Charles Chaim Wax

The Barbarians Show No Mercy

Poem by Charles Chaim Wax

Not yet dawn
bitter cold
a frigid front
blasting in from the Canada
but Meng’s steamed
with hot oatmeal
and green tea
Walter Eddy trudged in
sat down saying
“The good old days are
gone forever.”
“Them good old days
wasn’t so good, ” said Abe Rosenblum,
“they only look good
when you look back at them
like people say how fantastic
Coney Island was
but the place was rough
very rough
right over there
off Surf Avenue
they electrocuted an elephant—
Big Alice
half the lights of Brooklyn
went out
when they threw the switch.”
“I don’t believe that, ” said Eddy.
“Irving Hirsch told me, ” said Rosenblum,
“and he was a Rabbi
lived to be a hundred and one
seen Big Alice fry
at the turn of the century this was
when Dreamland
had a hundred thousand light bulbs
cause in them days people went crazy
over electricity
since it was so new.and do you know
Hirsch said Kaddish for her
He did!
for a whole year
he recited prayers
for her soul
to rest in peace
cause she had a miserable life
taken from her family
back there in Africa
and then with the Circus
and the whips
and then she got old
and the rat bastards
figured they could make
a few bucks off her.
I stared out
the large plate glass window
the air
now suddenly simmering
with the aroma
of crisp flesh
a century
the life and death
Big Alice.

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Comments about The Barbarians Show No Mercy by Charles Chaim Wax

  • Max Reif (11/8/2005 8:34:00 AM)

    What a tawdry picture this paints of American sensibility. So your title is great.
    And 100,000 light bulbs indeed!
    (How many Coney Islanders did it take to screw in...?)(Report)Reply

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Edgar Allan Poe

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, November 8, 2005