Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This is for Joe (who gave me the first three lines)

Standing on the stateroom balcony
Peering into the endless black
Of a horizonless night,

I couldn’t help thinking of that dame that walked up to me
Just a few hours before.
She had the look of a wanderer
But a wanderer who knew her way around.
Only tonight she was a lost kitten
With eyes as deep as that horizonless night.

“I know it must be fate, Mr. Marlowe,” she said to me,
“That on this night, when all seemed so hopeless
I should find you here.”

That’s what she wanted – hope on a hopeless night.
I had seen that look before.
Sometimes that look would lob a zinger
Right into the pit of my stomach.
Another needy client
Short on hope,
Short on insight,
Even shorter on cash,
But long on virtue.

I promised her I would see what I could do.
I wasn’t so sure about this beau she told me about.
I didn’t know if he was on the up-and-up,
But he obviously meant something to her,
And now he was nowhere to be found.
I don’t know why I agreed to it –
Yeah, I know why –
It’s because I’m a sucker.
A sucker for a cry for help,
A sucker to track down dead-beat scum,
A sucker to thrash out a little justice in this god-forsaken city.
A sucker for the deep dark eyes
Of a helpless girl
On the edge of another horizonless night.


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