Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Bah Humbug

I don't like it, I wouldn't miss it if it went poof, and yet Halloween is a civic duty. The neighbors decorate their houses, and the kids come around and we give out candy. In my town, kids even stand in line for hours to receive candy from local merchants. Yes, I curmudgeonly ungoodnaturedly disapprove of all that candy.

In fact, I like it even less than Scrooge liked Christmas. At least Christmas is ABOUT something. All the candy et cetera have something holy and good at the center of it all. Ditto Easter, Mother's Day, July 4th, and so forth. Even holidays without candy are about something: veterans, civil rights martyrs, the day the British left Boston.

So that's the first thing: it's not about anything except candy and scariness. The scariness is something else I dislike. I hate skeletons and ghosts and witches and death eaters (yes, my grandson was a death eater one year, where a few years earlier he had asked to be a flower). I do scare easily, especially of the big kids who seem to maraud around at the end of the night. In Cambridge, the moped-riders across the street chose Halloween to egg our house, thoroughly because we had asked them to keep the noise down. That'll teach us.

Plus, our neighbor has a big skeleton of a man sitting down holding a skeleton of a dog on a leash that about makes my heart stop every time I turn into my driveway.

On the Internet some posters tried to make up mythological background--some old Druid thing that Christianity took over when they could not stamp it out. But who knows. Our Halloween customs aren't that longstanding, going back maybe two hundred years. How do I know that? Well, like every other thing you see or read on-line you'll just have to accept it because I have typed it.

I would make up a better mythology myself. I would say, it's the day Persephone has to pack her bags and kiss Old Demeter good-bye while she returns to her husband Hades in the underworld. And as she enters there, some of the ghouls and goblins get loose and drift back up to earth for a while.

It's just one of those things you put up with and don't talk about. That's what I mean by civic duty. But here I am talking about it, oh well.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Poor Relations

In the parking garage beneath
The Club, disembarked from someone-in-the
Family’s Buick,
The woman returning met the girl who left
Unfortunately wearing the same clothes,
Too tight for her midlife waistline and with
Charm bracelets jingling; this was
Before she sold the gold.
They rode up the elevator, of course, how else would they
Ride up; and she handed her coat to
A uniformed maid who cast a jaded glance.

They walked across a totally marble
Atrium. But: “Jack, look, the plants are plastic!!”
Jack her true love,
There’s a tale! He was so alive that day!
She’d do it all again with the stupid-looking dress and
Hateful shoes to walk next to him through the family’s Club,
Slowly, in no hurry to join
The matriarch around that fire I think was real
With various siblings strange brothers-in-law nieces a few strays
Assembled to join the Relations’ favorite
Pastime, drinking.


Composed from 1986 to 2013