So you say you never heard of the ‘Inner City Blues’
And what’s more you don’t understand at all
What the ghetto folks mean about ‘living behind walls’?
Then put on your best suit, white shirt and tie
And come on downtown to stand in line
For a job washing dishes, but you may not qualify.
Walking a great big hole in a new pair of shoes
And you’ve had your first look at the ‘Inner City Blues’.
Go looking for a place to live but all the while
Beware of what’s lurking behind the devil’s smile.
Are we stupid or just naive that we continue to believe
Money can buy anything
Including a slice of ‘the American Dream?’
Yeah, answer ads in the paper about ‘houses for sale’
And get treated like Charles Manson out on bail.
When you start to get frustrated by the tactics they use
You can recognize that, feeling
It’s the ‘Inner City Blues.’
Yeah make you wanna holler sometimes
And throw up both your hands
And say, ‘Liberation.’
— from “The Seige of New Orleans” by Gil Scott-Heron
For more: listen to the entire song (Inner City Blues) and poem from Gil Scott-Heron below.