Broke Xmas Blues

You must know, these are the strangest
Of people. To them, a new day begins
In pitch dark, and a new year when it’s
The coldest, instead of Spring. They believe
In rebirth when things are most dismal, and
When the shit really hits the fan, their God
Will return, to take them to another planet, where
There will be more petroleum and each day
Will be Black Friday, and the Walmart will be
Much bigger than here, on this puny earth, with
Its increasingly listless Christmas, which most
Now spell as Xmas, without any idea why.

Celebrating the birth of Jesus, half
Of them, at least, commit suicide by swallowing
Their tapped-out credit cards. Many
Also kill themselves out of loneliness,
For this is, without a doubt, the loneliest
Society ever. Most eat and sleep alone,
Even if married.  Even on their weddings,
They feel absolutely abandoned, so
They sob and shriek like babies, in front of
All the guests, who also sob while clapping.
That night, bride and groom swallow their
Respective maxed-out credit and debit cards.

Lovely Mandy has an open marriage, so
Her husband is gone for months at a time,
Only to reappear suddenly, to save
On a motel room, and on his way
To the next love making target,
Which is no longer his lawful wife.
“Marriage is heavy,” I said to Mandy.
“It’s like embracing a corpse while crossing
This earth a hundred thousand times, or more,”
Maybe I didn’t say that. Don’t even know Mandy.

While war rages, with more wars to come, I cross
A near empty parking lot, towards a rock bottom
Liquor emporium, with its speaker blaring John,
Yoko and a bunch of kids now grown old, caroling,
“War is over, if you want it.” Not a chance, buddy, not
In this culture of endless war and desperate gluttony.

Next to a ratty tree, Santa is glum and has no color.
“This seasonal work sucks, dude,” he confides, “and
“They don’t even pay like in past years, but what the hell,
If I don’t take it, they can always hire another fat guy.”
For a fee, not payable in food stamps, parents can have
Photos of their offspring being cuddled by this suspect.
Pockets and souls empty, we stumble towards 2014.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating social scape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America. Read other articles by Linh.