I am walkin’ the back alleys of a city on the brink,
Counting every footstep, trying to clear my head to think.
I can hear those cries and whispers from the windows up on high.
A black cat creeps behind me, searching for a place to die.
See the banker on the sidewalk with his hand out for a loan,
While the mayor and his councilmen are setting fire to St. Joan.
We got a president who preaches the audacity of hope,
While the fat man on the radio wants to lynch him with a rope.
And the young boys in the schoolyard look for something nice to do,
Like blow up the Lincoln Memorial or saw a man half in two.
The soldier’s blood runs red to black in a pool upon the stone,
And the daughters of the revolution are setting fire to St. Joan.
As the flames rose high around her,
Her eyes grew wide but she uttered not a sound.
She placed herself in the hands of God,
But the bishop said the hands of God were bound.
Grandma’s come unbalanced, she’s putting poison in the pie.
Uncle Georgie jumped the fence and swore that he could fly.
It was a long way to the bottom and I wonder what he thought,
If he remembered in his last moments all the things that he forgot.
You can bury all these memories, there ain’t none I wish to own.
I’ll just watch the priest who’s sweeping up the ashes of St. Joan.