Carved in Song

The Artist

Greg Trafidlo
Greg Trafidlo & Dean Milano


A true story told with a 1920's Chicago Westside feel.


            THE ARTIST

Greg Trafidlo & Dean Milano © 2008

Sitting’ in a tavern
On Ashland Avenue
Grabbed a window seat to beat the heat
And down a brew or two

This guy comes through the doorway
A real sight to behold
Heavy set, wet with sweat
His face was flecked with gold

He took the stool beside me
Kept staring ‘cross the street
Let out a curse (Hey, I’ve heard worse)
Then he began to speak

That second “D” in D.D.S
The outline should be thicker
This poor chump was in the dumps
He ordered up more liquor

See, he was a man of letters
Like some artist of renown
Writing names on window panes
On offices ‘round town

Eighteen carat characters
Precisely lined in black
Like stuff you’d cop from a jewelry shop
This guy just had the knack

Barkeep poured another
Then looked outside to see
Said “What the hey, Call it a day,
‘Looks OK to me”

The guy says “Think about it”
My work’s a thing of art
To you its’ fine, just a sign
To me, my calling card

He listed little to the left
Then pulled himself together
Gathered up, his paint and brush
To fix that vexing letter.

Up his wooden ladder
This second story man
Put on a show for folks below
With his once steady hand

He teetered and he tottered
And down the painter went
With a thud, like a sack of spuds
In a heap on the cement

The sidewalk’s red and black and gold
Where this low-rent Rembrandt lay
The coppers said, “Dis guy’s stone dead
Just some drunk D.O.A.”

Now I ain’t no philosopher
So don’t ask my advice
But, It don’t seem smart to die for art
Perfection’s got a price

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