Meyer

A traditional
Jewish gangster,
he complained he was only
Public Enemy
Number Six.

He borrowed his craft
from the street of perpetual
shadow and rumble
and fire escapes, criss-crossing
like the stockings
in Rosie Herz's
kosher brothels.

A traditional
Jewish gangster,
he might have been a banker
but circumstances
didn't permit.

He spoke easy
but stayed sober
as he soared from the ghetto
on a champagne cork powered
by the Womens' Christian
Temperance Union.

A traditional
Jewish gangster,
his violin case
in fact contained
his violin.
Or so they thought.

He protected business,
lent to bakers,
advised tailors
and candlestick makers,
partnered butchers,
valued judges
but disdained garbage
and cement.

A traditional
Jewish gangster,
or the Mob's Financier
as the papers put it

but there was no flowercade
and no one came
except Harry and Max
from the old days
and Meyer Junior,
a banker, who inherited only
a Miami condo
and 17 hats.

A traditional
Jewish gangster,
he was a tough Jew
when there were few
but he never killed on Shabbos.
Unless he had to.


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