Sunday, July 3, 2011


Oh say can you see
The long dirt road
And wild green trees
On the 4th of July
When I was seventeen?

In  the middle of nowhere,
My best friend,
His father,
A cousin,
And me.

Sitting in the grass between my sweet, funny friend
And my first girl crush,
We watched and felt the bright, booming fireworks
All the way until the end.

I lost track of Mikey,
The girl cousin that I liked--
And I lost my sweet friend
To dope and suicide,

But I can still see
The long dirt road
And wild green trees
That 4th of July
When I was seventeen.


This is for Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus. I had to use the phrase "oh say can you see", and then was limited to 100 more words or less. I used all 100.

This is a true story. I was a pretty innocent seventeen year old, and maybe that's why I remember this particular 4th of July as my favorite. Any innocence I had didn't last the summer, but for one night my world seemed perfect, and I've always remembered it.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, you took me back there, to the inexperience, wonder and innocence of seventeen.Beautiful!

faye said...

oh to go back to seventeen ...
but only if I can keep the
things I have learned and not make
the same foolish mistakes.But my
track record isn't that good..

Sioux said...

Do you know Janis Ian's song "Seventeen"?

What a sad poem. Unfortunately, this is how most of our lives go.

Sue said...

Very evocative. I liked it.


Brian Miller said...

you took me back to days of my youth and dirt roads...found the end of many of theand made some great friends...and yeah the sobering reality is some of them are not around by their hand or others...

Daryl said...

Even better than Mr Sinatra's version of Ervin Drake's It Was A Very Good Year which is now playing in my head

Helen said...

Fourteen was my year, fun to go back and daydream.

Lolamouse said...

Wow.Brought me right back. 17 was a memorable age for me as well. Not all good, however...

hedgewitch said...

Normally I'd expect something deeper and darker from you with the elements at play in this one, but you've pulled off a trip in the opposite direction, very much from the point of view of the moment that inspired it. Innocence, that handicap of the young of being blind to what's around the next corner, and the ability to live in the moment so precious, and so soon lost, all are here in 100 words and a very bland catchphrase, illuminated by your writing.

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful, Shay.

Jenny said...

Oh Shay, I was on that same road a few decades earlier.

Looking back can be so bittersweet. I often wonder how I got here from there.

And how I survived it all.

I'm really intriqued with your writing.

I'm making myself a note to put you in my sidebar.

The Woodswoman said...

Was happily trudging down that road, way back when, THEN you knocked me over. That hurt ... wow ... out of no where. Excellently crafted.

irishoma said...

Very vivid and evocative--and sad.
Wonderful job.
Donna V.

cj Schlottman said...


This post is beautiful and poignant. Looking back always makes me wonder....."what if?' Your style is flowing and easy to read. So sorry you lost your friend to her demons. Great poem!


Anna said...

Very good "looking-back" poem. I guess the Fourth of July, being a summer holiday, has often memories attached to it for many people. Maybe that was when you got together with distant relatives, with whom you can compare your life.

For me, New Year's Day was the day when our extended family got together. I recently received a card from a second cousin whom I always met at those gatherings. She had been a diabetic since childhood and in February her left leg had to be amputated. She sent me a card with a photo of herself standing with her "new leg", her prosthetic. She's such a sweet person, who really deserves better. It's typical of her "fighting spirit" to show her "new leg" instead of lamenting the removal of the old one. (Kind of like a glass of water that is "half full" rather than "half empty".) So her problems are not self-inflicted by drug abuse or alcohol. She has just had bad luck.

Her fate makes me count my blessings. As long as you are reasonably healthy, you can do something about your situation.

Just a thought.

Good poetry should get you to think. And yours did!

Best wishes,
A Rainy Day in July-Anna's SC wk 61

Karen S. said...

A lovely poem, not so good about the loss, but your photo is priceless and quite fitting for this piece! Thank you, so much. ...and what a darling little Spark Plug character, so cute!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Your poetry is always impressive, and this is no exception.