1. Wednesday, December 11, 2002



    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