New York New York Bronx.

In 1983 I went to New York. Quite a lot, but this time I decided I wanted to see the Bronx. I was told it was dangerous, and its possible flouting that danger was part of ptsd I'd accumulated the year before. Anyway it took me two goes... the first time I was stopped walking alone towards the Dock gates by one of New Yorks finest. He left his vehicle with pistol drawn, before asking me what I was doing there. I told him and he said I was fucking mad, "you can get yourself killed walking alone around here and don't go near the Bronx".

Then he drove me back to the ship!

The following night I made a second effort and this is what happened.


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 pseudo 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.


◄ My Mate Nicky

Filey Butlins 1960 something ►


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Paul Sayer

Tue 30th Jun 2020 15:17

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 19th Jun 2020 20:29

So - how do you police it? Even with the best will or the best intentions in the world, it's not a job for an innocent abroad. By the way, my late sister - who worked in US Forces employment in WW2 when young - said how her generation would make a point of dancing with the black servicemen they met in the build-up to D-Day. That has always stayed in my mind.
Maybe it somehow filtered down to your angry guys' vision of the English in far-off New York.

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