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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine Fallen from the Pages of the Greek Anthology

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http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/26000/26034v.jpg

Shy
. St. Valentine -- Don't be afraid to take 'em, boys. They're valentines; not subpoena
s: John S. Pughe, centerfold lllustration showing an old man labeled "St. Valentine" carrying a "U.S. Mail" letter pouch, delivering valentines to "Col. W.D. Mann", John A. "McCall", Henry H. "Rogers", John D. Rockefeller, Jr., John D. "Rockefeller", "Son McCurdy", Edward L. "Hamilton", and Richard "Pat McCurdy", in Puck, v. 59, no. 1511, 14 February 1906 (Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)





Valentine's -- day when it's sometimes unwise to enquire
For whom the toga'd postman knocks, or delivery-door bell tolls.
Smarter perhaps to become small, hide under the refrigerator.





http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081122060558/mafia/images/a/aa/Valentines_Day.jpg

North Side Gang members following the Chicago St. Valentine's Day Massacre: photo by Tony Berardi, 14 February 1929; image by Thejoker111, 22 November 2008 (Chicago History Museum)

6 comments:

ACravan said...

This is great. I love it now. My family will love it later. Curtis

TC said...

Curtis,

It must be good to have a tolerant family.

(Historical fact, my grandfather, at the time a Chicago beat cop, was summoned to the scene of the St Valentines Day Massacre. Bloody confusing scene it must have been, at that, for it was soon learned the hit men had shown up wearing fake police uniforms and sporting badges. Sorting cops from killers would have been complicated. Perhaps indeed it's often that way. In any case, though of course youthful curiosity led me to enquire about the details of the event, my grandfather always declined comment, and changed the subject. He was a kind man.)

ACravan said...

My family are broadminded, rather than tolerant. They take it all in, but what happens next can be surprising and dramatic. Caroline watches the ID (Investigation Discovery) network on television a lot. It seems to be a CBS/NBC joint venture where they recycle really peculiar documentary crime shows. She'll love the St. Valentine's Day Massacre story. My tolerance for that network is limited because much of what they cover is tragic and it puts me in a very bad mood. She tells me that it's the forensic science and the problem solving that interest her. Jane's started to watch it also. Finding oneself outnumbered in this way is alarming. Curtis

TC said...

Curtis,

The heat may be closing in.

Joseph Hutchison said...

Your gangland photo put me in mind of James Taylor's acerbic song (second stanza), whose lyrics run as follows:

Beneath the tide the fishes glide,
Fin to fin and side to side,
For fishy love has now begun—
Fishy love, finny fun...

Paper moon, paper heart,
Pink balloon, work of art,
Al Capone, Bugs Moran—
Valentine's Day.

Bootleg gin, porkpie hat,
Dew drop inn, dirty rat,
Through the heart, Cupid's dart—
Valentine's Day.

Oh day
To repay
The one that you love.
Gentlemen,
Take off your hats
As I speak thereof.
Just a brief break
From the push,
The shove.
We may go a few rounds
Without boxing gloves...

You land your punch, I stand my ground,
We break for lunch and a second round,
We set ‘em up, we knock ‘em down—
Valentine's Day.

Me and you, you and him,
Him and her, us and them,
We keep score, love as war—
Valentine's Day.

I lost my teeth, I lost my hair,
I lost my mind, you didn't care,
Love is war, all is fair
On Valentine's Day....

Stream it here: http://grooveshark.com/s/Valentine+s+Day/3a8Ha9?src=5

Cheers!

TC said...

Joe,

Ah, Memory Lane -- to a West side Chicago kid it's littered with images of what they now call drive-bys. Amazing really that rough and tumble killers like Bugs survived as long as they did (well, some few of 'em anyhow). They tended to have small brains, yet large memories. It took seven years, as I recall, for Bugs to get around to exterminating Machine Gun Jack McGurn, for his role in the Valentine's Day affair.

This certainly does capture the tone of of those carmine-stained old days -- if not also that of the only somewhat less unfriendly ones since --

Me and you, you and him,
Him and her, us and them,
We keep score, love as war—
Valentine's Day.

I lost my teeth, I lost my hair,
I lost my mind, you didn't care,
Love is war, all is fair
On Valentine's Day....

Many thanks!