• Julissa Neely

A California Christmas

I just learned the wise men arrived a year late

It’s Ave Maria and The Carol of the Bells

and the guilt and the glory of the stories we tell

The gravity and humanity of that baby born in a stall

The text messages keep rolling in

the angry faces, the happy faces, the sad faces, the Christmas trees, and the steady stream of the emoji nation flashing on my iPhone Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas

It’s not snowy in California unless you count the smog

It’s not sweets and mistletoe with COVID 19 and the anti-sugar clause

We want to ring the bells

We want to deck the halls

We want to be merry

We want to be able to name drop

“I'm a friend of Santa Clause”


Afraid to tell him all the things we’ve done

The naughty and the nice the Feng shui of our living rooms, our juice cleanses

It’s Christmas Time

But it’s the baby in the manger that we hate, or we love

Nobody is neutral about the things he’s done

The words he said

The book we read

It’s all in the way you read the story

It’s Christmas Time

We can’t ignore it

It’s a solo in the key of C

We can all sing along, or we can be silent and scheme a way to stop it coming around

This Christmas time, this baby and his crowd

of losers and drifters no Teslas, no Gucci, no

Venice shopping at Fiorucci

Star of wonder

Star of Night

Star with Royal Beauty Bright

Westward leading

Still proceeding

Guide us to thy perfect light

Even if we arrive late with no presents

Even if we half believe it’s just part of the elements

We creep down the hall and around the corner, turn on the light switch, look for the presents


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