Sunday, October 23, 2011

Playin' in the Band (For Jerry Garcia)

"We're American.  What we do is as American as lynch mobs. America has always been a complex place." -- Jerry Garcia, 1989

Rock on, hippie Santa, rock on
You have survived
How fortunate we are when our children truly know us
And that knowledge brings a smile, and a song
And a dance
How generous you were
Your country more full of promise than you could fulfill
Even less free today than you ever were, and smaller
No place to run, no place to hide
No place to start all over again
The tracks run to offices
And the roads to malls
Our lives run in circles, not on wheels
And we hear only virtual thunder
All you guys were so much more right than even you knew
They'd rather we fear than we sing
What a country, with all that violent beauty
What beautiful music it makes
              All that contradiction: To balance it is genius  
Equal to man's capacity to dream, wrote your forefather
About a fresh green breast of a new world
Where the first days are the hardest days
And Daisy, I'm sure, wore scarlet begonias
She was not like other girls
In a land where all men are created equal, and 
the slaves make the music
To befriend the devil is righteousness
Remember, 'twas jackstraw drove the red man
from the forest and the plains
All the way to Vietnam
And Tom Joad followed him down that road
Feelin' bad
I will survive: If the thunder don't get you, then the lightning will
All real songs are old
Born in the same place and time
Love for real, not fade away