Friday, March 25, 2011

The Ballad Of Joe Zito

Ballad for Joe Zito Music and Lyrics by Annie Lanzillotto © 2011
Lemme tell you ‘bout Joe Zito
The kinda man you wanna know.
Selfless Acts of Courage -- his destiny
Elevator Man -- Triangle Factory!
Born Giuseppe Alessandro Zito, in 1883, fifteen minutes past ten.
Sweet green eyes, strong nose, he’d grow to be the noblest of men.
At 18 he left Sere, Provincia di Salerno, Italy,
Came to America. Got a job at the Triangle Factory.
It was Payday in March, fifteen minutes to quittin time,
when Joe “Fire!” Glass smashing way up high.
Up Up Up to save lives, everyone was screaming, distraught,
Joe never gave his own safety a single thought.
Girls dove into the elevator clutching scissors,
Another guy woulda minded his own bizness.
Lemme tell you bout Joe Zito A better man you’ll never know.
Selfless Acts of Courage -- his destiny Elevator Man--Triangle Factory!
Up Up Up Joe Joe Joe Into fire higher higher he climbed
He went back up about eighteen times.
Why didn’t he go up a 19th you say?
Mezzo Morte at the bottom of the shaft, Joe lay.
Elevator dropped, smashed at basement level.
The cables gave in to fire, an overloading hell hole
Jumping on Joe’s car, girls after girls.
Clothing on fire, hair still in curls.
They dragged Joe out into the street half dead,
Rushed him to Saint Vincent’s, stab wounds on his arms and forehead.
Joe Zito, one of the strong,
We remember his name with a song.
Selfless Acts of Courage was his destiny
He couldn’t a known this when he left Italy.
Povero Giuseppe never recovered since he saw,
“Burning Rockets” from the 8th floor, fall.
He couldn’t forget girls trapped in flames,
Judge Craine said The Shirtwaist Kings weren’t to blame.
Joe left New York City in a state of deprivation,
Shell shocked from Triangle workers’ asphyxiation and decapitations.
Couldn’t get a job, Joe couldn’t keep his wife,
Our noble Joe was scarred for life.
He never recovered from all he saw,
Seven years later he joined the Army, for The Great War.
No rich man could buy Joe’s word
His green sad eyes had saw and heard.
The papers said he died without a penny,
No bribe could change Joe’s testimony.
Povero Giuseppe Alessandro was never the same,
He saved ahun-fifty girls out of the slain.
Joe kept free to tell the truth.
The Shirtwaist Kings took insurance loot.
And like many of our brave Joe was buried in an unmarked grave.
Lemme tell you ‘bout Joe Zito
Italian American Hero!
Selfless Acts of Courage -- his destiny
Elevator Man -- Triangle Factory!
Elevator Man we sing your name
Thanks Joe
Thanks Joe
Thanks Joe
Thanks Joe


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