NOT A XMAS CAROL by Jamika Ajalon


frank & myrh aerosol
swirled city smells
lulled xmas zombie lovers
Into white christmas dreams,
while the live ones
on frozen frosting pavement
with pine needled fingers
held not the baby jesus
Mary had birthed a stillborn
on that xmas day
with three alley cat queens
as witness

the red nosed
Dear old man
Everybody called Rude Off
‘cause he & his tourrets
always insisted that fric & frac
fack the facking fack off
had shared his last swigs
of thunderbird premium
with poor mary &
the three alley Queen cats

those boys sung in harmonies
they hadn’t rightly done
since they were 15 years young
on that same stoop
and those cats could sing.

gave a shoe box burial
with Red Nose’s
last drops
of t-bird
the spirits
were thirsty


but those five witnessed
a miracle that day

or to be fair it was the next.

the place they had laid
the not baby jesus to rest

A skeleton of a tree
not far from their stoop,
had dug in its root
into that little dirt square
generations before the five
had breathed air

well that tree in the bright day after
xmas morn began sprouting leaves
green and strong

within a day or two more,
what wonderful
delicious fruit it bore
yellow sweet lemons
none tasted before

and mary made some lemonade and
in the middle winter
people came from far and wide
to taste this miraculous nector

but that wasn’t the best part,
for the first time since ever Rude Off
broke into laughter

Began dancing around
holding out his heart
for all to see

and the Alley Queens three
got a spot on tv


Mary let salty sleep
fall onto a newspaper pillow
soaking through her paper bag bed

when she opened her eyes
the tree was dead disappeared

or maybe it never existed
instead a crate rested
smelling of citrus
and in it a note

the three queens they wrote
“when life gives you lemons,
rude-off he said,
make f*acKing lemonade
let go of whats dead”

next to her feet
a doll made of broken twigs
pine needle fingers
pine cone head


it had been 10 yrs ago
that day on the dot
that she lost all she had
and she sat at that same spot

weeping for the
alien that had died in her womb
she was kicked out a christian home
not for having sex too soon
but for lying
& taking the lords name in vain

she never said it was the
immaculate conception
she had no memory
of getting herself pregnant

she tried to explain
for it was normal those days
those black spots that speckled her brain
those monster trap sink holes
that kept her sane

her first hours on the streets
where the loneliest ever

at least i got this lil alien
to keep me company she said
rubbing her hungry belly
against the weather

The three queens were out for a stroll
when they saw this young girl
not more than a decade and a half old
shivering in the cold

but that was too common a sight
to pull their attention
it was the red stained
frost that came streaming
from where she was sitting

she spent the night in the hospital
they kicked her out the next day
she had no insurance or money to pay

she went back to her spot
which Rude Off since claimed
but he shared his blanket with her
under expletive tirade

and the three queens that night
sang her a song, to help her into sleep
they knew the night was long


but that was ten years gone
mary decided maybe in fact
it was time to move on
she reread the advice
from the most honest men she knew
retrieved an old cigarette from inside her shoe
blew out the smoke and thought
free thoughts

the pine cone and sticks crumbled like chalk

she picked up the crate of bright yellow treasure
and started to walk.

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