Christmas in Manhattan

Christmas in Manhattan

’Twas on Christmas morning, after working all night
I walked through New York City, and to my great fright

I found that although it’s not normally so,
the whiskey bars were all closed, oh where would I go?

The “city that never sleeps” stood silent and gray,
the garbage lay heaped while the rats munched away.

Two hours before in-laws, kids, presents galore
I had a small bit of me-time, mere dight, naught more—

No diner was open, no tapas, no dimsum,
no hookah, no dancah, no crack-blinded vixen—

At least from the bodega’s Christmas Eve sale
I’d bought two cans of Foster’s (some loosely call ale).

“Alas,” I sighed as I drank the beer in,
“I wish it was bourbon, but at least it’s not gin.”

Then who should step out of Port Authority’s glow,
A white bearded man with a shiny red nose—

His dress looked quite odd, old fashioned and furry,
with a sack on his back and laughter all slurry.

Is he real, I wondered, or perhaps a he’s a ghost—
“Allen Ginsberg!” I cried, and gave him a toast.

“No dice,” he answered. “Just down on my luck.
Just an old homeless vet. You got a buck?”

Whether truth or a lie there was no way to tell,
then I shrugged, cracked a beer and said, “What the hell.”

I handed it over, he gave me a smoke,
“So much for sleepless,” I said. “What a joke.”

“Maybe,” he said. He puffed, then he whispered,
“Around here sleepless means something a little bit different.”

He pointed then upward, through the gloom and the blur,
spoke he again with a deepening slur:

“The high rises loom like dark marionettes,
carving lies into hungers upon streets that are DEAD.”


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