Billy Ray King Takes a Wife

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Wayne Michael DeHart  (August, 2022)

Are you still there? Are you okay?
Do you rue the day? Have you gone astray?
Do you have someone to light your way?
Is it a he or a she, or maybe a they?
What can I do? What can I say?
Are your skies blue? Or shades of gray?
If I deal the right cards, will you play?
If I say the right words, will you stay?
And the clock ticks fast, taking time away.

Why don’t you answer? It just isn’t fair.
I’m here for you. All’s forgiven, I swear.
I’ll do anything. I’ll go anywhere.
If you won’t come here, I’ll go there.
I’ll travel by train. I’ll get there by air.
We can find a bench in the city square.
Sit close and hug, get take-out to share.
Whatever it takes, to show you I care.
And the clock ticks on, no time to spare.

Why won’t you call, why don’t you write?
Tell me, please, what you’re doing tonight.
Are you sick? Do you hurt? Are you alright?
Can you see my face when I’m out of sight?
My nights are dark, the stars aren’t bright.
My colors surrender to black and to white.
Don’t want to quarrel, don’t want to fight.
You left. You’re gone. Turned off the light.
And the clock ticks forward, while I sit tight.

You primped like a Queen, spurning her King.
You took what I had without giving a thing.
Do you heed what I say? Hear when I sing?
Cruel words cut deep, and yours still sting.
Was I shelter in your storm, a passing fling?
You sold me a story, so I bought you a ring.
You promised we’d marry in the early Spring
Then flew away fast, like a bird on the wing.
And the clock ticks wane, play out the string.

You flaunted the role of a runaway bride.
Shunned the sun for the moon’s dark side.
Said you’d come back, but again you lied.
Took me for granted, took me for a ride.
Yet I always pursued, swallowed my pride.
Searched every hole, where you might hide.
Now I’m turning the tables, turning the tide.
I’ve opened my eyes, I’ve opened them wide.
And the clock ticks not. Our time has died.

“Are you still there? Are you okay?
What can I do? What can I say?

Can I come play, Billy Ray?
I’ll stay, won’t run away.
Say ‘Yea,’ I pray.”

Hey, no way, you’ve become passé.
Just too risqué and bound to stray.
Nope to “Yea.” I’ll go with “Nay.”
A happy yay and a hip hooray.
Time’s up, Mae. Adiós. Olé!

“But Billy, I’m lost. I’ll do anything.
My only dream is to be Mae King.”

Awww, Mae, my love, yes, come back.
I miss your smile and I miss your rack.

“Hold on Billy, I’m coming anew.”

Gotta say, angel Mae. I am too!

  • The End (of the poem, yes, but wait . . .)

Writer’s Note:  Thirteen years after their 1976 wedding, and ten years after she divorced him for messing around with Molly, a female waitperson in Baton Rouge, Billy Ray King disappeared while aimlessly roaming the salt flats of Utah, in deep despair. Never did get his mojo back and Miss Molly had already moved on to a bigger and better tipper. The increasingly magnificent Mae remained a King because it carried a more refined and less cringey vibe than her maiden name, “McSnottery.” Lady got her head straight, earned a business degree from Florida State, and settled in Lake Delford, Florida, where she made a name for herself and got quite a bang out of it. When time allows and if your curiosity is piqued, you can catch up with her improbable goings-on here:

Mae King, Out at The Kabb Inn