How Come Santa Drinks So Much

How Come Santa Drinks So Much

A Poem by Liam Rogers

How Come Santa Drinks So Much                                    


I gave 75 cents to a homeless man

sitting on the frozen sidewalk

holding a half eaten loaf of rye bread.

It's 13 degrees and the sun's out.

Times Square, December 2, 2005.

A lanky man dressed like Santa walked by,

glared and shook his head at me.

He took a step sideways

and continued on, stumbling down the sidewalk,

stopping to lean against the building

twenty yards away.


He slid down the wall

and sat in an empty doorway,

his red and white costume sloping down on one side,

the elastic beard matted

with sweat stains and fresh egg yolk.

Gaps in the fabric revealed black stubble

with streaks of gray along his cheek bone,

his belt far too big for someone twice his size.

One of the lenses on his fake coke-bottle glasses

was cracked down the middle, but he didn't notice.


How come Santa drinks so much, my little cousin asked,

trying to absorb the idea of habits.

She's smarter than most seven-year-olds.

Some day she'll realize the therapeutic power of bourbon,

whether she wants to or not,

by virtue of a twisted and distorted lineage.


Remembering back to a time when I believed,

I asked myself,

Was he always so intense and disruptive?

Did he always look so disheveled?

Waking up in sleazy unfamiliar motels,

fur stuck to his tongue,

feeling cheap and

smelling like reindeer?


Doesn't he have family to go home to?


I distinctly recall Santa getting agitated

at a pawnshop in Jersey,

hocking a six year old Rolex knockoff,

arguing with a deadbeat in an orange latex bandana

about whether it could get him 5 bucks or 50.

Santa is a hobo who should be in rehab

but decides to sit back and take blame,

driven by dollars and cents, not peace and love.

Fictitious friends have more of an impact,

imagining someone out there barks like a dog

when a strange man in card-carrying colors

gets too close to either side of the line

and lodges himself in a chimney

too small for his socks

but too large for his vision.


Think of the profile:

An obese elderly  man, about 6'1",

big bushy white beard

puffy red cheeks

and glazed over eyes. Dresses in red velvet,

has eight deer he runs until they drop,

overwhelmingly fond of children,

known to sneak around

in the darkness late at night,

carrying a sack,

usually around the holidays.

Santa is a transient worker.

But does he have a record?

Was he always a bag man?


Busted for B&E

at the Christmas Tree Shop in Danbury, 2001,

then fast forward to indecent exposure

inside a moving vehicle

somewhere around 23rd Street

where the sun becomes the moon.


Everyone is old enough to know

not to sleep in soiled piles

reeking of their own fermenting remnants

of a night gone sour.


But he meets Betty Ford for drinks anyway

in a seedy club in Queens,

one night too many,

one night in particular, in 2003,

strung out stiff on single malt,

he grabbed the reins, lost control

and flipped back to front on a car full of elves

at a busy intersection somewhere around LaGuardia.


He showed up in night court

with a hooker who promised him a good time

but gave him more than he bargained for.

He never said he was innocent,

just that he didn't think he could be convicted.


Across the street, he pulls himself up,

throws an empty bottle against the concrete wall

and crosses back over toward us.

The stale stench of cheap red wine

permeates from the center of his beard,

with permanent stains across his chin

and all along the white fabric pleasure

path that connects one head to the other.


Santa glares at us again,

mumbles something in Croatian

and falls face first into a pile of stones

deep down the alley,

two sheets to the wind,

and ten steps closer to Brooklyn. 

© 2015 Liam Rogers

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This seems a bit intense to paint Santa like this,Kinda unique yet disruptive to the holiday season.Is this created from experiences or created from imagination the flow was good just a picture turned bad of santa yet a good write

Posted 5 Years Ago

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Added on January 10, 2015
Last Updated on January 10, 2015


Liam Rogers
Liam Rogers

New York, NY

I am a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and journalist who runs a little publishing company. more..