Merry Christmas

I’ve been feeling a bit sad lately looking out at the wreckage of the human race, which I see in full blazing technicolor each day. Thus, the tone of this blog. It has been inspired by WH Auden’s evocative poem, Thanks.

Looking out at all the people dying
a slow death around me
and who don’t even know it,
I say: Merry Christmas. ..

To the ruin of what once was a proud nation,
now at each other’s throats.
I say: Merry Christmas
To the young women
who were once adorned
with gold jewelry and the luscious scent
of roses and lavender,
Now branded with black, red, and blue ink,
and cartoon characters,
dark symbols,
that mark their arms, legs,
even, sometimes, their faces;

I say Merry Christmas to the men
who have lost their bearings,
their purpose, their Juliettes;
who keep their heads down and mouths shut
doped up on the pot that soon will be legal,
the pot that soon will be legal,
For the young kids who left warm homes
to live in tent cities
out in the dirt.
I say Merry Christmas to them
and to the other young people,
seduced by their real estate,
high on their stock options.

I say Merry Christmas
to the rageful,
the deadened, and the lonesome,
to the loved ones of the dozens and dozens of people
shot on Interstate 80,
just for driving to work (1)
or to pick up a friend (2)
To the grieving families
of highway officers killed in Oakland
at a routine traffic stop (3)
I say Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
to them all,
though my voice is choked with sorrow.

And my Christmas wish
is that God’s people would
embrace their dignity;
that the young would rise from the dirt
and go home –
That everyone would go Home
Not just to the places from which they came,
But to Him,
who still loves them,
who loved them first;
And it doesn’t matter
what horrible things they have done.
He has never left them
He is just waiting, waiting,
waiting for them –
crying tears of sorrow too.


1. A 20 something was shot on Interstate 80 driving home from her job. She was paralyzed from the neck down. . and lived a few years in a wheelchair with her parents before dying of her injuries.

2. A Berkeley school teacher was shot in the head and mortally wounded while driving in the flatlands of Richmond, near I-80.

3. A CPD officer was just killed today, on Christmas, by a drunk and drugged driver.

And marijuana will be legal on January 1. God help us all.

These are just a few of the dozens and dozens of people shot and killed on Interstate 80 in the last several years. No one talks about it.

I pray for their families. I pray for all of us.

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