"Ghetto Defendant" as written by Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones....
Starved in metropolis
Hooked on necropolis
Addict of metropolis
Do the worm on the accropolis
Slamdance the cosmopolis
Enlighten the populace

Hungry darkness of living
Who will thirst in the pit? (hooked in metropolis)
She spent a lifetime deciding
How to run from it (addicts of metropolis)
Once fate had a witness
And the years seemed like friends (girlfriends)
Now her child has a dream
But it begins like it ends

Shot in eternity
Methadone kitty
Iron serenity

Ghetto defendant
It is heroin pity
Not tear gas nor baton charge
That stops you taking the city

(Strung-out committee) walled out of the city
Clubbed down from uptown
Sprayed pest from the nest
Run out to barrio town (The guards are itchy)
Forced to watch at the feast
Then sweep up the night
Flipped pieces of coin (broken bottles)
Exchanged for birthright (grafted in a jiffy)

Ghetto defendant, it is heroin pity (strung-out committee)
Not tear gas nor baton charge
That stops you taking the city (not sitting pretty)
(Grafted in a jiffy) heroin pity
Not tear gas nor baton charge
That stops you taking the city

The ghetto prince of gutter poets
Was bounced out of the room (Jean Arthur Rimbaud)
By the bodyguards of greed
For disturbing the tomb (eighteen-seventy-three)
His words like flamethrowers (paris commune)
Burnt the ghettos in their chests
His face was painted whiter
And he was laid to rest (died in Marseille)

Ghetto defendant, it is heroin pity (buried in Charleville)
Not tear gas nor baton charge
That stops you taking the city (shut up in etenity)

It is heroin pity
Not tear gas nor baton charge
That stops you taking the city

Guatemala, Honduras, Poland, the Hundred-Years War
TV re-run invasion
Death squad Salvador
Afghanistan, meditation, old Chinese flu
Kick junk, what else can a poor worker do?

Ghetto defendant
In heroin pity
Not tear gas nor baton charge
That stops you taking the city

Ghetto defendant
It is heroin pity


Lyrics submitted by aebassist, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Ghetto Defendant" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Ghetto Defendant song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthis song is about the C.I.A.'s involvement with the drug trade in the Ghetto's
    Steppingrazoron December 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about the drugs business in the ghetto's of the world not wanting change. But simply rich pickings.

    NOT TEAR GAS NOR BATON CHARGE
    THAT STOPS YOU TAKING THE CITY

    - They're not harmed or affected by the draconian clampdowns aimed at the ghetto dwellers, while:

    THE ADMIRAL SNORES COMMAND
    SUBMARINES BOIL IN OCEANS
    WHILE THE ARMIES FIGHT WITH SUNS

    [We've got our priorities wrong].
    BoHoon February 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe title of the song is ironic cuz its talking about the military that is defending the ghettos. Where as the priorities r set on the outside of the country instead of the inside. the ghetto doesnt need to be defended it needs to be fixed.
    pfandcloveron July 12, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's an allegory, which would be more clear if Ginsberg's poem wasn't interspersed with Strummer's lyrics, but set off on their own like on the album sleeve. ostensibly, the song is about a graffiti artist/street poet who eventually becomes famous in the white art community and dies
    (His words like flamethrowers
    Burnt the ghettos in their chests
    His face was painted whiter
    And he was laid to rest)
    The deeper story is that of black music and other art forms being "cleaned up" for the dominant culture, "painted whiter" as the song says. The originators of that art form move on, and it is "laid to rest." Ginsberg's poem effectively ties that to mainstream culture absorbing the counterculture into itself.
    rb3868on September 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTHIS SONG IS THE BEST SONG!!! I love listening to it.
    pringdoggon July 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, it kicks ass. Its also pretty self explanitory.
    SkeletonGuyon July 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is incredible. The contrast between the two lyrical and vocal styles is beautiful.
    Ad_Nauseamon September 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is awesome! i always play this and my friends are like "what the hell is this???! it's a great song i love the vocal contrasts.
    benulitronon January 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such an amazing song. I can't stop listening to it, and whenever I pick up a guitar, I start playing this.
    Nachoman55on October 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere is always so much to digest with a Clash song. Loads of references and imagery to unpick.

    You can find the whole album on youtube if you have have worn out your copy!
    burningskyon June 24, 2012   Link

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