It is the story of Christmas
recited over and over again
until one believes what all
of the commerce men tell.
The gift wrapping, for instance,
red in its promise of merriment
green in its revelation of joy
coming to life.
Or the snow on trees felled
for a couple of days of display
and then death comes
takes residence in its leaves
that when one is not looking
fall one by one on their carpeted grave.
It is the scene, not what it means
that matters most now. Not the narrative
pf a manger whatever was it all about
and that flight away from that murderer
of a king and his paid hacks.
We just have to look out the window
in its frost of a romantic night.
Here is a picture perfect frame
and the mass of mindlessness
such as the star of Bethlehem that bleeds
of oil and blood and greed and collateral damage
from Baghdad or desperately drips of sweat
from those who work on the fancy papers
to create grandeur out of delusions
such as what we have got now.
Whoever began this other story
they play on us, trick us into seeing
that profit is not about first world capital
but love and love and love in abundance.
In some ways, we get into the same
game in the country we ran away from.
Parents with their abiding guilt
pay up for lost times, like all
OFWs and exiles on sabbatical from the nurturing
of children who would come to sing carols
for the exercise of the cord in cold nights.
Or children with their thanksgiving
to fill up the holes of an absent heart
because they have been away
more than the hours, more than the days
more than all the songs at christmastime.
Or lovers, if you will, sending in the clowns
and comedians the way the country's politicians do:
the congressmen with their bonuses of tragedy
the senators with their commissions of grief
the presidents with their daredevil but senseless act
to lead a homeland without a memory, needing
no leaders, no myth-makers, no cheats.
It is this ritual of redemption each December
that I think of and that makes me see nothing
of the grammar of saving one's own skin and kin.
It is the same world all over again
and again each time we hear those lousy
recitals about white snows and santa clauses
coming to town on their ecology-friendly rides.
In the meantime, at the struck
of twelve on the next midnight,
the cycle of business begins
and we welcome the beribboned lies.
A Solver Agcaoili