A walk on the seamier side of Christmas

By Stanley Collymore

Don’t talk to me about Christmas, Santa Claus or his reindeer
as I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy that surrounds them
every year; for I’m one of the long-term unemployed
who’s destitute and full of despair, as it’s quite
obvious to me from what I’ve observed that nobody really
cares. Worst still and adding insult to the injury of the
misery already cruelly and needlessly inflicted on
me that I’m left saddled with and hard as I try
am unable to circumvent, the local council, like
it said it would, went to court, and readily getting
the latter’s support in the form of an eviction
order, promptly and unceremoniously
kicked me out of the door of my
childhood home, because I
could no longer afford
to pay my rent.

Social Security who I then turned to weren’t much good
either as regards helping me out of this terrible mess
that unforeseen circumstances had landed me in,
telling me rather arrogantly and insensitively
that the rooms in my former home were
actually far in excess of my personal
needs; rules they went on to say
they couldn’t ignore or relax, as to do so
would seriously compromise as well as
contravene the official guidelines
and stipulated requirements
expressly laid down in
the government’s
own legislated
bedroom
tax.

So as I had two bedrooms in my designated council
flat and lived there all on my own, so there was
no disputing that fact; it wasn’t only fair to
the taxpayer but also on the public purse
as well that the shortfall in the state’s
contribution to my rent, caused by the
imposition of the statutory rent-cap that
Social Security felt compelled to impose
on my previous home, should in those
given circumstances, they logically
argued, be my sole responsibility and
therefore paid for by me alone; if ,
that is, I still wanted to carry
on living in what was,
after all, my home.

An impossible task as you’ve rightly guessed
and the worst of all states to find myself in:
explicitly, an involuntary and ongoing
homelessness. So please save your
breath about Christmas and do
give up on the bogus piety,
as I don’t think I need
to remind you I’ve
more pressing
priorities!

© Stanley V. Collymore
20 December 2013.

Critique:
This poem wasn’t written by me with any profound directives in mind as to how any of you should conscionably or otherwise, independently or collectively, live your individual life. Notwithstanding that though its purpose is to point out that Christmas isn’t about singling out and concentrating exclusively on one specific day in each year and no other; and once that day passes into oblivion everyone can just revert to carrying on as before as though the actuality of Christmas and what it genuinely represents never happened at all, until that is the next one arrives and the customary charade ceremoniously removed from its closeted mothball is allowed to temporarily gain momentum again.

A flawed Christian, as indeed I am, I’m nonetheless fully cognisant of what Christmas is and has from its inception been really all about; and although I’m not or have I ever been a member of the Salvation Army which I wholeheartedly respect and financially support on a regular basis, I do so principally because it’s my honest opinion that it’s the only organization I know of which credibly and fully lives up to its moral, social and religious obligations as it altruistically implements, doing so at times in seemingly impossible circumstances, the unadulterated doctrine of Christmas together with its universal message of comradeship, compassion, benevolence and love to all mankind as it was intended to and should be practised by each and everyone of us; and not just around or only on the 25th December of each year, but consistently and cooperatively throughout the entire year.

And as a positive reminder of this and for their sterling and sometimes unappreciated work carried out 24/7 and 365 days of every year, I humbly dedicate this poem to the Salvation Army.

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