“It happens when the money comes / The wild and poor get pushed aside”

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Listening to brand-new music about Bethlehem while wedged into Godfrey Daniel’s for Festival UnBound’s “Poets, Troubadours, and Troublemakers” performance, knees welded together, elbows pinned to ribs, butt little more comfortable than a flag-pole sitter’s, Gadfly’s mind drifted back to the past . . . to John Gorka.

Anyone remember?

“My time [in Bethlehem] roughly coincided with the decline of Bethlehem Steel . . . and the town was trying to adapt to the new economic realities . . . a lot of what they did I was fine with . . . but the way they were fixing up the southside of town, where Godfrey Daniels is . . . I started to feel like aspiring folksingers and other poor people would no longer be welcome there . . . wrote this in 1991 . . . The song is kind of contemporary in a horrible way.”

Gorka 1

“Where the Bottles Break”

I walk where the bottles break
And the blacktop still comes back for more
I walk where the bottles break
And the blacktop still comes back

I live where the neighbors yell
And their music comes up through the floor
I live where the neighbors yell
And their music wakes me up

Life beyond the playground fence
Is serious as basketball
Life beyond the playground fence
Is serious

Four blocks from the steel mill blasts
I paint my claim up on the wall
Four blocks from the steel mill blasts
I paint my claim

From my end of the southside drag
It’s a common thought to call the cops
Further west it’s been gentrified
They turned biker bars into flower shops

I kind of miss those Harley guys
Who rarely did a body harm
They mostly liked to drink and shout
And flash the pictures on their arms

It happens when the money comes
The wild and poor get pushed aside
It happens when the money comes
The poor get pushed
The buyers come from somewhere else
And raise the rent so you can’t hide
The buyers come from out of state
And they raise the rent

Buy low sell high
You get rich and you still die
Money talks and people jump
Ask how high low-life Donald what’s-his-name
And who cares
I don’t want to know what his new wife doesn’t wear
It’s a shame that the people at work
want to hear about this kind of jerk

These people aren’t saints
No people just are
They want to feel like they count
They want to ride in their own car
People aren’t saints
No people just are
They want to feel like they count
They want to ride in their own car

I just want to make enough
To buy this town and keep it rough
I just want to make enough
To buy this town

Buy low sell high
You get rich and you still die
Money talks and people jump
Ask how high low-life Donald what’s-his-name
I walk where the bottles break
And the blacktop still comes back for more
I walk where the bottles break
And the blacktop still comes back

I live where the neighbors yell
And their music comes up through the floor
I live where the neighbors yell
And their music wakes me up

Life beyond the playground fence
Is serious as basketball
Life beyond the playground fence
Is serious

Festival UnBound
Closed but never forgotten

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