I rolled down the window stuck my head out and let fly George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words

loudly and with feeling

I’m not sure who was more surprised

Maire Anne or the guy in the car on my left


when we got home, I told my aging auntie Flossie “we just drove up to Maine and when we crossed the Kittery Bridge I remembered the tradition and swore like we used to with Uncle Bernie but I didn’t see anyone else doing it. Is it possible I had the wrong bridge?”


my auntie Flossie looked at me sad and wistful and said  “I don’t know how to tell you this, but your uncle Bernie made that up”


I said “you mean… it wasn’t a Maine tradition? it was just our tradition?

well that just made me love it all the more


so if you’re traveling northward on I95

and you cross out of New Hampshire

and you wish to feel alive

do it for the freedom

don’t you hesitate or doubt

do it for my uncle Bernie

go ahead and let it out


and yell what ever the heck you want to

it’s not up to me to say

but make it real and salty

you’ll feel good and free today

and I don’t believe that heaven

is where an old soul goes

I don’t believe he’s looking down

or that he even knows

but can swear for certain

he’d be laughing if he knew

that when I cross the Kittery Bridge

I still say fuck you



© 2018 by Rob Siegel. All rights reserved.





14 – The Kittery Bridge

(ATTENTION: bleeped profane language at end of song!)


my aunt Flo and uncle Bernie

used to have a place in Maine

a little house in Bridgeton

to escape the city’s strain

it was a long drive from Long Island

up to Long Lake but once there

we’d run and swim and boat and fish

and just enjoy the fresh Maine air


but Bernie used to tell us

an old Maine tradition said

you should swear like a sailor

when you crossed the Kittery Bridge

“Maine is all ‘bout freedom, so let it out when you come


so we’d roll down the car windows

and we’d swear and swear and swear


and we’d say… well I can’t tell you what we said

but it’d curdle milk and steam off paint

and probably wake the dead

one of my best memories

from when I was a kid

was swearing with Uncle Bernie

when we crossed the Kittery Bridge


I’m sure you can imagine

the zeal with which I did

embrace the fine tradition

of this language on that bridge

but when vacation’s over

and you’re heading home again

Bernie said that you reverse it

to take it all back in


and we’d swear a blue streak backward

it’s fun cussing in reverse

we’d say kuf and tish and mad dog

which sounded much less worse

one of my fondest memories

from when I was a kid

was swearing backwards with Uncle Bernie

when we crossed the Kittery Bridge


30 years later I was traveling up to Maine with Maire Anne

and we crossed over bridge that looked awfully familiar

then it all came flooding back

I said excuse me

I have to do this

I’ll explain in a minute