‘CRAZY SANTAS’ by David Lee Morgan


This poem comes with a story – about the guy who had the biggest influence on me becoming a revolutionary communist: Santa Claus. In particular, it’s about my memory of one movie: Miracle on 34th Street, the original version with John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood as the little girl, and Edmund Gwenn as Santa.

In this movie, Santa Claus – THE REAL SANTA – has come to New York and for some reason has taken a job at Macy’s as the department store Santa. And there’s a scene where Santa is sitting on his… throne, I guess you’d call it, and boys and girls are coming up and sitting on his lap and telling him what they want for Christmas. And we can see that next in line is a little girl and her mother – as we think – who is anxious to talk to Santa first.

So she rushes up to him and says, “Listen, I’m not her real mother, I’m only her foster mother. Her real mother and father were murdered by the Nazis in Amsterdam, and she just got here, and she doesn’t speak a word of English, only Dutch. And I’ve tried to explain to her that you won’t understand what she’s saying, but she says, ‘No, no, no, you don’t understand. Santa Claus is for every little boy and girl in the world – and I’m a little girl, so of course he’ll understand me.’ And I don’t know what to say: she’s already had her heart broken once… “

Now if this had been real life, the guy probably would have said, “Jeez, I don’t know. Buy her a present. Buy her three. Here’s a catalogue.” But it isn’t real life, it’s a Hollywood movie, and in this movie, it’s THE REAL SANTA. So he says to the mother, “Don’t worry.” Then he turns to the little girl and says…

Well, I don’t know what he says, because it’s in Dutch. And her eyes light up and she comes running and jumps in his lap, and they start jabbering away in Dutch and they sing a song about Sinterklaas. When I first saw this movie, I didn’t know anything about the real world – I was the same age as the little girl – but I knew that was the way it should be, that wherever you travelled, no matter how long and hard the journey, especially if it was a long, hard journey, the first words you should hear when you get there are, “Welcome Home.”


Imagine you were this cool old guy who loved children
Truly and deeply
Loved every beat of the way they stiff little tick-tock walk, and the monkey talk, and the roar of the buzz of the whisper of the butterfly why of honey and wonder and thirsty hunger. They give you their hand with everything in it, and your heart lurches into… Give me a place to stand and I will move the universe, squeeze it down into the perfect toy to light the smile inside your eye (I)… would give you anything. Imagine this, multiplied by every newborn smile in a heartbreak world – if you could be Santa for every boy and girl. Imagine a magic workshop powered by twinkle of the eye drive, quantum indecision, and reindeer jive, every elf in all eleven dimensions, drugged and demented, but working with manic precision, a just-in-the-nick-of-time engine (that’s why they call you Saint Nick), and in the back of the sleigh a bag big enough to carry its weight in wishes. This is it! the delicious impossible minute when every child on the planet is given the one perfect gift that says this is your world – and you belong in it
Imagine you could do this one wonderful thing
But for the rest of the year that was all you could do
And the toys would go out and be used up and worn out and broken
And that was good, the way it should be, that was why you would build them
Toys were made to be broken, not children
But in the war-torn days of the in-between year, the names would change but it was always King Herod’s reign, and his soldiers would go from door to door with bloody swords, while you all worked on through tears and horror, knowing you could never make it right, no matter how magical that one perfect night
What would you do?
Would you go on working
When you could only give the one magic minute
Better than nothing, and who could argue with arithmetic
Or would you go crazy with the weight of anger and grief
Would you feel responsible, would you feel like a thief
Living a life so sweet, full of hard work done well
When so many children are living in hell
Some people can’t ever get enough
Give them a minute and they want eternity, the kind who can never be happy with even a scrap of cruelty, they go crazy at the thought of one child dying a needless death, they can’t rest, they’ve gotta be moving, doing, making more than a difference, making EVERYTHING different
These are the Crazy Santas who never give up
Crazy Santas mad with love
Crazy Santas get up at the crack of dawn, work boots on, march out onto the field, into the street, get beat, fight back, get shot at, don’t stop, live life hot-wired
Crazy Santas are dangerous, but it’s a dangerous world
Some people can’t help fighting back
Whenever they see the weak attacked
They live like champions
In the army of the never-had-a-chance
Some of them pick up the gun
Some of them live like saints
All of them are powered by love
All of them make mistakes
Some say we need more magic minutes, that’s the best we can do
But I believe we need to reach out for eternity, we need to be
Crazy Santas who never give up
Crazy Santas mad with love

David Lee Morgan (Seattle) Born in Berlin, grown in and around Seattle, for the last 30 years David Lee Morgan has been based in London, travelling the northern hemisphere as a performance poet and street musician (saxophone). He has written novels, plays and musical theatre. He’s won a fair few slam poetry competitions, including the London, the UK, and the BBC Slam Championships. He holds a PhD in creative writing and philosophy at Newcastle University. He’s a longstanding member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

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