Bruce Springsteen

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Black Cowboys

Raney William's playground was among Haven's streets

Where he ran past melted candles and flower wreaths

Names and photos of the young black faces

Whose death and blood consecrated these places



Raney's mother said Raney stay at my side

For you are my blessing, you are my pride

It's your love here that keeps my soul alive

I want you to come home from school and stay inside



Raney'd do his work and put his books away

There was a channel showed a Western movie everyday

And that brought him home books on the black cowboys of the Oklahoma range

The Seminole scouts that fought the tribes of the Great Plains



Summer come and the days grew long

Raney always had his mother's smile to depend on

Along the street of stray bullets he made his way

To the warmth of her arms at the end of each day



Come the Fall, the rain flooded these homes

In Ezekiel's valley of dry bones

It fell hard and dark to the ground

It fell without a sound



And they took up with a man whose business was the boulevard

Whose smile was fixed in a face that was never off guard

In the pipes 'neath the kitchen sink his secrets are kept

In the day, behind drawn curtains in the next bedroom he slept



And she got lost in the days

The smile Raney depended on dusted away

The arms that held him were no more his own

He lay at night his head pressed to her chest listening to the ghost in her bones



In the kitchen, Raney slipped his hand between the pipes

From a brown bag pulled five hundred dollar bills and stuck it in his coat side

Stood in the dark at his mother's bed

Brushed her hair and kissed her eyes



In the twilight Raney walked to the station on streets of stone

Through Pennsylvania and Ohio his train drifted on

Through the small towns of Indiana the big train crept

As he lay his head back on his seat and slept



He woke and the towns gave way to muddy fields of green

Corn and cotton and endless nothing in between

Over the rutted hills of Oklahoma the red sun slipped and was gone

The moon rose and stripped the earth to its bone

 

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