So they know me by my fake name,
they know that I’m good for a few bucks in the till,
they can tell that I can talk up a good line of bull
until the world lies very still.
And the chalk corpse out on the sidewalk
only wanted to bum a cigarette
but got to arguing about the body politic
and borrowed an angry bone instead.
Children these days don’t learn about Christmas.
All the commercials give the surprise away.
The tree and the lights are an annual chore
of boxes to be stored or thrown away.
And the deadlines come and go,
packages are stamped.
Holiday songs seem old
and this bar is wet and cramped.
The chalk ghost wonders about his smoky hands
silhouetted against the distant moon.
He doesn’t know that he disappears in strands.
He has no idea his postage became due.
And kids unwrap one gift on Christmas eve
and don’t wait up expectantly anymore.
The next morning most visit an extra home
where their parents exchange return receipts.
Oh, I hold on to the cold while I cough out my lungs
and those that know my name call me all day long
but I never bought the fare to get on that homeward bus.
I’ll be shuffling with those Christmas spirits lost and strong.