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Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

from Twelve Nights by Harrison Lemke



On Monday night you make your way
past bullying variegate store displays
of jeweled disembodied hands
and headless mannequins
all cooly disaffected
wearing turtlenecks & cocktail dresses;
the best time of the year's arrived,
drunk from its own party.
From speakers spill soft-focus croons
in doorways framing glittering rooms,
cheerily false promises
in every wavering note.

On Tuesday night you make the calls;
weren't sure you could face them all,
the grandmothers and aunts intent
on smothering you alive
with manicures & meals & sweets,
domestic spaces all replete
with figurines & mistletoe
and exhaustingly good cheer.

It felt good to be taken care of,
but now no one's taking care of you no more.

On Wednesday night you genuflect
unconvinced of its usefulness
while hymns & prayers & litanies
fall on your tired ears.
You feel a bit embarrassed by
the simple souls, their faces childlike
dumbly bowed and cowed by Hell
and swayed by Holiness.
"Oh Holy Child, Oh Holy Mother,"
oh wholly indifferent Holy Other,
no prayer can reach, no sigh can move
his strange and careless hand.

It felt nice to be taken care of,
but you don't feel that way anymore.


from Twelve Nights, released January 30, 2013
Harrison Lemke - guitar & vocals,
Anonymous Piece of Construction Equipment - beeping




Harrison Lemke Austin, Texas

tape-hiss symphonies to God

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