James Miska : ‘Saol, Ceol’ Redux

Front Cover of James Miska : Saol, Ceol

I’ll package this all up into one post later, but for now… small pieces, loosely joined.

Download the songs from an older post.

Get the album art from Flickr.

And here are the song lyrics.

The Airplane Song

So I sit on the airplane, curiosity gets the best of me, I sit and stare out that little window like everyone else at the oncoming ground, a steady arrival, and I think, what if it all ended this second? Coming back from a journey, and longing for home, all my hopes are destroyed in one fleeting second. My worst fears are evident, just look at my face. The sight of the ground ground ground going down down down. I picture this image of acres and acres black with an orange tint, and coming into focus, Of miles of highway, and concrete prisons, ablaze in a death-defying grasp for attention. I wish you could know how much they need you. I wish you could see how you don’t need them To live your life free of obligation. Removal is the first step towards liberation. Everything looks so perfect from twenty-thousand feet like a detailed tabletop that you could wipe clean, But something’s not right from 10,000 feet. The earth seems to crawl as far as you can see, And you can see flames from 1,000 feet engulfing all things from the pavement of the street, To your own body heat, and from only two feet you can see the dead faces from the next airplane seat.

A Plague O’ Both Our Houses

I’m talking to myself, carrying on conversations, sometimes lasting twenty minutes or more, And you’ll only find me doing this alone in periods of exhaustion, ‘specially on the west coast shore, On the back of a biped, seventy-five pound machine, I’m holding it, driving it, keeping on pedaling, And any second I could fishtail out of control and the trees alone in their vast expansions could swallow me whole. So goodbye Eliza, Boing! and the Bikehouse. You were the best friends I ever had. And I’d give it all up for you and you’d give it all up for me and I’ll never forget you even after I’m dead. And o’ my god this hill, it never fucking ends, I’m in my lowest gear and I’m still kicking and I ain’t never stopping. It’s an allegory for the rest of my two bit story of courage and character we all possess. I wake up in the early morning to find my stuff all covered with dew and everything’s the same except I’m missing you. I wish you could be here, I’d show you what there is to see, for ten million years to unfold before your eyes can be quite dizzying. I think of what thing could contain as much water as there is in the ocean. The answer’s simple. That’s why the world’s so big, Because there is no container that could hold so much purity and grace as nature itself. It sets its own boundaries. Do you see what I’m saying? Nothing can be governed. Your legislation’s fighting a losing battle, And I don’t give a fuck I’ll watch you all following leaders to the ground, Because the endless liters of saltwater could come crash on me right now, Take me out to the sea, you’ll never know how important this all is to me so I say sadly… Goodbye Eliza.

Raise Your Glasses

Here’s to the people that make all of our lives better, who clean up their messes. Because everyone makes messes. Here’s to the responsibility of holding yourself accountable for your fuck-ups. Because everyone’s a fuck-up. Here’s to hypocrisy, the one thing that can bite us in the ass, and still make us laugh. Here’s to our neighbors, our friends, the people we look to when we’re down, because we all get down. Here’s to the innovations, the explanations that make our lives worth living. Here’s to the dedication, the frustration, the sense of accomplishment. Here’s to all the cool cats, woman and man, animal and plant, our predecessors, the people we learn from, now dead and gone. Here’s to the ghost(s) with the most.

The Intersection

Right on this block we are something to see, because we work together and you might not get it, But to see the joy in our faces, cooperation in our hearts and to know we will never suffer like you do Is an inspiration to me. It makes me wanna wake up. It makes me wanna dance, and it makes me wanna sing. Sing for those who can’t, and those who are afraid to. Sing and never stop singing and screaming, no. And I can’t fucking stress enough how important my friends are to me, my life, my home, my whole entire culture. Because how could we learn to grow or love or stand united when there’s no one to love, and there’s no one to help stand up? How could I even write this song without an influence, an idea, a bright inspiration? O I have a dream in my head, a reoccurring sight that I see every 24-hour day and night. And what if you died here tonight, what would you have changed? Nothing? Any regrets to get off your chest? Get them off right now, let us all know how you feel. Open your eyes because there’s nothing to fear. Open your ears and I’ll show you that I am here.

Anthem of Positivity (For the Traveling, the Adventure-Seeking, and Otherwise Nomadically-Minded, KIDS)

If you get on my nerves, well it’s just in my own mind. The acceleration of a relationship for good or bad is just what happens. If I get on your nerves it will seem to be without reason but god dammit we’re in this together We both know the feeling of desperation. Don’t we all? So please don’t despair because we won’t be stuck here forever, because these parts in the story are just like the sharp ends of feathers. And the wolf with the softest coat still has a mouthful of white knives. And the mountains however majestic are still filled with pitfalls and perfect nosedives.

And we are tramps carrying our lives on our backs, a fork spoon and knife. And no dirt can get us down. Our minds are as bright as our flashlights. And don’t you know we’re the kids? And the kids always ride free. The rails, the roads, determined and hopeful and most of all positively.

I want you to scream until your throat starts to bleed. I want your chin and fist held high, from the soil to the sky. Yell out your frustrations into this sound. We’ll hear you, we’ll know. Issue them forth, Amongst the waves of torture and fuck-ups, mistakes, don’t just shut up with a blank look on your face. Embrace your strength, embrace your brother, your sister of the road. We came from all places to dance our hearts out at that Trial reunion show. And just like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day, but my limbs didn’t have such luck. I met so many beautiful people, it only reminded me why I stay positive as fuck.

47 Times

Forty-seven times I’ve sat here on this spot and thought, What the fuck was I thinking? While chipping paint off the wood of this bench and I’m getting pretty good at it. I can still smell the fumes under my fingernails as I walk away without a clear conscience. And the holes in my walls serve as a constant reminder of those who came before. Don’t make your promises until the race is run, that’s your only safe bet. I think of all your shit and it occurs to me it wasn’t shit at all, it made me who I was. It made you who you were, and it wasn’t going anywhere, I had it, here in my pocket. Now I’m looking for it like my fucking car keys, do we ever trust the saying ‘All good things must end’? Of course not, how would we live then? So I guess heartbreak is living at its best.

Bloomington Backwoods

I would have gone for a nature hike if it hadn’t been for the heat. And I would have read a book or two but I had nothing to read, So I hopped on my bicycle, did skids out in the road. And the more I did, the more I skid, the more I thought of home. Ho-ome, I guess that’s downtown. Camped outside the man-made jungle that brings everybody down, In our own little corner, little pocket of the city, where no one can fuck with us, and all we do is just What we wanna do, giving out Food Not Bombs every week, and I can think and write what I feel like, And of course we ride the coolest bikes All over this town, keeping our heads up, keeping our feet straight on the ground, but our dreams are in the sky, You better fucking believe it when I say that MY life is the shit. And we’re the shit and we know it. And all you capitalists pulling off scandalous scandals ain’t got shit on our anarchistic banned together vandalism, Unity, unity, unity, I’ve heard it all before, but community, you and me, that’s an idea. And we work right under their noses, who would have thought that this is where you’d find us? Adventurers without a storybook or ending but this is the tall tale, this is the setting. Embarking on missions of espionage, any time day or night painting one big collage Like a mural of passion, of love, and excitement, these things aren’t illegal, but some are indicted. To excite the senses is surely our goal, desensitization will lead to control, Coupled with the persuasion, ‘You’re just an individual. You have no originality, you have no potential.’ So what do we do in the face of consistent brainwashing you into thinking you’re distant. From the rest of us, you talk and we’ll listen. Come with us and join the resistance.

Pendleton Revisited (Radio Silence)

You picked us up, you were our only luck for miles I’m sure. You took us to a movie because you weren’t in a hurry to get to Pendleton by sundown. The last time I was in Pendleton it was a hot afternoon in the back of a train car. But when we got there, the town looked kinda old-timey, and everything closed early. We showed up to the venue, and did some handstands, and wondered if the applause we were gonna give would be forced. But then you got on stage and sang these words that blew us all away. ‘So long to the dreams that make men free.’ Your song may be copyrighted, but I hope you’re not too nearsighted to see that I’m singing in thankful expression. It’s been many many months now that you’ve been on the road. I know that’d make a little stir-crazy. Living off ramen, Oriental style, playing Rush on the radio. Who knows your real agenda there? I’m told that this kinda ride doesn’t come every time, rarely do you get one of the kids like us. But I hope for both your and my sake, I’ll never have to believe, nor hear my self say… ‘So long to the dreams that make men free.’

Still Sleeps Tonight

That old unsettling feeling sets in. Am I doing all I can? Or should I trudge a new path to where I haven’t been? I always feel I’m pressed for time when time keeps pressing on without me. Is there a need to make rash decisions to discover all I see about me. Subversiveness, the way I wanna live is back behind my door at home, and yet I think, ‘Everyone needs a vacation’. To vacate what gets boring, the standard person’s everyday-life. But since when am I your standard person? I think of all the blood spilt, I think of peaceful protest and I think of direct action, breaking windows, setting fires. And writing messages on flyers, making people more aware, but who really reads these things anyway? After all this is America. And the coasts are just parentheses enclosing the word ‘SHIT’ between our borders and I think, where do I fit in? I think I don’t, I think we don’t, I think we form our own country, without the laws or cops or guns. Just our own community. And when all the crowd is gone, the buildings that still stand will simply serve as shade from the sun. A thing I could bring down with my hand. And we’ll burn all this shit, burn it all to the ground. The police station, uninhabited, won’t make a single sound. And the banks will just be safety zones where children will play tag out in the streets, not hassled by the cars. They’ll all be out of gas. And our neighbors from seven streets away will know our names. We’ll grow tomatoes side-by-side, and arrange our kickball games. Out in the intersections, adults being kids without shame. No, nothing in this new world will be the same.

Nothing in this new world will be the same and the stories handed down will be like none you’ve ever seen. And great distances will mean I’ll never see you again, So hold me closer, kiss me, tell me everything while you still can. And our history books we used for tinder will never know our names and we’ll have to settle knowing we never broke our own chains. Unless we start tonight and try to end this all on our own terms, you and me, baby, we’ll have nothing to say when hard times come.

You can downplay all the damage all the trauma all you want It doesn’t change the fact that a thousand kids are dead because of our bombs. A million more are fucked up in the head inside pregnant moms, not even born yet we destroyed and their hopes for a world to come. And you think that we don’t know what it is that you don’t tell us when in fact it doesn’t matter we have a different kind of knowledge. You know I learned so much more when I stopped watching TV, refused to let what they would tell me be all that I would see. And for the rest of the country there seems to be no hope at all. They’ve swallowed every word, and cried for every soldier. And with the horrors that go on, it makes me sick that it doesn’t make me sick, so I’ve shunned it all, to hell with all of it. And maybe I’ll be a shut-in, never see you all again. Grow my own food in my own backyard and y’all can fuck yourselves. Until the world devoid of capitalism becomes what it should be, I’ll do what I’ve always done and fight for this new world to come.

Nothing in this new world will be the same and the stories handed down will be like none you’ve ever seen. And great distances will mean I’ll never see you again, So hold me closer, kiss me, tell me everything while you still can. And our history books we use for tinder will never know our names and we’ll all be smiling knowing that we broke our own chains. It all began under a magnifying glass and spread from there and will be sung about in songs like this long after I’m not here.

Seriously, Who Gives a Fuck? You’re Wasting Your Life Thinking About It

It doesn’t matter what they say, it matters what I do. The choices that I make, the points that I construe. I never thought that it would be this way, I thought I’d be on my way to a business degree. But here I am now playing all this for you. I got over my stage fright, and this is what I can do. I hope you like it, if not you can kiss my ass. Why don’t you try it or at least just get up and dance. With your friends. Who gives a fuck who? Just grab em by the hand and go crazy. Dance like no one else can see you. Make a fool of yourself. Let’s all be kids again and sing. Whoa-oh-oh. Whoa-oh-oh. Whoa-oh-oh. Whoa. I wanna hear songs that crack stone, words that set fire. I fucking mean business. Are you listening to me I wanna look you in the eyes and see them new every day. Every day a surprise. Every time I play these songs my fingers go raw. My voice becomes hoarse. My mind becomes clear. I could write until this pen runs out of its ink, but then I’d just go have to steal a new package of pens. When I’m surrounded by friends, everything is all right, don’t need alcohol to have good time. Just need an idea, and we’ll all improvise. We’ll talk it all night or we’ll take it to the streets. And run around like we’re nuts and we’re never growing up. Without my friends do you think that I feel unlucky? Well two black cats just went and crossed my path. Do they cancel each other out? Who the fuck knows? Just sing the whoas.

Of Bicycles and Butter Knives (Graveyards and a Grand Vision of Things)

Walking up the hill toting a bicycle behind me. The incline has become too steep a grade. I come upon a shiny butter knife, chipped and knicked with age and I wonder what kind of story is behind it. I’m hopping through the graveyard trouncing on headstones. Picking up the filed mice and bopping em on the head. No regard for the dead. Requiescat in pace. Poor Santina and Ercole, ordained with crosses. They have forgotten what a boss is. Lucky them lucky me. We have no dependence on the bourgeoisie. As I sit in the center of a graphite gazebo and tonight this will be my roof. In sacerdotum memoriam and there I will lie as if this were my tomb and tomorrow I’ll awake from my slumber. He has all these souls but he has not my number. So I and my knife will come down from the hill, and the city from whence I came will be there still And if I’m that unlucky, the commerce will still thrive keeping all of us struggling to survive. And though we know it not, not all just a few, and I hope after this song one of those will be you. Find your own butter knife and show what you can do to the face of a nation that cares not for you. And I’ll share my ideas and I’ll share my butter knives in the hopes to persuade others to lead much better lives. Because while one is still oppressed the rest of us aren’t free to do what we please. And if I had my choice I might just soak into the trees, never give another lecture of poli-tics and their fleas. Say to hell with all of it, because you’re cramping my steaz, but that just wouldn’t be me. So read the books you can gather all the information. Collectivize your ideas into one harmonization. Because the bliss of anarchy comes with organization, and don’t forget, none of us need a patron. And when they find, abandoned, the keys to your car, your time card ripped in half, illegible and charred. Your television smashed, your microwave in the trash. Your satellite dish cloven, synthetic fur unwoven. Your s.u.v. in flames with computer and video games. (All the things that did not matter never bothering you hereafter). All on the side of the road, forgotten, someone will come along just walking. Maybe with a bike behind them, they’ll see your stuff and find it, and wonder what stories lay behind it.

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