My 14th Favorite Song of All-Time

“Styrofoam Plates”
by Death Cab For Cutie

There’s a saltwater film on the jar of your ashes;
I threw them to the sea,
but a gust blew them backwards
and now the sting in my eyes—
that you then inflicted—
was par for the course
just as when you were living.

It’s no stretch to say you were not quite a father
but the donor of seeds to a poor single mother
that would raise us alone—
we never saw the money—
that went down your throat
through the hole in your belly.

Thirteen years old in the suburbs of Denver,
standing in line for Thanksgiving dinner
at the Catholic church
(the servers wore crosses
to shield from the sufferance
plaguing the others).
Styrofoam plates, cafeteria tables,
charity reeks of cheap wine and pity
and I’m thinking of you,
I do every year when we count all our blessings
and wonder what we’re doing here.

You’re a disgrace to the concept of family.
The priest won’t divulge that fact in his homily
and I’ll stand up and scream
(the mourning remain quiet)
you can deck out a lie in a suit,
but I won’t buy it.
I won’t join the procession that’s speaking their piece,
using five dollar words while praising his integrity.
Just ’cause he’s gone, it doesn’t change that fact:
he was bastard in life, thus a bastard in death!


One Response to “My 14th Favorite Song of All-Time”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    Yeah those are some pretty deep lyrics. Reading them makes me all the more grateful that I can’t personally relate to them too. A son’s contempt for an absent father I got to believe is all the more bitter knowing that you are essentially a younger version of your father.

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