by Danny Caine
Editor's Note: Three more coming tomorrow!
All I want for Christmas is All I Want for Christmas Is You
People who hate this
song are like people who
don’t like candy corn:
loud, everywhere, and
wrong. Do you hate
Jello too? Waffle cones?
Otters? Imagine a Christmas
where War actually is
Over and so is the war
on Christmas and the war
on the war on Christmas
and so are racist uncles
and racist presidents
and straw man debates
about Starbucks cups.
Just pure Christmas.
Close your eyes. See it.
You just imagined
the music video for
All I Want for Christmas
is You. Of course
it’s too loud. Of course
it sounds like 1994
ate a bowl of Motown
for breakfast. That’s
the point. The closest
any of us will ever get
to the Rockefeller Center rink
is listening to this
at skullcrushing volume.
It’s every Linus and Lucy
dance at the same time
in double time.
The city I live in doesn’t
even have an escalator
but I can still turn on
any radio to any station
and step into a snow globe.
I know Mariah won’t save us
but when the intro turns
into piano turns into drums
turns into verse every time
I think she might.
It’s A Domino’s Christmas
“Even gas station food can save you”
-Louise Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God
When Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco
first came to the states he ate Domino’s
dine-in for 90 days straight. I can’t think
of anything I’ve done for 90 days in a row
but I can tell you how to get to
the Effingham Fairfield Inn from
the exit and that’s not as easy as
it should be. That we have to stop
for gas in Terre Haute where they sell
jerky in sheets and in Ashland where
there’s a taco bell and a Christian gift shop
both inside the truck stop. That Grandma
trips always have soundtracks: driving to
Columbus we listen to Springsteen
1978 Cleveland Agora. Driving
back to Cleveland we listen to the
Santaland Diaries. Driving to
Roanoke we try to remember
what your dad said was the fastest
way. That the Jello has canned
pineapple floating in it like flakes
in a lime green snow globe.
I don’t make the rules I just say them
out loud, mumbled like Hanukkah
blessings from the transliterations.
I don’t know why the menorah rests
atop a single sheet of tin foil atop
the stove, but it’s not my job to ask
questions. It’s my job to pass out
presents, but only if I’m wearing
the same scratchy Santa hat. I don’t
know where it came from—maybe
a January Walgreens—but I do
know I’ve never seen a family
VHS tape without it. What is
Christmas anyway if not the same
shit in a different year, thank God.
Danny Caine is author of the CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST (Mason Jar Press, 2019) and the chapbook Uncle Harold's Maxwell House Haggadah (Etchings Press 2017). His work has appeared in DIAGRAM, Mid-American Review, Atticus Review, New Ohio Review, Hobart, and other places. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where he owns The Raven Bookstore. More at dannycaine.com.