'The Five Pints'

April 22, 2008|By E.L. SYVERSON

Mulberry Street and Worth.

Cross and Orange and Little Water.

The morning is cold and bitter

with a blanket of snow to cover a city and its filth.

They said the War would never touch New York,

but the Draft and the Irish already had,

and the city became like the country herself:

a volatile melting pot

divided for slavery and territory.

On this morning, a battle between warriors


by the ancient laws of combat

in the palm of a crooked hand.

The Butcher and the Priest.

Natives versus all those from across the sea.

Who will hold sway?

No one is more than a man;

flesh and blood and cloth.

The man with the cleaver,

with an ungodly howl,

stomps his foot into the snow,

declaring his challenge.

The man with the cross,

ready to take back what belongs to his people,

accepts with equal fury.

God put the steel in their spines

And the love in their hearts

Mercy had run thick and red with the blood of fallen brothers.

Both tribes scream their names.

And as they charge -

cries, growls, snarls, and screams;

men women, Christians, and Catholics -

death is unleashed.

Clubs and fists strike, knives cut and tear.

New blood is spilled on old streets.

Skulls and legs split and crack.

Bodies fall, shatter, crumble.

Wet chokes of cries gurgle and spray,

hands clutching at nothing,

mouths dry and gaping.

In the midst of chaos, men make their peace with God

on the last breath they have.

Mother's sons and daughters fall

and a leader is finally taken,

ears and noses being the trophies of the day.

but the war has just begun.

An unholy war

fought by unholy men

for Paradise Square.

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