Literary Yard

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Poem: Pitch # 3 of 9/ motive for a murder joke

By: Patrick Legay


yes it can’t be denied that’s true
and if you want more that storyboard like that
I got a bunch —
funny little family vignettes —
like the one about me at 7 years old
in 1954
look I’ll give you this one right now too
no don’t worry everyone
can hear it, it’ll be quick
right everybody, good, break the ice here
then we’ll order drinks —
yessir give us a second
could use some time to look at the cocktail list
in this one I’m 7 years old likeIsaid
my parents take me to New York city
you know after school ended that year
spring/summer 1954
my father had a business errand
in New York
and I pestered and pestered to go along
because that city
was always in the movies
where everyone
is dancing and singing in the streets
wars’s over
whole neighborhood is out dancing and singing about it
it’s raining tonight
whole neighborhood is out dancing and singing about it
war’s back on
whole neighborhood is out dancing and singing about it
the postman
the street toughs
the snobby nosed upper class folk
all break into song and dance in unison on the regular
yeah you got the image now
I grew up in a small town
where no one would dance and sing
I loved those films
they were spectacular
none like them anymore
Dean Martin
James Dean
Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire
actually James Dean wasn’t a singer or dancer
but I loved his stuff when I got older
I said Dean Martin
so I get to New York 7 years old
with my mommy and daddy
and we get out of the hotel
it’s a knockout day
of course a whole bunch of people break into song and dance in unison
right there along the street
just like I was hoping with all my heart they would
and there’s a real commotion
my parents lose track of me
because I’m so gobstopped
by all these regular people
breaking into song and dance about how gay life is
and about how the path is now clear or something
so I try to do my part too
I find an opening
in this one chorus line
that is mostly snapping their fingers
and singing “boopy doo wop yeah yeah”
but they’re tap dancing too
and I’m finding it real hard
to follow along with all the steps and jumps
and the words and melody changes
these New Yorkers are so brilliant
they all pick it up so fantastically
but I’m just a small town kid doing my best
— it’s my first time —
soon everyone stops and looks at me
all of them really stare me down
and I stand there looking back at them
then some voice from high above booms
“hey kid
get the fuck out of our shot.”

look I’m sorry
I forgot about you and him
really I did
well I would have assumed you broke up with him
but last night
your Mr. Chatterbox there
ate a lot of sugar or something
gathering all the nerve he could
to pitch every story he’s ever thought of
as a commercial or tv show
because Susan had brought her new beau the Hollywood exec to dinner
turns out your friend thought he could really make it big
and no one could get a word in on the actual business at hand
yes I’d say things fell to hell
so now of course I’m pretty off kilter
and of course you’ll hear me pitch a scenario or two myself
about playing a role in his killing
as a joke, Samantha, as a joke
no, no, no, for Christsake
I haven’t forgot about my commitment to non-violence already
don’t write any of this in your diary
I don’t even want you to put down on paper
that I even had a motive to joke about murder
and that’s final




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