Welfare Street

Welfare Street


I surrendered when you told me 
I’m just another mouth to feed 
Told to leave the table like a beggar at the feast 
The holler’s been on fire, its’ vulgar sound is sweet 
But there ain’t no traitors living out here on Welfare Street 

My iron-tasting lady clipped it from a magazine 
It said that they were hiring for 500 a week 
I used to be a tradesman; at least I used to be 
But now I’m just a cripple out here on Welfare Street 

I’ve towed the party lines and they both pretend to be 
A place where Connie’s junkyard 
Is rubbing elbows with the bourgeoisie 
They’re written from the towers of well-oiled machines 
There’s no cocaine on holidays out here on Welfare Street 

His tennis shoes are hanging 
You can see them through the trees 
Folding under pressure like a clover in the breeze 
He still defies the lightening running at top speed 
Chasing down the bullet out here on Welfare Street 

The fire hydrant’s opened 
It’s ninety-nine degrees 
Watching the toddlers soak each other in their whitey-tighties 
Oh, there’s beauty on this river, a rainbow on the stream 
We’re all just friendly neighbors out here on Welfare Street 

But you don’t join the celebration 
Because it’s not what you believe 
The fence has gotten higher from the falling GNP 
And what’s the point of working when everything is free? 
Isn’t that the way it functions out here on Welfare Street? 

My vision’s growing dim 
It fails in empathy 
I’ve never stayed the night 
I’ve never even held the key 
In fact, I lack all understanding with my graduate degree 
I’m simply middle class and anxious out here on Welfare Street