She ran a boarding house in Boston,
But they used her size to terrorize men
And lead them to the lock-holes.
Or was she a lady clad in black ruffles,
Presented to the Queen in 1844?
Perhaps she was a racehorse
Foaled in Harlem and won a prize.
She had peddled drugs and run a gang
In the chaos of Civil War,
Black Mariah escaped from the darkness
Of Edison’s studio to roam the world,
But in it found herself re-imagined.
They named police wagons after her
It’s said, but no one knows the truth.
Did she cross the battle lines again,
To tread on civil rights?
Or swing the batons in Chicago
And fire rifles at Kent State?
She seems to take time out to charm
Gruff-voiced men who sing her praise.
She prowled the streets of Brixton,
In 1983, with truncheons at her side.
Through gas clouds, dragging men to jail.
Black Mariah is with us still,
Helping to create tyrants and traitors,
To stop the mouths of those who defy
She’s an accessory to the killing.
A riff taken from the slang name for police vans in certain times and areas, especially featured in The Clash song "Guns of Brixton", and alternate meanings, such as a lady who wore black gowns, a racehorse, a boarding house owner. Really a hodge-podge of meangs with emphasis on civil rights violations. I spelled it "Mariah" so it would not be pronounced "Ma-ree-ah"!