"Santa" first appeared in The Cream City Review ("Queer Issue," Fall, 2005 [volume29, #2]).



When he walks into the stink

of cigarette smoke and greasy food,

nobody looks up

from their dirty mugs of beer. 

Christmas lights halo the room. 

He orders tequila shots,

rips off the fake beard,

slaps it on the bar like hard-earned money.  

“It’s A Wonderful Life”

on TV—the scene where George

gets his world back, runs yelling

down a snowy street. 

“Bullshit,” Santa hollers.  The bartender

in a tight T-shirt, MARY

written in red

across his chest, raises his hand

and jerks three disapproving snaps.

Behind the bar

a picture of Jeff Stryker in the manger

surrounded by plastic donkeys

and wise men wearing thongs—

blinks off and on.  All day

Santa’s been dying

to escape his cardboard house

at the mall, pull the pillow

from under his jacket

that whining kids punched

for hours.  Hours

dreaming of walking away

from his hard, merciless

chair where he sat praying

over and over for the drinks

he’s downing now as he wishes

for a buck for every scum who promised

to be with him forever.  His last shot

catches the light of the Nativity scene, glows

like a miniature star in his hand

as he throws his head back quickly,

pours the flickering inside. 





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