the kk lyric archive

the poems of BR      

all lyric index      

1) A Prelude to Nina's Song                                             A glimpse of the truth of emptiness.

Oh, moon and stars up in the sky,
   you never meant for me
     to be anything at all.

Oh, flying clouds up in the sky,
   you never meant for me
     to be anything at all.

You only meant for me
To sit here on the ground
And sing my happy song,
And sing my happy song.

2)  Ring of Keys

1978, I'm living in New
Hampshire, assimilating
myself to the world of stones
and trees; to a primitive
existence among a people
whose dances and long-
unspoken thoughts reach
back beyond memory.


All I have is a ring of keys.                                                                vs.
I no longer own the locks they were made for.
All I have is one question: Please....?
The presents I wanted are already paid for.

Love me in your time, I'll love you in mine.                                     refrain
Together we'll walk on down the line;
An unanswered question, through an open door.

I'm  bundle of joy, I'm a bundle of sorrow,                                       vs.
Caught in the space between today and tomorrow.
But when the fiddles sing and the people dance,
And you take my hand, you give me one more chance...

Love me in your time, I'll love you in mne.                                       refrain
Together we'll promenade on down the line,
An unanswered question, through an open door.

Out on the waves we'll rise and fall                                                   vs.
In a walnut shell boat called the Unfolding Instant.
She weighs not a penny, she holds nothing at all,
Only the sailing moon is her constant.

Love me in your time, I'll love you in mine.                           refrain
Together we'll drift out along the line,
An unanswered question, through an open door.

We'll forget ourselves in the ocean of moonlight.                    vs.
As it splashes our bodies we can watch and discover
The procession of faces, the old ones, the children,
As each one emerges from the dream of the lovers.

Love me in your time, I'll love you in mine.
Together we'll walk down along the line,
An unanswered question, through an open door.

3)  An Evening at Home # 2

I'm a 25 year old
hippie musician, living in New
York's East Village in the mid-
sixties. I'm steeped in late
Mahler and the twelve-tone
school and beginning to
feel, just sometimes, that
perhaps the world of my
young enthusiasms is not
what I'm often content to
believe it is. My girlfriend,
Joyce, a beautiful, red-haired
actress, a few years my senior,
is seldom at home, but her
other roommate, Brenda,
actress and amphetamine
user, usually is there.

The Stones turn on the stereo.
Brenda, stoned, is terrible.
Now, that may sound unkind,
But the city looks much grayer.
You could call the sidewalks ugly
If you expected flowers.

And fantasy's incense runs rampant now,
As daisies must, in mountain meadows,
Or, more like opium runs silently
Through a hungry vein.

All around the void is waiting,
Pretending to be pillows
And soft light in warm rooms

The stones turn on the stereo,
Brenda moves self-consciously
And somewhere out of contact.

4)  Anna and Emma

As we grow older the world
seems to supply us with
concepts, categories with
which to classify and
evaluate experiences and
people. Sometimes we
have the opportunity to
apply these experimentally,
retrospectively, to life
already lived. I was in my
late thirties when I wrote
this song for Anna and
Emma. By that time in
the world, everyone seemed
to know what stereo-
types such as 'gay,'
'Lesbian,' and 'feminist,'
meant, and was willing,
 quite aggressively in
some cases, to correct one's
misunderstandings about
these 'definitions.' Yet, as
I thought about my child-
hood friends, I had a clear
sense that somehow they
were being forced to pay
for a very ill-fitting suit of
clothes they never ordered.

Anna and Emma lived together
As I was growing, a child to a man.
From my grandmother's church pew in the back of the choir
I watched and I listened, each Sunday at ten, where...

Anna and Emma sang together
The hymns' rich contralto from a book they would share;
Except some Sunday mornings, when we needed a tenor.
Then the choir director would use Anna there.

Anna's tall and slender, with raven hair and eyes.                                                   Release
Emma's short; her wiry hair's been grey since I was small.
Anna left a careless husband many years ago.
I'm not sure; maybe Emma never had a man at all.

Anna and Emma are still together.
I went to visit with them last Thanksgiving.
They welcomed me to them, with eyes warm and smiling,
Still steadfast and strong in the faith they are living, for...

Anna and Emma love one another.
Among simple people, they are joined, friend to friend.
They are safe, in the bosom of the congregation.
They are sisters in Jesus until the end.

5)  Dancin' in the Waves

1978 - a love song, for

Rain clouds blown over,
Moon shinin' through the trees,
One fledgling fall'n from its nest,
How you are gone so far from me.

The rain-soaked leaves catch my footfall,
The crickets sing at summer's end,
The last blackberries ripen in the lane,
And I have lost my only friend.

Wait for me, my grey-eyed darling                                              Bridge
Where the dancers face each other in a line.
Swing the night away now with whom you will,
We had one waltz in perfect time...

We were dancin' in the waves                                                      Chorus
And I held you by both hands.
We let the water spin us 'round and 'round;
'Til we lay down on the shiftin' sands
We were dancin' in the waves.
Dancin' in the waves.

Now we are asleep above the waterfall.
Far below, the river runs.
The birch-branches will not touch again
'Till it's high Spring, and the leaves have come.

And our rosy-cheeked, laughing child,
We made to keep us company
The lord of life has taken her back again.
Now all you have left is me.

Bridge,  & Chorus

First I gave you all my love and joy,
Then I gave you all of my fears;
At last I gave you my hurt and my anger,
Now I have given you all of my tears.

We threw our bodies in that icy stream;
Now you see I can't swim no more.
But sometimes I wish you will turn back and love me,
Carry me over to the other shore.

                                                                                                                       Bridge & Chorus 2x

6)  Dandelion

Circa 1980, N.H. The meta-
physics of flowers, iron, stones,
and magic clothing has got
hold of me here. Also, the first
inkling that the 'light' we see,
that travels 186,000 miles in
a second, is the lightning
Lucifer brought with him
when he fell from heaven.

Pick it up and blow, it's like a child's balloon.                                                        Refrain
You can never steal the show, the end will never come too soon.
When you're done with what comes after,
Put it down, with tears or laughter.
It will find you, it will follow you,
It will bring you back, and swallow you;
Dandelion, or daisy, or man in the moon.

Make for me a hood that I can wear around my head
So I can always hear the music, so our joy will never cease.
Make for me a cloak that I can wear around my shoulder;
Something taken in anger, something woven in peace.


The destroyer does not care about the beauty of the star;
It is dying and exploding, though its light can reach so far.
I look on in bitter anger because my love lasts just one day;
I want to tear up my happiness and throw my life away.


Oh, make me like an iron bell, that never sounds at all,
Except to echo every heartbeat of the wind as darkness falls.
Oh, won't you make me like a stone, don't let me lose my restless way.
Won't you teach me how to listen, show me how to pray?


7)  Feast of Weeks

1982, Bill and Sara Mohan,
Carla, and I, and Lovell read
the Bible from Genesis to II
Chronicles. We learn basic
Hebrew. We do Euclidean
geometric constructions from
September to June. It's a
wonderful year of study,
sharing, growth. At the
Beginning of Summer it's time
to say farewell.

Take care, good luck, God bless you.                                              Refrain
It's been a good year after all.
Have fun, keep you safe, be happy in your heart.
Maybe I'll see you in the Fall.

It sure has been great to meet you.                                                  Verse
Looks like we had our share of fun.
The things that we made I will remember all my life.
Seems as though for now our work is done.


Time will surely harvest all the good things that we shared;              Verse
Treasures heaped up at each and every turn.
For early in the morning, as we walked the river road
You gave me words to help me grow and learn.


Time will bring the fruit of all the good things that we shared.
We'll watch them ripen in the sun.
And though we drift apart through the places and the years,
When we bind the sheaves of golden grain,
We'll be together every one.

8)  How Could I Ever Leave You

Written for Joan Probst,
1974, on the hippie
underground railroad bus
that took me and Nickle
and my boxes from LA to
Chicago to start another
new life. (See also Indian Summer .)

Answer me then this riddle,
Which will not let me rest
As the highway tosses my little boat
That you have rocked the best:

How could I ever leave you                                                        Refrain
And where would I be myself,
If you kept my love in the cookie jar
And my heart upon the shelf?

I would often have been unfaithful,
My uneasy steps would stray,
But my stubborn, my unwilling heart
Has not let me turn away.

Your love like a curse behind me,
And before me like a mirror,
Twisting here, showed the empty words,
There, the hollow sounds of terror.

How could I ever leave you,                                                        Refrain
Where would I be someone else?
I question your eyes in the firelight,
The clock on the mantle tells.

So send me a sack with my supper song,
Let your scarf 'round my sleeve be curled.
With my passion plays and my paper flowers
I will wander the wicked world,

Where the drunken soldier stir his friends
And they startle the cat on the hearth.
With their laughter and their ringing coins,
They pay for my place on Earth. Oh,

How could I ever leave you,                                                         Refrain
And how should I be free to go?
Without raisins and nuts and buttered bread
How would you let me know?
Without raisins and nuts and nursery rhymes
How would you let me know?

9)  If I Rise

1975, for Donna Greenwood,
who came to Chicago, circa
1969, from Kankakee, on
the railroad, to become a
Playboy bunny.

If I rise in the morning
    before you arise
And ride wild through the streets,
    dream on the bellies and thighs
Of all the young schoolgirls with their
    fantasy eyes,
It's to you that I'm bringing my schoolboy
And a handful of flowers, and your books
    I will carry,
And I will come back to you and I will
    kiss you at your waking,
And I will give you my heart,
    for it's you I will marry. Oh...

And if I rise in the evening
    before you arise
And ride wild through the clouds
    like an October moon
In a chariot of fire
    on the wings of bright music,
It's to you that I'm singing
    my Indian love song.
And though it touches the shrouds
    of all the young virgins
Who are spread like the stars
    and all jeweled for their lovers,
I will come back to you,
    not long will I tarry
For I have given you my heart
    and it's you I will marry. Oh...

Weep no more my weeping willow maid.                                         Refrain
Weep no more, oh, weep no more.
The matins will toll your wedding day.
'Tween the angelus and vespers
I will make you my bride.

The train of your gown will flow
    like the tide,
And you, walk to the church
    with resolute stride
To look on the shining face
    of your husband, Oh...

Weep no more, my weeping willow maid.
Weep no more, oh, weep no more...    

10)  If You're Blue Tonight

1979, same love story, gone from
bad to worse. I'm living somewhere
else. Disagreements compound
misunderstandings, and I'm
relegated to driving by the little
love nest late at night, and
wondering what's going on in there.

Maybe it's really over                                                                vs. 1
And I should leave you alone,  
Find another lover, but
I see the light in your window
And I can't pretend you're not at home,

If you're blue tonight, I'll make love to you.                                 ref 1
Kiss you and hold you tight
Like I used to do.

Maybe you're takin' advantage of me                                           vs. 2
And I should turn and go.
It's gonna hurt so much tomorrow
If I let my feelings show,

If you're blue tonight, I'll love you, wrong or right                        ref 2
I'll stay close to you
'Til the morning light.

Maybe my friends are right about you.                                         vs. 3
You don't love me anymore.
They say that you're just using me,
You're too lonely to close the door.

If you're blue tonight, I'll stay by your side.                                   ref 3
Listen while you cry,
Dry your tired eyes.

It feels so good to hold you,                                       brdg .
To share your care and sorrow,
I love you, I can't help myself.
I'll pay the price tomorrow.  

11)  Miracle of the Rainbow
Miracles.....dozens of cars,
stopped along a highway,
all at different points, to
bear awstruck witness to
the 'same' stunning rain-
bow; a meadow at night so
filled with blinking fire-
flies that it becomes a
mirror of the Milky Way
arching overhead; and the
ultimate miracle of love,
which somehow trans-
poses our perception of an
otherwise 'ordinary' per-
son into the realm of
unimaginable wonder.

I fell in love with a girl.
She was the first girl that I saw
When I woke up one morning
In the beginning of the world.

There was something special about her,
Just a quiet, honest, way.
Now I'll never be without her.
I'll love her every day.

I rubbed the sleep from my eyes;
She was just like any girl.
And I spoke to her quite softly
As she fixed the noontime meal.

Now, there's nothing special about her
Except everything she does,
And I'll never be without her,
I'll always give her my love.

There's a million stars in the meadow
Each one's a firefly spark.
Where the peace of our heavenly father
Is dancing in the dark.

There's a beautiful arching rainbow
Sailing across the sun,
And no matter where you're standing
It's there for everyone.

I fell in love with a girl.
She was just like any girl.
And she spoke to me quite softly
In the beginning of the world.

Now we'll always be together
For she's always in my heart
Like the miracle of the rainbow,
The silent grace of God.     

12) Nina's Song
1975, for Nina,
a young single
mother, working as
a lounge pianist/
coffee house enter-
tainer in Milwaukee

Oh, my gifts they were imperfect
But I knew you wouldn't mind.
I was happy to be humble
As you were happy to be kind.
My time already half spent
But you made it seem so long.
It was our time to sit together
And I could listen,
I could listen to your song.

Music drove me on to madness.
Soon alone and often blind,
I deceived myself so many times
As I waited for a sign.
But though Beauty, she had hurt me
Now I knew that I would mend
And pursue the tearful aching once again,
If you, if you would be my friend.          

13) Please Don't Go Away

1978, in love, obviously, and
determined to get across. If
everything in life we make happen
is a mistake, this is one mistake I
really want to make. And I do.
Even now, 20 years later, and 10 years
apart, when I hear her voice on the
telephone now and then, I'm not
sorry .

I beg you but you don't listen                                                      vs. 1
I call you but you don't hear
I ask you but you don't answer
Though you're the answer to my prayer

But I won't give up, I won't let you go.                                        vs. 2
Not until you see, not until you know.
Not while it shows that you still love me.
Not while I still care, I won't set you free.

There'll be another time (to live),                                                 brdg.
There'll be another place (to be),
There'll be another love (to give),
Another happy face (to see)

There'll be a brighter day (someday).
There'll be a new tomorrow (then), 
There'll be a sunny morning (today?)
There'll be an end of sorrow (when?)

Please don't go away                                                                    refr.
I don't want nobody new  
Please don't go away
Please don't break my heart in two.
Oh, I know there'll be another way to go
If you go away
But I don't want to live without you
Please, I'm beggin' you to stay,
Oh please, I'm beggin' you to stay.

Maybe someday we'll be apart                                                       vs. 3
And we'll be content to dream
Of the time we shared together
When our lives flowed on one stream

When our innocent eyes were shining                                             vs. 4
When we both did our honest part
When love lighted up our faces
When we held each other heart to heart.    

14)  Pumpkin

Fall, 1979, New Hampshire.
Creation shines in the clear
sun of early morning and
I'm thinking that someone
I love could be round and
ripe as the pumpkin in my
song by this time next

What a beautiful morning
What a glorious sunrise.
I was up long before dawn.
The stars were all on fire.

Now I want to bring you roses.                                               Refrain
And I want to bring you a pumpkin,
'Cause the leaves are all ablaze
And Fall is in the air.
The Milky Way is singin',
And all my friends are laughin',
And the love I feel for you
Is almost more than I can bear.

I have filled my heart with sunlight.
I have filled my hands with flowers.
I have smiled at the morning faces.
I have looked into your eyes. And...


15)  Send Me an Angel

1980, General weltschmertz, leads to
prayer of a sort. The 'angel' I have
in mind, though, is definitely
female, rather than the neuter
variety. The angel, of course, is the
song itself.

Won't you send me an angel,
Take away my sorrows, 
Take away my sadness,
Take away my grief.

Oh, won't you send me an angel,
Take away this heavy feelin',
Roll the stone from my heart
Give me sweet, sweet, relief.

Send me an angel.
With a bright, shining face,
Hands filled with healing,
Wash away every trace
Of the night that surrounds me,
Lost love and regret,
All my tears and my failures,
Help me forget.

Send me an angel.
Take away these troubles and trials,
My fears for the future,
Change these doubts to belief.

Send me an angel,
Take away this heavy feelin'
Roll the stone from my heart,
Give me sweet, sweet relief.

16)  Ship of Love

1973, I move from San Francisco to
LA, in search of a 'new life.' And I'm
serious about this. I think it over
carefully, plan everything, and make
my move. Yes, I'm setting you up.
It's a total disaster. Every time I've
tried this since, it's been a total
disaster, which doesn't mean I won't
get sucked in again. What it means
is that when you try this, it means
that the 'change' is what happens
when you learn how to live through
a total disaster . After you learn
that, maybe the real change can come.

The ship of love, she has no harbor,                                                  vs. 1
As she sails across the sea.
Without a compass or a captain,
The angry waves wash over me.

Ship of love, across the water,                                                           cho.
Ship of love, across the sea,
Ship of love, across the water,
Ship of love, please carry me.

Many a bird will not reach the southland,                                           vs. 2
And even ever so hard she flies.
And the lonesome pine, though she reaches out her arms,
She can never embrace the sky.                                                         //:cho.

My guitar, she lies asleeping.
And though my spirit longs to play,
She is nestled deep, and lined in velvet.
She awaits the break of day.                                                              vs. 3


16)  Show and Tell

1978, the same love story. I'm
trying hard to communicate.
Mistaking classic New England
reserve for personal shyness, I write
this song. But I don't understand
the Rules that give the Granite
State its name (I thought it meant
the rock substrate). It takes me
years to believe that expressing
emotion, especially the negative,
verbally, is not OK. A stony
expression and passive-aggressive
quiet resentment is the way to go.
Years later, living in Tennessee, I
reread Thorton Wilder's Our Town
and cry like a baby. And I was
living in the real Grovers Corners.

Don't hide your feelings inside.                                                vs. 1
Don't hide behind your pride.
Don't be afraid to let me see
The way you feel about me.

'Cause I need for you to show me                                            brdg.
How very much you care
And I need for you to tell me again
That you'll always, always be there.

It's just a game of show 'n' tell                                                   cho.
You play with the child in me.
It's just a game of show 'n' tell
But it helps me know that you love me,
You love me.

Sometimes I get so scared                                                       vs. 2
And sometimes I feel so alone,
Sometimes I get such a sinking feeling
Waiting for you to come home                                              

repeat brdg & cho.

Maybe sometimes you're angry with me                                  vs. 3
And sometimes you might feel misunderstood,
But I want to know and I want to share it
I want to take the bad with the good.

repeat brdg & cho. 

17)   Skylab II

Circa 1981, a rather large
satellite, a mini-orbiting
space station, in fact, maybe
as big as a school bus, fell
into Earth's atmosphere from
an unstable orbit and broke
up. Some of its pieces
reached the surface of our
planet, causing some
concern. Does anyone recall
this? Intuitively foreseeing
that the creatures of tech-
nology are actually orphaned
children of a new order of
being, I wrote this song for
the abandoned little home-
less critur to sing on arrival.

I'm just a piece of Skylab II                                                      ver.
Sorry that I fell on you
My world blew up
I came out of the sky
Please believe me
I don't know why.

But now that I'm here, won't you fix my head,                            cho.
Plant a little garden around my bed.
I love you, and I won't go away.
I hope you love me 'cause I'm here to stay.

Let's go to the fair                                                                     ver. 2
Hey, that would be neat
Ice cream and hot dogs for us to eat
Let's take all the rides
Oh, how funny I feel
Up so high in the ferris wheel.                                                   instr. ver

Here we are at the fair                                                                   ver. 3
Wow, isn't this neat
Pink cotton candy for us to eat
What's that you say
You're a boy, I'm a girl
Who cares. Let's go on the tilt-a-whirl.                   

repeat ver. 1 and cho.

17)  Spiderweb

In 1978, in love, I make things
as courtship gifts for the girl
who holds my affections. A
jacket, a 'boat' of sticks and
crocheted yarn, and this

When you wear the coat I made you,
When you turn your collar high,
You will feel my arm around your shoulder,
Embrace you like the sky.

When you sail the ship I made you
Up before the rising sun,
You will know what wind it is that drives you
Down the seas where the billows run.

And if I cannot be near you,                                                    Refrain
And if there is no one to blame,
Why, then I must still stay with you
And love you just the same.

When you read the verse I made you
In the lean and the hollow times,
Then my love will be the sunlight
Slanting through the winter pines.

When you sing the song I made you,
When the August moon is floating in your eye,
A spiderweb of clouds will catch and hold you,
When you're falling from the sky.

And I will hear you calling softly:                                         Refrain
"My heart is broke, I cannot fly.
Oh, Daddy, don't you leave me,
Oh, Daddy, don't you cry."

18)  Telephone Blues

1979, reduced to the blues. You
know how bad it really is now.

I call you up                                                                 vs. 1
On the telephone.
It rings and rings,
But you're not at home.

Maybe you don't care.                                                    ref.
Maybe you don't know
How much I love you.

It's been so long                                                            vs. 2
I've been on the road.
I need to talk to you, darlin'.
I thought you would know.                                             //:ref.

We made a date                                                             vs. 3
Last Tuesday night.
Now I can't reach you.
Baby, somethin' ain't right.                                             //:ref.

I called up your mother                                                  vs.4
To see if somethin' is wrong.
She said you're out with your girlfriends.
Foolin' around in town                                                     //:ref.

Did I hurt you somehow?                                                stp time vs
Do I need to prove my love?
I couldn't live without you, darlin'.
What have you been thinkin' of?

But maybe you don't care.                                              1st ref.
Please, don't you know
How much I love you?

19)  Thank you, Father

1981, Unbeknownst to my innocent
self, I have found my way into
the center, the heartland, of New
England Transcendentalism. Soon,
I fall under the spell of several
variant local survivals of the
Movement. There is a natural
resonance for me with my own
search for the American Jesus. This
song says how it feels to be me, then
and there.

Thank you, Father, for sweet forgiveness.
Thank you, Father, for freedom so dear.
Thank you, Father, for loving kindness.
Thank you, Father, for being here.

Thank you, Father, for precious salvation.
Thank you, Father, for sweet release.
Thank you, Father, for your creation,
For angel prayers that never cease.

Do not forsake us in the time of trouble.
Be thou our guide when we stumble in the night.
Be our strong defender in the hour of evil.
Lead us gently back to the light.

Thank you, Father, for the joy of heaven.
Thank you, Father, for innocence and love.
Thank you, Father, for giving truth to our believing.
Thank you, Father, for the life from above.

20)  The Cup

In 1977, I spend Christmas in
Peterborough, N.H. with Carla,
Virginia and Jonathan Hall
and their children. For the
first time since the age of
seven, I celebrate a 'real'
Christmas with a tree,
presents, a family.
An illuminating glow around
and behind every moment,
like the spotlight on the
town hall Nativity scene, fills
this Christmas with meaning.

I fear sometimes for the will'o'man
Who walks with Jesse's rod.
Whose sacred name shall open
Like a wound in the hand of God.

    When the children rise on Christmas day
    And look beneath the tree,
    I dream of that glad morning
    When all men shall be free.

What can I do to make him come.
Who am but weak and small;
My helplessness my only strength,
I treasure most of all.

    What can I do, who have one day,
    And that day almost run,
    But sing for my creator
    Until that day is done.

We stand amid the twilight
Of our eternal song;
Give what remains to his sweet praise
The whole glad sunset long.

    Oh, how shall I refuse him
    If he will lift me up?
    Nay, with him I will break my bread
    And with him drink the Cup.

21)  The Road (Woman)

1975, I write this in recollection
of a mescaline trip in 1969. In that
year I am touring with Rig. Millard
Agency has booked us in a
string of ballrooms and clubs across
the US. We have a few
days off in Chicago. Mike,
one of our roadies, has
friends living in a farmhouse
near Madiscon, Wisc. We drive
out to the 'country.' On our
first night out we all drop
mescaline. Don, the bass
player, wants to go driving
when the hit comes on. I'm
in a more contemplative mood
but agree to go anyway;
a mistake. Soon we're careening
along a tiny 1-1/2 lane country
road at 70 mph. I calmly announce
that I intend to get out of the car
at whatever speed it's going in
about 5 seconds. To underline, I open
the front passenger door. Don gets
the point and slows down. Shortly,
we're all too stoned to drive and
are just wanderling along the road.
The prairie sky is huge with stars.
I lie down in the road; the asphalt
still holds the heat of the day's sun.
I stray into a nearby field and begin
a worshipful conversation with some
Queen Anne's Lace growing there.

Long past the end of day she lay.
Warm and sad, she held the sun.
In country dark, she never spoke
Nor never needed anyone.
My mescaline-drunk insanity
Had showed her hidden self to me;
And she was glad that I had come.

"Not some old blacktop, cracked and dead,
But a spoke in the empire's wheel," she said.

"I'm here for you, my restless one
To guard your steps when day is done;
To shelter each bright fantasy,
Whate'er your destination be."
My ear was pressed, in mute request,
To her rough cheek. I heard her speak.
I laid my body on her breast.

The stars, too, heard the words she said
And stood stone still high overhead.

And, as the stars were standing still
There came, as if the void to fill,
A voice of silent majesty,
A motionless divinity;

The spidery Venutian plants,
The star-bound watchtowers of the Ants,
They called to me among the grass:
"Rejoice, and feel the moment pass."

I went, I knelt, and I listened then,
To hear my freedom call again.
The starlight touched my face like rain;
A prisoner chanting in his chain.
And there I laid my burden down,
My dancing heart lost in the sound
Of star descending, rushing by.
The road beside me breathed a sigh.

"And who are you?" she sadly shrugged.
"Some outcast ruffian, merely drugged.
And I, the scorned imperial whore
Been left to rot at time's back door,"
I loved her more, I could not explain;
I paid her homage, I shared her pain,

Like thes naked trees, we slowly learn
The awful secret she will keep
While the final fires rage and burn,
In silence we must stand and wait.

And with our crossties mutely reach
For our malefactors, each for each.
All bound with wire, in rootless state,
We bow our heads, and softly weep.

22)  The Wheel

1976, based on the narrative
of a fellow passenger on the
Greyhound run, NYC to Chicago.

He is dead, now he is risen,
And this will always be.
And after death, the second birth,
And then a man is free
Until the wheel goes round again
And upon his shoulder climbs
And he bears it up with sweat and blood
With curses and with rhymes,
With curses and with rhymes.

He would have joined the heroes,
Blood rushing in their ears;
Sung the eagle-song of freedom
And bathed in the happy tears.
In the crowded square
He would have shared
The victory of the damned,
Where, wave upon wave, the rolling bells
Shout out, "Give us the lamb."
Shout out, "Give us the lamb."

He learns to strike the death-blow,
He's a vicious gutter-rat.
"Take that, and that," the coup de grace,
He's an innocent alley cat.
His victim's plea, "Oh, mercy, mercy,"
He casually denies.
He plays with life so carelessly.
He shines in his brothers' eyes.

He died on a ghetto corner,
A young buck in his prime;
Too high in a stolen moment,
Sick of living on borrowed time.
The summer heat, the Saturday nights.
He was cynical, bored, and tired.
He was taunting his assailant
As the fatal shots were fired.

And who was I? But a scullery maid
Who lived on the kitchen crumbs;
Who hid in a darkened corner
And ran from the sound of drums.
I watched through a crack in the window,
I watched with a pounding heart,
And I loved you, as this whirlwind rage
Was tearing us apart.
Was tearing us apart.  

23)  To Sarah

Dreaming with Sarah in
1975, on the Iowa prairie,
I remember rolling
breakers and black night
on the Pacific coast of
Mexico, 1963

The morning cocks are crowing,
Donkey bells ring out the night,
Upon the breast of darkness
The sea is pounding, out of sight
Out of sight.

We stood upon a village street
In the hour before the dawn.
Wordless hands took our hands
And led us down to starless beds.
To starless beds.

Lead me out upon the darkness,
I cannot see your face.
Your laughter like a little ship
Will light me to my rest.
To my rest.

The world will be my cradle,
Your breast will be my bed.
My life will be your candle,
Your tears will be my bread.
Be my bread.

The morning cocks are crowing,
Oh, do not lose our way.
Oh, listen for the donkey bells.
Listen, listen for the sea
Upon the breast of darkness
Where we no longer stay.
Where we no longer stay.


with the kids                                      
at Chesterfield School,                     
1981.  4th grade                                

graveyards are creepy, they sure don't make you sleepy    
they make you feel like you're walkin' on dead people
the ghost by the post scared us the most
when we seen him comin', we ran for the steeple

we was runnin' so fast we couldn't see the door
smashed through the wall and feel through the floor
tripped down the stairs, slipped in the grease
asked the priest to let us 'rest in peace'


we was ruunin' down the graveyard doin' ninety four
someone said 'boo'  and blew us off the floor
the tombs couldn't take it, the bodies fell apart
that's when i almost lost my heart.

                        seven year itch

i picture you standin' with a glass in your hand
lookin' out on the Valley lights
you're wearin' your velvet coat, she has lace at her throat
feedin' your dreams in the summer night


we were gonna have our fun
leave the wife and kids at home
i' been seven years now, on the run
they say, 'boys will be boys'
get away and make some noise
but you can get old and gray
ans still be playin' with toys.

it drives you crazy when you lose your pride'
can't make up your mind from day to day
it makes you dangerous, livin' all inside
nothin' left but to run away

 repeat ref:

you found fortune and fame, for me they never came
i took some knocks, you lived the life
it doesn't matter, we both took the easy way
sleepin' with somebody else's wife

me, i always liked those small-town girls
gave me their love without a fight
didn't have to promise 'em no diamonds and pearls
i'm with a small-town girl tonight

repeat ref:

i gave in one Autumn, i was so torn and tired
for a year i heard that hobo call
my will was gone, my spirit all but expired
nothin' 'tween me and surrender at all

i live in the north woods, i'm tryin' again
a thread of hope is all i own
with the help of Jesus i'm true to my only friend
and a child who neither of us has known

repeat ref: