All I Want for Christmas Is the Radical Redistribution of Society’s Resources


by Erik Kennedy

In ancient Rome at Saturnalia
people gave each other gifts
of oil flasks made of rhinoceros horn,
parchment, amethyst-coloured wools,
dice boxes, snow-strainers.
Servants were served by their masters.
All in all, an okay December.

And now you probably expect me to say
it’s worse today—disaster capitalism
for self-created disasters,
every shopfront a cathedral of tat,
the Three Wise Men on swegways.
And it is worse, in a way, and we don’t even have
the decency to be sombre

in our reality’s gaudy, shitty presence.
That would require the self-consciousness
I wish for every year.
But the endpoint of misery isn’t the present,
and the past isn’t a syllabus of hope,
that’s not what I’m saying. The subject of this carol,
this tendentious cantata, this slightly grim rhetorical samba,

is a respect for our ideas of perfection.
Honour our boozy, once-yearly,
almost sincerely-held conversations
about equality and peace
by twining your commitments into a mutually-supporting circle
in the form of a wreath
that unexpectedly stays green almost until summer.


About the Author:

Erik Kennedy is the poet behind books like There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime and Twenty-Six Factitions. His website is

Cover image from The King Drinks, David Teniers the Younger, 1634-40.