Thursday, 22 March 2007

take the shame

My sister sent some money
'cuz things had gone to hell.
Said "You don't belong there Honey,
a trip home will do you well."

On a three day smelly bus ride
Away from what had been obscene
Turned my nose to New York City
where the air was fresh and clean.

Pulled into Central Station
a different kind of highland
Was met by my dear sister
a castaway on Gov'nors Isand.

Being broke was half the trouble
and we played it like a game
but the nasty shoe debacle
well it made me take the shame.

I didn't know quite what to do
but I knew I had a job,
a suit of houndstooth off 'The Give'
and my hair cut into a bob.

The suit was fitting perfectly
and for shoes she found some flats
pink with silver circled cutouts
kind of clownish without spats

Well I stood there in a laugh-cry
'cuz my job was in the city
I gotta make these babies black
or be lookin' 'Hello Kitty'.

So she gets that strange expression
perhaps it's from the Lord
In an empty apartment down the hall
was some paint for the old baseboard.

We laughed the night we dipped the shoes
laughed until we cried
And early the next morning
It seemed the paint had dried.

You could see that they were shiny
and ready for the weather
and from an eyeball's distance
they could pass for patent leather.

I was ever careful
as I slipped my stockinged toes
into my brand new Government issued
shoes and No-Frills tailored clothes.

Mincing along but gingerly
I hopped aboard the ferry
missed the bus to Beekman
in the dark, the walk was scary.

Made it the building
not a minute did I lose
I tidied up my hair and
then I glanced down at my shoes...

Blasted bloody got em muddy
bits of paper grass and sand
I heard my toes scream out, "Hey, buddy!
for shoes, tar paint is banned!".

Quickly then I kicked 'em off
and tried to wipe 'em clean
but every little thing unstuck
took off the tacky sheen.

I did my best to conceal a sob
but had to pay my dues
as more than one allergic snob
caught sight of battered shoes.

At 5 PM back on the street
with nowhere else to roam
my misery, it was complete
as I tracked some more dirt home.

PS. I was reminded of one of my favorite episodes of the Little Rascals, where the boy, whose mother had been abused by his drunken father somehow managed to buy her a pretty dress and oversized pumps. I can't remember the details but the clothes didn't quite fit right. The closing scene left a lasting impression. The family are walking to church and the boy is looking at Mom in her new clothes and with love in his eyes says," Gee Ma, you look like an angel on Sunday!" Her ankles are wobbling badly, like a little girl in her mother's high heels, but she's beaming down at him, " I FEEL like an angel on Sunday!"


spleenal said...

I clicked on "next blog" and it took me here. Very good stuff.
I wrote a poem once.
maybe one day i'll stick it on my site.

Gina said...

Thank you, Spleenal. Follow your heart.

Anonymous said...

I remember the night well, fist a trip to the GIVE - a community table in the common laundry room , where rejected stuff gets a second chance it was a cold and dark fall night in NYC- now back up stairs with our find- a pair of pink flatsand a hounds tooth suit- bright idea #1 Paint the shoes black. I remember the empty apt well, just down the hall. The pungent paint odors still wafting- The workmen were there earlier that day scraping up the old lamimate tiles in the small apt, that apt faced east-overlooking the Veranzano's Bridge- I remember seeing it saprkling like a diamond necklace as I cracked a window to abate the fumes. "It's around somewhere I thought to my self- "Keep looking" The men were using this tarry black substance to paint old rubber base board or glue tile down- one or the other- It would work nicely to cover over the pink & silver 1980's shoes- I was never the brightest crayon in the box but that paint coud save my sister the embarrasment of not having proper shoes to wear on her first day on the job- & mom always said, " necessity is the mother of invention"- I had only one choice- get the black tar! it wouldnt take much- I remembered seeing them with the gloss black tarry paint- and thought they could spare a little-(so sue me)- we were desparate! The door was left open- and there ly the paint- I snuck in and grabbed what was left- Yes we diped the shoes, laid them on the heater on an opened brown bag- praying they would dry over night. They didnt. Hence the shame. We did laugh till we cried and Im sure I peed my pants! I cried when I saw you walk through the door that next evening- everything that the streets of lower Manhattan could afford was stuck tight to those things you name it it was on there. What you do for love! sorry sis- we tried- Thanks! your poem is so funny! I laugh my head off remembering. Love you.