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Souvenir

and it still is blue

hitch your wagon to a star
and watch for all the telltale signs
of travelers who’ve gone before
of everyone who’s stood in line
to grab that piece of galaxy
to breathe that fire of bright glory
to glue those sequins everywhere
to hold that prize high in the air

this is the dream
and it’s nothing new
there is the sky
and it still is blue

lift twice your weight to take each step
pretend that it is effortless
each time you think of giving in
remember how brief living is
the coins are cast, the dues are paid
still, passage through is not guaranteed
there is no turning back allowed
there’s only now and now and now

this is the life
and it’s nothing new
there is the sky
and it still is blue

nobody knows how the spark is lit
but everyone sees the stars
we reach out to meet the flame
and damn the fear of scars

I watch the morning sun ascend
I hear the sound of startled birds
and all my life has led me straight
to this one moment breathing here
and this is what I’ve waited for
and this is what I’ve hidden from
and all the years of shifting ground
deliver me
deliver me

this is the path
and it’s nothing new
there is the sky
and it still is blue

©1993 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved



The California Sun


When we got the call
we were looking out the window
in a westerly direction
we checked the road at the place where it curved
away into tomorrow
we dropped whatever we were doing
packed our babies and belongings
and followed the rainbow
assured of the dream
and all it foretold

We killed whatever moved
we cut down anything that sprouted
this was our land after all
it was manifest
our destiny
the sound of bells and hammers
blew in the wind of happy industry
we made roads
to get to roads
to get to roads
to get our hands on all the gold

We found it all in the California sun
the California sun
California sun
found it all in the California sun
in the California sun
we found it all

When we first set eyes upon
the jewels of the pacific
we knew our god at last had brought us
to the rainbow's end
and there we dreamed machines we built
that made new dreams we thirsted for
we poured in girls and oil and oranges
and just a little more gold
just a little more

We spent it all in the California sun
the California sun
California sun
spent it all in the California sun
in the California sun
we spent it all

We went as far as we could go
we dug as deep as we could dig
we flew as high as we could fly
we even made it to the moon
and when we finally came to
we acted so surprised
as if we thought we could expand that way forever
and when our gold turned into lead
and all our instincts said slow down
we climbed behind the wheel
and we accelerated anyway

We drove it right through the California sun
the California sun
California sun
drove it right through the California sun
through the California sun

and if we could would we do it all over again
if we could and we knew the things that we know now
split the difference in the middle of the country
kept the lessons that we learned in our pockets

Now the sun is setting
night comes to remind us of the darkness
the glow of dawn
the flame of day
flicker quick before our sleepy eyes
we are wandering
we are longing
for a home that's gone forever
for some tree to sit beneath
and for some time to think it over

We burned it all in the California sun
the California sun
California sun
burned it all in the California sun
in the California sun
we burned it all

and when the ashes turn back into dust
the spirit will rise
because the spirit must
and we'll turn with the earth
and we'll move with the wind
and we'll start something different
all over again

©1994 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




When you became my child


One yesterday you carried me
and put my dinner on my plate
and tucked me into clean white sheets
and kept me safe for slumber

When you became my child
I did not feel my womb stir
but oh my heart went wild
to beat away my weakness
to make more room for you
to hold the love you gave me
so I could give it back to you

We take small steps down long hallways
I prompt our conversation
reminding you of memories
reminding me of them too

and oh the way we met
along the edges of our worst fears
bearing such unkind words
I say
I'm sorry
and you say
Forget about it.
just be happy

You do not seem to mind
your loss and circumstances
you grace with dignity
each elementary matter
as you prepare to move
into a new dominion
I know your light will guide you there

I hold your hand and it is cool
the skin transparent tissue thin
your laughter still is young and gay
the girl within remains so

and all of the years and the miles
I have put between us
I'd erase now
I say
I miss you
and you say
What else is new
now, just be happy

I climb into your bed
and wrap my arms around you
and listen to you breath
and feel your weakened heart beat
it was not long ago
that my heart beat inside you
and you took every breath for me

When you became my child
I did not feel my womb stir
but oh my heart went wild
to beat away my weakness
to make more room for you
to hold the love you gave me
so I could give it back to you

©1994 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved



Heartbroken


I didn’t see it coming
though the signs were clear in retrospect
I only heard what I wanted
and ignored the things you said
that might have given me a warning
that should have sent up some red flag
I kept on about my business
I was too busy being had

Heartbroken
I played the fool this time
heartbroken
I suffered from the classic blindness
heartbroken
I shut the door on you behind me
and slip away

I cried for hours in the bathtub
I tossed you back your diamond ring
I ripped up every picture
and burned or buried every thing
remaining as reminders
of any happy memory
cause you were only faking it
I let you make a dupe of me

Heartbroken
I was a fool to leap
heartbroken
I got in way too deep
heartbroken
and now I keep it under guard
to give it time to heal

Now, I’m feeling really stupid
and humiliated too
and furious with myself
for placing all my trust in you
when you are just a coward
and a weakling and untrue
and so deep in denial
you’d miss the real thing
even if it clobbered you

Heartbroken
you tried to pay me off
heartbroken
that’s so low down
so, so dirty
heartbroken
I will look back on you some day
and laugh it off

©1994 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved



Surfer Boy


just about a man
under 21
drives the coast highway
with the rising sun
past the Palisades
up to Malibu
wishes it was still
1962

surfer boy
golden dream
ride your wave
into me
ocean blue irises
the answer always is
yes, yes, yes

parks above the point
waxes down his stick
scans for breaks and swells
gets right into it
lines up in the lull
till his moment comes
then he pops right up
perfect trim
stoke!

cruising smooth
in the curl
he’s removed
from the suffering world
no thought
no time
just form divine

surfer boy
golden dream
ride your wave
into me
ocean blue irises
the answer always is
yes, yes, yes

©1994 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved



à le Fleuve Congo


Diamonds like bright
pieces of star
canoe by night
à le Fleuve Congo

ah
down river
ah
down river

hide by your hand
keep out of sight
current move quick
à le Fleuve Congo

ah
down river
ah
down river

jewel change for coin
coin change for bread
hand go to hand
à le Fleuve Congo

ah
down river
ah
down river

diamonds like bright
pieces of star
canoe by night
à le Fleuve Congo

ah
down river
ah
down river

©1981 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




The 3 Dreams of J. Robert Oppenheimer


A wise man following a star
in a big gray Cadillac
drove across the desert
traced his future in his track
on to California!
to the scientific minds
to the duties of his nation
and the fate of all mankind

I dreamed that I saw three men
standing in front of me
one held a box of elements
one held a golden key
one held the holy sonnets
and from them he read to me
“but I am betrothed
unto your enemy”

The father moved through the spirit into the son
He revealed their secrets, one by one
He warned that someday
I would wish I never had begun

“It is truth you are looking for
but it is fame that you will see
Oppie’s opportunity
will be crowned in clouds at Trinity

A scientist following a car of soldiers up a hill
moved onto a holy place
and mobilized his will
to solve the brave new problems
to make a team like one
to change a fat boy under guard
into a thousand suns

I dreamed that I was falling
down through the atmosphere
and from the earth below me
children’s voices I could hear
“Why have you bestowed upon us such an evil thing?”
I am an enigma
a tool for desperate men and kings


The father moved through the spirit into the son
He revealed their secrets, one by one
He warned that someday I would wish
I never had begun

“It is truth you are looking for
but it is fame that you will see
Oppie’s opportunity
will be crowned in clouds at Trinity.”

Interrogate a hero
search for secrets in a face
call a witness to the stand to certify disgrace
bind a pair of bloody hands
that sinned against a world
twist a fevered nation into sheets of faith unfurled

I dreamed a bridge of voices
crossed over the abyss
and like a mighty song
it rose from off the precipice
I can prove that there is hope if I try hard enough
You can praise or damn me
but dreams are made of this stuff

The father moved through the spirit into the son
He revealed their secrets, one by one
He warned that someday
I would wish I never had begun

It was truth I was looking for
but it is fame that I have seen
and Oppie’s opportunity
now seems like some bad dream

©1982 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Souvenir


I inhale perfume
mixed with sweat and hot dust
trapped in membrane bones
sought like true religion

we carry it all
but we cannot weigh it
we ponder it some
but we cannot say it

moments in brief suspension
a splinter of me in a sliver of you

all the sticks and stones
all the hearts and flowers
wrapped in words and sighs
tossed in rings of gesture

we carry it all
but we cannot weigh it
we ponder it some
but we cannot say it

passionate flames
tears of rage
settled by law and points of view

quick the sparks of love
mapped on roads not taken
was the gleam so sure?
once, the rumor has it

we carry it all
but we cannot weigh it
we ponder it some
but we cannot say it

moments in brief translation
memorized lines
and déjà vu

©1987 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved



Long Distance


and when the moon illuminates
your neighborhood
into the night
you’re still awake
you cannot sleep
though all the angels
watch do keep
look out your window
to the sky
and somewhere we’ll meet
eye to eye

the wind blows
let it carry a dream to you
breathe deep
till you feel it inside of you

the night does funny things to us
we reach for stars
we grasp in trust
the boundaries of the day dissolve
along the nagging tock of time
lock up your doors on daylight schemes
your world is bigger than it seems

the wind blows
let it carry a dream to you
breathe deep
till you feel it inside of you

©1981 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved



The Tie that Binds


I broke her heart into 28 pieces
I heard her bleeding through the receiver
I want to stay with her
and I want to leave her
I am lassoed by the tie that binds

I won’t deceive her because I love her
I have to tell her
in truth, confide
our lives run separate forever
and only sometimes
side by side

He says that it will rain tomorrow
if I do not leave tonight
I kiss him good bye at sundown
because I know that he is right

He won’t deceive me because he loves me
he has to tell me
in truth, confide
our lives run separate forever
and only sometimes
side by side

I will pass you on the road again
I will pass you on the road again
outlaw
soul wall wearing thin
love touches us
and we begin

Love will make you feel immortal
love will make you lose your mind
love will thread its trusty arrow
and lasso you with the tie that binds

©1982 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved