A Christmas poem for everyone

My grandfather, Sean Keys O’Doherty, was one of the best writers I’ve ever read, and the greatest I’ve ever known. He died in 1998, but if he hadn’t, he’d have turned 102 last week. He wrote the following poem many, many years ago (long before I was born, I suspect) and its message resonates with me even still — such that I re-read it every year to remind myself of the hardship of the season, and its message of hope. It always makes me cry.

On this Christmas Eve, I share it with you. Keep others in your hearts. It’s a tough world out there for a lot of people. And Merry Christmas.

Christmas Alone

The laughter of children — the whisper of snow,

The dolls in the toyshops, row upon row:

All over town does the magic appear,

Once more it’s December, and Christmas is near.

There’s turkey and tinsel and wondering stares

As the children gaze wide-eyed at fabulous wares.

There are smiles on the faces of folks passing by

With mysterious bundles piled ever so high.

 

But it’s hard for the man who’s alone on the streets

To share in the joy of the people he meets.

There’s lump in his throat; in his heart, there’s a stone

As he faces the prospect of Christmas alone.

He envies his parents — he envies their smiles

And his mind leaps away for thousands of miles

To a very small girl in a faraway place.

And his eyes wrinkle up and he pictures her face

As she places her packages under the tree:

“There’s a present for Daddy from Mommy and me!”

 

The solider looks up a the faraway skies

And the hurt in his soul could be seen in his eyes.

His lips make a whisper that no one could hear:

“Merry Christmas, my lovely! Merry Christmas, my dear!”

For Christmas withal is the season for prayer

For hope and fulfillment and surcease from care.

May God hear the whispers of all who must roam —

For peace and goodwill and next Christmas at home.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Christopher Soden presents new works at the MAC

Poetic license

Local poet and author Christopher Stephen Soden reads from his newest collection Closer that is touted as “an existential look at same-gender sexuality and queer virility.” Sounds like some good stuff. A Q&A will follow.

DEETS: McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. 7 p.m. The-Mac.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Local out rapper Infidelix drops a couple of songs before heading to Amsterdam

Bryan Rodecker AKA Infiidelix has dropped a couple of new songs before heading out to Amsterdam to film the video for his “Weed Song.” Unfortunately, the Denton-based artist is not going on a label’s dime, he and his beau have been saving to do this so it’s part vacation, part business, but Rodecker told me he’s scored some gigs already.

“We are really going there to have fun, but I refuse to travel without performing,” he said. “So in return I booked myself shows every night we’re there from open mic to hip-hop to poetry. You could say I’m going there for a bunch of reasons.”

Indeed. Not only is he planning the trip to film his music video, he’s been dabbling in spoken word and poetry and is making plans to film those performances as well.

“We are gonna try to shoot as many vids as possible. I really wanna film some poetry, a gay travel blog and a weed and hotel blog.” he said.

Because weed is legal in Amsterdam and, well, Infidelix, has his vices. Plus, Amsterdam is on his travel bucket list. In the meantime, enjoy that song and “The Darkness,” also a new track, after the jump. You can also see some of his spoken word work on his YouTube Channel here.

—  Rich Lopez

Sarah Jaffe and Bosque Brown tonight at the Wyly

Buzz surrounds local musician Sarah Jaffe, but she’s ready to move on

Going from playing smaller clubs like Dan’s Silverleaf and Club Dada, to selling out the Granada Theater last year, Sarah Jaffe’s star is on the rise. She gets a primo gig Saturday when she headlines at the Wyly Theatre in support of her 2010 full-length debut, Suburban Nature. After garnering attention for Nature locally and nationally (from the Dallas Observer to NPR), Jaffe wasn’t just a girl with a guitar — she unlocked yearning and pain with wisdom beyond her 25 years. Jaffe captures the poetry of life and love and sets it to music … even if she doesn’t mean to.

“I’ve never been a strategic writer and I’m thankful for that,” she says. “It comes out sporadically. There are those moment in life when I slow down and it’s just me being human and being alive and the writing is totally cathartic.”

Read the entire article here.

—  Rich Lopez