by Shel Silverstein
It all started out at Rosalie's Good Eats Cafe
Everybody sittin', eatin' eggs and grits, chattin' in the usual way
Lucy pourin' the coffee and dishin' out the eats
Wearin' one of them flimsy, frilly white blouses with nothin' underneath.
Then--a spark flies out of Judge McCory's cigar
Lands on Lucy--and sets her blouse on fire
Just a whoosh--and she's minus the top of her dress
Well, if you read that evenin's Banner, you know the rest--
How Big Jay Wilkes, a trucker for Mountain South,
Smothered her up in his big bear arms and squeezed and put her out
Then she goes a-runnin' for the Ladies' room like a shot
But not before everybody in the place seen everything she got.
Well, the word spread just as fast as that fire did
And next mornin' the cafe's crowded with old men, young men and kids
Hootin' and hollerin', stools spinnin' 'round like this
Hopin' and prayin' to get a little glimpse of what they'd missed
But naturally, Lucy ain't givin' nobody a treat
She's buttoned up to here and blushin' like a beet
And soon's all the boys see that there ain't no show
They all leave, grumblin' how they ain't comin' back no more.
Then Rosalie takes Lucy aside, and she says, "Listen, Babe,
We're losin' money, and I see a chance to get saved
Now what if you was to. . . dress like you did yesterday
And we change the name to Rosalie's Topless Cafe?"
Well, Lucy reacts with fury and moral indignation
But they finally settle on a buck-an-hour raise and an extra week's vacation
And next mornin' she shows up au natural, as the French folks say
At the historic grand opening of Rosalie's Topless Cafe.
Talk about a hit! They're packed in and linin' up
A cover and a minimum--coffee $2 a cup
Lucy's pullin' down a thousand a week with tips and all
Workin' double shifts while startin' to bitch how
Her arches are beginning to fall.
Well, then Brenda on the night shift, she sees the tips Lucy's got
So the very next evenin' she shows up for work without no top
And two days later the cashier, Betsy Black
Come in and give Rosalie the shirt right off her back
Well, they come by the thousands to eat and drink and look
Soon Rosalie's gotta hire Fat Phyllis a second cook
"Well, I guess," says Phyllis, "y'gotta do like them Romans do,"
So she rips off her T-shirt and starts stirrin' up the stew.
But when Ed the busboy starts' enjoyin' things a little too much
She puts up a sign in the kitchen sayin' LOOK. DON'T TOUCH.
And Rosalie's payin' off her mortgage and puttin' her boy through school
Gotta hire a topless bouncer to keep things cool
And a carpark to keep up with the crowd outside
She says, "I always knew the good Lord would provide."
Then Jan at the Double J Luncheonette 'cross the street
Says "Hey, if they wanna play hardball, we got 'em beat."
So she and June put on their topless exhibition
And soon they're givin' Rosalie's stiff, stiff competition.
Well, then ol' Sam Pierce down at Pierce's Hardware Store
He repaints the sign outside his door
And the next day ol' Miz Pierce and her daughter Gayle
Are toplessly scoopin' out galvanized nails.
Then Reverend Peters says, "Folks it's a tough decision
But the Lord can't get run off by this competition."
So next Sunday therer's a topless ladies' choir in harmony
In a heartfelt rendition of Nearer My God to Thee."
Well zap!--it all takes off just like a shot
Les Willis opens his Topless Bait and Tackle Shop
And when the Farmers' Bank unveiled topless tellers
The interest rate sure went up amongst the fellers.
Well, Frank Willis hires a topless hostess at the Golden Cactus
Tom Rooney, proprietor of Tommy's Place, says that's unfair labor practice
So he sends to Milwaukee for a girl called Thirty-Eight Kate
And in less than a week he's stole half of Frank's business away.
And the tourists--they're pourin' in, honkin' and raisin' hell
Payin' $200 a night for a room at Tom's Topless Motel
Eatin' Rosalie's $4 burgers, no bun on top
Buyin' suntan lotion at our topless Stop and Shop.
Payin' $12.95 for a T-shirt from Topless Jean's
And payin' $50 for an autographed photo with Lucy,
Our original topless queen.
And Sister Rhodes says, "Our cup runneth over. We are truly blessed
'Cause they're makin' big contributions to our community chest."
Then the merchants' association of our town
Realizin' how the economy's been saggin' down
They call a meetin' and they search deep down in their souls
They take a vote and say, "Let the good times roll."
Well, soon there's a topless pharmacy and a topless shoe repair
The 4-H Club plannin' a topless county fair
There's a topless McDonald's and a topless rent-a-car
Only one hurtin' was Ed's Topless Go-Go Bar
Ed said he might as well close up and go fishin'
Or go bottomless to keep abreast of the competition.
Peter Lane says, "We all gotta do what we must
And the ones who don't have a feel for it'll just go bust"
Then Joe Hall of the Banner does an editorial:
"Let this be the binding bra's final memorial
Let our women enjoy unbridled liberation
And let our men be protected from fraud and falsification."
But Miss Agatha Baines of the Citizens for Decency
Says, " We cannot encourage these dens of iniquity
They're just tryin' to titillate the young men in this town"
And they go to Judge McCory for an order to close 'em all down
And they find him havin' a nip at Ma's Mammary Bar
Talkin' 'bout runnin' for governor and still puffin' on that big cigar
But he rules--from his stool--that "Regardless of shape, color and size
It's just an uplifting example of free enterprise
And anyone who has discouragin' words to say
Is against small business and the good ol' American way"
So Miss Agatha rips off her blouse patriotically
And yells, "Let them Japanese try to compete with these."
Well, that blows the lid off--before the week is past
We got topless gas station attendants pumpin' gas
Eileen Hobbs and her topless hot dog stand
The Lubbuc sisters in their topless moving van
Lou's Barber Shop filled with topless tourists
Gettin' topless manicures from topless manicurists
Topless majorettes in the Rotary marching band
A concert with ol' Miss Murgatroyd settin' topless at the baby grand
And the cheerleaders' team from the class of '69
All workin' the counter of the topless five-and-dime
Jim Dawson's wife runs for mayor on the topless ticket
And she was way out front -- till Jim decided to picket
Well, that opened the door for librarian Lauralene Grace
Who beat her by a nose, I tell you, it was some kind of race.
Doc Hamilton's backed up doin' implants and collagen injections
Liz Mason and her Topless Party sweep the fall elections
But some thought Jenny Hollman was a bit too crass
Showin' up topless to teach her eighth grade class
But she proved that thanks to her PhD cup
Attendance was perfect and attention was way up.
There are topless weddings and topless divorces
Topless equestrians showin' their horses
Topless druggists at the pharmacy
Topless checkout girls at the A&P
Topless gall drivin' topless cars
Topless meetings of the DAR
Topless adjusters at the Title and Trust
Topless policewomen makin' busts
Topless doctors, topless paramedics
Topless anesthesiologists givin' anesthetics
Topless joggers, topless hikers
Hitchin' rides with topless bikers
Topless brokers and CPAs
Topless mamas at the PTA
Topless lady construction workers
Topless acrobats at the Shrine circus.
So the housewives join in and soon you can see 'em all
Shoppin' topless, pushin' little topless strollers through the topless mall
Topless firefighters and meter maids
And Lucy, the queen of the Topless Day Parade
A booth in Seely Park for topless tourist information
Topless Mammorial Day celebrations
And everyone's happy, 'cept for Lola at Lola's Lingerie
She says camisoles are down, and she can't give bras away
Soon it spreads across the ocean--hear the tramp-tramp-tramp
Of topless models walking down topless ramps
Talk about decollete, we're rewriting the book
Givin' the world the revolutionary topless look
Dior's scared silly, St. Laurent's got the jitters
We got the whole damn fashion world all a-titter.
No more legislation that this must stop
Now they're trying to pass a law that you cannot wear a top
While our topless city council circulates a ballot 'round
To change our name officially to Topless Town
And every one of our citizens votes yes
Except for skinny Nancy Cobb with the flat, bony chest
So the sign gets changed to TOPLESS TOWN--POP.: 1704
'Course by the time the paint dries, there's about a thousand more
Then Matt Hanks, our stonecutter, climbs up Lookout Bluff
Says, "We'll have our own Mount Rushmore soon enough"
And he blasts and he hammers and he chisels in the proper places
And next day, there's a giant pair of--well, not exactly presidents' faces.
And the women's groups? Why, they're pleased as they can be
Because they finally got financial equality
"Equality?" screams Nancy Cobb
"Those big-busted babes now got all the jobs."
So she writes to Washington that very night
In a passionate plea for boobless rights.
The president says, "Hey, what's goin' on down there?"
Don't they know there's laws 'bout what they can and can't wear?
Have they lost all their sense of propriety?
Someone must have laced their reservoir with LSD
It's Sodom and Gomorrah--a flagrant abuse of bein' free
Showin' kids what they was never meant to see!
And if they don't defer to decency's demands
I'll have to go there myself and take the situation in hand."
Then the press gets hold of it, and Monday there's our topless queen
Dishin' out hash on the cover of Time magazine
Then Hollywood comes bangin' through our doors
Wantin' to give out Golden Globe Awards
And every evenin' on the boob tube, the whole country can see our. . . faces
And the attorney general announces this is gonna be one of her priority cases
And then the Senate and the House, they jump on in
Sayin, "Don't you know it's a crime and a shame and a sin?
And if you don't button up, zip up and snap up today
We gonna take every cent of your federal subsidies away."
Then you should have seen the notice the Supreme Court sent us
Declarin' us unconstitutional and Judge McCory non compos mentis
And statin' in language spiteful, specific and strong
That we better put our natural resources back where they belong.
But who in the hell do they think they're bossing around?
Not us pioneer, upstandin' citizens of Topless Town
Judge McCory says after due deliberation
"It's a clear-cut case of federal intimidation"
Then Joe Tanners says, "Damn the government and damn the courts
We don't need 'em--this town was built on self-support."
Ol' Miz Fletcher says, "This country's goin' down the tubes
They must think we're all just a bunch of boobs
They're our bosom buddies when it's time to pay tax and all that
Now they wanna go cut off our funds and just leave us flat"
Then Ellie McKay stands up and starts to rant and rave
Shoutin', "Ain't this the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Well, I feel a lot freer without that ol' boulder holder of mine
And I'm brave enough to stand up and let my little lights shine."
And from the Salvation Army steps up Katie West
She says, "I got a couple things I gotta get off my chest"
She says, "We got no more homeless, no unemployed
Because men have somethin' to reach for and the women are overjoyed
So I wanna tell these knockers of liberty
I ain't gonna let 'em put no halter on me
And if they keep makin' threats about a federal bust
It's gonna case a major cleavage 'tween Washington and us.
"Tell the president that according to the Constitution
We got the right to dress ourselves without federal intrusion
The right to take off what's tight and what don't fit
The right to pay our rent and buy our grits
The right to improve our lot by usin' our wits
The right to bear arms--and also to bear tits."
So we take a vote--the whole damn town
And announce unanimously:
"Topless Town hereby secedes from the Union
Because the Union wouldn't let us be."
And we declare ourselves an independent
Self-determined sovereign state
And we build a tall wall around us all--
No roads, no bridges, no gate
And we pledge allegiance to our flag
Two. . . well, you know what they are
And I ain't puttin' down Old Glory
But they're prettier than stripes and stars
And we're free and unbridled
Behind these ivy-covered walls
And you drive by on the freeway and
Never notice us here at all.
Yeah, we got no taxes--we got no crime
But we got no room to spare
You'd like to come visit? I'll bet you would
But, friends, you ain't got a prayer--
Topless Town's stayin' safe and sound--
You can't get here from there.
Last updated January 14, 2019