My sister sent some money
'cuz things had gone to hell.
Said "You don't belong there Honey,
a trip home will do you well."
On a three day smelly bus ride
Away from what had been obscene
Turned my nose to New York City
where the air was fresh and clean.
Pulled into Central Station
a different kind of highland
Was met by my dear sister
a castaway on Gov'nors Isand.
Being broke was half the trouble
and we played it like a game
but the nasty shoe debacle
well it made me take the shame.
I didn't know quite what to do
but I knew I had a job,
a suit of houndstooth off 'The Give'
and my hair cut into a bob.
The suit was fitting perfectly
and for shoes she found some flats
pink with silver circled cutouts
kind of clownish without spats
Well I stood there in a laugh-cry
'cuz my job was in the city
I gotta make these babies black
or be lookin' 'Hello Kitty'.
So she gets that strange expression
perhaps it's from the Lord
In an empty apartment down the hall
was some paint for the old baseboard.
We laughed the night we dipped the shoes
laughed until we cried
And early the next morning
It seemed the paint had dried.
You could see that they were shiny
and ready for the weather
and from an eyeball's distance
they could pass for patent leather.
I was ever careful
as I slipped my stockinged toes
into my brand new Government issued
shoes and No-Frills tailored clothes.
Mincing along but gingerly
I hopped aboard the ferry
missed the bus to Beekman
in the dark, the walk was scary.
Made it the building
not a minute did I lose
I tidied up my hair and
then I glanced down at my shoes...
Blasted bloody got em muddy
bits of paper grass and sand
I heard my toes scream out, "Hey, buddy!
for shoes, tar paint is banned!".
Quickly then I kicked 'em off
and tried to wipe 'em clean
but every little thing unstuck
took off the tacky sheen.
I did my best to conceal a sob
but had to pay my dues
as more than one allergic snob
caught sight of battered shoes.
At 5 PM back on the street
with nowhere else to roam
my misery, it was complete
as I tracked some more dirt home.
PS. I was reminded of one of my favorite episodes of the Little Rascals, where the boy, whose mother had been abused by his drunken father somehow managed to buy her a pretty dress and oversized pumps. I can't remember the details but the clothes didn't quite fit right. The closing scene left a lasting impression. The family are walking to church and the boy is looking at Mom in her new clothes and with love in his eyes says," Gee Ma, you look like an angel on Sunday!" Her ankles are wobbling badly, like a little girl in her mother's high heels, but she's beaming down at him, " I FEEL like an angel on Sunday!"