He’s out on the back porch again
Beggin’ to get in for the night
Nearly broke down the door
And woke the house
If not the neighborhood
I hear mama’s mad, weary voice
“What about that five-dollar bill?
When you left it was gone.
Now, I bet you know nothin’ about that.”

“Yes, I seen it,” he said,
“But I don’t steal from my only daughter.
If I’m lyin’ I’m cryin’,
And there ain’t a tear in my eye.
I got thirty-five bucks
For a paint job I done Junior Slaughter
Now, I drunk it all up
I cain’t help myself
Yes, I do try.”

When you lie to your child to her face
With that poker expression
Well, she slammed the door right on his ace
Bolted it, too
He slumped into the swing on the porch
And was snorin’
To shut out the rumble
I wound up my Whinny the Pooh

Then a scratch on the window screen
Woke me and choked me with terrror
His shadow there looked like the devil
Come after my soul
But my grandfather’s masculine voice
Said, “Come here to the winder.”
Then he hand me five dollars.
“Stick this in your poor mama’s purse.”

“Did you take it?” I asked
With the candor a child gets away with
“Well, I mighta,” he said,
“But I done it for her and for you.
Piney Finn cut me in
On the start of a surefire investment
That five there is profit
Soon there’ll be more comin’ through.

“I better go check my investment,”
He winked at me slyly
Give grandpa a kiss
His whiskery cheek scratched my face
He turned with sad, broken smile
Hobbled off to some bushes
And fished out a brown paper bag
From a fresh hidin’ place.

When he didn’t come back for a couple of days
You could see the concern in her eyes
“If he’s tryin’ to make me feel guilty
Or worried,” she said, “Then he’ll get a surprise.”

But I could remember the time
When he’d let me climb up on his back
Ride me that way down the hill
To DiMaria’s Dairy
Buy me a dreamsicle
Sing me an old army song
And I knew that the time would return
When he’d be his old self
With his hair trimmed down close
And his clean shaven face
And the scent of Old Spice
Ah, that’d be nice.

He’s out on the back porch again
Only after a month has gone by
Stiff as a board with one hand on the swing
And the other hand pressed to his side
You can tell from his face it was painful
Tho’ the hurt has gone out of his eyes
“If ya ask me,” says Piney,
“That bastard’s as thirsty
In death as he was when alive.”

Now he’s buried out in the back yard
His stone’s got a cross on the top
But by moonlight it looks
Like a bottle o’ hooch
With a corkscrew stuck into the stop
And he whispers to me that his mouth is so dry
There’s no weeds growin’ over his grave
Coz I found a full flask
In the juniper bush
And I pour him a drink every day.

If I’m lyin’, I’m cryin’
And there ain’t a tear in my eye
“If you’re dyin’, I’m buyin’,”
He lies to me, still.
And I will always love him that way.

Buy me a dreamsicle
Sing me an old army song.
Buy me a dreamsicle
Sing me an old army song.




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