Outsider poems: a mini-anthology in progress (45): 'The Last Words of Dutch Schultz'

                                                Oh, stop it! Stop it! . . . Oh, Oh, Oh, Sure, sure,
                                                Mamma, etc.

Please, you know me. Oh, Louie, didn’t I give you my door bell? Everything you got, the whole bill. And did you come for your rest in the doctor’s office, sir? Yes, I can see that. Your son-in-law, and he isn’t liked, is he? Harry, does he behave? No; don’t you scare me; my friends think I do a better job. Oh, police are looking for you all over; please be instrumental in letting us now. That wouldn’t be here; they are Englishmen and they are a type I don’t know who is best, they or us. Oh, sir, and get the doll a roofing. Please. You can play jacks, and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it. Please; I may take all events into consideration; no, no. And it is no; it is confused and it says no; a boy has never wept . . . nor dashed a thousand kim . . .

Two thousand; come on, get some money in that treasury; we need it; come on, please get it; I can’t tell you to. You are telling the truth, aren’t you, Mr. Harris. That is not what you have in the book. Oh, yes I have. Oh, please, warden. Please. What am I going to do for money. How is that; how do you like that? Please put me up on my feet, at once. Thank you, Sam, you are a boiled man; I do it because you ask me to. Did you hear me? I would hear it, the Circuit Court would hear it, and the Supreme Court might hear it. Come on, pull me up sir. All right. Cam Davis. Oh, please reply. N.R.A. If that ain’t the payoff. Please crack down on the Chinaman’s friends and Hitler’s commander. All right, I am sore and I am going to give you honey if I can. Look out. We broke that up. Mother is the best bet and don’t let Satan draw you too fast.

I know what I am doing here with my collection of papers, for crying out loud. It isn’t worth a nickel to two guys like you or me, but to a collector it is worth a fortune; it is priceless. I am going to turn it over to . . . . Turn your back to me, please, Henry. I am so sick now. The police are getting many complaints. Look out. Hey, Jack; hello Jack. Jack, mamma. I want that G-note. Look out, for Jimmy Valentine, for he is an old pal of mine. Come on, Jim, come on Jimmie; oh, thanks. O.K. O.K. I am all through; I can’t do another thing. Hymie, won’t you do what I ask you this once? Look out! Mamma, mamma! Look out for her. You can’t beat him. Police, mamma! Helen, Mother, please take me out. Come on, Rosie. O.K. Hymes would do it; not him. I will settle . . . . the indictment. Come on, Max, open the soap duckets. Frankie, please come here. Open that door, Dumpey’s door. It is so much, Abe, that . . . with the brewery. Come on. Hey, Jimmie! The Chimney Sweeps. Talk to the Sword. Shut up, you got a big mouth! Please help me, Henry. Max come over here . . . . French Canadian bean soup . . . I want to pay, let them leave me alone. . . .


SOURCE: Jerome Rothenberg, A Big Jewish Book: Poems & Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to Present, Doubleday & Company, 1977.

An excerpt from the New York Times (October 25, 1935) of death-bed statements transcribed verbatim by J.F. Long, a Newark Police Department clerk-stenographer. The gangster Dutch Schultz had been gunned down in the men’s room of the Palace Chop House & never regained full consciousness, but his “last words,” recorded over a 24-hour period, take on a new life when written down in sequence & minus any interruptions. A further appropriation of the words in bits & pieces occurs in William Burroughs’ film script, “The Last Words of Dutch Schultz”:

Bare room of Albert Stern [the man
who shot Dutch Schultz]. He is lying
on bed by the open gas oven.                   HISS OF ESCAPING GAS

                                                                               I want to pay.
Sets from film are repeated on loop.
Flegenheimer Saloon and Livery            Let them leave me alone.
Stable, bee drop, offices, Harlem
streets, the old Harmony Hotel,             Stern’s plaintive voice:
Public School No. 12. The sets are        Arthur Flegenheimer
progressively underexposed, darker   ARTHUR FLEGENHEIMER
and darker.
                                                                              (A last despairing cry)
Mrs Murphy’s lilacs flash on screen     ARTHUR FLEGENHEIMER
in bright color.
Sets rapidly darken.
                                                                              GAS AND HOSPITAL SOUNDS
                                                                              FAINTER AND FAINTER
Darkness on screen.                                    silence on screen

                                              THE END