Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/124

This page has been validated.

V. Steamroller

Dusk gently smooths crispangled streets. Dark presses tight the steaming asphalt city, crushes the fretwork of windows and lettered signs and chimneys and watertanks and ventilators and fire-escapes and moldings and patterns and corrugations and eyes and hands and neckties into blue chunks, into black enormous blocks. Under the rolling heavier heavier pressure windows blurt light. Night crushes bright milk out of arclights, squeezes the sullen blocks until they drip red, yellow, green into streets resounding with feet. All the asphalt oozes light. Light spurts from lettering on roofs, mills dizzily among wheels, stains rolling tons of sky.

A STEAMROLLER was clattering back and forth over the freshly tarred metaling of the road at the cemetery gate. A smell of scorched grease and steam and hot paint came from it. Jimmy Herf picked his way along the edge of the road; the stones were sharp against his feet through the worn soles of his shoes. He brushed past swarthy-necked workmen and walked on over the new road with a whiff of garlic and sweat from them in his nostrils. After a hundred yards he stopped over the gray suburban road, laced tight on both sides with telegraph poles and wires, over the gray paperbox houses and the gray jagged lots of monumentmakers, the sky was the color of a robin's egg. Little worms of May were writhing in his blood. He yanked off his black necktie and put it in his pocket. A tune was grinding crazily through his head:

I'm so tired of vi-olets
Take them all away.

There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth