The Walrus and the Stockbroker


by Stephen D. Gross


The neon puddled in the street
lurid, garish, + bright
And did its best to expose
this pitiful neighborhood blight
and that was odd because it was
a National Heritage Site


Flouresence glared through office panes
and  the neon glare
exposed the sidewalk’s
cracks and stains
which had no business there
“A painted whore” a man complained
“and I don’t have the fare!”


Polychrome the gutters shone
reflected rainbows danced
and raw as a gnawed-on, dog eared bone
He felt inside his pants
the downtown ladies laughed at him
he went into a trance


The streets were wet as wet could be
Their throats were parched and dry
the quivering mounds of rotting trash
reached half way to the sky
the Norway rats which ruled the streets
were learning how to fly


“If seven brothers named Santini
worked for seven nights
loading up their 2-ton truck
scraping up this blight
I fear this hell hole would remain
a place too wronged to right”


The Walrus and the stock broker
were sullen, pissed and rude
With dangling arms and shoulders hunched
They looked hostile and crude
But looks be damned they couldn’ t care less
They were obsessed with food


The stock broker revved his beast
he drove a De Lorean
The broker expressed remorse
the tears he wept were saurian
(His moon was ruled by Scorpio
He spent too much time worryin’)


Alleyways as dark as pitch
littered with jagged glass
brimful with the smell of death
the stench of burning grass
a gun, flashlight, undying faith
you’d better watch your ass


“Good eve young rats”, the broker croaked
How goes your April night?
The eldest rat just sneered and toked
and chortled with delight
“We’ve got the munchies, come with us
We’ll find ourselves a bite”


The rat pups pulled their jerkins on
They laced their high-top shoes
They crept between the building’s bricks
and squeezed up through the flues
they smelled of reefer, acrid smoke
offal, plague and booze


Two by two the rodents crept
The moonlight sickly yellow
four by four and eight by eight
vigilant yet mellow
they climbed aboard the blood red car
all bowed and squeeked, “Hello!”


The young rats numbered sixty-six
some corpulent, some tiny
they squeezed between the smirking men
the car smelled new and piney
Drove down Grand Street at 4 am
Their eyes glittery and shiny


Turned down Delancey, headed south
over the Brooklyn Bridge
Past Red Hook, Bushwick too
Flatbush and Bay Ridge
The DeLorean pulled up suddenly
Next to a rusting fridge


The Walrus and the Stockbroker
walked a block or three
the rats followed close behind
snickering with glee
the men sat on a broken bench
the rats beneath a tree


“The time has come”, the broker said
“to recount our adventures
to speak of orthodontists, and
the man who made my dentures
The wolves and bears of Wall Street
Who traded my debentures”


“But we don’t care about your teeth
your Muni Bonds and buy outs
Your feeble struggles, failed attempts
Your weaknesses or tryouts
your twelve step plans, your preachy ways
addictions or your dry outs”


“An onion bagel or bialy
salt, mustard, some horseradish
a bit of brie some provolone
good cheese – nothing fadish”
the Broker weeping crocodile tears
was feeling kind of baddish


“But wait a sec” said one rat
the others called him Terry
These condiments of which you speak
we think unnecessary
Behind him glowed
a ship’s blue lights
the Staten Island Ferry


“You’re thinking Rats-a-Roni?
or Ratatouille Stew?
A bowl of sweet Rat’s Pudding?
Hell, we’ve been thinking too!”
“We came along for dinner
we thought we’d dine on you!”


The Walrus and the stock broker
raced back to their car
Their legs were two, the rats had four
they didn’t get too far
Their screams were drowned by music
from a nearby Folkie bar


The sixty-six rats bit clawed chewed
like kids with an ice cream cone
crawled through the sockets of their eyes
gnawed through every bone
And the very last thing they ever heard
was “Like a Rolling Stone”