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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;

Gang War,
World War,

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

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