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Poetry By
  Charles Musser

Published on: 6/15/2010
Foreclosure/Eviction Check List

Tear out all plumbing fixtures
and sell them. Paint house
puce. Pour cement down
chimney. Sacrifice a goat
on the living room floor.
Deny the holocaust
on talk-radio -- use my broker's name.
Write poor list-poem.
Play Russian roulette again
with the dog (use real bullet
this time). Set free your flea
farm. Stand like Caesar on far side
of the Rubicon; gamble glory
and mutter to dead poets
in earshot of the neighbors
how the monkeys, the monkeys
are missing! Dig up
the body behind
garage -- outsource
a proper burial for God's
sake. Put on parka, head north,
and pray like hell
Canada doesn't know
my name.

Unless dog wins.

Published on: 2/22/2010
Gifts of the Converging Magi

On Christmas Eve, Phillipe Rodriguez tumbles
out the Piñon General Store, burps tequila-sweetened
eggnog onto his mohair vest, and considers
three roads converging through dry, cool desert dust.

Down one his wife, his daughter and his son, wait
patiently. He leans away from home. His broken
toe bemoans the fact he lost his job from the sardine factory
and the Sangre de Christos whisper evil thoughts.

The neon star above the intersecting paths cries
"Love!" He tips his head to the side, thinks
he hears a chorus of angels; in fact, it's only
three engines roaring down upon him.

Camellia De la Garza chugs down the first, her pickup
jammed with bargain-basement Christmas trees, bucking
and leaping with each rutted bound of broken springs.

Down the second flies Billy Chavez, his cargo van
stuffed with ornaments, gaudy gifts, wrapping paper
and 10,000 feet of purple ribbon on a giant wooden wheel.

Down the third rides Idaho's Jimmy Fitzgerald
tucked snugly in the womb of his 18-wheeler, hell-bent
on reaching Texas by midnight with 10 tons
of the whitest powder known to man.

And just before the infinite serendipity
of the world presses its thumb down on the open switch,
Phillipe grabs a hand-rolled, crosses himself,
then flicks a match to hip

and strikes.

Camellia slows, imagining the fire
in her husband's Alzheimer eyes when he sees
20 trees along their barren garden's edge,
decorated and pointed up to God.

Billy sees the rectory candles of Father Juarez,
dancing with him to the orphanage..

And Jimmy? He hums along with Bing, coasts
and starts to sing, "I'm dreaming of a white..."

On this Christmas Eve, of course, all three pass each other
by the shallowest of breaths, fade to dust and cloud.

Eyes wide as Tortillas de Madre,
Phillipe claps his hands, then dances a jig
to his family and hearth
on the drunken reel of the crescent-fiddle
slung below the winking western star.

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