Keith's Birthday

from by Pete Miser

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Keith's Birthday

hey! today’s my brother’s birthday!
how the fuck you celebrate it when he’s dead?
buried in a dusty little plot in Southeast
65th near Tenino Keith rest in peace

and me? I’m on the opposite coast
trying to carve a life out of a slice of burnt toast
Google mapped his grave on his special day
ashes to ashes dust all blown away

fair to say I’m the only person thinking of him
normally on this day I would call mom
but she passed last fall so it’s on me
no pressure shop as usual remain calm

and I don’t know light a candle or something
I got a couple votives from the grocery store
I’d pour out some beer but I don’t drink
play his Bob Dylan records but the vinyl stinks

mildew spills through my open nose
they said it was an accident case opened closed
people clean guns sometimes they pop
but two shots by accident seems like a lot

can’t say “suicide” that touches nerves
and that stirs up emotions most folks reserve
for intimate company and quiet times
so is it fucked up I put it in a rhyme?

well who cares? who dares say what they feel?
anything but the truth for mass appeal
well I don’t sell shit for records so there’s nothing to lose
one of the real ones, son don’t get it confused

it’s true blues stew and invade my moods
could wear ‘em on my arm in a few tattoos
might post ‘em on Twitter but it just seems weak
internet memorials, name something more cheap

I accept I neglect my family’s past
he dies when I die ‘cause I’m the last
not the last who’s alive but the last who cares
the last one to see his grave or tell you if and where

go there on one of these rainy days
65th twists around into an old driveway
there’s a shitty little house on a shitty little yard
and shitty little dog on guard

and it barks and it whines and it bares its teeth
that’s dog speak telling you to “keep it brief”
don’t gotta tell me twice there’s nothing nice here
nothing that acknowledges or celebrates life here

but I come ‘cause one day I’ll go too
and maybe I deny what I know to be true
that a light that shines bright means nothing if you missed it
may as well never have existed


from Depression Era Thinking, released August 1, 2017
written, produced and performed by Pete Miser
P. Ho (Big Brother Lin Drum Music, BMI)
intro vocal: Keith Ho




Pete Miser Brooklyn, New York

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