It’s influenced by the B-Movies of my younger days, with a nod to the cliches of the genre.
THREE BLIND MICE
1. BETTY MAE’S DREAM
She had a dream. Mice in a maze.
Blind. Trapped like lost souls in the Pit.
It haunted her for days, she says.
I tell her that dreams don’t mean shit.
I meet this bozo in a bar.
He says: You Wes? I say: Who says?
He says: I know you from the scar.
Ok, I say. I guess I’m Wes.
He says: We need you drive a car:
word is you’re outa work these days.
He offers me a big cigar.
I like his style: admire finesse.
He says: The job won’t take an hour.
C’mon, consider my request.
Just grab the dough then au revoir:
no stress. Hey Wes, just acquiesce.
I’m hooked: but something seems to jar.
3. BETTY MAE AND WES
3. BETTY MAE AND WES
Be honest Wes, I say: Confess;
you plan to do another job.
Wes says: It’s cool, I guess, don’t stress.
But me, I can’t suppress a sob:
I know, with every bank they rob,
the danger grows, his luck gets less.
He says: Just one last job, and then
we’re gone: we’ll quit this crazy town,
head for the coast and start again:
diamonds and mink, a classy gown.
I force a smile. Conceal my frown:
don’t want him back inside the Pen.
Wes laughs and says: I only drive.
They do the rough stuff, it ain’t me,
but I know there’s a forty-five
hid in his drawer: I found the key.
Goddam it, guns make me antsy.
I need Wes to come back alive.
The Olds’ pulls in. I slide inside.
The Driver nods but he don’t speak.
I recommend we go get Vin.
He cracks a grin: away we glide.
Wes drives relaxed, a cool technique:
I like a guy with discipline.
We pull in back of Artie’s bar:
Vin piles in like a thunderbolt.
Mad eyes and face that’s furnace-hot:
his energy heats up the car.
A Smith and Wesson and a Colt
are the equipment that he’s brought.
There’s me, Leroy, with Vin and Wes
cruising on Fifty-Fifth and Main.
The Olds’ is solid as a tank:
respectable. Who’d ever guess,
as we swing back and forth again,
we’re here to rob the Union Bank.
5. THE DRIVER
5. THE DRIVER
I fetch the car. The boys arrive,
jump in, shout: Okay Wes, let’s go!
They’re bad guys, that’s for sure, although
I ain’t a bad guy. I just drive.
They’re wired up, fired up, talkin’ jive,
discussing bank jobs, easy dough,
but Whoa man! I don’t wanna know.
This ain’t my caper. I just drive.
They go in fast, say: Wes, take five.
I grip the wheel and sink down low,
eyes on the street, ready to go.
When they come running, I’ll just drive.
I’m cool until the cop strolls by.
Then, in the bank, things go awry.
6. THE BANK
6. THE BANK
We’re cruising past the bank again,
just three guys in an Oldsmobile.
We’re cool and Wes is at the wheel,
along by Forty-Fifth and Main.
Vin tells Wes: Wait.
I look around. I calculate.
We see no cops. I say to Vin:
Let’s go! We’re out and moving fast
and, jeez, it’s happening at last.
The bank doors spin as we go in.
I shout: Just freeze!
Vin shouts: Gimme the money please.
Time speeds up, then slows down once more.
We give the teller bags to fill
with unmarked bills. It’s cool until
a cop walks through the spinning door.
It turns out bad.
It always does when Vin gets mad.
7. PSYCHO VIN
Leroy, he shouts out: Get in, Vin.
I get in of my own accord:
don’t take no orders from no one.
I’ve scored some blow, got more on board,
so now the action can begin.
I check both pockets for a gun.
That goddam Leroy don’t know shit.
The driver is some pussy guy.
Could run this whole job on my own:
just tell them jump and they’d comply.
I’m one mean guy with guts and grit:
they’ll write that on my damn gravestone.
It happens fast. We’re though the door.
We’ve got them cold. We’ll soon be gone.
They’re packing money in the sack.
A young cop bursts in, pistol drawn.
We’re firing. Leroy’s on the floor.
The bank guard shoots me in the back.
I blow the fucking guard away
then limp into the avenue.
The cop crawls out and fires again.
Our driver takes a bullet too.
I’m hurt. I need a tourniquet.
The car leaves like a goddamn train.
10. THE PRIEST
I get there. There’s three guys deceased.
I do my duty as a priest.
These rituals I know by heart.
They matter: help eternal souls
of good and less-good men depart,
whether through age or bullet holes.
But killings leave me vexed, perplexed.
They'll call the undertaker next.
11. THE CONCERNED CITIZEN
He wrecked the auto, then took off
on foot. I watched, I told the cops:
He’s injured, bleeding through his coat.
He’s only gone ten minutes tops.
Short guy, with battered pork-pie hat;
his face was scarred: I told them that.
Two chased him. One cop took a note
of what I said: it’s good enough
to get the bozo apprehended.
That’s where my involvement ended.
12. WAITING FOR WES
I had this crazy dream one time:
there’s blind mice running in a maze
of endless winding passageways
whose walls weep blood and ooze with slime.
I want to save them but I can’t.
I sure think that’s significant.
Wes told me, meet him here at four.
I was on time, he didn’t show.
He’s never made me wait before.
Like Peter at the third cock-crow,
I feel cold fingers seize my heart
and slowly rip its flesh apart.