"Black Cowboys" as written by and Bruce Springsteen....
Rainey Williams' playground was the Mott Haven streets where he ran past melted candles and flower wreaths, names and photos of young black faces, whose death and blood consecrated these places. Rainey's mother said, "Rainey stay at my side, for you are my blessing you are my pride. It's your love here that keeps my soul alive. I want you to come home from school and stay inside."

Rainey'd do his work and put his books away. There was a channel showed a western movie everyday. Lynette brought him home books on the black cowboys of the Oklahoma range and the Seminole scouts who fought the tribes of the Great Plains. Summer come and the days grew long. Rainey always had his mother's smile to depend on. Along a street of stray bullets he made his way, to the warmth of her arms at the end of each day.

Come the fall the rain flooded these homes, here in Ezekiel's valley of dry bones, it fell hard and dark to the ground. It fell without a sound. Lynette took up with a man whose business was the boulevard, whose smile was fixed in a face that was never off guard. In the pipes 'neath the kitchen sink his secrets he kept. In the day, behind drawn curtains, in Lynette's bedroom he slept.

Then she got lost in the days. The smile Rainey depended on dusted away, the arms that held him were no more his home. He lay at night his head pressed to her chest listening to the ghost in her bones.

In the kitchen Rainey slipped his hand between the pipes. From a brown bag pulled five hundred dollar bills and stuck it in his coat side, stood in the dark at his mother's bed, brushed her hair and kissed her eyes.

In the twilight Rainey walked to the station along streets of stone. Through Pennsylvania and Ohio his train drifted on. Through the small towns of Indiana the big train crept, as he lay his head back on the seat and slept. He awoke and the towns gave way to muddy fields of green, corn and cotton and an endless nothin' in between. Over the rutted hills of Oklahoma the red sun slipped and was gone. The moon rose and stripped the earth to its bone.

Lyrics submitted by Comrade_Liar, edited by abbeyroad21

"Black Cowboys" as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Downtown Music Publishing

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Black Cowboys song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThe first line of the song is actually:

    Rainey Williams' playground was the Mott Haven Streets

    this refers to one of the poorest Congressional districts in the country (if not the poorest) located in the South Bronx, NYC. That area is notorious for drug dealing, and consequently, the deaths of children by stray bullets, falling down elevator shafts, etc (just read any book by Jonathan Kozol). Which is why there are so many "melted candles and flower wreaths" paying tribute to "young black faces" of the kids and young adults who die. And obviously, Rainey's mother wants him to get home and stay inside, because otherwise he'll end up another face by an RIP candle.
    abbeyroad21on October 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not sure if its considered to be a bit off commenting on lyrics you submited, but I'm going to do it anyway.

    I think its about a poor black kid with a single mum, who's smart enough to (with his mums guidence) avoid the gang culture he might well have fallen into. Then she hooks up with a the wrong sort of man and becomes a junkie, so he steals the mans money and runs away to seek a better life.
    Comrade_Liaron May 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song!

    Raney, like The Seminole scouts who rode the oklahoma plains and fought the tribes of the Great Plains, has embarked on his own ride (train) across the plains to fight against the temptations that will surely be his life if he stays.
    websurrfrron May 10, 2005   Link

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