Big Drummer Man

What if the Little Drummer Boy grew up
to be Big Drummer Man, a butcher perhaps,
with skins aplenty to manhandle across the tops
of barrels and pots and one precious little cup
that someone drank some special wine out of,
(Jesus maybe, yes, that’s who it was),
so that all along the Via Dolorosa,
every single, sorrowful step, there rose a
tattoo (the skin kind is the second definition,
thank you very much), a pummeled out
percussion code, spelling with every beat
not “inadequacy,” but “indignation,
causing Mary to nod to the beat and from
up high the grown-up baby smiled at him?

I know the little drummer boy did his thing in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem, but hear me out–any kid who plays a drum for a baby isn’t going to just GO AWAY, especially not after mother and child both encouraged him. I figure he stuck around and made a nuisance of himself, kept in touch, essentially stalked the holy family, drumming the whole time, and I picture them feeling about him the way I feel about the song–partly charmed, partly annoyed.

Not happy yet with the title. I considered these:

OK WHAT WISE GUY PUT A CROWN OF THORNS IN THE MANGER

WE CAN’T HELP SEEING A CROWN OF THORNS IN THE MANGER

ON THE HEAD OF THE BABY IN THE MANGER LIES A CROWN OF THORNS

HEY DRUMMER BOY I CAN SEE YOUR HOUSE FROM HERE

CHRISTMAS IS SALT, EASTER IS PEPPER

2 responses to “Big Drummer Man

  1. I don’t know. I kinda get the impression he peeked at the Little Drummer Boy. In time, the Medium Drummer Teen probably wore out his drums. He was playing for coins his whole life. Then the Medium Drummer Teen just started doing ‘air drums’ around town, reminding everyone…. “I played my drum for him. Pa rum pum pum pum I played my best for him. Pa rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum” Eventually, Big Drummer 20-Something just starts talking about “Startin’ that band!” and keeps raking in those air-drum coins. By the time he’s Big Drummer Man… he believes he’s an artist playing to the masses, but everyone just thinks he the village idiot and doesn’t want to deny the invisible drum and risk a full on psychotic break. They just smile and pay him coins to go away.

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