Lyrics

 

Welcome to the liner notes for Thistle Through Time: Chartering the Years 1999-2015 in Original Song

Most of these recordings were done by friends along the way who heard the value and spark of my work and brought me into their studios to capture the magic of what I do. The recordings from 1999, I did in my living room. They are especially raw and therapeutic. Listening to Ani Difranco during that period influenced me a lot. Matthew Sanborn did the recordings from 2003 and 2008, and Optisonic Studios in Madison did the ones from 2002. Beckon captured songs from 2014 and ’15. Kenn Busch captured the music and musicians, including the late great Steve Pingry on cello, on the version of the BP song I have included here.

 

We Are More – 2003

We start our listening journey with a song I wrote in 2003 about a term in the field of biology used to describe a species that no longer can adapt to the changing conditions of its environment and becomes extinct. Even though we are headed for disaster with wars and climate change, I will always view our species, with our big brains and opposable thumbs, as better than how things have turned out. I also think it is more fun to join the orchestra of our collective sinking ship and to brainstorm ideas with comrades for how to get out of this mess, than to just “lie there in bed.”

 

We’re an unsuccessful species 

yeah, we’re gonna die

and now there’s not much time left

not for you, not for I

wish I’d woven a basket

while I was still here

I wish I’d listened closer to the waters running clear

but no, I drove my car

straight into the sea

and now there’s not much time left

not for you, not for me

 

but hey all! Heya! Hey ohhh!

 

I woke up every morning to planes flyin’ overhead

thought I was dreaming, but no, it was real

burnin’ up the skies while I just lied there in bed

and now there’s not much time left, gotta take a stand instead!

You know, peace is more than the absence of war

as co-creators, we are so much more than…

 

an unsuccessful species just runnin’ off a cliff

launching life-boat madness on a collective sinking ship

the sea keeps getting closer

our poor die on the deck and 

now there’s not much time left

but there’s enough time yet to be more

you are more

we are more

 

Path – 2003

I wrote this song right before taking off on my bicycle heading south like the birds, and after selling my car and many of my worldly possessions. Again, you find the theme of climate change and cars, the social injustice of it all and the desire to live more in balance with nature.

 

Am I on the right path?

Am I on a path at all?

In between, it seems, I always fall

 

But, are you on the right path?

Are we on a path at all?

In between, it seems we always fall

 

So now I’m contemplating sadness and I realize my past mistakes

but then I’m waking up to madness and I understand the stakes

holding back the ocean is literally what it takes

so I jump on my bike and I make sure to have good brakes

it’s what it takes ‘cuz

 

We’re not on the right path

no no no, We are on a giant cliff

and in between too many slip

 

the right path

I’m lookin’ for the right path

the right path

 

Long Walk – 1999

Male violence is a plague on our planet. In November of 1997, my lover and best friend of three years committed suicide by shooting a gun into his mouth. Even though I did not find his body, it impacted me so much that the entire course of my life changed after this single event. The guitar at the beginning of this song is like the river flowing as we walked a familiar path together as graduate students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Daniel Glos was a Brown University grad, a bike messenger for two years in the Bay Area and a student and TA in the Sociology department. I will always remember you, Daniel. Despite everything, I remember you warmly and miss our intellectually stimulating conversations about all that is under the Sun.

 

I remember walking here

talking long

long long ago

you in your dark mood near

wishing for the Sun

and I reaching out for moon beams

and I…wishing for your hand to hold onto

 

We watched the river hitting rocks

pushing earth as it flows

You immersed in violent thoughts and me

thinking of power!

Clock tower bells ringing

high above the water

I hear institutions and machinery

and I don’t know what you hear

I don’t know what you see

I just know I’m tired

of fighting to get us free

 

We walk home your hand is cold

you’re growing old

older than me

the sky

and the cars

roll uphill slowly now

I am losing you to a dream

We reach your house I say “good bye”

I want to sing you a lullabye

but I let you go!

 

La la da da da la la la!

 

Pull Away from You – 1999

Just a song about a love encounter with a young co-worker who ended up being an asshole.

 

The silence between us

is deep and full

gathering my strength

I resist and I pull…

I pull away from you

 

Cluttered back room

I am moving with the broom

my feet uncertain on the floor

and you’re right there

it seems you don’t care

and I don’t want to think about this anymore so

 

I pull away from you

 

Lately, every little thing I do is wrong

according to you

Lately! The few words you speak 

are to tell me I don’t belong

and as your tiny words 

penetrate the skin

and then the silence rushes in

I wonder “how did this begin?”

‘cuz when I shed my skin

you did too

I saw you bare and touched your youth

you shared your dreams

I drank in your words

never imagining the quiet

never imagining the silence

that surrounds me now!

 

You might think this meant nothin’ to me

that’s the facade I maintain

but you showed me a heart

beneath bitterness

and sometimes I wish

I could see it again

but I pull away

 

Jezebel – 2003

After Rachel Corrie, a peace activist, was killed by the state of Israel in 2003, this song came to me — an attempt to connect the dots between all persecuted women and to remember the women from long ago who resisted male rule. There is a really cool sound collage in the middle of this recording too.

 

“Spring Dances” said my mama as she made my dress

flowered patterns on pleated cotton

my hair, a mess

“Sing mama!” “I will sing, daughter”

“Spring dances” sang my mama “What will they bring?”

Rachel told us not so long ago “the birds won’t sing”, then she’s gunned down by a bulldozer — Israel’s lion’s ring “sing mama!” “I am singing daughter, spring dances” sang my mama “what will they bring?” 

Well now, Rachel was a mother of our nuclear age, she turned to the captain’s daughter and said “Jezebel, Jezebel, Jezebel, there was a time I was a woman,, now, I’m just a girl, but my whole life I fought them to be free. Maybe someday, the men and boys will see you, Jezebel, Jezebel, Jezebel…” 

Rachel kept her mother’s snake

and wrote lots of letters home

so while it’s still day

don’t make the mistake of thinking 

you will be left alone

“Sing Mama!” “I am singing, daughters, spring dances” sings Our Mama “what will they bring?”

 

Sister Voices – 1999

The voice in this song is like that of a caged wild animal at the end. Performance Art and Unfiltered Rage at the Cage holding us women captive. The voice expresses the frustration and outcry of so many women fighting to be free of the patriarchal predicament.

 

I’m afraid to speak

I’m afraid of my own voice

and I’m afraid to eat

‘cuz I hate my body

but in the early morning

when I rise

I see a new day dawning

sunny skies

and even though my sisters

won’t sing with me

even though I’m alone, I know I’m free

but I’m afraid to speak

I’m afraid 

of what I’ve got to say

I’m afraid you’ll weep

and then go back to sleep 

but in the early morning

when I rise

I see a new day yawning

comin’ a live

my sisters’ voices right next to me

hear us shouting

hear us cry to be free!

 

Ahh Ohh!

 

Real Voice – 1999

I turned on the radio and heard about test explosions of nuclear bombs in India this one day before I went to work at the local grocery co-op in Ann Arbor. This song was the result of piecing things together from that day, and from my life as a graduate student in academia.

 

I turn on the news

nuclear bombs exploding in India

I walk to my job

there are bombs on the floor

Why can’t people see truth from lies?

Why do people take it?

I want to organize

but through the hallways of academia

and on the face of the moon

the footprints of conquest haven’t left us any room

to say what we think

to speak what we know

to hear different voices

at least a sound from below!

 

ohhh!

 

but we keep on walking, walking in a haze

hoping that someday

we’ll rise above the burning blaze

of a society gone mad

a people insane

the whole world at arm’s length

our silent efforts are all in vain

 

so speak out

speak under 

speak through the noise

speak loud so I can hear you

I wanna know you

I wanna hear your real voice

your real voice

 

See See – 2002

Helen Gillet is on cello. This song was inspired by the childhood rhyme “see see my playmate” that many girls across the country seem to have learned on the school bus or playground from other girls. It is a calling out to girls and women to get to know one another, build friendships and to love one another without fear or jealousy.

 

See See my playmate

come out and play with me!

 

Out here on the range

singin’ my cowgirl songs

ridin’ my trustee stallion 

through freedom’s gate

so wide and long

I pass a stranger

she is going the other way

I say “sister sister let’s ride let’s play!” 

She says “Sorry ma’am

I am going the other direction

so we parted 

only a shadow of reflection

 

See See, come play with me!

 

hmmmm, I don’t know you well

but you’ve got a baby on your hip

and a story to tell

’bout passin’ a stranger

who got into your way

and how he beat you 

and told you that you were

worth nothing

so now it’s all you can do

to lift up your face to breathe

 

Johnny, don’t mess with me!

 

Out here on the range

I get sad and scared sometimes

There is no one to talk to

only me and these weaving rhymes

I pass a stranger

she is going the same way!

I say “Sister, sister, let’s ride let’s play!”

She says “Girlfriend, I have been here

the entire time” So we

rode into the sunset

into the dying day

beyond these lines

 

See See, come play with me!

 

My Place – 2002

This song is about the apartment I had in Ann Arbor, MI for five years on my own. Here’s to encouraging young women to seek out a place of their own where guests may come, but boundaries are also developed.

 

I don’t remember if I liked you

when I first saw your face

I just remember that that evening

I was alone at my place

my place

oh yeah dig it now

my place

 

There were cats in all the corners

sweet music filled the air

and there were lots of pretty mourners

and a boy who did not care

I don’t care to say goodbye

but it’s what I gotta do

though your memory’s still alive

I am gone without you

from my place

oh yeah dig it now

my place

 

4:00 a.m. and I’m swoonin’ 

dreamin’ up at the moon

I don’t feel you here right beside me

but are you in the room?

oh, at my place

 

There was coffee every morning

before I went to work

and there were songsters in the evenings

most of whom were jerks

and there was dust in the hallways

I always swept my floor

and there were ghosts from the old days

and then my boy, that makes one more

at my place

oh yeah dig it now

my place

 

Song to the Sky – 2003

When I wrote this, I felt that it was possible for a good, true and genuine spirit of this country to rise from the ash, like a phoenix. Now, I am not so sure anything good will ever come from Amerikkka.

 

You turn off your light

when I walk by 

you don’t want to see me

you don’t question why

you just turn off your light

when I walk by

I walk by

 

I turn off my phone

when I’m alone

and sing sweet songs up to the sky

I don’t stay too long

or I’d question why

I just turn off my phone

and sing to the sky

to the sky

 

We’re all in this together

my sinking ship is yours

and I don’t want to be your prisoner

when I can clearly see better and safer shores

but I also see

the poverty of your spirit

I can see the terror in your eyes

yet I still dream

of when a new tomorrow

comes and totally penetrates

then destroys your disguise

oh I…

 

If I didn’t believe

in the beauty of all people

I’d say your spirit died long ago

but in the field of fire

there’s a giant bird rising

and from where I’m standin’ 

it’s not too far

it’s not too far

 

Resistance – 2008

Riding my bike down the west coast with Adhamh Roland of the Riot Folk anarcho-arts collective was quite the adventure. We played 16 shows over the course of 8 weeks as we rode our bikes, camped out and did volunteer work at organic farms and collective bike shops along the way. A young guy from Olympia, WA caught up to us on his bike and pushed alcohol on us and eventually, pushed himself on me. When this kind of “solidarity” is shown to women in the male left, it puts a different spin on the word “resistance.”

 

There are days that I practice

for when I see you again

I dive into my head

and I watch as we smile

in sweet recognition

my words “honest” you said

but the cliches that I rack up 

when I write down these words

could fill a great big trunk

that I’d sail off to sea

on a ship to an island

surrendering…

and it’s dark and there’s a fire

people are talking 

a wave crashes down on the shoreline

and we’re drunk and you’re a punk

just foolin’ around 

hearing the ocean sound

I still have sand in my pockets

ahhh!

oh, and now as I sit

to write down these words

I stare into the flame

of a candle we lit

in perfect rebellion

against cars and shame

and then I breathe in the past

as the flame rises higher

just taking in the scent 

of the wind and the waves 

and you sitting there

remembering…

and I’m alive 

and it’s fun

the grass grows in patches 

I wanna lay down 

right next to you

and we’re up but then down

just foolin’ around 

a bird flies high in the distance

and you know

I won’t give you

resistance 

 

Sticky Red Egg – 2008

The summer of 2004, some college students in Olympia WA noticed that the DNC (Democratic National Convention) was only 228 miles away from the RNC (Republican National Convention) so they organized a march from Boston to NYC to protest both corporate parties and highlight local grassroots organizing as an alternative to electoral politics. I joined the march and had a vision of the women in our group, dressing in Republican garb and then standing up suddenly inside of the convention and throwing eggs filled with red paint at the podium where George Bush would accept the nomination for president as a form of creative protest. This was my first experience with a mobile village of activists and I loved it! We marched together in intentional community for 28 days, camping out, staying at churches, community centers and doing volunteer work along the way.

 

The political conventions

land in the USA

in Boston and New York

not too far away

so we unfurl our banners

we round up our troops and say

“Sirs, we do not buy it! Not all of us are duped”

“cuz the dems and republicans

it’s all the same to us

war-makers, earth-haters

none of them we trust

so I put my sun hat on

grabbed my walkin’ shoes

kissed my mall job goodbye

said “goodbye” to the blues

no leader at our center

organic to the core

we walked the miles together

not afraid to be more than

what they tell us is real 

we know it’s a lie

and it’s up to us together

to free ourselves, earth, water and sky

and we’ll shut down their wars!

Speak the truth to their lies

open up their gates of power and might

and take them by surprise!

These crazy war-makers

have a grand machine

they call it TV

we all worship a screen

so maybe some of us

could throw eggs filled with blood

at our almighty ruler 

as he takes his torch with a shrug and

no one will hear you

in your final hour

but I can assure you

that our sticky red egg holds power

and we’ll shut down their wars

speak the truth to their lies

open up their gates of power and might

and take them by surprise

now the big conventions are over

and it’s back to our communities

the places we live

with our gardens and trees

it’s not just the state

it’s the state of you and me

and how we live with each other

as we get ourselves free

let’s plant our roots 

far down in the ground

so when we finally look up

all we see are the birds and the clouds

and we won’t hear a sound

 

BP Song – 2011

When I wrote the BP song, oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and people all over the world were waking up each morning for over a month to hearing about it in the news. This song is an artistic expression of the rage many citizens were feeling at the time and was never meant to be a call to violent action against the BP execs. The line “I say we slit their throats and watch the blood trickle like oil into all of our water” is a metaphor for a poetic form of justice — a ritual of sorts, a desperate wish that oil & gas corporations that pollute would be held accountable.

 

British Petroleum

Beyond Petroleum

Do you remember?

That little ad?

“Beyond Petroleum” it said 

beyond, beyond

Now look what’s happened!

The Earth is an open wound

and there is no ocean

beyond this one

it makes me kind of woozy feelin’

wild! Like a child caught in an oil storm

No Water and No Hiding

“Ready or not, here I come!”

shouts my Mama

“Ready or not, here I come!”

shouts my babysitter

“Ready or not, here I come!”

shouts my wild child eyes

 

British Petroleum

“Beyond Petroleum”

That’s what they said on a billboard

and on TV and what the people saw

was a light flickering

in a box on a screen

they didn’t know that it would mean 

the darkest night they’d ever seen

the color of oil

inking our blue skies

and watery oceans!!

 

I say we slit their throats and watch the blood trickle like oil into all of our water! (2 times)

 

British Petroleum!

British Petroleum!

and the EPA!

 

Don’t Have Me – 2008

I was in a long-term relationship with a man when I wrote this song and we were of the age it is normal to consider reproducing. These were my musings on that subject.

 

The child we are dreaming of having

to make our home a family

crying out from the other side

please, “don’t have me”

the wars for oil and water

are too much for my soul to bear

and my living brothers and sisters

are in need of your care so don’t have me

please, don’t have me

drunk with their power and their greed

men jet across our skies at godspeed 

while millions lie poor hurt or dying

they kill and then say “you are free” please 

don’t have me, don’t have me

it’s clear what the future holds

and we know that it ain’t comin’ slow

so you’ve got to turn to each other 

like a mother and build a nest in the road

and if the earth is a droplet of water

then love is the sea

and I’d rather stay here with the stars than be your daughter

please don’t have me 

 

Michigan – 2014

I set up a live radio interview with Sheila Jeffreys who wrote Gender Hurts: a Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism that was released in 2014. I wanted to open up the discussions in my community to include the voices of women who are marginalized due to their views threatening the status quo of male domination and power. This song played at the break on November 3rd, 2014 when my show with Jeffreys, Elizabeth Hungerford and Blake Abney aired on WORT, 89.9 FM’s Access Hour.

Gender Hurts

it’s harmful to girls

gender hurts

it’s painful for the women of the world

the tyranny of male rule

taints my every word

gender hurts

it’s harmful…

so don’t come a knockin’ on my front door

sayin’ I’m your oppressor and you are poor

no don’t come-a-claimin’ “she” as your own

‘cuz women exist separate from you

Leave us alone!

Yes, gender hurts

it’s harmful to girls

gender hurts

it’s painful for the women of the world

the tyranny of male rule is worse than absurd

gender hurts, it’s harmful…

but how will we find our way out of this?

What is the antidote for the patriarchal kiss?

How will we find what needs to be shown

and then after that, where is home?

and I know you don’t really care about me

you are the master and it hurts you when I’m free

so now with your skirt and your lipstick exposed

there’s nowhere to hide and I am goin’ home to Michigan!

 

Trans – 2015

I wrote this shortly after the interview with Jeffreys, Hungerford and Abney. It is a distillation of my feminist theory and a call for solidarity, friendship and increased sisterhood among feminist women. It is also an expression of dismay at how bad things have gotten for girls and women.

 

Trans is a liberal construct invented by white straight men

that shuts down our discussions of their violent power

and then they “win”

Violent power begins with man over woman

then it all spins off from there

into this postmodern racist sexist nightmare

What would be the opposite if “trans” was real?

Only those seduced by power accept the whole world

is a personal deal

who make it their standard

only personal word their proof 

to be the center of Everything

while the Earth chokes and dies 

of their Spoof…their spoof

the joke’s on you

there are better things to do

and in the meantime

we are igniting

yes, in the meantime

we are uniting…

the distance between us

seems greater than the sum of the parts

my heart is beating while the ozone is depleting

it’s way too hard

to be hopeful for the future

for humanity

my greatest hope is that me and my friends

go out with dignity

from this postmodern racist sexist nightmare

 

Half Full – 2012

In 2008, I helped organize another large mobile village to travel hundreds of miles from the PNC (People’s Networking Convention) to the RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota that year, but this time on bikes! 38 riders from around the country joined forces to ride for 12 days to the RNC. We were continuing the history-making of the DNC2RNC march of ’04 from four years before. This song expresses what it felt like to be Thistle in the midst of the village and the love and warmth I felt for everyone on that action-packed journey into an Amerikkkan police state.

 

It’s not a lie

to say “everything is beautiful”

and it’s not a lie

to say “I am happy”

but when I see your face, I tend to erase the lines

and ooh! When you take my hand, I understand what it is to feel fine! You make me feel good!

It’s equally as true to say “everything is ugly”

It’s not hard to see through

the cracks in their sidewalks

and then the sun streams down and it burns the ground ’til we’re dry!

and that’s when I take your hand and we take a stand — touching the sky!

 

Holding up streams I steadily dream of better

wearing spikes and thorns like Marilyn Monroe wears a sweater

There is something going on with the weather!

 

So let’s just admit it

everything is half empty

but then howl at the moon

when it’s full

‘cuz there I see your face and the moon erases the lines

And then we take our hands and touch the land beneath us and all time!

 

Mary Jo Walters Campaign Song – 2014

My friend MJ is also critical of electoral politics and the disconnect between politicians and the grassroots. I wrote a song for her write-in campaign for Governor of Wisconsin.

 

The state of Wisconsin is in dire need

of power at the local level

corporate parties and corporate greed

won’t get us what we need

we need air to breathe

water to drink and the sweet blue skies

don’t believe them, don’t believe them

don’t believe their lies

I know what I’m gonna do

write-in Mary Jo, you too?

I know what I’m gonna do

write-in Mary Jo Walters for Governor

We’ve got people workin’ low, minimum wage jobs

and prisoners workin’ for nothin’

we got frac sands mining and cities full of cars

and still the politicians are bluffin’

sayin’ “the problems are small 

we’ll overcome them all

technology will save us from disaster”

but come on America

come on Wisconsin!

Nature is moving even faster

Mary Jo’s my friend

so is Mary Jane

together we make a spicy brew

that combines with the powers of things unexplained

to take you to another view

the oceans are rising the notion of a wave at my door

is very real so don’t hesitate

no no don’t wait

vote how you feel

 

Austin – 2008

In 2003, my partner and I gave up the house we rented, our jobs and our cars to ride our bikes south on a bicycle adventure. We ended up living in Austin, Texas for a little over a year in our make-shift shelter, among other handmade shelters, on a semi-urban CSA organic farm. The first day we were there, the farmer invited us to harvest the rosemary bushes for whatever we wanted since there were so many and he couldn’t use it all. We made a mattress out of them and this song came to me while sleeping. “Grains of sand from distant shorelines” is reference to our future adventures in California that I had no knowledge of at the time. There’s a hats-off to Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” in here too. “We camped out on the land gettin’ our souls free”. I love this song. It is one of my favorites, with rich imagery, symbolism, but also just a description of our daily life in Austin.

 

We made a bed of rosemary

stings the skin

while you sleep 

and we camped out

on the land

gettin’ our souls free

our souls free

 

Grains of sand

from distant shorelines

called our names

called our names as we slept on a bed of rosemary!

 

And in the mornin’s we’d ride our bikes

for coffee

Sitting in a hut in the shade

all around

the grackles cackling and the light dapples dappling

on your skin

on your skin

 

and then we’d spin our wheels again!

Ride our bikes! and go for a swim!

in the cool blue waters

the cool blue waters of Austin

 

We built a tipi 

on the land

with bamboo

we cut by hand

down the river 

on a nearby property

dead bodies sometimes

were found here

were found here

 

Still we slept on a bed of rosemary

we slept on a bed of rosemary!

 

Groundbreaking Joy – 2015

Currently in Madison, I have found an outlet for my concern both about the state of water protection and the state of indigenous culture in the activist group, MAMA, Madison Action for Mining Alternatives. I wrote this song after spending the day up at the Harvest Camp run by the Lac Courte Oreille for about two years near the proposed taconite iron mining site in the northern woods of Wisconsin. The water from the Tyler Forks river flows into Lake Superior, which is threatened due to numerous factors including the proposed mine by the company GTac. The Harvest Camp accepted campers and volunteers so my band mates and I visited while we were up there playing a show for the 47th annual Ashland Folk Festival held at Northland College. “Groundbreaking joy” refers to the river that literally breaks ground to flow northward into that great body of water known as Gitchigami to the Ojibwe people.

 

We took turns pushin’ the wheel barrel

full of hay

on that day

at the Harvest Camp

the Harvest Camp

softening the trails for all of our comrades

then later on

we journeyed 

down by the river

soaking up her lyrical sounds

near the Harvest Camp

the ticks, they were out

they were crawlin’ on our ankles

and we noticed

the weather was wrong

a patch of snow

don’t you know 

our winters will slow

until life’s lovely glow

becomes the shiny bright gleam of cockroaches

taking over the world

but here we stand

on the land and there’s nothin’ as clear

as the red cardinal near

drawing nearer and nearer

to my voice 

“yes, there’s a choice

to stand with the fierce love and power of Nature”

 

Oh Wisconsin!

Oh Our Waters!

Oh, the life we live on this land

Groundbreaking Joy!

 

 

Secret Last Track “Edge of Truth” – 1986

My high school buddy, Matt Sanborn, recorded this in his parents’ basement in Madison when I was 17 years old after I volunteered for the summer in the Boundary Waters Canoeing Area at a Lutheran Camp up there.

 

 

 

Lyrics to songs on Through A Window released in 2012

Garnet

She acts as if it doesn’t matter
pretends she doesn’t care
that hundreds of thousands of millions of tears
flow under the bridge — over there
She acts as if it doesn’t matter
pretends she doesn’t care
that her tears flow down
soaking the ground and she is full to the brim
She is full to the brim
 
And if she had a garnet
she’d wear it around her neck
attracting and drawing the love she deserves
and avoiding the wreck
avoiding the wreckage
“but I haven’t even practiced my instrument!” she says
then refuses to look to the sky
She walks alone at night, instead
searching, she is searching…
 
She stumbles on a garden
where the plants grow tall
and she’s surrounded by people who love her
no matter how small
‘cuz it’s the birds and the bees and the butterflies afterall
the birds and the bees and the butterflies unite us all…
 
Then she’s returning
to the land of searching
but with a garnet fastened to her neck
and the Love Up Above that Always Was
is shining down
drying the ground 
’til she finally sees the grass for the trees
beneath a Star Sun
wrapped up in the dark.
 

Through a Window

I climbed through a window at the capitol
and all your talk of “violence” was null
“cuz I live on the inside
and I give my life to the good fight!
Whose house? Our House! Whose world? It’s ours!
 
Next I took a tunnel to the M & I bank 
and there was no one there to thank me
when I dressed in black covered my face to my eyes and
threw a brick
at the M & I
I threw a brick
at the M & I!
 
Then, I took a sledge hammer to a cash machine
and saw the world turn greener
looking up into a dark velvet sky
the stars were beaming
they were beaming…
 
We planted corn, beans and squash 
in the ground at the capitol
with our pitchforks raised high
and torches in the night
we cast our seeds to the ground
and when summer came
and the harvest was immanent 
we paid no rent!
At Our House! There’s no rent! at Our House!
“Cuz it’s ours! It’s Ours!
¡Viva Wisconsin!
 

How I’ll Sing

The way the angels cry
how it’s all gone awry
a soft lullaby
that’s how I’ll sing for you
 
and when the warm winds blow
that’s how I’ll know
you have flown
far away from me
 
and I’ll sit by the phone
contemplate a scone
and go on with a drone
’til the sky is pink and blue
 
That’s how I’ll sing for you
 

BP song

British Petroleum
Beyond Petroleum
Do you remember?
That little ad?
“Beyond Petroleum” it said 
beyond, beyond
Now look what’s happened!
The Earth is an open wound
and there is no ocean
beyond this one
it makes me kind of woozy feelin’
wild! Like a child caught in an oil storm
No Water and No Hiding
“Ready or not, here I come!”
shouts my Mama
“Ready or not, here I come!”
shouts my babysitter
“Ready or not, here I come!”
shouts my wild child eyes
 
British Petroleum
“Beyond Petroleum”
That’s what they said on a billboard
and on TV and what the people saw
was a light flickering
in a box on a screen
they didn’t know that it would mean 
the darkest night they’d ever seen
the color of oil
inking our blue skies
and watery oceans!!
 
I say we slit their throats and watch the blood trickle like oil into all of our water! (2 times)
 
British Petroleum!
British Petroleum!
and the EPA!
 

Austin

We made a bed of rosemary
stings the skin
while you sleep 
and we camped out
on the land
gettin’ our souls free
our souls free
 
Grains of sand
from distant shorelines
called our names
called our names as we slept on a bed of rosemary!
 
And in the mornin’s we’d ride our bikes
for coffee
Sitting in a hut in the shade
all around
the grackles cackling and the light dapples dappling
on your skin
on your skin
 
and then we’d spin our wheels again!
Ride our bikes! and go for a swim!
in the cool blue waters
the cool blue waters of Austin
 
We built a tipi 
on the land
with bamboo
we cut by hand
down the river 
on a nearby property
dead bodies sometimes
were found here
were found here
 
Still we slept on a bed of rosemary
we slept on a bed of rosemary!
 

Green Tara

What would emerge? If I just let everything go?
If I let the cold winter’s breeze put a freeze on everything?
Who would I be then?
Would I be a seed
frozen in the dark?
Restin’ peacefully
the stars shining bright
a promise of light
or would I be a tire track
frozen in the forest? No hope for tomorrow
just the memory of a motor sound
a tire track on the ground…
 
so I’ll sing this one for Tara
Green Goddess of the Earth
I’ll burn with the fire I offer from my winter’s hearth
for Green Tara
 
I am grateful to Ecstatic Dance
as I weave this prayerful song
what would it be like if we built temples of our arms?
Who would we be then?
 
Would we be lead pounded into gold?
chaotic alchemy, our stories unfolding in a spiraling light?
 
and I’ll sing this one for Tara
Green Goddess of the Earth
I’ll burn with the fire I offer from my winter’s hearth
for Green Tara
 

Beautiful

Just one happy song
that’s all I want from this moment
where nothing goes wrong
and everybody
everyone’s just singing along!
My bones are growing older
and the world just seems so cold
and there’s a time comin’ when I might not be so bold
Oh! Help me to see the beauty
that’s in me
Today! I will wake up and make no mistake I will make up
for all the lost time all the tears I’ve cried and those lonely places still inside of me
‘cuz for every sunset
there’s a dawn
and if I think like that
nothin’ is wrong
and I couldn’t help but get up this morning and see how bright the sunlight is on the leaves!
After all, we’re in love with being and being here with you is beautiful.
 

The World

People pretend to be shocked as the world burns in the latest disaster
All you boys and girls, it’s the world! the whole world!
And I’ll keep saying “no!” and try to think of something good to do
while the warmth of your skin and how I drank it in is more than I can explain
 
Here comes the snow
Here comes the rain
Here comes the fire and ice
our ancestors made
from the stuff of Life!
 
I wish I’d been better it’s true
but you should have been smarter too
but killing the earth and our call to re-birth
is all we ever knew
It was the world, the whole world!
All you boys and girls
It was the world!
 

Half Full

It’s not a lie
to say “everything is beautiful”
and it’s not a lie
to say “I am happy”
but when I see your face, I tend to erase the lines
and ooh! When you take my hand, I understand what it is to feel fine! You make me feel good!
It’s equally as true to say “everything is ugly”
It’s not hard to see through
the cracks in their sidewalks
and then the sun streams down and it burns the ground ’til we’re dry!
and that’s when I take your hand and we take a stand — touching the sky!
 
Holding up streams I steadily dream of better
wearing spikes and thorns like Marilyn Monroe wears a sweater
There is something going on with the weather!
 
So let’s just admit it
everything is half empty
but then howl at the moon
when it’s full
‘cuz there I see your face and the moon erases the lines
And then we take our hands and touch the land beneath us and all time!
 

Earth’s Barren Ground

There’s nothing worse in this world than the snow
when it comes after the spring
Be it solar flares, cars or frosting
we are frogs in the boiling 
waters overflowing
to the kitchen floor
then over land and into the sea
like that meatball in old Smokey’s dream
but “no será lo que sea” you see
the lights are red and screaming
through the corridors of your mind
 
and I wake up in pain and confusion
and we take up too much room
and though I suffer from illusions
when we swarm as a hive together all bees in this weather
we’re less than doomed — stay tuned!
 
and don’t put your hope in the machine
we gotta help each other to stop driving
and don’t forget to look to the sky
you’re not alone and we don’t have to die
in the earth’s barren ground!
 

Bella Ciao

Si yo muero en el combate
O bella ciao, bella ciao bella ciao, ciao ciao!
Toma en tus manos mi fusil
Es mi deseo seguir luchando
O bella ciao…
por la liberación mundial
soy anarquista
toda la vida y anarquista hasta morir
 

 

 

Leave a Reply