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- The Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum - 2/4 -


current colloquial, "Wouldn't that jar you!"

An Inside Con to Refined Guys

Let me down easy, reader, say! Don't run the bluff that you are on, Or proudly scoff at every toff Who rattles off a rag-time con.

Get next to how the French Villon, Before Jack Hangman yanked him high, Quilled slangy guff and Frenchy stuff And kicked up rough the same as I.

And Byron, Herrick, Burns, forby, Got gay with Erato, much the same As I now do to show to you The way into the Hall of Fame.

Prologue

Wouldn't it jar you, wouldn't it make you sore To see the poet, when the goods play out, Crawl off of poor old Pegasus and tout His skate to two-step sonnets off galore? Then, when the plug, a dead one, can no more Shake rag-time than a biscuit, right about The poem-butcher turns with gleeful shout And sends a batch of sonnets to the store.

The sonnet is a very easy mark, A James P. Dandy as a carry-all For brain-fag wrecks who want to keep it dark Just why their crop of thinks is running small. On the low down, dear Maine, my looty loo, That's why I've cooked this batch of rhymes for you.

I

Say, will she treat me white, or throw me down, Give me the glassy glare, or welcome hand, Shovel me dirt, or treat me on the grand, Knife me, or make me think I own the town? Will she be on the level, do me brown, Or will she jolt me lightly on the sand, Leaving poor Willie froze to beat the band, Limp as your grandma's Mother Hubbard gown?

I do not know, nor do I give a whoop, But this I know: if she is so inclined She can come play with me on our back stoop, Even in office hours, I do not mind - In fact I know I'm nice and good and ready To get an option on her as my steady.

II

On the dead level I am sore of heart, For nifty Mame has frosted me complete, Since ten o'clock, G. M., when on the street I saw my lightning finish from the start. O goo-goo eye, how glassy gazed thou art To freeze my spinach solid when we meet, And keep thy Willie on the anxious seat Like a bum Dago on an apple cart!

Is it because my pants fit much too soon, Or that my hand-me-down is out of style, That thou dost turn me under when I spoon, Nor hand me hothouse beauties with a smile? If that's the case, next week I'll scorch the line Clad in a shell I'll buy of Cohenstein.

III

As follows is the make-up I shall buy, Next week, when from the boss I pull my pay: - A white and yellow zig-zag cutaway, A sunset-colored vest and purple tie, A shirt for vaudeville and something fly In gunboat shoes and half-hose on the gay. I'll get some green shoe-laces, by the way, And a straw lid to set 'em stepping high.

Then shall I shine and be the great main squeeze, The warm gazook, the only on the bunch, The Oklahoma wonder, the whole cheese, The baby with the Honolulu hunch - That will bring Mame to time - I should say yes! Ain't my dough good as Murphy's? Well, I guess!

IV

O fate, thou art a lobster, but not dead! Silently dost thou grab, e'en as the cop Nabs the poor hobo, sneaking from a shop With some rich geezer's tile upon his head. By thy fake propositions are we led To get quite chesty, when it's buff! kerflop!! We take a tumble and the cog-wheels stop, Leaving the patient seeing stars in bed.

So was I swatted, for I could not draw My last week's pay. I got the dinky dink. No more I see the husk in dreams I saw, And Mame is mine some more, I do not think. I know my rival, and it makes me sore - 'Tis Murphy, night clerk in McCann's drug store.

V

Last night - ah, yesternight - I flagged my queen Steering for Grunsky's ice-cream joint full sail! I up and braced her, breezy as a gale, And she was the all-rightest ever seen. Just then Brick Murphy butted in between, Rushing my funny song-and-dance to jail, My syncopated con-talk no avail, For Murphy was the only nectarine.

This is a sample of the hand I get When I am playing more than solitaire, Showing how I become the slowest yet When it's a case of razors in the air, And competition knocks me off creation Like a gin-fountain smashed by Carrie Nation.

VI

See how that Murphy cake-walks in his pride, That brick-topped Murphy, fourteen-dollar jay; You'd think he'd leased the sidewalk by the way He takes up half a yard on either side! I'm wise his diamond ring's a cut-glass snide, His overcoat is rented by the day, But still no kick is coming yet from Mae When Murphy cuts the cake so very wide.

Rubber, thou scab! Don't throw on so much spaniel! Say, are there any more at home like you? You're not the only lion after Daniel, You're not the only oyster in the stew. Get next, you pawn-shop sport! Come oft the fence Before I make you look like thirty cents!

VII

Mayhap you think I cinched my little job When I made meat of Mamie's dress-suit belle. If that's your hunch you don't know how the swell Can put it on the plain, unfinished slob Who lacks the kiss-me war paint of the snob And can't make good inside a giddy shell; Wherefore the reason I am fain to tell The slump that caused me this melodious sob.

For when I pushed Brick Murphy to the rope Mame manned the ambulance and dragged him in, Massaged his lamps with fragrant drug store dope And coughed up loops of kindergarten chin; She sprang a come back, piped for the patrol, Then threw a glance that tommyhawked my soul.


The Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum - 2/4

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