DECORATION DAYS

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DECORATION DAYS

We met on Memorial Day weekend
In the year of our turmoil, 2008
In a rather unlikely place
Somehow at the beginning of summer
Love managed to bloom
Under an unaffected Missouri Moon

I am more or less the same as I was then
Just nine fewer years of behaving the same way
I still drink and too much red wine still gives me migraines
And I still like to drink too much of everything
But I promise I am trying to stay off the whiskey these days

She taught me about elephants and Big Sur
I taught her about George Jones, Guy Clark and Bukowski
I walked by my bedroom door one day
She was on her knees fixing her hair in the full length mirror
She looked up and said “what?”
I was staring
I could not get the words, floating in the thought bubble above my head out into existence,
They choked me, startled me
“I’m gonna marry this girl someday”

I called you crying when I lost my Grandfather
Though I knew you were still mad at me
He was a veteran of the Great War
My link to that greatest generation
He will always have to share this holiday with you
One might bicker or quibble and take issue
But he was fond of you and definitely would approve

Yet now here I am more than a day late and a dollar short
This proverbial “One that got away” is more of a whopper than the one that gave Jonah a ride for forty nights and forty days
There is a new baby elephant on the way
But it’s not mine

From the stage at Mojo’s
To sunset goodbyes on the Katy Trail
To nights at Half Moon Bay
And falling in love with that silly black dog

Yes, many days late and many dollars short
Nine more years of living life the same way
Continuing to pour life’s blood oil down in that funnel
Trying to keep the engine reliably running
Always in fear of it overheating, locking up, stranding me on the side of that blue highway

So go out America
Grill your hamburgers and hotdogs and drink your domestic light beers
And raise a toast
And let’s all go decorate our graves

~Stephen Simmons

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