Charles Plays the Ukulele
Charlie plays the ukulele
in a small Manhattan bar
at a crowded intersection
near the pier,
where the people buy their tickets
for the Staten Island Ferry,
and linger for a drink or two,
or maybe just a beer.
He knows he makes them happy,
for they sometimes enter sadly,
but they always have a smile when they depart.
Maybe they don't always hear him,
but the nice ones standing near him
often place a small gratuity
while pointing to their heart.
Now, this Friday evening,
as the early crowd is leaving,
a lovely lady enters and sits down.
She orders a Campari
with a double shot of vodkaó
her feather boa snaking
a Salvation Army gown.
Her lips of bright vermilion,
her nails of terra cotta,
her white-out skinó
all capture Charlie's eyes.
For years he's saved his money;
played his ukulele funny
to amass a proper dowry,
and make claim to such a prize.
So, he plays a special medley
"In her honor", he announces,
starting with "Amazing Grace"
and "Silent Night",
and he throws in all his best ones,
saving "Tiptoe Through the Tulips",
for the Grand Finaleó
playing it just right.
But when he looks up from his music,
staring hard into the dimness,
all he sees is empty table, empty chair.
When he asks, the waitress tells him
that "she left with a nice gentleman
and a Staten Island fare.
So, Charlie takes a break and ponders
"Will she come back to me?", he wonders
"I guess I must have played my medley wrong."
"Well, the next time that I see her,
I'll be the one to buy her beer
or Campari, or whatever,
or should I just add a song?"