Holiday-Like Stanzas: 3. Acorn Stew


It is with a certain kind of benign sarcasm, like abandoned pillow-talk; Solemn introspection,
resistance and rebellion, during the change of seasons, that we runaway, run towards
the wild horizons, to visit the black crow at the hospital, who snickers and thanks us
for all our well wishes, for our prayers and nightmares. You bow your head and
tell him it’s simply about survival on a daily basis; About a sense of humor and
being sensitive, as the last of sunlight at day’s end spills into your refrigerator
A little lovely cherub hovering over the holiday table, who has us all captivated,
pulls out a tooth one by one, silhouetted in front of candles giving a speech
for the ages. Of course we forget it all, as the smug and shattered dinner guests
are all in denial and playing roles (Here success appears measured by contrived
and pithy punchlines, really the sign of the unoriginal; Of the scarred soul)
with incestuous desires and throwing out cheap and crude and transparent
innuendoes; The most charming, in fact, the most lonesome and troubled
Lipsinkers gathered around the dried fruit and nuts; Around a pot-luck assortment of Road Kill...
The Master of the House proudly showing off his Sado-Masochistic Room; His big screen tv
and row of recliners where he may get cozy and comfortable after a diligent day of murder.
He is a Family Man who keeps his kids clueless, sheltered and spoiled, turning more and
more delusional by the second, with his dull-eyed and distant wife sedated and subjugated.
In these towns, in these villages, there always feels a certain sort of situational depression,
of which you cannot quite put your finger on it; Not really an inner-peace, but more so an
understated hostile and solemn, safe and secure silence; Not so much of compassion,
but moreover a cruel and cut-throat competitiveness; Behind these picketed fences,
a certain bigotry and prejudice, whereas in the holiday season they do their good deeds
and bring in the African-Americans, insensitively cracking riddles at their expense, which
always seems to end in a punchline involving the Jigs and Nigs in Pimp Shoes and Cadillacs,
and with this convenient disconnect, within this context, interestingly become authorities on the subject
The homes, these castles out here
sneer in dimly-lit chandelier
The vestibules and foyers
Well-kept lawns
never tread on
by friends
family or peers
(In truth, everyone
becomes strangers
full of superstitions
rituals, routines
and fears)
Silhouetted shrubs
floodlights, gardens
That’s how they want it
insular and guarded
Everything kept secret
on the hush-hush
like creeping through
a museum when it
closes up at dusk
of a perfect
& pristine
Leaves tumble
like thieves
some miserable
macabre evening
Dusty grandfather
clock lets out
a cough
after swallowing
the keyhole key
where nightmares
begin and dreams
end; Curtains on fire
Life and times of a liar
After all the sacrifices
when the slaughter is over
a simple sparrow sits in a
bare tree without apples
You kiss your burning bride on the mouth while she magically mourns the future
in a very mature and noble manner, disguised by your inability to be her savior,
yet more so a caustic comedian mocking culture. She has always gotten this
a bit mixed up from her brutal background and innocent imagination, yet couldn’t
care less, and with false confidence, absurdly claims to find this act to be most attractive
It’s all in the moment, in a whisper, in the season.
You know this and go with stars and sentiment

The philanthropist and narcissist and damaged daughters and sons
all go their own separate ways home through eerie silhouetted industrial
rivers and cathedrals; Through winking woods and sacred slums; Through
billboards and bums; Through blinking skylines on the horizon, which stand
like rows of dominoes after dwelling reflective and catching a good buzz,
to their safe sanctuaries in the suburbs at the onset of Winter and
close of Autumn; To their midnight homes to mansions in the sun
Whole towns engulfed in blazing crimson, loose leaf piles,
and haunted, holy bridges burning brightly in the distance;
It is clear you need nothing, no-one, something, phantoms...
as the church bells and foghorns remind you you are not alone

Joseph Reich
Joseph Reich is a social worker who works out in the state of Massachusetts; A displaced New Yorker, who sincerely does miss diss-place, most of all the Smoothies on Houston Street, the Thai food, and bagels and bialys from The Lower East Side; When we all get a little older, hopes to bring wife and child to play in the playgrounds of New York.