I heard it on my radio, which I listened to like a resistance fighter with a forbidden short wave set - listened to it under the covers in my room in the back of the house to which was attached an old rickety outside staircase that made me feel I might be safe even without the radio, for with this literal escape route it was as if I were living not just in the back of the house but so far away they might never be sure to be find me - maybe if I stayed alert - and followed what I knew of the world outside the house, which sometimes seemed a place where I could be safe - as on that hill or in those radio programs, life with the band leader Ozzie Nelson and his singer Harriet Hilliard and their happy children, or in "One Man's Family," or that of "The Great Gildersleeve" -
The green hill with an old water tower that was in my line of sight though the door to the outside staircase this hill that I knew before I slept was really there, and would come also in dreams where from its crest I could see a shining city, and where beside the water tower I, liberated in my eighth year of life, was the groom in a wedding featuring a girl from the gentler parts of Snow White or Pinocchio - or from Oz - gentle and understanding and no more fathomable, I knew, to the angry people in the other end of this house then was
this strange, almost unsingable song they never knew that I heard one night in secret on the radio.
Chickery chick, cha-la cha-la,
I took my things the hill and water tower and also the dream city beyond it the dream of the girl with me on the hill and other dreams, as in the one where I was on a platform at the forsythia end of our driveway and people were streaming up the road to hear me -
I took all these things to my lair, there in the free world, not their world, this world under the covers, aware that sometimes above the covers breezes came through the screen door across from me:
This world of mine that was there even when I had to go underground.
Those breezes. Those places. Those other people.
Ballica Wallica, can¹t you see,
That chickery chick is me.