Silver Bells

The pedicab driver eats cold falafel
on the street while we linger
over lemongrass martinis
and pad thai, burn our conjoined esophagus
on kung pao chicken, celebrating nothing
with the atheists and Jews.
A fat, adored baby tosses crackers
and squeals, rudely.
          Across town, drunk games of pool remind me
that my arms are too short for
this stupid man’s game. Leather-bound
Bikers line the bar for shots, slur carols,
curse, shout slurs against
the government and women.
The pedicab driver
sits in the corner sipping a club soda.
A neon beer sign wrapped with Christmas
lights blazes above him.
          Gulls swoop between filigreed ledges,
cruising the strip in search of scraps
as gargoyles scowl from the edges. Thick
steam team rises from underground vents,
lamplight rendering the dank
Gotham underbelly all ironic holy night
and peace on earth glow.
          Santa Claus doormen
are still out in the middle
of midnight when I scoot ass-first
off the ridiculously huge hotel bed,
still tipsy, wobble into the bathroom.
Peering over the sill I watch the Santas
doing deep-knee bends to keep warm.
          In the morning we grope cloud-headed
amidst sunny fields of thousand thread-count
Egyptian cotton and marinate there,
our indulgence smelling of hot skin
and spilled wine.
          By check-out the Santa doormen have
traded red hats for black ones and go on,
opening doors, pushing
buttons, pocketing thin bills, shuffling
on the sidewalk, shivering
until spring

Gina Williams