First Avenue

it’s midnight on the ice tonight, everyone has gone to bed
except for Lonesome Sally with her aspirins in her head
she’s peeking through the keyhole where the doorway meets the hall
watching for stranger who is long dark and tall
so when Long Tall Howie with ribbons in is hair
comes skipping down the hallway singing “everything is fair”
she knows he’s a nice fellow but she doesn’t like his looks
‘cause he ain’t long and tall enough so she goes back to reading books

down by the benches and Bennie’s hungry shoes
down by the water on First Avenue

the blue streak purist bus comes in right on time
the driver gagged and cross-boned, tied up way behind
a skinny kid with afro is drivin’ the wheel for us
and he don’t allow nobody to pay to ride on his bus
and the taxi cab and the French horn play a midnight melody
as Vanishing Lucy paints her face with mystery
and as she vanishes finally a hummingbird does growl
along the foamy waterfront where the Jesus people prowl

down by the benches and Bennie’s hungry shoes
down by the water on First Avenue

Sergeant Frank is terrified with his policeman’s badge and hat
he’s afraid of men with beards, especially if they’re fat
so when fat bearded Poco comes and taps him on the boot
poor Sergeant Frank jumps clean out of his suit
Poco puts it on and goes walkin’ off down the street
shooting off his guns on his new policeman’s beat
and somewhere in the city a naked sergeant’s on the loose
as Poco pawns his uniform to buy a jug of juice

down by the benches and Bennie’s hungry shoes
down by the water on First Avenue