Gaslight, by Chi Chi Valenti


Remember Gens
How we walked that night
Swishing silks in the dark
Passing time
just before the chill set in
Any one of us
would have married you then
But we knew
that your bride was the life
and another bridge
came out of the fog and you walked to it
without a guide
And turned to stone in Union Square
And I married
The Gaslight

Your bells still ring loud
In the secret city
That lives beneath this hateful time
Dreamers all,
We voyage toward another New York
Smoking, sleepless
Your ghost whispers loud on the Bowery
and lifts my hem from the coal dust
that still dirties these streets
A century on
And black-bridled horses canter coachless
their master gone

Into the chimes
Into the smoke
The Gaslight
Where it's noisy on the cobblestones
Tap your ivory skull-topped cane again
That sound,
it never leaves these streets, Gens
Walk with me again

They're calling you from the Lido shore
calling you to
The Gaslight
Where the endless night began
With pistol shots, the fancy-house
brave soprano bathed in
The Gaslight
Walk with me again
Past your ragtag city sleeping
We'll take her diamond sidewalks home
Past the newsboy, o'er the weeping
We'll voyage on and on
Till your port and all its treasure
Find your ship, soothe your sailor
And set a course towards The Gaslight
Walk with me again
That sound
It never leaves these streets
Walk with me again

Chi Chi Valenti, 1994