Ode to Uncle Joe

sage, poetry, prose, poems, steven humphreys

The Ode to Uncle Joe

I sing to you!

Uncle had some wisdom

You know he had a tid bit of it

At least, give him that credit, will ya!

He lived his life the way he wanted to, didn’t he?

Turn me on, Deadman

Stop that!

Respect Poor Old Uncle Joe!

It’s his Funeral

Poor Old Uncle Joe can cry if he wants to!

The guy’s dead as a doornail

Isn’t he a really cool cat when he’s dead?

He’s a much cooler guy now, isn’t he?

Just look at him over there

Maybe, he’s so cool cause he can’t talk anymore

He’s now a man of few words like Clint and Bronson

He sure can’t say stupid things anymore that used to cut into our very souls

But, the things he said keep ringing in our ears, don’t they?

Even until this day

Those things became a part of us

We believed him

But, Poor Old Uncle Joe told some lies, didn’t the Bastard!

And, then we grew up

And, then it finally dawned on us he was full of it

He’s there, but Poor Old Uncle Joe’s gone

His voice has been silenced forever

Yet, it still rings in our ears like he’s still here talking all his BULL!

Be quiet now, Poor Old Uncle Joe!

Just look at him helplessly laying there like a stiff!

Well, he is one now, isn’t he?

Look closely…

Tell me what you see

Go tell him anything you want

But, you don’t have to give him the COLD shoulder, do you?

Go so far as to tell him the whole truth and nothing but the truth

You’ve got nothin’ to lose, friend

Tell him how you really felt about him

I dare you

But, he won’t care…

You talk to deaf ears

It is now as it was then

He wouldn’t listen

I promise you he won’t care

Poor Old Uncle Joe is Dead.

He can understand you now

His ears are deaf

He lays so still

He won’t tell, he’ll keep the little secret quiet…

Look at him, just look at him!

He’s much uglier than he was, isn’t he!

I didn’t think he could possibly get even uglier, could he?

Oh yes, he certainly will when the bone starts showing through his rotting skin

There are advantages to being dead, aren’t there?

One thing is that it doesn’t matter anymore how ugly you are

Handsome and Pretty are meaningless

But, you’ll have to ask poor old uncle Joe his take on it to be sure

I’d guess he might think there are some advantages!

There must be at least one good one

Look at the bright side of dying…

The MAN can’t tell him what to do anymore!

Poor Old Uncle Joe doesn’t have to wake up early and drive in L.A. freeway traffic

Poor Old Uncle Joe isn’t in the RAT RACE, anymore

Yippie for him!

And, BOO for us!

We are still Rats in the Race without a finish line!

This in itself is worth dying for

No one can tell him ‘nuttin now, honey!

He can be himself now

Bully for him!

He doesn’t have to drown his blues away with alcohol

But, it sure did taste nice

It gave a good buzz

It quenched that thirst

Poor Old Uncle Joe can let his guard down

Poor Old Uncle Joe can be who he is

He can bloom

He can come out of his shell

He doesn’t have to act happy when he’s SAD

He doesn’t have to be a PHONY to keep some stupid assed low paying job that only keeps a roof over his head and food on the table and nothing more than that

He doesn’t have to worry about gettin’ fired

He doesn’t have to answer to you, anymore

He doesn’t have to go to some Quack Doctor where there’s never a cure for what’s ailing him

He doesn’t have to make you happy

He doesn’t have to please me

He doesn’t have to watch the words he says

No more TAXES!

No more RULES!

No more doing the dishes!

It doesn’t matter what color you are

You are just as dead when you are a black man as a white one

It doesn’t matter what religion you are

You are just as dead

Don’t have to worry about a Nuclear War or Terrorist Attack!

So, go ahead, tell him off!

See if he cares one Diddly do!

His feelings won’t be hurt

He has NONE anymore…

His feelings won’t hurt him anymore

He doesn’t have to take any more pills

He doesn’t have to take a shower and put on underarm deodorant

He doesn’t even have to change his socks and underwear!

How COOL is that!

Pretty gross, if you ask me!

So, let’s not go there…

I don’t think he smells any different now than he did before

Sorry, Poor Old Uncle Joe, I didn’t mean any disrespect

But, you were always Drunk and smelled like hell

But, he doesn’t have to do laundry anymore

Doesn’t have to wear pants anymore

Well, maybe that’s not so cool

We don’t want to imagine what that would look like NUDE, would we?

I don’t want to PUKE and have you PUKE on me!

Unless of course, we PUKE in his face!

He won’t have to remember our Birthdays

Won’t get in trouble when he forgets them

We don’t have to show up at Uncle Joe’s house and hear his Bull and smell the beer on his drunken breath!

Remember that cheap cigar

God, that stunk to high heaven!

Poor old uncle Joe

Bugs can crawl in one ear and out the other instead of someone’s words he doesn’t want to hear

Confidentially buddy, you know his funeral is goanna be a NO SHOW

He always knew that

He’s the only one showing, except for us

See him over there waiting for you to say goodbye?

You and I are his only friends, you know

And, that’s because we’re his only family

We simply had no choice in the matter

It’s called GENES, Baby!

The mother and the father got together

Then, there we were about nine months later

Me and my twin brother

You and I have been fighting ever since

But, we’re fair weather and phony as hell

And, just as skin deep as well

But, do you think he gives one damned hoot!

I would say NO, not even one TOOT

Imagine the gall of all his real PHONY assed friends he hung out with at that BAR!

Not one of them misses him, do they?

Oh, they probably think “what ever happened to Ole Joe?”

Big deal

That’s caring?

Those Phony Asses!

Well, do you see any one of them here?

They’re all NO SHOWS

Look under the rocks, maybe they’re crawling around there with the other slimy bugs!

Look in the trash can

No, not there with all the stinking rotting trash, either!

They didn’t care that he croaked

And, no one will care about all those fools when they do

Dyin’ will only get in the way of their drinkin’.

They’d all stand in a long line and piss in old Joe’s face when no one was looking laughing all their drunken heads off, wouldn’t they?

Just think about all the money he spent on them buying them rounds of cheap well drinks

But, they wouldn’t waste their precious gas and do a drive by and throw their trash all over him and his brand new shiny casket…

I don’t think they even have cars

They’re all impounded

They lost their driver’s licenses

They have to walk now

They take the Bus

They don’t ride bicycles

They can’t balance worth a dime

How do you do that and not crash when you are an alcoholic?

You don’t…

They couldn’t even jump up on a Bike and stay balanced long enough to ride off into the sunset

They’d fall to the ground without training wheels

They wouldn’t waste a bottle of whiskey pouring it all over Joe’s face right now!

No more Phonies!

That’s one thing good about dyin’ Uncle Joe believes

I think I knew him well enough to read his mind

That’s why he’s out of this crumby world, baby!

He’s out of here

He told us he’s goanna break out of this nightmare

He did what he said

He was a man of his word

He broke out

We didn’t believe him

We didn’t think it was goanna be this way

Well, we didn’t believe he was goanna hang himself in his garage like he did

But now, he’s goanna break out of that Casket, MAN!

Did you just see him move around a bit?

Yeah, you did

You saw him out of the corner of your eye you sly devil!

Did you see him smile?

I saw him out of the corner of my eye

Did you know he’s smiling at you?

He didn’t look at me

He smiled at you

How do I know?

He told me so


I told you I can read his mind

Look, see

He’s looking at you, smiling

But, he’s goanna be in your FACE!

He’s goanna scream and shout

Well, most likely he’d be drunk and belch in your face and let out a long bean fart

Remember how he loved all those bean burritos?

Remember, that’s the last thing he did

He ate his last Bean Burrito!

Hey, go over there and push on his stomach

Maybe, you’ will push out a big ole fart

Hey, it’s his Funeral

He can Fart if he wants to

He can do what he wants


What are you goanna do, have him arrested for disturbing the peace?

For poor manners?

I think not!

Leave poor old uncle Joe alone, will you!

He’s paid his dues in life

But, we haven’t paid ours yet.

He also told me to tell you…

Hold onto your horses

It’s not your turn, yet

You’ll have to wait

Be patient

It’s coming near

It’s almost time

It’s almost here

It’s very very near

Don’t you ever be sad for him

He doesn’t want that

Be sadder for yourself, you selfish so and so!

Hey, don’t be mad at me, he told me to say that!

Cause your times a comin’ sucker round the next corner sooner than you think!

You might as well cry about it now while you still can

It will come like a thief in the night

When you least expect it

That’s how it all happened to him you know

Well, not exactly

It was the rope

He did the rope a dope

You better start enjoyin’ things big time

Before you know it’s all goanna be over

By the way, Uncle Joe didn’t like you much

Don’t get mad

Don’t KILL me!

Don’t be too upset, Uncle Joe there didn’t like many unless they happened to be drunk like him

You should have had a few drinks with the poor old sap

I’m just the messenger deliverin’ the message!

Don’t blow me away with that gun you’re holdin’

If you don’t mind, our UNCLE JOE over there asked me to ask you another question

It’s between you, me, poor old uncle Joe, and that lamp post over by his casket…

It’s confidential, so don’t worry yourself one single bit

And no, it’s not that you are coming out of the CLOSET and you want to become a woman now

Oh yeah, it’s not secret pal

Everyone knows

No, I didn’t have to tell them

It’s written all over you like a book

Now back to Uncle Joe, here it is

The Revelation

The Big Question of Life

Are you Ready?


Brace yourself

Here it goes


Did God happen to tell you what your lousy stinkin’ no good purpose was?

You are pausing too long


Come on boy

Don’t Dilly Dally with the answer

Yeah…that’s what I thought…

You know, he didn’t tell me mine, either

God, like Uncle Joe over there doesn’t seem to talk much

And, even if he did

We probably wouldn’t be wise enough to understand what he said

We wouldn’t listen

And, you know we wouldn’t want to do those things he commanded us to do

See your poor old uncle Joe over there here in the casket

I’ll bet God didn’t tell him about ‘nuttin!

That so sucks a big one, doesn’t it!

Hey, does that suck, poor old uncle joe?

No answer…

Well, we don’t care if he knew

God didn’t tell us either, did he?

It matters to us because we’re still alive

At least you and I aren’t laying there stiff like he is!

That’s some conciliation, isn’t it!

But, we will be old

Then, we will wonder where all the time went

In the blink of an eye we will be both like poor old uncle Joe over there

The good thing now is, He’s the stiff, not us

Not yet

He took our place, at least for the time being

But, we both have a reservation held for us

He often said we wander through life alone running into walls and closed doors

He often said he was one of those so called late bloomers who never found himself

Maybe, there was a secret Poor Old Uncle Joe who wasn’t such a bad guy after all

Maybe, we just didn’t understand the old fool

Sorry, uncle Joe, no disrespect meant

Maybe, he stayed drunk to hide his real self

Maybe, he was a sensitive guy

I guess we’ll never know now

But, he wanted me to ask you, were you a late bloomer like him?

Did you have to waste your entire youth to get the big picture?

Did you find yourself?

Did you find your true calling?

I mean, your Niche in life?

Did you find where you belonged?

Or, did you always feel out of place?

Well, don’t feel alone, because you are not

You’re in good company, son

Uncle Joe there felt we’re all doomed!

He had a sense that no matter how much money or fame you get, you can’t take it with you!

It’s pointless to even try


What’s the point of all this nonsense

Trying to impress someone

Thinking you are superior

What’s the point of all that?

We’re all goanna be just as dead no matter what we do with our lives

He figured out he wasted his entire life working his ass off in that stupid job where the boss didn’t appreciate him

All his fellow workers stabbed him in the back and sucked up to the boss

He hated those ass sucks!

But No, he wouldn’t do it


Uncle Joe there wasn’t an ass suck like you and me

He kissed no ass

We should be PROUD he’s not an ass suck like us

He didn’t betray himself like we did to survive

Maybe, he wasn’t such a bad guy after all

Maybe, we should look up to the drunk

We’re down here looking up

Or, he’s down there looking up

No disrespect, Uncle

Someone is always looking up dead as a doornail

Did you have your heart torn out by someone you found out later didn’t even love you?

That happened to poor OLD UNCLE JOE many a time

He always knew that bitch he was playing around with didn’t care about him

You felt it in your gut, didn’t you uncle Joe?

You knew with each gulp of that whiskey, didn’t you?

Maybe, she took every last cent she could get out of you, then left you for your so called best friend!

Some friend, huh, Uncle Joe?

That happened to me, too uncle, so don’t feel so bad

Oh yeah, and remember that College Degree you worked so hard for…

You found out it didn’t mean a darned thing except slavery

That piece of paper might as well have been toilet paper

You found out it only trained you to be a hypnotized slave and a secret after work alcoholic!

What! You hated your job! You hated life!

Tough titties for you, you poor poor sap!

You know what, BROTHER!

They stole all your younger years away like a damned Vampire!

By the time you woke up, you were an old man uncle Joe

You never bloomed at all, did you?

You’re ONE Pathetic excuse for a human being, aren’t you!

What’s your MAJOR MALFUNCTION, Fucker?

You were OK the way you were, weren’t you Uncle Joe?

They just wouldn’t leave you alone and let you be yourself

They wouldn’t accept you for the way you were

Uncle Joe understands now

Oh yeah, he’s listening

He always listens because he has nothing better to do

He always will tell you what’s on his mind if you listen to the wind

Can you hear him babbling and carrying on now?

He’s the one who’ll come after you and pollenate you with his wisdom

That’s a lot better than rotten green rats down in the gutter drain, MAN!

I wrote a poem like that when I was young way before I knew about all the crap I was going to have to go through in life

God, I might have hanged myself too, if I’d known all the trouble I was headed for

Old uncle Joe there died pissed off!

Take a good look at his face

It’s stone

He’s not smiling, is he?

Can you really blame him?

He doesn’t look like a happy camper

Get a good look at his face

Don’t get weird on me, man!

Come on, take a good look

Get your face close to his

Get some guts

Kiss him goodbye on his cheek

Don’t be such a PUSSY

Slide up there close to that casket!

See him good

Get cheek to cheek, pal

Cause, his FACE is goanna show up in your dreams tonight, FELLA

Never ever forget what that poor old uncle Joe looks like

Cause, you’re lookin’ at the future you and me, son!

Uncle Joe said you have a choice in things

You can enjoy the rest of your life or be miserable

You can think life sucks or think the best of it

It doesn’t matter what you do

You and I will still die

And, die alone, you and I will

It’s kind of a personal thing of sorts

Get a stiffie my man, while you still can

Of course, we’re in good company

They have blazed the trail nice and deep for us to follow

All we have to do is follow the dust they made walking on it

And, die like they did

Attila the Hun

Joan of Ark

Edgar Allen Poe

Henry David Thoreau



All the Billions and Billions of unknown Stiffs

Like you and I and of course our guest of honor Poor Old Uncle Joe!

They turned into dust

It blows silently in the wind

We’re goanna be Stiff like Old Uncle Joe over there

So, now you know what they meant about youth is wasted on the young

Poor Old Uncle Joe never bloomed

He tried

He kept watering himself up with all the booze he could get his hands on

But, he never bloomed

He didn’t grow

He just got old

Poor Old Uncle Joe didn’t deserve his lot in life, did he?

Isn’t there a little Poor Old Uncle Joe in you and me?


Did I hear you say NO?

Look again

Tell me who you see

Poor Old Uncle Joe’s me

He’s you

Poor Old Uncle Joe bloomed

I swear he did!

Poor Old Uncle Joe finally finally bloomed

Good God almighty!

I’ll drink to that!

How ’bout you?

Got some Poor Old Uncle Joe in you?

I’ll bet like me, you do, too…


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