Memorial Day - a poem by 40 Watt Gigolo

Many moons ago, I travelled with a group of college friends to witness the Indianapolis 500.  It was a drunken blur with little sleep and lots of fun.  Somewhere along the way, I laid down on the infield grass and jotted down a poem.

When I returned back to NYC, I found the poem crumpled in a pocket.  I thought it was good enough not to throw out and slid in in my desk drawer.  A few months later, I submitted it in a contest for unpublished poets.  It won first prize in the "under 30" category.

So, here it is.  A little different than the typical songs I write about, but - hey - add some music and you never know...

MEMORIAL DAY

Lawn chair on a makeshift scaffold
On the back of a flatbed Ford
Someone lights a cherry bomb
And we all applaud
Because the sun's in the sky
It's a beautiful day
There's a feeling in the air
T-shirt off, Ray Bans on
I cannot stand the glare

Gasoline Alley is all abuzz
'Cause Mario's sitting on the pole
Chuck Yeager is driving the pace car
Jim McKay is in transmission control
Anticipation mounts
As someone says
"Gentleman, start your engines"
The green flag drops
Into Turn One
And Pancho Carter spins

And as 400,000 people gather at the Indy Speedway
I wonder, does even one realize
Tomorrow is Memorial Day

Cousin John sits on a kitchen chair
Strapping on his limbs
Tomorrow he plans to march
And stand tall for the battle hymn
Uncle Joey in the attic
Uncle Ray at Rikers
And the horrors they both saw
Was God on the side of their brothers
Who never came home
From the war?

I wonder if I'll have children
And who they'll grow to be
Will they live in a home of the brave
And a land of the free?
Will they stand on principle
On honor
For what's right?
Or will that splendid light grow dim
And flicker
From our sight

And as 400,000 people gather at the Indy Speedway
I wonder, does even one realize
Tomorrow is Memorial Day

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