Michael Andrews Arts

See Announcements for details on publication of Archilochus poems in Arion Magazine.


A Current Project


Xmas is already re[presented by two small phamplet editions, The Xmas Kid, and The Xmas Tree Massacre.
      Although both of these edition will be included in the Xmas project, the project iself will be comprised of considerably more poems and pictures.
      Over the years I did take many photographs the Xmas ritual. It is my conceit to call it Xmas rather than Christmkas because I am an committed secularist and one of my favorite secular holidays is Xmas.
      I took the images in the same spirit I would have taken someone in agony, which was to metabolze the agony of existence. In the Xmas case it was to metabolize the mystery of a ritual existence.
      It began with Xmas trees as a kid, when Pop gave me my fist Brownie Hawkeye. It continued through trees that were on my drafting table where Flo & I first lived in Manhattan Beach, on to our time in Saigon, six to seven foot trees at 1092 Loma Drive, until the ritual participants died or moved away and our trees have become three footers at best, on top of the sideboard table that I no longer have to move.
      I took pictures of paper wrapping, bows, tags, gifts, ornaments, trees and people. Every year the ritual has included a picture of us and our good friends Al & Judy Ross. Over the yeears I took much ribbing and other forms of harassment because I saved the gift wrapping paper. My intention is to use it the artist book that I intend to turn this project into.
      And that is the secular ritual of Xmas in a nutshell.




Hermosa Beach, Xmas 1982

Bad things start with a lump;
a lump in the throat,
a lump in the budget,
a lump in the gravy,
"you have to take your lumps"
they say, when they think you
have had a life full of smooth roads,
a lump in a tire,
a lump in the mattress,

a lump in the breast.

Sometimes they say--"No problem,"
stick in a needle
and suck out some goo.

Sometimes they say--"Cancer,"
and sharpen up their scalpels.

"It is only a cyst," they say
but they strap Flo to a table
like Fritz dancing over Fankenstein's monster
pumped full of needles
and they cut and suck
until it hurts.

It hurts enough to shoot her three times
with the pain killer, but pain
you know,
never dies

It is just very, very

"Biopsy," they announce
like it was a nine pound boy.
"If anything is wrong
we will call you in the morning."

We drive home to a naked christmas tree.

The road is full of lumps.


Decorating The Tree
Hermosa Beach, Xmas 1982

After they cut out her lump
they wrap Flo up in Ace Bandages
like Abbott and Costello meet the mummy.

Don't open until Xmas.

Today we are going to decorate the tree.
It's a scotch pine.
It's tall and full and smells
like the Sierras in a snowfall.
We haven't had one for 6 years.
I go to Thrifty and blow 75 dollars
on bulbs and lights and tinsel
that really isn't tinsel anymore.
I get a few special things
to hide among the bulbs.

I almost died this year.
I am so weak that taking a shower
leaves me as breathless as the Boston Marathon.
Flo is sleeping off the stress
and the pain.

The phone rings and the doctor says
"Merry Xmas. It's malignant."

I hang up and melt down into the cracks
between the cushions and cry.
And I think, for us, life changes
from this moment on,

and open a package of plastic tinsel

Xmas On Loma Drive

We come home from the war to triple rent.
We buy a house midway between
Fook Gins Restaurant and the Either/Or Bookstore.
We can't see the surf, but we can walk to it.
I replace the plumbing, paint the walls,
carpet everything and rebuild the bathroom.

I put a Franklin stove in the front room.
When Xmas comes we buy a dwarf tree
and set it on top of the stove.
We invite all our friends who have
no place else to go on Xmas Day.

The biggest present Flo gets
is a 50 gallon, galvanized garbage can.

We are safe at last.