Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Shot: 66 Shopping days until Christmas

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten,
glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow..."

Woo hoo, let it snow, let it snow
only 66 shopping days to go

One Christmas,I, maybe ten,
& my grandmother bought us
all sweatsuits, to boast our
favorite college team, well most.

The whole family, aunts, uncles
cousins, brother, sister & parents
sat in a big lopsided circle
on the the living room floor
opening our gifts & while
everyone else got a full suit,
mine was just the shirt,
but I didn't care, really.

I just tucked it into the drawer
of the tall wooden dresser that
used to be my granddaddy's,
not her husband, the other,
that died when I was younger.

He fell down the
basement steps, like a dropped
sack of taters slipping
through daddy's fingers
thump ba dump thump thump
thump
thump
umpph
as I watched, he breathed &
they thought I would never
walk those steps again,
but stairs don't scare me
or perceived inequalities
(at least not against me.)

Mom & dad found out
about the sweatshirt over sight
& gramma made it a'ight,
saying she was sorry, buying me
new sweatpants off the discount table
at the off label outlet store.

Ain't no big deal cause
tonight some little kid
out there on the street
freezing, listening to
church bells ring-a-ling-ing
slipping in the back door
for something warm in his tummy
he would be perfectly happy
with just a sweatshirt

& needs it more than me,
I got everything I can dream
remember the feeling it brings
when it's this song you sing...

"...Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart."

One Shot Wednesday - Write a poem, come join us. The link up starts at 5 pm EST.

*Lyrics in the first and last stanza are from 'It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas' by James Pierpont. publ.1857

125 comments:

Scott said...

Well that was unexpected. Hasn't everyone been there? I'm talking about the gift situation and not the death part (probably a lot of people have been there too but I'm evasive about that issue).

JStar said...

:) this is nice Brian...You musta been a grateful kid because most kids woulda made a big stink about the sweat pants...This is cute...Christmas is the LAST thing I am thinking about right now lol

Mona said...

Merry Christmas minus 66days!


That is a cool take on the sweatshirt!

n. davis rosback said...

66 days
12 hours
3 minutes

Barbara said...

Your parents raised a kind, generous and talented son, Brian. :)

Mighty M said...

Left out but content never the less. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, just wish we could get through Halloween first. :)

Just Be Real said...

Huh? Wow Brian good one. You must have been a good boy. Hee hee.

David Waters said...

wow, you packed a bunch and a punch into that one....brilliant!

Claudia said...

..i should start to practise some christmas songs on my sax...
well this was very unexpected but very lovely..and the bit with the basement steps..unexpected like christmas..

Magpie said...

Don't remind us that the season will soon be upon us. The radio announcer said the other day, "Only five pay checks left til Christmas."...wow. Lets you know where our priorities lie. I want to enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving before I start thinking about Christmas. :)

Becky said...

Yes brian I think you were a very good boy,lol.Oh My only 66 days they will go so fast.I love Christmas,favorite holiday lots of snow with it too.Just until January though,lol.

Flamingo Tongue Designs said...

Unexpected, but well done. I've been reminding all my friends of how fast the date is approaching...

Daniel said...

Have you always had a giving heart or is that something learned?

Liza said...

when I read the title of your post in my sidebar my immediate thought was,
shut up Brian!

"I got everything I can dream
remember the feeling it brings"
I feel all warm and cozy myself,
right within my heart.

Hilary said...

You always manage to bring your poetry into different, unexpected directions.. and beautifully at that.

natalee said...

omg.. it cant be???? Christmas is my most favorite time of year.... I
CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!

Brian Miller said...

i definitely think it was learned daniel...and we are trying to cultivate it in the lives of our boys....

liza...that is what i am saying...the christmas ornaments have been out for weeks in the stores and halloween is on discount because the boxes of christmas stuff are waiting in the wings...it seems to start earlier every year...

TALON said...

First things first - 66 days! I'm breaking out in a cold sweat!

My husband's grandfather, Grandpa Joe, fell down a flight of stairs where he was the principal at a school and died right there so this was sort of eerie.

lakeviewer said...

You plum- packed a whole lot of family dynamics here. Well done, with a dose of Christmas spirit on the top.

Shannon Tucker Photography said...

You know, Christmas is my most favorite time of year....I almost can't wait until Halloween is over....
This little ditty brightened my whole day!


S

Baino said...

Oh my I'm kinda glad I don't work opposite a big shopping mall these days, I'll bet the Christmas bells are ringing all right. We do the opening in a circle thing as well, oldest to youngest. I think my lot will be getting gifts from the bargain basement this Christmas. Just hope there aren't any stairs!

Meeko Fabulous said...

A very important lesson to learn. There are always those that are less fortunate than us. I can't wait to start decorating the house for Christmas!

Cinner said...

so true about the sweatshirt, some little kid would be so happy, My Mom got my sisters and I all bright red suits one year...Brian they were huge, I swear all three of us could have fit in one. I remember us all talking about how she must really think we were huge. Funny I remember those ridiculous red suits the most of all the gifts. have a great day. smiles.

Ann Best said...

Hi, Brian. I met you through Rosaria--sixty-five what now. I'm just a bit older than that and in memoir mode!

I like your Christmas verse. I've written some Christmas poems...

Tabor said...

Oh yes, the tale of the imperfect gift. Is that season really just around the corner or are you playing with fate?

Bernie said...

Now I feel like Christmas....love the holidays. You do sound like you were a great kid......:-) Hugs

Gabriela Abalo said...

only 66 day away! gosh time really flies :)



Keep smiling and sharing all the way

loveNlight
Gabi

Shell said...

"I got everything I can dream..." What a beautiful line.

Yes, Brian...I sense that you do.

~Shell

Unknown Mami said...

It's all about perspective.

Birdie said...

they have started with the xmas decoration here as well like two weeks ago ... and even though I do love xmas, this seem to be a bit premature to me ... not even time to enjoy the pumpkins and we are rushed into the next celebrations ... crazy spinning world ... lol
the best gift of all - when one can feel cozy and warm right inside the heart ... :-) happy day Brian!

Cheryl said...

Great job of mixing the dread of 66 days, the overkill, the death, the oversight, and the kids who'll go cold and hungry.

Michael Perkins said...

Really enjoyed this.

Libby said...

Very interesting and epic, just like the countdown to Christmas itself, Libby x

Madame DeFarge said...

What a wonderful poem and what a wonderful picture of a family at Christmas. I think you are officially the first Christmas poem!

anthonynorth said...

Why am I humming Christmas Carols :-)
Nice one.

annell said...

Well Brian, I love it! Maybe the best? Thank you.

Steve said...

I dislike Christmas/winter, but your piece made me like it a little better. Good writing.

Gramma Ann said...

I love reading your poetry. I can't imagine how a poets mind works. So creative and I can just see and hear the thump, thump, thump, It brings back memories when I fell down our cellar steps many years ago, by husband called the health nurse to see what he should do, I was fine, just happened to be four months pregnant at the time, so he got all excited, afraid I hurt myself. hee, hee.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

this was great...but did you need to remind me about Christmas? Now I'm shiverin'

Amanda said...

Loved the line "I got everything I can dream..." Awesome write my friend and I sense you do...you have a beautiful soul. Can't believe it's almost that time of year again! Thanks for sharing my friend xx

tuberider said...

Wow, another poem that takes you on a wild ride turning this way & that. Never sure how it's going to end. Nice one.

Cindybrown said...

Bite your tongue!! I am not ready for Christmas! I love what this says though!! So many people forget what Christmas is all about!!

Asobime said...

Geez...this is heavy, Brian. The death of the grandfather....and the shirt thing. I was thinking as I started to read that there was a joke somewhere here...but no. And it's poignant, in a very different way. Sideways in a way to me.

Excellent work.

Lady Nyo

dustus said...

Yay! great concept and message! Keep rocking, Bri

Jen said...

Most kids would say, "Eeew. Clothes."

clean and crazy said...

yes it is beginning to be the season of giving and perpetual hope. i love this time of year it has always been magical for me

william said...

lol wondered when this was gonna pop up heheh :)

betweenhearts75 said...

I think I just want to watch a movie like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! I know of loss around the season, my grandma 4 days prior and my grandpa months before 3 days after the new year. ~You really did put a lot in this, including knowledge of being grateful. I had an aunt that (when I was 16) gave me bright orange ruffle backed panties) ;) ~ I tried desperately to donate after showing my gratitude, to someone who had a kid in diapers! LOL ~ Funny thing is, now I'm grateful more than ever the laughs it created! Great OneShot! ~April

SuziCate said...

Now if it was underwear you might have complained...that's what my step grandmother always got me! And no...no Christmas decor until after Halloween and Thanksgiving...drives me crazy!!! Nice poem by the way!

Beachanny said...

You packed the gamut of Christmas in that piece from expectation to wishes for love and world peace. All I can say is WOW! well done. Gay @beachanny

Vodka Logic said...

great poem, great message.. and shit I best get shopping.

Boom Boom Larew said...

I can just picture the young boy. The holidays can bring back such different memories for each of us.

Beedeebabee said...

I love this!

Bring it on, I'm ready Brian! I love Christmas and shopping and snow, and everything about winter! ... They're right, you must have been a great kid. :) ... I'm so sorry you saw that happen to your granddaddy. :(

PattiKen said...

Well, you jolted me awake with the title. Only 66 days? Oh, no!

It comes earlier and earlier. Halloween isn't here yet, but the grocery store has sold off the long aisle of candy many times over during the past month. Will all those buyers of candy to date still have the stuff on Halloween? Sure, on their hips.

Love that you had your priorities straight, even at 10.

otin said...

Umm, it's not even Halloween yet! haha!

G-Man said...

Son...
Always grateful for what you have instead of what you Don't have!!
Great Story...G-Daddy

Myrna R. said...

So nice. You included joy and festivities, and even death - our constant companion, in this lovely poem. I like how you intermingle experiences and emotions in your poems.

Tina said...

i truly hate what Christmas has become. Commercial whirlwind of expectations seemingly designed to showcase our inability to conjure the "perfect" holiday. What happened to Jesus? What happened to real giving? I don't need more stuff. When I stop to think of how blessed I truly am, I'm humbled. Why don't we focus on giving to those who need, instead of filling our overflowing houses with more stuff????? Nice work you've got here my friend. Really nice.

June_Butterfly said...

Christmas!!!My favorite time of the year.Though it brings back sad memories too,most frequently than not,it is a time for festivity.

I guess we should always be thankful for what we have,lest we lose the chance of having it.

66 more days...and counting!Lovely piece,Brian!

Prayer Girl said...

This is not a moment I want to think about Christmas. I don't even want to think about tomorrow or even later tonight. I hope that changes before the beautiful season arrives. Nice one shot, Brian.

PG

Tracy said...

That is beautiful, Brian. I hope you don't think it's rude but all I can think about now is 66 DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS! AACK!

Heather said...

i like the message here. I do love christmas, too...

Betsy said...

I refuse to think about christmas until Thanksgiving is over! LOL! I hate to mix my holidays!

Hope that was just an oversite on grandma's part and not malicious. I know one like that. ugh.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

my grandma ALWAYS gave us multi color hand made (by her of course) knitted sleeping socks... we used to hate it (they hurt your feet if you walked with them)...now that she is no longer with us, I missed them like crazy :-( - bitter-sweet poem, Brian!

River said...

Christmas, nooo! :) lol !

Everyday Goddess said...

only 66?!? sheesh, i better get moving!

seriously though, the consumerism bums me out, earlier and earlier each year.

I'm considering not giving anything to my loved ones and making charitable donations in their names instead. we have way too much already.

Jerry said...

Well, nice threading of carols and gifts and oversights. Loved it. It had me to the end. My own family is like that. Thanks.

Teresa said...

Quite the story woven through this holiday poem with a statement about the world. Nicely done!

gospelwriter said...

ooh no, not Christmas already! Love the story though, except for the grandpa falling down the stairs - that must have been scary for you, seeing it... And the reminder at the end, about what really makes bells ring.

Velvet Over Steel said...

My 3 boys got 'flashlights' in there gift bags from their step grandmother one year. The older two were so embarrassed (younger loved flashlights and had no clue)... because they were old enough to know (I later found out that night...) that these big..long.. oval ended flashlights looked an aweful lot like an..let's say...adult toy. & yes they did.... Wow.. that was about 10 years ago and they still talk about that every year.

Cute poem with a great message at the end. But did it remind me of a Christmas debunk.. is that the work to use? LOL

Thanks Brian for the memory and laugh out louds tonight! :-)
~ Coreen

david mcmahon said...

Yes, I'll join in for sure!

Victoria said...

Brian! This just blew me away. I'm not sure what I expected after the beginning...thought maybe something cynical about the commercialism of Christmas and then,POW!You strike a couple of nerves and the pain is wrenching. Really strong poem. Thanks for commenting on mine.

signed...bkm said...

Yes Brian it is coming all of it, the bells, the songs...the gifts we like and do not like and memories of Christmas past with hope of Christmas future...let us always hope....

and yes, I started working part time so I have get a new routine down...thank you for noticing....bkm

ladyfi said...

Sounds like that kid appreciates the real heart of Christmas...

Lori said...

Your kidding?! 66 days until Christmas? It isn't even Halloween yet..lol. What a sweet child to not make a fuss about your grandmothers mistake. I am sure she felt horrible. You are so right, there is some little one that would give anything for a sweatshirt on a cold night.

Now that you've made me think about Christmas before Halloween I think I will go make a drink so that I can stay in denial. :)

Cloudia said...

You take us somewhere real with lots of texture, Brian.


Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

Chris G. said...

66 shopping days - ! Goodness, some people do start focusing on it early.

Heavy poem, but a beautiful one, with a great message--most kids would have made a real fuss to be getting sweat pants, you know. But to think it could help the less fortunate - beautiful. Great one shot, Brian.

Susan Deborah said...

Christmas is a lovely time. But the loveliness is spoiled by commercial outlets who induce people into buying and spending. Many out there can just be unhappy when they see the season approaching. While being thankful and grateful is the core of Christmas, it not not so anymore. I am glad you were happy about your gift that Christmas but those days were different. I wish that in today's world, Christmas is celebrated for its true worth rather than blind gift-giving/buying and celebrating.

I just keep wishing . . .

Your posts always have a message and that is what I like most about your experiential narratives.

Joy always,
Susan

Emmanuel Ibok said...

Splendid...already counting the days?...so much anticipation.

Cheers!

Dianne said...

Don't tell GMan in 10 days it's 55 days until Christmas, we can't take it....
Dianne

Zuzana said...

Yes indeed, not for everyone Christmas is a happy event, there are so many out there that feel lonely, poor and neglected...
With that said, I truly can not believe the holidays are so near.;) And once again, one more year has passed...
Have a lovely midweek dear Brian,
xoxo

the wid0w said...

ya can go off folk real fast ;-) i curse yer wonderful words and their reminder of christmas yet to be

Shadow said...

66 shopping days until christmas???? now that i didn't need to know...

Lorraine said...

I love Christmas...even though...and this is a perfect representation

Belinda said...

Brian, I really appreciate how you spotlight those who are less fortunate in your poetry. Promoting social change -- that's how I see your work.

unremarkable_m said...

the kind of nostalgia that makes moments the best memories...like sharing a photo album

Susannah said...

I enjoyed the story in your poem, it had a very cinematic quality, I could see it played out in a film. :-)

sheila said...

Well now that was interesting! Great post! Normally I'm just about done with Christmas shopping by now, but this year? Wow, um no way. My list will be lean this year.

adeeyoyo said...

Wow, Christmas decorations already over there. I haven't noticed anything here yet... Must go to the mall soon and will check it out. Much too soon I think, much too soon!

5thsister said...

Every time I come visit there is always a fresh new piece that leaves me in awe. I am learning from you and so appreciate the uniqueness of your prose. Another great job. (and I can so relate to the part about being "overlooked" as a child...in my case it was blatant... because when you are but a young child, you feel the reason is because you really don't matter and you grow up believing that)

CM said...

Lopsided circle...that is so true! You have such a way of painting a picture with words.

Didn't see the grandfather falling down the steps coming. I'm guessing this is fiction because I've never heard you mention that before?

I liked how you connected the first and last paragraph too. Very creative!

Ok, now I'm off to go do some shopping! :-)

Pete Marshall said...

wow....that was am intense ride...a great write my friend...and a great sentiment also...christmas this year is a worry for me and i hope when mine grow up they will look back fondly and not with sadness...cheers pete

Brian Miller said...

ha. thanks CM...actually true...and just this weekend i started adding fiction tags to those that are...i did not really know this grandfather all that well...my other i have written about was the fireman that died when i was 12....

TechnoBabe said...

Maybe a little resentment as a kid but letting go of that and giving away the item that would always bring on the left out feeling.

Shashi said...

The carol that you sing, right within your heart...

What a beautiful poem, I liked it... great work...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/

Jill said...

I don't care WHO it is...an oversight like that hurts. Intentional or NOT.

As for the boy slipping in the back door for a warm meal...so many out there that would ADORE that sweatshirt. I have too much...waaaaaaaay too much.

Stacy Uncorked said...

Christmas does seem to start earlier every year, doesn't it?

Loved this, Brian - you have such a beautiful heart! :)

Refuge Insomniac said...

You took me directly back to being 10-years old in a very quick blink of a sentence. Your poem has infused me with some wonderful memories. Thank you for that! Cheers, David

Refuge Insomniac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Someone Is Special said...

Brian thanks for the wishes.. And wish you a Happy Second Birthday.. Happy to be comment with a three digit mark.. This is another lovely work done by you..

--Someone Is Special--

Anonymous said...

an adorable poem. a thing which is waste for a child is treasure for another.

how sweet he was to realize it.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

AmyLK said...

Ok. I really didn't need the reminder that the days are ticking by! lol very nice read.

Raven said...

I like the contrast between the happiness of celebrating Christmas and the sadness of the death. Yet another great poem.

slommler said...

Well someone had to do it and you just couldn't stand it. Reminding us all that Christmas is so close and only 66 shopping days left!! If you were closer I would toss a water balloon your way for sure!! Ha!
I enjoy shopping for my grandkids...they appreciate anything I get for them. Good kids!! Even when I get something wrong...they say..."Love you Grams!" Melts my heart every time.
Hugs
SueAnn

Strummed Words said...

A sweatshirt keeps you warm on winter nights
Though kids prefer to see the lights
On toys that move, and roar, and something more.

poemblaze said...

Waaay too early for me to think about Christmas, but appreciated the poem.

ZeR0BaCkUp said...

now I'm in mood for christmas! ;-)

Caribbean Fool said...

You packed quite a wallop into this poem. The emotional context of not getting what you want superimposed over the death sequence was heart-stopping for it's relevance to life in general (not to mention philosophy!) The way you moved through the images to close the narrative around the holiday & family history was beautiful. Loved the poem. Glad you posted this through 1SW, looks like it is getting the attention it deserves! Thanks for the great read,

crb.

Lyn said...

Wonderful chain of events...the things we recall...for you, a great poem!!

Mmm said...

Good thought here to remember others at this season. I am amazed myself how little i rally live with--it could all fit in 4 trash bag,s save for the few pieces of furnutre i wown. :)

Eric Alder said...

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" was written in 1951 by Meredith Willson. James Pierpont wrote "Jingle Bells" in 1857.

(And shame on you for bring up Christmas so early, Brian!)

Helena Malheur said...

this makes me wish it was Christmas already! Loved it!

kkrige said...

hey, I had Christmas on the mind yesterday too! Not ready to go there yet though

mairmusic said...

notyetnotyetnotyet... the Christmas season can just wait a month please. This seems to be a short-story-poem-- are you working on a hybrid?

Sophia said...

Great one here...tell me, were you REALLY a good boy?! ;) LOL

Terresa said...

Lots of comments here, all the same, I'm adding mine to the heap.

The line that struck me the most was the detail provided in,

"sat in a big lopsided circle" -- love the show not tell aspect of that, a family that is OK with being just who they are.

PS: A memo I want to send to every retailer: "Can't we just celebrate the seasons one at a time??"

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
Word(s) that comes to my mind after reading your very descriptive post...be grateful for what one have...because there are those who are less fortunate in this world.

I'am most definitely, a cheerful giver of gifts (and my time)
all year round.(at least I try to be a cheerful giver.)

Brian, Thanks, for sharing this very reflective...One Shot.
DeeDee ;-D

Goofball said...

christmas is still far far away, no?

Joanna Jenkins said...

Somehow I knew you were a cool kid.

With Christmas less than 66 days away as I read this... I'm making my list and checking it twice to be sure I don't make the same gift mistake. Thanks for the reminder.

cheers. jj

Syd said...

I am not ready for Christmas. But I would rather give than get whenever it comes. I too have everything I need.

e@thejoyofbeingamonkeywrench said...

first halloween! then the ghosts of christmas past.
nice twist.
thanks

Sheila Moore said...

Christmas? i could do without it...not the spiritual part of it, but the commercial part...

Spiritually, I try to make everyday Christmas ('try' being the key word....actually, some days I don't even try...man, that spiritual stuff really pushes at me to be honest! :) That is a good thing, though, right?!

JH said...

& gramma made it a'ight,
saying she was sorry, buying me
new sweatpants off the discount table.... these lines were too funny! My auntie would have been proud to say she found a nice shirt on discount... very nice shot~~

Marla said...

I can hear the melody of the words. Love it~

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