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The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

(Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett, Rutherford)

The Platinum Collection, 2004
Archive 1967-75, 1998
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, 1974

Keep your fingers out of my eye.

While I write I like to glance at the butterflies in glass
that are all around
the walls. The people in memory are pinned to events
I can't recall too well,
but I'm putting one down to watch him break up,
decompose and feed another sort
of life. The one in question is all fully biodegradable
material and
categorised as 'Rael'. Rael hates me, I like Rael, -
yes, even ostriches have
feelings, but our relationship is something both of us
are learning to live with.
Rael likes a good time, I like a good rhyme, but you
won't see me directly
anymore - he hates my being around. So if his story
doesn't stand, I might lend
a hand, you understand? (ie. the rhyme is planned,
dummies).

The flickering needle jumps into red. New York crawls
out of its bed.

And the lamb lies down on Broadway.

Early morning Manhattan,
Ocean winds blow on the land.

The weary guests are asked to leave the warmth of
the all-night theater, having
slept on pictures others only dream on.

Movie-Palace is now undone,
The all-night watchmen have had their fun.
Sleeping cheaply on the midnight show,
It's the same old ending - time to go.
Get out!
It seems they cannot leave their dream.

The un-paid extras disturb the Sleeping Broadway.
WALK to the left DON'T WALK to
the right: on Broadway, directions don't look so bright.
Autoghosts keep the pace
for the cabman's early mobile race.

There's something moving in the sidewalk steam,
And the lamb lies down on Broadway.

Nightime's flyers feel their pains.
Drugstore take down the chains.
Metal motion comes in bursts,
The gas station can quench that thirst.
Suspension cracked on unmade road
The trucker's eyes read 'Overload'

Enough of this - our hero is moving up the subway
stairs into day- light. Beneath
his leather jacket he holds a spray gun which has left
the message R-A-E-L in big
letters on the wall leading underground. It may not
mean much to you but to Rael
it is part of the process going towards 'making a name
for yourself.' When you're
not even a pure-bred Puerto Rican the going gets
tough and the tough gets going.

And out on the subway,
Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid
Exits into daylight, spraygun hid,
And the lamb lies down on Broadway.

With casual sideways glances along the wet street, he
checks the motion in the steam
to look for potential obstruction. Seeing none, he
strides along the sidewalk, past
the drugstore with iron guard being removed to reveal
the smile of the toothpaste
girl, past the nightladies and past Patrolman Frank
Leonowich (48, married, two kids)
who stands in the doorway of the wig-store.
Patrolman Leonowich looks at Rael in much
the same way that other Patrolmen look at him, and
Rael only just hides that he is
hiding something. Meanwhile from out of the steam a
lamb lies down. This lamb has
nothing whatsoever to do with Rael, or any other lamb
- it just lies down on Broadway.

The lamb seems right out of place,
Yet the Broadway street scene finds a focus in its face.
Somehow it's lying there,
Brings a stillness to the air.
Though man-made light, at night is very bright,
There's no whitewash victim,
As the neons dim, to the coat of white.
Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid
Wipes his gun - he's forgotten what he did,
And the lamb lies down on Broadway.

Suzanne tired her work all done,
Thinks money - honey - be on - neon.
Cabman's velvet glove sounds the horn
And the sawdust king spits out his scorn.
Wonder women you can draw your blind!
Don't look at me! I'm not your kind.
I'm Rael!
Something inside me has just begun,
Lord knows what I have done,
And the lamb lies down on Broadway.
On Broadway -
They say the lights are always bright on Broadway.
They say there's always magic in the air.

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