in the heart of the city
veins of red cobblestone
between summer heat and a spanish beat
where many a pirate's been known
laughing senoritas and colored piņatas
twirl to the tourists delight
latin girls so pretty, but deep in this city
plans are being made for the night

   oh, carmelita
   hold me up or hold me down
   is ybor city paradise
   or the bad side of town

the corners have all been stolen
by bright lights and squad car patrols
but neither violate the alleys
where schemers and saboteurs stroll
costumed and gay by the light of the day
but don't walk away from the crowd
their hatred is buried, but like switchblades it's carried
it burns in the hearts of the proud

   oh, carmelita
   do we dare to dream or drown
   is ybor city paradise
   or the bad side of town

behind the festival veil
a people gasping for air
they invite the invaders to join in the dance
reach a hand out but nothing is there

   oh, carmelita
   lay your body down
   ybor city is paradise
   the bad side of town