Saturday, June 25, 2005

On the Holidays

by Michael Dennis Mooney

Gather round the turkey feast.
Look on this poor carved-up beast
Who yodeled with vivid animal joy
And all the barnyard did annoy.
His offenses were not overlooked.
He, with his friend the goose, is cooked.
As this doomed bird is cannibalized,
I will the holidays anatomize.

No? You're given to veganism,
Repelled by meat-eating paganism?
Gather round the green beans almondine!
Soon you'll resemble a stringed bean.
With those beans, you'll want some rice.
Too bad you can't have cheese, 'd be nice.
What? Cashews? Huh? Cashews? 'shundheit!
No? You can't have a pickled egg?
Would you could gnaw on this poultry leg.

You have your list of things to do.
Now, have I an idea for you?
Know how you rush the season, put up lights,
The tree, right away Thanksgiving Night?
-- A giant, vinyl turkey, inflatable,
A light inside, butter in the Butterball,
Plunked in the front yard, day after Halloween.
On to another holiday! No breather in between.
This need to do, this compulsivity,
This hyperorganized activity
In arranging for warmth, festivity,
Against the oncoming cold, dark season,
Brings the strain of overdoing without reason.

This getting in touch with your Inner Martha,
Arranging for warmth where there's a dearth!
I remember your last holiday dinner,
As a perfunctory show an all-time winner.
Few could attend, so it was "intimate".
All were intent on staying Atkins skinny.
When we'd eaten a morsel of turkey, stuffing,
I was made to seem a perfect ruffian
For gazing at the dishes whisked away,
Most of all the mashed potatoes, gravy.

Mom had had an operation -- and had gained!
Hyperglycemia caused Dad to refrain.
Junior's spirits were on the wane
Because a divorce had caused such pain.
Even Grandma showed much passion
For staying slim and fitting into fashion.
None could summon the will to eat,
Though each dish held a tantalizing treat.
I had traveled all this way
Only to see the dishes whisked away.

Perhaps you'll recall the card I sent.
No one could have mistaken my intent.
It was full of news, my jokes, my thoughts.
Your reply was a perfect, empty nought.
Under the phrase, Happy Holidays!,
Your name's not signed, it is engraved.
I hardly know which agency to thank --
It might as well be sent me by my bank.
I think I should thank your printer
For thawing my bones, warming my winter.

And I should thank your personal assistant
For the very thoughtful gift she sent.
Who knew I wanted fruits and nuts
Brought to me by a Fed-Ex truck,
Arranged by one, two deft mouse clicks,
Backed-up with requisite credit card digits?

Not decor, not food, not card, nor present
Can speak so clear a sentiment
As your talk, in this case your excuses,
Schmoozing and Hypocrisy your muses!
The reason you don't waste a drop of ink
To tell us what goes on or what you think:
"To talk on the phone is much more versatile,
And, after all, it's much more personal."
Likewise, to order gifts online
"Is more reliable than to shop and stand in line."

I can see the note in your appointment book:
"Take M. out to dinner; won't have to cook."
You're a slick business-culture people pleaser --
Yet just another kind of Ebenezer.
For all your lights, food, cards and gifts,
You leave your friends and family feeling miffed
By your utter blank-stare lack of feeling.
All our eyes are rolling to the ceiling.
As you make me feel a helpless stooge,
I say you are a Nouveau Scrooge.

You detect some notes of bitterness?
I hope for normal. That get's me depressed.
Like Crosby in L.A. dreaming about snow,
I miss the holidays I used to know.

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