dull Christmas star, which died light years ago, twinkling.



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christmas cut-ups

auld lang syne

should old acquaintance we kissed on the constance be forgot

and never brought then danced through to mind

should old acquaintance have yourself a mention be forgotten

and days of auld land though i know i sang syne

for auld lang syne, here comes the jacket my dear

for auld lang syne what are you doing

we’ll take a cup o new years eve kindness yet

later on we’ll see

what you are doing



came in eighteen to the night as we dream by

i’ve got a feeling little christmas you to face unafraid the

so happy christmas question in advance and days of auld

i love you, baby new year’s though glory days have gone

i can see a better time fire some true and our youth

when all our dreams plans that we’ve made more i’ll light your cigarette

when the band finished wonderland got on a lucky one

they howled for syne

sinatra was swinging have come and gone

all the drunks they passed its prime

my dear





christmas at midnight

christmas at midnight

bled, this Christmas Day,

perennial eyes

christmas wrapping tableclothes

seems like old times

it is a good omen that

do you hear what i hear?

the bells on christmas day

when the bells all ring and the horns all blow

christmas day is in our grasp

possibilites to make

burden of past years has

out of the air can reach

wake up. it’s christmas




To each I wish a happy Christmas

To each I wish a happy Christmas

maybe I’m crazy to suppose

men and women so

tore open the shutters and threw up the sash

while visions of sugar

wondered whose arms will hold you good and tight.

Stern test. Our past will. When it’s exactly

twelve o’clock that night

danced in their heads.

Away to the window


And the couples we know are fondly kissing.

He had a broad face

gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below

to those cut off from

you received

out of a thousand invitations

but I heard him.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

there arose such a clatter.

In case I stand one little chance

and I laughed

the moon among the missing. Then

giving a nod. Ooh, but I thought I’d

ask you just the same.





At holiday times there was more

holidays because everybody gave

up the shutters in the evening.

with a smile, and then

work as usual,

their getting married.

clear the snow from the roof.

kept away all the snow;




The Gospels

He gave the right to for the law was given they had heard and no one has ever seen God, made him known. and gone into heaven, the she.

This is how the birth of Jesus in those days Ceasar Augustus should be taken to see this thing that has happened be married to Joseph, but before the entire Roman world.

This was while Quirinius was through the Holy Spirit.

So Joseph also went up from Judea, to Bethlehem the Mary and Joseph, and the baby David.

There came a man who was what is conceived in her is from witness to testify concerning that when angels had left them are to give him the name Jesus, himself was not the light; he came another.

“Let’s go to Bethlehem and light every man.”

So they hurried off and found Immanuel.

Yet to all who received him, to them.

But become children of God – children shepherds returned, glorifying and he gave him the name Jesus. seen, which were just as they had.

Christ came about.

His mouth and the Word was with God decision or a husband’s will, but they came together. made his dwelling among us.

The Word became flesh and who came from the Father; without him nothing was life was the light of men.

He cries out saying, “This his, an angel of the Lord appeared understood, who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me not be afraid to take of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. through Moses; grace and truth through Jesus Christ. but God the One and Only who is at the Father’s side.”

from God; his name was Joe the Holy Spirit. She will give. But the angels said to unlight, so that through him all because he will save his people that will be for all the people. only as a witness to the light.

he is Christ the Lord. to the world. what the Lord has said through in cloths and lying in a man, and the Word was God. give birth to son. and the world was made through with us.

and they were terrified and she gave birth to bring you good news of great joy manger, because there the town of Nazareth in Galilee David a Savior has been to you to the house and line of you.

You will find the baby wrapped to be married to him and came for the baby to be born.

Mary was pledged to birth a son, and you in the beginning was the Word to be with child from their sins.

He was with God in the beginning righteous man and did not her quietly. the prophet. Through him all things were call him made.

In him was life, and that darkness, but the darkness has not spared him in a dream, because he belonged til she gave birth to a son.

And there were shepherds livin flocks at night.

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