Volume 2, No. 4: April 15, 2005

Pirate Jenny
by Bertolt Brecht

You gentlemen can watch while I'm scrubbing the floors,
And I'm scrubbing the floors while you're gawking.
And maybe if you tip me it'll make you feel swell,
On a ratty waterfront, in a ratty old hotel,
And you'd never guess to who you're talking
You'd never guess to who you're talking.

Suddenly one night, there's a scream in the night,
And you yell, "What the hell could that have been?"
And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbing
And you say, "What the hell she's got to grin?"
And a ship, a black freighter,
With a skull on its masthead,
Will be coming in.

Then you gentlemen can say, "Hey girl! Finish the floors!
Get upstairs! Make the beds, earn your keep here!"
You toss me your tips, and look out at the ships,
But I'm countin' your heads while I make up the beds,
'Cause there's nobody gonna sleep here.
Tonight, none of you will sleep here.

Then that night, there's a bang in the night,
And you yell, "who's that kicking up a row?"
And you see me kinda staring out the window,
And you say, "what's she got to stare at out?"
And the ship, a black freighter,
Turns around in the harbor, shooting guns from the bow.

Then you gentlemen can wipe off the laugh from your face,
Every building in town is a flat one.
Your whole stinking place will be down to the ground,
Only this cheap hotel's standing up, safe and sound,
And you yell, "why the hell spare that one?"
You yell, "why the hell spare that one?"

All the night through, with the noise and to-do
You wonder who's the person lives up there?
Then you see me stepping out into the morning,
Looking nice, with a ribbon in my hair.
And the ship, the black freighter,
Runs a flag up its masthead.
And a cheer rings the air.

By noontime the dock is all swarming with men,
Coming off of that ghostly freighter.
They're moving in the shadows where no one can see,
And they're chaining up people and bringing them to me,
Asking me, "Kill them now or later?"
Asking me, "Kill them now or later?"

Noon by the clock, and so still on the dock
You can hear a foghorn miles away.
In that quiet of death, I'll say,
"Right now."

And they pile up the bodies, and I'll say,
"That'll learn ya!"
Then a ship, the black freighter, disappears out to sea,
And
on
it
is
me.

 

 


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