Midnight Mass

Everybody’s heard of Santa
Claus and Rudolph and Frosty
But my favorite Holiday Superhero
Is Chloe, she’s a transvestite
Prostitute who hangs out
In front of Covenant House
On Tenth Avenue and every
Christmas Eve she dresses
In this pure gold Christian Dior tunic
One of her steady tricks shoplifted
For her, gold lipstick and eyeshadow
Walks up and down Hell’s Kitchen
In her rainbow Converse Chuck
Taylor All-Stars trying to
Find the most Woebegotten
Christmas-Deprived suicidal
Pervert she can find.

One year it was me, naturally.
I’d just been laid-off from
Victoria’s Secret and I was
Contemplating walking the
Double yellow lines of the
Holland Tunnel until a
Bottle of Drambuie or
The toxic fumes took hold of me.
My holiday was officially dipped
In bullshit and gasoline
Until Chloe walked up to
Me outside of a Blimpee’s
Where I’d spent my last
Two bucks on a Sprite
So I could use the toilet
One last time. She took my
Hand and we walked over
To where the Intrepid was
Docked. They were ringing
All the bells already and
Cabbies were blowing their horns.
She leaned me tenderly against
The Chinese Embassy, ran
Her broken nails gently
Across my face. And I
swear to God I felt the
Power of the Holy Spirit
Enter my body. She gives
One kiss a year, just at
The stroke of midnight
And it tasted like sparkles,
Gingerbread and the most
Beautiful truth you could

I woke up in St. Luke’s
Nursing a hell of a stigmata,
Watching snowflakes fall.
Sometimes I see Chloe
In the fancy party photos
In the Wall St. Journal.
She married a hedge fund
Manager and has two kids
in Westchester.
And yet every year she
Dresses in gold and heads
To town, redeeming the
Miserable in the cool
Perfect light of Christmas morning.

Jim Behrle tweets @behrle.