The fog rolls in at quitting time -
Battered cap at my feet.
Five pence earned by a daily grind -
Maybe enough to eat.
Wind-up monkey on my shoulder,
Zeppelins float in the sky.
Steeples struggle to pierce the smog -
Crosses hide as if shy.
God is dead, and Darwin killed him.
Though, Nietzsche had a hand
Natural selection reigns now -
Blame it for where I stand.
Tuneless tin drum revolves once more,
Phony primate dances.
Passing children laugh, hop, and point
Dads give side-long glances.
For I am a beggar by trade -
Musician by proxy.
A fellow neither blind nor lame –
My burden is boxy.
Soon enough the song is finished,
The hat still just as light.
Time to wind down my brass monkey-
Pack it up for the night.
Street organ slung low and silent.
Steam-carriage rattles by.
Tesla-coil lamps buzz to life.
I walk on with a sigh.
Squalor mingles free with splendor-
Industry does not care.
Machines rob us of our duties,
No one hears our soft prayer.
Oh, I used to be my own man -
Graced by honest toil,
Dwelling where it was green and bright,
Strong hands worked fertile soil.
Pub brims full of men discarded-
Factories run themselves.
Dead dreams draw me into the bar,
Eulogy from top-shelves.
Automatic bartender pours –
Fine suit over copper.
Cheap whiskey burns regret away…
Enter a lady proper.
Sun-spun ringlets don’t belong,
Pale skin, red lips, swan throat.
Cog-driven hands clutched parasol,
Eyes from a Byron quote.
Play a happy song, dear fellow
Silken voice tickles me.
Her smile settled at the bar-
Left me nowhere to flee.
Lash-veiled gaze fell to the organ,
Then raised sunken spirit.
Skeletal steel fingers took mine,
Life regained its merit.
Evasive were answers given-
Our names did not matter.
My clockwork song stirs her false heart-
And the globe kept spinning