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Shrimp City Slim: Music

Lyrics for songs from "Rio Angie" (solo piano CD, 2012)

(Shrimp City Slim)
September 1, 2012
Music & words by Gary Erwin
"Rio Angie" may be an instrumental album, but all of these songs (except "Ancash") have lyrics and were written to be sung.

Here are the lyrics, some excerpted, some in full. Also date and place of composition.

(All of the following are copyright by Gary Erwin twice: 1) the year of composition and 2) 2012 with publication/release of "Rio Angie").

(All of the following published by Blue Chasqui Music (BMI).

Thanks for reading (and listening)!


KAREN TONIGHT (1975, Chicago) (excerpt)

Karen tonight
my heart makes silly thunder
Feeling you close
is all I need to feel
Say it's allright
for me to say I love you

And need you when you need it
just to lose the bitter times
The violence of this city life
has almost made me blind

And, if it's not allright,
I don't know why


BABES IN THE WOODS (1972, Cholula, Mexico) (complete)

Oh God
Babes in the woods
Creator's pardon would do us good
Hand on the fondle & fork in the food
Oh my word

Ode to
bartering goods
You take from me what some other would:
safety from armies & trips to the truth
Oh my word

Wake up, the sound of tomorrow brought 'round
ringing no gongs of distress

But with the morning and rising alone
I bid farewell to your sorrow and go
Charters of love by grim telephone
are all I can offer your waiting

Oh God
Babes in the woods
sharing wrong lovers and stormy moods
Cask on the mantle and gold in the soot
Oh my word

Old words
empty and good
speak of our need as if it should
each for each other but separately could
Oh my word

a house of progress without
the losing of someone one loves

Thinking of others, the prince's alarm
That you are a woman, no longer a girl
Head in the heavens, two feet in the word
but Magi come solemnly bringing:

pictures of sunsets and other obituaries
candles in vacuums and lambs led astray
moss-tattered pillars in vain disarray
balloonmen exiled to islands

destiny dances in bird-empty rookeries
furniture chains singe a store every day
deaths of longshoremen and horses at bay
hairshirts worn solely for humor

clocks stain
I change, you change
do not throw yourself away
looking (anxious) to the day
when the woods will thin

STAIRS (1971, Chicago) (excerpt)

Random choosing leads me to this scene:
raindrops framed by shutters clasped, ignoring storms
tattered country curtains blow in unfamiliar forms

I would sing if death did not repeal
its twenty-odd year disservice to my heart and soul
But scores of unholy demons I might enroll

What have I to lose? I have no life
And I said I would not trade her for the world
Whose duty is it but mine? I have no life
And I could never ever leave her to the world


FIRST LOVE (1980, Boston) (excerpt)
For Adam & Eve

Drastic summer tore us
to the bone
roared its way into our
house and home
ground its teeth into our bread

Short of breath and
ill of wind
faithful to what we've been
drowning in
It caught us by the throats one day
in so many ways

How we made our mess
hand in hand
mouth to mouth across a
slip of sand
How we threw our souls away
in so many ways

Rampant touch that shook us
nose to toe
as the earth must learn to
twist and roll
At the end, we're so afraid
in so many ways, but

when a whisper flutters from her lips
and she lays her trembling hand in mine
I can only answer her like this:
what my heart tells me to do, I do


RIO ANGIE (1972, Boston; the original title is "Eager Wires") (complete)
Thanks very much to David & Jacky Higgins for taking us to Ryoan-ji.

Fool winds
A home dishevelled in
the stench of travelling
without a cause

High wires
We walkers walked awhile
and raised our lazy spires
in sky and bed

But northers made us fall
into the pasts from whence we came
And let the winds whip wisdom wires
(eager wires)

Fool winds
The loss of revelling
and gazes sea-levelling
and sandy backs

High wires
The power sapped by sires
of natures undecided:
"We'll meet again"

And when I shed my eyes
in search of tears to speak my heart,
I am distant, so sad I cannot cry
(eager wires)

And if I had the balls,
I'd fold you up against the winds
and help you ease back
onto the wires
(eager wires)


THE SOUND OF LATE NIGHT (1978, Boston) (complete)

Nude beneath the blue ruana
clinking chains and cameos
Relax, accept your Romeos
Promises and soft permissions
How we melt our weapons down
into the sound
of late night come

Dateline: the wild life
The long, horny road
winds through the resume
of this sleepy mojo
Wired and woolied
by wilderness ways
Flushed with abandon
and crushed by payday

You & I in perfect tandem
tangling with the prototypes
Come in, give up
Shut off the lights
Cupid comments on the conquest
as we hold our common ground
and blend to the sound
of late night love come

I'm not about to resist
the flux and the flow
What is, is
What will be, is
belly up, jelly roll

Oh wine, oh wine, oh wine
I toast us tonight
Coast to coast
the most we can be is
the most that we try

Love is here or love is never
In these times, the love comes hard
Respect your heart
We can watch the sunsets redden
as we represent our town
providing the sound
of late night love come


I DON'T LOVE YOU NO MORE (1975, Chicago) (excerpt)

I don't love you no more
Jumping the gun
is a thing I'm used to doing
and always end up taking it back
Indian-givers don't look back

I can't stand it no more
Your variations are breaking my back
Neck-and-neck from the very start
Together we only tear ourselves apart

I can't love you no more
As much as I'd like to,
there ain't much hope
The blind man's been sizing us up
and implying no sense in breaking up
a happy home


O SILENT PARTNER (1977, Boston) (excerpt)

O gentle woman,
can you forgive me now
for the wild way I tried so hard
to get close to you?

And silent partner,
who do you stay with me now?
lingering in my thoughts
(you looked just like a lover, lover)
holding me back, holding me up
(just like a lover, lover)

You seemed so right
stalled against the night


ONLY ONE FRIEND LEFT (1979, Boston) (complete)

I will drink until
I become one last
golden bone shimmer
slaking his thirst in a lake of mirrors

Tied tight, resonating
sound like that made by
comic rivers who carve
their names into the ancient hollow of the earth

Only one friend left
Only one historian
hellbent on freezing the time
time after crazy time

I will walk until
I become the road
and dissolve myself into
the rock and the mist
of the corners of the world

Laughing winds feed
on souls coughed up by life
chew twice and
hypnotize the heaven and hell
that dwells within us all

Only one friend left
Only one historian
hellbent on freezing the time
time after crazy time

Now comes the time for
luminous friendship
I've got an extra head on
You're way ahead of recreation

Out of ourselves all night
alight and justified
We fight the aftermath of process
and ply the open waters of the mind

Only one friend left
Only one historian
hellbent on freezing the time
time after crazy time


A BUNDLE OF YEARS (1980, Boston) (complete)
For Mom

ordered flowers
open water
tired and just alive
talking to herself once again
fresh from quick ascent
on a little boat let loose
over a dark river
that mirrors the sky

muffled voices
vacuum gardens
ordinary stone
uncomplainingly she left
a smile sadly on her lips
With a whisper, a hush
she became dust
and we shed our tears for ourselves
With a moment, a breath
she stepped the rest
of the way to the
bundle of years

Bundle of years
hard and many
pale and colored stars
like the source
the jade bead, the heart
like the reason
miracles are here in this world
causing the living
to die and nourish the earth
The bundle of years
takes away
then gives us back more than we've earned