Alan Falkingham

Johnny Chow got mangled on the El track Friday night
Found his head way up in Gainesville, arms on 9th and White
Half stoned, maybe half dancing and never looking back
Johnny walked like Jesus, along that railroad track

At the viewing of his casket, the legend lay within,
Johnny was a champion, barely touched by sin.
His friends just stared and wondered, why he had to die
His momma wailed like Mary as she kissed her son goodbye

Johnny learned to walk a wire, when he was five years old
Stepping like a dancer, graceful, fast and bold
One night he scaled the Ferris wheel, out upon the pier
Jumping clear from car to car, springing free from fear

Johnny sprayed the Lincoln Bridge, hanging by a line
Daubed a beard on Mayor Grabowski’s re-election sign
He painted Hinkley Tower, he painted Precinct Eight
Dodged six lanes of traffic to spray the interstate

And with each new adventure, his story took a hold
Graffiti sprang up every place, each time much more bold
Commuters rode each morning, hoards of wide eyed fans
The Daily News baptized him:  the Spray Can Spiderman

The cops cruised the city, in a giant fishing trawl,
But Johnny slinked right past them, and painted City Hall,
And all the while he walked the line, part mystery part man
His shadow growing bigger, like only heroes can

Then finally one murky night a camera shutter closed
And Johnny leapt from shadow, to a superman exposed
He did time on the road gang, walked out of there set free
But heroes are born ugly, when bare for all to see

Johnny lived the good life, the drugs the booze, the girls
But in quiet fleeting moments, he hated his new world
Because in the dusky shadows, like a rusty blunted knife
Johnny lost the very thing that used to give him life

So in the final moments, as I drove along those tracks
It is true that Spray Can Spiderman, never once looked back
No earphones, stone cold sober, forever brave again
I watched Johnny walk the wire, straight towards my train