The Ballad of No-Neck Bradley

by Richard Cairo

SAIL to any port on the coast of Chinee
and you won't hear the tale of a No-Neck Bradley
He was seven inches shy of six feet tall
And they called him No-Neck for no reason at all.
Not a hero or a villain like they learn you in school
no, No-Neck Bradley was just another fool.
That's right, just like you and me, boys and girls.

No-Neck Bradley was a burly burly man with a curly curly beard
Of all the things on Earth there was nothing that he feared
'cept his ma maybe, and redheads, and electric pencil sharpeners …


Conceived by mistake in a bathroom stall,
he lost his early years at the local mall
He clawed out of school by finally passing gym.
A year or two later the railroad called him — the old choo choo.
Bradley found work with the L-I-double R
Punching tickets all day, walking from car to car.

No-Neck Bradley was a burly burly man with a curly curly beard
Of all the things on Earth there was nothing that he feared
'cept escalators, bow-tie pasta, and them tiny dogs look like Dobermans.


There came a hot summer day on the Hempstead line
Bradley's in his blue duds, wasn't feeling too fine
The commuters piled on at Penn Station
Packed themselves in as if space were a sin
They'd all had long days in their office stalls
Now they're rushing on home to their ugly strip malls.

No-Neck Bradley was a burly burly man with a curly curly beard
Of all the things on Earth there was nothing that he feared
'cept handshakes, genuine displays of emotion, and small talk.


As the train came to a rest in Westbury
No-Neck had what you'd call an epiphany:
''This is all I am,'' it was, ''this is all I will be.''
Despite what you'd think, it made him feel kinda free.
At the end of the day, no, he didn't feel down
as he drove on home through his cancer-cluster town —
smiling, that boy was, whistlin' Billy Joel tunes …

No-Neck Bradley was a burly burly man with a curly curly beard
Of all the things on Earth there was nothing that he feared
'ceptin' that Regis guy, tofu, kids with runny noses …
No-Neck Bradley, No-Neck Bradley, No-Neck Bradley, that's who!
Don't forget ol' No-Neck now!


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