Ghosts of Christmas past

The Captain standing a tree on the upper deck of the freighter

The Steward putting out some wine on Christmas Eve

The predictable happened

Slurred words

Pent up frustration

“This is not fucking Christmas…”

And the tree goes over the side

The next night

A new tree

No wine

The new tree

Chained to the rail

I know a teacher in a classroom

That could have used that chain!



A cheap hotel

Christmas Eve


The shipping port of Wilmington, California

The hotel was full

Night was turning to day

When the shooting started

A running gunfight

On the streets outside

Suddenly, frantic pounding and yelling

On the back door of the hotel

Nobody moved, or made a sound

Everyone was just waiting

For the dead and heavy silence to return


A beautiful fireplace

Stockings full

French toast


The three of us

Dancing at the top of the stairs

Then the charge

“Gosh darn!



A puppy!

Didn’t that dog turn out to be a pain…?

Never quite caught on that cars could kill

I hold pleasing visions still

Of beagles, baseballs and broken windows



The barren and dry wind-swept land outside of Los Angeles

The two of us in sleeping bags under the stars

Days before Christmas

Waiting for a ship in Wilmington…again

Our paths

And heritage

Quite different


A Native American

Quiet voices under the stars

“I am not used to squandering my life force in this way.”

Waiting for a ship is hard

I had never heard reference to the living thing he mentioned

I have never forgotten him or his words

I hope his life force… is thriving and well


The dry wind

Carrying sands of time

Pleasant on my face


Is there a Santa Clause?”

See if I can side-step this one

“There is a Spirit of Santa Clause.”

A pause

“Yeah, but what I want to know is if there is a dude that rides around on a sleigh delivering presents.”

He knew the answer

“That would be a No.”

In the ensuing endless silence I think, “Gosh darn

Haven’t these two boys

Turned out to be friends?”


It means more to me now

Than ever

But, some things are difficult to talk about

They lose substance when transferred to the medium of words

Maybe, if I speak indirectly

Mostly, I think of giving


Genuine spontaneous smiles

Warm darkness

Angels dancing

In front of bright full moons


My mind at one with the flames

Open hands

Open hearts are dancing across the colorful spectrum of time


It is true

It is Christmas!