“Goodbye to Sandra Dee,” a poem by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Written for a friend of mine on the west coast who took the passing of Olivia Newton-John harder than most…

Goodbye to Sandra Dee

Ray Van Horn, Jr.

she hefts the burden of virtue  

on cardigan-covered shoulders

singing in lament, hardly in protest

against the stones thrown

from haughty wrists covered by hems of pink satin jackets

they jive their spite and their lowbrow pillow talk

from a tobacco-choked bedroom above

it’s a teenage despair we all feel, no matter our generation

Frankie Avalon can have high school all he wants

the squirrels, lazing in their nighttime tree hovels

are compelled to wake and divert

to the loft of her snowy, formless nightgown

and her snap case barrette, stamping her virginity

a flaxen seraph has broken the monotony

of the noisome, Ford and Elvis-bombed suburbia

they’re forced into co-existence with

even the crickets fall in love

all she wants is untainted love

marred only by the ambiguity

adulthood ‘round the corner brings

that, and the deliciousness of being furtive and naughty

with her Vitalis-slicked archangel-tramp

in his greaser’s sinning, grinning thunderbird pose

all hiding the latent moral fiber of Jimmy Stewart

their splendored summer affair purified

by the vast opportunity an ocean brings

crashed unto an unsatisfying ripple at an abandoned kiddie pool

which counsels the aches of her splintered heart

from dusty ponytail in a sex-starved drive-in

to redemption won on high heels at Prom

she morphs into an unexpected rock ‘n roll party queen

her gilded wings spread

then tangled, then at last, clipped

no turning back now

Graduation Day is coming

creamy, malt-colored clouds blanch,

beckoning the purge of her innocence

from the incinerated ashes of prudery

Sandy is reborn immortal

12 thoughts on ““Goodbye to Sandra Dee,” a poem by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

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