a song by Ani DiFranco


White people are so scared of black people.
They bulldoze out to the country,
And put up houses on little loop-de-loop streets.
And while America gets its heart cut right out of its chest,
The Berlin Wall still runs down Main Street,
Separating east side from west.
And nothing is stirring, not even a mouse
In the boarded-up stores and the broken-down houses.
So they hang colorful banners off all the street lamps
Just to prove they got no manners,
No mercy, and no sense.

And I’m wondering what it will take
For my city to rise.
First we admit our mistakes,
Then we open our eyes.

The ghosts of old buildings are haunting parking lots
In the city of good neighbors that history forgot.

I remember the first time I saw someone
Lying on the cold street.
I thought, “I can’t just walk past here;
This can’t just be true.”
But I learned by example
To just keep moving my feet.
It’s amazing the things that we all learn to do.

So we’re led by denial like lambs to the slaughter,
Serving empires of style and carbonated sugar water.
And the old farm road’s a four-lane that leads to the mall,
And our dreams are all guillotines waiting to fall.

I’m wondering what it will take
For my country to rise.
First we admit our mistakes,
And then we open our eyes.
Or nature succumbs to one last dumb decision,
And America the beautiful
Is just one big subdivision.

  1. I just love Ani! This song is great. I remember hearing one time that a subdivision is where they cut down all the trees and then name the streets after them. Sad, but true.
    I can’t say that I really like where I live, but last night I sat outside with Matt and watched a family of owls (a mama, daddy, and three babies) swoop quietly through our trees. I’m pretty sure this family of owls wouldn’t find a big enough tree (or a tree at all) to perch in in many neighborhoods.

    I’ve really been enjoying/inspired by/challenged by your posts of late. I always want to comment, but I usually read blogs while I’m nursing, and I am too impatient to type out a response one-handed.

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