Blue Independence

I’ve decided to use Medium to publish some of my song lyrics over the course of my life, with explanatory stories where I can think of anything interesting to add.

Since today is July 4th, 2017, I am going to start with a song I wrote around Independence Day, 1994.

At the time I was living with two guys, Adam and Greg, in a two bedroom apartment in Hollywood. Adam slept in the living room floor, on a pile of blankets that looked vaguely Mongolian to me, like something that a nomad warrior would lay at the foot of his horse before the next day’s ride.

I remember when I played this song on acoustic guitar for my roommates, one of them (I forget which), suggested that the line “that mess down on the floor is stinking up the room” was either a poke at Adam’s living arrangements, or a comment about the general housekeeping condition of our apartment. I tried to assure that was not the case, at least consciously. In any event if there were any housekeeping concerns at the time, they surely landed squarely on my own shoulders.

Adam and Greg became my lifelong friends, collaborators, brothers. Many years later I noted upon visiting Adam’s apartment that he had gotten rid of his bed and resumed sleeping on his Mongolian blankets, just as he did in 1994. So he must have had positive memories of those days insofar as he eventually adopted a similar living style, not out of necessity.

Adam passed away a week ago after suffering a household fall, so these lyrics are in part dedicated to his memory and the memory of those great days in Hollywood, sleeping on the floor and all.

To expound on another line in the song, “Tennessee fireworks clapping” is a reference to the fact that in Kentucky, when I grew up there, selling fireworks was illegal (except for sparklers and other such non-explosive stuff), so everyone in Kentucky who shot off fireworks on the Fourth of July went across the border to buy their Black Cats and Roman candles in the Volunteer State.

I’m not sure what the laws are today but I did note on a recent trip to my native state of Alabama that there were fireworks stores immediately across the border into Tennessee, so the state remains associated with the fireworks trade in my mind.

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Blue Independence

Written on a raincloud I see
faces of people
but they’re too busy drifting
for much deep conversation

I say, I don’t wanna lose you
but I’m so sick of trouble
and I’m barely half-laughing
where there’s cause for attention

Sitting in the corner
a dusty little broom
that mess down on the floor
is stinking up the room

Throw up the windows
and peel apart the blinds
incoming ozone says that
lightning’s right behind

Soon through the window we hear
Tennessee rockets clapping
somebody’s children start up
yelling and yapping

You say, I don’t wanna lose you
but I’m so sick of trouble
and I’m already lonely
before anything’s happened

It’s like sunshine and thunder
on a vacation Monday
I see flags at the half mast
under dawn’s early lighting

Sitting in the corner
a dusty little broom
that mess down on the floor
is stinking up the room

Throw up the windows
and peel apart the blinds
incoming ozone says that
lightning’s right behind

We planted kisses like we’re
raising a garden
but there’s more to the harvest
than we put in the bargain

I say, I don’t wanna lose you
but I’m so sick of trouble
and I’m already lonely
before anything’s happened

on a vacation Monday
for our blue independence
I see flags at the half mast
under dawn’s early light
and I say

I don’t wanna lose you but I’m
I don’t wanna lose you but I’m
I don’t wanna lose you but I’m
I don’t wanna lose you but I’m

already lonely before
anything’s happened
on a vacation Monday
for our
blue independence ahead.