pronounced kway-thai, a Chinese word
meaning demon-talented or ghost-inspired
I. Christmas Eve
Steam against witch-tit cold, my bastardized name
Puts on airs, enticing a curious-dimpled St. Nick
with opaque red cheeks like swirls of marbled ice cream.
First he ventures, Are you from England? I don't respond.
No? Perhaps a Caribbean Isle? Blank silence
Circles and flits about my face before crash-landing
In my mind. Somewhere there must be a handbook
That bans flirting when a fool is decked
Aft and fore, suited in ash and round cuffs of matted fur.
II. Christmas Day
Tis the season and I wish I was in Spain,
Tossing breadcrumbs for those who have
Gone before-a real tradition of substance. Gone
Like winged memories over a limestone fountain
Tinseled with calcite. Boughs of red and gold
Spiral me down-a cockatrice, eyes closed, counting
Sibilant syllables amid reveries. Awkward as a child
Learning to count stress, embarrassed as the words arc
Streaming between annealed fangs, I shed morbid thoughts.
III. New Year's Eve
Romantic. Once I dreamed of dying. I should have
Used pencil, so I could erase this leathery pest.
It scampers on brusque legs, taking buccal rest
Upon my bed. The hour is late, sleep awaits.
I'm too tired to argue with this intrusive guest. Death,
A patient friend. I refuse to return its holiday calls.
Hungry for life and new meanings, I eat chitterlings,
Hog jowls and black-eyed peas, hang sepia prints of dragons,
Construct paper cranes and resolutions of apostasy.
IV. New Year's Day
Long dead ancestors have infused this quickening:
Once, I sought refuge among reality. Thinking
If I could just hold on all would be okay, but I came to find
I'm not much at holding on, nor is it an easy feat
With an anadem of hands weighing against my mind.
I realized I wasn't aware of the ghosts about me.
Somebody should have forewarned; intuitive people
Make too many inferences and, as result, have difficulty living
In a world where even demons have griots they can't elude