Nothing lives in the back-alley tributaries,
things just survive, and get by.
There is no hope in the distant billboards,
no future in the cup of dimes and pennies,
no salvation in the misunderstood heroin dependency.
There is just survival, in the rats and the filth
and the trigger-happy cops whistling Dixie.
Those that dwell within,
the capillaries of the city’s blood supply,
are the generation we pretend not to be.

There is a prostitute, swaying by an unused door,
covered in graffiti and punctured
with the echoes of bullets and rocks.
She is kind, hungry, and wise,
yet no one who uses her bothers to ask her name.
It’s all, “Let’s get this over with,
the plane leaves in a half hour.”
Family men with repressed urges,
leaving black eyes and broken bones behind them
as they hit the road home again.
They come back, they always do.
There must be something about her,
but it sure as hell ain’t her name.

She walks through an alley,
looking up at the metal stairwells and gangways,
potted plants covered in soot and oil,
the smog grey and lifeless.
She tiptoes around discarded newspapers,
some several years old, but she doesn’t look,
too busy speeding up at the approach of footsteps behind her.
They come up behind her,
and the voice of a young girl forms in the dark.
“Mommy, I wanna be a nurse, just like you.”
The footsteps echo away until regret is all that remains.
A tear escapes and freezes to her cheek.
Seventeen years ago, this was a beautiful park;
now, it’s a brick and metal cemetery,
each building a tombstone for someone’s misplaced future.

She reaches the boulevard and pats her cheek dry.
Hailing a cab, she asks for Manhattanville.
The driver begrudgingly agrees,
and in a trail of smoke and mist,
disappears into the night.

“Mommy, I wanna be a nurse, just like you.”
“Hon, you can be anythin’ you wanna be.
All you gotta do is try.”

She hasn’t tried since school.
She has become yet another social degenerate,
one of a great many modern life victims.
A nurse. How pathetic, she can’t even heal herself.
She risks her health every night, and for what?
Money to survive? No, no more.

The cab pulls up, gives the driver half her earnings for the night,
and disembarks, looking for a fine house.
She picks one, a white façade and porch.
Ringing the doorbell
- who could be ringing at half three in the morning? she smiles –
she takes out the Colt in her handbag
and lifts it six feet above the ground.
She smiles again and a Latino gangbanger answers the door.
No hesitation, said the gunslinger to the nurse.
really liked it, "whistling Dixie" seemed to break up the flow a bit

this line "but it sure as hell ain’t her name" was also kind of weak.

Started reallly strongly but kind of faded out towards the end, could try and cut it down a bit.