Tuesday, March 21, 2017

double a, part 4

by genghis gilgamesh

illustrated by konrad kraus

part four of four

for part three, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

the target’s name was moran
he was a corpulent man
with the body of a bear and the face of an otter
he had a pious wife and a beautiful daughter

how he had aroused callahan’s ire
i did not enquire
it might have been just callahan’s whim
or a way to bind me to him

i set about the job
moran lived on the hill called nob
with his daughter and his wife
he lived a quiet life

he had a butler, a chauffeur, and maid
from his routine he never strayed
the setup seemed easy enough
no need for complicated stuff

i waited for night to descend
not knowing what fate might portend
but before moran arrived home
the daughter came out, alone

she took me by surprise
and looked me in the eyes
by her ethereal beauty i was destroyed
and fell into the void

she asked politely, was i lost
and i was - it suddenly crossed
my mind to confess everything
and not care what the future would bring

but the moment passed
and in gentlemanly fashion i asked
the way to the bus station
as a hopeful way to start a conversation

the way to the bus station, she smiled
is across town many a mile
i will the chauffeur take you there
so you will not have to pay cab fare

thus it was that i became
acquainted with sarah jane
and abandoned ambitious criminal plans
and all thoughts of evil mary ann

in sarah jane’s delightful company
for the first time i felt really free
and knew that life’s only goal
was to walk in the light of her radiant soul

i tried to forget mary ann
and the pact that i had made with callahan
but they were creatures of the bottomless pit
my dereliction with them did not well sit

one night with sarah jane i was feeling glorious
she looked at me with eyes somewhat curious
darling, she said, i have heard strange tales of you
i know you can assure me they are untrue

they say you are a hoodlum from downstate
whose notoriety is very great
and that the record of your crimes
would fill up novels that are sold for dimes

i quickly saw that she had heard the tale
of my entire life in great detail
with a few lies thrown in for good measure
such was mary ann’s and callahan’s pleasure

i fled! i fled forsooth
roasted in the barbecue pit of truth
i fled! but there was not to be
any escape for the likes of me

i tried to disappear without a trace
with a new name, and a new face
with my kingdom gone, and none to come
i became a drunken bum

i wandered with bindlestiffs and hoboes
through towns whose names i did not know
always glancing over my shoulder
hoping callahan’s pursuit grew colder

as you no doubt have guessed, my friend
my story came to no good end
on an empty street one windy night
a fellow approached me for a light

as i complied with his request
he stuck a pistol in my chest
it was all part of the plan
he said “good-bye - from mary ann”

i felt nothing but relief
at ending thus my life so brief
and as my deliverer fled
the stars whirled by above my head

who put us upon this planet
with heart of ice and smile of granite
wth dreams of hope and facts of shame
to think that we could beat the game?

everybody is really everybody else
they are only pretending to be only themselves
everyone who dies is really jesus christ
everyone who dies alone dies under the lights

Monday, March 20, 2017

double a, part 3

by genghis gilgamesh

illustrated by konrad kraus

part three of four

for part two, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

i went to my room and flopped on my bed
strange emotions roared through my head
last night i went to sleep a nobody
now the world had been revealed to me

in the days to follow i moved fast
my opportunity might not last
i made it plain for all to see
that now the town belonged to me

the sudden exit of johnny and harry
was a tale that quickly carried
but the town needed a boss
so i quickly made up its loss

only one guy made a move
to get me out of my groove
harry’s old buddy ray lee
who had it in him to say to me

you know it seems to me
this is the twentieth century
we don’t need some punk like you
telling us what we can and can’t do

i told ray he had a right to his opinion
but i continued to exercise dominion
one night ray went home to his wife and kid
yes that is what he did

the next morning ray got up
and drank some coffee from his cup
then went outside to get into his cadillac
and somebody shot him in the back

after that i was home free
everything was approved by me
all the men and boys did my bidding
and women flocked around me like pigeons

winter to spring, summer to fall
i had beaten city hall
everything was going to plan
and then i met mary ann

mary ann lived in a house on the hill
her grandfather in his will
had left her the city and most of the state
such was her most fortunate fate

she had long indulged a passion
for wild living and fast action
life to her was just a game
and she refused to be tamed

from the age of fourteen
she had made the scene
and run through a thousand men and boys
like a playpen filled with broken toys

johnny had been the last
to feel her icy sensuous blast
and be reduced to babbling rubble
the world was her soap bubble

now it was my hour
i consolidated my power
dames, like men, were at my command
then i felt the touch of her silky hand

mary ann put me to the test
sneered, you are no better than the rest
happy to rule this hick county
when the whole world could be your bounty

i put her off as best i could
i thought things were going pretty good
but mary ann had a bold plan
introduced me to a man named callahan

callahan had made a nice career
upholding everything folks held dear
in the state capital he held sway
what he said went, day by day

faceless, traceless, behind the scenes
the elected officials were his jumping beans
every few years he would arrange
for the proles and farmers, “time for a change”

i did not hear the bell of fate toll
as mary ann drove us upstate in her rolls
late at night, in a dim lit cafe
i heard what callahan had to say

callahan looked me over good
like a talent scout from hollywood
asked me from under his heavy lids
“how would you like to be governor, kid?”

with mary ann’s eyes burning into my soul
i could not refuse the role
and hardly knowing what i said
into the trap i was fatefully led

“just one thing,” added callahan
“there is a man -“
he paused - “a certain fellow,
i should say, a rat quite yellow

whose existence causes me grief
and it would be a relief
to me, and to the community
if he should somehow cease to be”

this came as no surprise
i hardly blinked my eyes
something for him, something for me
such was the way it would always be

i calmly agreed
to do the deed
once furnished wth the requisite details
and so fate sped along its rails

part 4

Sunday, March 19, 2017

double a, part 2

by genghis gilgamesh

illustrated by konrad kraus

part two of four

for part one, click here

out on the outskirts of town
was an old house tumbling down
i had explored it as a kid
i knew where secret doors were hid

doors that led to deep dungeons
in which you took a chance of plunging
into a dark and deadly abyss
in which you would feel eternity’s kiss

if i could get johnny and harry there
their prospects would not be fair
i knew the contours of every room
and i would lead them to their doom

and then when they were out of the way
everything would be as i say
i could take over the town
and whatever i wanted would go down

and so it transpired
we got in johnny’s caddy with whitewall tires
and headed out to the old harris place
a disgusted sneer was on harry’s face

johnny kept his foot on the gas
miles of deserted roadway passed
behind a cloud the moon was hid
“where exactly are we going, kid?”

“there it is,” i finally said
“there it is just up ahead”
the deserted mansion suddenly loomed
presenting a solemn face of doom

we came to a stop
you could hear a dime drop
“i don’t like this,” said harry
on the wind his voice did carry

my voice was a little slack
as i said “they are waiting in the back”
i got out of the car
in the sky was a single star

i advanced with a confident air
and heard harry growl like a bear
my heart hammered hollow
but what could they do but follow?

i kept close to the side
like a shadow tried to glide
then ducked down some cellar stairs
of which johnny and harry were unawares

behind the house a yawning pit
like a demon’s mouth did sit
i heard their footsteps slow
and harry say “where did he go?”

i held my breath
life or death?
i heard harry stumble on
then he screamed - and was gone

johnny stopped in his track
would he go forward or back?
he felt in his pocket for a match
and i was on him in a flash

i caught him by surprise
and the mad glint in his eyes
told me i had no time to think
as i pushed him over the brink

one more step and i was over too
but destiny played me true
i stood there gasping, stunned
but i had won!

the caddy sat beneath the trees
in it johnny had left the keys
i drove it fifty miles away
as the night turned to day

i left the car in a vacant lot
in a little town that time forgot
it would be stolen and stripped in an hour
as sure as the rain loves little flowers

i headed for the highway and stuck out my thumb
i always knew my day would come
i had no trouble catching rides
because folks in these parts are much obliged

i got back home a little after noon
under my breath i hummed a tune
the clouds drifted by and the sun did shine
the town had been johnny’s but now it was mine

mom was baking cookies as usual
she was glad to see me and the feeling was mutual
you were up early, she casually noted
into the kitchen a butterfly floated

part 3

Saturday, March 18, 2017

double a, part 1

by genghis gilgamesh

illustrated by konrad kraus

previously posted in down with the universe on may 4, 2009

part one of four

when i was young i was full of fire
wild women were my desire
to buy them flowers and perfume
night after night i played with doom

but i was not always so wild
before that i was god's child
and i stood in the shadow of the steeple
in the fleeting shadow of the steeple

reverend mason, the mildest of men
told me when i was only ten
that god had marked me for his own
and my soul would never turn to stone

the light that falls through schoolhouse walls
is the light through which eternity crawls
i had no thought of other fate
what could i but sit and wait?

my mother was a woman good
and always did the best she could
her eyeballs had a hunted look
through the smoke of all the meals she cooked

my father wore a hat of gray
and never had very much to say
his posture was a little slack
he went to work and always came back

but madness bubbled in my brain
and violence whistled through my veins
through walls and windows closed so tight
i heard the call of laughing night

the night - a dark and throbbing ocean
but floating in perpetual motion
upon is surface - old town square
the playground of the brave and fair

where swaggering dudes and slinky dames
with reputations and magic names
a hundred stories in each face
defied the law-abiding human race

the night on which my life began
and i decided to be a man
out the window and down the tree
nothing on earth was stopping me

there on the corner, the very first
was harry jensen, the worst of the worst
and johnny dean, the coolest of the cool
i walked right into them like a fool

i halted my progress none too soon
beneath the full and smiling moon
johnny turned, as smooth as ice
his voice was soft as clicking dice

"kid, you're out a little late"
into his eyes i looked quite straight
"i'm on my way to do a job"
harry horselaughed - the stupid slob

the laugh seared through me like a knife
he was my enemy for life
we might pull jobs together, yet
deep down i never would forget

but johnny's gaze was cool and gray
i stood and did not look away
"that's very interesting", he said
"we were going home to bed"

"and i still am" said harry rudely
but johnny turned on him quite moodily
"you never know what we might find
tell us, kid, what's on your mind"

these guys didn't look so tough
in innocence i tried a bluff
"why should i let you in on this?
this job's a snap - it just can't miss."

"have it your way", johnny said
as harry yawned and scratched his head
"and yet i find it kind of hard
you couldn't use a man on guard"

"why don't you let us come along?
if it's as easy as a song
no need to split the take with us
i'm just a little curious."

harry laughed again - the jerk
one day i'd make of him short work
"go on." he said, it's not my game
i've got a date with a swell dame,"

“dame. dame," - at just the word
my heart hammered and my eyeballs blurred
then swift as lightning in the rain
a plan jumped full into my brain

part 2