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I wake up in the morning in a state of fright
On the wrong side of the bed all night
Clingin' to the broken heart inside my head
Open my eyes and I move my hand
'Round her pillow to the night stand
And straighten Miss Emily's picture by my bed

Go to the office The works piled up
Pour three fingers bourban in my coffee cup
And cry on my best friend's shoulder down the hall
Feels so lonely when I close the door
Bite my nails and I walk the floor
And straighten Miss Emily's picture on my wall

Look out my window and what do I see?
Nothing but pain looking back at me
All that my future means to me
Is tossin yesterday's love out into the wind
And straighten Miss Emily's picture now and then

Leave my office and I go downtown
To a little bar we all hang around
Laugh, drink, shoot pool, and have a ball
When the laughter stops and the hurtin' takes hold
Reach in my pocket for my billfold
And show Miss Emily's picture to 'em all

I stagger in the house and I slam the door
Scatter my clothes all over the floor
Wishin' I could do the same thing in my head
Drink a beer and I eat a bite
And just before I turn out the light
Straighten Miss Emily's picture by my bed

Look out my window and what do I see?
Nothing but pain looking back at me
All that my future means to me
Is tossin' yesterday's love out into the wind
And staightening Miss Emily's picture now and then

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  • m
    mao2233Apr 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm
    This is such a powerful song. Every time I hear it I get gooseflesh. I think its power comes from the fact we all have or have had an Emily in our lives. If it is past tense, the loss was and is just as bad as a punch to the gut. My "Emily" died suddenly and unexpectedly just as we were had decided to move in together. I had not met the family and they did not know me, so I actually found out from "Emily's" neighbor what had happened after returning from a short work trip. The funeral had already taken place and I was never contacted by the family.

    This song was released about a month after all this happened, so it took on a very personal meaning for me. I still get chills and tear up when I hear it after almost thirty years.

    John Conlee is an American treasure. He consistently has given the world wonderful music and haunting and ironic lyrics to enjoy and/or cry over. I wish he were better recognized for the power of his additions to the American songbook. I suspect that will happen in the fullness of time. Those of us who love him and his music benefit from his gifts. I am grateful for this and many other of his songs. Especially, even more now than then, "Backside of Thirty." So true.
  • U
    UnregisteredMay 18, 2012 at 11:50 am
    I loved this song when it came out and it does have new meaning for me now. My emily just left after being home on deployment leave for afghanistan. She is a nurse with the usaf. I am straightening all those pictures of miss emily as she serves our country.
  • U
    UnregisteredSep 11, 2011 at 12:13 am
    When I was pregnant with my first born, I was alone because my babies father was in the Air Force. We could never agree on a name for our baby, so many nights as I drove home from work I would hear this song. I fell in love with the song and the name Emily. Now our daughter is 18 and has moved on to college and I cried as I listened to this song again because now I am straightening Miss Emily's picture on my wall.

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