LYRICS

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1. Them And Us
 
There’s a standoff all across the great divide
With friends and family members on both sides
If someone struck a match it would combust
Scorching everyone, both Them and Us
 
It’s raining dirty words and disrespect
It’s not having any positive effect
The bridges have collapsed because of rust
We can’t reach each other, Them and Us
 
We’ve got our earplugs in and our blinders on
And we wonder where have all the flowers gone
Where once there was a garden cool and lush
All that’s left here now is Them and Us
 
And I’ve never felt so lonely in this world
As I do when all the banners are unfurled
And the airwaves are just spewing all that stuff
About Us and Them, look what it’s done to us
 
Our differences are few but overblown
And it sometimes leads to punches being thrown
There seems to be a few things to discuss
But you can’t say a word to Them or Us
 
We write them off because of how they vote
We write them off ‘cause they came on a boat
We turn our backs with contempt and with disgust
At every one of Them who isn’t Us
 
We identify them by the clothes they wear
We identify them by their skin and hair
And we look for any reason not to trust
Whatever about Them is not like Us
 
And I’ve never felt so lonely in this world
As I do when all the banners are unfurled
And the airwaves are just spewing all that stuff
About Us and Them, look what it’s done to us
 
Thoughtful, decent people turning mean
If only all our gods could intervene
There must be some controls they could adjust
Maybe they could make us whole, Them and Us
 
And I’ve never felt so lonely in this world
As I do when all the banners are unfurled
And the airwaves are just spewing all that stuff
About Us and Them, look what it’s done to us
 
2. Warsaw in May
 
The godless ones were moving east
And we were turned in by a priest
Rounded up with all the rest
The cattle cars from there went west
It was my precious violin
When we arrived that saved my skin
The audition I would pass that day
The Wagner I dared not misplay
My violin would save my life
As well my daughter and my wife
They’d summon me to come and play
I’d close my eyes and go halfway
They were so merry and so gay
Who danced by night and killed by day
They’d give me little scraps of food
Sometimes when they were in the mood
I'd draw my bow and they would sway
They had no orders to obey
The officers, their wives and whores
Drinking their cognacs and their liqueurs
They craned their necks and strained their ears
I don’t know where they found the tears
Maybe some place back in Berlin
Sometimes I slipped some Mahler in
My violin would play itself
While I’d escape to some place else
My shattered mind would limp away
To Warsaw in the month of May
Conducting in the concert hall
I would not see the things I saw
I’d hear the woodwinds and the strings
I’d tune out all the other things
I'd draw my bow and they would sway
They had no orders to obey
The officers, their wives and whores
Drinking their cognacs and their liqueurs
They craned their necks and strained their ears
I don’t know where they found the tears
Maybe some place back in Berlin
Sometimes I slipped some Mahler in
The band would start to play at dawn
Until the work crews had all gone
When they returned we’d play some more
And in between we did our chores
We weren’t there to entertain
The people stepping off the trains
We played when we were told to play
We’d stop when they’d say, “Go away”
I'd draw my bow and they would sway
They had no orders to obey
The officers, their wives and whores
Drinking their cognacs and their liqueurs
They craned their necks and strained their ears
I don’t know where they found the tears
Maybe some place back in Berlin
Sometimes I slipped some Mahler in
 
3. Couldn’t Do What Daddy Done​
 
Me and my supremacist friends
We’re only doing what G-d intends
Burning crosses, burning mosques
Vandalizing synagogues
We’re the patriotic sons
With our semi-automatic guns
Prepping for a civil war
To make things like they was before
 
Me and my supremacist clan
This is how we take our stand
Underneath a nazi flag
Marching right up the main drag
Past the church and past the school
Where they teach the Golden Rule
Where the children play outside
When we go by they run and hide
 
The secret handshake makes you kin
At the door it gets you in
It’s how we tell a friend from foe
It’s something only we would know
 
Me and my supremacist bud
Stir each other’s thirst for blood
Getting drunker by the hour
Mixing things that all taste sour
Until we can’t control the rage
Any excuse to open the cage
It can not stay inside the house
The beast is foaming at the mouth
 
My and my supremacist dad
One time beat a foreigner bad
He was somewhere he shouldn’t have been
He shouldn’t have been with his color skin
And after daddy kicked his ass
We left him lying in the grass
I got some of my own licks in
He was somewhere he shouldn’t have been
 
The secret handshake makes you kin
At the door it lets you in
It’s how we tell a friend from foe
It’s something only we would know
 
Me and my twelve year old son
One time made a foreigner run
Chased him down a dead end street
Until the circle was complete
There was nowhere he could run…
But I couldn’t do what my daddy done…
Not in front of my own son…
I couldn’t do what daddy done
 
The secret handshake makes you kin
At the door it gets you in
It’s how we tell a friend from foe
It’s something only we would know
 
4. They Call it Chicken
 
They call it chicken, and what do I know?
Who’s to say it isn’t so?
Over on Madison Avenue
They call it chicken and it might be true
 
They call it chicken, it grows in a dish
Tweak it a little, you could call it fish
Try telling that to the man on the street
How all they’re growing is the chicken meat
 
They call it chicken but it’s not a bird
Tastes just like chicken, that’s what I heard
I’m not so sure it’s gonna fly
I’d be too chicken to give it a try
 
They call it chicken but it doesn’t cluck
It’s got no feathers that you need to pluck
It’s got no neck, it’s got no wings
No beak, no bones, none of those things
 
From chicken eggs it doesn’t hatch
It doesn’t peck, it doesn’t scratch
It doesn’t require a chicken coop
Or someone to clean out chicken poop
 
They call it chicken but it’s not a bird
Tastes just like chicken, that’s what I heard
But I can’t confirm and I can’t deny
I’d be too chicken to give it a try
 
They call it chicken, and it might be…
One day maybe it’ll grow on a tree
They’ll have to hire a chicken picking crew
Until they figure out how to replace them too
 
They call it chicken but the foxes hate it
The roosters, they’re just real frustrated
You can call it chicken, the law’s with you
But it doesn’t have sex like chickens do
 
They call it chicken but it’s not a bird
Tastes just like chicken, that’s what I heard
You can barbecue it on the 4th of July
But I’d be too chicken to give it a try
 
5. The Absence Of You
 
The flowers you planted bloom every Spring
Outside the window the song birds sing
The mornings are peaceful the evenings are too
It’s quiet here now in the absence of you
 
I never saw it when you’d take a drink
You tip-toed to it when I must’ve blinked
Your eyes glazing over, that was my cue
To start bracing myself for the absence of you
 
The demons would frequent and they’d trash the place
And put you back later, your memory erased
You’d wake up the next day, your sky would be blue
I’d be still seeing stars from the absence of you
 
Sometimes you were them, sometimes they were you
I could never be certain of just who was who
I’d beg G-d to take me but He never would do   
Night after night in the absence of you
 
Day after day my vow I’d renew
For better or worse, or just what I had to do 
Every so often a ghost will yell “Boo!”
And remind me again of the absence of you
 
You could be childlike and you could be sweet
You could be wobbly and way off the beat
You could turn mean and horrible too
You just never knew in the absence of you
 
It was the whiskey that broke your heart
And maybe I even played a part
What you wouldn’t tell me, I never knew
It was just my best guess in the absence of you
 
Day after day my vow I’d renew
For better or worse, or just what I had to do 
Every so often a ghost will yell “Boo!”
And remind me again of the absence of you
 
6. The Forger
 
Up on the 3rd floor
I used to rent a room
It got no fresh air
You could get dizzy from the fumes
I’d spend the nights in there
Maybe I’d sleep a few winks
I’d clear a place somewhere
Between the papers and the inks
 
I had a printing press
It was my Tommy gun
I dreamed I ambushed them
Whenever it would run
I couldn’t shoot a man
This was what I could do
And with my documents
The guards would’ve waved them through
 
I didn’t know them
I never met them
How could I turn away
And just forget them?
I still can picture
Some of their faces
They were desperate to leave
For safer places
 
I was an artisan
A counterfeiter
I had a steady hand
That didn’t get the jitters
One day the partisans
Told me my skills were needed
‘Cause there was madness on the rise
That had to be defeated
 
I doctored names
Altered their ages
I put a different place of birth
Upon the pages
I made them businessmen
I made them teachers
I made them someone else
With all the same features
 
I didn’t know them
I never met them
How could I turn away
And just forget them?
I still can picture
Some of their faces
They were desperate to leave
For safer places
 
I’d meet my handler
In busy cafes
We would trade envelopes
Then go our separate ways
No time for small talk
Too many lives at stake
Passports to reproduce
All night I’d be awake
 
I worked in secrecy
Nobody knew of this
Not even my daughter, or my wife
There just was too much risk
They said I worked too much
I couldn’t tell them why
But now I have to tell someone
Before I die
 
I didn’t know them
I never met them
How could I turn away
And just forget them?
I still can picture
Some of their faces
They were desperate to leave
For safer places
 
7. Stand Up Guy
 
Jim Joyce is a stand up guy
Listen to me and I’ll tell you why
He made a mistake, it made him cry
And he didn’t go fishing for an alibi
 
The pitcher was throwing a perfect game
Got the first two outs of the final frame
The ball was hit, he won the race
He caught the throw with his foot on the base
 
Joyce called the batter safe at first
A putrid call, the all time worst
A travesty, the guy was out
The replay showed beyond a doubt
 
With half a smile to mask his grief
The pitcher stood in disbelief
He never lost his dignity
His eyes though said, “You’re kidding me!”
 
There still was one more out to get
The game it wasn’t over yet
It should’ve been, he caught the throw
In plenty of time but there you go
 
In the locker room Joyce watched the tape
It left him all bent out of shape
He sat a while alone, distressed
Outside the door the bloodthirsty press
 
“I cost that kid a perfect game”
He stood up sobbing and took the blame
“I was convinced of what I saw…
I just missed the bleeping call”
 
Jim Joyce, he’s a stand up guy
He called for the pitcher to please come by
He face to face apologized
Jim Joyce’s tears were Texas-sized
 
“Nobody’s perfect” the pitcher would say
In an interview the very next day
“He’s only human, he made a mistake
I hope everybody will cut him a break”
 
The ump had an imperfect game
It happens sometimes and it was a shame
All you can do is stand up tall
Say you’re sorry you blew the call
 
Jim Joyce is a stand up guy
That’s something nobody can deny
He made a mistake, it made him cry
And he didn’t go fishing for an alibi
 
8. Your Violin
Your violin’s ready, it’s here in the shop
It’s got a new bridge and it’s got a new top
The neck, it was broken, snapped in two
But now it’s almost as good as new
I salvaged the splinters the best that I could
Wherever I couldn’t I patched up the wood
It sounds pretty good, it looks okay
It’s ready to pick up, it’s ready to play
 
Music was silenced, locked in its case
It had to be hidden and not show its face
The stormtroopers came, they kicked in the door
They found it after they tore up the floor
Just for amusement they forced you to play
And after you finished they took you away
They stomped it to bits and just left it there
Your violin’s ready, I made the repairs
 
The bones of its body were kept in a sack
By the neighbor in case you might ever come back
Up in the attic, musty with mold
Discovered after the house was sold
It wasn’t much more than a bag of debris
The day when it was delivered to me
The name inside, was it yours as well?
Your violin’s got a story to tell
 
Every so often another appears  
Like the rest that have found me over the years
Who’d it belong to? Where was it from?
Who wore down the back of the neck with their thumb?
I take the pieces and I make them whole
Healing the body, waking the soul
I cut and I sand, I bend and I glue
In honor of Him and remembrance of you
9. Funeral For The Curse                                             
It was the 13th of never
It had been a very long wait
For another week with two Wednesdays
Hadn’t happened since 1908
Red snow flakes were falling
There was a very blue moon
And all the folks in Chicago
Were singing a Steve Goodman tune
 
Cats were chasing dogs that day
Water ran up hill
Flocks of pigs were flying
The champagne had been chilled
It was a short sleeve night in November
The wind didn’t even blow
And from hell they were reporting
More than seven feet of snow
 
They finally had a parade
Leading it was a hearse
There was nothing but joy in Mudville
They threw a funeral for The Curse
 
No one alive could remember
The last time Easter fell in May
Or another evening in the autumn
Celebrating Christmas Day
But the fish had climbed the poplar
And the cows were coming home
The sun rose in the west
The day The Curse was overthrown 
 
Now some said they were ready
They had hung on just for this
They had crossed off all the other things
Above it on the list
And the ghosts no longer haunted
Now that they could finally rest
And old men and their fathers wept
Love was unrepressed
 
They finally had a parade
Leading it was a hearse
There was nothing but joy in Mudville
They threw a funeral for The Curse
 
And now anything’s liable to happen
So keep an eye on the dominoes      
And expect the unexpected
Always wear clean underclothes
’Cause it was in a month of Sundays
2nd Wednesday of the week
There was hugging in the Tavern
And lots of kissing on the cheek
 
They finally had a parade
And leading it was a hearse
There was nothing but joy in Mudville
They threw a funeral for The Curse
 

©2018 Chuck Brodsky  |  BMI