Selected Songs

Containers

 

Since you're sitting there and you're asking

let me tell you how I feel.

My heart thrives on starvation

but my stomach needs a meal.

   No I'm not the one in question.

   I just do the things I must;

   erecting all of my fantasies

   out of relics in the dust.

Your tools are what are important.

Don't let them go to rust.....

 

I considered keeping my mouth shut

until I reached that age

when I found that all of my freedom

still stayed with me in the cage.

   And so my voice is getting louder now

   but my song remains unsung,

   and though I'm weary from this journey

   I've really only just begun.

I'm tired of all this walking.

I think I'll start to run.....

 

Running around in circles

doesn't get you anywhere,

because you can't stay under the water

without coming up for air.

   The past has not been easy

   but it's carried you this far,

   and you can't remain on a mountain-top

   without searching for a star.

I wonder how long it might be my friend

'til we see just who we are.....

 

So don't speak to me of incompetence;

your voice is what you bring.

Blend it in with some harmony

and let your instinct sing.

   There is plenty I could tell you now

   but the words just can't begin

   to describe to you what I'm feeling now

   or what's happening within.

These words are just the containers

   that I put my feelings in.....

 

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Song For One Who Wishes To Remain Anonymous

 

the first time i stood before you i was no more than a boy

my destiny evaded you i was sensitive and coy

in fear of my mortality in fear i fled the womb

and i hung my pride in effigy inside your lover’s room

yes i wanted to possess you

among the other things that i planned

but you were far beyond my ragged reach with a mirror

         in your hand

 

the coincidence of confidence that placed me in your way

is crystalized and clarified and magnetized each day

your eyes reflect so honestly the images you see

disguised in all of my modesty i seek your mystery

impressed with all of your fantasies i tried to understand

as you sat right there in front of me with a prism

in your hand

 

impressed with your intensity i sacrificed my shield

impressed with my creativity you invited me to yield

our skin is what contains us and keeps us from being one

though slowly all the clothes of our desires came undone

infinity is what sets us free as resistance takes the stand

weren’t you lying there so innocently with my trials

in your hand

 

(chorus)

and i’ve witnessed the mountains of granite and gold

wash down to the beaches of sand

you’ve watched the cold winds and the winter ice melt

as the sun lends it’s warmth unto the land

now shouldn’t we also exist this way *

isn’t it instinctually planned 

 

*now shouldn’t we also resist this way (after 2nd verse)

*now shouldn’t we also persist in this way (after 3rd verse)

 

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Birth And Death Are The Same Door

 

Somewhere deep within a dreamless sleep 

Your birth is hidden.

So protected that the truth of the future

Is forbidden.

Restful eons in the arms of the void

Then one day the door is opened.

All your instinctual fears are deployed

When your umbilical ties are broken.

 

Screaming for air when you find 

That your former life is finished.

Eyes wide open as the pain of transition 

Is diminished.

All memory is washed away.

A new life is filled with empty pages.

Senses separate the night from the day

As your perception adjusts to the ages.

 

Destiny leads you through the 

Magical maze of your direction.

The pattern has taught you 

Not to place your faith in resurrection.

From the moment of your very first breath

Life seemed like an endless tunnel

But when you witness an old man 

      surrender to death

It seems more like a closed funnel.

 

You wish to remain here

Attached to the props of your existence.

I really can’t blame you

For approaching unknowns with resistance.

Time leaves its mark 

      in the lines of your face

Though you can never really detect it.

Peace of mind lies at the end of the race

If we can ever learn to accept it.

 

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The Seconds Of Your Love

 

My heart has open caverns but they're all caving in

And the walls of my distinction are wearing pretty thin.

This dizziness is terrible;

It's set me in a spin.

Was it worth it for a second of your love?

 

It wouldn't be so painful but I know that you're alive.

Telepathy screams out to you in hopes you might revive

The memories of our depths together;

Listen to them thrive.

Reaching for the seconds of your love.

 

I knew that I was vulnerable but I didn't seem to care.

Intangibly I felt as if we made a decent pair.

Our laughter and our passion

Still lingers in the air.

Savoring the seconds of your love.

 

I rarely write my thoughts out when they surface in my mind

But it's late and I am restless. I'm trying to unwind

The coils of my loneliness

In the words you left behind.

Questioning the seconds of your love?

 

It's funny how this paradox works something like a key.

The only way to conquer is to set the cages free;

To open up those locked doors

For all eternity.

It was worth it for a second of your love.

 

Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour.

Time consumes my deepest wounds left open to devour.

The days stack up so graciously

Reaching like a tower

Constructed with the seconds of your love.

 

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Thorns Of Christ

 

treading in my pagan boots

on whitewashed rocks and knarled roots

I can hear red cardinals sing like flutes

confessing to the stream

 

water rushes like a preacher

it magnifies each liquid feature

nourishing each plant and creature

thriving from the stream

 

I scaled the ivy coated wall

baptized by the waterfall

rock to rock that satin sermon

calls me to the stream

 

the path was dark and thinly iced

as razor steeples neatly sliced

my skin with poisoned thorns of christ

betraying near the stream

 

the mantis prayed as my hands bled

the broken thorns oozed scars of red

and crouching down in pain I fed

my blood into the stream

 

so when you hear the serpent hiss

disguised as natures subtle kiss

some lesson could be learned from this

find it at the stream

 

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The Apple And The Rose

 

The roses wrap their vines around

the gnarled apple root

and spiral up the trunk

into the branches bearing fruit.

 

With symbiotic dignity

upward from two seeds

they grew together gracefully

as if they share the need.....

 

To flourish, then to blossom,

to bud, and then to flower;

the roses poised in passion,

the apples poised in power.

 

But as they grew, the apple tree

shot upward toward the light.

The rose vine counteracted

and pulled the branches tight.

 

Resulting in a compromise

of harmony and pain

brought on by spring’s emerging sun

and fueled with summer rain.

 

When August saw its final days

the apples turned to red.

The roses too had blossomed.

Like wounds their colors bled.....

 

.....into a scene more beautiful

than any tree could be

or any bud that bears its flower

before humanity.

 

Some will pick the roses.

Some will weave the crown.

Some will shift their ladders

to pull the apples down.

 

But I will stand in awe

and wonder where the knowledge goes

The hidden beauty locked within

the apple and the rose.

 

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Bay Of Tears

 

We paddled to the bay of tears

And in the back she calmly steers

Us past the shoals, the unseen fears

She tilts her head as if she hears

   The silent bay of tears.

 

The toads observing from their stools

A million years of shallow pools 

The tears of lovers, pawns, and fools

As hearts abandon human rules

   Into the bay of tears.

 

The fish like sorrows deep and slow

Absorb their nutrients below

I wonder if they really know

How graciously they seem to flow

   Beneath the bay of tears.

 

The mist arises from the lake

Condensing clouds about to break

Above the cracks of lightning shake

But even thunder won't awake 

   The sleeping bay of tears.

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But You've Never

 

You've been up and down the highways of New England

Through the deserts and the canyons of the west

Across the jagged mountains to the ocean

But you've never laid your aimlessness to rest

To rest, to rest.

You've never laid my aimlessness to rest

 

You've captured all the chapters of your timeline

And you've painted many portraits of your past

You've sung a thousand songs into the morning

But the train you're on is moving much too fast

Too fast, too fast

The train you're on is moving much too fast

 

Friends you've had, they'll never be too many

Love will come and go - but never fade

When it's said and done there always is the question

What becomes of all the memories that you've made

You've made, you've made.

What becomes of all the memories that you've made

 

Are they sinking in the quagmire 

Are they buried in the sand

Are they floating on the surface

Are they strewn upon the land

Are they flying with the breezes

Are they etched upon the stone

Are they gathered all together

Or are they simply left alone?

 

You might think these thoughts are serious and heavy

But it's no matter - not a single word I say

Is more important than the will that keeps you waking

From the darkness to the brilliance of the day

Of the day, of the day.

From the darkness to the brilliance of the day

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Let It Go

 

Once you were a criminal, stealing from yourself

Stacking up the contraband like plates upon the shelf

Once you were a vagabond surviving hand to hand

And yes you were the hipster, your life was pretty grand

 

But if you want to move it on, then listen to me bro

Pick it up, brush it off, and then just let it go.

 

Once you were an artist, with little left to lose

Once you were the minstrel, denouncing Memphis Blues

But they didn’t round up everyone that knows more than you do

Now whadda ya have to say about your superhuman crew?

 

But if you want to turn it on, then take if from a pro

Pick it up, dust it off, and then just let it go.

 

 

Once you held a woman, tenderly and true

Once you watched her drift away, she took part of you

Once you sang of destiny, sadness and romance

Once you were the victim of simple circumstance

 

But if you want to get it on, you’re gonna have to know

(how to) Pick it up, brush it off, and then just let it go.

 

Once you chased the carrot to the top of Prospect Hill

Trading love for money – It’s a lonesome bitter pill

Some are old and tire, with little left to say

Repeating all the phrases, reliving yesterday

 

But if you want to get it on, then screw the status quo

Pick it up, brush it off, and then just let it go.

 

But if you want to move it on, then take it from a pro

Pick it up, dust it off, and then just let it go.

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The Rise & Fall of Bethlehem Steel

 

The immigrants arrived here

To search for freedom's deal

They built our growing country

With pools of molten steel

 

The hopes of all our fathers

Our cousins, uncles and sons...

As strong as iron castings

Measured out in tons.

Measured out in tons.

 

The loads of limestone, coke and ore

Retrieved with giant cranes

Were melted in blast furnaces

With iridescent flames.

 

Huge ladles poured the ingots

That rolled the great I- beams

For skyscrapers and bridges

That fueled American dreams

 

The labor unions picketed

For benefits and pay

But it was the foreign steel dumping

That swept the jobs away.

 

"Huge ladles poured the ingots

That rolled the great I- beam

But it was foreign steel dumping

That killed America's dream.

 

The end of such prosperity

Was there no other way?

The end of self-reliance

For a rusting U.S.A.

For a rusting U.S.A.

 

The stacks now stand like giants

The riverfront revived

With music, art and beauty

Our Bethlehem survives!

Our Bethlehem survives!

 

My Song  

 

This is my song

You can have it if you like

A lonesome little tune

I wrote it late one evening

Just couldn’t sleep that night.

 

It wasn't influenced by Dylan,

McCartney or Thoreau

But it takes me back to places

Lived many years ago.

It wasn’t spurred by Eric’s lead guitar

Or Jerry’s grateful hand

Just the sweetened sound of this old harp

No need to have a backup band.

 

This is my song

I never wrote it down

Just a simple tune

Hear it drifting in the open air

At the coffee house in town.

 

So take me to the river

Take me to the stream

Let me lie beneath the open stars

And slip into a dream

Of innocent simplicity

Of childhood never lost

Relinquishing the battle scars

That came at such a cost

 

This is my song

I've got some time to kill

Just a simple tune

I'll sing the chorus one more time

Join me if you will:

 

So take me to the river

Take me to the stream

Let me lie beneath the open stars

And slip into a dream

Of innocent simplicity

Of childhood never lost

Relinquishing the battle scars

That came at such a cost

This is my song…..

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Preconditions

 

Think I'll head down to the clinic

I’m feelin’ kinda sick.

Seems I've got some preconditions

I can't seem to kick.

 

Gimme a couple Ludens

I got a nasty throat

My voice is like sandpaper

I'm sounding like a goat.

 

Shake me out one of them Pepsids

My stomach's about to burst

And pass that glass of water

I'm dyin' here of thirst.

 

I hope Rand Paul is listenin'

It makes me wanna cry

Too many preconditions

I've run my healthcare dry.

 

Gimme a beta blocker

My aorta's shutting down

Tell the ER man I'm comin'

My doctor's outta town

 

Peel me one a them nicotine patches

I'm jonesin' for a smoke.

My caffiene's runnin' empty

So pop that can of Coke.

 

Hand me down my walking cane

My knees aren't gonna last

They're ready for replacement

I may need a body cast

 

I hope John Boehner’s listenin'

You know, It makes me wanna cry

Too many preconditions

I've run my healthcare dry.

 

Shoot my gums with novocaine

The dentist's about to drill

He says I need a root canal

But I can’t pay the bill

 

After the OxyContin

I'll be hittin' the Methadone

Or headin' out to Betty Ford

To the sunny drug free zone

 

Like a broken down jalopi

I'm losing all my parts

These days I get my groceries

In electric shopping carts.

 

You know, I hope Paul Ryan’s listenin'

It makes me wanna cry

Too many preconditions

I've run my healthcare dry.

 

Hey Tea Party, are you listenin'

It makes me wonder why

Too many preconditions

I think I'll just up and die.

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Society Cafe

 

I found a small cafe on the rough edge of town

And I ordered up some bacon and eggs

As I sat there at the counter, I perked up my ears

And I listened to what the folks had to say:

 

Richie's got no fingers

Lost them on a saw

While working in a lumber mill

In southern Arkansas

With one hand in his pocket

He tries to hide the scar

He gets on with his other hand

Playing slide guitar

 

Andy taxed his memory

From smoking too much hash

He hangs out at the pool hall

But he's always short on cash 

And so he cleans the tables 

And mops up for the boss

He trades his time for dignity

To make up for his loss

 

Some will brag of things they've gained

Some mourn all they've lost

Some will boast of what they've spent

Some lament the cost

But they've all got a seat on the southbound bus

Why can it be so hard

To find a route to Easy Street

From Misery Boulevard

 

Laurence lost his lover

To a salesman from LA

He's desperate for another

He just might find him one some day

For now he just carouses

All the local clubs and bars 

Collecting more rejections

Like a string of battle scars

 

Vickie lost her vocal chords

She used to sing for free

Until she stole the show on Broadway

Back in 1963

Her name lit up the Marquis lights

She had a decent run

But it seemed her fame was over 

When it had only just begun

 

Some will brag of things they've gained

Some mourn all they've lost

Some will boast of what they've spent

Some lament the cost

But they all convene in the little cafe

On the rougher side of the city

They casually observe each other

Drown in pain and pity

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Jersey Diner 

 

Garden state – New Jersey

Gets the nasty rap

Sections near the airport

Choked with smog and other crap

 

Heading west out to the highlands

From the interstate

The lakes and rivers scatter

From the glacial plate

 

Well that’s the true New Jersey

No stink – no smoking stacks

Tiny little country towns

Built with tunnel tax

 

The local small town diner

Breakfast will await

Bacon, eggs and home fries

Overflowing on your plate.

 

Homemade cake and apple pie

Will surely fill you up

And coffee is on special

Just fifty cents a cup

 

It's best to keep your mouth shut

If you're in from out-of-town

Keep your eyes and ears attentive

And the gossip will abound:

 

Frankie's dog got hit last Friday

And the Lutheran pastor died

Sal’s deli just got robbed

and Brownie’s “refi” was denied

 

Tony's nephew just got busted

Sandy’s twins are getting hitched

The town drunk has gone AWOL

Southside Johnny just got ditched

 

Don’t get flirty with the waitress

Even though she’s kinda pretty

Cause her old man’s real connected

To you-know-who in New York City

 

Bruce is on the jukebox

Singin’ songs about the shore

Drop some quarters in the coin slot

And you can pick three more

 

All these tasty stories

You’re sure to have your fill

So motion to the waitress

And she will bring the bill.

 

Never stiff your server

Just leave a decent tip

Say thank you to the cashier

And get on with your trip

 

When-you talk about New Jersey

Refer to it with pride

For mystery, prose and poetry

They’ll keep you well-supplied.

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Talkin’ JFK

 

My parents thought that Nixon 

was a pretty nifty guy

With his five o’clock black stubble 

and his choking crimson tie.

They had a “Stick With Dick” sign 

planted firmly in the yard

With a “Love It or Leave It” slogan 

on their voter registration card.

 

But like my best friend Louie

         I was struck by J.F.K.

We liked his Boston accent

He just seemed to have a way.

And now we have the NRA

         Five guns in every hand.

Enough ammo to obliterate

         The brotherhood of man.       

And so my fellow Americans

         Ask what you can do.

To serve the country’s greater good

         Not just the privileged few.

 

Break – John F. Kennedy Speech

 

Those were very different days!

         We overtly spoke our minds.

Unlike today when folks just seem

         To have an ax to grind.

Where’s Jackie when you need her –

         Caroline or Baby John?

The dream we all called Camelot

         It all seems so far gone.

 

Were you in school for the announcement 

When JFK was shot?

Did you cry out for the tragedy?

         Did you think it was a plot?

Did you watch Lee Harvey Oswald

         Buckle under Ruby’s gun?

Did you see Sirhan assassinate

         Joe Senior’s younger son?

         

And so my fellow Americans

         Ask what you can do.

To serve the country’s greater good

         Not just the privileged few.

 

And so my fellow Americans

         Ask what you can do.

To serve the country’s greater good

         Not just the privileged few.

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Understand

 

No, I don’t understand the stars

Their purpose – their position

How the monarchs fly so far

Their instinct – their condition

         In not knowing – I understand you.

 

No I can’t comprehend a tree

It’s strength – its indifference

From seeds that gradually come to be

Branches, leaves, what possible sense

         The wind confirms – I understand you

 

The questions – all unanswered

The streaming light  – diffused

The angles glean complex degrees

But I am not confused  

         

The thousand trillion living cells

All gathered into you

I don’t know how I understand

Somehow, I just do

 

Your glance is un-encumbered

Or so it often seems

Next to you, I am out-numbered

Can’t decide (decipher) what it means

But isn’t it odd – I understand you

 

So many things are mysteries

Looking up or looking in

Immense or small – infinities

My simple mind is not clued in

         But somehow – I understand you

 

The questions – all unanswered

The streaming light  – diffused

The angles glean complex degrees

But I am not confused  

         

The thousand trillion living cells

All gathered into you

I don’t know how I understand

Somehow, I just do

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Sad

Sad – the children slaughtered in the halls of public schools.

Sad – polluted waters and Fukushima nuclear pools.

Sad – the Congress fractured serving nothing but themselves.

Sad – the third world hunger – so much food upon the shelves.

 

Sad – the sharks of Wall Street that worship theft and greed.

Sad – addicted junkies that can’t inject their need.

Sad – the soldier wounded in the ditch of useless pain.

Sad – the weeping widows that sing a teared refrain.

 

Sad – the torn ecology that beckons climate change

Sad – the dusty ravaged sands – once a fruitful range. 

Sad – the snowcaps melting and the rising of the sea.

Sad – the sinking cities that will some day cease to be.

 

Sad – the tempest raging down – El Ninò hurricanes.

Sad – the lonesome winds that blow across the desperate plains.

Sad – the raging fires of the racist Ku Klux Klan

Sad – denial of the hope for brotherhood of man.

 

Had – I only known of these disparities in time.

Had – we seen solutions to poverty and crime.

Had – we taken seriously the fragile failing earth.

There might have been a chance to find redemption and rebirth.

 

But oh – the time is dwindling. We need to wake up fast.

The human race in jeopardy. These years seem like our last.

Unless we’re rescued from ourselves– from everything we’ve done.

It seems a sad conclusion to what our ancestors had begun.

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