9.  Ghost Bikes
9. Ghost Bikes
November 30, 2014 0 Comments

This was the first song we wrote for We Brought Knives, and the first song from the record we ever performed live.  Might have been the beat that solidified the sound that we were going for, actually.  So in almost every case this was the Alpha.

I know Sentence and I wrote the hook together in the car ride down to our "night of writing".  I know we both wrote our verses that night - Sentence later re-wrote and re-recorded his.  When I heard what he had done the second time around (for some reason I wasn't there when he recorded his second version) my initial instinct was: "Do I sound like the dimwitted friend now?"  Because he absolutely murders this shit, in my humble.  

Ghost bikes, the thing, have always been one of the most powerful and haunting symbols you come across in New York.  For the uninitiated: these bikes, usually painted white, are erected at spots where cyclists have been killed.  The papers tend to only report the sensationalized accidents, cyclists or otherwise - but people are dying pretty regulalry just riding their bikes.  Back in the day I was almost killed by a cabbie who ran a red light.  I broke my hand trying to punch through his window.  Damn winter gloves.  When the cops came they basically told me to go fuck myself.  I promised myself that day that I would never call the cops again.  Fuck 'em.

For some reason ghost bikes have more of an effect on me than the crosses you see on the side of the road, even.  Cars feel business-like.  We all know the risk when we get in a car.  Bikes are for leisure, for play.  You shouldn't have to worry about losing your life when you are biking around New York.  But I digress.

We wrote the song from a first-person perspective, because I've never understood who actually makes and erects these bikes.  I guess in my mind I'd like it to be some solitary figure who does it just to make sure that on one is forgotten.  Prolyphic said this song was one of his favorites.

In the bridge, M. Stine lightly mixed in an audio clip of the names of deceased bike riders being read aloud.  Chilling stuff.

We're holding on.  Houston and Broadway.  Flatbush and Dekalb.  Boulevard and Hoover.  Gun Hill and Webster.

Hoods up.  Like hide the face.  I'll show you where the lost souls ride.  Ain't mine but I'll take the space.  Ghosts don't lie.  Life ain't long.  Death ain't hard.  Ante up.  Deal the cards.  Never gave a single solitary fuck about luck.  I ain't dumb.  But I'll take the odds.

I was this cat.  It was tall boys.  It was six packs.  We were those dudes.  Roll 'em up.  It was zig-zags.  It was dodge motherfucking cops.  Kick cabs.  Posted up smoking.  GT on the kickstand.  Ain't no magic in the cavernous city.  Heroes all died trying to capture it.  Call it what you want til were rolling with the savages.  Once in our life feeling like we ain't so bad at shit.

Rent was cheap.  Walls were thin and the guns were loud.  On that hilltop hood me and Seth with a bed left might give a taste of that knuckle mouth.  Trust me now.  Wasn't too much we gave a fuck about.  Live here.  Die here.  Stuck it out.  No escape.  What we gonna do, tunnel out?

Anyway.  Moon was full.  Two brown bottles.  Kools we stole.  Benzis.  Dirt weed.  Truth be told.  We took a bike and paint it white so fools don't know.  Hop the curb.  Zig zag the lanes.  Red lights flash as we pass the train.  Last thing that I remember is seeing the pedal slack and the crack of the metal as he snapped the chain.

Body.  Frame.  Paint.  Chain it up.

The Alpha for my dude.  Chained to the stop sign that was closest.  I took his broken frame back home and painted on some ghost shit.  No family claimed his body.  No sister shed a tear.  I used a padlock so they knew that he was here.  We were here.

After like eigth months the city sent the boys in with the boltcutters.  But you can't undo what's been done.  Nah, fuckers.  I started scanning papers, tracing stained fingers over obits.  Crowned myself the keeper of the tomb for unknown shits.

For every kid trying to weave through traffic catching a bumper off the back wheel.  Didn't know that a $1.50 bag of chips and a couple sips of Pepsi were the last meal.  For every chick who copped her little fixie thinking she could see the city.  Trust me, darling.  No one gives a shit you think you're pretty.

I ain't rode a single minute since my boy's chapter finished.  I keep busy in my workshop with the music loud and the fucking windows tinted.  I deal is used bikes and cheap paint.  Every day pretty much the same shit.  A lifetime broken down into three steps.  Simple.  Basic.

We're holding on.  Houston and Broadway.  Flatbush and Dekalb.  Boulevard and Hoover.  Gun Hill and Webster.

Body.  Frame.  Paint.  Chain it up.

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