New York New York.

I’ve been to New York many times now over the years, but this was my second time and I wanted to see the Bronx. I was stopped at the first attempt by two policemen who said I was mad and would get myself killed, undismayed I was more surreptitious and made my way there alone, ’80’s New York was a dangerous place to be, but for sure to be a white man walking amongst those people of colour would be dangerous, and ill advised, having PTSD risk taking came naturally. But this is exactly what transpired. For those that don’t know… snow is cocaine, and PCP is a very nasty drug also called Angel Dust.


One thing that stood out, wherever I went in the states, African Americans couldn’t perceive that an Englishman could be a racist, that belief got me out of trouble a few times. 


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

“Nigger lover”! 

And really right there 

Finally then

Surrounded by white intelligent education

I understood the guns and the shivs.







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