Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Enough Dough In My Pocket

Enough Dough In My Pocket
© Surazeus
2017 03 28

I strut down the crowded Manhattan street
in the city of Moloch the Devourer,
sporting wool suit and flashy red tie
cloaked with brown trench coat that spies always wear
and brown felt fedora cocked jauntily
upon my head as I watch everyone
with preternatural awareness of death,
like Sherlock Holmes, on Broadway in moonlight.

The heart-enchanting voice of Old Blue Eyes,
Frank Sinatra strutting on spot-light stage,
rings from the radio of every car
that glides cruising slow under neon lights,
echoing in the canyon of red brick towers,
exclaiming, "I have been a puppet, a pauper,
a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king."
So I snap my fingers with cool disdain
as I strut and sing along in light rain,
"Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race."

Puffing on the slim Vintage cigarette
that dangles from the sly sneer on my lips,
I twirl around at the heart-wrenching blare
of the wailing saxophone that swirls wild
from the crowded dance hall of flashing lights,
then skip along with delight that my wallet
bulges stuffed with ten thousand dollar bills
I snookered from the mook in the pool hall
when I scammed the fat tourist businessman
in town from Kansas City to make sales
with the classic bait and switch of illusion,
and then he shook my hand when I vamoosed,
unaware that I had lightened his load.

Leon sings as he skips along the street.
"The moon gleams silver in the evening sky
and I am dancing on the rainbow high,
rich at last with enough dough in my pocket
to buy my sweetheart a house and a rocket."

I step around the corner of the church
where my sister married the banker from Boston
and snap my fingers with sweet joie de vivre
when three thugs with thick baseball bats appear
from swirling mist, faces hidden by scarves,
so I duck when one swings, and leap sideways
when another strikes to bash in my brains,
and while they both stumble I kick their knees,
then slip my pistol from my coat and aim
to shoot the third when he lunges at me,
but some coward mook from the shadows shoots.

I feel the silver bullet pierce my soul,
and zap the lightning bolt of Jupiter
straight through the throbbing heartbeat of contempt
that fuels the fierce demeanor of my mien,
which knocks me back against the wall of stone,
so I scowl and shield my face when they strike,
knocking me down onto my hands and knees,
face dangling down over black pool of rain
where I see the bottomless pit of fear
threatening to devour me with despair,
but I steel my heart and grip groping hand
that clutches at my wallet full of cash.
"Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race."

Two swift kicks to my chest and throbbing head
knock the breath out of me, so I gasp deep,
and feel the rich winnings of my wit vanish
when the snarling thug jerks it from my hand,
then as I choke and spit blood in the pool
the thug sneers, "You look just like Leon Trotsky,
that sniveling rat and communist Jew
who helped lead the revolution in Russia.
We saw you rip off that mark from the country,
so we thought we would acquire our fair share.
Go back to Russia, you communist pig."

Breathing deep the cold night wind of contempt,
I lurch to my feet, straighten my trench coat,
slip my fedora back onto my head,
then wipe the blood from my mouth as I sneer,
"I know your voice anywhere, Peter Konov.
I acquired that wad of dough fair and square,
so I will remember you stole it from me.
I was born here in the land of the free.
My mamma came here from lush Saxony,
and my pappa has lived here in New York
since his grandfather came from the Emerald Isle
and helped free the slaves in the Civil War.
So therefore I aint no communist Jew."

Mocking me with insults about my mother,
they run away into the swirling mist,
so I grit my teeth, clutch my bleeding wound,
and crawl along the wall of silent death
toward the golden light that gleams in my eye
from the infinite sky of sparkling rain.
"Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race."

Clutching cold feet of the statue of Jesus
that stands at the locked door of the stone church,
I stare at rain glittering in gold moonlight
and laugh at the absurdity of life.
"Though mother of my mamma was a Jew,
my pappa raised me as a Protestant.
Her heart would break if she heard what I said.
Jesus was a Jew, and they worship him,
so why do Christians hate Jews like my mamma?
How short and meaningless, and full of pain,
is the endless brutal struggle of life
to survive against the hunger of death,
always driven by sharp anxiety
to ponder all the choices that we make,
because the future fans out before us
in a thousand roads of possible worlds
that could each lead to failure or success.
The more I understand about existence
the more despair drives my heart to achieve
power in the form of material wealth,
since I alone bear the terrible weight
of responsibility for every choice
I make in action and word that formats my life,
and this weight of freedom inspires my heart
to conquer the world with my strength and wit."

Leon wipes blood from his mouth with a grin.
"Ever since I was a boy growing up
in the rat-infested apartment room
in the Bowery while my mamma sewed shirts,
I wanted to get rich and own a house.
I want to buy land where I can grow crops,
like wheat for bread and apple trees for cider,
and I want to build a house with big rooms
so I can raise children with a loving wife,
and I want a car so I can drive far,
exploring this land sea to shining sea,
but I need money to acquire these things."

Looking up at Jesus, he shakes his head.
"Tricking people out of money with scams
seemed to be a quick way to acquire dough,
but then gangsters steal it all from my pocket.
Working in factories or construction sites
wears men down so they grow old and die weak,
like my father who worked for thirty years,
and then was discarded like useless trash
when he broke is leg in an accident,
so I will never throw away my life
working for a fat-cat capitalist king
who feasts on steak while we starve in our shacks.
How can I achieve wealth in this cruel world
within the fair parameters of the law?
My sister married the banker from Boston
and they live now in a many-roomed mansion,
so I will go and see my sister Mary
to ask her husband to give me a job
working as a clerk or a guard at the bank,
because the bank is like the water pool
where everyone must go to get a drink."

Feeling dizzy as he clutches his chest,
Leon slides down against the marble block
where Jesus stands, arms outstretched in the rain,
and stares at blood bubbling between his fingers.
Leon mumbles as he stares at blank sky.
"The moon gleams silver in the evening sky
and I am dancing on the rainbow high,
rich at last with enough dough in my pocket
to buy my sweetheart a house and a rocket."
Fedora perched jauntily on his head,
Leon falls over slow, flat on his face,
tumbling into infinite eye of light.