This list/ list-poem is an homage to one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets, Michael Ondaatje.
His poem is called “Elimination Dance,”** and is based on a game (that I think he made up) in which something is called out that could happen, and anyone who has experienced the scenario must sit down.
The last one standing wins.
Anyone who has recently plugged in a set of ancient Christmas lights only to experience an electric shock so bad, it resets your clock.
Anyone that is a family member of the shocked Christmas light-checker who spent the rest of the day reminding your stunned relative that it hasn’t been 1981 for at least ten years.
Anyone who drinks eggnog straight from the carton every year without fail, and who also unwittingly walks around for an afternoon with a creamy mustache that smells like nutmeg.
Anyone who has ever laughed inappropriately at a very sad rendition of a popular Christmas song by Ernest Tubb.
Anyone who has sung a terrible version of this song.
Anyone who, in a fit of pique, roughly Scotch-taped a holiday present into an ugly red and green hobo baggie from the last of the holiday wrapping paper and then immediately regretted it.
Anyone whose last name sounds like a play on a holiday word, such as Merry, Kringle, or Bright.
Anyone whose witty parents thought it would be hilarious to name you something festive to go with your Christmassy last name— (e.g.– Holiday Merry; Christian Kringle; Light Bright).
Anyone who once undercooked or overcooked the Christmas dinner because you were exhausted from dealing with the relative who plugged in the set of crummy Christmas lights, a relative that tried to eat the children’s homemade ornaments, twice the night before, and once, today.
Anyone who has cried over the tree the cat knocked over the night before your family is due to arrive.
Anyone who has yelled at a cat for playing with the Christmas ornaments, and then felt awful about it.
Anyone who isn’t sure whether marzipan is for eating or for caulking.
Anyone who has told an embarrassing holiday story at the dinner table, only to discover that the person being talked about has walked in the room.
Anyone who has walked in the room while a relative is relating your worst childhood blunder.
Anyone who has ever witnessed a Christmas fistfight.
Anyone who started the family Christmas fistfight, but was restrained because your hand-knitted Christmas sweater from Auntie Tony turned out to be perfect for yanking over your head before you managed to really get going.
Anyone who isn’t sure if you mislabeled all the presents, or merely thought you did because you were so tired.
Anyone with an unnatural fear of tinsel.
Anyone who has ever had a terrible Christmas, Chanukah, Solstice or winter holiday, specific or unlisted.
Anyone who has ever experienced incredible joy or extreme pain.
Although this poem has the feel of a list, I have tagged it primarily as poetry.
(Once again, it is an homage, so keep in mind that Michael Ondaatje originated the idea.)
My foundation is in poetry, which I will only be posting periodically, as it takes a long time to craft what I feel is a “real” poem. That said, I have posted one here.
Additional writing about poetic list-making for your reading pleasure: Bluebird Pillow Book List.
And one more thing… Happy Holidays. All of them. And I mean that, sincerely.