Wednesday, December 28, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: 1998

By this year, everything that I had sown was now coming to harvest. This was the year that my wife knew just how mad, sad, distraught and crazed I was and all of the insane things that I was doing to escape how bad I was feeling. This period is the "how low can you go?" phase; I learned that even when you think you've hit bottom, don't imagine it can't get worse.

I was praying for a sign as I continued to do a semblance of the work necessary to keep myself afloat. I started to embrace meditation more fully and take any job, no matter how menial, that would get me going again. The poem is a metaphor for the sign that I was looking for. In the most unexpected of ways, I did receive one but didn't recognize it as such for quite some time afterwards.

People have asked me how I could continue doing these poems under such circumstances and have them turn out as well as they did. I think it's part of a gift to me, demonstrating that if I reach for connection, it will be shown. That is a comforting thought, especially as things eventually began to turn towards "the light."

Christmas 1998
Richard Perrotti

The radio blared as I sat in the car,
“It’s a traffic gridlock alert day.
The tree lighting’s got it all tied up for miles,
The streets are in total disarray.”

Why did I bother? What does this all mean?
I asked as I sat at the wheel
Playing these mindless holiday patterns
Again, seemed to border unreal.

Around me, the faces appeared quite a sight;
Some frantic, some angry, some serene
Like countless passengers floated away
By an endless sea of evergreen.

I needed a sign… I prayed for a sign
That the season’s true spirit remained.
And as I drew close to surrender,
The message appeared unrestrained.

I asked for a sign, and a sign it was,
Literal, simple and definitive.
The cars crept by as it sat on the corner,
Saying but one word… “Give.”

Propped by the side of a red metal pot,
The word seemed to burn in my mind.
How can one give when there seems nothing left?
The answer blazed swiftly behind.

Be kind to yourself; think good of yourself,
The most precious and wonderful gift.
In raising the love that your feel for yourself,
The world you begin to uplift.

This one simple thought brought a smile to my heart
as the traffic began to release.
And as the pace started to quicken again,
I silently wished them all peace.

December 1998 roll call:
1st - Exxon announces a $73.7 billion USD deal to buy Mobil, thus creating Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest company.
4th - The Unity Module, the second module of the International Space Station, is launched.
6th - JC Penney Golf Classic
6th - Hugo Chávez Frías, Venezuelan military and politician, is elected President of Venezuela.
8th - Tadjena massacre: 81 people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
11th - Thai Airways Airbus A310-200 crashes near Surat Thani Airport, killing 101
16th - Iraq disarmament crisis: Operation Desert Fox - The United States and United Kingdom bomb targets in Iraq.
19th - Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives forwards articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.
20th - Wendy's Three-Tour Golf Challenge
26th - Iraq announces its intention to fire upon U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern no-fly zones.
26th - Severe gales over Ireland, northern England, and southern Scotland cause widespread disruption and widespread power outages in Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.
29th - Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million.
31st - US movie box office hits record $6.24 billion for year
31st - Exchange rates between the euro and legacy currencies in the Eurozone become fixed.

1 comment:

  1. I love it! This may just be my favorite of your Christmas poems so far. Thanks Rich.