Carolina Maze Lyrics

Index of songs

Track 1 #Tr. 1 (Post-Industrial News)
Track 2 #Tr. 2 (Choices)
Track 3 #Tr. 3 (Pie Day)
Track 4 #Tr. 4 (Practical Man)
Track 5 #Tr. 5 (Nobody Gets Out Of Here Alive)
Track 6 #Tr. 6 (Post-Apocalyptic BNW Blues)
Track 7 #Tr. 7 (U No This Man)
Track 8 #Tr. 8 (Reckless Endangerment)
Track 9 #Tr. 9 (Laughing Fool Blues)
Track 10 #Tr. 10 (Charm For A Way)
Track 11 #Tr. 11 (Keep It In The Ground!)
Track 12 #Tr. 12 (The Story Short)
Track 13 #Tr. 13 (The Kids Are All Right)
Track 14 #Tr. 14 (Between Breaths)

Post-Industrial News (You Can Use)

Verses 1 & 2:

Big wheel turning with subsonic rumble,

Hear the slipstream bubble, chase the trouble's logic 'til you start to stumble.

The time is just a mad mare's nicker, pick up your hat, it's Network's token:

The gypsy's dealt the cards, your fortune unspoken.

Snake eyes shining like a light in a tunnel,

Popped a can of trouble, poured a horn of plenty like it was a funnel.

Ozone, dust, fluorescent flickers tickle your throat but Bossman's spoken:

Wheel of fortune is a grinder with a switch that's broken.


The water's up, the price is up, the game is up, the blame is up,

The kick is up with hackles up, post-Saturnalian shame is up,

The hick is up, he's wicking up and common sense is sicking up.

Now, slowly you are picking up that every fool but you is up.


Now lines slide past,

Markers in a game whose rules

Will be revealed

When all the bets are down.

The times move fast,

Mem'ries of a time not come,

A prize not won

When all the bets were down.

Verse 3:

Hear the numbers clicking past accelerando,

Dust and ash by the handful, drifting light as down, a prowling commando,

A blade of light, a dusty cloak concealing a threat that's spoken:

All the things you need to live are promises broken.

(Pre-chorus, chorus)


Verse 1

I could pay my heat

Or I could buy my meds.

I could pay my gas

Or I could buy my meds.

I could pay my water

Or buy my meds.

Sometimes I swear that this governor

Must want me dead.

Verse 2

I could buy some food

Or I could buy my meds.

I could fix my car

Or I could buy my meds.

I could pay my rent

Or I could buy my meds.

Sometimes I swear that this governor

Must want me dead.


Sometimes I wonder how this all could go so wrong--

How all these dreams I half remember slid away--

Sometimes I wonder what this world is coming to:

But I still hope I'll live to see a brighter day.

(Repeat verse 1)

Pie Day

Verse 1

We're building a pie.  We're building it bigger,

We're building it sweeter.  You can't even figger

How many happy folks it's going to feed.

It's Kosher, Hallal, vegan, gluten-free--

One great big lush American pie indeed.

Verse 2

We're building a pie.  We've been building it longer,

And building it better  Than weaker mocks stronger.

How many happy folks it's going to feed!

Nutritious and delicious, you will see

One big Palmetto answer to a need.


It's got electrical, symmetrical aerogels and bronze bells,

Passion for fashion, hell, it's even got obstetrical.

It's automotive burgers and it's transit fries,

It's shutting my mouth, and batting its eyes.

It's more with less and it's just in time,

Oldest pearls of wisdom strung on brand new line.

Subjective, interactive, sometimes unattractive,

Sometimes so hot it's freakin' radioactive.

It's medical miracles, it's simple touch;

Don't try to contain it, it's too damn much.

Expatiating, gratiating, 'ccasionally satiating,

Selling you your tears and promptly overcompensating;

Canniness matriculating, lonely hearts salivating,

Diction of attraction, calculus of satisfaction,

Action's compaction, cogs gaining traction,

Like hinders like, but facilitates faction.

Verse 3

We're building a pie  With love and with care, now

Despite imperfection The heart is sure there

How many happy folks it's going to feed

I hope unhappy ones will come to see

One big Palmetto answer to a need.

Verse 4

We're building a pie;  Some fuss over slices.

It's a simple confusion Called "zero sum bias."

So many happy folks that we can feed

Without the curse of exclusivity--

One great big lush American pie indeed.

Verse 5

So come build the pie. What you can supply me

I can't really imagine, But I know you'll surprise me.

This pie will give us what we really need

If we relax our clenched rigidity.

Be human at this grand and glorious feed.


Come build the pie (ad lib.)

Practical Man

Verse 1

I see a dragon hover, 

A fearsome thing with scales of red and gold.   (2x)

And still you’re staring at the ledger

Displaying what you’ve bought and what you’ve sold.

Verse 2

I see a turquoise flower, exquisite in its setting in the mud.  (2x)

Your eyes still fixed on your computer

You speak of thunder, you speak of blood.


You’re a practical man, such a practical man.

Politics means doing what you can.

You’re a practical man.

Is that the future, clutched tight in your hand?


Verse 3

I see a child awaiting the living, breathing world in which she’ll be. (2x)

Now, as you analyze your ledger,

Is her face something you still see?

(Chorus to end.)

Nobody Gets Out Of Here Alive


"Nobody gets out of here alive"--

 Words that could chill your soul.

But nudge, nudge, wink, wink,

I actually think

Those words could make us whole.

Verse 1

Terrorists, they hack and blast

To exalt a God of love,

And use our fears to get their way,

And set themselves above.

Bad hair dude says "Blast them to Hell!"

To keep Christian values strong.

But when I think of who Christ was,

Doesn't seem those words belong.

Chorus 2

So many dangers, toils & snares

To flee, and to feel accurst.

But try as we might

To run or to fight,

We're all sentenced to the worst.

Verse 2

Life can be ineffably sweet--

It can pierce your heart with joy.

The Universe reveals its heart

When you really see that girl or that boy.

Yet it's easy to clench your heart like a fist,

Staring down at that fall.

But as Emily and Amy say,

"It's only life, after all."

(Chorus 1 to end.)

Post-apocalyptic Brave New World Blues   (Lyrics by Steve Babb, with Kevin McKinney)

Verse 1

Putin's in the Kremlin, hacking on the Internet

Bannon's in the basement, bleaching out the government

Big Dog Carrot Top, finger wagging, pissed off's

Riling up old hatreds--boy, did that pay off!

Dreamers and Muslims, it's nothing you did--

Just the fact that you're dif'rent bothers them no end.

Better line up for the registries and detention pens--

ICE, D.H.S.'n C.C.A. are on your case again.

Verse 2

Glaciers melting, oceans rising, lungs full of black soot

Muzzle climate science so nobody gives a hoot

Sayonara E.P.A., all that counts is what pays

Facts are overrated, truth shifts each day.

New boss is scary, real thin skin you know,

On a hot hairtrigger, always primed to blow.

He commands N.S.A., his enemies list will grow--

Just check Putin's Russia, see which way the wind blows.

Verse 3

If you want to be alive, stay well in the first place

The gang that trashed Obamacare with such unseemly haste

Still has no clue just how it can be replaced

So citizens are treated like medical waste.

Dixie A.G. calls blacks 'boys' to their face

And white antiracists traitors to their race.

Now the Klan is emboldened, we'll just have to keep pace,

Keep Barack's and Martin's legacies from being erased.

(Trumpet solo)

Verse 4

Fight back, don't bless the Putin-Trump bromance--

Don't let our liberties be suppressed.

Don't swallow sound-bites or tabloid lies;

Don't let shiny objects dazzle your eyes;

Don't be awed by pow'r whatever its guise.

Don't rely on Dems or saviors to avert our demise--

You know our country's fate is up to us, no time to agonize--

Get off your butt, get in their face, protest and organize!

U No This Man


You know this man.

You've always known this man. (2x)

Verse 1

Beloved America gets a lift,

Even backers he screwed and contractors he stiffed.

Business-like country, grow jobs, praise Heaven--

But nations can't call Chapter Eleven.

Says he'll make the air clean & the water bright,

And he'll do it for free--can that be right?

Meals On Wheels got to go away;

But defense contractors get a great pay day.


Verse 2

Said he grabbed those cats, didn't hear them crying.

Said he never did, so which time was he lying?

Brags on his 'girls' in the Cabinet tent,

Representing at sixteen percent.

But all lives matter, so worry no more

'Less you're queer, mad, old, black, sick or poor.

Compassion: desired institution

Not in the Tea Party Constitution.


(Guitar solo)

Verse 3

Called climate change a Chinese hoax,

Then claimed that that was some kind of sick joke

Like "Really clean coal," whatever that meant.

I call it "Reckless endangerment."

Now it's extreme vetting worse than waterboard tortures

Defending our borders from disabled reporters.

Good soldiers all build one great wall--

Like Adolf Eichmann, we just follow orders.


Reckless Endangerment


Reckless endangerment, reckless endangerment! (3x)

Reckless endangerment!

Verse 1

Trump is in the White House, counting out his money;

HIs policies a big fat joke we only wish were funny.

Like radon in the basement, or nightshade in the stew,

More carbon in the atmosphere is not the thing to do.


Verse 2

Energy is in the wind, and power in the sun

Decarbonize our power grid, we know it can be done!

But corrupt imagination just loves its dirty power--

Made the global climate villain, now's our darkest hour.


Verse 3

Lives and fortunes, sacred honor, all of these in danger

From the choices we have made, our logic ever stranger.

Let's reclaim our sanity, our freedom and our power,

Resist all those who use our lives to build their tacky towers.


Verse 4

Money cannot buy the air, it cannot buy the rain,

Though it can buy inequality, oppression, theft, and pain.

Some fear future poverty, of comfort all bereft--

Make foolish gain our God, and there will be no future left.


Verse 5

Trump is in the White House, counting out his money;

His policy's a big fat joke we only wish were funny.

Like radon in the basement, or nightshade in the stew,

More carbon in the atmosphere is not the thing to do.

Laughing Fool Blues

Verse 1

The planet she is cooling--an Ice Age is coming soon. (2x)

Dropped ten whole degrees now, just since I checked at noon.

Verse 2

The planet isn't warming, but Mars is warming just the same. (2x)

Well, it's anything but carbon--that's the name of the game.

Verse 3

The planet might be warming, but we really cannot tell. (2x)

That's what they say in Alabama--New York can go to-- well…

Bridge 1

Alarmist con men tell you that we're gonna drown in floods,

We'll be choking in a dust bowl, or else trying to swim in mud;

We're gonna be a-runnin’ from some crazy cyclone storm,

But how bad can it really be to get a little warm?

Verse 4

The planet might be warming but it's nat'ral as nat'ral can be. (2x)

Just an oceanic cycle, or Ice Age recovery.

Verse 5

The planet has stopped warming, so dry your foolish tears.

Stopped in '09 and two thousand, hasn't warmed in sixteen years.

Verse 6

An Ice Age is coming, a grand Solar minimum.

We can't predict the Earthly weather, but we sure do know our Sun.

Bridge 2

We love our scary stories of famine and of flood,

Of drowning infrastructure, of climate war and blood,

Of sickness and starvation, some crazy "clathrate gun,"

But why should the alarmists get to have all of the fun?


So I'm gonna tell a story if you've followed me this far.

The UN will tax your breathing and confiscate your car.

Those scientists hate freedom; they won't give cash a chance.

They'll kill democracy just to pad their grants.

They're gonna take your money, take your freedom, too.

Gonna waste it on some ice cap or conservation zoo.

Gonna take ev’ry penny to waste on this 'n that

Gonna take it all, sure as Al Gore's fat. 

Verse 7

I see right on through them, all these snooty, snooty, snooty elites. (2x)

They call me senseless, but I just know that they're cheats.

Verse 8

They've got these charts and graphs and data on the ice and air and sea; (2x)

They prophesy disaster--they just won't let me be.

Verse 9

They prophesy disaster, make me feel like a foolish clown. (2x)

I've got me a solution:  Just turn their graph upside down.

Charm For A Way

Verse 1

The hard rain is falling, the wind keeps on rising

And eastward the sky is on fire.

The windows are boarded, the water is hoarded.

Decision time's down to the wire.

To stay or to go now, no-one really knows now:

There's thousands of people in doubt.

The wind's shrieking louder, the water creeps higher,

And now it's too late to get out.


May a path open for you in the midst of the storm.

May you find some scrap of shelter to keep    your bones warm.

May some hand light a candle, just where the dark presses in. 

May you find some spark of energy when the lights come on again.

Verse 2

The hours seem to lengthen as night hides the city,

And nerves keep on tightening with strain.

There's nothing to say now, and nothing to see now,

But fears slowly grow with the rain.

And when dawn comes stealing, the fear each is feeling

Shows clear in the lines on each face.

There's rescuers coming, or so they are saying,

But the rising tide gives them a race.

(Instrumental Chorus)

Verse 3

The long months drag by, one long struggle with papers,

But sweet dreams of home still surprise.

Tempers are fraying, and minds keep on straying

To scenes playing behind the eyes.

One foot past the other, and don't lose the focus

A day will come when this all ends--

Reconstruction sufficient, bureaucracy sated,

A day for the family and friends.

Double Chorus & Tag

Keep It In The Ground!

Verse 1

Keep it in the ground    Don't pump that carbon

Keep it in the ground    We don't want it here

Keep it in the ground    Coal is not the answer

Keep it in the ground    Preserve our atmosphere

Verse 2

Keep it in the ground    No bitumen, now

Keep it in the ground    We don't want it here

Keep it in the ground    Fossil's not the answer

Keep it in the ground    Preserve our atmosphere


Rising water, falling water, missing water, toxic water,

People, plants and animals all fight for their lives.

Freezing spring, melting winter, deluge autumn, brick kiln summer,

Ancient cycles splinter into shrapnel that drives

Through the web of all being that cradles our lives--

So listen, please listen, our children must thrive,

Don't imperil their lives.

Verse 3

Keep it in the ground    Don't frack that natgas

Keep it in the ground    We don't want it here

Keep it in the ground    Carbon's not the answer

Keep it in the ground    Preserve our atmosphere

Verse 4

Keep it in the ground    Use wind and sunshine

Keep it in the ground  Green power's here

Keep it in the ground    That's a wiser answer

Keep it in the ground    Preserve our atmosphere


Preserve our atmosphere

Preserve our atmosphere

Carbon--In the ground!

The Story Short

Verse 1

You have the perfect smile, and the clearest eyes;

Ideal shoulders, calves and thighs all in perfect tone;

Your hair waves perfectly; you leave a trail of sighs,

So only a naive fool would pity your bones.

But nevertheless, I see you dragging that stone.

Verse 2

You drive the perfect car, rock the hippest look;

The New York Times reviewed your book like a lover's moan;

The doting camera makes the world your private nook,

So cynical haters just can't lower your tone.

But nevertheless, I see you dragging that stone.


I know that you can feel it now, but do you see it, too?

What to do?  Hear the echoes as it's scraping after you?

Do you hear it in the corridors?  Do you smell it in the park

As it's crushing out the grasses and grinding up the bark?

Like a statue in a fairy-tale that no-one dares to read,

Like the seed of magic briars that will cut you 'til you bleed,

Is it pulling down the castle?  Is it blowing out the spark?

Is it crowding out the sunlight?  Silencing the lark?

Or is it in your nostrils like a phantom of the trench

Where they buried all the bodies?  An incriminating stench!

Tainting all the flavors that your credit card can rent,

Clinging scent, 'til you've forgotten all that perfume ever meant.

Still it follows, still it follows, without a pause or break

You can take, whether dream-fast, or hard and stark awake.

It follows where you took the links from every empty shelf,

And you bound it to your heart, and you're dragging it yourself.

(Instrumental developments and vocal fragments)

The Kids Are All Right

Sectional Verse

Boomers, Millennials, X, Y, and Z,

Busy spending our money in the land of the free--

Whether paper or plastic, on cash or account,

Never pausing in our chase for the requisite amount.

Each & every generation in a drive to excess,

With some getting more, and more getting less--

A lifetime explosion of the loot in the bag,

Humanity and culture worn down to a rag.


Plastic in the air, in the water, in the sea.

Plastic clothes for you, tons of plastic food for me.

"Plastic is the future," said the dad from the heights,

And the irony has doubled, 'cause it seems that dad was right.


The kids are all right:  it's their future.

The kids are all right:  so let them march.

The kids are all right:  it's their future.

The kids are all right:  so hear them speak.

The kids are all right:  But trouble's brewing.

The kids are all right:  It's truth they speak.


The kids are all right, except when they're not,

When they're wheezing with asthma, or their world is too hot;

When there's lead in their water and soot in their air,

When there's nothing to do and nobody to care;

When they're breathing in cancer and breathing out rage;

When their 'Merican dream is just life in a cage;

When rage coalesces on their own little spot,

And they live broken-hearted, or die of gun-shot.



Carbon in the air, in the water, in the sea.

Carbon pumped for you, tons of carbon spewed for me.

"Carbon is the future," said the dad from the heights,

And the irony has doubled, 'cause it seems that dad was right.


Between Breaths

Verse 1

Wind plays the water;

Sunlight plays the trees;

Lone crow reveals the breezes;

Just these eyes to see.

Verse 2

Wanting plays the bloodstream;

Whispers pull the ear;

Echoes reveal desire;

Just this heart to hear.