Garbage Can Symphony

a tv poem

In Three Parts


Levi Asher

A redbrick dark restaurant on President Street Brooklyn.

Ralph Kramden sips coffee, blinks his eyes to stay awake, and tries to remember the punchline to some joke. Alice yawns, lights a cigarette, gently smiles. Ed and Trixie, tired and happy, poke at a shared slice of pecan pie with two forks.

It's late. Outside are the dark gay lamplit streets of midnight Brooklyn. The huge clanking robotic machines of the Navy Yard in Williamsburg, the sinister checker cabs, the silent Irish pubs with dark lights blazing. The powerful East River coursing between Brooklyn and Manhattan, dancing in waves under the Brooklyn Bridge. In the hazy distance to the east, somewhere out there after row and row of apartment buildings, somewhere out there is the tenement where Ralph and Alice live, where Ed and Trixie live ...

... far away from the alluring midnight streets of Brooklyn Heights ... somewhere among the endless blocks of homes that stretch across Brooklyn all the way to Queens, all the way to Jamaica Bay.

They sip coffee, smile, tear napkins, speak half-finished sentences. They yawn, close their eyes, rest their heads on each others' shoulders. They don't want the night to end, because Ralph and Ed hardly ever take the girls out anywhere nice. Why don't they go out on the town more often, one of them wonders out loud?

But their routines await them. Usually Ralph and Ed spend their nights at the pool hall or the bowling alley, and once a week they go down to the Raccoon Lodge on Montague Street. If they take the girls out at all, they usually just go to the Hong Kong Gardens down the street from where they live.

Next ...

Copyright © 1996
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Path of Least Resistance
Cover of Episode 8