no bomb is smart
(2004)

1 - no more songs (Phil Ochs)

 

2 - sugarcane

she was 93 almost 94 lived in the south bronx for 9 decades or more
rockin in her rockin chair listening to the radio
through her radio she could see the world beyond the window on her 17th floor
rockin all day that's what the neighbors would say
there was a fireman with a broken leg he got digging somebody out of that horrible cave
s'what the man on the radio said, listening to the man on the radio
so she got up out of her favorite chair, grabbed her can, hobbled to the door
fumbled with her keys and her purse and her hat
her nimble brown fingers buttoned her coat with a snap and she was out of there
down 17 floors the elevator was broken
it was a long way down, determination not hoping, it was an even longer way across town
the A train, the B train, the C train came about once an hour
but finally as the sun was turning ground zero grey
she found a man in a black rubber all weather coat with a broken leg
and she handed him her cane and it started to rain and she hobbled back across the bleak terrain
heading back to the bronx on many a train but the man on the radio never said her name
she was 93 almost 94 lived in the south bronx for 9 decades or more
rockin in her rockin chair listening to the radio
through her radio she could see the world beyond the window on her 17th floor
rockin all day that's what the neighbors would say

 

3 - gangster of love

you say you want a second chance
how many times have you walked away
in your big pants ignoring any possibility
you say you'll do the talking for me
how many times have you sold our souls
put 'em up for sale, double coupon special
in this humidity
I just want to say
I break the law every day
to love you completely
we must be gangsters of love
loud and proud and a little
like an orefors water crystal
when this love's not killing me
you said he wants to see the numbers
I look around and I count two hearts
and one bottle of crazy glue
and you must've counted wrong
when I was counting on you

 

4 - won't let go

the very first time I was learning to ride
without training wheels or you by my side
down a steep hill I took a right

there was a car coming at me and one from behind
don't let go – just hold on

keep your eyes on the road
and your heart in a song
whatever happened is already gone
don't let go – don't let go
then when I was 10, you gave me a guitar

and I said, “dad, I'm gonna be a big star”
and you said, “Son, you better practice real hard
but to me you already are”
she took you to the doctor to get you checked out

see what that headache was really about
when he returned, I thought the news would be bad

now I'm saying these words to you dad
then I heard your voice and all my fear disappeared

and I know exactly why we are here
it's for this moment to recognize
that you will always be by my side
and I won't let go... won't let go

 

5 - i am the enemy

I never wanted a catastrophe
but I called my mom

she said turn on your TV
suddenly everything had changed
blue skies were reigning with 4 burning planes
and I'm the enemy 'cause I got a color TV
and I'm an american too
yeah I'm the enemy
got to work pay bills
try to support my family
I thank God for freedom and red white and blue
and I don't want to go to war
but it seems that violence has blown off my door
when I think of my little ones in bed asleep
and how I'd do anything to keep them safe and free
yeah, I'm the enemy 'cause I'm funding a fake democracy
singing american tunes
yeah, I'm the enemy 'cause I got a color TV
part muslim, part christian and jew
yeah, I'm the enemy take your aim I'm suicide candy
I thank God for freedom and red white and blue
hee nay mah tov oo-ma-na-im che vet a chem com ya chad
man cham cha-yam different yet living all together
and if I am not for me then who am I
if I am only for me then what am I
if not now then when
in 6000 years have we learned anything
yeah, who's the enemy 'cause I got a color TV
and I'm american too
yeah, it's a double whammy
if we eat the lambs what will the lambs eat
I thank God for freedom and red white and blue
and green and gold and black and purple
and oprah and yellow and om

 

6 - no bomb is smart

well this is one more voice across the great big
this land is your land and this is two more cracks

across the back 'cause this was my land
well it's my time to sing now
I'm singing real loud
'cause I'm not gonna watch this silently in pain
and I'm not gonna let this earth go down the drain
once you bought up all the public transit tracks
so there was no way for us to go back home
had to buy a car to get to town
made sure that the bus station's all run down
well it's my time to sing now
I'm singing real loud
'cause I'm not gonna watch this silently in pain
and I'm not gonna let this earth go down the drain
first you said they miscounted the votes
your brother said “no pretzels george, so you won't choke”
how could a coup like this happen in america
easily” that's what the brother said “I already told ya”
it's not about good guy
it's not about bad guy
a brain's a brain don't ask me why
but if I am me and you are we
and we're all living in democracy
then it's hypocrisy to keep pushing us apart
no bomb is smart no bomb is smart
now I'm riding on the back of a ten ton truck
through yucca mountain safe and quiet
as a nuclear bomb or chernobyl fountain
happy 50th birthday B-52 bomber
CNN how can you glorify this drama
have you noticed that america's on fire
fueled by the high octane bush bang bang empire
it's not about good guy
it's not about bad guy
a brain's a brain don't ask me why
but if I am me and you are we
and we're all breathing in democracy
then it's hypocrisy to keep pushing us apart
no bomb is smart no bomb is smart
no bomb is smart no bomb is smart

 

7 - bucket of blues

seems like I stepped into
a bucket of blues

well I don't know where I fit in
and I'm so tired
of fair-weathered friends
seems like I stepped into
a bucket of blues
well I drove down to philadelphia
must have been hell for you
filled up my tank with gasoline
seems like your heart
needs more vaseline
seems like I stepped into
a bucket of blues
if I was king of the world
I would be queen of the world
and I would give everyone
whatever they want everyone
but as for me
I stepped into a bucket of blues
you were supposed to come over
help me write this song
but you never showed up
and I wrote it all wrong
seems like I must have stepped into
a bucket of blues
I'm gonna wash that man
right outta my head

 

8 - obviously

you can keep those cardboard boxes
so your TV's safe for your next move

and those 10,000 t-shirts
most of which were never used
you can keep your heart locked up tight
in a constant state of blues
but you can't keep me
you can keep those dishes dirty
maybe they'll learn to wash themselves
about the time the laundry figures out how
to fold and find the shelves
you can keep online for hours
and never come to bed
you can keep on trying to run away
from the demons in your head
but you can't keep me
I have tried for so many years
I have cried more than a million tears
if teardrops were dollars
I'd be a millionaire
obviously, you just don't care
you can keep right on ignoring me
I know that's your style
but you said this was forever
are we riding the last mile
you can make this dream a nightmare
you can make a good thing bad
you can go ahead and blame me
for everything we never had
but you can't keep me

 

9 - ride this ride

I'm gonna ride this ride
just as long as I can

mend your heart be your friend
kiss you deep as I can bend
I'm gonna ride this ride
just as long as I can
we met 3 years ago
at the double-t-diner love struck rodeo
and I was buckin' to be free
as I recall you were happy
just buckin' me
long beach heartbreak hotel
the other girl knew you
a little too well
you were drinkin' and druggin'
and I was suspicious
now I'm pushin' your vacuum cleaner
and washin' your dishes
all this yellin' is drivin' me crazy
you accuse me of writin' songs
and bein' lazy and you say
the way I'm makin' a livin' is
just like a gambler
well that's why you bet
I drive a 69 rambler
I'm gonna ride this ride
just as long as I can
mend your heart
be your friend
kiss you deep as I can bend

 

10 - the other man

there's a chunk of blue gum stuck to the bottom
of the bunk bed that I'm lying under

laying low looking up through the wood slats
counting the lightning distance by thunder
tonight we'll drive across the city
we've been sleeping on the other side
and we'll put lots of hairspray in our hair
to look pretty anticipation keeps us alive
now I don't know where I'm going
I barely know where I've been
all I know is I'm still looking for...
the other man
the buzz of the air conditioner working
overtime trying to keep us cool
but I seem to remember passing a warning sign
back when having a hammer was the perfect tool
tonight we'll drive to the radio station
negotiate the angles of our guitars
it's a chance to sing to this nation
use our wings and get out of these cars
now I don't know where I'm going
I barely know where I've been
all I know is I'm still looking for...
the other man
when I was 3, I wanted to be 10
when I was 10, wanted to be 16
when I was red, I wanted to be blue
when I was green, I wanted to be you
then came a tap upon my shoulder
telling me that every age is older
now, I'm not a millionaire but I can take you there
'cause what I've seen is priceless: mountains
oceans and hands and you can go there too
you just gotta tell your president, your prime minister
tell your senator and your janitor
bank tellers and lawyers, and sons and daughters
mothers and brothers, sisters and lovers
fathers and nurses and drivers of hearses
rabbis and cantors and grocery man handlers
and all other spiritual custodians
to stop buying and lying, cheating, deleting
mistreating and bombing, 'cause I am...
the other man
then we'll drive across the country
we've been weeping on the other side
and we'll put lots of anti-ammunition
in our hearts and lungs
it's not the gas masks that'll keep us alive now
I know where I'm going
and I know where you've been
and I'm happy just to free...
the other man
'cause I'm the other man
that's who I am
I'm the other man

 

11 - rio's home

wednesday morning
a little bit cloudy but mostly clear

step outside pick up the paper
see his picture right there
rio's home from college
home for the weekend
it's memorial day
s'gonna go out for a little dancing fun
momma, everything's okay
I'm going out with the boys for a little dancing fun
stepped out of the car into the barrel of a gun
for 10 dollars near north charles
the red sirens scream past the silent jaws
how do you say goodbye to rio
muffled by his momma's cries
how do you say goodbye to rio
you shake your head and stuff the lie
me, I drove around town in my little blue van
I live on the other west side
I take my far away friends down to the inner harbor
for a chesapeake taxi ride at night
I come home to my lover
and we watch “law and order” in stereo
sometimes I like to go out for a little dancing fun
it could have been me facing that big barrel of a gun
for 10 dollars near north charles
the red sirens scream past the silent jaws
and that's how I would say goodbye to rio
muffled by my momma's cries
that's how I would say goodbye to rio
shake your head and stuff the lie
disappearing the bullets won't
disappear the war won't
disappear the anger, but maybe what it's for
and you shake your head at the tv
and you curse the radio
and when it comes time to vote
sometimes we do, sometimes we don't
and that's how you say goodbye to rio
muffled by his momma's cries
that's how you say goodbye to rio
you shake your head and stuff the lie

 

12 - a different star

I looked around but you were gone
I looked around but you were gone

I looked around but you were gone
now I'm singing this song alone
I looked around but you were gone
I looked around for days
I looked around for days
I looked around for days
could not find you anyways
I looked around for days
now I wonder what I'm gonna do
yeah I wonder what I'm gonna do
she was the kid the teacher didn't see
she was the kid the teacher didn't see
she was the kid the teacher didn't see
but oh she means the world to me
she was the kid the teacher didn't see
I heard you were living in texas
I heard you were living in texas
I heard you were living in texas
must be a lot of places to hide messes
I heard you were living in texas
I looked at the window blinds so long
I looked at the window blinds so long
I looked at the window blinds so long
I can see the curve in the straightest line
I looked at the window blinds so long
now I wonder what
I'm gonna do without you
yeah I wonder what I'm gonna do
I guess I'll pick up this guitar

I guess I'll pick up this guitar
I guess I'll pick up this guitar
point it towards a different star