Lyrics: Radical Rags

1. Radical Rags
2. Kings of the Midway
3. Black Waters
4. Bourgeois Blues
5. A Piece of Sky
6. Political Science
7. Sidewalk Soldier
8. Nothing More to Say
9. Devil Take the Farmer
10. Little Things

 

Radical Rags
(R. Browning)

No child labor, minimum wages, a 35-hour week,
safey laws, worker's comp, the right to form a union when your boss is cheap...
when these ideas got started here, people stood and sang
good old-fashioned, all-American, left-wing radical rags.

Frederick Douglass, Reverend King and the NAACP
been teachin' folks, bringin' hope, dreamin' of a day when we are truly free;
from Selma to Montgomery people marched and sang
good old-fashioned, all-American, left-wing radical rags.

    Rags, brother, rags, radical rags.
    Justice, equality, that's what the radicals sang.
    Red, white and blue radical

Doctors, lawyers, judges and astronauts, mothers with PHDs,
with a man, without a man, woman will be anything she wants to be.
The strong, steady voices of our great-grandmothers sang
good old-fashioned, all-American, left-wing radical rags.

    Rags, sister, rags, radical rags.
    Justice, equality, that's what the radicals sang.
    Red, white and blue radical rags.

One day people might look back to the way things used to be:
the empty plates, the fear and hate, corporations raping our democracy,
and proudly remember how we stood and sang
good old-fashioned, all-American, left-wing radical rags.

      Yeah, good old-fashioned, all-American, left-wing radical, crazy and fanatical,
      folk-singin', hammer-swingin', tree-huggin', earth-muffin, homosexual agenda...
      rags.

© 2007 by Randy Browning

 

Kings of the Midway
(R. Browning)

A carnival is glowing, the sun is going down.
A Ferris Wheel, a carousel, and cages spin around.
A boy is at the ring-toss, aiming for a prize;
holes in both his shoes, behind the yellow line.
He throws a ring and watches it fly.

Carney picks the rings up, a quick and easy touch.
"Almost had it that time, didn't miss by much."
Kid's all out of money, so the carney winks an eye.
"If you find another dollar, I'll give you one more try."
He's waving up the next kid in line.

    Kings of the midway know their game.
    They've been runnin' these scams for a long, long time.
    What you make in a year they steal in a day.
    Overnight they slip away.

At linen covered tables, by old and polished walls,
in measured tones with careful words, voices rise and fall.
They say they own the water. They say they own the sky.
Now they want the part of us that can't afford to buy
shining boxes of lies,
shallow hearts and narrow minds,
another chance at a worthless prize.

    Kings of the midway know their game.
    They've been runnin' these scams for a long, long time.
    What you make in a year they steal in a day.
    Overnight they slip away.

© 2007 by Randy Browning

 

A Piece of Sky
(R. Browning)

In thick iron chains, they walk him to the rack,
so an old man with arthritis in his back
signs their confession and atones betrayal.
"The Earth doesn't move, I spoke blasphemous lies.
Here witness the merciful and wise.
Forgive me this heresy" says Gallileo.

  Satellites orbit suns.
  Galaxies and prophets speak in tongues to each of us.

   We draw constellations in the darkness,
   divine endless ways through the night.
   All anyone can see is a piece of sky.

White cotton bales, blood on the sand.
A fat preacher with a dollar in his hand
chooses an African, strong for labor.
Deep, thirsty, brown, illiterate eyes
drink nightly from the dipper in the sky.
The sermon on Sunday is "love thy neighbor".

  Satellites orbit suns.
  Galaxies and prophets speak in tongues to each of us.

   We draw constellations in the darkness,
   divine endless ways through the night.
    All anyone can see is a piece of sky.

Black smoke and fear ascend to the clouds.
Cries echo as we lay good people down
and ruin the altars of sacred places.
Crosses and stars, crescents and thrones,
high temples and palaces of stone,
eyes full of hatred in our children's faces.

  Satellites orbit suns.
  Galaxies and prophets speak in tongues to each of us.

   We draw constellations in the darkness,
   divine endless ways through the night.
   All anyone can see is a piece of sky.

© 2007 by Randy Browning

 

Sidewalk Soldier
(R. Browning)

Crouching down behind a car, he waits 'til the streetlights flicker.
On patrol in Monument Park and the street by Patriot Liquors.
Sighting down his arm, he follows people.

  Restless eyes aim from the shadows.
  His hands are empty.
   Sidewalk soldier, looking for the enemy.

Duct-taped boots and torn fatigues, a muddy trashbag jacket.
He fights for good for the land of the free; every night there's action.
He ducks his head and runs to an alley doorway.

  Restless eyes aim from the shadows.
  His hands are empty.
  Sidewalk soldier, looking for the enemy.

The hollow voice of a speaker blares, dispatch breaks the static.
Standing tall in the blue light's glare, he salutes and the cruiser passes.
Dumpster at his back, he's a loyal sentry.

  Restless eyes aim from the shadows.
  His hands are empty.
  Sidewalk soldier, looking for the enemy.

© 2007 by Randy Browning

 

Nothing More to Say
(R. Browning)

Hold on, where is this coming from?
Who put that in your head?
You played football; varsity running.
You're 20 years old, naive and confused.
It's not who you are, dear, it's something you choose.
I think we'd know if you were really that way.

For God's sake, son, we're your parents.
We've known you all your life.
You stand there, straight as an arrow,
and tell us you're gay, explain coming out...
Give us a break. What's this really about?
Why would you want to destroy your own life this way?

  We're not discussing your cousin Albert.
  He moved away years ago.
  Talk about gay.

Alright, for the sake of argument,
let's say you've hidden it well.
Girlfriends, Superman comics,
excellent grades, we've always been proud.
Of course we're afraid, for cryin' out loud.
This is a phase you'll outgrow someday.
In the meantime, there's nothing more to say.

© 2007 by Randy Browning

 

Little Things
(R. Browning)

bee, honey
grass, bunny
spout, fountain
rock, mountain

   little things all together
  make the world go around
  a forest of trees grows to be
   from a seed in the ground

   and the bird that flies so high in the sky
   rides on many feathers
   at night he sleeps in a nest of leaves
   little things all together

drop, sprinkle
gleam, twinkle
wave, sea-side
star, starlight

   little things all together
  make the world go around
  a forest of trees grows to be
   from a seed in the ground

   and the bird that flies so high in the sky
   rides on many feathers
   at night he sleeps in a nest of leaves
   little things all together

   We're all related
    every person, every plant, every elephant and ant
   We need each other
   We need each other

drip, puddle
hug, cuddle
thought, notion
stream, ocean

   little things all together
  make the world go around
  a forest of trees grows to be
   from a seed in the ground

   and the bird that flies so high in the sky
   rides on many feathers
   at night he sleeps in a nest of leaves
   little things all together

little things
little things

© 2007 by Randy Browning

 

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