Broke Bop Boogie

These shoes were made for walkin’
Not talkin’
I put so much mileage on these here dogs
Their tongues no longer pant in anticipation
Of unknown journeys, but lie in exasperation
As if the victim of a hernia caused by the weight of hunger


I’m leavin’ this town

It used to be so easy to get around
Before all this gentleman bifurcation
Or whatever you call it when poor folks
Get booted out they cribs for rich folks
To live in condos the size of telephone booths
Paying so much money you’d think it grew
On trees so they could pick and wipe they ass with
Whenever they please

I’m leavin’ this town

But my feets hurt me so
And my dogs are broke down as a cross town bus
In Harlem
I gots the blues bad and my bunions is kickin’ my ass
My shoes howl in the wind and they put a lean
On my cardboard box so heavy it’s a crushed Dixie cup

I’m leavin’ this town


Broke Prayer

Hail Mary full of grace
The Lord is with thee
While hunger is with we
Blessed art thou
Among homeless women
In battered shelters
Unable to receive welfare
Because the right-wing
Thinks they make babies
To cheat the government

Out of money
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb Jesus
Which will come in
Handy right about now
For Chrisakes
Being that our hunger pangs
Are beginning to kick in
Holy Mary Mother of God
Pray for our sinners

Who go home to warm dinners
And sleep knowing
They force us to dine on air
Cobwebs and dust
Now and at the never-ending
Hour of our death
Our Father who art in heaven
Hollowed be thy name
Unable to accept the charges

From our collect calls
For extra change for a room
And a bed to sleep
And a plate of ghetto rice and beans
Or that bulletproof welfare cheese
We dream about
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth
As it is in heaven
Give us this day

Our daily bread
(This is when they throw bottles
Until they break into glass
Each takes a piece,
Making believe it’s bread)
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who
Trespass against us
By stepping over us as we sit
On cardboard floors

Extorting coins from passersby
With sad pathetic faces
Or those that block us out
With those giant sheets
Of advertisements
In The New York Times
Studying their stocks
Like OTB horse racing sheets
In The Wall Street Journal
Of rat races and dirty schemes

Or those that cannot control
Their lethargy and sit on our face
As we snore and sleep our lives
Away on subway car seats
Or those sneaky little devils
Who baptize us with lighter fluid
And matchstick kerosene
Until our dreams are
Charcoal broiled nightmare screams
And lead us not into temptation

For we refuse to live high on the hog
At the expense of others
We’d rather poke around in
Garbage cans brushing off ants
And spit from a policeman’s
Half-eaten donut or hot dog
But deliver us from evil
(At this time cops come in
And toss everyone out onto the curb)
Ah? Men

Broke Stupid Pet Tricks

I am not a bum
Though I’ve hummed tunes
In search of money

I am not a crook
Though I’ve had the book
Thrown at me

From an irate judge
Unable to display

I have been a patient
Not etherized upon a table
But stretched out on

Cardboard or ice or even
Concrete with arthritic knees
And broke bunioned feet

An old dog being dragged
By its master
Along the streets

To shit and to pee

I am not a dog
Though I wouldn’t mind
The three square meals

A day in exchange for
Laying around bored
All day cooped up

Panting and salivating
Catching Frisbees
With my mouth or

Fetching somebody’s slippers

Broke on Ice

On one of the coldest days
Of the year
I led a squatter’s march

To take over an
Abandoned building
The city owned

The mayor sent in
The National Guard to
Bash our heads in

Drag and throw us
Like garbage bags
Across the ice

Camera crews
Were on-site
To record this

For a while
We were the talk
Of the town

We took a
90% share in the
Nielsen Ratings

Beating out
The Ice Capades
And figure skating

On the Eleven O’clock News
We were covered in the
Sports segment

The police officers
Were judged on not
How far they threw us

But on how far
We slid along
The street

Broke on Death Row

Wrongly accused of breathing
Or sneezing or sleeping
Or nodding off in a back alley
In somebody else’s trash
A Yes was pulled out of my No’s

After hours upon hours
Of Chinese water torture
Interrogation techniques
As if I was a terror suspect
From Abu Grab

No evidence
But my broke beaten words
No DNA but three DTs and a DA
Stalking lies as if it were
The truth

Any old dupe
Will do
Somebody else’s time
And pinned the tail
On me donkey

Swept me through
The system so fast
I don’t even know
What verdict the jury
That was not my peers

Rendered, but I guess it was
Enough to turn me into a legal tender
Fender bender as they carted me
Off to the death house
For all these years

I slipped on a banana
Of appeals
Denied every one
Of them
Judges threw so many

Books at me
You would’ve thought
I was a repository box
Dents on my forehead big as
Notches on the judge’s bench

Now I have a place to live
A few feet from where
They don’t want me to
Every so often they let me
Take a peak

Of the light
From the room
Where they soon will
Turn my lights

Broke Advice at a Street Corner Lecture

It’s important to
Steal things
From your job

Rob a bank
Or two
Every now

And then
You have to

Raid the frozen
Foods section of your
Neighborhood grocery store

Line your coat
With sausage links
And ham

Hell, if that
Damn bread
Wasn’t so bulky

You should
Be able to
Haul off a

Six pack and
Some biscuits too
And be sure to

Take some
Cans of dog food
You never know

When you might
Need them
Why you might
Be forced to
Bust a
Security guard

Right upside
His head
He stands

In your way