1.      Tom Joad’s Promise

 Hey ma, wake up it’s me, it’s your boy, Tom Joad

I’d love to but I can’t stay long, I’ve gotta hit the road

In the morning they’ll be lookin for me high up and down low

Cops from every county from Salinas to Frisco

 But I only got a minute here so I won’t make this long

I ain’t always done the right thing, hell, sometimes I been wrong

But as long as I am gonna be an outlaw from now on

Wherever there’s a stone unturned, hereby, I swear—

             I will be there, I will be there

            Wherever you can go to think some lonesome thought

            I will be there, I will be there

            I will be there, so help me God

 I’m ingredient to humankind, a partial to the whole

Tho I walk upon the stage of life I play a minor role

I am portion to the giant universal human soul

Which exists within everybody everywhere

 So I’ll be there when you’re weary, when you’re lonesome and afraid

When the delivery of all that you’ve been promised aint been made

When there ain’t no superhero to come rushin to your aid

When you got everything to lose and no time to spare

             I will be there, I will be there

            When the road becomes too narrow and the wilderness too broad

            I will be there, I will be there

            I will be there, so help me God

 I will be in every crevice of this bright world that’s gone dark

I will be in every desperate hallow achin broken heart

Long after its all over and well before it starts

Anyplace that folks can’t go or just don’t dare

 Wherever there’s a stranger sayin I’m too young to die

Wherever there’s a prayer that’s bein prayed up to the sky

Wherever there’s an angry cop just beatin up some guy

And the fight just don’t seem justified nor fair

             I will be there, I will be there

            So the one’s that go unseen unheard won’t be forgot

            I will be there, I will be there

            I will be there, so help me God

 Wherever fights’re brewin up so that hungry folks can eat

Wherever there’s a cry for revolution in the street

Wherever there’s a stranger who ain’t marchin to the beat

Who repels his last companion as he draws a stare

 In the way that guys start yelling when they’re stark raving mad

In the sighin folks’re doing who’ve lost everything they’ve had

In the singin and the laughin of the children when they’re glad

In the cryin and the quiet of when they’re scared

             I will be there, I will be there

            In the worry of the guilty ones that ain’t yet been caught

            I will be there, I will be there

            I will be there so help me God

 I guess I’d better go now, ma, cause soon it will be dawn

I’d just like to say I’m sorry for all the screwing up I done

But just cause I ain’t here no more it doesn’t mean I’m gone

I will be with you on every step of every stair

 Tomorrow when they come for me, you tell em I was here

Tell em that you saw me but that you didn’t see me clear

Tell em I’m the echo that’s been whispering in your ear

Tell em if they’re looking for me anywhere

             I will be there, I will be there

            Wherever someone’s lonesome in a stranded spot

            I will be there, I will be there

            Wherever folks are thirsty and can’t find a drop

            Wherever there’s a road that ain’t been tried or trod

            Wherever I am wanted pursued or sought

            I will be there, I will be there

            I will be there, so help me God


2.      The Ballad of Trayvon Martin

 Come mothers and fathers, come sisters and brothers Lend an ear to the stories they’re telling

Of the neighborhood watchman in the Florida town Who shot and killed Trayvon Martin

 O, the time it was night and the evening was cold And the month it was late February

Trayvon Martin at only seventeen years old Too young for an obituary

 On his way back home from a convenience store Through the yards of his neighbors was walkin

George Zimmerman spied him while making his rounds And made a call down to the station

 “HQ, HQ,” Mr. Zimmerman said, “This is nightwatchman Zimmerman calling,

I have just spied a suspicious black male In our gated community walking—

 “How shall I proceed, shall I make an arrest Shall I follow and see where he takes me?

Could this be the man whom we’ve been looking for Who committed those robberies lately?”

 “Well this is HQ,” the headquarters said, “To Nightwatchman Zimmerman calling,

Do not pursue—repeat—do not pursue, For you haven’t the grounds to suspect him.”

 “Ten four, ten four,” Mr. Zimmerman said, But he pulled up to roll slowly by him,

And when the young man saw the slow police car He took off a fearfully runnin

 “No grounds? No grounds?” Mr. Zimmerman thought “If there’s no grounds then why is he running?”

And quick as a flash he leapt out of his car Bringing his handgun with him

 Well over a fence and through the back yards The armed nightwatchman chased Trayvon Martin

A distance in excess of one hundred yards Til he finally cornered and caught him

 O down, O down to the ground they did fall The ground where they both had been standing

Trayvon to fight for his life gainst the man The man for to somehow subdue him

 “Submit, submit!” Mr. Zimmerman cried “Submit and throw down your weapon!”

“I will not submit!” Trayvon Martin replied, “For I’m unarmed and I haven’t done nothing!”

 And as the two fought on the ground in the dark A gunshot rang out clear as crystal

Trayvon Martin had been shot through the chest At close range by Zimmerman’s pistol

 Come mothers and fathers, come sisters and brothers Lend an ear to the stories they’re telling

Of the neighborhood watchman in the Florida town Who shot and killed Trayvon Martin

 For a day and a night the body went without name As he was when his mother had birthed him

Until a call came from his father at home Saying that his son had been missing

 O down, o down to the morgue he was called To see if this was his son who’d been missing

“O, God, it’s him!” his bereaved father cried, “That’s the body of Trayvon Martin,”

 “My son, my son, O Trayvon, my son—” His poor mother cried, nearly wild,

“He wasn’t no symbol, didn’t die for no cause, He was only my baby, my child,

 “And what did he do, for what was he killed, For wearing dark clothes and a hoodie?

Is it just me or does it still feel Like it’s a crime to be black in this country?”

 Well charges were pressed and a trial was set And a jury was formed all at random

And of the twelve who were chosen to serve, There wasn’t one black face among them

 “The defendant, George Zimmerman,” the prosecution declared, “He is getting away here with murder,

How can you defend a defender of peace Who says shoot first and ask questions later?”

 “Yes, that was my gun, I fired that round,” George Zimmerman finally admitted

But despite all the facts in the end he was found Not guilty and was fully acquitted

 The defense lawyers claimed he had just stood his ground And no evidence showed the contrary

Trayvon Martin by then for more than a year Neath six feet of ground had lain buried

 And for all you who say that here justice was done, Here is something for you to consider

When a nightwatchman shoots and unarmed black man to death They do not define it as murder

 Come judges, come kings, come you counselors on down Who maintain the law’s fair and equal

Come look what they done in a florida town And say it would be the same for all people


3.      Ain’t It a Pity?

 I went down to the chapel last easter morning,

Hadn’t been for a while, it seemed like a good time

I was counting on hearing a beautiful sermon

By the preacher there who’s an old friend of mine

 I’s a few minutes late, the service was crowded

An usher escorted me into my seat

Soon as I had sat down the sermon had started,

The next thing that I knew, I had fell fast asleep

 And while I was sleepin while the preacher was preachin

A most peculiar vision visited me

I dreamt that the person sittin beside me

Was none other than jesus of old galilee

 Well he put out his hand, and he said, “Nice to meet you,”

There wasn’t no halo hangin over his head

He looked old and tired and he smelled sorta pungent

As you’d imagine a man who just came back from the dead

 He wanted to know if I’d show him around some

And keep him a secret, he didn’t want to be seen

I agreed to his terms and he asked what the date was

I said, “It’s easter Sunday, 2014”

 It occurred to me then just what jesus was in for

Having never set foot within our day and age

He’d probably never seen a car or an airplane

Or watched a television or read the sportspage

 Well out of the church we two then proceeded

While the preacher in the pulpit was left carryin on

I asked old jesus what he thought of the sermon

He said he thought it had gone on too long

 We stepped outside into the city

Where the wind blew a newspaper right up to our feet

Jesus picked it up and he started to readin,

And the words that he said, he was bound to repeat, he said:

             Aint it a pity? Aint it a shame?

            I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed

            There’s still wars bein fought, there’s still people in chains

            Aint it a pitiful shame?

Well we walked for a while through the slums and the alleys

Jesus took it all in like he’d seen it before

Healing the sick, feeding the hungry

Helping the needy, the grievin, the poor

 Somehow or other we made it to wall-street

Where we stood out like bums at a rich folks’ parade

Jesus pulled on the coat-tails of a shiny tuxedo

Asked the fella who wore it how his money was made

 Well the fella turned red and told us to get lost

He said, “That’s my business and none of your own!”

He said, “If I had a dollar to give every beggar

I’d be out of a job and out of a home!” Jesus said,

             Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?

            I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed

            Sure the buildings are taller, but the people’s the same

            Ain’t that a pitiful shame?

 While jesus was talkin, the man lets out a whistle

And up comes this officer lookin servile and all

He says “What’s the trouble?” and the man points right at us

The officer makes us put our hands on the wall

 And while he is friskin, jesus starts talkin

Says, “You won’t get to heaven by buyin your way!”

When the officer heard that he started to beat him

Dragged us both to his squad car to haul us away

 Down at the courthouse they questioned and searched us

Took prints of our fingers and asked us our names

When I told them mine, they didn’t say nothing

When jesus said his, well they called him insane, jesus said,

             Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?

            I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed

            To the people in charge the truth still sounds insane

            Aint that a pitiful shame?

 Well we went fore the judge who asked what our crime was,

The officer said we’s tryin to steal from the rich

He said he’d be doin both us a favor

Brought down his gavel, said the sentence was death, jesus said,

             Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?

            I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed

            They kill you once, if you come back, they’ll kill you again

            Aint that a pitiful shame?

 Well when I awoke I was still in the chapel

The sermon was over, everyone had gone home

Except for one person way up in the front row

Who had his head bent and was prayin alone

 Well I got up to leave so as not to disturb him

I tried to be quiet so I wouldn’t be heard

But when I got to the front, and started to pass him

I couldn’t help overhearing some familiar words

             Aint it a pity? Aint it a shame?

            It’s been two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed!

            When I think of the violence that’s been done in christ’s name

            Aint it a pitiful shame?


4.      You Can’t Get Any Poorer Than Dead

 Rich folks get—richer and richer

Sick folks get—sicker and sicker

And the gap between em gets—bigger and bigger

And the days go by—quicker and quicker

            And everybody dies—sooner or later

            Nobody comes out ahead

            If you can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive

            You can’t be any poorer than dead

 Hired on Monday Tuesday I’m fired

Rent keeps getting higher and higher

Money keeps getting scarcer and scarcer

While my pantry keeps getting barer and barer

            Somebody mustve made an error somewhere

            Cause my own kids I can’t keep fed

            I gotta remind em when they tell me they’re hungry

            That you cant be any poorer than dead


 I tried to hide it but I guess its apparent

Nothing for my kids to hand down from my parents

Nothing to lose or to gain as inheritance

Save for maybe a hatred of arrogance

            Last week I made out my last will and testament

            And golly do you know what it said

            It said you can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive

            And you can’t be any poorer than dead


 Population keeps increasing

Earth’s resources are near depletion

Our furthest limits we’re near to reachin

And the brakes of progress are hardly screechin

            In a schoolhouse somewhere a teacher’s teachin

            This is the observable trend

            You can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive

            And you can’t be any poorer than dead


 World is getting warmer and warmer

Soon it’ll be perpetual summer

With an ice-cube salesman on every corner

Sellin ice cubes at a hundred and a quarter

            And I’ll take ten tho I can’t afford em

            But what’s just a little more debt?

            When you cant be any richer than to know you’re alive

            You cant be any poorer than dead


 Scientists are workin harder and harder

To make machines that’re smarter and smarter

That can kill more people cheaper and faster

That’ll lead us right to nuclear disaster

            Everybody thinks that it’s power he’s after

            Cause everybody wants to forget

            That you can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive

            And you can’t be any poorer than dead



5.      I Need a Job

 Chorus: Job! I need a job! I need a job, job, job

Job! I need a job! I need a job! Job! Job!


I filled out your applications, I supplied my resume

I can’t wait until tomorrow you got to let me know today

 Are you hirin? Are you firing? Are you letting people go?

If there’s room in there for new recruits you gotta let me know.

 I’m the best that you could hire, I’m persistent as they come

I don’t never quit a project til the project is all done

 I won’t complain I won’t talk back I’ll be as servile as can be

If you want someone who’ll be faithful then you got to hire me

 I’ll come early I’ll stay later, I’ll do more than what I’m asked

I’ll exceed  your expectations in every chore and task


 What position am I looking for? What positions have you got?

I’ll do anything you pay me to, reasonable or not

 I’ll clean toilets, I’ll mop basements, I’ll sweep chimneys, roof to floor

I’ll bake muffins, I’ll make coffee, I’ll sell insurance door-to-door

 I’ll sort clothing, I’ll deliver pizza, I’ll answer telephones all day

As long as you are payin me I’ll do anything you say

 I’ll throw papers, give directions, I’ll tear tickets to the show

I’ll ring up groceries, make inspections, I’ll watch watermelons grow

 I’ll collect garbage, I’ll wash dishes, I’ll write tickets by the score

I’ll dance around in public just to advertise your store


 Check my background, check my birthday, check the references I’ve named

Tho if you’d just take my word for it, it’ll amount to about the same

 Qualifications, certifications, education—I got those

And as for my experience, well I got that too I spose

 I been a farmer, been a baker, been a fast hand on the line

Been a salesman, been a showman, been in trades of every kind

 I’m quick to learn, slow to forget, I’ll be the easiest to train

Everything’s my occupation, and hard-work’s my middle name

 I ain’t beggin for no handouts, I aim to work to make my wage

I’ll do whatever work you ask me, at whatever rate it pays


I got kids and they are hungry I got a wife that’s hungry too

Mouths to feed from Pennsylvania all the way to Timbuktu

 My landlady is a hounddog and I’m three months late on rent

The inheritance I just received, well somehow it got spent

 I got bills and fees and fines to pay, the none of which I can

I would have to be ten people, but I only am one

I’m deep in debt, you bet, seems I owe everybody some

Ain’t got two dimes to rub together, hell, I ain’t even got a one

 I asked you once politely, now I’m beggin on my knees

Now I’m kissin your old bootstrings, just gimme that job, please


 Song! I got a song! I got a song! Song ! Song!

And if you don’t start to pay me I’ll just sing it all day long



6.      The Petition Song

 When your employer works you harder than you’re paid to

And you can’t ask for a raise cause you’re afraid to

And your money can’t be spent on anything except the rent

And you pray it will relent but nothing saves you

            Hurry up, don’t wait

            Don’t you flinch or hesitate

            You got one chance to change your fate, it can’t be missed

            If you got reason to complain

            Against your labor or your pain

            Step forth and put your name down on this list

 When the doctor asks to see a form of payment

Fore he’ll lift a broken man up off the pavement

And he’ll tell you with a smile you only need to rest a while

And then he’ll charge you for what he calls the entertainment


When the judge seldomer forgives than incarcerates

And crime numbers are inconsistent with arrest rates

And if you can’t afford the fine, you’ll have to do the time

For holding drugs that have been legalized in some states


When money’s the only way to climb the ladder

And the fat cats at the top keep getting fatter

And the poor folk and the bums, everybody on the bottom rung

Have been told from early on that they just don’t matter


When your rights have been put up on the block for auction

And they’d sooner shoot than speak to take precation

And non-resistance no longer is the way to go

On account of it no longer is an option



7.      Somebody’s Child

Early one morning, the whole world fast asleep

A hobo was layin out dead in the street

Like a prayer left unanswered, a call left undailed

He was nobody’s darling, but he was somebody’s child

 Had a thirst keen on whisky, but he always was blunt

Never had any money, always said so up front

What’ll it be, dad—the barkeep’d ask with a smile

“I ain’t nobody’s father—I’m just somebody’s child,”

 He’d sleep on park-benches when he was down on his luck

And he’d ask for spare quarters when he was hard up

But he never liked hand-outs and he always desired

To be treated decent, like somebody’s child

 With his hands on a bottle, as if in a pose

Near a mountain of garbage, he’d sat down and froze

For months he just sat there, preserved, undefiled

But even an old man’s still somebody’s child

 The leaves changed their colors and the weather turned raw

And the rain fell in sheets by gravity’s law

while the snowflakes fell softly, so delicately piled

they covered the body of somebody’s child

 The people walked by him, and some of them stared

Some threw out their pennies, but nobody cared

But where is there refuge for the city’s exiled?

Show me where is the person that ain’t somebody’s child?

 Not a family to speak of, he didn’t have no home

Midst the crowds of the city, he was all alone

The name that the coroner wrote down and filed

In the absence of any was “somebody’s child,”

 Some folks’re lucky—they’re born into it all

Some come out fighting with their backs gainst the wall

Some grow more civil, other’s just get wild

But everyone starts out bein somebody’s child.


8.      The New Jim Crow

 Everybody knows that slavery ended with the civil war

Equality and freedom were well worth dyin for

And people claim that race is not an issue anymore

But of whites to blacks in prison the ratio’s now one to four

but if you ain’t pale and privileged, it’s hard to ignore

 And everybody knows the story of how we won our civil rights

The blacks received the ballot, the same as the whites

We ended segregation and all appeared to be alright

But the dawn of a new era just brought on another night

             Just look at the facts of the case, my friend

            Its black and its white, time and again

            As crime rates continue to slow and descend

            “but we’re vanquishing crime,” the politicians contend

            Meanwhile prison population just grows

                        And it ain’t cause the times haven’t changed

                        The more they have, the more they’ve just stayed the same

                        But you never call things by their names—

                        But crime ain’t the thing being fought

                        Despite what you’ve been told and taught

                        You can’t prove innocence when you’re caught—under the new jim crow

That the US polices all the world I’ve heard it’s leaders claim

Incarcerationally speaking the US puts the world to shame

Using words of law and order, from seeming racist they’ve abstained

But slavery ain’t abolished, it’s just wearing a new name

It’d be hard to gage or guess how far the justice system’s failed

When millions of people in this free country have been jailed

Beneath the pretense of a war on crime, the cracking down’s entailed

A round-up of the ones without the means to pay the bail

             Just look at the facts of the case my friends, 

            It’s black and it’s white, time and again

            The pattern by nows a predictable trend

            Whose numbers just go to show

                        that justice is still just a dream

                        Except for the whites with the means

                        That’s all that equality means—under the new jim crow

                        That you can’t blame the blind hand of fate

                        When the criminal is yours to create

                        And is judged less by his deeds than his traits—Under the new jim crow

When it’s expected that young poor black males will likelier serve time

Than receive their due diplomas in their graduation lines

And the judges in the courtrooms all claim they’re colorblind

While from the schoolyard to the jailyard there’s no black child left behind

 And once you’ve been to prison, the lifelong label you will wear

But you know it will prevent you from ever getting anywhere

They’ll say it’s nothing personal as they tell you to prepare

To become someone about whom nobody has to care

            Just look at the facts of the case my friends

            Its black and its white, time and again

            The rule of the law to the accused never bends

            It was broken, a long time ago—

            The rights that your laws are supposed to defend

            Were suspended a long time ago

                        But the history’s too painful to trace

                        And the music’s just too sad to face

                        And no one wants to talk about race—under the new jim crow 

And some cannot believe we could be further from the track

When even the president of the united states is black

You’d think it would mean something but it’s only been an act

In the name of social progress we’ve all turned our watches back

When the police shoot the people they ought to protect

And any motion for indictment the grand jury must reject

On account of police bullets in black bodies ain’t suspect

And black children have to wear “Don’t Shoot Me” signs around their necks 

            Just look at the facts of the case, my friends

            It’s black and its white, time and again

            And whether you’re free all seems to depend

            Upon which way the wind wants to blow

                        With one percent of your people enslaved

                        In this land of the free and the brave

                        Tell me, America, O say

                        Does that star spangled banner yet wave—under the new jim crow?


9.      The Fine Print

 Well I woke up with a bit of a condition

So I went in to consult with my physician

He told me I would need an operation

And that it just couldn’t wait

He said he’d need my authorized permission

In order to proceed with an excision

Gave me papers which I signed with the conviction

That soon it would be too late

 The next week I was starting to feel better

That is until I got a letter

It was from hospital bill-collector

He said I owed him twenty-thousand dollars

 I called and said, “tell me how can this be?

I’m being overcharged exorbitantly—

Isn’t my insurance going to front me?

I tell you I just can’t pay!”


            They said, “You should’ve gone ahead and read the fine print

            You might’ve understood a little different

            It might’ve seemed like something that it isn’t

            Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, might’ve—but you didn’t”

 So I went down to the bank to take a loan out

They said okay just take and fill this form out

I asked them to tell me what it all was about

They said it’s just S.O.P.

 They asked me what I needed all that cash for

I told them that I had to pay my doctor

they told me that my income was a factor

and did I have a full-time job

 I told them at the moment I did not yet

my doctor said I’d have to wait a while yet

I couldn’t work until my bones were all set

The banker-lady said: No Dice.

 they said I’d need a record of some credit

Without which I might as well forget it

they said its in the contract and I read it

and they pointed at my signature

 I said “a man is not all he endorses”

They said, wait just a minute, hold your horses

They said the catch about this all, of course, is

That your interest starts today


 So then I went out seeking some employment

Which you will imagine brought me no enjoyment

I applied without discretion or discernment

For any and everything

 I got a job working at a factry

Worked there two full weeks and then they sacked me

Told me they’d do better if they lacked me

I said what about my two-weeks pay?

 They pulled me out a crumpled piece of paper

they said I signed it: didn’t I remember?

they read me off my driver’s license number

Said I’d be getting none from them

 They said that in my contract there’s a section

Where they reserved the right to termination

Any day or time or place for any reason

And to withhold pay


 well, I decided this was an injustice

a situation legal action must fix

so I got myself a lawyer on the off-chance

that things could be resolved

 I wrote up a complaint and a proposal

An amount for which I’d be willing to settle

They laughed and said that it would go to trial

And that I was bound to lose

 My lawyer showed a fierce determination

To stand up against the corporation

And would not be swayed by their intimidation

No matter how they tried

 Well after the judge and jury heard it

They came up with the following verdict

they said they didn’t quite know how to word it

except to say that I had lost

 My lawyer declared it was an outrage

But even so it wouldn’t make the front page

He said “another worker’s robbed of his wage—

It happens every single day.”

 Then he sincerely gave me condolences

And handed me a bill of his expenses

I asked him if he’d gone and lost his senses

What did he expect me to do?

 I thought that if we lost I owed him zero

He said that’s just in cases of pro bono

He said that “in the contract…” I said “oh no—

Here we go again,”


 Now I don’t aim to keep you people guessin

About the moral of this story, or the lesson

The only thing I aim to be suggestin

Is to keep your eyes open wide

The next time that you go to see a lawyer

Or a banker or a doctor or employer

Or anyone who claims that they’ve got your

Best interest at heart

 Make sure you bring along your readin glasses

Make sure you dot the I’s and note the dashes

Of everything that your signature passes

And make a copy for your files



10.  Song for the Unsung

This is the song for the unsung heroes

For the losers and zeroes no history records

For the plain and blameless quiet nameless

Many who never stray too far from the shore

Who work their hardest for no one’s notice

Who earn their money but have to steal their rest

Who lose their chances at the cheap salvation

As they fall far short of ever being second best

            You daily grinders and watch-spring winders

            Hopeless reminders of what all you might have been

            I salute you in all your strivings

            Remember there are more of you than them

This is the song for the ordinary sister

Of the beauty contest winner with the recessive traits

Whom no one stares at or asks to dinner

Or invites out dancing or wants to date

Who grows to old age and never marries

Who has no children to call her very own

But who gives her love out to all who’ll take it

And is, wherever she is, right at home

            This is the song for the unknown soldier

Who grew no bolder the nearer war he got

Who aimed his rifle for his own survival

At his would-be enemy but never took the shot

Who died in battle, came home like chattel,

Was laid to rest in an unmarked pauper’s grave

Was unremembered save as young and foolish

And by a few who knew him as less than brave

            You adventure seekers, timid time-keepers

            Who watch the bleachers from the middle of the fray

            As you go headlong into unknown country

            May God bless and keep you safe upon your way

 This is the song for the obscure explorer

Who winds up poorer than when he started out

Who never arrives at his destination

Whose explanation the world must do without

Who will lose his compass, his only atlas

Whose tears of madness will ingredient the sea

As the waves that pound him will lift and drown him

With his question sounding: will anyone remember me?


11.  There’s a First Time For Everything

 You billionaires in your big easy chairs

counting your coins and your dough

What do you need with all that money?

You can’t take it with you, you know

You’ve hedged all your bets, you’ve become a success,

your kingdom spreads out far and wide

but when will your stuff ever bring you enough?

When will you be satisfied?

            When pigs learn to fly, when hell freezes o’er

            When the rocks in the mountains can sing

            But just cause they don’t, it don’t mean that they won’t

            There’s a first time for everything

 You big-business bosses who cut all your losses

Who pay less than the minimum wage

Whose labor’s on lease somewheres overseas

Cause it’s cheaper and all of the rage

What will you say to folks comin your way

When outside your door they are packed

Screamin for work and callin you jerk

Sayin, “When can we have our jobs back?”


Now the healthcare debate in the united states

Is as fierce as it is anywhere

When the state of your health depends on your wealth

That don’t exactly seem fair

I need to be cured, but I ain’t insured

It’s the most I can do just to beg

When will I receive the care that I need

Without payin an arm and a leg?


You judges who sit, who condemn and acquit

Who hear bout the worst that men do

Aloft in your towers with your gowns and your powers

Who gets to pass judgment on you?

You’ll seal a man’s fate to be killed by the state

You’ll kill thinking your doing what’s best

But when will a man’s life be too high a price

To weigh in the scales against death?


 Now the world is at war over oil and ore

Over power and territory

Over whose God is in charge and whose is not

On that point no one can agree

Meanwhile bombs descend on women and children

When O when will it cease?

When will the fight desist for the night

When will the world live in peace?


 Now perhaps I’m naieve, as green as the leaves

That sprout on the trees in the spring

Maybe I’m touched to be thinking so much

We all know what wishin can bring

Perhaps I’m a dope to hope without hope

But there’s one thing that I’ve always known

If you want things to improve, well you gotta move

Cause they ain’t gonna change on their own

             So get yourself wise and get organized

            Lift up your voices and sing

            Cause if you don’t, they probably wont

            There’s a last time for everything


12.  Where My Yard Used To Be (There’s an Oil Field There)

 This morning I woke to the sound of a blast

“Who’s there? Who’s there? Who is it?” I asked

A man was outside wearing some kind of mask

Said he was with Halliburton Oil and Gas

 He gave me a paper which he asked me to sign

What is it? I asked him, he said, “Nevermind,”

Said if I just put my name down on yon dotted line

Ten thousand dollars could be instantly mine

 I was still a bit groggy but it sounded alright to me

I signed his paper and I went back to sleep

And when I awoke I wanted to shriek

They drilled a hole on my property 10,000 feet deep

            Now where my yard used to be there’s an oil field there

            They tell me I signed it away fair and square

            But now I can’t drink my water and I can’t breathe my air

            Please Mr. Gas-man   

                        Is it just that you don’t know

                                    What you’re doing—or that you don’t care?

 Well I made several inquiries and asked for a report

About this hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short

And when I tried to protest, to make them cease and abort

They laughed and just told me they’d see me in court


Shortly thereafter I realized my mistake

When they turned my pond into a gasoline lake

I wish someone had told me bout the risk I would take

That the losses would outweigh the money I’d make

 Now oil companies claim that its cheap, and what’s more

we don’t have to rely on foreign oil anymore

but as time passes by you can’t fail to ignore

that gas is two bucks a gallon, but now fresh-water costs four

 and where my fields used to be, there’s an oil-field there

            and where my woods used to be, there’s an oil-field there

            and you can’t drink the water and you can’t breathe the air 

            please Mr. Gas-man

                        is it just that you don’t know

                                    what you’re doing—or that you don’t care?

 and if you’re inclined to think it ain’t as bad as it sounds

you ought to check on the chemicals they’re putting into your ground

ethyl-methyls, and sulfates, in lethal amounts

plus 500 others I can’t even pronounce

 Now the trees that once grew here have all been cut down

The air, once so clean, now looks dirty and brown

the birds all flew off, the fishes all drowned

next thing you know, it’ll be me skipping town

 and tell me, what will you do when your well’s overdrawn?

When you’ve lost what you’ve built your tomorrows upon?

When you finally realize all along you’ve been wrong?

Tell me where will you go when our planet is gone?

             When, where the earth used to be, there’s an oil-field there?

            When you finally realize that you haven’t a spare?

            I’ll ask you in hope, and I’ll plea in despair:

            Please, Mr. Gas man,

                        Is it just that you don’t know

                                    What you’re doing—or that you don’t care?

Now I don’t know about you, what your tomorrows are worth

If you think it’ll get better before it gets worse

But when you damage the planet, everyone hurts

And you’re killing the future by destroying the earth 

 Now the gas and oil companies are rolling in wealth

But they need your permission to keep spreading their filth

So if they ask, in the interest of keeping your health,

Say: you can’t frack my land, you can go frack yourself!