by Mel Waldman
The poem was inspired by the bus trip I take into the ghetto to get to work. (Actually, I take three subways and one bus to get from Brooklyn to the South Bronx where I work.) Often, I listen to the teenagers rap and watch them gesture as we enter the ghetto. It’s like being transported to the Wild West.
Welcome to Ghetto-Land, Ghost Town, USA: urban massacre, machetes, mutilation, madness and rigor mortis, one nation under death;
Riots, random shootings, handguns, homicide, shotguns, suicide;
Listen to the VI-O-LENCE and syncopation, the jazzy beat of it, the brutal SI-LENCE of each corpse, Freudian death wish, decapitation, one nation under siege;
Ghetto-Land and the Candy Man, shooting galleries and HIV, Welcome to the Land of the Free, one nation under death;
Welcome to the Ghetto-Land, Ghost Town, USA — a place to kill or die (or disappear and hang with ghosts), no matter where you are,
A Ghetto State of Mind,
a hopeless state of mind,
a desperate state of mind,
with only three exits:
Death, Madness or invisibility.
Copyright © 2008 by Mel Waldman