New York New York 1980

I wanted to see the Bronx in 1980. Music, atmosphere, truth, bathe in more reality.

New York New York 1980


Leaving the noise of yellow cabs

Touting for business

In poisonous fume filled ghetto

Egyptian American driver


“But not here”

They say and stare

“Not here. Idiot”.

“Not here man”.


Stumbling life blind 

Through the mists

And through the twists

And breathing the stinking air

Fetid furious oxygen theft 

Buildings covered in art

1980 New York. 


Loving the risk

And feeling filth kissed

Forlorn feet

On a forlorn street

Where people are so much meat

And schools have metal detectors

But no books.


“Fucking motherfucker”

“What ya want here” 

“white cocksucker”

So I saw their pain

Pain in their brain

And the glowing graffiti

And big hair


And felt their disdain

In the sour rain

That fell like

Astral pain 

Pain in my brain

A spiritual stain


To run in gutters

Full of shit

And used Durex

As whores cavorted 

In lurid lurex. 

And pimps pimped their beat



‘Hey fucker’ harsh greet

“Whats a white boy

Doing on my street

Your a stupid cocksucker

Give me your shoes”


“No no I’m English

And I’m not here 

to take the piss

I wanted to see where you live

And hear the music

And I’m not scared.

And your fucking shoes are better then mine”


“English? Man thats cool.”

But in the eighties Bronx

“Your still a fool

But your my fool now

So come down here”.


Meet my boys and have a beer

You want some PCP

Laughter from the boys

“These English fuckers all drink tea”

So instead of Angels

we settled on snow

And some mighty weed


They gave me chicken

And burgers and music

And bashed my ears with hate

For where they were

And swore down death to pigs.

And showed me guns and shivs


Business opportunities, 

Tools of their street

And we became lovers

I showed them Linton Kwezi

And Prince Buster.

And they knew I was English

And couldn’t be a racist.

Which was a massive lie that 

I never disabused.


And when the time came

They walked me safe from

The broken spot and taught me 

Things, patterns with their hands.

Although we were mates and lovers

I knew I couldn’t live there 

In the fear, filth and fury


But later I was laughed at in bars 

Full of white sophistication.

And I was called insane. 

Because all “those niggers will kill you man”.

And the parting words as I left the bar

punched me in the back.

“Nigger lover”! 


And really right there 

Finally then

Surrounded by white intelligent education

I understood the guns and the shivs.

it was bullshit,

and I understood

Malcolm X from his pulpit.





© Mentalelf 2023
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Yeah, honest look at this place and time. Although now more sophisticated compared to back then, it’s pretty much accurate to this day.


You have a rare gift; the streaming consciousness is spot on. I find myself carried into the rhythm of your words.

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