a literary review
The Bull’s Routine
Sammy ran Staten Island
from his red brick squat
on 1809 Stillwell Avenue.
I never was a morning person.
But Sammy started his day at eight.
First his five-mile jog,
then off to Stillman’s gym for a few
rounds of boxing with his trainer,
finishing with an hour or so
of pumping iron and cardio.
Shots of deca-durabolin
didn’t hurt none either.
His terminator physique—a bull
in a five-foot-four frame,
more if he wore his high-heeled boots.
Words of Salvatore Gravano
“In 1978, Nick Scibetta vanished.” —Diane Sawyer, Prime Time Live
“Now Nick Scibetta was my wife’s brother.
That was an order from Paul Castellano.
You take an oath; I couldn’t say no.
I mean, to see my wife or mother-in-law,
my father-in-law, or people . . . tore me up.
I know it sounds easy enough to say
get out of town—you see it in the movies,
but that doesn’t really work in real life.
If I balked about it or didn’t want to do it,
I’d get whacked too. But being in the mob
I’m trained to double cross and con.
I’m a gangster. That’s exactly what I am—
a soldier of Cosa Nostra. We only kill ourselves.
That was another one that killed me.”
Nick Scibetta Will Never Rest
Sammy, more focused in his aspirations, got made.—Howard Blum, Gangland
I remember those Giorgio Brutini
demi-boots and Frank Stillitano watching
Sammy Gravano kicking and punching me
over the two grand that I owed him.
Buried here, my eyes still won’t open.
Two bullet holes in the back of my neck,
and I’m left to rot packed in cement.
The rest of me, God knows where.
Sammy’s sidewalk affords me
a different view, and I remain still,
plotting my revenge.
Killing Paul Castellano
—Sparks Steak House, December 16, 1985
John Gotti drove his Lincoln down the block;
Gravano looked out the window at Sparks
where four men in coats and fur hats waited;
three more shooters huddled near Athlete’s Foot.
Gotti was parked on Forty-sixth Street across
from the steak house with the engine running.
Another Lincoln stopped at a red light,
inside—Tommy Bilotti and Paul Castellano.
Gravano gripped the walkie-talkie, warned
the guys. They’re the first car stopped at the light;
they’re coming through. Be there any second.
Gotti mumbled back, About fuckin’ time.
Bilotti ignored the No Parking sign
on the street lamp Castellano opened his own door,
white coats rushed him, arms extended shooting.
The other two gunmen circled behind.
Tommy hunched down, only to see Paul ripped
with five shots in the head, one in the breast
near his stickpin. He slumped to the sidewalk,
a black leather glove clutched in his right hand.
Four bullets kissed the back of Tommy’s head,
four more sweet nothings labored through his chest;
he swayed side to side, then fell to the ground
his arms spread eagle; his blood soaked the street.
One shooter balanced on a single knee,
pressed the gun against Paul’s temple—the shot
pushed through the skull of the Boss of Bosses.
Gravano muttered to Gotti—He’s done.
~ ~ ~
Alan J. Gravano has an MFA in Poetry and an M.A. and Ph. D. in English from the University of Miami, Florida. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Review Americana: A Literary Journal, Gulf Stream: South Florida’s Literary Current, Ellipsis, and Voices in Italian Americana. He has completed co-editing Southern Exposures: Locations and Relocations of Italian Culture, Selected Essays from the 42nd Annual Conference of the American Italian Historical Association (forthcoming 2012) and is the co-editor for Italian American Body Politics: Private Lives and Public Sphere, Selected Essays from the 44th Annual Conference of the Italian American Studies Association. He has published two essays on Don DeLillo most recently “New York in Don DeLillo’s Novels” and is editor of the academic journal, Italian Americana. He teaches literature at Marshall University.