Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Incarnation: a poem

I. White Christmas

"I want to spend all my money on some crystal methamphetamines,"
said the homeless guy outside Fedex Office, and then started singing,
"I'm dreaming of a white, crystal meth Christmas."

I'm waiting for my parents to pick me up,
sitting near this guy, as he asks everyone who walks by for money
for crystal methamphetamines.

It's hard, even on Christmas, to feel good will toward a guy like that.
I feel bad because he's homeless, of course, but
the more he talks, the more I want to slap him across the face

and yell, "Get your shit together, man!"
But I do not slap him across the face.
Instead, I sit quietly, reading A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle.

And then a homeless girl who appears drunk and/or high
walks up to me and grabs her crotch all raunchy-like and says,
to no one in particular, "Christmas fuckin' sucks!"

And then she laughs a crazy laugh and gets in an argument
with the crystal meth guy over cigarettes or something.
It's a rough start to my Christmas.

That crystal meth guy and the crotch-grab girl will haunt me all day.

II. Impossible Love

In the car, on the way to my cousin's house,
I tell my parents about the homeless people 
and the crystal methamphetamines and the crotch grabbing.

"It's impossible for me to be sentimental about these homeless people,"
I say, "They are unpleasant.  It's easy to love people who are lovable,
but how do you love those obnoxious fuck-ups?" (I didn't say "fuck-ups")

My dad thinks a moment and says, "You made a choice to sit
near them as you waited for us.  You could have waited somewhere else,
but you sat near them."

"But, dad," I said,  "I didn't DO anything.  I just sat there reading 
and feeling uncomfortable and unpleasant,
and I was relieved when you got there to pick me up."

(Actually, I gave the crystal meth guy my pack of cigarettes,
but I don't like to talk about the fact that I smoke with my parents,
even though we all know I smoke.  It's just one of those things.).

And what good is it really to give a homeless guy a pack
of cigarettes?  They're not food.  They're bad for him.
I guess, if you are homeless, a smoke can be a small comfort.

We drive in silence for a while, as I wrap presents with the Orange County Register.

III. God Made Meat

The word "Incarnation"
means roughly "the embodiment of the divine in an earthly form"
This is what Christmas is about.

The word Incarnation has the root word "carne",
or meat, inside it, like a tamale, or carne asada.
The word made flesh could also mean "The word made meat."  God made meat.

At my cousin's house, we eat ham and tamales.  Christmas tamales are tits.
The Los Angeles side of my family is half-Mexican.
I play Wii bowling with an elderly man named Pancho.

Incarnation also has the word carnation inside it, which has nothing to do with it's meaning.
It's just an accident of linguistics
that there is a flower inside the meat of God.

Incarnation also has the words "Inca Nation" inside it,
which was an ancient South American civilization
that was obliterated by Christians.

Back home, I look up at the stars for inspiration,
for incarnation, but they are veiled by clouds, except sirius,
the double star--two suns swirling in a violent vortex, farther away than I can imagine.

Was that the star the wise men saw in the old gospel story?

Christmas Tamales

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