Posts Tagged ‘john cougar mellencamp’




Skimming around the radio dial

I catch John Cougar Mellencamp

growling about R O C K in the USA,

and I sing along out of habit,

not necessarily out of joy,

the words and the rhythm

still immediately available,

though I can’t recall

what my son and I said

to each other just yesterday.

Crazy what sticks with us.


And you, John Cougar, what

ever happened to you

and your too tight blue jeans

and your bad boy smile?

It is hard to picture you

with gray hair and baggy pants,

drinking vanilla Ensure.

Rather, perhaps, to hear

that you flamed out in glory

instead of slowly getting old

like the rest of us.


Don’t get me wrong,

I feel lucky to get old,

to recognize less every day

the woman in the mirror.

I feel lucky to drive past little pink houses

and sing to my kids the refrain

of a song I once knew.

I feel lucky to do the slow, inconvenient

work of healing and loving.


I guess, John, what I am saying

is that it’s hard to see a shining thing

diminished, though I know, of course,

that all things end.


Perhaps, if you were sitting here

beside me in the car right now

you would tell me the real story—

how the work of our heart changes,

how there are many ways to shine,

how even the loudest rockers know that sometimes

the best endings are quiet,

that way you can make the listener lean in

to hear the last tender lines.

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