Lyrics to Nate Smith's songs

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Copyright ©2008, ©2009, ©2010, ©2011, ©2012, ©2013, ©2014 by Nathan A. Smith
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Another Human Hero Anything At Least For Now Bad Dreams The Ballad of the Sea Coach
The Ballad of Mike Duffy The Beachcomber Behind the Red Door The Blade of Day Brand New Start
Broken Glass Calamity Jane Cant Buy Into It The Captain's Finger Charlie's Camp Fire Rag
Chai Ling Children of the World Cold, Cold Beer Come With Somebody Else Covered In Cats
Craneal Activity The Elevator Man Everything On The Outside The Eye of the Storm Famine
Flyin' Free Friends Now FTS A Ghost of Our Sorrow Goin' Down to the Wire
Gonna Get Blown Away Goodbye, My Sweet Marie Here On Red Apple Farm Hey, Blue Skies Hey, You Should Know
I Always Knew Ice Storm Family I'm A Coward I'm A Sponge In Otter Words
The Jamestown Ferry The Last Empty Chair Little Balloon A Little Bit More Livin' Between The Lines
Mama Kellum Maybe the Next Time Midnight Dad (1958) Mister Morley My Secret Heart
Nasty Games Night Sky Not Gonna Happen Not Only Rain Out Of The Dark
Pigeonhole Blues Pitchblack Mornings The Curious Incident of the Pizza
Delivery on the Outskirts of Las Vegas
The Purgatory Express The Queen of Hearts
The Rapture's Nest Rollin' Down The Blues Running With Scissors The Scarecrow's Tune Selnty Boam
Shame On You Shoreline, Watching Six Sides of Jon Snowflakes Somewhere Down The Road
Standing In Your Solitude Starlight Jailhouse Blues Subliminal Criminal Talkin Russianic Bride There's A Nap For That
This Demise I'm In Through This Day Tomorrow Could Be Our Day The Tortured, Laughing Sky Travellin' With Ellis
True Life Stories Waking Here In Your Forest We're Drinkin' Down Our Coffee The Windowsill Wolverine Joe
You Better Never Quit It You Could Be Wrong You Keep Me Going Your Sparrow's Song



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Another Human Hero

copyright ©2001 Nathan A.Smith

a shell of framework in the dust
reaches upward in one last thrust
in one last anguished cry
to cling on to the sky.
and down in the smoke below the blue,
working slowly, searching through
the wreckage, as he fights off sleep,
seeking heroes beneath his feet,
you can see another hero...
you can see another hero...
you can see another hero
...at Ground Zero.

but he sees no one in the dust.
he sees no one & yet he must
keep on with all his might,
through the day & through the night,
until another takes his place
& he can finally wipe his face
& lie down & get some sleep -
then he's right back up on his feet.
he's another human hero...
he's another human hero...
he's another human hero
...at Ground Zero.

there's not a single sound in the dust.
even the air itself is crushed.
it burns into her eyes.
it chokes her throat when she cries,
but she never plans to stop.
she pushes on until she drops
into another shift of sleep -
then she's right back up on her feet.
she's another human hero...
she's another human hero...
she's another human hero...
we're standing tall for the heroes...
and we salute all the heroes...
...at Ground Zero....

          -29 sep 2001

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Anything

copyright ©2003 Nathan A. Smith


look at that leaf, turning in the wind,
making it back to the earth again.
look at that leaf, flying so high,
silhouetted on the deep blue sky.
. . . you can be anything you want . . .
. . . you can be anything you want . . .
just turn a new leaf, ride on the wind,
let yourself back to the earth again
. . . you can be anything . . . you want.


look at that bird, turning in the wind,
rising free of the earth again.
look at that bird, flying so high,
cartwheeling on the deep blue sky.
. . . you can do anything you want . . .
. . . you can do anything you want . . .
just turn on the wing, ride a new wind,
let yourself travel the earth again
. . . you can do anything . . . you want.


look at that page, turning in the wind,
blowing back and forth again.
look at that page, waiting for words,
like a sky without leaves or birds.
. . . you can be anything you want . . .
. . . you can be anything you want . . .
just turn the next page, ride on a wind,
let yourself go - set forth again
. . . you can be anything . . . you want.

          - 12 oct 2003

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At Least For Now

copyright ©1986 Nathan A. Smith

well ya get up in the mornin, try to wash off a face
that ya put on in the evenin just ta keep ya in place
an it doesnt come off easy - its such a disgrace
ta find yourself believin that ya came from outerspace
an its so odd & its so strange the way things are arranged
nothin seems to change - at least for now

well the next thing comin at ya is a buzzin at the door
there's a man in shiny clothin that ya think ya seen before
an he's peddlin some religion that he payed for in a store
an its comin to ya quickly that ya dont want any war
so ya turn him away, sayin "sorry, not today"
with nothin more to say - at least for now

well you're watchin all the people walkin, talkin all the time
about the double trouble livin that they always seem to find
and ya wonder what the devil they got runnin through their minds
but ya always have been wonderin & it never paid a dime
so its back to your room where your propheteers of doom
are still pushin brooms - at least for now

now its back out in the streetlights with another can of beer
tucked beneath your jacket while the traffic makes it clear
that the winter wind is comin in to stay for the year
an ya need another blanket wrappin up all the fear
that ya saved in your hand like an empty ol beer can
an ya will not understand - at least for now

so ya run down to the corner an ya duck inside the bar
an ya order up a guiness & go lookin for a chair
and theres lotsa crowded bodies lookin for a chance to share
the prizes of the rotten fuckin games that they play there
an ya finished the glass, thinkin maybe its your last
but then ya forget all about the past - at least for now

well you're sickened & you're tired of all the bullshit goin down
theres some people with some answers & theres people underground
theres some people in the alley & theres people aint been found
an it seems like your the only one who hears the screamin sound
an its nighttime, my friend - & it doesnt seem to end -
that facemask is on again - at least for now

          - October 73

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Bad Dreams

copyright ©1996, ©2000 Nathan A. Smith

i woke up one night in a terrible dream, i couldnt find my way to the door.
i held my true love as close as i could and said i was in some kind of war.
and she gathered me into her arms
and wiped the sweat from my brow.
and, though that night was a long time ago,
i'm still in this dream, even now.

i dreamed i saw buses explode downtown and fires turn day into night.
i dreamed i saw huge buildings cave in and planes rip apart in midflight.
and everywhere it seemed there were those
who took credit - who did it for their god.
a madness had possessed them, they'd gone full berserk
and congratulated themselves on the job.

i dreamed i saw television crews leaning in with live video.
i dreamed i saw the faces of the ones who'd lost more than we could know.
and they were asked "just how do you feel?"
and "what was it like to watch them die?"
and what i really, really wanted to see
was them claw out that reporter's eye.

i dreamed i saw an advertising flood hit us with a hideous appetite.
in the TV & in the malls, like locust out for blood, it smothered up everything in sight
and no matter where you turned to get away
it'd get you all over again.
you'd either have to spend your whole life on the run
or else you'd have to give up and give in.

i dreamed i saw young children in the mines, working metals and working textiles.
they were bruised and swollen all around their eyes, but they still had time to find their smiles.
and the ones who'd made it all possible
were still asleep across the bay.
they'd made their beds with the blue chip stocks,
who'd said they'd look the other way.

i dreamed i saw corporations pick the words the rest of us are given for the news.
they'd made it all seem that others were to blame for anyone or anything they'd abused.
and even though you could see through it all
it didnt matter, whatever you tried -
they'd only have you killed by some cheap fool
and get it to look like suicide.

i dreamed i saw the juggernaut machine grinding down on the weak and the poor.
politicians were allowed to ride around on top while the money flowed through the trap door.
and some of them got off and tried to build a bridge
made of cardboard, down in the slime.
and their buddies up on top laughed down at them below
saying "forget it - you're wasting your time."

i dreamed i saw many mercenary guns killing civilians on company time
they wired up their prisoners and rode 'em to the dogs a-laughing as they taped each crime
they'd driven the madmen beyond out of mind
to a rage of a most hideous height
who payed them back in front of the whole world
with a death scream of darkest night

one time i dreamed there really was a god and there really was a heaven and a hell
and he really kept the books on every living soul and judged them according to his will.
then i could rest easier, knowing in my heart
what was gonna happen to them all!
yes, it must be nice to believe in all that -
to relax and wait for the ax to fall....

          - august 1996, december 2000

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The Ballad of the Sea Coach

copyright ©1986,©2003 Nathan A. Smith

'Twas on a full moon in November
When the restless night
Did stop one's flame to a dying ember
And one's courage to fright.
Chorus:
Hey! Hey! Diddle Eye Ay!
The Coach rolls on it's way.

Along the shoreline, sturdily striding,
Came three blacks and a bay,
Pulling driver and those riding
Past the pounding spray.
cho.

The coachman switched in concentration,
Alert and watching all,
And passengers, two, in trepidation,
Sat like dead men, tall.
cho.

The road it was in unkempt shambles,
As the drayman knew.
For it was slick and 'spersed with brambles,
Thick and thorned they grew.
cho.

And now it clambered up a thin ledge
To a dizzy height,
Where there it travelled close a tall edge
Scraped against the night.
cho.

Though first a slant, the cliff fell downward
to a jagged side.
And all it's faces, curving inward,
Fought the coming tide.
cho.

The coach came rocking down the highway
While ill winds did blow,
When then it plunged and fell away
And in the sea did go.
cho.

And on that night for years thereafter,
From that wall up high,
A whitened coach in evil laughter
Blazes through the sky.
cho.
          - maybe fall, 1963, revised July 31st, 2003

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The Ballad of Mike Duffy

copyright ©2005 Nathan A. Smith

D G D
come gather roun' my friends, there's a tale to you i'll tell
D A
'bout a guitar-strummin' man that you should all know well
D G D
he'd spin out all these yarns from his troubled dreamin'
D A D
and every single line had a dirty double meanin'

G D
now often it gets hard, to tell fact from fic...tion
A D
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
G D
no matter who you were, you could always play
A D
a couple of tunes at the Folk'n'A

now Mike got down to thinkin' 'bout sad ol' Worcester town
then he got a great idea - started spreadin' it aroun'
from one place to another and then to another and then some more
with local establishments sharin' space on the floor

it was gettin' pretty hard, to tell fact from fic...tion
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
no matter who you were, you could always play
a couple of tunes at the Folk'n'A

from rhode island to new hampshire an' out to the cape cod bay
people heard the growin' legend they called the Folk'n'A
they'd be gettin' their big heart on, right next to their sleeve
payin' nothin' to get in - 3 dollars to leave

everyday it gets harder, to tell fact from fic...tion
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
no matter who you were, you could always play
a couple of tunes at the Folk'n'A

so things were set in motion when tragedy struck
you never get the notion just when you've run out of luck
a visit with the doctors gave the Duffster a cold shiver
and the indians had to change his name to Spotted Liver

now it's hard and gettin' harder, to tell fact from fic...tion
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
no matter who you were, you could always say
"there goes the father of the Folk'n'A"

gettin' towards the End a few of us thought that he'd gone nuts
he'd be gettin' ready to go up on stage by starving out his guts
but Mike - he couldn't shrink away, he'd always raise his thumb....high
an' every time that he could play, he'd always come....by

it's almost the hardest, to tell fact from fic...tion
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
no matter who you were, you could always play
a couple of tunes at the Folk'n'A

everybody was a-hopin' the doctors'd got it all wrong
but tuning your guitar still counts as one song
an' danny boy's forbidden, along with about anoth'r seven
but here's hopin' Duffy's playin' on the stairway to heaven

now it's certainly the hardest, to tell fact from fic...tion
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
no matter who you are, you could always play
a couple of tunes at the Folk'n'A

well, lately these days seem like bare winter trees
only to spring back to life with gatherings like these!
so bump into our camouflage!, returning every year -
you can bet your badminton racket - we'll always be here!

now it's forever the hardest, to tell fact from fic...tion
but Mike was always careful, careful with his dic...tion
no matter who you are, y'can STILL always play
a couple of tunes at the Folk'n'A

          - december 12th, 2005
          - 2 verses added for Duffy III march 22nd 2008

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The Beachcomber

copyright ©2010 Nathan A. Smith

piccolo banjo D, a different slow caribbeanish rhythm

i been walkin along these beaches, D G
i been driftin through the sand. G D
dont know how far it reaches, D A
dont know where i stand. A D
i been checkin every direction D G
for a hint of anyone's voice, G D
but on closer circumspection D A
i'm all alone with my choice... A D

chorus:          and i'm longin to be watchin again G
                    the sunset on the sea-ee-ee-ee G D
                    with the echoes of the seagulls D A
                    and my baby next to me. A D

i'm not lookin for some beauty,
no precious stone i'm thinkin of -
not some diamond nor some ruby -
i'm just lookin for some love.
i'm just lookin for somethin easy,
nothin tangled up in fishin line -
no rockin boat that'd make me queasy,
just the gentle waves of time.

                    chorus

i've been wadin through these tombstones.
i've been studyin every word
written down on just these few bones
in the shiftin sand, interred.
bendin closer, in a low stance,
a salty water is in my eyes
and i'm swept away in the romance
as i look up into the skies.

                    chorus

well, i'm still gettin up in the mornin
just to endure another day.
guess i sure got a lot of warnin
things were gonna go this way.
and now there's no time to thank her,
i just cant get up to any speed.
i've been chained down to an anchor
in this risin tide of greed.

                    chorus

                    - December 5th-6th, 2010

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Behind The Red Door

copyright ©2011 Nathan A. Smith
3/4 time ala' Henry Martin

Am G Am
it all got started near the end of the war
C G C
i's just five years old and my brother just four
C G Am
we were stayin' in that old house in upstate New York
F G Am
with a weathervane in the shape of a big flyin' stork
Dm F
on the first day there as we looked everywhere
C G E
my brother and i found some steep attic stairs
Am C D F
we broke into the garret on the very top floor
Am G Am
when a red mouse ran out from behind a red door


on the next day we opened the red door again
and out rolled some farm eggs with a cluckin' red hen
after two more days we didn't know what to expect
when out rolled a blind doll, its red eyes all pecked
by now we'd decided this would be our little game
we'd never tell our folks, it would never be the same
no matter how many times it'd happened before
there was always somethin' new behind the red door


the next time we dared to go back up those stairs
out from the door waltzed twelve teddy bears
our red badge of courage took weeks to come back
but this time there was only a pink Cadillac
so in not very long we were back up in the room
openin' the door an' peerin' through the gloom
ah - we couldn't see nothin' - but we heard a big roar
it seemed like the ocean was behind the red door


now the years have flown by and i still cant explain
that strange old house with the stork weathervane
but if i get a chance to climb back up those stairs
you can betcha i'll be ready, you wont catch me unawares
whether it's lions or tigers or Richard Milhaus Nixon
or the millions of broken sad souls that need fixin'
i'm just hopin' that this time, like never before
it'll be somethin' like Whirled Peas behind the red door

                                        - June 6th, 2011

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The Blade of Day

copyright ©1997 Nathan A. Smith

dawn upon the lake
the fog begins to break
on the surface of glass
a ripple goes past
where . . . did you go?
where . . . did you go?

fractal trees reflect below
melting teardrops of snow
falling and rising, they embrace
the way the blind read a face
where . . . did you go?
where . . . did you go?

it's near the end of dawn
the snow is almost gone
now the blade of day
will carve the rest away
where . . . did you go?
where . . . did you go?

dawn upon the lake
the blade begins to break
the surface of the sky
and then it dazzles by
where . . . did you go?
where . . . did you go?

022102 022120 x2
.02200 022120 x2
.22440 .02200 022120 x2

          - october 13th, 1997,- april 8th, 2000

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A Brand New Start

copyright ©2014 Nathan A. Smith
Eb, capo 3, C chord family

i remember back in high school days with my very good friends
we swore to each other in every way that our gang would never end
but then it was off to colleges & it all came apart
each of us, in our own way, would have to make a new start
the knots that held us together came undone before our eyes
we didn't want 'em to unravel, but our hands were paralyzed
& the truth was like a marlin spike, pushin' hard into each knot
& we'd all had to go find a way to make a brand new start

chorus:
brand new start - from a force that's deep within you
brand new start - a mortal curse of bone & sinew
brand new start - swept along as the tide comes in - you need
...to hang on close to your heart
...when you make a brand new start

soon new friends in my dorm rooms smoked my old worldview away
& soon enough we'd sworn together we'd always truly stay
but it was like a polar ice cap, slowly crackin' apart
& once again each one of us broke away with a new start
now me, i fled out to the east coast, wonderin' how i could fall asleep
with a whole new gang of friends to submerge my guilt so deep
into the distant watery past & i thought i was bein' smart
but it was just a foolish dream foreboding another brand new start

chorus

so i waded way up into the interior & found me a brand new crowd
they'd welcomed me in right away enough & let me sing out loud
but for me it was another well-staged crew actin' out their part
in this drama to set me on my way to another new start
so now i got even newer crews to keep me keepin' on
it seems i'm never payin' dues until the trade wind's gone
& i'm tired & i'm lonely & i lost all my maps & charts
& i just about had it up to here with all these brand new starts

chorus

                    - January 1st-9th, 2014

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Broken Glass

copyright ©2009 Nathan A. smith
capo on 5, key is F, play C family

well, i been sittin right here, i been sippin on this beer      C    G
and it's a-a-a-all so goddamn hot             F G C
there's a bunch of sumac pushin up through the cracks      C    G
of this o-o-o-old abandoned lot             F G C
and in the welcoming shade of these scraggly trees      Am    Em
with my elbows perched up on my knees      F    G
i'm lucky just to witness these summer days pass      F G C
i can see across the way through the burnin day          C    G
where the traffic's been brought down to a crawl      F G C
and right in fronta me whatever used ta be      C    G
no longer has anything left of a wall         F G C
there's someone's initials in a faded heart      Am    Em
on some old floor tiles, all cracked apart      F    G
and everything inside - everything inside -      F G F G
everything's covered with broken glass      F G Fmaj7/9    C

i've been studyin the roots of these sumac shoots
all amazingly wrapped up in torn paper shreds
there's this dead raccoon, maybe been dead since last June
either from rabies or from tire treds
beyond this pigeon peckin on what he's still thinkin are seeds
while i'm hunkered down here, hidden in the weeds
and the glorious tangles of all this twisted grass
in another minute & a half i might let out another laugh
in this live-long day that's been so crazily jive
i got my beer in the shade, i must think i almost got it made
in this world so completely unfazed & alive
with those initials drawn in that heart
on those old floor tiles, all cracked apart
and everything inside - everything inside -
everything's covered with broken glass

instrumental

behind me the garage makes a backdrop mirage
but it's just the hot air above the hot black tar
i'm finally all out of panic as i wait for the mechanic
to get started on the repairs to the front of my car
but even yesterday i had no way to relax -
my nerves were still jumpin' all over their tracks
ever since that headlight instant i thought was my last
it was back on that night, speedin home despite
the wipers fighting off a torrential downpour
my eyes caught the deer too late to get clear
as my foot slammed the brake pedal down to the floor
and the poor creature froze in mid-leap, stopping my heart
and now the windshield's all bloody & cracked apart
and everything inside - everything inside -
everything's covered with broken glass

          - apr14 2009

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Calamity Jane

copyright ©1973 Nathan A. Smith

D G
Goin down the road to see my gal
D A7
Goin down the road to see my gal
D G
Its a bright sunny road and I'm carryin a load
D A7 D
Of daffodils an posies for my gal

chorus:
G D
Calamity Jane, Calamity Jane
A D
Carryin guns, carryin fame
G D
Calamity Jane, Calamity Jane
D A D
Oh if I could spend my life with C'lamity Jane

The dust hangs around my tired feet
The dust is all aroun my tired feet
An just around the bend where the tumbleweeds end
Is Deadwood - the town where we will meet

chorus
Oh if I could spend a year with C'lamity Jane

They say that she's the fastest one
They all say that she's the fastest one
If ya throw a dozen cans in the air with your hands
She's gonna get 'em all with with her guns

chorus
Oh if I could spend a week with C'lamity Jane

There's some posters on the wall, dead or alive
They're hangin on the wall, dead or alive
An while they're still loose its time to string up the noose
Cawz she's gonna bring 'em all back alive

chorus
Oh if I could spend a day with C'lamity Jane

It's just another bend to the town
It's just another bend on into town
In the saloon with a beer, piano plinkin in my ear
Then its crost the street to buy a weddin gown

chorus
Oh if I could spend a night with C'lamity Jane
...(maybe she'd let me buy her a drink?)

          - fall 1973

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Cant Buy Into It

copyright ©2007 Nathan A. Smith

from the day ya been born they're already on your case G C G
shovin' all this strange, crazy stuff up in your face G Em AmD
they're promisin' a great future, 2 cars & a swimmin' pool G C G
an' they're sayin' if ya dont wannit, yer just a goddamn fool! G D G
they're sayin' come on now, kid, go grab all ya can get C G
it's the american way - there's no denyin' you yet D G
but deep in my heart i dont think that i'll ever fit C G Em
an' i'm afraid there's no way i'm gonna buy into it D D C G

now, some of these amenities - i guess they might be nice
investin' in the future? i'm still thinkin', maybe twice
an' maybe it's alright if ya wanna go & play their game
but for now, i'm sorry, i just dont feel the same
they're sayin' come on now, kid, go grab all ya can get
it's the american way - there's no denyin' you yet
but deep in my heart i know that i dont fit
an' i know there's no way i'm gonna buy into it

everywhere ya go they're flauntin' faces of success Bm C G
an' never lettin' on how the world's in such a mess Am C D
lookit all those happy people pushin', fightin' to be first Bm C G
but for every single one of them, a million more are cursed Em AmAD

well, i know i'm not the only one who thinks they dont belong
there's others on the sidelines who refuse to play along
we're tryin to be real careful, we're t r yin to t a k e i t s l o w
cuz we know they dont like us & why they'll never know
they're sayin' come on now, friends, go grab all ya can get
it's the american way - there's no denyin' you yet
but deep in our hearts we just know that we dont fit
an' now we know there's no way we're gonna buy into it

now, these minutes slip away - comin' up on 4 so far
blowin' on my harmonica & strummin' on my guitar
an' every once in a while, when i think it might sound good,
i'll try to stick in this thing i think i heard out in the woods
now you're sayin' COME ON NOW, KID - that's just a pickin' bit
we've all heard how well it plays - we're startin' to get sick of it
but deep in my heart i'm still sure that it'll fit
even though i know ya might never buy into it

          - july-august, 2007

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The Captain's Finger

copyright ©2011 Nathan A. Smith

capo on 2, key is A, play G family

                   G        C        G        C        G        C       G

with my guitar all waxed beneath me & my dark glasses on
          GC ibid. (as above)
i was surfin' down the avenue when i saw all my ol' friends Jo(h)n
          C7                               C7
i was jugglin' all my flatpicks, doin' a real good job
          GC ibid. (as above)
formin' lyrics in midair, when i saw all my ol' friends Bob
         D                              C          D
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r ya doin' today?
          C7                               D7           G
they gave me high fives & said they's doin' okay


i was a-slippin' an' a-slidin' up & down the fingerboard
doin' handstands on the tuning pegs & saw my ol' friend George
i was dancin' 'round the soundhole with one hand wavin' free
silhouetted by the microphone, & saw my ol' friend Lee
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r ya doin' today?
they gave me high fives & said they's doin' okay

bridge:
         F                              C

now listen up, folks, you've got to understand
          E7                     A7           D7
sometimes that's all ya need from your good ol' friends


i was swingin' my guitar strap in a loop around my head
when, stompin' along behind me, comes my ol' friend Ed
i was tanglin' up in blue, my strings in a gordian knot
when, there to help me out, was my ol' friend Scott
i said hey, hey guys, now how' ya doin' today?
they gave me high fives & said they's doin' okay


i was whistlin' through my nose, somethin' simple, somethin' plain
when, joinin' me in harmony, was my ol' friend Jane
i was twirlin' all my banjos - now listen up here, will ya? -
when, strummin' along in time, comes my ol' friend Aurelia
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r ya doin' today?
they each gave me LOW fives & said they's doin' okay

bridge

i got shot way up into the stratosphere, no place for a coward
an' came back down from the brink with my ol' friend, Howard
i was still doin' really well, i was still keepin' calm
when i nearly got stabbed in the eye by my ol' friend Tom
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r ya doin' today?
they gave me high fives & said they's doin' okay


i was watchin' for the undertow, didn't wanna end up in drag & barren
but keepin' the curl outta the chords were my ol' friends, Tag & Karen
the foam was risin' up ev'rywhere, you had to be an artful dodger
when swingin' round the world again were my ol' friends Lee & Rodger
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r yall doin' today?
they all gave me high fives & said they's all doin' okay

bridge

now wouldncha know it, jus' when i nearly hit the sand
there's Two For The Show, holdin' out a helpin' hand
by now i was hoping the tide would start to ebb
but with a steady composure come along Peter & Deb
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r ya doin' today?
they gave me high fives & said they's doin' okay


i kept huntin' for the shoreline so i could figure out my way
when there's my ol' friend, Mr. Rick Beausoleil
i was in a giant maelstrom & things were getting wild
was that another ol' friend - maybe Daisy Flowerchild?
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r ya doin' today?
they gave me high fives & said they's doin' okay

bridge

i was hangin' ten harmonicas, lookin' really super
when next come my ol' friends, Kenneally & Cooper
i was shootin' for the pipe, tryin' like hell ta fill the keyhole
when a light appeared inside me - it's my ol' friend, Bill Kehoe!
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r yall doin' today?
they all gave me high fives & said they's all doin' okay


i was heading for disaster, a feckless forlorn feller
when suddenly i found myself in Jeff Root's Cellar
i was ducking through the pier pilings and feelin really lucky
because right along beside me was Lucander and Ruckey
i said hey, hey guys, now how'r yall doin' today?
they all gave me high fives & said they's all doin' okay

bridge

i was tubin' down the barrel, carvin' up the park inta smallah
pieces, when to help me was my NEW friends, Marc & Paula
by then my kazoos were blazin' up the aeolian scale
in a 7-part fugue, when i saw my ol' friend Gayle
i called out hey Captain, Captain, how'r ya doin' today?
SHE GAVE ME THE FINGER!! an' dragged me off the stage!

optional last bridge:
Oh, finally!, at last! - now - don't get me wrong
Sometimes that's what ya need when the song's too long
(...an' i been on the song too long)

                    - May 2011 & November 2012

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Chai Ling

copyright ©1989 Nathan A. Smith

Its business as usual down on Tiananmen Square
But if you look closely the blood is still there.
The tread of the tank, the empty cartridge shell,
The shred of a headband - the people know it well.
Chai Ling - where can you go?
Chai Ling - i guess you already know
They'd track you down....

You and your friends must hide in the night
While the whole world still glows in your light.
And back on the square, as you crouch behind a door,
The Goddess of Freedom burns brighter than before.
Chai Ling - where did you go?
Chai Ling - i guess you already know
They'd hunt you down....

Why did the old ones close shut their eyes?
Why did they think you were a threat to their lives?
The chance of a millenium - if they only knew -
In order to keep it, they only had to give it to you.
Chai Ling - where can you go?
Chai Ling - i guess you already know
They'd shoot you down....

Meanwhile, over here in the big United States
They still cannot deal with what's really at stake
Instead they'd rather keep big businees in Beijing
And waste time on little stuff, like burning flags and kings
Chai Ling - so where can you go?
Chai Ling - I guess you already know
They's track you down

Its business as usual down on Tiananmen Square
But if you look closely the blood is still there.
The tread of the tank, the empty cartridge shell,
The shred of a headband - the streets know it well.
Chai Ling - so where can you go?
Chai Ling - i guess you already know
They'd shoot you down....

          - 12-Jul-89

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Charlie's Camp Fire Rag

copyright © 2009 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2, ragtime version in G with B7,E7,A7,D7,Em,Am,C,D,Bm

It was back in the Roarin' Twenties, down in ol' Woods Hole on Buzzard's Bay
That the new University Players were looking for a fun place to play
So their good friend, Charlie, he jumped up and said his Camp would be just about right
For rehearsing their parts in the theatre and for partying all through the night

So upstairs in the big vaulted chamber they'd practiced and gave each other cheers
Below the tall cathedral rafters and three wraught iron chandeliers
And a great carved painting of an Old Ancient Ship, in command above the fireplace
While the air from the beach outside the windows would gently touch on each face

And each tide would return and each fisherman set sail
And each Player would take another bow
And Charlie's Camp would be overgrown with many a forgotten tale
But they would not be forgotten now . . . no, not now

There was Margaret Sullavan and Henry Fonda and even that old bub, Jimmy Stewart, too
Josh Logan & Steve Smith & all those University Players dreaming up all those wild & crazy things to do
They'd be talkin & jokin & drinkin & smokin through many a season's night at the cusp of their careers
But then a silence came over Charlie's Camp, lasting for many a year

...(instrumental)...

Laying low until the Lately Eighties, Charlie's Camp would come back into bloom
Hosting Women's Club teas & chamber concerts - taking place in the big vaulted room
Embracing the community of the sciences & arts, the new Painters would canvas around
And all those wild & crazy parties, once again, were the talk of the town

And each tide would return and each scientist set sail
And each Painter would take another bow
And Charlie's Camp was overgrown again with many a forgotten tale
But they would not be forgotten now . . . no, not now

Then one windy day in the dread of winter, an empty bedroom fire began
Well, it must have started out rather slowly, but soon'd gotten way out of hand
The two cable guys had rescued Dear Old Mom and led her out from the top of the stair
And the firefighters had the whole place surrounded with those long hoses going everywhere

The fire came roaring out into the vaulted room, exploding down its vaulted length
And, as quick as the blink of a marine biologist's eye, it was seething with a lethal strength
And then, by the end of the next smokey minute, it was clear as day to everyone
That Charlie's Camp would have to close its curtain and the end of the party had come

And the tides would return and the Old Ancient Painted Ship set sail
And Charlie's Camp would take a final bow
Burned down to its foundation with many a forgotten tale
But they would not be forgotten now . . . no, not now

          - February 12-19, 2009

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Children of the World

copyright © 2008 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2, steady

D G D
We are walking on, down the long highway
D D Em A
We are walking on, hand in hand
D G D
We are going your way - we are going my way
D Em A D
It's the same way, across the land

chorus:
D G D Bm
For the peaceful who've been patient
G F#m Em A
For the gentle and kind who always care
G D Bm
For the poor and sick at our doorstep
G Em A D
For the Children of the World, everywhere


May these long wintry years turn to summer
May these long wintry fears finally end
May these troubles we've had with one another
Be crumbled into dust upon the wind
chorus

May those old hungry men lose their powers
May those too vicious and too cruel be locked away
May those kings of greed up in their towers
Never see, again, the light of day
chorus
          - December 6th, 2008

May the curves in the road bring us promise
May the curves in the road safely turn
May the miles yet to come find us honest
May they find us sharing everything we learn
chorus
          - January 25th, 2009

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Cold, Cold Beer

copyright ©2005 Nathan A. Smith
instrumental lead in

G G
woke up this mornin' - it's already too hot
G G
there's work on the outside, but i'd rather not
C/g C7
the lawn needs mowin', it's gettin' up to my ear
G G
but i'd rather stay inside, i'd rather have a beer
D D
sittin' in the kitchen watchin' the day unfold
C C7 G
with my hand wrapped around......somethin' cold
          Bb on 6th C on 8th
jus' gimme a beer, jus' gimme a beer
          Eb F G
jus' gimme a cold, cold, cold...beer!

now take a look at that guy up across the street
he's spreadin' out blacktop in this awful heat
now roofin' is torture - at least that's what i hear
i betcha that guy would rather have a beer
jus' look at all that sticky gooey stuff unroll
smearin' the whole roof......in molten coal
lets give him a beer, lets give him a beer
lets give him a cold, cold...beer!

now take a lookit them penguins in that travelin' zoo
all decked out in blacktie - dressed up just for you
and the water they's swimmin' in...is warmer than spit
all them people a-watchin' 'em - yunno, they dont give a shit
them penguins're sufferin' in misery untold
betcha they's wishin' they was back......in the arctic cold
lets give 'em all beer, lets give 'em all beer
lets give 'em all cold, cold...beer!
(an' maybe a slice of pizza, too)

well, me & my buddies, we're out on the town
with a friend who wants action, wants to get it on down
we take him to this bar where all the girls hang out
but his goggles aint workin' yet - he's still got some doubt
he keeps on mumblin' he's just not all that sure
and we're eggin' him on sayin'......"whatcha waitin for? -
you need another beer, you need another beer
you need another cold, cold...beer!
(c'mon - she's lookin' cute...)"

bluesy instrumental

well, the sun's been long gone, but it's still way too hot
it should be time for sleepin', but yunno i'd rather not
them mosquitos keep on hummin', right up against my ear
but i'd rather stay outside, i'd rather have another beer
sittin' on the backsteps watchin' the night unfold
with my hand wrapped around......somethin' cold
so give me a beer, c'mon, give me a beer
give me a cold, cold...beer!
yeah - give me a beer, c'mon give me a beer
give me a cold, cold...beer!

          - july 2005, october 2009

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Come With Somebody Else

copyright ©1974 Nathan A. Smith

I been sittin right here in the airport station
C
With my hip pocket bottle of gin
G C
Now somewhere's ago I didnt need the attention
C
Of the presence of mind that I'm in
G C
After travelin across the whole damn country
F
It seemed like you'd never been gone
Fm
But now I'm sittin in this airport station
C
And it seems like it's been too long
G C

chorus:
Oh baby - when are you gonna come -
Dm C G
Is your plane gonna fly or is it only gonna run
F G
Oh baby - be extra good to yourself -
Dm C G
Somethin tells me it'd be a lot better
C
If you came with somebody else
G C

It was years ago, I remember very clearly
That you told me you were going away
You said that your head needed clean fresh weather
And your mother had asked you to stay
Now I'm sure to myself she's a very fine woman
And you said you'd be comin back soon
So I said that I thought it was damn good idea
And picked up your bags from the room

chorus

Well after you'd gone I returned very slowly
And stood in the front of my door
I's just about to open it an go inside
When I asked myself "What the hell for?"
Went to a bar an started on some drinkin
And decided that I'd been had
But now I suppose I'm better off rememberin
The good times instead of the bad

chorus

Well some time later on in came your letter
Sayin that it's gonna be long time
But little did you know that you didnt have to tell me
'Cause I'd already made up my mind
I was in tune with a new bunch of poeple
And your note was just an old song
So I hope you understand when your plane gets in
And dont get the whole thing wrong

chorus

         - july 20th, 1974

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Covered In Cats          

- copyright © 2010 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2, jugband style

C7 Fmaj7 C7
Our life used to be      like a dull gray sort of a day
C7 Fmaj7 C7
As if, through it all, we were trying to snore it all away
F Ab
But who could have thought the changes that were wraught
C7 3 - 2 - 1 - A7
Upon us when we took up with some cats
D7 G7 C7
The day we took up with some cats

chorus:
     F Ab
     They dont like to share, they dont like to play fair
     C7 3 - 2 - 1 - A7
     They'd hiss and growl and get into spats
     D7 G7
     But after we's asleep, by dawn's early creep
     xx1212 xx0101 C7
     We'll always be covered in cats


The first came to the door, then another was waiting bye & bye
And then in came a few more, giving us the pitiful cat's eye
To take them inside, where they'd run off and hide
And soon the whole place was crawling with cats
Yeah, soon it was crawling with cats
chorus as above
bridge: Ab Bon7
           And it's out to the store for more bags of food
           Ab F
           And it's out to the store for a ton of litter
           Ab Bon7
           Then it's back to the house to feed the meowing brood
           xx8989-7878-6767-5656-4545-3434-2323-1212 . . . xx0101
           And, of course, to clean up the old litter . . . boxes


We felt like poor fools, we needed to find another way,
Get a new set of rules, and a promise to keep things at bay
We took 'em to the vet - ending their ability to beget
'Cause the world already makes enough cats
The world is making enough cats
chorus with:
     And by our own volition, after years of natural attrition
     We'd reached a saner level of furry stats
     Still, after we's asleep, by dawn's early creep
     We'll always be covered in cats
                    - March 20-23, 2010

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Craneal Activity          

copyright ©2003 Nathan A. Smith

your phone call began ringin' at a very bad moment
i'd been thrown out in the street from a horrible crash
still i got to the cell phone and quickly flipped it open
you were cryin' out "Please! - baby, come home fast!"
the medics strapped me down in a stretcher straightjacket
and plugged up my face with a big plastic tube
the firetrucks were makin' such a terrible racket
but all i could think about was gettin' back to you

so, no, i cant be takin' the next jet plane
and, no, i cant be takin' a real fast train
i gotta put forward my best foot
as forward as it can be put
woncha please jus' gimme a chance to explain

they loaded me in the EMV, all cylinders a-firin'
an' pulled out into traffic over ten lanes strong
they turned on their flashers an' they turned on their siren
but my undamaged eye could tell somethin' was wrong
the overpass was stuffed with the rush hour mayhem
we tried to sweep around it with a twist of the wheel
if you had any prayers, it was time to say them!
as we sideswiped the railin' in a shriekin' of steel

so, no, i cant be takin' the next jet plane
an', no, i cant be takin' a real fast train
i gotta put forward my best foot
as forward as it can be put
wait - there's more - jus' lemme explain

we were leanin' way out over the smog of the city
my heart was sinkin' to the bones in my toes
the construction site below didnt look all that pretty
as i noticed a cement truck fillin' up some holes
just then the doors blew off an' then my guerney
went rollin' on out into the thinest of midair
it looked like my life would be a real short journey
but i landed feet first right up over my hair

so, no, i cant be takin' the next jet plane
an', no, i cant be takin' a real fast train
i gotta put forward my best foot
as forward as it can be put
wait - there's still more - jus' lemme explain

the tube in my mouth let me keep right on breathin'
but i couldnt make a move an' i couldnt wiggle around
the seconds ticked by, there was only my wheezin'
as the fresh cement began to set in the ground
after awhile i's feelin' forlorn an' forgotten
but suddenly the mud was shakin' all around me
they were pullin' out the pylon & bustin' off the bottom
i finally got a good leg out to kick free

so, no, i cant be takin' the next jet plane
an', no, i cant be takin' a real fast train
i gotta put forward my best foot
as forward as it can be put
gotta get my good leg up over the hook
cuz believe it or not - i'm comin' home on a crane

         - 4 October 2003

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The Elevator Man

- copyright©2006 Nathan A. Smith
3/4 time Dharp

A A
i'm headin' out tonight to another open mike
A E
and, boys, i'm feelin' so down
E E
but i come through the door & just like before
E A
he's helpin' Skip with the sound
A A
well, he aint quite the quicker of all of these pickers
A D
we've seen come & go, day to day
D A
no, he aint no magician, just a simple technician
E A
with a simple......direct way to play
Chorus:
D A
an' no matter how low your spirits'll go
E A
A7 he'll get 'em ...GOIN' UP ...again
D A
an' if you've got the blues, well, here's the good news
E F F# G Ab A
you can listen................to the Elevator Man

he's got tales of grandchildren, of troubles & misfortune
an' heroes who layed down their arms
and just when our ears get us spillin' out tears
he sheepishly smiles with his charm
he's got tales of love lost at a terrifyin' cost
an' of bottles lyin' empty in the dirt
an' tales of gymnastical open mike acts that'll
make us all laugh 'til it hurts
Cho.
excellent Dave Gaudet-ish guitar or Dharp solo goes in here

so it's back out tonight to another open mike
an', boys, this time i aint so down
gonna come through the door & just like before
he'll be helpin' Skip with the sound
he aint quite the quicker of the pick of these pickers
we've seen come & go, day t' day
no, he aint no magician, just a simple technician
no, he aint no Jeff Beck, just an elevator tech
no Lost Planet Airman, just a modest repairman
with a simple......direct way to play
Cho.
          - October 9-17, 2006

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Everything On The Outside

- copyright©2010 Nathan A. Smith
Capo on 5, C chord family real key is F, fingerpick it, "eah" is pronounced like in yeah, not yah or yay

instrumental chorus part lead in

C                                      Em

Everything on the outside is all quiet
C                                      Em
Everything on the outside is all still
C                                       Em
There aint no use in tryin to deny it
F                                 G
We all got here of our own free will...but

chorus:
F                                 C

Right now I'm feelin pretty good
F                                 C
Right now I'm feelin okay
F                           C   Em   Am
Right now I'm feelin - eah . . . no,
F                      G           Asus2
Why'd . . . she hafta go away?
F                      G           Asus2
Why'd . . . she hafta go away?

I've got this beautiful thing in my banjo case
I've got this beautiful, amazing, happy, smiling mask
I've got this beautiful thing that hides my face
If you wanna know any more, feel free to ask...but

chorus

So, let's drink up in here! - let's have a helluva party!
An dontcha be worryin a thing about me
I'll be laughin & jokin & lookin hale & hearty
Keep movin along now, there's nothin here to see...&

chorus

{instrumental}


Everything on the outside is all quiet
Everything on the outside is all still
There aint no use in tryin to deny it
We're all here of our own free will...&

chorus

                      - December 24-25, 2010

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The Eye of the Storm

copyright ©2006 Nathan A. Smith

drop D
054030 x03210
there is a lady of the highest degree,
x32010 000230
whose truth we'll never know.
054030 x03210
she has the smile could set us all free,
x32010 000230
whenever these hurricanes blow.
55500x 3330xx
we've forgotten the way we all came to be,
222000 202220
and we've fallen far too low.
054030 xo3210
now dont you go running to set her free -
x32010 000230
we've already let her go.

chorus:
oo3210 005430 054030
fragile in shape and form
oo3210 005430 054030
keep her safe and warm
550000 202220
far from the distruction,
222000 202220
from the damage and distress -
oo3210 005430 054030 oo3210 005430 054030
keep her in the eye of the storm

we saw her disappear at the crest of the hill,
her shackles no where to be found.
our freedom torn away by winds too shrill,
the best of us'll wait here to drown.
the hammer of fear's come down on us all,
our compass lies smashed on the ground.
she goes to you now with her plaintive call -
we beg of you, dont let her down.

chorus

the empire's making landfall on all shores
with its dark evangelist rule.
a false insecurity inspires its wars -
at home, its bootheels are cruel.
and whoever speaks of the calm before
will be made out to be just a fool.
she's taken shelter behind your doors -
for now, you gotta play it cool.

chorus

there is a lady of the highest degree,
whose truth we'll never know.
she has the smile could set us all free,
whenever these hurricanes blow.
with the future around us uprooted like trees,
and these chains about to let go,
we're clinging on to the hope you can be
like a mountain against her foe.

chorus
         -january 2nd, 2006

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Famine

copyright ©1969 Nathan A.Smith

the famine is approaching
the seas of night are here
and the campfires can be seen for miles
and the sailors on the oceans
trade off each other's fear
and the gavels are wiped clean for the trials
and those who will survive
the loss of all control
will turn upon their fellow men
to eat each other's soul

when the pavement's frozen over
and the buildings rattle thin
and the vultures fly away from the bones
the ashes will be colder
as the stars begin to dim
and the poisoned earth decays in groans
and mobs of wolves and mobs of dogs
will terrorize the streets
and all across the blackened waste
the trails of blood will meet

so i'm not gonna move someplace
or shield myself in lead
the lucky ones will be ones who die
and do not think it out of taste
if i should want you dead
for in this time the slow ones fall aside
and you who are not ready now
you wont be spared again
but the pounding of the hungry drums
they'll take you with the wind

         - May 7th, 1969

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Flyin' Free

copyright ©1975 Nathan A. Smith

when the evenin rolls in
and the seagulls turn in
the touch of the wind on the bay
is so gentle, so kind,
a slow precious time
the trouble in my mind is washed away
and when surfing lines roll on each other
i wont find one without the other finding me
flyin' free

the tide's almost down
its on its last round
and now i have found an ocean smile
a dance in the trees
a laugh on the breeze
and i'm holding the keys for awhile
its like shedding off some winter cover
that's kept me hidden from the others over me
flyin' free

and although its useless to pretend
that human misery would ever end
i'll still complain
but for now i only want to sing
of the sky on the sea underwing
beyond the rain

so if you will stay
the rest of this day
and let me in the way of your heart
i'll run that tide through
i'll paint that sky blue
i'll stay beside you from the start
we'd be spreading our wings for each other
in perfect timing with each other we would be
flyin' free

         - June 75

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Friends Now

copyright ©1974 Nathan A. Smith

every natural thing i see blinds me with its mystery
to find right here on earth such a place beyond worth
i get older & on the way the road goes down & seems to say
its time to find another race & quit these games of math & space

you drew upon me in the night
on your own, like in a song
my stubborn gambling wasnt right
equation answers came out wrong

every natural place i've been is like some other kind of friend
that i dont have to see to know how he or she
is getting on at this time. voices rushing from my mind
revealing dreams kept below i'm too terrified to show

you never feared my silly face
as i - as i never questioned yours
an accidental star in deepest space
showed us how to change the doors

instrumental break

a bed unmade, a broken window shade
a natural loving in the night -
a morning walk, yes, a bit of talk
as the street awoke in light

every natural thing i do - maybe its all because of you
maybe its all in what you said . . . now i'm in some other bed
in some new town unknown, in some new time unknown
and who could really see who i really want to be....

you knew some things - i did too
you always laughed it all away
hey, now, whats going on with you?
i gotta know if you're okay

         - May 21st, 1974

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FTS

copyright © 2010 Nathan A. Smith
jazzy bluesy vamp ala' Donovan's Mellow Yellow with -7675- -6564- -7675- -6564- -7675- wiggle
e7    a7    e7    a7    lead in & fills between verses

                     e7                   a7
oh, Professor Scientist, come & save me
                  e7                 a7
Professor, come & help me cope
           e7                       a7
i'm distraught & i'm overloaded
                b7                           b7
Professor Scientist, gimme some hope
                  a7                    e7                  a7              e7
         every day i get buried under, broken down, bit by bit
                  a7                      e7               -2313- -3424- -4535- -5646- -6757-               e7    a7    fills....
         every day - so it's no wonder if i say     .         .         .         .        .     "fuck this shit"

gotta get me a clone to do my taxes
gotta get me a clone to pay the bills
gotta get me a clone to see my doctor
gotta get me a clone to eat these pills

         every day i'm gettin' buried under, breakin' down, bit by bit
         every day - so it's no wonder when i say . . . . . "fuck this shit"

gotta get me a clone to clean the curtains
gotta get me a clone to vacuum the rugs
gotta get me a clone to call my girlfriend
gotta get me a clone to do her drugs

         every day i'm gettin' buried under, beaten down, bit by bit
         every day - so it's no wonder when i say . . . . . "fuck this shit"

                                 a7
                  but now i'm startin' to get suspicious
                              e
                  seems alla my clones have dissappeared!
                                f#                              f#7
                  now i aint wishin' 'em nothin' vicious
                                g(3)     a(5) bb(6) b(7)
                  i aint wishin' 'em nothin' weird

         yeah, but if i find out they all been cheatin' . . . on me, yunno, you wont see me just sit
         instead i'll be givin 'em all a beatin' . . . shuttin' 'em down . . . . . fuck that shit

Professor Scientist, tell me if you can, sir!
wait a minute, now, please dont lie
yunno i need to know the truthful answer:
real or clone, now - which am i??

         so maybe i'm just a part of a bigger blunder! and that's why i'm still down here in this pit!
         glued together from pieces of genetic plunder - aaaaaaaww . . . . . fuck this shit

                                    - June 7th-November 11th, 2010

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A Ghost of Our Sorrow

copyright © 1987 Nathan A. Smith

Here comes the winter's end
Here comes an April wind
Here comes the time for us to try and do it all over again
Why do I hurt you so?
Why do I close my heart?
Why do I do the things I do that push us apart?

         We cant go on bringin pain
         Into the middle of our name
         And so today turns into tomorrow
         Come over here and try to hold on
         And I swear that when its gone
         It'll only be sorrow .....


Although the road is thin
We havent reached the end
And there is time for us to try and do it all over again
Why do you hurt me so?
Why do you close your heart?
Why do you do the things you do that push us apart?

         Instead we gotta hold each other tight
         We gotta hang on with all our might
         Until today turns into tomorrow
         Right now it has us in full force
         But I swear when it's run its course
         It'll just be our sorrow .....

....

         You know I gotta leave room for doubt
         Over how it all should come out
         Someday
         But it doesnt seem to clear
         That we should let it all end here
         - No - not this way


You know I do believe
That we are still in need
Of each other to make it, together, wherever our path will lead
Why do we hide away?
Why do we never say -?
We do we do the things we do to keep it that way?

         Its like a vault of solid rock
         That neither of us wants unlocked
         Until the day after tomorrow
         Its time to blast open the door
         And I swear that in its core
         Is just a ghost of our sorrow .....

.........

You know I love you still
You know I always will
You know I cannot believe we'd let ourselves leave it all standing still
Why do I hurt you so?
Why do I close my heart?
Why do I do the things I do that push us apart?
Why do you hurt me so?
Why do you close your heart?
Why do you do the things you do that push us apart?
Why do we hide away?
Why do we never say -?
We do we do the things we do to keep it that way?
You know I love you still
You know I always will
You know I cannot believe we'd let ourselves leave it all standing still

          25-Apr-87 Nathan A. Smith

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Goin' Down To The Wire

copyright ©2004 Nathan A. Smith

DADGBD 000120's inserted wherever you feel like it between lines
intro xxx9100, xxx560, xxx780 xx3333, xx2212,
666xxx-555xxx 333xxx 555 333 000 333 000 555 333etc
000xxx 000xxx 333xxx 000xxx 555xxx 333xxx 000xxx
666xxx-555xxx 333xxx 555xxx-333xxx stuff
with 550033 550033 line 3, 202202 202202 line 4 then back to the stuff


ya better pull over - feels like ya got a flat tire
your headlights are busted - looks like your engine's on fire
better pull out that map & admit that you're lost
somewhere back there the road signs got crossed
an' the thunder's crashin' & it's . . . goin' down to the wire
oh yeah, the thunder's crashin' & it's . . . goin' down to the wire

ya been drivin' all night now - ten years stuck in the mire
ya been hopin' this highway was gonna take you up higher
better get out & take a walk around the bend
maybe this road is just a dead end
an' the thunder's crashin' & it's . . . goin' down to the wire
oh yeah, the thunder's crashin' & it's . . . goin' down to the wire

bridge xxx9100, xxx780, xxx560, xx3333, xx2212...[000 000 333 000 555 333] stuff

         better find a way to make the best of this chance
         better find a way to break out of this trance
         everything you need is in your own . . two bare hands

start stuff here
continue repeating stuff


well, it's rainin' by the buckets, but your eyes are on fire
forget about that toolbox - you've got to open your desire
better make a move in a different direction
somethin' that'll let you make a connection
'cause the thunder's crashin' & it's . . . goin' down to the wire
oh yeah, the thunder's crashin' & it's . . . goin' down to the wire

         - august 9-11, 2004

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Gonna Get Blown Away

copyright ©2009 Nathan A. Smith
G blues more like Roadhouse Blues/use E blues capo on 3rd

G
well, i been standin right up in the mornin, guess i might as well be dustin my broom
G
it's the same ol ceilin, same ol paint peelin, same ol goddamn room
C G
it's the same ol deadly silence, same ol nothin left ta say
D C G
so i'm headin on back inta town, gonna get blown away


well, there's nothin wrong with this ol world - no, there's nothin wrong with you
there's nothin wrong & now that's the problem, what in the world am i gonna do?
gonna throw it all down in the gutter, no matter whatchyou say
then i'm headin on back inta town, gonna get blown away


well, they say yer mind is a terrible thing, to be wastin all of its time
tryin ta make ya behave, keep ya outta the grave - away from yo favorite crime
but it wont get in the last word, no - it aint gonna get in the last say
cuz i'm headin on back inta town, gonna get blown away


C7 C7 C7~ (Bb) G
well, these girls - they all angels - but they been treatin me way too nice
A A A A Bb C D................
an' these guys, they all way too friendly, they keep on givin me excellent advice

they keep on sayin "get a grip on yourself", but yunno i been doin that a little way too much
this house aint no lesson on the absence of the essence of a kind-hearted woman's touch
it's time ta get a mmmmove on, time ta rise up & say
i'll be headin on back inta town, gonna get blown away


...( instrumental solos here )...


well, i might be broke & i might be damned, butcha might wanna take out a bet
i'm gonna let the big cat . . . outta the cage, the stage has already been set
i'm jus waitin for the curtain & this is all i gotta say:
i'll be headin on back inta town, gonna -
i'll be headin on back inta town, gonna -
i'll be headin on back inta town - gonna get blown away

          - June 23-26, 2009

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Goodbye My Sweet Marie

copyright ©1972 Nathan A. Smith

goodbye my sweet marie goodbye
i've known this place too long
goodbye my sweet marie goodbye
everything here is wrong
the wind from the west has taken the best
of the ones who ever knew me
goodbye my sweet marie goodbye
goodbye my sweet marie

when all the ruined children change
their worlds they've never had
and turn to say we've gotten strange
and shouldnt feel so bad
and then turn back to their little toy track
that never sets them free
goodbye my sweet marie goodbye
goodbye my sweet marie

and now we see the darkened wind
that cannot stay in town
but go on before it begins
to unleash its breaking sound
and those who remain will have nothing to gain
just pieces of dying debris
goodbye my sweet marie goodbye
goodbye my sweet marie

and you, marie, you wait with some
of those who follow you
afraid to admit what you have become
you keep yourself from view
and watch for a hand that will understand
but none can come from me
goodbye my sweet marie goodbye
goodbye my sweet marie

          - April 1969

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Here On Red Apple Farm

copyright ©2006 Nathan A. Smith

D A
come all of you ladies & gentlemen, come listen up to this song
A D
i really wanna get it right, but i'll probably get it wrong
D G
i just cant wait any longer & someone here should tell
G D A D
of a Thanksgiving Harvest Fest that you should all know well
Chorus: G D
you can spend the whole day out in the country
G D A
fresh air will never do you harm
G A D Bm
yes, it's a mighty fine day in the country
OR it might be cold, but it's still nice in the country
Em A D
right here on Red Apple Farm

well, Mr. Rose - he's gotta be on his toes, he's a right nice friendly man
he's keepin it all together, he's doin' the best that he can
there's a whole lotta buncha people here, millin' all aroun'
goin' back & forth & in & out & up & down
Chorus with toe to toe & arm to arm line

they're a-checkin' out all these apples, from the front out to the back
from Roxbury Russet to Idared, all the way to Arkansas Black
from Winter Banana to Tompkins King, Mutzu & Northern Spy
an' they got more kinds of apples here jus' a-waitin' to meet your eye
you can spend the whole day out in the country
jus' fill up that basket on your arm
yes, there's a whole lot more goin' on than one tree
right here on Red Apple Farm

you can take a gander at some goats, you can surely see some sheep
you can sneak a peek at Popple's alpacas - but they never pack a peep
you can move your shoes to live music, you can even go on a hayride
an' there's all kinds of other things that you can do in or outside
chorus

there's turkey legs & cheeses & breads & Woody's apple pies
there's Lynn's herbs & Niemi's honey & cuttin' boards in every size
there's homemade dolls & syrup & fudge & christmas trees & myrrh
Nadine's bouquets & Rachel's wreaths & Doctor Gonzo's cures
chorus

now, later on when ya jus' caint go on, come drop down by the fire
an' maybe you'll want to sing along or pile the logs on higher
an' even though the sun's gettin' low, an' its gettin' on towards the night
we'll pick'n'grin from the circle within that smokey fire's light
chorus

so i hope you listened up to this song & you listened up to it well
it's a Thanksgiving Harvest Fest, a secret we all should tell
our thanks go out to Al & Nancy & the whole Rose family
we get so much to taste & touch & smell & hear & see
chorus
         - August 26th, 2006

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Hey, Blue Skies

copyright ©2008 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2,3 or 4, fingerpick, mandolin, play C family chords
C
hey, Blue Skies, you pretty little thing
Fmaj7 C
you're makin' my heart wanna dance & sing
G C
ev'ry time i catch you smile
C
my little love, you're so good to me
Fmaj7 C
you're makin' it nice, as nice as can be
G C
i'm hopin' it'll last a long, long while
Em
but you know somewheres underneath
Am
that things aint goin' so good
Em F G Am
i gotta be as dumb as a post
Em
an if i dont figure it out
Am
soon like i know i should
F G G7...G7....G7....
our love'll fade away like a ghost
C
Cloudy Skies, donchya wonder why
Fmaj7 C
i'm always crawlin' off somewheres t' die
G C
ev'ry time i make you cry?


now hey, Blue Skies, yunno i love ya so
you're makin' me feel --- you're makin' me know
how sweet 'n' lucky this life can be
my little love, you're workin' so hard
you're workin' so hard in your own frontyard
makin' it easy, so easy for me
but you know somewheres underneath
that things aint goin' so good
i gotta be as dumb as a post
an' if i dont figure it out
soon like i know i should
our love'll fade away like a ghost
Cloudy Skies, donchya wonder why
i'm always crawlin' off somewheres t' die
ev'ry time i make you cry?

         mandolin break

Rainin' Skies --- baby, please dont go
the time will come...an' then i'll know
jus' what i need to win back your hand
now, my little love, you know me so well
you know i've fallen down a wishin' well
wishin' i could climb back out on land
sure, ya might be thinkin' underneath
that things'll never be good
butcha know i aint as dumb as that post
i'm gonna figure it out
soon like i know i could
an' then we can chase away that ghost
hey, Blue Skies, you pretty little thing
you're makin' my heart wanna dance & sing
ev'ry time i catch you smile

intrumental out, C6
         -july 6-10, 2008

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Hey - You Should Know

copyright ©1998 Nathan A. Smith

Am (edcba) D
hey - you should know better than that
Am (edcba) D
reliving those lies is not where it's at
Am (edcba) D
sometimes i think you should rip it apart,
Am (edcba) D
level the ground and make a new start
F C G Em
yesterday the sun came up on the garbage in the street
F C
and just today it went back down in a
G D Am
wounded, blistering heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat...
(edcba) D
a sinking rat

hey - you should know your market'll crash
your credit card's no good - and neither is your cash
sometimes i think you should get out of the past
i know that you know, in the long run, nothing will last
in the big slabs of steel and stone, keeping the owners high
above the rest of the world in a hurry to buy and buy
... nothing but trash

hey - you should know there's no one to blame
they could point all they want, but it's not the same
sometimes i think you should drive them insane
if you give 'em enough rope, you're gonna have to explain
they dont care about the truth, they dont care who gets hurt
all they ever want to do is to drag you down in the dirt
... and spit on your name

hey - you should know there's nothing to prove
you could wait right there or you could make your move
sometimes i think you should quit paying dues
you've done it enough times- you dont need the blues
there's a future up ahead for you - go ahead and see
but if you never get up and try, it'll never be free
... ya got nothing to lose

hey - you should know i'm right at your door
together, it's better and stronger and maybe it's more
sometimes i think you should let your river flow
if you bottle it up inside, it'll kill you from below
just because the sun went down in a wounded, blistering heat
doesnt mean it wont come back up and go
dancing, dancing, dancing in the street
... hey - you should know!

          - july 16th, 1998
          - january, 2000

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I Always Knew

(in memory of F)

copyright © 2011 Nathan A. Smith

capo on 2nd fret, A harmonica, actual key is A, use G chord family, fingerpick

G Bm
your email came in last night, just before the crazy dawn
F C G
my PC played that chord, jumpin' me out of my haze
G Bm
as i crawled back up my chair & turned the screen back on
F C D
thoughts came floodin' back from those revolutionary days

               Bm F C G
               you were sayin' finally things were gonna be good
               Bm F C D
               an' your dreams finally were comin' true
               Bm F C G
               you said it was finally gonna work out the way it should
               Em Fmaj7 D
               but then, my ol' friend - i always knew


i remember the wilding times, just before it all went down
we were all so fierce & fresh with a piercin' light
pushin' our noble causes, even pushin' 'em underground
puttin' 'em on the line, preparin' the fight

               you were the one who was teachin' us on our feet
               you were the one showin' us what we'd do
               but you didn't want be the one to be leadin' us out onto the street
               that's okay, my friend - i always knew


                              {instrumental}


so now you're tellin' me to be watchin' the network news or
the internet for destruction beyond end...
i'm turnin' you in to the FBI, you Beautiful Loser
- can't let you make a foolish move, my friend

               you were always takin' it out to a stranger limit
               you were always steppin' over a line or two
               now you're raisin' your voice with so much more danger in it
               oh, my dear friend - i always knew

                                                                           - July 29th-30th, 2011

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Ice Storm Family

copyright © 2009 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 5th fret, C harmonica, actual key is Dm

Am Am
It's been days since there's been power.
G Am
It's been days since there's been any heat.
Am Am
We measure time - not by the hour,
G G Am
But by the floodwaters underneath our feet.
Every daylight hour we're down there, bailing.      Fmaj7 Am
And all night long we're down there again.      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
On and on - no thought of failing -      Fmaj7 Am
We're determined to see this through to the end.      Em Fmaj7 G Am
Dm Fmaj7 Am C
And how long will this dark--ness . . . go on?
G Em
Please - tell us how long?
Fmaj7 Am
How long must we shiver in the night?
Em Fmaj7 G Am
Oh, please - tell us how long?

We huddle in close, we're strong together
We're wrapped in every blanket that we own
Our body heat against the bitter weather
Our body heat against the cold unknown
Now shrill winds shake the walls, shouting warning      Fmaj7 Am
With another foot of snow on the way      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
The temperature's below zero by morning      Fmaj7 Am
The road's buried under by mid day      Em Fmaj7 G Am

The car's no good, its engine dying
Under the big oak that came down in the night.
And the older children - they know I'm lying
When I say we're gonna be alright.
There's no more milk, just dripping water      Fmaj7 Am
And one last package of frozen peas.      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
And everytime I check our baby daughter      Fmaj7 Am
I nearly break down on my knees.      Em Fmaj7 G Am
And how long will this darkness go on?
Please - tell us how long?
How long must we shiver in the night?
Oh, please - tell us how long?

instrumental half verse
Each daylight hour spells new disaster,      Fmaj7 Am
And each night more trees lose the war.      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
And, down below, the water's rising faster      Fmaj7 Am
And I just cant stay awake anymore....      Em Fmaj7 G Am
No, I just cant stay awake anymore....
No, I just cant stay awake anymore....

               - January 2nd-5th, 2009

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Ice Storm Family (long version)

copyright © 2009 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 5th fret, C harmonica, actual key is Dm, b3/5\3-1 g2 licks between

Am Am
It's been days since there's been power.
G Em G Am
It's been days since there's been any heat.
Am Am
We measure time - not by the hour,
G Em G Am
But by the floodwaters underneath our feet.
chorus:
Dm Fmaj7 Am C
How long will this dark--ness . . . go on?
G Em
Please - tell us how long?
Fmaj7 Am
How long must we shiver in the night?
Em Fmaj7 G Am
Oh, please - tell us how long?

No fireplace, no generator
And the boiler's not safe on its own.
If the water gets above the circulators,
It could prove to be the end of our home.
Every daylight hour we're down there, bailing.      Fmaj7 Am
And all through the night we're down there again.      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
On and on - no thought of failing! -      Fmaj7 Am
We're determined to see this through to the end.      Em Fmaj7 G Am
chorus

We huddle in close, we're strong together
We're wrapped in every blanket we own
Body heat against the bitter weather
Body heat against the cold unknown
Now shrill winds shake the walls, shouting warning      Fmaj7 Am
With another foot of snow on the way      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
The temperature's below zero by morning      Fmaj7 Am
The road's buried under by mid day      Em Fmaj7 G Am
chorus

The car's no good, its engine dying
Under the big oak that came down in the night.
And the older children - they know I'm lying
When I say we're gonna be alright.
There's no more milk, just dripping water      Fmaj7 Am
And one last package of frozen peas.      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
And everytime I check our baby daughter      Fmaj7 Am
I nearly break down, crying on my knees.      Em Fmaj7 G Am
chorus
instrumental half verse

Every daylight hour spells new disaster,      Fmaj7 Am
And each night more trees lose the war.      Fmaj7 G (f) Em
And, down below, the water's rising faster      Fmaj7 Am
And I just cant stay awake anymore....      Em Fmaj7 G Am
No, I cant stay awake anymore....
No, I just cant stay awake anymore....

               - January 2nd-5th, 2009

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I'm A Coward

copyright ©2002 Nathan A. Smith

E7 E7
i got me a ticket on the very next train
E7 E7
gonna roll on outta here if things dont change
A7 E7
i just dont know.....how to make it right
A7 E7
i just dont know.....how to make it right
B7 A7 E7
gonna roll on outta here & disappear in the night
E7 E7
she said she didnt want to see me knock on her door
E7 E7
she said it's all over - cant take it no more
A7 E7
i said okay.....this aint worth a fight
A7 E7
i said okay.....this aint worth a fight
B7 A7 E7
gonna roll on outta here & disappear in the night
A7 E7
i'll be leavin' from this platform within the hour
A7 E7
i'm throwin' down the dream, flower by flower
A7 E7
she said to go, so it didnt matter how her
B7 A7 B7 A7 E7
eyes said to stay...anyway.........i'm a coward

i been spendin' my life on a parallel plane
i been starin' through the windows of diff'rent train
people flashin'.....in & out of sight
people flashin'.....in & out of sight
gonna roll on outta here & disappear in the night
i seen her waitin' on a different train line
but, just like me, she's pretendin' she's fine
i'm in her way.....and i'm blockin' her light
i'm in her way.....and i'm blockin' her light
gonna roll on outta here & disappear in the night
now i've come to the end of this terrible hour
down there on the tracks is just a dream of a flower
she told me to go & it never mattered how her
eyes said to stay...anyway..........i'm a coward

well, the train's pullin' out & there's no looking back
my lifeline's been strapped to the line of the track
my knees are shakin'.....my knuckles are white
my knees are shakin'.....my knuckles are white
gonna roll on outta here & disappear in the night
it feels like i'm making a million mistakes
it feels like this train aint got no brakes
it aint jumpin'.....off the rails, but it might
it aint jumpin'.....off the rails, but it might
gonna roll on outta here & disappear in the night
i cant recall what went down in the last hour
i cant recall any stupid dream of a flower
she told me to go - i cant recall even how her
eyes said to stay...anyway..........i'm a coward

(i got me a ticket on the very next train)
(gonna roll on outta here if things dont change)
(i got me a ticket on the very next train)
(gonna roll on outta here if things dont change)
(i got me a ticket on the very next train)
(gonna roll on outta here if things dont change)

         - april 20th - may 11th, 2002

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I'm a Sponge

copyright ©1974 Nathan A. Smith

I never move away but instead i stay on the sand
I bend back an' forth, my back facing north, if i can
Everything around me will have gone through me sometime
Just wait an' you'll see between the anemone and the vine
Can you guess who i am?
Can you guess who i am?
It's not that hard - an' might be fun
Down here in the sea
As peaceful as can be
Waiting all the time...i'm a Sponge!

Although i cant move it sure is a groove to be still
Down here on the floor nobody'll see more than i will
An' there's plenty of friends to bring odds an' ends into me
They come to say "hello" and tell me what they know of the sea
Would you like it down here?
Would you like it down here?
Do you think you have a little fun?
Down here in the sea
As peaceful as can be
Living your life as a Sponge!

Someday i might get tired of this
And decide to become a Jellyfish!
But right now (right now) i'm fine as i am
Absorbing everything i can....

One day you might find me cleaning my mind of oddends
That stuck in the way of better things to say to my friends
I stir them around and watch them float down to the floor
And once they have gone i'm ready to take on some more
You might think it strange
The way i'm arranged
And wonder how i get things done
Down here in the sea
As peaceful as can be
Living my life as a Sponge!

Someday i might want to go away
By changing into a big Stingray!
But right now i like being me
In one place under the sea....

Well...the ocean is large but there's no charge to live here
There are so many things that staying put brings me no fear
And some friends of mine have chosen to hide in my home
And i think that its clever 'cause then i'm never alone
Do you want to move in?
Do you want to be my friend?
You're welcome to join in the fun
Down here in the sea
As peaceful as can be
In my house inside me
(Now how can that be?)
It's not hard...if you're a Sponge!

         - July 74

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In Otter Words

copyright ©2004 Nathan A. Smith

C (1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2) ( harmonica intro)
A7 D7
G G7 C (repeat from A7)
E7 A7
every day you get bombarded by ballistic blasts of blather
D7 G G7
bustin through the beat-up shades in front of your eyes
C E7 A7
an every night the replay repeats wreckage that you'd rather
D7 G G7 C
someone else would have to stray behind to analyze.
A7 D7
in otter words you're sick of the situation
G7 C E7
in otter words you've had it up to your chin
A7 D7
in otter words you want to go into hibernation
G7 G C
in otter words you're ready to give in

but unbeknownst to most of you, as you make your front porch stance,
over in the trashcan alley side of your mind,
there are these otter words sneakin in through the backyard fence,
tumblin, laughin, gigglin - havin WAY too good a time.

in otter words you're in a strange situation
in otter words you're scratchin on your chin
in otter words you find yourself in some kind of consternation
in otter words you're on the outside lookin in (it's a Klein bottle song)

now they're tipping over a trashcan & you blame it on a raccoon!
as they go slinkin past your window, slippin slimly on the tide.
muddy paws, muddy slidin, beneath the bimulous moon -
the language of their laughter reaches you from the inside.

in otter words you're in a weird situation
in otter words you've been smacked across the chin
in otter words you find yourself in a mirror confrontation
in otter words you'd better get your lickins in

but you wont notice these otters, you wont see 'em sneakerin in
as you gobble down the gigabytes of that crazy TV noise
until one day you arch your back with a twitchin whiskerin -
a secret defense put there just to help you keep your poise

in otter words you can deal with the situation
in otter words you're holdin up your chin
in otter words you've got back your determination
in otter words you're already to dig in

         - april 10-13th, 2004

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The Jamestown Ferry

copyright ©1973 Nathan A. Smith

The light is on the harbor, the fishing boats are in
And all along the seacoast rocks the water splashes green
Be off to bed, my goodly lads, its looking like a storm
And only under covers now will it be nice and warm
But the old man's still out there
In his lighthouse for the night
In case some luckless sailors need
To find his guiding light
Oh I'm a weathered captain, yes, I guess I've been around
On a ferryboat from Newport to a place they call Jamestown

The days of summer come and go, the children's laughter, too
To take a ride across the bay was always grand to do
Walking on the cobblestones of an ancient seacoast town -
The tiny shops, musuems and the shipyards scattered 'round
And the old man talks to tourists
While he fishes off the stern
With cameras, kids and flashy shirts
They listen, never learn
But I've been on this ferryboat, for many years have I,
And I always like remembering the people that came by

Its out collecting mussels when the sea is at low tide
A bucket, rope and piece of wood is tethered at my side
Moving rocks and building walls to hold in all the sand
And growing fruits and vegetables for living off the land
And the old man watches seagulls
He's in his rocking chair
Well...he cant do what he used to do
But his lighthouse is still there
Oh I was on a ferryboat - a boat that did not last
And the bridge they built across the bay will never steal my past

It's morning on the harbor, the fishing boats are new
And all along the seacoast rocks the water sparkles blue
Rise out of bed, my goodly lads, its looking good today
To be out upon the open sea and watch the fishes play
But the old man is sleeping now
Until its way past noon
He needs his rest to do his best
By the light of tonight's moon
Oh I'm a weathered captain, yes, I guess I've been around
On a ferryboat from Newport to a place they call Jamestown

         - October 1973

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The Last Empty Chair

- copyright © 2012 Nathan A. Smith
(no capo, G harmonica)

G Em
I'm speedin' down the 2-lane road real fast
C D G
Headin' for the Main Street Cafe
G Em
If I'm lucky with the lights & the cops & the gas
C D
I'll get there in time to play

F C F C
but the fact is I got no time to spare
F C D
i'll be lucky just to find an empty . . . chair
G Em C D
harmonica......

whoops! i'm outta beer - gotta get me some more
aint no way I can show up empty-handed
i'm makin' my surgical strike into the store
payin' with cash - leavin' nothin' for granted

cuz fact is I got no time to spare
i'll be lucky just to find the empty . . . chair
harmonica......

oh no! now there's a slowpoke right in fronta me!
he's gonna make me too late to sign me up!
gonna make my bottles warm - give him a lobotomy
get'm outta my way before my time is up!

cuz you KNOW I aint got no time to spare
maybe i can still get to the last empty . . . chair
harmonica......

         - March 30th, 2012

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Little Balloon

copyright ©2006 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2nd fret, in D but then use these chords
C G
oh, Little Balloon in the afternoon, so high above the ground.
G C
i took a guess & headed out west an' followed it out of my town.
C G
i was in my car & not very far behind the little balloon
G C
when it went to the right & then into the night & then turned into the moon.

F C
oh-oh - my heart was slowly sinkin' - now what in the world was i thinkin'?
G C C7
- i was thinkin' about it - all the time & more.
F C
it was makin' me confused & dizzy & keepin' my hands way too busy,
G G7 C
tyin' me down instead of endin' this war.

now Mister Dumb's at the podium - the direct opposite of cute
with his lyin' throat. i grabbed the remote & deftly put it on mute
in my flannel shoes, changing channels to make all of his mug disappear.
but the horrid oration was on all of the stations,
so i went out to buy some more beer.

oh-oh - my heart was steadily sinkin' - now what in the world was i thinkin'?
- i was thinkin' about it - all the time & more.
it was makin' me confused & dizzy & keepin' my hands way too busy,
tyin' me down instead of endin' this war.

instrumental verse & chorus with cha-cha-cha: xx5555 xx5555 xx5555

Em Dm
my love, she's got good reason to worry
F C G
when she sees me takin' all this time,
Em Dm
but i cant afford to be in a hurry
F G
when i still dont know which way to climb.

aw, some little word so easily heard & my troubled bubble is burst.
in no time at all i'm startin' to fall back down in the woods where i'm cursed.
i'm tryin' to find the pinpoint in my mind that makes me shiver like this.
the leaves blow by an' i still dont know why i'm too scared to give her a kiss.

oh-oh - my heart is suddenly sinkin' - now what in the world am i thinkin'?
- i'm thinkin' about it - all the time & more.
it's makin' me confused & dizzy & keepin' my hands way too busy,
tyin' me down instead of endin' my war.

oh, Little Balloon in the afternoon, so high above the ground.
i took a guess & headed out west an' followed it out of my town.
instrumental verse lines 3 & 4 with cha-cha-cha: xx5555 xx5555 xx5555

         - july 9-11, 2006

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A Little Bit More

copyright ©2004 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2, key is E harmonica, play as if in D
-2-----------------3-
-3-----------------3-
-2-----------------0-
-0--2--4--2--0-----0-
-0--------------2----
-0-----------------x-
D G
D G
D G
Em F#m G
F#m G A
D G
D G
F#m Em
G D
F#m Em
G A


you're in the bird's song . . . right before the dawn
you're in the shift in the wind right before the storm
you're in the sky blue . . . . .after it has gone
and i, in my own prison mind
trapped behind my open door
i'd give anything just to be with you
a little bit more

you're in the cornflower . . . .leaning in the field
you're in the ocean wave . . . .leaning on the keel
you're in the highway curve. . .leaning on the wheel
and i, in my own prison mind
staring down my open door
i'd give anything just to kiss you
a little bit more

and now the walls around me tighten
and my hourglass is spilling sand
now you're shimmering on my horizon
with the dance of wind chimes in your hand

you're the only face . . . . . .in my video
you're the only song . . . . . .on my radio
you're the only place. . . . .i ever want to go
you're the only one. . . . . .i ever want to know
and now, from my own prison mind
breaking down my open door
i'm just hoping i can hold on to you
a little bit more

         - december 11-12, 2004

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Livin' Between The Lines

copyright ©1997 Nathan A. Smith

capo on 2, in C, use G chord family
G D D7 G
when the world needs peace and quiet, you could find enough right here
G D D7 G
but if we all start up a riot, then you'll find a lot to fear.
C G D Em
so keep your hands to yourself, stay out of trouble & the night will disappear
C G F C G
and watch new life growin' up through rubble in the light of the morning clear.

chorus:
Bm C D C D Em
living between the lines of power, far away from their cruelest crimes
Bm C D F C D
living between the lines of power, we can find a little bit of fun in these foolish times

i gotta a friend who's got Pig Money -
he's been makin' it high off the hog
now some of you might find it funny -
he spends his time off in a fog
he spends his time in obsessive worry
that he'll suddenly lose it all
but none of us here should be in a hurry
to see him take a woozy fall
chorus

i gotta a friend out in the forest -
he aint got nothin' but campin' gear,
now he aint close to bein' the poorest,
with his all-night fire, his friends & beer
he's been singin' out against injustice
an' we all join in, so loud & clear
but by dawn it's turned to dust, it's
... gone away & left us here
chorus

so if you want your peace & quiet
you can find it all right here
an' if you stay, you won't have to die, yet
with the all-night fire, your friends & beer
so keep on singin' songs about Pig Money
an' we'll join along, to ease our fear
doncha worry if others think it's funny -
it won't matter when we all disappear
chorus
                           - august 10-19, 2011

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Mama Kellum

copyright ©2014 Nathan A. Smith
slow drop D with 333, 222, 000 stuff and the F#m

Come listen up alla you people - a story I have to tell D FmEmD
'Bout a courageous woman I'ze lucky enough to know real well D FmEmD
She warn't no beauty queen, no movie star in some kind of show GF#mG*A
But she gave up everything else in the world to tell us not to go GF#mG*A
chorus
               Mama Kellum, you go and tell 'em G D
               'Bout peace & kindness & the war G D A
               Mama Kellum, you go and tell 'em G D
               What this country here should really be fightin' for Fm Em D

Oh, it seemed like a very bad dream, like a very bad movie script
As the war kept on boggin' down, we were all caught up in its grip
And these crooks really couldn't give a damn if we'd live or if we'd die
And when they'd get caught in the headlights, they'd make up a bigger lie
chorus

Now many a youth would come to her door with patriotic fears
I still don't know many lives she'd saved after all these years
A veritable underground railroad to the land of the northern lights
And as for me, there aint no way I'll be givin' up this fight
chorus

She's watchin' the dead go past her door like a river, slow & long
A piercing wisdom in her ancient eyes, she knows what all went wrong
The last time i saw her, she was still as sharp as a tack
The last time i saw her, she still had my back
chorus

                    - November 11-19th, 2014
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Maybe the Next Time

copyright ©1997 Nathan A. Smith

when i look down the road, it goes straight out into the stars
but it's under a cold, alien moon
the light creeping down makes it hard to tell how far
i hope it gets behind me sometime soon

maybe the next time
maybe the next time
maybe the next time
i'll be alright

the road cuts between the lone and level sands
beyond the mountains of memory
the white flashing line slithers under my hands -
the only moving thing i can see

maybe the next time
maybe the next time
maybe the next time
i'll straighten out

well, i took to this road in my old metal car
and still, up to now, i dont know why
i took a few clothes and i took my guitar
i guess there was something in the sky

maybe the next time
maybe the next time
maybe the next time
i'll get it right

i know by tomorrow i'll reach the higher ground
and find myself a bed to lie down
but the end of this highway will never be found
i guess there'll always be another town

maybe the next time
maybe the next time
maybe the next time
i'll find out

         - december 13th, 1997

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Midnight Dad (1958)

copyright ©2000 Nathan A. Smith

the next newyear's is approaching
and we are all home from school
stuck at home for the holidays
stuck at home where you cant be cool
so after bedtime, we sneak out of bed
we sneak downstairs, but we find out instead

its midnight dad out in the backyard
with his earmuffs slipping 'round his nose
and even though the ground's already frozen hard
he's out there with his garden hose

the next day we run down to the window
the ice covers up the little hill
it covers up the sunken sandbox
it even covers up the grill
we go to the backhall and dig out our skates
and we skate all day 'til it gets very late

then its midnight dad out in the backyard
with his earmuffs falling off his nose
and even though the ground's already frozen hard
he's out there with his garden hose

the next day there's been a big snowfall
and all together we shovel it aside
and we pile it up and build a big igloo
complete with a spiral slide
and we stick candles inside the walls
and we chill out until dinnertime calls

and then its midnight dad again out in the backyard
with his earmuffs wrapped down around his toes
and even though the ground's already frozen rock hard, like cement
he's out there with his garden hose

...midnight dad...chillin' out...stayin' cool...

         - 08-oct-2000

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Mister Morley

copyright ©1986 Nathan A. Smith

oh mister morley where is your cane
the one that you showed me before
oh mister morley you'd better know now
cause i see that your legs have gone sore
an' didnt you tell me you'd be on your feet
until you were in your deathbed
oh mister morley take a look around
and remember the things you said

you used to tell me the worst i could do
was to cheat on the ones i love
and i believed you and look what you did
when you had them under your glove
and then you told me when we were alone
that they'd all gone out of their heads
oh mister morley take a look around
and remember the things you said

now you are watching the winter come in
and shaking your fist at the skies
but a warm sunny day wouldnt change your tongue
that you got from starting those lies
and when i see you, you take me aside
to see if i'm still on your thread
oh mister morley take a look around
and remember the things you said

oh mister morley i wish you know
what it means to see you this lame
oh mister morley my legs are tired, too
and you know that we're one the same
well i'm gonna look for a way to get out
and be waiting for you instead
oh mister morley take a look around
and remember the things you said

         - September 1969

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My Secret Heart

copyright ©2006 Nathan A. Smith

D Bm D Bm
it was way back, a long time ago, when i was growin up in school
D Bm D Bm
i had me this crush on this smart, pretty girl - she made me to be such a fool
G D G D A7
but i just couldnt get up any courage, i just didnt know where to start
D Bm D D A7 D
i just couldnt find a way to tell her she was everything in my heart
G D A7 A7+9 G
my secret heart, my secret heart, my poor, poor secret heart
G D D D A7 D
i just couldnt find a way to tell her she was everything in my heart

i'd memorized her birthday & also her own neighborhood
i'd arranged to be in the same classrooms, as many of them as i could
i kept track of all her boyfriends & held them all deep beneath
contempt, unable to warn her, no, 'cause i had braces on my teeth
my secret heart, my secret heart, my poor, poor secret heart
for i had braces on my teeth & she had everything in my heart

then came the fateful morning, i was bound & determined to try
to wish her a happy birthday...the first chance when she came by
there she was with an old ex-boyfriend, having words on the schoolyard
with her back to me, she flung out her arm & i went down real hard
my secret heart, my secret heart, my poor, poor secret heart
she'd knocked me down, but still, to me, she was everything in my heart

she turned around & saw me there, spread-eagled down in the dirt
she hurried over & knelt beside me & asked me if i was hurt
my mouth was all shredded up on the inside & i'd lost some bloody spit
but i scratched my head an' looked up at her & said "...no - not a bit"
my secret heart, my secret heart, my poor, poor secret heart
looking up at her looking down at me, she was everything in my heart

she offered a couple of tissues to clean off the spit & the blood
then she murmured she was so sorry & my poor secret heart went thud
i wiped off my mouth & gathered my books as she got up to go on her way
looking back at me - then i remembered & called out "Happy Birthday!"
my secret heart, my secret heart, my poor, poor secret heart
looking back at me, she went on her way with everything in my heart

         - sep.28-oct.2, 2006

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Nasty Games

copyright ©1974 Nathan A. Smith

well the summer a-runnin in an' flies off fast
an i'm waitin for a message that ya left in the past
but the postgirl said i owed another dollar and half
so i buttoned up my sleeves an began to laugh

     didnt she move enough
     didnt she move enough
     an she never even needed to play

sometimes i get reminded of the days 'at we grew
inta bigger better feelins with a bad time or two
an it's not a sketchy strategy we made ta get us through
so when someone asks, i spin around an' say "it's you!"

     didnt they jump enough
     didnt they jump enough
     an there's gotta be a nastier play

ya better call upon some firemen or jump inside a lake
either way ya do it, better give when ya take
cause the strung-out crazies movin up on the make
are gonna want some champagne ta go with their steak

     didnt they drool enough
     didnt they drool enough
     an they havent even started to play

well the next time i saw ya you were settin downstairs
you were checkin out a mirror for some ol gray hairs
an ya didnt find a black one so ya went back upstairs
an waltzed inside the attic with the boys and the bears

     didnt it hurt enough
     didnt it hurt enough
     while they lined up to see your next play

oh yes, i like the competition when someone ties the score
it makes me concentrate - makes me dig in more
but your game's all scattered into pieces all over the floor
an i only had my older record left to shoot for

     didnt i try enough
     didnt i try enough
     you cant say i didnt come to play

          - September 24th, 1974

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Night Sky

copyright ©1989 Nathan A. Smith

In the night above our dreams
Nothin's really as it seems.
We make our own windowpanes
While the night above remains.
But you know the way -
Yes, you know the way -
But you know the way
Into the hollow of the night sky.

You claim there isnt any more.
You say it's all been seen before.
You say its still the same old star
Shining bright so long, so far.
So show me the way -
So show me the way -
Come show me the way
Into the hollow of the night sky.

         ...(instrumental)...

The fires burn across the lawn.
And soon the forest will be gone.
The water smashes on the stone.
And once again we're left alone.
Come take us away -
Come tear us away -
Come blow us away
Into the hollow of the night sky.

         - 22-Apr-89

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Not Gonna Happen

copyright ©2006 Nathan A. Smith
capo4 Ecrossharp
G Em
i got this buddy on the street, he wants to bum another buck.
G Em
wants to scratch another ticket, feels a changin' in his luck
C G
he's got himself a list of all these numbers he's been trackin'
D C G
but i'd rather try to set him straight, so i warn him it's not gonna happen -
D Em
he'd be better off gettin' himself a warmer blanket to wrap in,
C D G
cause winning the lottery...today ... 's not gonna happen.

well, these losers are out cruisin' for a night on the town.
they got their CD player goin' & their windows powered down.
pullin' even with some street girl, they're tryin' to get their fingers snappin'.
then she's shootin' 'em all down, sayin' "get real, boys - it's not gonna happen.
get outta here with all your stupid silly high school yappin',
now go runnin' along back home, boys ... it's not gonna happen."

ya know the internet is crawlin' with vicious vipers & trolls
under anonymous cover tryin' to demoralize your souls.
every day on some page there's some new fool's jaw flappin'
an' if you're lookin' for any respect there, heh, it's not gonna happen.
if you're tryin' to make nice, ya get an uppercase bitch-slappin'
an' if you're hopin' they'll fade away, well ... it's not gonna happen.

my neighbor's out of state - an' he might as well be on mars -
he's stuck behind his union, buildin' american cars.
he's got his pension on the assembly line with all of its trappin's.
but now Corporate's tellin' him it's not gonna happen.
they're givin' him the early out to close up the gap in
their funds - the full amount's just not ... gonna happen.

ya can secretly observe the FBI & the CIA
stab each other where they stand, if ya look in a certain way.
they each want exclusive, carte blanc rights to wiretappin' -
they're promisin' they're only gonna do it for Good, - but - you KNOW that's not gonna happen
as the lobbyists lift their laundry bags in legislative wrappin'.
better forget about Truth & Justice ... it's not gonna happen.

see the corner of the vice president's mouth in a pout.
he's desparately hopin' for any rope to pull him out
of the muddy mess he's made with his all middle east re-mappin'.
but there wont be any rope this time - no, not for him, it's not gonna happen.
between the long arm of history & the fightin' & the scrappin'
any chance he'll be forgiven - i swear ... it's not gonna happen.

some people think a comet'll make the world blow up & burn,
some say nuclear winter, some predict a Super Germ,
some believe in The Rapture, some in cryogenic nappin'...
but they've all got it all wrong, 'cause none of that stuff's gonna happen.
each one's usin' it as an excuse to keep their hands on their lap &
if you're waitin' for The End Times ... they're not gonna happen.

i'm gonna take my guitar out to the radio station.
i'm hopin' folks'll hear this song across the whole nation
an' it'll be okay with me if i wont hear any clappin'.
but HOLD THE PHONES! now, the DJ's tellin' me it's not gonna happen.
he says i have to do it over & get rid of all the crap in
my song right now, or else ... it's not gonna happen."

         - september 15-22, 2006

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Not Only Rain

- copyright © 2012 Nathan A. Smith
(no capo, G harmonica, ala' Neil Young)

G Am
She was always there, ready as ever to show me
C D Em
How to laugh right back in the face of fear
G Em Am
Now, no one on this earth could ever better know me
C D G
And ease my troubles from year to year.
Bm Am
         she's still in my journey . . . with every step i take
Bm Am
         she's still in my fingertips . . . with every chord i make
C D
         . . . and every time i think it's only rain -
F C
         she'll be in my laugh, she'll be in my eyes
F C
         she'll be in every time i see the sun rise
F C D
         in every echo running through my veins -
.... Em
         . . . it's not only rain

He was always there, ready with his clear understanding
When I'd get too confused along the way
And no one in this world could be less demanding
Or make me follow in his shoes some day
         he's still in my journey . . . on every starry night
         he's still in my verses . . . in every line i write
         . . . and every time i think it's only rain -
         he'll be in my teeth, he'll be in my clothes
         he'll be in every time the hurricane blows
         in every echo running through my veins
         . . . it's not only rain

So now it's time to safe-guard both of your teachings
You've been handing down to each of us through these years
It's no more face-to-face, just our gentle reachings
Back inside our memories, through these tears
         you're still in our journey . . . for mile after mile
         you're still in our laughter . . . in every way we smile
         . . . and every time we think it's only rain -
         you'll be in our children, you'll be in our love
         you'll be in every birdcall in the sky above
         in every echo running through our veins
         . . . it's not only rain

                  - April 26-28th, 2012

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Out Of The Dark

- copyright ©2011 Nathan A. Smith

capo on 2 drop D key is E, play D chord family, A harmonica

333xxx 222ooo D9=000230
333xxx 222ooo D9
Dm D9 F
they came to our house from out of the dark
C D9
blew away the doors & raped my wife
Dm D9 F
ripped away my children, ripped away my heart
C Em D9
left me with nothin but a kitchen knife

chorus:
                    C D9
                    my story aint the only one i'm bringin'
                    C D9
                    there's still millions more to tell
                    C D9
                    an' if you only wanna sit back & hear me singin'
                    333xxx 222ooo D9
                    well then, you can all just go to hell
                    333xxx 222ooo D9
                    yeah then, you can all just go to hell


my brother over there couldn't get to his gun
they killed all his family right in front of his eyes
they cut off his hands & they cut off his tongue
they cut off his reason to stay alive

chorus with his


take a look at my sister, they really did her up good
writhing in an agony of blood
she'll never be the beauty queen we all thought she would
as they keep on whoopin' it up down in the mud

chorus with her

harmonica

the murder of our village has us way beyond numb
beyond any forgiveness, beyond a sound
all of them rich bastards won't see it when it comes
as we burn all their mansions down to the ground

chorus with our

repeat 1st verse, ending abruptly at knife

                              - july 8-11th, 2011

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Pigeonhole Blues

copyright ©2007 Nathan A. Smith
capo4 Ecrossharp

G C G C G
i remember at first she liked to play some Laura Nyro
Em C D
then came Joni Mitchell, and then some Ricky Lee
G C G C G
it wasnt that easy to wanna be another hero
Em D G
so now she's tryin' to get into her own mystery

C D G Bm Em
ya can see her fallin' off the fences between folk, country, rock & blues
C D
way out beyond the backyards of music gone wrong
C D G Bm Em
seemin' only to be happy, kickin' off those pigeonhole shoes
C D G
thinkin' she's got herself a sure hit song


she remembers at first he liked to play some Glen Campbell
then came Buddy Holly, and then some Johnny Cash
it wasnt that easy & his road began to ramble
an' now he's tryin' to get back on his game too fast

ya can see him fallin' off the fences between folk, country, rock & blues
way out beyond the backyards of music gone wrong
seemin' only to be happy, stompin' outta those pigeonhole shoes
thinkin' he's got himself a kickass song


he remembers at first i liked to play some Pete Seeger
then came some Mister Dylan, and then some Leonard Cohen
it wasnt that easy, and i just wasnt that eager
so now i'm tryin' to get a handle on where i'm goin'

ya can see me fallin' off the fences between folk, country, rock & blues
way out beyond the backwords of music gone wrong
seemin' only to be happy, wearin' out these pigeonhole shoes
thinkin' i' got myself another new song

         - april 22-28, 2007

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Pitchblack Mornings

copyright ©2009 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2nd, key is A, use G family, rhythmic thumping Am-D to remember
intro
Am D Am D Am D
C C G C G
Em C G D
in every city, in every country, in every corner of the earth
Em C G D
in every alley, in every trashbin, in every gutter of their birth
Am D Am D
they remember the pitchblack mornings, they remember the pouring rain
Am D C C C G C G
they remember the haunted faces drowned in pain

now, they've been staring down a future without hope, without life
they've been staring down a future, switched open like a knife
there they wait for the pitchblack mornings with the coming of the pouring rain
where those old haunted faces drowned in pain

         F C G Em
         i still believe in the milk of human kindness
         F C G
         i still believe in facing down all fears
         F C G Em
         i still believe, in my dry, burning eyelids
         F C G
         i'll find . . . the coming of these tears

they've been gathering all their weapons, they've been gathering below the sky
they've been gathering for the carnage, they dont care how they go to die
so soon some pitchblack morning with the coming of the pouring rain
you'll see these haunted faces drowned in pain

see them marching to this drummer who's been pounding hate in every head
see them marching - now the cripple, now the abandoned & left for dead
and now it's pitchblack morning & now it's pouring rain
and now these haunted faces drowned in pain

         i still believe in the milk of human kindness
         i still believe in facing down all fears
         i still believe, in my dry, burning eyelids
         i'll find . . . the coming of these tears

in every city, in every country, in every corner of this earth
in every alley, in every trashbin, in every gutter of their birth
there they wait for the pitchblack mornings with the coming of the pouring rain
everywhere, these haunted faces, drowned in pain

Em C G D Em C G D Em G C D Em C G D...fadeout

         - July 28-30, 2009

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The Curious Incident of the Pizza Delivery On The Outskirts Of Las Vegas

copyright ©2005 Nathan A. Smith
G C G C G D7 G
she was neon dancer, an exotic flashy prancer from an old casino back in town
G C G C G D7 G
she'd been hoping for a lover - anyone before another sad silent sun went sinking down
Bb F C G Bb F A D
she wore a neon g-string and tassles meant for teasing and long neon boots of shining gold
G C G C G D7 G
but she stood on her barren ground amid the piles of junk around a trailer fenced off from the road
Bb F C G
and the guys inside the trailer were in a hungry misery
Bb F C A D
as they waited in the evening for the pizza delivery
G C G C G D7 G
.......to arrive


he rode in on a flatbed truck, looking good despite his luck, with a great big silly grin from ear to ear
he landed right beside her and she felt a gasp inside her - but, no, he did not seem to hear
he wore a neon cowboy hat, a neon shirt and neon pants, and twirled a neon rope above his head
he was kinda leaning up against a twisted section of the fence that once upon a time was painted red

and the driver joined the others in their hungry misery
as they waited through the evening for the pizza delivery
.......to arrive


the dancer tried to catch his eye and she thought that he's just being shy, but soon she had reason for alarm
she flashed her smile with a spark of light reflected off a chrome taillight, turning on all her famous charm
but he still didnt seem to see her as he watched the guys drink beer through a window by the trailer door
she tried and tried and tried again but soon the darkness had set in and her smile didnt sparkle anymore

and the guys inside the trailer were still in a hungry misery
as they waited all night long for the pizza delivery
.......to arrive


then deeper on into the night a sudden sweep of a bad headlight came lurching off the highway to a stop
creeping 'round with furtive skulks, past the ancient rusting hulks, searching through the wreckage in the lot
he found the trailer door at last, took the pizza out real fast - forgot the brake! - and the car began to roll!
it picked the cowboy off the fence and pushed him gently up against the neon dancer with the boots of gold

and the guys inside the trailer were oblivious in their reverie
only thankful, at last, that the pizza delivery
.......had arrived


the years piled up and not much changed in the yard, still rearranged by that pizza man so long ago
the cowboy and the dancer, roped together by sheer chance, were deep in love as only they could know
for, despite some slight erosion and some structural corrosion, they clung to each other arm in arm
flakes of paint - they might be peeling, but the love that they were feeling
would get them through any further harm

          - march 25-28, 2005

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The Purgatory Express

copyright ©2006 Nathan A.Smith

Cm Bb Ab Cm
i been ridin' on this train in the dirty drivin' rain
Bb Cm
for so long, i jus' cant remember when
Cm Bb Ab Cm
watchin' smokey diesel fumes disappearin' in the gloom
Bb Cm
rollin' by my window without end
CHORUS:
Bb Bb Ab Cm
and the conductor, he's workin' slowly down the aisle
Bb Bb Ab G G
punchin' tickets for no one, beneath his only smile . . .
Cm Eb F Ab
then he's checkin' out the other end & checkin' out the front again
Cm Bb Cm
an' tellin' me its just another mile
Cm Bb Cm
he's tellin' me its just another mile

there's this guy across the seat - he's been stretchin' out his feet
an he's givin' me the cold, shifty look
there's a couple two seats down - they been bitchin' all night long
while a woman up in front rips up a book

an' this kid - he's been slammin' doors & spillin' soda on the floors
of every single car that i can see
there's this drunkard in the john, throwin' up & leanin' on
the only wall between him & me
the flimsy wall between him & me

i got this paper in my hands & its headline demands
to know why the whole world hates this train
but out there in the night with ev'ry brilliant blast of light
i see millions of faces still out in the rain
CHORUS w/stoney smile in fast tempo with 900 end line

then the brakeman's sudden yell & the clangin' of a bell -
an' we see another lonely crossroad light
then it's gone with a jolt, like a summer's thunderbolt
leavin' only our reflections in the night

an' it seems like every once in awhile someone new comes down the aisle
but the only ones who know for sure are gone
seems like no one wants to leave, no one's willin' to believe
in the treachery in these rails we're runnin' on
the treachery in these rails we're runnin' on

transition bridge to soft harmonica again
& gentle fingerpick


seems like all these riders here are holdin' secret fears
that's keepin' them from gettin' off this train
i just dont know what i'll do if these illusions all prove true -
guess it aint the time to step out in the rain
CHORUS w/lonely smile, last line X3, Fmaj7, Am6

          - june 7, 2006

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The Queen of Hearts

copyright ©2003 Nathan A. Smith

They'd come to these quarters nearly every year, G
Stayin' on for a good summer long. F C G
And every night, when the corn's last ear G
And the chowder's last bowl was gone, F C G
They'd take all the dishes from offa the floor F F C G
And throw them all down in the sink. F C G
Then someone'd get the cards from outta the drawer F F C G
And they'd all go get another drink. F C D
Cho.
Sittin' 'round the kitchen table F G
Buried under cigarettes and booze F C Am
Doin' the best't they were able Em Bm
They'd always find another way to lose... C F D
To the Queen of Hearts G
the Queen of Hearts F C G

Well, all night long you'd hear 'em shuffle the cards
And pass 'em to the left again.
Then they'd make up a face just to keep up their guard
And take another pull of gin.
In the Game of Hearts you'd better keep a good track
Of every single trick in the game
And watch out for the Queen whose heart is so Black -
She'd put all the others to shame.

chorus

She'd study all her men with a great big laugh,
Makin' sure to blow smoke in their eyes.
She'd string 'em along another hour and a half,
Waitin' with the element of surprise.
Now, this trick she'd take and this trick she'd let past.
She was never too late or too soon.
And just when they thought they'd had her beat at last,
She'd kill 'em all by Shootin' the Moon.

chorus

As the years were dealt out, these men became boys
With the right play still just outta reach.
You could always be sure there'd be some kind of noise
From the window to the dark of the beach.
In the Game of Hearts they might occasionally win -
Might even stick the Queen with the Queen,
But after all of the smoke and after all of the gin
It was always the same old scene...

chorus

         - 13 september 2003

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The Rapture's Nest

copyright ©2006, ©2007 Nathan A. Smith
capo on 2, intro Em-Cmaj7 alternating, A harmonica

Em Cmaj7 Em Cmaj7 Em Cmaj7 Em Cmaj7

as i went out one winter morning, to blend in with the city's crowd,
Em Cmaj7 Em Cmaj7 Em Cmaj7 Em Cmaj7
the sun's reflection, without warning, fell behind a sudden cloud.
x5500x x4500x x5500x x4500x x5500x x4500x x5500x x4500x
footsteps quickened in the tension, but no one felt impending doom,
Am x02010 Am x02010 x24400
my heart was heavy with apprehension . . . something terrible about to bloom

CHORUS:
C G

the angels nest on the skyscraper
D A
while the devils lurk in the dark unknowns
C G B7
my future cant be written down on paper
B7 B7 B7 Em Cmaj7...
i have to feel it, i can only feel it...shiver in my bones

down an alley swirled in vapor, from a doorway cut into the wall,
ancient voices strained in labor, saying "wont you please come down the hall?"
i looked straight up the side of the building, through the racing clouds, to see the moon.
the city everywhere was tilting as i stepped down into the gloom.
CHO.

through the hallway's fold of darkness, from behind yet another door,
again the voices, cold and heartless, saying "angels aint worth looking for!
sure, they promise wings to soften landings - but they wont share them beyond their womb!
so come a little closer from where you're standing . . . come a little closer to the room...."
CHO.

i fled in fear, in full-blown panic, only to find the whole sky engulfed in flames
and high above the fury's havoc - laughing swarms of angels without names.
the door behind me slammed out all the thunder, sealing off that creepy tomb.
was i mistaken? ...now i wonder...would i have been better off in the back room?

there's a Rapture's nest on the skyscraper
while the devils scream in the dark unknowns
the future cant be written down on paper
we have to feel it, we can only feel it...shiver in our bones

Em Cmaj7, Em Cmaj7 ...( )... Em Cmaj7

          - october 23, 2006 - july, 2007 - october, 2007

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Rolling Down the Blues

copyright ©1997 Nathan A. Smith
D7 using the 3rd fret hammeron/pulloffs

well, this train keeps on rollin', rollin' down the line
well, this train keeps on rollin', rollin', rollin' on down the line
it'll keep on rollin'...an' i'll keep on cryin'

look at that rain fallin' down, look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
jus' look at that rain keep on fallin', fallin', look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
an' that train keeps on rollin', rollin down the blues

well i told you i'd always love you - i told you i'd always love you with a love that's true
yes, i told you i'd always love you - i told you i'd always love you with a love that's true
i wish you'd told me what it was i was supposed to do...

an' look at that rain fallin' down, look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
jus' look at that rain keep on fallin', fallin', look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
an' that train keeps on rollin', rollin down the blues

look at that wind howlin' down, rippin' that bark right offa that tree
just look at that wind howlin' down, rippin' that bark right offa that tree
aint that just exactly what you're doin' to me?

an' look at that rain keep on fallin', look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
jus' look at that rain keep on fallin', fallin', look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
an' that train keeps on rollin', rollin down the blues

well, i'm walkin' down the tracks, the tracks on the bridge leading back to you
yes, i'm walkin' down the tracks, the tracks on the bridge leading back to you
an' that train keeps comin' - what in the world am i gonna do?

an' look at that rain fallin' down, look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
jus' look at that rain keep on fallin', fallin', look at that rain keep fallin' right offa my shoes
an' that train keeps on rollin', rollin down the blues

          - january 31st, 1998

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Running with Scissors

copyright © 2012 Nathan A. Smith

a long time ago, when i was but a boy
i knew of a fellow in preppy school
he was affable & laughable, to the point of being coy
we could all make believe that he was cool

         oh, his father's name was George
         state Governor during the Vietnam war
         while the heathens drank in fields & called 'em "whizzers"
         but this Boy George kid in the halls
         really drove him up the walls
         and by the next day he was running with scissors

he brought his gang of bullies to hold the poor boy down
while he savagely cut off the offending hair
he can't recall it now, staring back with a plastic frown
hoping to deny he was ever there

         oh, his father's name was George
         state Governor during the Vietnam war
         while the heathens drank in fields & called 'em "whizzers"
         but this Boy George kid in the halls
         really drove him up the walls
         on that day when he was running with scissors

well, the years have passed us by and, like father, like son
he, too, became a Governor of a state
with an olympic leap of lies to the bane of everyone
seems like running for some office was his fate

         oh, his father's name was George
         brainwashed by the Vietnam war
         while us heathens drank in farm fields at the whizzers
         but that Boy George kid in the halls
         really drove him up the walls
         back on that day when he ran with scissors

so now he's back again, he's still running some more
he wants to be cuttin' our government to the bone
cuttin' pesky regulations while his money waits offshore
cuttin' your retirement so you're on your own

         oh, his father's name was George
         brainwashed by the Vietnam war
         while us heathens drank in farm fields at the whizzers
         for him it was long ago
         but - wouldn't you like to know? -
         to this day he's still running with scissors

                              - September 28th, 2012

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The Scarecrow's Tune

copyright ©2010 Nathan A. Smith

D5 = 554030
G Bm Em
I used to live just to see her smile
Am C G D
And the way she'd softly move her hips
G Bm Em
She used to turn me into a child
Am C D
With the way she'd softly part her lips
Em Bm
But now I'm stuck up here, in this hard, brutal tree
C D5
Until there's nothing left for me
G Bm C G
But the bitter, written page . . . of all of this,
C Em Am
Sealed with a coyote-lover's kiss


Back then it was anything she might say
Back then it was anything but this cold
Back then it was anything but this grey
Back then it was anything but this old -
So now I'm tearing all these leaves off my tree
Until there's nothing left for me
But the end of this lover's tale, so often told
When the day has died and night unfolds


         Bm          Em
         And the wind is slashing wild, ripping through these branches' walls,
         C          G          Am
         Screaming out a fearsome howl of sound
         Bm          Em
         Twisted in with the desperate coyotes' tribal calls
         Am          C          D5
         Echoing across the frozen ground


The next page reveals her smile again
The next page reveals my deepest wound
The next page reveals how it all will end
The next page reveals the scarecrow's tune
Yet forever must I remain here, nailed up in this tree
Until there's nothing left of me . . .
But a bloody shred of a shirtsleeve beneath the winter's moon
Dangling just above the coyote's croons


I used to live just to see her smile . . .

          - october 12th-27th, 2010

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Selnty Boam

copyright ©2005 Nathan A. Smith

Twerg wulmus thled om scorry,
Yopple jumyod fighbing phliss.
Scish obel thlemping slorry,
Vorbid chenkened enquad liss.
Selnty Boam! Selnty Boam!
Fank rooge tengid tylome!

Pilc edding wobbid noggull
Ebolg tobe emborc wid arth
Stum fobing ormged bendle -
Tolc engwom toabeng charparth.
Selnty Boam! Selnty Boam!
Fank rooge tengid tylome!

Wirn eckul beckli glonep
Zeeg pujorid, neskle ur.
Ven quindle nabbid soanep,
Scinding chormle's nom estoor.
Selnty Boam! Selnty Boam!
Fank rooge tengid tylome!

Mome rhasse thleese, oblame kal
Xerty zom wunch piscle chloe -
Veed orry tert ensk oolt geebal
Fensky ramb en choable quoe.
Selnty Boam! Selnty Boam!
Fank rooge tengid tylome!

Querg basseng sabnud trut yot
Lerring okle bisk maltoom -
Slebe tyind bomfurt orlbott!
Jume yidnad drem ott...cortoom.
Selnty Boam! Selnty Boam!
Fank rooge tengid tylome!

          - somewheres back in 1963, methinks

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Shame On You     

- copyright ©2009 Nathan A. Smith
(double drop D, rhythmic shuffle WHAMbamaLAMa bamaWHAMalaBAM, C chord is a walk up the chord, capo on 2, key is E)
D
your parents were young when they walked ya to school
C D
they were tryin to instill ya with the Golden Rule
D
they were hopin you'd become a model Eagle Scout
C D
but, when Harvard came callin, you got up & got out
     G F D
     now you're gone.....gone.....gone
     G F D
     ya, you're gone.....gone.....gone
     G F Em A D
     ...........gone.....gone.....gone.....gone

so ya pulled your first job at the Main Street bank
they took you under wing & moved you up through the ranks
you'd learned it so well, you were real killer stuff
they even made ya the Boss, but it wasnt enough
     now you're gone.....gone.....gone.....again
     ya, you're gone.....gone.....gone
     ...........gone.....gone.....gone.....gone again

so ya went after Wall Street with your gun-metal eyes
you were gettin real rich, you were gettin real high
you'd even worked up the ladder all the way to C.E.O.
movin bundled securities, derivatives - whatever would go
     now they're gone.....gone.....gone, all gone
     yeah, they're gone.....gone.....all gone
     ............gone.....gone.....gone, all gone
instrumental

the ticker tape went dead when the market was closed
your hot-potato world had been peeled & exposed
the gang with the cash wired your bonus parachute
to your offshore accounts & left the country destitute
     hear the howl.....howl.....howlin in the wind
     hear the howl.....howl.....howlin in the wind
     .....the howl.....howl.....howl.....howlin in the wind

but you know what gets to me, right down to the bone
is how you can stand yourself when you're standin alone
you were brought up okay, but got caught up in the game
what's the matter with you - are you really this lame?
     aww..shame.....shame.....shame on you
     .....shame.....shame.....shame on you
     .....shame.....shame.....shame.....shame on you

               - Apr05, 2009

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Shoreline, Watching

copyright ©2001 Nathan A. Smith
6/8 time
Dsus4+9 = 554030 C/g = 332010 G/c = 320010 G3 = 355433 A5 = 577655
sl = slide entire chord shape to next chord


Dsus4+9 F
well, here i'm standing along the shoreline,
C/g sl Dsus4+9
waiting for a ship to sail away.
Dsus4+9 F
i should be waving, i should be crying.
C/g sl Dsus4+9
there must be something i can say.
F C/g
the sun is rising & the birds are singing -
G D
it's going to be another day.
F C/g
it's nothing different, it's nothing special -
G Dsus4+9
at least that's what the sailors say.
G3 sl Bb sl A5
and so now another spring has come and gone
sl F C/g G/c A
and it's on to the summer days
Dsus4+9 F
and here i'm standing along the shoreline,
C/g sl Dsus4+9
watching a ship sail away
F sl Ab sl G3 G3 sl F C/g G/c A A

i've known her rigging, i've known her captain,
i've flown her colors high in the air.
she carries spices & the finest of linen,
silk & satin beyond compare.
she's hauling over, her sails are filling
and now she's heading out to sea.
it's nothing different, it's nothing special -
at least that's what they said to me.
and so now another summer's come and gone
and it's on to the autumn leaves
and here i'm standing along the shoreline,
watching a ship way out at sea
F sl Ab sl G3 G3 sl F C/g G/c A A

within each one of us a ship is sailing
on a course no one knows.
sometimes we're lucky & can take the same heading,
together, as far as it goes.
so many sailors out on the ocean,
wondering what will unfold.
it's nothing different, it's nothing special -
at least that's what i've been told.
and so now another autumn's come and gone
and it's on to the winter snows
and still i'm standing along the shoreline,
watching a ship, in the cold
F sl Ab sl G3 G3 sl F C/g G/c A A

now - some of these sailors, searching for refuge,
they try to comfort me.
they talk of cycles, they talk of religion,
they talk of what was meant to be.
i know they're caring & they mean to be helpful
but they just can't seem to see.
this time it's different, this time it's special -
at least that's how it feels to me.
and so now another winter's come and gone
and i can almost feel a spring breeze
and here i'm standing along the shoreline,
watching a ship sailing free
Dsus4+9 Dsus4+9 Dsus4+9 Dsus4+9...

               - 23-31-Dec-2001

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Six Sides of Jon

copyright ©2013 Nathan A. Smith


Mustache & sides of whitened hair
The sound of four strings fill the air
As if he was standing up on a chair
I've looked at Jon that way
He sings out loud for soup & bread
Oodles of noodling going on in his head
With the wide world of words - he'd make them tread
Before he'd let them play
I've looked at Jon from two sides now
From stage to page & still somehow
It's Jon's allusions, I recall
I really don't know Jon at all


He'd always make us laugh & drink
Or make us sober up & think
Before you'd see him coyly wink
And then he'd be on his way
But now he's always out of state
And we don't get to see his shiny pate
Instead we always have to wait
For Janice's email today
I've looked at Jon from four sides now
From stage to page & front to back (ACK!) & still somehow
It's Jon's allusions, I recall
I really don't know Jon at all


From cows to glory to pizza deals
The slithering, sickening way you feel
When your proctologist turns out to be real
I've seen Jon go that way.
But now it's just another challenging
He'll block us all from anything
And in the end he'll get the bling -
He'll always be in our way
I've seen his songs from six sides now
From stage to page (RAGE) & front to back (ACK!) & win or lose (BOOS) & still somehow
It's Jon's allusions, I recall
I really do love Jon after all

          - 19,20-Sep-2013

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Snowflakes

copyright ©1977 Nathan A. Smith
              revisions 2003 Nathan A. Smith

my eyes come open with your arms around me
now you stir, but still you're sleeping soundly
i close my eyes to see the dreams of you i've taken
ah, but soon you'll awaken - ah but soon you'll awaken
ah, but soon you'll awaken . . . still around me

oh-oh, my love, it's so wonderful knowing
that you're with me. oh look! it's started snowing!
through the branches easing down their soft, slow descent
like your arms, so gentle - like your touch, so gentle
like your kiss, so gentle . . . so knowing

we'll be lying here awhile in our arms on this morning
when each other's love becomes each other's reborning
and as the snowflakes spiral around from up above,
you can hear them, my love - you can hear them, my love
whispering to us, my love . . . on this morning

i wonder what they say about us as they play around the branches
i wonder if they know - will we always take it slow or take our chances
soon to be like snowflakes cast upon the open wind
swirling down and up again, never on the spiral's end,
always searching, searching for the wind around the branches

          - 1-Jan-1977 & 24-May-1977 & 2-Nov-2003

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Standing In Your Solitude     

- copyright © 2012 Nathan A. Smith
(capo on 2, D harmonica)

C Am
I'm sorry I don't have the right apple
F C
So I can only paint what I can see
C Em Am
If that's okay, then let me tackle
F G
This picture of you looking out at me
F G
looking out at me
Chorus:
F Em
There you are on the cover
Am G F
Like so many times before
Em C
Staring back in another
F G
Window's reflection by the door
C
In solitude, standing

I've never lived upstairs from you
I've never lived anywhere near Avenue L
You've come from so far away, so blue
In a silent sunrise at a cathedral's bell
at a cathedral's bell
Chorus

I don't have a wooden horse to give you
I don't even have a piece of wood
No Odysseus returning to have to live through
Your troubled garden losing all it's good
losing all it's good
Chorus

I'm sorry - I don't have any more night vision
So I can't even paint a single thing I see
In some language of liquid decision,
Not even a midnight picnic, so - just don't ask me
so - just don't ask me
Chorus
          - February 17th, 2012


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Somewhere Down The Road

copyright ©2012 Nathan A. Smith

capo on 4, C family chords, E harmonica, fingerpick


Fmaj7 Fmaj7 C
i'm watchin' this bird go fly away
Fmaj7 Fmaj7 C
there's somethin' different in the sky today
Fmaj7 Em
i'm watchin' her risin' . . . way up above the scrub pine
F G
as i'm gettin' ready to be movin' - on down the line. Maybe

chorus:
          Am G F F
          somewhere down the road
          Am G F F
          somewhere - i've heard it told
          Am G F F Em
          somewhere out in the wind
                    F G C
                    ......our lives could cross again


there aint no use to blame a thing
there aint no use to wait 'til spring
and even if she'd only stayed . . . for just another day
i'd've only stumbled through it in my own stupid way - but
chorus

  so -
maybe i should just drive off in my car
takin' my harmonicas & guitar
leavin' all these good folk . . . strugglin' here in town
cryin' out their stories - where no one hears a sound - but maybe
chorus

{instrumental/harmonica}

i'm wishin' there could be some other way
where everybody here 'd get a chance to stay
and nobody'd be forced . . . to hafta split apart
and nobody'd be forced . . . to hafta break a heart, and then
          somewhere down this road
          somewhere - we'd've all been told
          somewhere out in this wind
                    ...our lives would cross again & again & again . . . .

               - November 27th-December 7th, 2012

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Starlight Jailhouse Blues     

copyright ©2011 Nathan A. Smith

chorus:
Em Am
well, i'm back in the jailhouse again
F G
yes, i'm back in the jailhouse again - bad news!
C E7 Am
it's my own damn fault that i got myself caught
F G F G F C
i got them probation violatin' birthplace calculatin' starlight jailhouse blues

C E7 A7 D7 G7 C
it all started then, back in 2K-ten, when my brain went off to play...
C E7 A7 D7 G7
WAS there a star exactly as far as my mom was as old - to the day?
C E7 F Ab
a blast from the past, but! it was overcast - so i went back to make a bigger plan
C E7 Am G F G7 C
and downloaded over a thousand stars encompassing a human life span
chorus

with a new adventure in writin' up some code & a tasty bit of spherical trig
i cooked up an app in a javascript wrappin' that was only 100 K big
then when i was able, i cranked out the tables for all my friends & my family
and in the middle of it all, to my own downfall, of course, i did the same for me
chorus

coordinates & dates of birth light events soon filled up the printed page
the older you are, the dimmer the stars that typically match up with your age
but there's still a few bright ones left for you & here was one comin' for me
on April 24th, 2K-eleven, the mighty Aldebaran would be the best i could see
chorus

but new england's weather wouldn't get it together & the skies everywhere were looking grim
six states full of clouds, all the way up Vermont, except...for Burlington
oh, what a coincidence, i said to myself! the very same place where i was born!!!
only a six-hour's ride up to the lake's east side, to the very same hospital's lawn
chorus

so i packed up my car & drove both long & far to the top of the Green Mountain state
i got there just in time for a sunset so sublime & set up on the grass to wait
as the street grew dark down where i was parked, i kept on starin' out at the west
but another car stopped & out stepped a cop, one of Vermont's very best
chorus

trudgin' up the hill with a grin that could kill, he asked me what was goin' on
i said i was waitin' to see a certain star. he said i had to get off of the lawn
i conceded right away. he said, oh by the way - is that your car down below?
i had to admit, yes, that was it & he told me again i had to go.
chorus

it was still way too light, stars nowhere in sight, as we ambled down off the hill
he said hey! you're out of state & so he ran the plate as my heart sank into a chill
instead of seein' my star, i was taken in his car down to the Chittenden county jail
it was probation violation & down at the station there was no way i'd ever make bail
chorus

               - April 24-25, 2011

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Subliminal Criminal

copyright ©2004 Nathan A. Smith

you'll never see me use a gun
wont see me steal a dime
you'll never see me hit someone
but i lead a life of crime
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...criminal

you'll never see me run a scam
wont see me tell a lie
you'll never see me hide my hand
and here's the reason why:
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...criminal

     just take a look at our tv
          take a look at our stores
     just take a look at where we work
          take a look at our wars
     it's so subliminal - it's criminal!

you'll never see me cook the books
wont see me trade inside
even if ya take a hundred looks
with your eyes open wide
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...criminal

i dont need no armed invasion
dont need to blast the ground
my powers of persuasion
will turn your head around
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...criminal

     just take a look at our tv
          take a look at our stores
     just take a look at where we work
          take a look at our wars
     it's so subliminal - it's criminal!

you'll never see me beat my wife
wont see me cheat on her
but i cant ever treat her nice
just cant get sweet on her
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...
i'm a subliminal...criminal

          - november 8-10th, 2004

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Talkin' Mail-Order Russianic Bride Blues

copyright © 2013 Nathan A. Smith

well, my ol' friend, Bill - he'd figured it all out
after none of them girls would ever put out
he logged him up into the internet world
an' ordered hisself up a plastic girl
inflatable bliss
everything included, warnt no part left out!
anatomically correct
red haired, brunette, blonde or black
just click on the girl and then sit back
guaranteed anonymity
naked sheer simplicity

well, somethin made me hold onto my mouse
cuz maybe i wuz thinkin of somethin else
so we both wuz waitin most nervously
and then, finally, we got our chance to see
i looked over at Bill
"hmmuh", i mumbled
"not exactly what i had in mind...
seems like you'd have to be the one to blow"
but, what the hell, he wuz happy though
cant blame him
very good ol' friend
sometimes the speed of happiness is
better than the speed of loneliness

soon enough i'd snuck up real close
touchin her where she'd be touchin me most
but there warnt nothin there what could appeal
there warnt nothin there jus right to the feel
i couldn't kiss that
not now, nor never, no how!
period, full stop! aaahhhh NO!
...unless i was become very properly drunk
so even though she was demurely quiet
there'd have to be more for me to buy it
i waved goodbye to my good ol' friend
wishin him joys without no end
wishin him enough might
wishin him a good night
wishin him a good luck
wishin him a good ....

then come one day i wuz low in doubt
found some sites needed checkin out
mail-order Russianic brides galore
young, beautiful dolls shipped right to my door
no questions asked
no screennames, no login account
just a credit card...
no green cards - we're talkin marriage here!
so i *clicked* on it & ordered me one
it took more than six weeks to arrive
on a Saturday, in a big box marked "LIVE"
but i didnt hear nothin
tried to lift it
too heavy to carry it in
i closed the door
.....I waited.....& waited.....& waited.....still waitin...
then I opened the door again

i struggled to drag the big box inside
anxious to see my Russianic bride
i cut the tape and opened up the cover
peerin inside for my lifelong lover
there she was! big as life!
got her out, o boy!
she stood right there in her Russianic hat
an a big Russianic coat at that
she wuz even wearin Jackie Onassis's
big designerie dark glassises!! wow!!

but she was all covered up in heavy clothes
from the top of her head down to the tip of her toes
so i reached up and gently removed her hat
and said "welcome to my humble flat"
but i didnt hear nothin
took off her scarf, rolled it up in the hat
took off her coat, hung it up on the hook
took off her boots, put em down by the door
took off her gloves....
but i left her dark glasses on
still didnt hear no nothin...so i lit up a cigarette
...guessed she didnt want one
...took a long pull of whiskey

so then i got the nerves of fire
and tore off the rest of her attire
but when i did, i nearly died!
it wuz another Russianic bride inside!
just like the other one (only smaller)
rolled into another one
maybe a different scarf though
still covered up in clothes - what the f...?
so i reached up again and removed her hat
and took the rest off in 10 seconds flat
still another one, smaller than before
stood there in the hallway by my door
still i aint been hearin no nothin
behind those big dark glasses
lookin jus' like Jackie Onassis
guess it wuz time to put out the cigarette
...took another very lo-o-o-ong pull of whiskey

by now i was doin nothin good
removin her layers as fast as i could
and somewhere close to aroun' midnight
under the gleamin, screamin hallway light
after the phillips-head and the vice-a-grips
and the socket wrench and the big tin snips
i got to the end - to the very Bitter End
a Very Unfortunate Man again
still no money from Jackie Onassis
despite holdin on to them big dark glasses
and in my other hand was this little bottle...
it was Angustura Bitters in fact, ...with a note inside
...(i'm gettin out my tweezers now)...a note inside that read:

"Hello!, hello!, my good ol' friend
I hope you dug this through to the end!
Now, no hard feelins!, no ill will!
Twas all a set-up,"
signed "your ol' friend, Bill"

                    - 24 feb 2013

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There's A Nap For That

- copyright © 2014 Nathan A. Smith

G chords, C harp


the morning began kinda like it always does G C G
my eyes were all gummed over & my ears were still all in a buzz G C G
i shook off the blanket, then i quickly yanked it back C C G
there was something cold in the air, something way out of whack D C G
my coffee cup was missing & my beer had all gone flat D F
now why get back into the race with that rat? C Em Am6
then something inside of me said "there's a ... nap for that" FCD G


still, i got up so slowly & walked way over there
then i turned around so slowly & walked way back over here
took a peek out the window, took a peek out the door
then i began to wonder - what in the world did i do that for?
still those dishes in the sink, still no food for the cat
now how were the two of us gonna chew on the fat?
then something inside of me said "there's a ... nap for that"


bridge:
          i needed to get organized, needed to make up a list Em Am
          something'd make me sure that nothing was missed C D
          it took an hour to find a pencil & by then i forgot Em Am
          what it was i was doing, but it didn't bother me a lot F CGD


so i went back to my room & took another slow look around
had this crappy feeling it coulda been something profound
or maybe if i thought about it & if i'd tried to recall
whatever it was that kept me staring at the wall -
imagining my Walter Mitty kitty coming up to bat
over on the baseball couch, asleep in my hat
and something inside of me said "there's a ... nap for that"

               - Sept.19-20th, October 9th, 2014

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This Demise I'm In

lyrics copyright © 2010 Nathan A. Smith
music shamelessly stolen from Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.30, 3rd movement

{instrumental phrase}

morning comes in cruely
with its piercing light . . . of pain
bed sheets, so unruly,
from those playfull nights, . . . still remain
i wont touch 'em
i wont move 'em
now . . . unable to rise out of this demise i'm in

the ashtray softy smoulders
as the walls cry out i'm deaf . . . as a stone
still i rub my shoulders
still i deny you've left . . . me alone
no, no - never!
no, not forever!
maybe . . . never to rise out of this demise i'm in


          tell me never will you part
          tell me never will you go
          tell me deep within your heart
          tell me now it isn't so
          come and tell me your desires
          nothing's ever as it seems
          come and tell me what inspires
          all the secrets of your dreams


{instrumental phrase}

morning pours around me
with its languid song . . . all aglow
bed sheets now surround me
with no pain of long . . . long ago
i hear robins
sweet, sweet robins
and soon . . . i may rise out of this demise i'm in

               - May 22-23rd, 2010

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Through This Day

copyright © 2009 Nathan A. Smith
(capo on 2, fingerpick, lick: e3-e2-e0-b3-g2)
D A
this world's runnin crazy from town to town
G A D
it's tryin ta kill ya, kick ya when you're down
D A
ya gotta be ready, gotta be on your toes
G A D
ya only get the one chance, ya know how it goes
F#m Em
and everytime ya think ya know what it'll do
G A
it's pullin the solid ground out from under you
F#m Em
but it's alright, it'll be okay
G A D
you're gonna make it through this day

big storms are brewin, behind the cloudy skies
you can see them gatherin in everyone's eyes
these times are angry, these times are cold
these times are hungry for our fears to unfold
your eyes look troubled - come lean on me
we're in this together, now - an' i can see that you can see
that it's alright, it'll be okay
we're gonna make it through this day

this road we're travellin is a washed-out trail
but we wont stumble, no, we wont fail
when we get tired, we can rest awhile
then we're back up on our feet for another mile
every step of the way seems like we've been hurled
down against the bottom of the whole wide world
but it's alright, it'll be okay
we're gonna make it through this day

instrumental half verse

so, go ahead and worry, go ahead and cry
but dont you ever give up on this world, dont you say goodbye
whatever the monsters we may need to tame or kill
we're gonna find enough of our strength, enough of our will
just take my hand, here, and let me take yours
through all the battles, through all the wars
and it's alright, it'll be okay
we're gonna make it through this day
and it's alright, it'll be okay
we're gonna make it through this day

          - Feb26-Mar03, 2009

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Tomorrow Could Be Our Day

copyright ©2006 Nathan A. Smith
C C C C
C Fmaj7 Fmaj7 Fmaj7
(efg) C G C

C C C C
it's gettin cold by the window, lookin out on the street
C Fmaj7 Fmaj7
guess it's time to get movin, movin on my feet
(efg) C G C
tomorrow could be our day
C C C C
i'm packin my suitcase, packin up a few clothes
C Fmaj7 Fmaj7
gotta leave in the dead of night, take all them back roads
(efg) C G C
tomorrow could be our day
(bridge)
E7
gotta find a way for us to cash in
Fmaj7
gotta find a way for our ship to come in
D9
gotta find somethin' that'll take us real far
G G
somethin that'll let us hitch onto our star....
............... C C C
dontcha worry, baby . . . i'll be comin' back
C Fmaj7 Fmaj7
just as sure as those trains comin' down that track
(efg) C G C
tomorrow could be our day

....(inst w/bridge)

well, hello, baby . . . hope things are goin well
guess it's gettin kinda crazy here, anyone could tell
tomorrow could be our day
our love'll be stronger when i get back home
it's only you i long for, and we're so alone
tomorrow could be our day

hang in there, baby, i think i know how ya feel
but i'm gettin so close to closin this deal
i miss you so much, at night it's even worse
everytime i reach out for you, baby, it hurts....

well, the weather's gettin warmer, sun'll be shinin down
pretty soon the two of us can cake-walk into town
tomorrow could be our day

....(inst fading out)
          - march 23-26, 2006

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The Tortured, Laughing Sky

copyright © 1986 Nathan A. Smith
double drop D

on a blur of cold and carnal ground
lying still in falling, burning sound
of screaming, jagged metal rain
a soldier holds his bleeding brain
beneath the tortured laughing sky

behind the hidden window pane
the mother reads the words again
alone in fading candlelight
she cries out long into the night
far from the tortured laughing sky

the sargeant counts remaining men
and marks his clipboard with his pen
he'll need a dozen more to fill
his lines to make a better kill
for the tortured laughing sky

far from the frenzied neon crowd
of spinning clicking ticker shroud
a hundred more hit the line
in their tragic race against time
to forget the tortured laughing sky

in armored walls of ugly noise
the grown-up children heave their toys
with total power of the game
that plays with missiles and with names
oh, they need the tortured laughing sky

they say there's given good in men
that truth and love will finally win
but i fear that in the years to come
our children looking for the sun
will find the tortured laughing sky

          - October 22nd, 1968

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Travellin' With Ellis

copyright ©2007 Nathan A. Smith
drop D, D harmonica
D F#m C D x2
Bm F#m G A
D F#m G A D
C D C D
C D C Em A
Bm F#m G A D


once again they're runnin' down the dark grey of the road
headin' for the next nightly scene
they've got their guitars ridin' shotgun in the cold
and their cars are guzzlin' gasoline
and the mighty Orion's blazin' 'crost the blackened sky
and the landscape lies granite 'neath the moon
an' the frozen air's locked up any chance there might be snow
as they go hurtlin' down the highway . . . ridin' on a tune

the one without the other might be just a silly ol' fool
but when they go together, they get back a lot of their ol' cool
and there's so much more that the sky could tell us
but that's the way it goes . . . travellin' with Ellis

well, the first time i saw him i guess i gave him a simple glance
but the more i saw, the more i couldnt see
i figured there was more to this than mere circumstance
an' i wondered if he'd like to talk with me
so i let him take his time to step out a good arm's length
from behind a simple grain of sand
as he explained me to myself, reflectin' back his strength
like a telescopic view . . . . . in each hand

the one without the other might just break a fingernail
but when they go together that guitar of his could take off and sail
an' there's so much more that the sky could tell us
but that's the way it goes . . . travellin' with Ellis

by the grey in our faces you'd think we'd wisen up
instead of grinding out our gears on this road
there's no money in it - no nothin' you could touch
no - nothin' an ordinary man'd wanna hold
but the mighty Orion's blazin' 'crost the blackened sky
and the landscape lies granite 'neath the moon
an' our engines are beltin' out a powertrain of words
borne along the spirit . . . ridin' on this tune

the one without the other wouldnt even amount to a hint of a song
but when they go together guys like us - we cant do anything wrong
and there's so much more the sky could tell us
but that's the way it goes . . . travellin' with Ellis

          - february 14th, 2007

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True-Life Stories

copyright ©1988 Nathan A. Smith

D
Sometimes when I head on back into town
F#m
The city lights - they kinda bring me down,
D7
An I dont feel much like foolin aroun -
G
Dont feel like cruisin in cars.
Gm
So I duck inside the bars
D
An I go lookin for the friend
A
Who will listen through to the end
G D
While I tell it all to him - in a story.

G G A

D
It wasnt all that long ago
F#m
It seemed I was always itchin to go
D7
Just waitin for the time to hit the road
G
An leave it all behind -
Gm
An clear the cobwebs from my mind,
D
Just the way so many do -
A
Runnin from instead of to
G D
What they imagine to be their true-life story.

G A#
OK - sometimes you could get bored
D A
When you have what you been lookin for.
Em G
But other times you're pullin on the door -
D A
You gotta go back out and look for more.

D
So what I might be tellin him
F#m
It aint so easy to say it when
D7
Nobody here knows how to win
G
Their lifelong dreams, anyway -
Gm
Maybe they'll all just fade away
D
Like the pockets in my jeans,
A
Always losin all my things
G D
Leavin just a few ol dreams for a story

G F#m D A

D
I suppose the word still gets around
F#m
Amoung the guys still back in town.
D7
From time to time they might have found
G
Some dreams beyond the cars,
Gm
The city lights and the bars.
D
But those dreams come to an end
A
And when they need to find a friend
G D
They return to where they've been the main story.

G G A

D
Some day soon they're gonna get up an go
F#m
An find that home across the road
D7
Where they can work on gettin old,
G
On turning off the mind
Gm
An leavin energy behind
D
Where the TV camera crews -
A
Out lookin for the evenin news -
G D
Have decided how its used in the story.

G A#
And this time it aint gonna be that good
D A
To come back with more than you should,
Em G
While the others still havent understood -
D A
An doncha know I never thought they would.

D
And whoever winds up stayin there:
F#m
Either they're stuck or else they dont care -
D7
But then there's a few who still want to share
G
Their lifelong dreams, anyway,
Gm
With whoever might come their way.
D
And it can still make us blue
A
Recallin all that we went through
G D
While we were living out our true-life stories.

G F#m D A

D
So when you're feelin a little down
F#m
An ya want to head on back inta town
D7
An ya dont feel much like foolin aroun -
G
Just watchin the guys in the cars -
Gm
So ya duck into the bars
D
An ya go lookin for the friend
A
Who will listen through to the end -
G D
Who wants to hear it all again - this story.

G G A

D
It wasnt all that long ago
F#m
It seemed you were always itchin to go
D7
Just waitin for that turn in the road
G
That left us all behind.
Gm
You'd got it stuck inside your mind
D
Just the way you've seen us do -
A
Runnin from instead of through
G D
What we imagine to be our true-life story

G A#
And this time - unlike before -
D A
You know what it is that you been lookin for.
Em G
And now you cant stay behind that door.
D A
Its time once again to get out and look for more.

D
So what you wind up tellin him -
F#m
It doesnt come out all that easy when
D7
Nobody there's found a way to win
G
Their lifelong dreams, anyway -
Gm
Maybe they'll all just fade away
D
Like the colors on your jeans,
A
Disappearin at the seams -
G D
Leavin just a few ol dreams for a story.

G F#m D A
Em G D A

D
F#m
D7
G
Gm
D
A
G D

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Waking Here In Your Forest

copyright ©2007 Nathan A. Smith

xx9907(Em) xx7705(Em)
xx9907(Em) xx7705(Dm/B)

waking here in your forest,
xx9907 xx7705
with your hand enclosed in mine.
xx9907 xx7705
the world is stretching out before us,
xx9907 xx7705
waiting for the turn in time -
xx5503(Cm/B) xx4402(Bm)
waiting for your forgiveness -
x3550x 02440x
waiting for your tearful words.
133010(Fmaj7) 332000(Cmaj7) 020003(G/E)
the branches heavy in the stillness,
Fmaj7 320000(G) 002200(A9) A9 A9...
the sky full of fearful birds.

waking here in your forest,
you reclaim your playful hand
and choose a footpath set before us
in this age at your command.
i try to see around your laughter,
around the trees you dart behind.
my footsteps vainly circle after -
you'll always be too hard to find.

. . . 133210 32000x x02200
. . . long ago here in this forest
. . . 133010 32000x x02200
. . . a mammoth road of steel & stone
. . . 133210 32000x x02200
. . . brought our ancestors before us,
. . . Fmaj7 32000x Em
. . . over lands they tried to own.
. . . 133010(Fmaj7/G) Em7
. . . today it's crumbled through the shoulders,
. . . Fmaj7 Em
. . . its bridges scattered on the ground.
. . . Fmaj7/G Em7
. . . a distant city faintly smolders -
. . . Fmaj7 3200xx(G) x02200(A9)
. . . but nothing there now makes a sound.

waking here in your forest,
patient for a certain song
a new bird could be singing for us.
something you've known all along,
something missing its beginning,
something encoded on our heart.
we listen now for the new one's singing -
we listen for everything to start
          - may 28-october 16, 2007

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We're Drinking Down Our Coffee

copyright ©2003 Nathan A. Smith

G Em G
well, here we are on a very high noon
C D G
and the king is stirring up a war
G Em G
we've each got some coffee and we've each got a spoon
C D G
and the king is stirring up a war
C G
he stirs to the left and he stirs to the right
C D
and we stare out a thousand yards
G Em G
we're drinking down our coffee on a very high noon
C D G
while the king is stirring up a war

me and my buddies in the tank, playing cards
and the king is playing out a war
the winning and the losing doesnt seem all that hard
when the king is playing out a war
we've each got our missiles and we've each got our bombs
all decorated with colorful HELLOs
we're drinking down our coffee and we're playing out our cards
and the king is playing out a war
Eb Em
now, never you mind what you might hear them say
Eb Em
in those boardrooms on the upper floors
Eb Em
it doesnt concern you, so look the other way
Bb C D
and, as always, keep going to the stores!
G Em G
C D G

so, here we are on a very high noon
and the king is makin' up more war
we're making up more coffee and we're making up a tune
and the king is makin' up more war
we're forcing big business at the end of our big guns
no matter what anybody says
and we're drinkin' down our coffee and we're singin' out our tune
and the king is makin' up more war

Eb Em
Eb Em
Eb Em
Bb C D
G Em G
C D G
          - march 17-19, 2003

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The Windowsill

copyright ©2005 Nathan A. Smith

am7x02213 3-2-0.3.0
g/d32003x .3-1-0.0-2am


am7 3-2-0.3.0
a silence across the windowsill
g/d .3-1-0.0-2am
as darkness overtakes the hill.
am7 3-2-0.3.0
these eyelids hold my body still.
g/d .3-1-0.0-2am
i already know there'll be another kill.
g f
this knot in my throat is strangling my mouth,
c g d f
preventing my heart from screaming out
em am
.........in the evening's chill.

from a distance, a tolling of a bell
in the thunder, beyond another hill.
yet there's no news - nothing there to tell -
as i'm waiting here in the evening's chill.
this knot in my throat is strangling my mouth,
preventing my heart from screaming out
..........at the next kill.

dm fmaj7
there was a morning, there was a sunrise,
c cmaj7 em7 (020000)
there was a reason to ring in the day...
dm fmaj7
why cant i see it? why cant i remember?
c g f em
why cant i rip all these curtains awa-a-a-ay?

this hospital room, pretending to be still,
is gnawing on the shoulders of my will.
these feverish hands grip the windowsill
and i'm burning up in the evening's chill.
this knot in my throat is strangling my mouth,
preventing my heart from screaming out
..........at the next kill.

          - june 21-28, 2005

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Wolverine Joe

copyright © 1974 Nathan A. Smith

way up in the hills of the Bitterroot range
tough as a truck an meaner than a train
lived a brute who went by the name of Wolverine Joe
now the world was already in plenty of pain
before this fella come outta the rain
and landed in Darby and said "my name is Wolverine Joe"
oh lord, cantcha see the woe?
throughout Montana and the hills of Idaho
now Darby used to be a pretty calm town
round as a dollar and twice as sound
until from the mountains, crashing on down came Wolverine Joe

he left six dead in the main street bar
for laughin at his nose an pullin on his hair
when anybody fell to the dirty street there was Wolverine Joe
he moved on down inta Gibbonsville
where he upped his hate an he upped his kill
causin disorder an movin at will was Wolverine Joe
oh lord, wontcha see the woe
throughout Montana and the hills of Idaho
did ya ask for mercy? did ya ask for your life?
didja fall from a .45 or die by a knife?
better keep away your children & your wife from Wolverine Joe

Wolverine Joe from the Bitterroot range
tough as a truck an meaner than a train
everybody trembled when they heard his name
life aint been the same since he came

well, the next sorry town to run inta his gun
was a little further south on the river Salmon
people didnt know enough about the big one called Wolverine Joe
he chased the sheriff outta town on a horse
took a buncha money from the banks by force
an they all agreed there was nothin worse than Wolverine Joe
oh lord, cantcha see the woe?
throughout Montana and the hills of Idaho
his name was spreadin all over the place
people ran away at the sight of his face
towns were made empty in a mad dash race from Wolverine Joe

well, things were gettin rough and they needed a plan
as ta how the hell ta get rid of that man
sittin in basements to set free the land from Wolverine Joe
they gathered up a posse about three hunnert strong
outside of Clayton, whether right or wrong,
they all declared life wouldnt be long for Wolverine Joe
oh lord, cantcha stop the woe?
throughout Montana and the hills of Idaho
it was nearly nine in the mornin on the day
they met in the valley an started blazin away
some said he was dead, some said he got away...oh, Wolverine Joe

          - July 6th, 1974

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You Better Never Quit It

copyright ©1997 Nathan A. Smith

it's another hot night...another pair of headlights
sometimes it seems like the stuff only dreams will bring
other times it seems like nothing else means a thing
you better never quit it until you cant get it tonight
no, you better never quit it until you cant get it tonight

there's a key in the door...there's a shirt on the floor
this is the way it started today - dont you know?
this is the way you knew what to say - aint it so?
so - you better never quit it until you cant get it to go
no, you better never quit it until you cant get it to go

watch out - you cant go by what you hear
get ready, babe - you dont want to disappear

there's a long way to go...there's still the next road
and you want the brass ring, you want *everything* - right now
but you wont break a thing until you can sing it out loud
no, you better never lose it until you cant use it no more
no, you better never lose it until you cant use it no more

          - August, 1997

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You Could Be Wrong

copyright ©1998 Nathan A. Smith

he thinks he plays it cool
he thinks that he's indestructable
he thinks they all are fools
he thinks its all invisible
but, ya know - he could be wrong
yeah, ya know - he could be wrong

she thinks she knows the score
she thinks she knows the plan
she thinks she knows even more
she thinks she knows her man
but, ya know - she could be wrong
yeah, ya know - she could be wrong

he thinks there is no doubt
he thinks she's under his thumb
he thinks she'll never find out
he thinks she's really that dumb
but, ya know - he could be wrong
yeah, ya know - he could be wrong

she thinks he looks so cute
she's got a knight in armour
this guy - he aint no brute -
he's never gonna harm her
but, ya know - she could be wrong
yeah, ya know - she could be wrong

the neighbors think they're nice
they make a lovely couple
they think they're sugar and spice
they never think there's any trouble
but, ya know - they could be wrong
yeah, ya know - they could be wrong

today i heard a siren call
today i saw an ambulance
it looked like a simple fall
i didnt see any violence
but, ya know - i could be wrong
yeah, ya know - i could be wrong

          - april 1998

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You Keep Me Going

copyright ©2000, Nathan A. Smith

to the untrained eye it might not seem
there's a whole lot going on.
we catch the clouds rolling in at night
and then we wait for the dawn.
but if you take a closer look
behind the scenary
you might find, with any kind of luck,
how much you mean to me...

you keep me going
you keep me going - oh, you know you do
you keep me going
you keep me going - yes you know it's true
though the winds may howl and the rains pour down
and thunder blast all night
it doesnt matter to me at all with you right by my side
you keep me going...

as soon as tomorrow you might see me
still out here on this road
with a change of clothes and a beat-up guitar -
not all that much of a load...
and even if it's raining
you dont have to stop the car.
sometimes it's better from the outside
where it's easier to tell how far....

you keep me going
you keep me going - oh, you know you do
you keep me going
you keep me going - yes you know it's true
though the high-beams glare and the big wheels scream
and the truck horns blast all night
it doesnt matter to me at all even if you leave my sight
you keep me going...

there's a whole lot of broken people out there
pouring out a lot of pain.
some dont know it and some dont care
and some are trapped in chains.
and it's hard to keep from melting down
to keep from shattering apart
and everytime i can feel the end
of the flickering in my heart...

you keep me going
you keep me going - oh, you know you do
you keep me going
you keep me going - yes you know it's true
though the steel may pound and the sparks shoot high
and the furnace blast all night
it doesnt matter to me at all if you're still by my side
you keep me going...

so if you feel you got a right to know
what's lately been on my mind
i must admit, right here and now,
my life's been hard to find
right now i'm not exactly all that sure myself
where all these pieces go
sometimes it feels like i'm shot full of holes
but there's one thing that i know....

you keep me going
you keep me going - oh, you know you do
you keep me going
you keep me going - yes you know it's true
though the bullets fly and the grenades fall
and the bombings blast all night
it doesnt matter to me at all if you're still in my sight
you keep me going...

          - 15-18 july 2000

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Your Sparrow's Song

copyright ©1986 Nathan A. Smith

i can never explain the stillness i know
when morning comes us alone
the soft silent pain that we keep in our eyes
is making me burn like a stone
and when i am watching the stars come apart
alone i am lying close to you
alone i am lying close to you, my love
hiding these mornings in my heart
with your deep forest hair
and your midnight chamber eyes
and the fragile language of your kiss
how i wish i could hold
your sparrow's song in mine
and give your broken wings a rest

oh, they sit on each word as they've done before
for so many times you must leave
before you have heard that same deck of cards
they always keep stashed up their sleeve
and when you've been gone for a long, long time
you can talk to them then
you can talk to them then, my love
and pass around bottles of wine
with your deep forest hair
and your midnight chamber eyes
and the fragile language of your kiss
and i wish i could hold
your sparrow's song in mine
and give your broken wings a rest

oh there's no way to know what you must go through
when i still want to be nearer
you keep your eyes low and nod with each word
but inside my full-length mirror
there's too many places that bend and rearrange
the picture you'd really want to see
the picture you'd really want to see, my love
- i dont know if my mirror can change
with your deep forest hair
and your midnight chamber eyes
and the fragile language of your kiss
still i wish i could hold
your sparrow's song in mine
and give your broken wings a rest

well neither of us knows the shadows we pursue
that drag us away with the dawn
and now we must close this still morning flame
whose glimmering hour is gone
and when the passing clouds have taken me away
i hope you'll be smiling inside
i hope you'll be smiling inside, my love
for it hurts when i see you today
with your deep forest hair
and your midnight chamber eyes
and the fragile language of your kiss
oh i wish i could hold
your sparrow's song in mine
and give your broken wings a rest

          - march 1970

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