Naked in This Part of Town

1. Today blossomed brightly and it looked ok
As you stepped upon your sidewalk of dreams.
Then as you looked around on your way across town,
You spied a shortcut lyin’ under your feet.
It looked good where you stood this side of the crossing,
And then you took the only way in.
Seemed all right at first, then it got confusing —
People too friendly, not the kind of your choosing.
And funny, what a greeting they said:
“Don’t look back, no need, don’t turn around.
Just walk on through — today you’re naked in this part of town.”

2. A crowd quickly gathered in deep and wide,
Circlin’ ‘round you as they sucked up your air,
Leavin’ you standin’ high there, beginnin’ to squirm,
Believin’ they intended you no good at all.
Yes, you thought, they’re dealers, they’re stealers,
And they’re turnabout squealers,
All with nothin’ left legal to do.
If they shielded you, ‘twas not for protection.
Too bad you came here with everything but,
Now you’re left to wonder what they expected of you.
When you asked them, who knows?
They just pulled off your clothes,
And you stood there like a spring that was wound.
“Just give it up,” they said.
“Now find your way naked through this part of town.”

3. You thought, “How much of what am I ready to lose?
A shortcut may have brought me in here,
But it ain’t gonna get me out.”
And nothing that you shout now
Will gain you passage or melt away your fear.
You will walk like a saint down the alleyways
While people accuse you, refuse you,
Blame you and shame you.
They hover above you, they taunt from below.
They run your clothes upside their flagpole.
Shadowing your every step, but not to shield you —
Lord, what could you possibly owe them
When you don’t, you don’t even know them? you frown.
Yes, certainly you arrived here well dressed,
But now people run you naked, naked in this part of town.

4. True, you don’t really know where you stand right now,
Just wanna keep the sky above your head right now.
Sure, better you had taken the long way around,
‘Cause what you get here free don’t resemble protection,
But don’t waste your time on that kind of reflection.
See, there’s lives bound up in sin and pain here,
People chased by dogs or pulling ball and chain here.
Some look wild, crazy, useless or lazy,
Their faces cut, eyes shut, mouths stuck
Repeating the letters of their name.
There’s men disguised with rags and thread,
And pointing their arms above their heads.
When will these streets take you where you might be found
Instead of pulling you helpless, naked through this part of town?

5. Somehow you never had to run before
Always knowing what it took to survive.
And all the ways you kept yourself alive before,
Certain that salvation was just around your corner.
These streets don’t take you where you need to go,
As the wind blows dust into your eyes.
There’s a crater in the road with ashes in the bottom,
Trash is on the sidewalk —
Let’s hope the border’s just a stoplight away.
Then you get to keep whatever you got left,
Now that you’re tired of this game
Where you’ve become a stumbling shame.
You’ve worn a hole through the strangeness of your day.
Once you’ve gone the distance, find some clothes upon the street.
Then nothin’s stoppin’ you from bein’ homeward bound
Once you’re done crossing naked, naked through this part of town.

6. Well, today bloomed early and it looked ok,
And how people looked good because of it.
Now nobody’s fightin’ you from leavin’ this place,
You have done what they wanted you to do.
Fully dressed, now you can put it all to rest
As you leave behind this roughness that bleeds,
Collecting all the toughness you need to walk on.
So did you gain or lose, pick up something you could use,
Was it jailtime or freedom that you did?
What business did they have with you anyway?
You want a simple explanation before bed.
For sure, next time you’ll take the long way around
Where nobody ever has to run naked, no, not in your,
Not in your, not in your part of town.