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​It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City

This song is by David Bowie and appears on the compilation box set Sound + Vision (1989).

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It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
I could walk like Brando right into the sun and dance just like a Casanova
With my blackjack and jacket and my hair slicked sweet
Silver studs on my duds just like a Harley in heat
When I strut down the street I could hear its heartbeat
The sisters fell back and said, "Don't that man look pretty"
The cripple on the corner cried out, "Penny, nickels for your pity"
Them gasoline boys downtown, they sure talk gritty
It's so hard to be a saint in the city

I was a king of the alley, mama, I could talk some trash
I was a prince of the paupers, crowned downtown at the Beggars' Bash
I was a pimp's main prophet, I kept everything cool
Just a backstreet gambler with the luck to lose
And when the heat came down it was left on the ground, mama
Devil appeared to me like Jesus through the steam in the street
And showed me a hand that even the cops couldn't beat
And I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
It's so hard to be a saint when you're just a boy out on the street

And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
As the tracks clack out the rhythm, the eyes fixed straight ahead
They ride the line of balancing, hold on by just a thread
Well, it's too hot in these tunnels, you can get hit up by the heat
When you get up to get out at your next stop, but they push you back down in your seat
And your heart starts beating faster as you struggle to your feet
Then you're out of that hole, back on the street
And them southside sisters, they sure look pretty
And the cripple on the corner cries out, "Nickels for your pity"
And them downtown boys, they sure talk gritty
It's so hard to be a saint in the city

Written by:

Bruce Springsteen