Christmas, Connecticut, 1960

by Christopher T. George
Desert Moon Review
Honorable Mention, January 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen


I was in school in Connecticut that December of 1960,
“The Little Drummer Boy” hung on the brisk air.

I was eleven—I identified with the song about the boy who had come
to honor him and its insistent chorus, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Our hero of the moment was John Kennedy, the clean-cut New Englander
who’d be our new President. A new leader and a new Pope: John XXIII
—advent candles following a long darkness.

Even now, fifty years later, I thrill to that song
thrumming in my ears—pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Witnesses said the noises did not sound like gunshots—
unforeseen—like hammerblows—pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

So many bullet holes, so many nail holes—
Black crepe and muffled drums—

Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. . . pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. . .
pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.


"Christmas, Connecticut, 1960" is a vivid photo of a time and a weirdly accurate portrayal of the way kids, perhaps all of us, re-constellate events in ways that make a particular sense given our vantage point in the world. The merger of the Drummer Boy song with the Kennedy assassination is exactly the kind of thing an eleven-year-old would do. --Deborah Bogen

  • August 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The World Is Moist in the Morning
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Epitaph
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      I kissed a tree
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu