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Unreleased 3: Society's Child

Bayonne Blues

Janis Ian

I must have been around 14 when I started this, just after my family moved to New York City...everything in it actually happened to me one weekend shortly after, and I remained in a state of culture shock for a good six months! By the time I finished the song I was in my late teens, a seasoned New Yorker, & I truly felt I'd been "raised in New York City", even though I'd grown up in New Jersey. We never lived in Bayonne, but my dad worked there for a while, and "Farmingdale" and "East Orange" just didn't scan.

I was raised in New York City, where the money grows on trees
and the flowers all look gritty and the people look diseased
Come up from New Jersey where I sung the Bayonne Blues
I watched the roller derby on the seven-thirty news

I thought I'd be a folksinger
I went down to Macdougal Street
and Bleeker where the stars got stoned
But the union hall was closed
and the stars out on the road
making money singing anti-money songs

I went back up to Broadway. I took the IRT
An old man in a raincoat parked his body next to me
"Do you want to make some money fast?"
and then he grabbed me by the ass
I got derailed on Forty-Second street

I asked somebody for the time
She asked me to her room
She said "I've got a water bed"
I said "I've got the flu
"You look just like a friend of mine
"I never liked too well
"She sold picture postcards
"of the crack in the Liberty Bell"

I went into the Taco Bell to get myself some lunch
They rushed me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped
Run over on the corner by a wheelchair with no horn
I fell into a manhole and was baptized and re-born

I moved out to Long Island
Bought a color TV
I watch the doctor shows
I'm a soap opera queen
I think I got pneumonia
I'm sure I've got TB
It may not be a hell of a life
but it's life enough for me

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