Thursday, April 28, 2011

Philly Vs. NYC

Whenever someone
Gets in your face
It is usually very direct
The violence and hatred
Comes straight at you
Like a hail storm
And the matter
Usually gets settled
More or less
On the spot
There and then
One way or the other
Until police arrive
Or the EMT’s take someone
To the emergency room

In Philadelphia
Whenever someone
Gets in your face
The matter seldom gets resolved
There and then
More often than not
The belligerents
Slink off
To plot some sort
Of revenge move
One that usually
Comes at night
Unexpectedly and cowardly
In the dark
In the shadows
With no witnesses
So you might wake up
A day, a week, a month
Or two later
With your house on fire
Or with the tires
On your car
Slashed to ribbons
Or you may find
Your pet cat decapitated
And you rarely
Can tell for sure
Who is to blame
You can call the police
To report your suspicions
If you want
But most likely
Nothing will ever come of it

Some twenty years ago
I moved from NYC to Philly
In part to escape
As much as possible
All the excessive
Violence that occurs
On a daily basis
In what is laughingly
Called The Big Apple
Only to find
That there are parts
Of Philadelphia
That resembles
War time Baghdad
Or Beirut or Iwo Jima

In NYC the gangsters
Have a certain amount of class
Even cache
A certain sense of style
They worry a lot
About their image
About how good they look
While they are kicking
The living daylights
Out of their
Most recent hapless victim

In Philly
Street fighting remains
As you may
Or may not
Have gathered by now
A still mostly informal
Come as you are event
With very few rules
To hinder the
No holds barred

You’ll most
Likely have to pay off
Some self-styled Mr. Big
To compensate for your
Real or imagined transgressions
You may also have to spring
For a couple of very expensive plane tickets
To a very expensive resort and spa
That is located
Way out of town
The tickets are not for you

And if you value your life
You’ll definitely have to
Render unto Caesar
Whatever Caesar
Happens to want
Or else you may have
To elect to settle
Out of court
At a grossly expensive
And be forced to pay
The exorbitant dinner
Prices in the Italian
Latino community
At some mob owned eatery
Located in some
Out of the way
Way off the beaten path
Little known suburban township
Like Ronkonkoma or
Fire Island

Or you may be forced
To buy a shit load of tickets
At a couple of hundred bucks
A pop to the upcoming
Policeman’s Ball
Or the upcoming
Fireman’s Benevolent Society Raffle
Unless you prefer
To sell the tickets
Yourself to some of
Your well heeled friends

So either way
You are going to have to pay
Through the nose
Or you will
No longer have a nose
To pick
If you catch my drift
So take your pick
In the final analysis
The final choice
Of how you
Render unto Ceasar
Whether in NYC or in Philly
Is more or less
Entirely up to you.
Unless of course
You have a problem with that?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

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