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Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 02

LOVE SONNETS OF A HOODLUM

BY WALLACE IRWIN

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.

VIII

I sometimes think that I am not so good,
That there are foxier, warmer babes than I,
That Fate has given me the calm go-by
And my long suit is sawing mother's wood.
Then would I duck from under if I could,
Catch the hog special on the jump and fly
To some Goat Island planned by destiny
For dubs and has-beens and that solemn brood.
But spite of bug-wheels in my cocoa tree,
The trade in lager beer is still a-humming,
A schooner can be purchased for a V
Or even grafted if you're fierce at bumming.
My finish then less clearly do I see,
For lo! I have another think a-coming.

IX

Last night I tumbled off the water cart—
It was a peacherino of a drunk;
I put the cocktail market on the punk
And tore up all the sidewalks from the start.
The package that I carried was a tart
That beat Vesuvius out for sizz and spunk,
And when they put me in my little bunk
You couldn't tell my jag and me apart.
Oh! would I were the ice man for a space,
Then might I cool this red-hot cocoanut,
Corral the jim-jam bugs that madly race
Around the eaves that from my forehead jut—
Or will a carpenter please come instead
And build a picket fence around my head?

XII

Life is a combination hard to buck,
A proposition difficult to beat,
E'en though you get there Zaza with both feet,
In forty flickers, it's the same hard luck,
And you are up against it nip and tuck,
Shanghaied without a steady place to eat,
Guyed by the very copper on your beat
Who lays to jug you when you run amuck.
O Life! you give Yours Truly quite a pain.
On the T square I do not like your style;
For you are playing favorites again
And you have got me handicapped a mile.
Avaunt, false Life, with all your pride and pelf:
Go take a running jump and chase yourself!

XIV

O mommer! wasn't Mame a looty toot
Last night when at the Rainbow Social Club
She did the bunny hug with every scrub
From Hogan's Alley to the Dutchman's Boot,
While little Willie, like a plug-eared mute,
Papered the wall and helped absorb the grub,
Played nest-egg with the benches like a dub
When hot society was easy fruit!
Am I a turnip? On the strict Q.T.,
Why do my Trilbys get so ossified?
Why am I minus when it's up to me
To brace my Paris Pansy for a glide?
Once more my hoodoo's thrown the game and scored
A flock of zeros on my tally-board.

XXI

At noon to-day Murphy and Mame were tied.
A gospel huckster did the referee,
And all the Drug Clerks' Union loped to see
The queen of Minnie Street become a bride,
And that bad actor, Murphy, by her side,
Standing where Yours Despondent ought to be.
I went to hang a smile in front of me,
But weeps were in my glimmers when I tried.
The pastor murmured, "Two and two make one,"
And slipped a sixteen K on Mamie's grab;
And when the game was tied and all was done
The guests shied footwear at the bridal cab,
And Murphy's little gilt-roofed brother Jim
Snickered, "She's left her happy home for him."


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