Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Vancouver Christmas Story

I smelt a Christmas party
half-a-block away--mouthwash
carried on a shivering breeze.

Security guards looked uneasy
beside the doors of a mall
in the midst of a late close.

Displays dimmed in quick secession,
mannequins in formal wear were left
standing in the dark.

On the corner the party raged.
Two silhouettes sat still
backs against the light,

black lumps traced 
by white fluorescence,
with an orange highlight.

One liter of Listerine
Original--26 percent 
alcohol. Half-finished.

The light tinted in mouthwash:
a stained glass portrait,
like a scene from my bible:

a slurred nativity. I walked 
slower past the revelers.
ears perked to listen to

an unintelligible conversation
in angry tones. The two shared
gulps of the season's cocktail.

Remnants of the old neighborhood
creep out into the bright part of Vancouver
at awkward times--cold snaps

near Christmas, when people are
supposed to care about the poor,
remember the old story

of a couple pushed out,
who found no where to sleep.
And the uncouth foul-mouthed

Shepherds watching their flocks
half-drunk and stinking, abandoning
their posts and hastening to the city.

The last shoppers wandered by
under high-rises of million dollar condos
hemming in the old neighborhood

of a city trying everything
to hide an embarrassment,
or push it back to the periphery. 

The Christmas party did not have long,
security spotted the couple and 
hastened from their post to end it.

I watched a moment, then left
with a Christmas song
humming in my head. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

; )

Nice work.