why jews celebrate x-mas

why jews celebrate x-mas
i. it’s the only time of the year all my mom’s people could get off work.
ii. it’s a production.
a. my grandma’s spread took days to lay out:
swedish meat balls in a hot and sweet brown sauce.
brisket in au jus (of course). mustard dip. farfalle
primavera. caramels, cookies and plenty of vodka.
iii. the main event was held just off the dining room
iv. the adults gathered for highballs and martinis (even though my
grandfather, a liquor salesman, never drank.)
v. this was the night he worked all year for.
vi. a room of family and a wall of presents, that cost money he made.
vii. proof he provided for his children and grandchildren.
viii. things you could touch and say my papa gave me this, this thing.
ix. this is the night, he felt most american
x. most fully
free.

 

from the forth coming collection, Schtick, Spring 2013, Haymarket Books

pre-order here: http://www.amazon.com/Shtick-Kevin-Coval/dp/1608462706

 

#HeyMa is trending in Chicago on Mother’s Day

a song written by 18yr.-old Chance
the Rapper. it is beautiful.

today is a perfect May.

outside families flower
and plant and seed
the front lawns. fathers
in the park, sun is over
head. the day is over due
it is to over do. a day for your Ma.
the only woman who gave you
the Chance to breath and feel
love and hurt and happy and too
many Ma’s are gone or gone
away. this day to remember
to reach out and say thank you
for me, this body, for other people’s
mamas who are here
literally thru them.

and i miss my ma
today. i wish she was
in Chicago and i wish she could live
forever. it’s now
more of my life she’s been away
than here. she is far
from home and happy
but economy and circumstance
and cancer made her leave
the city i love. i am on
the phone with her
crying, sharing with my Ma
Chance’s song

this young man from Chatham
where mothers don’t have it easy
don’t know if their boys will be back.
all mothers worry and hope, sure
but to be a Brown boy in Chicago
is to leave the house
with weapons raised against you
cops and cops and gangs
and white mayors and builders
of prisons and schools systems
have it in
to end you
it seems…

in the outro
Chance thank his homies
mamas

and i only know
first hand what my Ma
went thru with me
and my brother
single and broke
and broken.
all she went thru
to get us thru.
Chance say thank you
and i am thankful
to be my mother’s son

#HeyMa #HeyMa
i know i neva did behave alot
neva got good grades alot
and turn your hairs to grays alot

a full head of them now

#HeyMa
honors all Ma’s
for r being
for making us    be.
on this day we pause
but on all days we know
even when we don’t,     exactly
where we come from

99%-er anthem

we, the 99% have known for too long its time for a new dream

the signs explain it all. hand-written

or on computer paper: tax the rich, feed the poor.

this seems reasonable.

 

we, the 99% are inter-generational

those who occupied the 50s, 60s and 70s are here

those who tried and did push the country out of war (for a moment)

into integrated lunch counters             (for a moment)

grannies are here with their girlfriends, old comrades reunite

in these the camps, 90 years to 9 months.              and there is a brand new generation

in the streets. young and weird and industrious

art student dropouts, nurses and teachers, small business owners

and entrepreneurs. the unions are here of course in matching jackets

sweatshirts in primary colors. unions, big-city small-

minded mayors keep trying to bust, but whose union is too strong

cuz the will of the people is too strong. the republic window workers

and history teach us that

 

we, the 99% are young and vibrant, fly and fashionable

look at the haircuts, the infinite

variations. peep the sneaker game

we, the 99% are fly and too fresh for pinstripes

and boring blazers. no white haired white men

with dandruff and death

we, the 99% are tatted and pierced and ironic mustached

most of us are well-groomed and some of us

for real need to shower            but

all of us are funky

not board room boring. we wild

and lovely and well disciplined in the streets (for now)

 

we, the 99% are all documentarians with phones and flip-cams

the technology should look like the democracy.

so post and post and tell and capture the moments here

wide and far, see this smoldering heat. we are connected

and here and queer and allied and emerging in cities

across the planet

 

we, the 99% are a growing body, an undeniable mass

a cancer on capitalism’s decaying carcass

we, the 99% are socialists, communalists and beyond ideologic definition

we, the 99% are dorks and gamers, hip-hop heads and queens

graffiti writers and skateboarders, lawyers and parents

we are just like you                         cuz we are you

we, the 99% are overeducated and underemployed

we, the 99% are misunderstood and overworked

we, the 99% are the workers and lovers

we, the 99% are midwestern beauty queens who wanted to study

design but couldn’t afford four years at The Art Institute

and now slang drinks in Toledo or Grand Rapids

 

we, the 99% are single mother magicians

making miracles, jugglers in a wedding-ring less circus

of debtors and suitors and bosses and law suits and alimony

money and wall-mart. two car seats in the back of a ’99 mini-van

we, the 99% are fathers and mothers, family therapists and sages

backbones and warm hands that deserve a hand and a break

someone to have their back, some help, some health

and childcare, like the all the presidents of every country

and corporation get and never have to worry about

 

we, the 99% are back in city college trying to get more education

for a better job. cuz we need a job and better jobs that will affirm

life and locale and community. jobs that will restore parks

and clean water streams and tread lightly on the ecology

and economically fuel small and equitable growth plans.

jobs for the people from all sides of the track, investing

in education and infrastructure, in health care and culture

 

we, the 99% need a new dream

a new deal

 we, the 99% are not eating enough and eating too much

processed plastic food. we mono-crop and mono-culture

but we need small farms again and vegetables coming from earth

close to us, we want whole foods in all hoods but with unions

and other versions of freshness in the bodegas and food & liquor

corner stores where organic is as common and affordable as common

cents is. the census sense this

we, the 99% kid

want dollars equitably distributed on the kanye west side

a fair share of stuff. it seems only right at this point that a country

built on free and forced labor, on stolen land, on slave labor, all the labor

we, the 99% put in, need to see some back. all this labor, this making and inventing

for all this reaping we should see fruit too, sow more than need. insure

our backing, which is busted and badly curved. my father’s

discs are deteriorating. he needs shots and rehab and medicare

and is in great pain. he is 69 and can never retire

and still works 60-hour weeks

 

we, the 99% need to have each others backs

we are bigger than democrats and republicans

who are millionaires anyway             and though

we, the 99% don’t get along

ourselves, all the time                        or at all

but for this to be real

to translate and transcend

to resonate and resound

to be as undeniable as the need

for something to change drastically

we, the 99% need to build

bridges between the gulfs, the coasts

the rural / urban / suburban / blue / red

north/south side / segregated split

we need to build bridges

to use the word and

a bridge, a way

to include

 

we, the 99% in order to be the 99%

need to do the work of inclusion and expand

the growing center and organize and always create the mix

put more in the mix, we need to mix, to build a movement

that is undeniably mixed and looks like the city country

world we live and want to live in. not a scattering

of a few, not just white and young and educated

but an intentionally all-city polycultural miscegenated mass

 

we, the 99% on some radical mix shit

on some yes and shit:

we are pro-life cuz we are anti-war and death penalty

and we are pro-choice cuz we are pro-women’s right

to determine what happens to their own bodies

and that means we are clearly anti-rape

and will no longer let cops wreak havoc in the lives

and bodies of women who are our sisters

and mothers

our articulate leaders

our slut walk survivors

 

we are Scott Olsen

we are Troy Davis

 

we, the 99% on some Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman-type shit

one aim, one destiny

one collective, growing

undeniable mass of bodies and beauty

we, the 99% are marching

together            toward freedom!