OLD GANGSTERS NEVER DIE.
except the few that pass away in cinemas of midnight
lay there sprawling in the footlights for the,
the usherette or the ice cream girl to find
and if i die - god knows i might! -
don’t let me die in black and white!
don’t make me share a haunted screen with all those other ghost boys who stood
trembling in the foyer drinking whine
shoot their cuffs
check the time and step outside
and get CUT DOWN
by dead policemen faces strobing in the panic light their long dark cars parked out the back
their halos BLACK against the night…
and John Dillinger’s name in finest bullet-silver etched upon their hearts
a cold tattoo upon the skin, right next to where the badge is pinned
i could die carefully, at dusk.
‘cause buddy, i once owned a pair of diamond collar studs!
and as i live and breathe i swear that that’s no lie!
and men with such good taste as me deserve to cash their chips
more ELEGANT than those without a shirt upon their backs
or shine upon their dancing shoes…
yeah, like -
being dealt the ace of flames, you stand
and whispering once your mother’s name pitch headlong dead across the roulette table
bulletholes pilled like armistice poppies in neat rows across your back
do you know, so many hoods and hitmen got sent down
to tread the river bed for all eternity
and now they look like STATUES in some cold submerged art gallery
and i would gladly KISS the hand of any man!
who’d bind my wrists and send me down
to… to be in such good company.
DUTCH SHULTZ! CAPONE!
why, men like that had HELLSTARS in their eyes!
and when they walked in groups of more than two they must have looked like
GROUNDED CONSTELLATIONS, torn down from a B-FILM SKY!