Matthew Conrad

May 15, 1986 - Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski

christmas day O

the cats seem completely devoid of any fact -
any of the usual seasonal claustrophobia
associated with this month...
let the sane grey days return: pronto!
i'm dying from this... hanging expectation...
4 years of christmas outside of a protestant
country - where: i'm unsure who's who
or rather: who's celebrating what...
civic christmas... throw me back into a catholic
country with no internet access...
with the only entertainment being reading
a book... among the pensioners where:
a chance meeting someone my own age...
died along with the death of the metalurgy
industry... little ol' me aged 8 moving from
one place to another, learning a new language...
fraternity cwy (that, that almost looks like
a welsh word)... baby?
no... i just don't know what to make of christmas...
it's been 4 years in the making...
perhaps i became too used to all the catholics
celebrating this period in a religious sense...
perhaps i could jigsaw my way into these 3 days...
by during christmas eve everyone settled
their grief and beef... they have been fasting...
"fasting"... i.e. not eating meat of the earth...
eggs and fish and... mainly fish...
and christmas eve would be night...
of utmost humility...
i did serve up a circa 15 dish supper...
the prawn cocktail came out of nowhere
when i had leftover prawns from only using
one can of crab meat for the prawn, crab,
smoked salmon cream cheese pate...
trout caviar and dill to garnish...
i made the poppy-seed roulade...
the chocolate coating with sprinkled coconut...
the fish ala greek was there...
the red borscht from beetroots and the dumblings...
but... nothing was really there...
i did all the work preparing the supper...
over 2.5 days and... we sat at the table for...
perhaps an hour... we ate with our eyes
and i didn't even eat a complete slice of bread...
we ate with our eyes...
tomorrow will be no better...
i've already prepared the meat that will be sliced
cold (pork and beef)... i'll just bake the most
perfect tatties... and the pristine sized carrots...
i'll probably bake some peppers and an onion...
and some garlic... glaze it with some honey
and balsamic vinegar... probably sprinkle some
cumin seeds to boot...
and there will be a portion of bigos too...
and... we will still eat with our eyes...
we'll be somehow fasting...
perhaps it's easier... when you have a grandfather,
a former stouch "communist" looking for
god in the depths of dementia and lethargy...
perhaps the superstitious grandmother who
came to the city from a small village where:
farming was still done...
but i guess... family...
they're all fucked... but now i see how
the english treat it... in no way different to everyone
else... but i really did think i was going
twice-over mad... when...
classic.fm started it's groundhog day repertoire
bound to a hour on repeat...
if i hear... another fucking christmas carol...
if you play me another aled jones: walking in the air!
i'll flip! so i turned the radio off in the kitchen
becoming soothed with being pissed off...
somehow irritation became a music that
my body found comfortable...
what a staggering difference between a...
protestant christmas eve and a catholic christmas
eve... 4 years and... this being the 5th...
i have absolutely no sense of anticipation...
in a sense: pst... remember... you're in a protestant
country... in a post-nationalist blah blah...
these are civic festivities... they are irreligious...
i was going to bake butterfly turkey breasts tomorrow...
stuffed with thyme infused butter under
the skin to give the breasts moisture...
but i have already made the pork and beef...
tomorrow will only be the most spectacular
sad day... i can't stomach it...
i couldn't stomach all the presents prior...
thinking about it now...
perhaps until the age of 15...
i can't begin to fathom being so easily let-off...
time and its claustrophobia... 'tis' a season to be
merry... merry about what?
in that civic sense.... outside: even faking
a religiosity is better within the confines of these
3 days that... staging some pseudo-bollocking...
looks like the in-breds are coming home...
the same ones ashamed of their family throughout
the other days in the year...
i can still remember a christmas...
it must have been 1990 - i was four then...
it's a memory but it's more or less a painting...
a round table... the great-grandmother was still
alive... and the extended family was there...
aunts, uncles... cousins...
now? it's either me and my grandparents...
and an uncle... or it's me and my parents...
and at a time when... you're still not sure whether
your mother is having adverse side-effects
to the anaesthetic after a hip-replacement operation...
in god's given everyday-grey-mantra-of-monotony:
this would be a walk in a park...
but given: what's to be "expected"...
i was once told a proverb:
you look best with your family: in photographs...
perhaps that should extend to friends too...
oh i do remember what life ought to be...
a weekend in Paris circa 2004 and 2005...
summer and... once in autumn...
it's but a figment of my imagination...
introspection without anger...
my unit of thought that has not succumbed
to a psychological scrutiny -
a gimp suit and some pickling juices...
well... it's hardly an anger when the romanticism
of depression: melancholy is so ripe...
but to the cats it's just another day...
and here's me... with predicates...
celebrated christmas: matthew "celebrated"
christmas by cooking a supper on christmas eve
that everyone decided to eat with their eyes...
a meal that... has matthew a wife,
a daughter or a son?
does he want a wife and a child?
would that change - the otherwise overshadowing
impasse of existential "problems" that
could never mature in their...
mainting a sense of: a problem...
if such problems were replaced with...
not buying a daughter / a son a gift they'd want...
not earning enough money to treat a wife
to something?
problems and... problems...
i guess i should be content with my problems:
"problems"... i should be happy wearing my own shoes...
even though: i wish i could have seen this
food disappear, today... hollow bones left:
even the marrow poof! gone...
perhaps then i'd be happy... if i cooked and what
i cooked: disappeared...
that would be a thrill...
but then... "beggars pride"? is that even allowed?
murky waters of everything that...
i remember that look...
timing... a beggar woman outside a supermarket...
a man giving her spare change...
oh he wasn't looking at her giving her the money...
he was looking at me giving her the money...
the guilt-tripping...
i can almost imagine: in a cashless society...
she suddenly takes out a debit-card payment
machine and... i give "charity" via...
what already is a cashless society...
does racial distinction have to be minded -
you're expected... hell... i expected all this food
to be eaten by ghosts of my dodo cul de sac
family... last time i heard:
the worst gift for christmas is a card filled with
money... i've received those once or twice...
i have to agree with myself:
this should not have been written...
but given that there are no typos bound to it...
i did something that tradition required...
which is a real shame that...
it can: that so many things will die...
before i actually die...
and for some reason...
there's nothing of despair bound to it...
only an irritability: cookie-coating it sweet...
it's irritating that something will die before
i die... tradition... social norms...
cultural cliches... call it what you like...
autopsy: to "blame" a "at-no-one's-expense of fault"...
a chair is a chair...
a moon is a moon...
today is just today...
tomorrow is just tomorrow...
2am is just 2am...
a glass of whiskey is just a glass of whiskey...
there are no consequences...
just detours...
perhaps somewhere a mind less preoccupied
with writing this little something...
tending to far more important problems:
to life's problems... not de facto problems...
nothing existential... nothing continental...
nothing associated with: jean-paul sartre
did his autobiographical stunts...
lived with his mother... was given a state funeral...
beneath which there's that english pride
of country and estate...
you've made it son... being freed from all
familial ties... at least...
or perhaps: i was given the wrong first impressions?
come to think of it...
i don't know the english...
i went to a school in a perdominantly irish
neighbourhood...
last time i checked... the irish went back home...
why the fuck i didn't go back "home"...
perhaps it would have helped if i was born
here, in england... perhaps then i would have this
urge to go back "home"...
and almost every time i visit... i do...
but only because the grandparents are there...
no... no conclusive wisdom here...
it's christmas and... there's no church presence...
and i'm not comfortable not sitting back
in a secular malaise of my own reading
some Knausgard...
becaused this secular malaise is everywhere...
and i don't have a bunch of catholics
surrounding me... gesticulating the point
of these festivities.... that's mighty bothersome...
which is an exagerration on my part...
why there's a chritmas tree in this house...
well it's there... almost monochrome...
silver and gold...
and it's just there... and... i'm starting...
frankly the period of anticipation is more rewarding
than... whatever it was that was being anticipated:
but never came.
102 Total read