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Mar 2013
Lou Costello’s
bronze semblance
dipped and danced atop
his granite pedestal
spinning miasmatic tales
of enigmatic hope and
resplendent labor

“the sweet
unbounded
expectation of
hope once
surged down
this city’s streets”
... said Lou

"I was a self made man
until someone thought up
the idea to cast a bronze
caricature of me and
bolt it to this grand rock”

nostalgia
is the boldest form
of fiction
culling from the past
the things hoped for
in the now

“growing up
here
I clipped school,
played ball,
rolled drunks
and fought
nickel ante
prize fights
to get my
daily bread,
I literally
punched my
way out
of this town”

a smith smelts a
batch of liquid bronze
pouring molds full of
a fervent wish
a madman's delusion
a priestly promise
a Pollyannaish illusion?

baskets overflowed
gushing hope, offered
at the holy altars by
honorable workers

it was said that
a morsel of labor
could feed 5000
starved families
breeding hopes as large
as a half cup of water

hope
the size of a
mustard seed sparked
recovery of 1000 sick children
dying from the Asian Flu
at St. Joe's

hope
willed an end to war’s slaughter
which ironically was bad for
Paterson's war profiteers
forcing layoffs
sparking labor actions

hope
ignited conflagrations firing
the resurrection of dead industries
lately there is a lot of hope
circling this one

miracles spring
from the pronounced
lips of trembling hearts

the hopeful amassed
slogging forth on bloodied toes
along razor thin slices
of expectation
hoping to begin again
eager to build anew

new starts sometimes
grow old fast soon
hope expires
winging back home
on broken wings of
misspent labor

hoping for the snow to stop
a lump of coal to last
the labor of a budding crocus
rewarded, breaking through
the hard crust of winters end
blooms for a day then expires

hope is a beggars wish
gods give yearnings heft
prayers earnestly chanted
willing paradigm shifts

prayers of absolution
play the angles
calculating odds
of probabilistic mathematics
a sure thing long shot
the prayers of the
righteous availeth much

we hoped for jobs
we hoped for leisure
we hoped for love
we hoped for labor
we hoped for rest
we hoped for luck
we hoped for a life
wealth health blest

laughing at our follies
crying over defeats
our city a tragic star
a comedy of schemes

our
hope and labor
is the keystone of
our self construction
cornerstone of
a grand city’s edifice
its negation our
deconstruction

tragedy and comedy
invested and spent
falling and laughing
foibles and faith

belief trumps evidence
happenstance slays surety
horror and beauty
compose a life's mural
nothing happens
by mistake

learning and ignorance
fate and chance
the risk of randomness
expiration dates arrive fast

predetermination a bold
conviction, suspicion,
intention a splendid  
kismet  

banality becomes
sublime  
laughter is ******

...the mystery is in
the loam... says WCW
...the finished product
is what I’m after...

“what the
**** are you
doing here?"
the bronzed Louis
gagged

"Hey Abbott
look at these clowns
in the yellow plastic
garbage bags!

bobbing in a sea of
midnight mist

a posse of
neon clowns
donning glad bags
on the most dismal
night of the year

twinkling under the
gloom of my playgrounds
faltering streetlamps

“twinkling targets
easily tracked,
a trained eye,
a steady hand
could pick you off
at a thousand paces
what gives?

“what the **** are
you doing here?

“what the **** am I doin
here for that matter?”

“the second question
is easy to answer,

“I’m Paterson’s
finest son....

...“Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me," and went on with the show. No one in the audience knew of the death until after the show when Bud Abbott explained the events of the day, and how the phrase "The show must go on" had been epitomized by Lou that night....

"Mr. Bacciagalupe
he use to live on
Cianci Street

“who’s on first?
what’s on second?
I don’t know is on third?
was a riddle one recited
to get into his speak

“his Ginnie Red was legendary
and no one was ever known to
die from drinking his bathtub gin”

the old world ways
are made new
by the arrival of
new old worlds
supplanting old Italiano

“where is all the goodwill capital
we invested in this place?”

successive generations
thought it best to export
the capital of the
expired generations
elsewhere

it was ferried
across the river,
crossed the
city boundaries,
leaving for Wayne
and the fairer lawns
of Wyckoff and the
greener grasses of
Franklin Lakes

all the old wise guys
died off or were sentenced
to life by their children,
some still doin time in
old age homes in
Rockaway

all the sport clubs
boarded up but their spirit
lingers like an espresso
ring on a post slurp
demitasse cup

“hell my body is buried
in Hollywood but here
I am, holding court in
Costello Park
talking with you
knuckleheads
a baseball bat
my royal scepter
a brown derby
my crown, truly a
King of Nothing,
Lord of All

“the soul of my city is
eternal,  like the comedy
of tragedy or is it
tragic comic?

“here I remain
omnipresent,
spinning about
frozen forever
in a magnificent
bronze age,
erected to my likeness
beholding me
to stand witness
to this litter strewn park
decorated with corrugated
Big Mac boxes, plastic
Big Gulp tops and discarded
rubbers bagging the ****
of this cities arrested
citizenry”

never actualized
never naturalized
citizenship denied
at the commencement
of ejaculatory flows
of joy

unfulfilled spirit
of citizenship
never to experience
the splendor
of yesterday’s
modernist
metropolis and
Lou’s stand up
routines

“look at that John
over there, that guy
wheezing like a
ruptured blacksmith’s
billow, pounding away
laboring to get off

“the poor little
******* just hopes it
will end soon

it does
**** he’s done

I” knew that guys
grandfather,
getting off
runs in the family
and remains one
of the few things
that draws the progeny back
to the old neighborhood

“you can still glimpse
snippets of the old ways
rising in new ways

“an Armenian
sports club
around the corner
is a new
incarnation of
the old Neapolitan
social clubs that
once demarcated the
neighborhoods

“these days
great grandsons
of once proud
Sons of Italy
come back to the
old neighborhoods
begging for hand-jobs
from crack ******

“welcome to my
burlesque world

“since the Gumbas
moved to Franklin Lakes
the wannabe wise guys
became ***** whipped
dumb *****
making ***** of
themselves with
their painted ****-job
Jersey Housewives

“they ***** their families
out for a bit parts on
MTV and a free lunch
at the Brownstone

“their grandfathers
labored long hours
to assure the well being
of their families in the expectant
hope of a better shot at life
but the children squandered
the hard earned bequest lovingly
bequeathed by reverent forebears

“in the wee hours
one can sometimes hear
a weeping chorus
of concrete Madonnas
musing melodious lullabies
to the sleeping
Lombard's lying
in uneasy repose at
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

“they twist in their graves
dreaming of a last dance with the
Lady of Unending Sorrows
at weddings for unrepentant
wayward daughters and prodigal sons

“its small
recompense for a
lifetime of an
honest day’s work”

the dashed hope
of squandered labor
begets a city of ruin”

at the
parks northern corner
the Salvation Army’s
rumbling bivouac rests
in a dreamless sleep
its residents
patiently waiting to
inherit this city
abandoned by
nuevo wise guys

this tragedy
is all comedy
the comedic hope
of tragic labor
buried snoring
the millenniums away
awaiting resurrection
day

Lou was getting ******...
“get outta my park

“the artists
in the rehabbed
factories across
the street
are resting

“nothing much
going on there

“if you're hoping
to find some
homeless slogs
head over to the river
you should find some there”....

Music Selection:
Frank Sinatra, High Hopes

jbm
Oakland
3/26/13
Part 5 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  Hope and Labor is the city motto of Paterson NJ, nick named The Silk City.
James Bradley McCallum
Written by
James Bradley McCallum  New Jersey
(New Jersey)   
3.8k
   Monica Abigail
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