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Phantasmagoria


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* * *
There is a hotel down the street
Where all the couples go to meet
You’ve been there once or twice this week
 
Tell them you need a place to stay
And they wont turn you away
If you’ve got the means to pay
 
It doesn’t matter where you lay
You’ll be charged the going rate
And you can always find a date
 
So don’t come to me
unless you really want to be free
Only come to me
If you want to be free
 
And if freedom’s what you choose
Then just ask me for a room
and I’ll give you a key
I’ll give you the key
I’ll give you the key
 
There is a hotel down the street
it makes the honeymooners sweet
it’s where the husbands go to cheat
 
It’s real glamorous inside
The spiral staircase ten feet wide
You’ve been there once too many times
 
It doesn’t matter where you are
For a promise and a charge
You’ll receive two broken hearts
 
So don’t come to me
unless you really want to be free
Only come to me
If you want to be free
 
And if freedom’s what you choose
Then just ask me for a room
and I’ll give you a key
I’ll give you the key
I’ll give you the key
* * *
 O ye who read this truthful rime
    From Flanders, kneel and say:
God speed the time when every day
    Shall be as Christmas Day.
                                    Frederick Niven
 
It was Christmas Eve 1914
The world was at war
But the young men who were fighting
Didn’t know what they were fighting for.
 
So on Christmas Eve 1914
They set aside the shells
And gave thanks for one silent night
With imagined Christmas bells.
 
For the mother and child
Their joy and their pain
For the Lover and Loved
For their mystic refrain
For those sent to the front lines
To learn how to pray—
Let it be Christmas forever this day
Let every tomorrow be Christmas Day.
 
Soon it will be Christmas Eve
In this world still at war
Where soldiers still
find it hard to perceive
What it is they’re fighting for
 
O ye who read this truthful rime
From Flanders, kneel and say:
God speed the time when every day
Shall be as Christmas Day.
 
For the mother and child
Their joy and their pain
For the Lover and Loved
Their mystic refrain
For those sent to the front lines
To learn how to pray—
Let it be Christmas forever this day
Let every tomorrow be Christmas Day
 
And the father will comfort
His wife in her pain
And the Lover and Loved
Will together remain
And the soldier will study
A nobler trade
When every tomorrow is as Christmas Day
When it is Christmas forever someday.
* * *
Mother has a funny little
Game she plays
She makes the rules
It’s more fun that way
Doesn’t matter what you do
Or what you say
What you feel
What you pray

She gives you light
She gives you shade
She gives you rain
She gives you long
Summer days
She likes the sun
She likes the rain
She likes the way
Snow looks on leaves
Of your oak trees.

Colored lights
Streamed across the night
The raindrops dressed in coats of white
And settled on the stones.
Their silence amplified
The sound of breaking bones.

You need the sun
You need the shade
You need the rain
Because you need
You can’t blame
So with the Mother you accept
Her little game
You can’t stop
Her, anyway.

Colored lights
Streamed across the night
The raindrops dressed in coats of white
And settled on the stones.
Their silence amplified
The sound of breaking bones.
* * *
Love locks you in
With Her little grin
And She tells you about
All the trouble you’re in
But She says there’s no Truth
and She says there’s no Sin.
She keeps you beguiled
With sardonic smiles
She tells you the world’s
Going to end in a while
So you might as well
Have a fun time in Hell.

She learned Her secrets
From Madame Dupré
Who is still having lovers
Though her hair is grey
She knows all the tricks
The right things to say.
You like what you’re getting
For the coins you pay
But the Priests are telling you
To stay away
Because it’s Judgment Day.

They lock you in
With their little grins
They tell you about
The trouble you're in
They bury the Truth
They scare you with Sin.
They keep you beguiled
With sardonic smiles
Then they tell you the world’s
Gonna end in Just a While
Hey, you might as well
Have a good time in Hell.

Well I’ll be there in Hell;
Will you be there as well?
* * *
Brother East , Sister West
Drop your arms; join your hands.
Father North, Mother South
San Martin sails for France.

Who will mend brother’s scars?
Who will fix sister’s heart?
San Martin sails for France
and you tear Argentina apart.

Listen to me
your little guarani
I watch my people
cry at night
You gave me God
San Martin gave you freedom
Libertad, libertad, libertad.
But you still fight.

You will die in this land
until red runs the rain
You are proud to forget—
But the Abá remember Spain

We have lost many men
for the prize you have won
Thank your God for your life
and put down your gun.

Listen to me
your little guarani
I watch my people
cry at night
You gave me God
San Martin gave you freedom
Libertad, libertad, libertad.
Why do you fight?

Brother East , Sister West
Drop your arms; join your hands
Father North, Mother South
San Martin sails for France.

Mon frere Argentine:
Souvenez San Martin
Ma soeur Argentine:
Souvenez San Martin
Mon pere Argentine:
Souvenez San Martin
Ma mere Argentine:
Souvenez…

Libertad, libertad, libertad.
Oíd el ruido de rotas cadenas
Oíd, mortales, el grito sagrado:

¡Libertad!
* * *
* * *
I built a house of wood
and in it I kept my heart
and in it I locked my love
and the house burned to the ground
and my heart was never found
and he never understood
why.

I built a house of sand
and in it I kept my heart
and in it I locked my love
and the house washed to the sea
and the ocean buried me.
Sand castles cannot stand
time.

I built a house of stone
and in it I kept my heart
and in it I locked my love
and the river stones still last
and in them my heart is cast
and will live long past my own
life.
* * *
Too many words
to the world
too few
to his friends
Too many words
gone unheard
still more
left unsaid
Senator gave a speech today
Nobody listened anyway
And the woman he passed in the hall
She hadn’t heard at all

Senator
stop your shouting
There’s a better way
I know
the world needs saving
but it’s not going to happen like you say
There’s a lady
needs your loving
Have you any words for her?
Senator
stop your shouting
She’s walking out the door.

Too many words
given to
the people
who don’t care
Too few words
to friends he knew
who suddenly
weren’t there
Senator didn’t notice they
hadn’t called him up today
And the woman he passed in the hall
He didn’t see her at all

Senator
stop your shouting
there’s no better way
Yeah the
world needs saving
and it’s not going to happen, like they say.
there’s a lady
needs your loving
how about a word for her?
senator
stop your shouting
she’s walking out the door.

Too many words
still the people
don’t hear what they mean
They hear words
about things
that can’t be touched or seen
Too many words
stink of lies
Too few words
touch our lives
That woman you passed in the hall—
she doesn’t like words at all.

Senator
Stop that shouting
There’s a better way
Yeah the world needs saving
Let’s save the world today
When we learn what our heart’s for
Won’t be any need for war
Senator
Stop her before
She walks out the door.
* * *
I watched a movie over again
So I already knew the end
a boy crying up to the moon
asking why do stories stop so soon
and when the end came I cried too
but the pain he’s going through
 
I can’t imagine
 
if God is just and God is kind
then how does God make up his mind
to take our children from our midst
why does he do things like this
if your Almighty God is real
then what he thinks
and what he feels
 
I can’t imagine
 
And the boy never will let go
because he thinks somehow God knows
and keeps the reason why he’s gone
in some secret sacred song
Because the ending came so soon
He’s still staring at the moon
 
while he imagines
 
 
And now I know
God’s just a name
that people trust
that people blame
 
And now I know
it’s twice the pain
to not imagine
 
but I can’t imagine
* * *
he had a scientific mind
he liked things to be well defined
but he had found a problem who
he could not find an answer to
so he went to his calculations
tried to simplify relations
connecting species homo sapiens
since the dawn of its creation
through the course of evolution.
but found no solution
to the woman standing there
Susanna on the stair

he was a portrait painter
he worked both night and day
he captured people in their faces
expressions in eternal paint
Susanna sat for him one day
she smiled and she looked away
he painted her into the night
he painted her by candlelight
but he could have left the canvas white
the portrait was not quite
the woman sitting there
Susanna on the stair

he was a minstrel wandering
he stopped in every town to sing
he sang epics from ancient lore
traveling from shore to shore
Susanna was a lady who
he could not pen a ballad to
her face resisted every line
defied both metaphor and rhyme
he found a lilting melody
but the only words he dreamed
for the woman waiting there
were: Susanna on the stair

Susanna on the stair
Susanna on the stair
Susanna on the stair…

he never found the answer to his problem but he thought there might be something
true as numbers
he sold Susanna’s portrait to some students from a philosophy club
they met on Wednesdays
he only sang Susanna’s song when he was all alone because he thought people would laugh
at the lyrics

you only knew Susanna if you were her lover
even then the morning after
you forgot her

Susanna on the stair
were you there
Susanna on the stair
were you there
Susanna on the stair
were you there


Susanna on the stair…
* * *
* * *
* * *

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