Over by 5th and 34th
just below the Empire State Building,
Santa rang his bell
as I dropped a five into his red bucket.
“Break time”, Santa said
pulling his beard to the side,
lighting up a smoke.
“You know King Kong climbed this thing,
had that girl he loved right in the palm of his hand;
those planes got him.”
I looked down at his tote bag
looking for a bottle of whiskey.
Had to be one.
“I had a girl once, she ran off,
no climb, no planes, just gone.”
He was old, this make believe Santa,
needing to talk, needing someone to listen.
“You know, I worked in this building,
up on the twenty second floor, as an accountant
and kept a picture of Kong over the desk, an idol in a way,
his struggle against captors, his escape,
“Let go, replaced by the machine.
I would rather have escaped,
climbed this building, being shot down by
a police copter. Kong,
I wanted to be Kong.”
“Well now you’re Santa.”
“Only at Christmas, did I tell you I had a girl once?”
He looked at his wrist.
“Break over, they watch you know,
see if you’re doing your job.”
He snapped that beard in place
and rang the bell.
“Merry Christmas”, he yelled out
to those in a hurry, “Merry Christmas.”
I heard that bell ring blocks away
and thought of that Kong wanna be, the girl he had once,
right there in the palm of his hand.
Jim Senetto about Jim Senetto
My father was quiet; loving, provider but quiet…I never knew a grandfather, his side, or his brother lost at 28 and I was told not to ask. So quiet I was…me, the quiet one, second echelon in a group of friends…quiet in the confessional booth I was brought to…why tell a stranger, in a dark booth sitting behind mesh, my woes, thinking it just might be his woes were worse than mine (I’ve later learned, some in collars should have sat on the other side of that mesh window, confessing). I was drafted in ’66, taught how to kill strangers and my mouth began to question why and with some friends now dead from bullets of insanity, I became alive, vowing never to be as quiet as my father. He had his reasons, I’m sure, old school and all of that, but I had to break the chain. Art, photography, music, poetry is my voice and it’s all fair game…say it loud, some will listen and that is good enough for me.