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When the Russian Came to Town

the Russian came to America
they took him to New York City
up the shiny walks of Fifth Avenue
where the shops all look so pretty
big banker took him by the arm
and held him in his grasp
glad to see you’ve finally come around
we knew you couldn’t last

they gave him wine and sandwiches
and his own limousine
they took his picture in a smiling pose
for the covers of the magazine
with the statue of liberty
so high above his head
said how’s it feel to be a Russian
now that’s Lennon’s dead

all the network heavies
on the nightly national news
channeled their excitement
as they duly took their cues
for this historic instant
is a moment of renown
a way to say I told you so
when the Russian came to town

flags a-wavin’, summer breeze
sunlight shifting silhouettes
secret service in the trees
a monkey with a cigarette
pictures of a world unknown
straining at the seams
all that can be truly shown
is never really what it seems
it’s never really what it seems

over on the east side
up in Harlem, down in Bedford Stuy
in places that are rarely seen
by the diplomatic eye
children of the ancestors
so deep and hunkered down
waiting for some perestroyka
to come to their part of town

yes the Russian came to America
but what did he really see
selected supervisions
of a sanitized reality
there’s two sides to every coin
the concrete and the clover
you want to know the value
you have to turn it over
you have to turn it over