The Christmas Shopping List


For My Wife

The stockings are not complete,
Nor my inner Christmas lights,
Vaguely dim and bittersweet,
Until I’ve gone late one night,
To purchase your tampons,
And find more Marlboro lights,
To lay beneath our artificial tree,
While your red lip stick,
Dries on my cheeks,
I add Margarita mix,
To the Christmas List,
I’ll buy all the Midol,
And get the Diet Rite,
Mix the champagne and eggnog,
And find your sisters Salem Lights,
As the lights descend,
Chaos hovers,
I still love you.

–Richard Bryant

Santa Claus vs. Jesus

A Merry Xmas - Santa holding Jesus

For Christmas, I need to wait these many days,
My story is one that must be told while I pace,
Round the busy aisles, hours, rows, and ways,
Between here and now, a time, one moment in space,
And the expected ending of the Santa and Jesus race,
Our tribe pretends to know not how it ends,
Who arrives first and is born without sin,
Who wears red and moves to the cookie bin,
This subtle game outwardly extends,
From church, home, to school and back again,
Is the elf winning or does the child stand a chance?
Since late on Thanksgiving I’ve seen no evidence,
Beards, hats, belts, and sleighs are found in abundance,
No baby is heard offering a mystical indulgence.
Eight strapping reindeer have no pregnant mother to carry,
Perhaps Joseph was left behind, a mere Holy functionary,
Remaining in Nazareth to carve figures of Santa from pieces of Cherry,
While his wife Mary attempts to be Merry,
And their son Jesus writes letters to a magical elf,
To convince him to send a strange doll to put on the shelf.
This must be why Jesus is absent,
This is the purpose of Advent,
How can I see who’s not been sent,
So I’ve been told,
He’s getting ready to save my soul,
Though Santa’s Claus has a powerful hold,
But he’s not the greatest story ever told.
He just a guy who’s always been old.

–Richard Bryant

For Jordan, My Daughter


Grandfather and Granddaughter (author not pictured)

I wish,
I could outline the edges,
Of an unknown map,
For you to follow,
From this day forward,
A journey for you to take,
Where you will not be alone,
Or ever bored,
And someone will find you,
Because you make great sticky buns,
Not because they’ve spotted your hair,
Or want to play your Xbox one,
I want to draw a map,
That leads people,
To turn right,
To you,
Because you are you.

–Richard Bryant