He lay his blanket underneath the freeway
As the evening sky grew dark
Took a sniff of toncho from his coke can
And headed through Balboa Park

Where the men in their Mercedes
Come nightly to employ
In the cool San Diego evening
The services of the border boys

He grew up near the Zona Norte
With the hustlers and smugglers he hung out with
He swallowed their balloons of cocaine
And brought 'em across the Twelfth Street strip

Sleeping in a shelter
If the night got too cold
Runnin' from the migra
Of the border patrol

Past the salvage yard 'cross the train tracks
And in through the storm drain
They stretched their blankets out 'neath the freeway
And each one took a name

There was X-man and Cochise
Little Spider his sneakers covered in river mud
They come north to California
End up with the poison in their blood

He did what he had to do for the money
Sometimes he sent home what he could spare
The rest went to high-top sneakers and toncho
And jeans like the gavachos wear

One night the border patrol swept Twelfth Street
A big car come fast down the boulevard
Spider stood caught in its headlights
Got hit and went down hard

Car sped away Spider held his stomach
Limped to his blanket 'neath the underpass
Lie there tasting his own blood on his tongue
Closed his eyes and listened to the cars rushin' by, so fast

Lyrics submitted by Bobo192

Balboa Park Lyrics as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Balboa Park song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI grew up in San Diego and I know personally that this song is about the real-life, homeless young youth who hustle the downtown streets of San Diego city after being thrown out by their religiously conservative parents in places like Poway and Carlsbad in the northern parts of the county. To survive they get involved in drugs and prostitution. Estimates are that anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of all homeless youth are gay kids who were thrown out from otherwise good homes. It is all very sad. There was once a WB Channel 5 news segment on this, back in 2001 or 2002 I think. It was called "The Pavement is My Pillow". There's now a homeless youth shelter that was built downtown to house some of these youth called "The Storefront", but services to help these poor young people are still inadequate. The only way this problem will come to an end is for society to realize that homosexuality is not a sickness or a sin and simple part of who people really are. It all really saddens me and makes me want to cry every time I think about it. I could have very easily been one of those guys.
    grelingon January 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaunting story by the greatest of all-time.

    Self-explanatory. Heart-breaking.

    springsteen: the greatest
    The Magic Raton November 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a lyrical interpretation of the LA Times article: articles.latimes.com/1993-04-03/news/mn-18653_1_san-diego-s-balboa-park/…
    franklintitanon June 07, 2016   Link

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