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    Saturday, November 23, 2002     4:25 AM

read all these lyrics and think... just think.. did you do all you could? did you care enough?

a cold and porcelain lonely
in an old new york hotel
a stranger to a city
that she used to know so well
bathing in a bathroom
that is bathed in the first blue light
of the beginning of a century
at the end of an endless night

then she is wet behind the ears and wafting down the avenue
pre-rush hour
post-rain shower
stillness seeping upwards like steam
from another molten sewer
summer in new york

they've been spraying us with chemicals in our sleep
us / they
something about the mosquitoes having some kind of disease
them / me
CIA foul play
if you ask the guy selling hair dryers out of a gym bag
chemical warfare
"i'm telling you, lab rat to lab rat," he says, "that's where the truth
is at"
that's where the truth is at
that's where the truth is at

and everything seems to have gone terribly wrong that can
but one breath at a time is an acceptable plan
she tells herself
and the air is still there
and this morning it's even breathable
and for a second the relief is unbelievable
and she's a heavy sack of flour sifted
her burden lifted
she's full of clean wind for one lean moment
and then she's trapped again
reverted
caged and contorted
with no way to get free
and she's getting plenty of little kisses
but nobody's slippin' her the key

her whole life is a long list of what ifs
and she doesn't even know where to begin
and the pageantry of suffering therein
rivals television
tv is, after all, the modern day roman coliseum
human devastation as mass entertainment
and now millions sit jeering
collectively cheering
the bloodthirsty hierarchy of the patriarchal arrangement

she is hailing a cab
she is sailing down the avenue
she's 19 going on 30
or maybe she's really 30 now ...
it's hard to say
it's hard to keep up with time once it's on its way

and, you know, she never had much of a chance
born into a family built like an avalanche
and somewhere in the 80s between the oat bran and the ozone
she started to figure out things like why
one eye pointed upwards looking for the holes in the sky
one eye on the little flashing red light
a picasso face twisted and listing down the canvas
of the end of an endless night

10 9 8 seven six 5 4 three 2 one
and kerplooey
you're done.
you're done for.
you're done for good.
so tell me
did you?
did you do?
did you do all you could?



yes,
us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so far
so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine
afghanistan
iraq

el salvador

here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore

here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman's voice

here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads
to find peace in the form of a dream

cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
i mean
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever

and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 george w. bush is not president
#2 america is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i've got no room for a lie so verbose
i'm looking out over my whole human family
and i'm raising my glass in a toast

here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
through valleys
under stars
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face

give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
freedom forever

cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall



and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the bomb?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?

can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!

it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
religiously
the CIA
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
look
another key
another door
10% literal
90% metaphor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
sshhhhhh....
baby listen
hear the train?

ani difranco


____

reading...
Tori Amos, Piece by Piece
listening/watching...
The Golden Girls
playing..
KOTOR II
randomness...
In the Waiting Line - Zero Seven
linkage...
My Twitter
quote...
"It is time for me to walk the abyss. Time to reclaim my own. I must talk to the Morningstar. I do not have high hopes for the meeting."
-Dream, Sandman