More Gardens Song

This neighborhood is blighted
That’s what the people say
Half the buildings are abandoned
And everything is grey
Half the kids have asthma
‘Cause of the sewage plants nearby
And the mayor doesn’t seem to care
If we live or die

That’s the situation
Now let me take you to the part
The center of this neighborhood
What you could call the heart
A vacant lot of broken glass
For years that’s what it’s been
But the neighbors got together
Said this is where we will begin

We’ll dig this dirt
Plant a seed
Push aside the concrete
So the earth beneath is freed
We’ll plant a garden
Grow some food to eat
And the sunflowers looking to the sky
Say we reclaim this street

In one day we had accomplished
What the mayor always said
He was trying to bring us
Through his clubs upon our heads
The neighborhood is clean
The dealers gone away
We had good food to eat
A place for the kids to play


Twice the city came here
Said this is not our land
Twice the cops destroyed it
All the work of our own hands
Uprooted plants and broken tools
Lay scattered all around
But the next day the only thing you could see
Was fingers in the ground


“More Gardens” originally appeared on my 2004 solo acoustic CD, Songs for Mahmud, and then in 2005 on For the Moment CD, and again in 2010 on the retrospective CD, Waiting for the Fall.

More Gardens is an organization in New York City, and is part of the broader guerrilla gardening movement, which in New York City is closely affiliated with the squatters movement, a movement which exists in many parts of Europe and Latin America, but in the US is pretty much limited to parts of New York City.  One of my friends who was very involved with guerrilla gardening up until his untimely death in 2006 was Brad Will, who organized many of my gigs in NYC, including at least one that I recall in a community garden in the Bronx.