The rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night

And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line

Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge

Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain

The Rat pulls into town rolls up his pants

Together they take a stab at romance

and disappear down Flamingo Lane

Well the Maximum Lawman run down Flamingo chasing the Rat

and the barefoot girl

And the kids round here look just like shadows

always quiet, holding hands

From the churches to the jails tonight all is silence in the world

As we take our stand

down in Jungleland

The midnight gang’s assembled and picked a rendezvous for the night

They’ll meet `neath that giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light

Man there’s an opera out on the Turnpike

There’s a ballet being fought out in the alley

Until the local cops, Cherry Tops, rips this holy night

The street’s alive as secret debts are paid

Contacts made, they vanished unseen

Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades hustling for the record machine

The hungry and the hunted explode into rock’n’roll bands

That face off against each other out in the street

down in Jungleland

In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage

Inside the backstreet girls are dancing to the records that the dj plays

Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners

Desperate as the night moves on,

just a look

and a whisper,

and they’re gone

Beneath the city two hearts beat

Soul engines running through a night so tender in a bedroom locked

In whispers of soft refusal and then surrender in the tunnels uptown

The Rat’s own dream guns him down as shots echo

down them hallways in the night

No one watches when the ambulance pulls away

Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light

Outside the street’s on fire in a real death waltz

Between flesh and what’s fantasy

and the poets down here don’t write nothing at all,

they just stand back and let it all be

And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment

And try to make an honest stand

but they wind up wounded,

not even dead




ken layne

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