Dead Plastic Christmas Tree

Taking down my Christmas tree

(In the middle of February),

I found a stack of papers

Lying in the dust all over the floor.

I read them (they were poems)

And vowed never to write poetry again,

For they had no sense or feeling

And stirred no pains,

Thus telling me they were dead.


I took them to the kitchen, wanting to dispose of them,

But a poem spoke to me

In a raspy voice of a dying person.


'Why?' it asked, and its rightful question

Made me pause on the way to the gallows.


'I tried,' I was sincere, 'but the ink

Would dry before I could have finished the thought,

Finding it better than to weep crude tears

Over the mediocrity of my words.

What good is a poem if the words don't rhyme? So I thought

And I kept trying to make them rhyme,

But the only rhyme I got was 'grime'.

Give me the words, I prayed, never heard before!

Bring me the taste and the scent, anything

to make my lyrics palpable, make them live!

Alas, they went into a cardiac arrest

and chose to die under the plastic Christmas tree.'


'Where is your pride?' the poem asked.

'Where is the voice that screamed, hurting the throat,

'I am the best! I shall conquer the world!'


'I was destroyed,' I told it, 'by the Beauty

that took a breath through my lungs,

and made them expand like the first inhalation

does to a newborn child.

I was reassembled. I forgot

Delusions that I'd had, cast over me by toxic waste in my mind.

I replaced those carnivorous illusions

With unadulterated arousal

At the sight of his sleeping naked form

Amidst the jungle that we created in our bed.'


'Our bed!' my ruthless friend taunted.

'You say that like it is a good thing.'

'You are ill,' it cautioned. 'I shall diagnose you!

You are in love! And you are about to toss

your freedom into the bin with us.

Love is a murderer, I quote from your words.

Love silences all the arduous urges

So brutally, unquestioningly, and chops your head off,

For you don't need it anymore!'


'I am in love,' I deigned it with an honest answer yet again.

'And should I say I've never been in love before, I'd lie.

But Love is not the Beauty I had spoken of.

It is but a destination; the road itself

was no less satiating.'


'Peace now,' I declared.


'What am I then?' the poem voiced its final question.

'Am I not poetry?

Do I not have taste, or smell, or feeling?

Do you not bleed your ink out to compose me?'


With that, I could not argue,

Sitting at the table, a sheet of paper covered in messy writing in front of me.

And so I twisted the chord of Christmas garlands around my neck

Like a glimmering scarf,

And laughed at the guile of the words

That clung to life as much as any human would.


I let them live.