In Late December

Frederick Seidel

Frederick Seidel reads his poem ‘In Late December’.

For Mitzi Angel

The man using the pay phone on Wall Street,
His back to you, is using it as a urinal,
And urinating – only logical!
Our degradation is complete.

The young woman, a crazy smile pickled in brine,
Cross-legged on the sidewalk in a T-shirt that says TOMORROW,
Holds a sign telling her sad story.
She’s reading a paperback of Lolita, stealthily, behind the sign.

She could be you –
Stranger things have turned out to be true.
He could be me –
Don’t rule out the possibility.

This shirtsleeves Christmas weather is lovely
And seriously weird.
El Niño is how Jesus was –
Both changed the climate.

Everyone will have a home. Everyone
Is safe and warm.
The homeless sleep on a bed of roses and sip ice-wine (German Eiswein).
They spend their time deciding where they want to dine.

They spend the rest of their time thinking about the sublime
And exhuming corpses
So they don’t have to beg for a living
From the living.

They bring back billions of bodies
And pile them in the apartment building lobbies
And repopulate the financial world with the dead
Like a dog bringing back a stick.

The stick is what was underground
Back in sunlight.
Cadavers and cremains hump on walkers down Wall Street
And a homeless hand reaches out to them for baksheesh.

She could be you!
Stranger things have turned out to be true.
He could be me –
I don’t discount the possibility.

Jews, Christians, Muslims, others – it’s Christmas morn.
Aloha, amici, Christ is born!
Flowers are fooled into thinking it’s spring.
The little city birds sing.