Bizarre Love Triangle

Me, You & the Music I’m Putting You Through
~by Sheila Squillante


“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

Music & Lyrics by Tommie Connor
Recorded by Jimmy Boyd


Santa Claus died on Easter Sunday, 1975 or ‘76.

I remember the thin spring sunlight coming through my morning window and the thrill of that first moment of wakefulness that sprung me out of bed and down the hallway to the living room to see.

Yes! It had come!

There, on the coffee table, two pastel plastic baskets wrapped in cellophane and heaped with jellybeans and sugared treats. A giant chocolate bunny towering above.

My sister and I, delighted, dug in. Our mother, equally delighted, gestured at the stairs coming from the front door, “Look, girls! Look what The Bunny left!”

On each step, a powdery paw print, whiter than the off-white carpeting, beautiful as brocade.

Wait just a minute…

It’s April in Lexington, KY. There is no snow on the ground and bunnies do not, unless they are suffering from some kind of horrible holiday alopecia, leave clumps of fur in perfectly tailored paw-shapes.

Thus did I, at five or six years old, call bullshit on this whole Easter Bunny Thing.

And then, in the next moment, the Tooth Fairy, leprechauns and, finally, Santa, all went POOF as well.

My mother saw the veil fall away and whisked me into the bedroom before I could spill my protest to my little sister. “Please,” she said, “help us pretend.” Continue reading

The Lightning Room With Sara Backer

Welcome to the Lightning Room, where DeWitt Brinson & Simon Jacobs take turns asking PANK authors extremely difficult questions about their work.

December interviews come courtesy of the mind of DeWitt Brinson.


I direct you to Three Poems by Sara Backer in our March issue. Now join us, won’t you? As we discuss the new toll system for traveling to poets, Buddha bunnies, and the dark stairwell we drink from.

1. These poems made me hungry. How do you see the intersection of poetry and food?

Obviously, both are basic necessities. Beyond that, food is the vehicle of the most tangible imagery there is. Is that cheating? (p.s. I do make a fabulous devil’s food cake from scratch.)

2. After digesting Crocodiles in Real Life, what poem by Vallejo should be ingested?

To me, Vallejo is a city in California you drive through on I-80 and pay toll to cross the Carquinez Bridge from which you can see the lighted Domino sign fill up with neon sugar. (I’ll mail back my graduate degree tomorrow.) But since that’s your only question about Crocodiles in Real Life, I’ll ramble. The story line is totally factual; I experienced this in 1981with substantial apprehension and relief. I didn’t write about it until decades later when I perceived a political metaphor. I live in New Hampshire, a State that has been targeted by the Free Stater movement that is blatantly out to destroy our government in the vague name of “freedom” (i.e. freedom from democracy, freedom from social responsibility).  Most people regard the Free Staters as harmless whackos, but the movement is funded by billionaires. It’s naive and dangerous to think they are safely contained. Little bits of them add up to one big predator, a predator who has no qualms about eating us alive.  Continue reading