as published in The Smart Set magazine, Vol. LXI, No. 3, MARCH, 1920.
By Benjamin De Casseres
I – Economics A SOCIALIST and an Individualist sit late into the night in a Fourteenth street restaurant arguing excitedly. The Socialist has his mouth full of mush and the Individualist has a pickle in his mouth. A man rises lightly from a table in back of them and pinches both of their overcoats.
II – Government The Board of Aldermen is in a solemn discussion over changing the license fee to carry a pistol from $2.00 to $2.25. The Board of Estimate in the next room is voting $400,000,000 in new building contracts. The Mayor sits in his private office between the two dictating a letter to the Commissioner of Licenses on the rights of peanut vendors.
III – God She trips along on French heels. A man passes her with waterlogged, heelless shoes. The pavement remains impersonal, neutral.
IV – The Onlooker His soul bubbled in the champagne of her beauty. Her soul aviated with him to the heights of his Olympian intellect. The teeth of their ten-year-old are in a hideous condition.
V – Crowds A great crowd of stars swarms through the streets of Space. A great crowd of people swarms the streets of Paris, London and New York. A great crowd of cells swarm through the brain of a poet looking at the other swarms and gives them meaning and beauty.
VI – Strata At the top of the Woolworth Tower stands the Prince looking at the greater city. At the base of the Tower, in Broadway, a panhandler is plying his trade. Between the two, in the eighteenth story, a man sits at his desk and writes an advertisement about his New Hampshire diamond mine.
VII – Peace He lounges in her luxurious boudoir and yawns about the inroads of Bolshevism over a fifty-cent cigarette. She is lacing her scented body for the evening in the Diamond Horseshoe. Under their window a boy yelps an extra about five deputy sheriffs and eight strikers dead in a riot.