Five feet toe-tapping quarter notes beneath their seats. A kid in the crowd meows like a kitten and the audience howls. Some poor kid tried to clap between medleys. A teacher with a salt and pepper goatee and a baggy school hoodie on has four different smartphones in his palm. The lights are all up front. When anyone chirps into the microphone the whole system hums. Girlfriend leans on Boyfriend’s shoulder and the teacher sees and says nothing to her. Christmas music for high school students on a Tuesday afternoon in December. The Chorus dismembers and takes up instruments in their hands. They play Rudolph the Red Nosed Flat Note and We Wish You a Merry Solo. They sound perfect for what they are, as does the audience they play for. High School kids who bought two dollar tickets to get out of fourth period had no intention of paying attention to the show. Teachers with fourth period planning impressed into chaperones. The energy is palpable as kids cram together row by row, they know, there aren’t enough teachers to see all the hands. There isn’t enough light to see which mouth threw which knife. That’s what makes it a reward. And for the kids in the choir and band, they’re playing for the toughest audience of their careers: their adolescent peers. Every song speeds up from the start, from the nerves. Each shy note or apprehensive solo is heard. The kids in the crowd are distracted and loud but on the inside they could never do what they heckle. Imaginations set only to meddle. While those kids on the stage cling to metal, and do something with their breath akin to life after death, resuscitating inanimate objects into music.
The man with his back to the crowd shows them how every single day. The band director. The chorus teacher. Two English, two math, one science, all playing usher. It is for them, and they truly, shamelessly, despise us for it. Traps aren’t meant for the masses, but only the one. One animal in a trap could chew off a paw and get out. But three hundred kids, maybe twelve adults in the room, and the lights all turned down and the blinds all closed too, there’s no chewing off a limb. Two thirty on a Tuesday, last week of school, there’s no escape. It’s us or them.
There is more to the present than a gift.
Wrapped in red gold green paper.
The whole universe.
As long so you don’t know what is in it. It is everything.
The greatest gift there ever was.
Only as long as you don’t know what it is.
What’s under the tree isn’t Christmas.
There isn’t a tree alive big enough.
They were all cut to the ground years ago.
No one ever leaves a present wrapped too long.
Which is why all the great gifts are gone.
It’s hard to wrap a song.
Or a poem. Or a thought.
Or both of them. They’re odd.
Loose in the corners and dense in the center
and the tape just won’t stay on.
I appreciate the thought.
But was hoping for something to tear open.
Or even at least a pressed paper box.
I know that’s asking a lot.
But this is a particular season.
When no one needs a reason.
To ask for more than you’ve got.
Not just any present moment.
Ready to be torn.
For on this day maybe two thousand years ago a child was born.
Torn up wrapping paper on the floor.
And soon, that baby grew.
And said we will have earned the kingdom
the very hereafter
the very moment
we can discern a gift
without having to see
it torn open.
Have you ever sat too long over a greeting card or staring at a computer screen, searching for words that refuse to come. The feelings are there. The sentiment, unquestionable. But language doesn’t always lend itself easily to the emotionally inscrutable. You might have not ever thought of it, but how much sense does it make to hire a creative freelance writer from time to time.
Words. Quality is a wavering shoreline always subject to changing tides. But there are writing formulas, phrases, plays on words and literary invention altogether. The mathematics of meaning. A sort of algebra except all letters with confusing little numbers in between.
Essentially, I don’t need to claim great literature or vast publication in order to declare myself a functional copywriter.
Say you needed an essay or cover letter proofread and edited, or you’re really serious about photograph captions, or have an experience you can describe but not fully, and wish to see it transcribed and applied to a poetic format. A short story idea. An article. A memory. Writing advice. Criticism. A note, or a letter even. A poem. Have you ever ordered a poem?
I am your go to poetry guy. It isn’t the easiest service to describe.
But if you’ve never ordered a poem before, I suggest giving it a try
before you give it up. The right line at the right time can change minds.
It can change everything. Words are only a frame.
They should never block the picture.
I’m half kidding. Only mostly joking. But hey, this would be the season.
What if I were running a special on one of a kind holiday dinner blessings
and Christmas card one liners. Never been a better time to rent a writer.
We all have an abundance of irony in our lives right now.
It’d be a shame to let it go to waste.
This is the season.
Let nothing be ineffable.