The Last Buck Passed by John Greiner

International Noir, John Greiner, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine

The Last Buck Passed


On the day that his mother

Passed the buck

Onto him he decided

That the best thing

To do was to go out

And put a bid

In on Meyer Lansky’s

Brown shoelaces

Which he soon

Acquired with minimal

Controversy being

That the prime

Rival held only

Too bits and a black

Bread baguette

(Nowhere near enough).

When he brought

The shoelaces back

To his mother

Saying “this is what

You get when

You pass the last buck,”

She was anything

But elated

For she had known

Meyer Lansky well

From the stories

That her aunts

Would tell

While sitting

On her mother’s

Brooklyn stoop

All of those years


Having the inside

Scoop, although long

Past still remembered,

It was apparent

To her that these brown

Shoelaces never belonged

To that great financer,

But rather

To Dutch Schultz,

And that they had

Held tight his shoes

That long ago

Night in the blood

Bath diner.


She had always hated

Newark and these shoestrings

Held nothing but horrid

Memories of New Jersey

Nights that she

Believed she

Had long ago left



She had nothing

But curses for him,

And the last buck

That she had


Being the resilient

Type though,

The mother that Russia

Had always longed

For, she took

The shoelaces tightly

In hands

And quickly did away with him.


John Greiner is a writer living in Queens, NY.  He was educated at the New School for Social Research.  Greiner’s work has appeared in Sand Journal, Empty Mirror, Sensitive Skin, Unarmed, Street Value and numerous other magazines. His books of poetry include Turnstile Burlesque (Crisis Chronicles Press) and Bodega Roses (Good Cop/Bad Cop Press).  His collaborative work with photographer Carrie Crow has appeared at the Tate Liverpool, the Queens Museum and in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Venice, Paris, Berlin and Hamburg.