Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE AVENGER, by BERTON BRALEY



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THE AVENGER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: With a smile that was ecstatic billings
Last Line: And the people made him mayor of the town!
Subject(s): Cities; Mayors; Urban Life


With a smile that was ecstatic Billings cleaned his automatic
And he loaded it with cartridges galore,
Then as was his habit daily, he absorbed his breakfast gayly
And he started for his office as of yore;
But a subway guard unheeding—'twas his usual proceeding—
Slammed the door in Billings' face and grinned a grin.
Billings pulled his gun and shot him, calmly saying, "Well, I got him,
And he's very justly punished for his sin!"

None endeavored to arrest him and a lot of people blessed him
For a deed they often felt they'd like to do;
So he went his way unfettered, though his morning's work he bettered
When he shot a reckless motorist or two.
Then at lunch-time, as he'd planned it, he bumped off a check-room bandit,
And that evening in the purlieus of Broadway
Seven taxi-operators and six ticket speculators
Finished up his bag of victims for the day.

When his landlord in the morning with no reason and no warning
Said, "Hereafter I shall charge you double rent,"
Billings smiled exceeding sweetly as he plugged the landlord neatly
And departed with a conscience well content.
So he wandered through the city shooting various banditti
And removing quite a bunch of profiteers,
With his trusty automatic making life more democratic
And erasing pests who'd angered him for years.

Well, at length the coppers caught him and before a jury brought him
But so widely spread and great was his renown
That the court in manner fervent called him "good and faithful servant,"
And the people made him mayor of the town!





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