Detroit is the Best Place to Die

Christmas babies live interesting lives,
As long as you want to die in Detroit.
Detroit is the best place to die, I think.
Detroit does it right.
Go to Detroit to die.

Wear a suit and a fedora every day of your life,
Live with your fists, words, your power.
Start the union, guard the union, become the union.
Get picked up in the union car each day,
Meet at Mac McNulty's joint next to the cigar shop.
Surround yourself with Irish soldiers,
Coo-Coo McGuiness, Louis Lamatrice,
The lot of them.
Then go to Detroit to die

Marry a dame, name of Ethel,
Nickname her Hi-Test,
Dress her in fur, with a cigarette holder.
Ride in a Model T Ford.
Build a house, have a son,
Let him see you for 7 or 8 years.
Then go to Detroit and die.

Drive to the Jersey Shore near the end of the war,
Check into a grand hotel along the strand,
Walk the firm wooden planks of the boardwalk
In your crisp, white pants. Draw the salty air,
The Camels into your lungs, deep and familiar.
Smell the ocean, let it smell you.
Listen to great songs on the Armed Forces Radio Network,
The White Cliffs of Dover.
Then go to Detroit and die.

My father passed those stories on to me.
I found this out days before his death.
He never traveled to Detroit.
He died anyway.

Detroit is the best place to die, I think.

Larry Lafferty

If you've any comment on this poem, Larry Lafferty would be pleased to hear from you.