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the belles of the barbary coast

In the year of 1849, the pirates came all soaked in brine. The young and old, they all heard told of tales of pans and the promised gold.


But that got old, so they changed their plans, sold off their gear to some other man, and with industrious druthers they stayed on with the others to build up the land on the fine ῾Frisco sand.


And rowdies wrecked on Laudanum found fame on Maiden Lane. Looking in lust to lift up some bustles

(and aching to hustle), they staggered down gambling dens for a fill of fine amber venom, and losing all wisdom, were craftily led to dark shanty shacks where their fate they awaited where the water got black.


Face-to-face they were with a red-headed fella name of Shanghai Kelly, who’d offer a toast. The barbarous host of the Barbary Coast would, (in jovial manner), offer the drunks a dunk for a fix, (a drink concocted of opium tricks), and after a sip, without much decor, the dumb drunken sods fell right through the floor!


Plummeting, clutching thin air, they went down. Falling through rafters to dark, hidden freighters and sent off to sea all cadaverous cold, waking on waves the next bleary morning, spitting and heaving, their bloated faces showing their sad loss of grace, for without any haste, this boatload of lives was shipped off to far off Shanghai on the tides. Their cries met no favor, so long to the sailors.


And then in the 50’s when wild vixens ruled, a hornet’s nest of burlesque-questing drunkards caught pox on the docks pursuing perfume. The loons all made trysts and traded quick kisses blinding their visages, and thrilling to girls in fair, flowing dresses. They’d follow them home seeking mad sin, hacking and sneaking, and reeking of gin.


And the men clawed the women

and the women would swoon

for goons in saloons 

under big, yellow moons.


But finally one day, near the end of the year, a pair of portly, adroit politicians concocted a mission of visions severe. (Observing this gaity without much morality), they entered the fray, and having their way the Abatement Act of `17 ended all the seamen’s dreams,

for Rolph & Hearst were in cahoots 

to fire the pretty prostitutes.

From The Opulence Of InventionCopyright © 2018 E. P. Mattson, All Rights Reserved.

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