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On the Waterfront

inspired by the film "On the Waterfront" and the screenplay writer, Budd Schulberg

On the Waterfront

Cain and Abel

Charlie and Terry

Brother and Brother

You lifted him—Terry, you

lifted your brother, body limp

off the meat hook, gently

your brother    hanging in the alley

             hanging in the sky

You thought—

Charlie    you was my brother

you shoulda been lookin’ out for me

you told me—Terry    take the fall

for the short money    this isn’t your night

              this isn’t my night?

No    you didn’t think that

You thought of that day walking with Edie

through the park    along the water

she drops her glove    Pick it up, Terry

put it on    just keep walking    just keep talking

You thought—I coulda been a contender

I coulda been somebody

instead of a bum    which is what I am

No    you didn’t think that

You thought of Edie’s brother

going up to the roof that night    that night you called to him

you thought they were going to lean on him    just a little bit

the ‘boys’ of Johnny Friendly    threw her brother from the roof


He may be a pigeon

but he can’t fly

Terry, are you still lifting

your brother, gently    off the meat hook

Are you still looking for your pigeons

             circling    the sky

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