Monday, December 17, 2018

The poets in your state capital have asked if you still believe in Santa Claus, a prose poem by Michael Brockley


The poets in your state capital have asked if you still believe in Santa Claus
by Michael Brockley


Once you couldn’t name a jazz artist if you were spotted every consonant in the artist’s last name. Now you have difficulty distinguishing between the joy and sorrow in a saxophone solo. You spend hours with your sock monkey disciples sharing memories of county fair queens driving the lead cars in your hometown’s demolition derbies. But these days your friends drive German cars with St. Christopher statues two-stepping with bobblehead hula dancers on their dash boards. The patron saint of lost causes has opened his sleeping bag across the back seat of your Motown jalopy. He’s spent centuries perfecting the art of making cradles from civilization’s detritus and has mined your record collection of troubadours with recluse biographies and grave robber voices for album covers to shellac on the cradle headboards as hex signs. On nights when you can’t sleep, you regale the patron saint of lost causes with your week’s fantasies about the latest waitress to serve you grilled salmon with broccoli. Young women with boyfriends who won’t work and cars that don’t run. The saint no longer answers. Just shakes his head and points to a head board with some good-time Charley leering over the empty frame. Whenever Jude wanders through trash bins for discarded Barbie dolls or eavesdrops on townsfolk for clues as to the whereabouts of their pets’ chew toys, you listen to blues songs, played just loud enough for your barren ears to hear. The universe no longer allows you to remember the titles of your favorite songs. Or the calamities your waitresses confess to while you pepper seafood. Believing in Santa Claus might be the last thing you remember.


Michael Brockley is a semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. Several of Brockley's poems have appeared previously in Flying Island. In addition, his work can be found in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, 3Elements, Tipton Poetry Journal, Third Wednesday and Tattoo Highway. Poems are forthcoming in Riddled with Arrows and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan.

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