Damage Lyrics

Index to lyrics

Track 1 #Tr. 1 (Psalm)
Track 2 #Tr. 2 (Petitionary)
Track 3 #Tr. 3 (Undamaged Blues)
Track 4 #Tr. 4 (At Night)
Track 5 #Tr. 5 (Aleatoric Blues)
Track 6 #Tr. 6 (Ticked Right Off)
Track 7 #Tr. 7 (Damage)
Track 8 #Tr. 8 (The Wind Blows Free)
Track 9 #Tr. 9 (Love Still Abides)
Track 10 #Tr. 10 (Rainy Day Women #12 & 35/Alle Menschen)
Track 11 #Tr. 11 (October The 20th)
Track 12 #Tr. 12 (Big Gary Chantey)



Why do the nations rage so furiously together?

And why do the people imagine vain things?

Verse 1

My heart is so thirsty, I would drink from the ocean,

Though its brine carries eons of folly, cruel madness and frustrated innocent need.

My soul is so weary, I would lie in the cradle,

Though it's laid with the nettles of shame and confusion and counsels that I failed to heed.


Verse 2

Our thoughts are so broken, we believe our desires,

Like idolators seeking the comfort of visible deities built by our hands.

We dance on a knife-edge, our eyes firmly covered,

Much like acrobats thrilling invisible spectators, flaunting our mortality.


Verse 3 (2x)

The sun is our blessing; the cool rain anoints us,

And sweet revelation still lives in the melodies of ev'ry sweet bird that sings.

Petitionary (Prayer From A Future)


Rains fall softly on the earth;

Sky weep gently; Bring no dearth.

Verse 1

Lash us not with the whips of your lightning;

Send not winds hard as steel.

Veil our eyes from the fierceness of sunshine;

Grant us time for to heal.


Verse 2

Take the crumbs of our pride as an off'ring;

Cherish shoots that spring green.

All our towers are fallen and crumbled;

Turn us from what has been!



Rains fall softly; Rains fall softly; Sky, weep!

Undamaged Blues

Verse 1

I took the needle, there was no damage done.

I took the needle twice, there was no damage done.

E-v'ry life-denying lie believed

Is just a setting sun.

Verse 2

We sat here patiently to see the fire give way.

Sat here so patiently to see the fire give way.

But the halls and streets are full of fools--

Most busy fanning flame.

Chorus 1

Put your hand on the wheel (3x)

And hold on.

Verse 3

I used to love my neighbor, or at least think he loved me.

I used to love my neighbor, and at least hope he loved me.

Now I wonder if he'd lift a hand, or watch me drift to sea?

Verse 4

I know I tried your patience--a drag when you tried to fly.

I surely tried your patience--dragged you when you tried to fly.

If you need an anchor in this storm, I'll be here by your side. 

Chorus 2

Put your hand in mine (3x)

And hold on.

At Night

Verse 1

I used to like to walk at night, no special place to be.

Just rambles through the quiet streets, with nothing much to see--

Disquiet pulse beneath my skin, and a quivering in my bones.

No answers why, as I strode the night, I didn’t just stay home.

Chorus 1

The world has always been broken, whether illness, or error, or sin.

The world has always been broken, and the light always shining in.


Verse 2

I saw a black and white picture; I looked, and turned it down.

Just another cruel story told in another charming town--

A story written on the skin, and burnt right down to the bone.

No metamorphosis can ever turn this brine back into stone.

Chorus 2

The world has always been broken, whether illness, or error, or sin.

The world has always been broken, and the light always shining in.

The world has always been broken, with that harsh compulsion to win.

 The world has always been broken, and the light always shining in,

And the light always shining in.

Aleatoric Blues

Verse 1

Winter's coming, but it isn't getting cold;

Geese flying southward, like they still need to go.

Hope I get what I paid for--I could use a new soul.

Verse 2

Temperature rising, rain falls sideways.

Surf sounds hungry, gnawing at the bay.

This wind's snuffed the candles of a thousand birthdays.


Aleatoric blues! (4x)

Verse 3

Don't drive a Mercedes, just barely own my home.

Sixty hours weekly, working in the zone.

I don't know what's coming, staring at the foam.

Verse 4

Don't know what's coming, though I remember what's been.

Sure sounds like trouble in the howling wind.

How could just living come to be a sin?


Aleatoric blues! (5x)

Ticked Right Off (Lyrics by Deb Matherly & Kevin McKinney)


December blooms, but March just freezes—

Goodbye orchard if I got no peaches.

Fields are flooded, or dry as dust—

This weird weather’s gonna drive us bust.

Verse 1

So hot in the fields I can’t drink my fill,

The markets so wild I can’t pay my bills.

Hurricanes marchin’ one, two, three—

Wildfire Alaska to Tennessee.

Can’t get bees for pollination;

Rootworm’s bringin’ me ruination.

Tearin’ my hair keepin’ pigweed down.

Tornado swarm just flattened my town.

Midwest floods like I never did see.

What the hell?  Well, maybe… just maybe—


Mother Nature is ticked right off.

She warned us but we just had to scoff--

Now she’s showing us who’s tough.

Guess we’d best connect the dots,

‘Cause in a rage, she's too damn hot.

She warned us, now she’s callin’ the shots.

We just got to try to cool her off,

‘Cause Mother Nature is ticked right off.

Verse 2

Who can blame her?  She’s freakin’ steamed!

We’re melting her icecaps and trashing her seas;

Cuttin’ her forests, bleachin’ her reefs;

Gassin’ the air, so no-one can breathe;

Poisoning rivers, soils and trees--


I’d like to kick this fossil drug,

Stop diggin’ deeper this hole we dug;

Ease off the gas, plant a tree;

Be strong to protect my children’s dreams.


Instrumental Coda


Verse 1

The twitching of an ear, the unsheathing of the claws;

The timing of the leap, the unfolding of a law;

The horror that transmutes into wine and bread;

A benediction laid on the damage done in innocence.

Verse 2

Got folks climbing up the walls, soot clogging the vents;

Labs cranking out the pills, folks living in tents;

Got the whole world’s lore; got e-cigarettes;

Lots of voices to soothe the damage done in innocence.

Bridge 1

Nothing comes from nothing and there’s nothing that could ever be clearer

Than standing there repeating “It was nothing” to that face in the mirror.

Nothing beats the nothing that no-one ever did,

And no-one loves the face that has always been hid.

Nothing comes from nothing and there’s nothing that could ever come nearer.

Verse 3

She said I didn’t hear; the words were from her heart--

Heedlessness a wedge driving us apart.

You know I never meant the silence growing dense--

The closing of the door on the solemn rites of innocence.

Bridge 2

Please, try not to cry.

There are no goodbyes.

May the spirit fly--

Over each damaged doorway.

Verse 4

The shimmer in the air; the cracking of the ground;

The buckler of the sky; the silence all around;

The plastic in the sea; the gases from the vents--

Can you really claim this is damage done in innocence?

The Wind Blows Free

Verse 1

Lily’s thinking way back when they laughed the nights away

In Kent & Jenny’s kitchen, with their piles of games to play,

Or singing ‘round the piano--sweet ragged harmonies--

McCartney’s long & winding road, or Jolson on his knees.

Dreaming then, as dreaming now, despite the breaking day,

Despite the rain, despite the years, despite the bills to pay.

Lily’s dreaming of a fire to warm her to the bone;

Of all things now, she thinks, it’s only fire to make a home.

Verse 2

Lily meets a guy at night in a desperate part of town;

His camo-pattern hoodie seems to blend into the ground.

The words they trade are murmured low, as if not to awaken

The sleeping city’s bloodhounds from their dreams of what’s been taken.

Another step upon the road that started with her dream;

Another leaf among the scores that jostle on the stream;

Another coal to light a fire to warm her to the bone;

She shivers as she thinks of how that fire will take her home.


The cables hum with the EMF; an old man draws a creaky breath.

Traffic lofts a vivid shout; clouds blow in as the sun slips out.

The people twitch in their waking dream; a young girl smiles down her scream.

Tremors stir the tainted sea--and the wind blows free.


It’s sad, she thinks, so many folks just gone with no goodbye–

The words unsaid, her voice unused, her eyes and cheeks still dry–

The places that she used to love, now nowhere to be found

But memory:  blurred traces of that former sacred ground.

No taste of bread, no scent of sea, no pines upon the hill;

Everything’s been traded for a franchise to a kill,

A shining graven image wired for sound, and made to follow.

No nurture for the weary heart of a woman growing hollow.

Verse 3

Lily draws a calming breath; she knows the hour has come.

She pulls her phone, all ready now to draw all to a sum.

Reflections glare into her eyes like shards of shattered glass,

But only for a moment, though it seems a year to pass.

One final step along the road that started with her dream;

At last, her power claimed, perhaps enough to shift the stream.

No more dreaming of escape; the path has turned to mire;

The plan is laid, the tinder set–and Lily lights her fire.


Love Still Abides

Verse 1

Your hands are cold, and the wind is strong,

And you’re pulling hard for your life.

The water’s rough, and you’re getting faint

With a hunger you’ve no time to feel.

A mile or more to cover still,

And the spray feels just like a knife;

The day is grey as the granite,

But your heart has a touch of the steel.


It’s not greed; it’s not hatred or anger

Kindling the flame of this pyre.

These trials are just a flint

To strike the spark igniting your fire.

Verse 2

Your eyes are sore, and the hour is late,

Concentration seems a lifetime away.

The glare is fierce, and your brain is numb,

And there’s no resolution in sight.

Hours like years to get this done,

But there’s nothing you can think of to say.

The meeting feels like midnight,

But you still feel a light that will come.



Love still abides; love still abides.

Somehow, love survives; love still abides.

Somehow, love survives; love still abides.

Verse 3

You can’t believe what your ears just heard,

And the smile wants to flee from your face.

Your brain is toiling at the odds,

Rat-like in this fresh maze,

For, to your surprise, respect got tossed

Like a longshot, bench-only case.

But you lob a joke--it’s an ‘Ave’ said--

Thinking “Man, this must be one of those days!”

Chorus 2

Verse 4

Your hands are cold, and the wind is strong,

And you’re pulling hard for your life.

The water’s rough, and you’re getting faint

But there’s sweetness, too, in this strife.

Chorus 3

Prechorus & Tag

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35/Alle Menschen (Bob Dylan/Traditional)

Verse 1

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin' to be so good

They’ll stone ya just like they said they would

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home

Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone

But I would not feel so all alone

Ev'rybody must get stoned!

Verse 2

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ down the street

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat

They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ on the floor

Then they’ll stone ya when you walk to the door

But I would not feel so all alone

Ev'rybody must get stoned!

Verse 3

They’ll stone ya when you’re at the breakfast table

They’ll stone ya when you are so young and able

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to make a buck

They’ll stone ya and then they’ll say, “good luck”

Tell ya what!  I would not feel so all alone

Ev'rybody must get stoned!

Verse 4

Rainy Day Women:

They’ll stone you and they'll say that it’s the end

They’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again

They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car

They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar

Yes, but I would not feel so all alone

Ev'rybody must get stoned!

Alle Menschen:

Alle Menschen müßen sterben,

Alles Fleisch vergeht wie Heu;

Was da lebet, muß verderben,

Soll es anders werden neu.

Dieser Leib, der muß verwesen,

Wenn er anders soll genesen

Zu der großen Herrlichkeit,

Die den Frommen ist bereit.


Everybody dies, all flesh passes like grass;

Whatever lives must perish for renewal;

This body must decay, to recover

The glory awaiting believers.

Verse 5

Well, they’ll stone you when you're walkin' all a-lone

They’ll stone you when you're walking to your home

They’ll stone you and then they will say you're brave

They’ll stone you when you're set down in your grave

I would not feel so all alone

Ev'rybody must get stoned!


Ev'rybody must get stoned! (multiple x)

October the 20th (The Women Of Wheatley)

Verse 1

October the twentieth, nineteen-nineteen

Dawned bright, with frost lightly whitening the scene.

The sky held the promise of sun’s warmth to be–

A grand day for walking!  There’d be no more blocking; their voices would sound

Though the miles stretched so long to reach Leamington town.

Verse 2

Now Ivy set out, the babe slung at her breast.

The night had been short; too exciting for rest.

She’d fried up the bacon, made oatmeal and tea;

She’d said, “My dear Webster, I’ll see you for supper–unless you’ve come ‘round.

The miles are long to reach Leamington town.”

Verse 3

At first solitary along Highway One,

Soon joined by her neighbors, some old and some young–

Sisters Newman and Coulter, and Mrs. McLean,

Some quietly talking, some silently walking, they covered the ground:

Wheatley’s women, a-march toward Leamington town.

Bridge 1

What the law had yielded, their men would not cede,

Blind to the right, and unseeing the need.

But election day shining, a long night had past.

The women of Wheatley had ballots to cast.


Now Leamington town at length came in sight.

Their step now grew brisker, their eyes yet more bright.

And one at a time, each one had her own say–

The biggest of all steps they’d taken that day.

Verse 4

Now gathered together, their ballots all cast,

They spread out their blankets right there on the grass,

Then sitting together, they shared a repast,

Just talking of weather, their children–wherever their minds would rebound–

Yet gazing with new eyes on Leamington town.

Verse 5

Arising together to take their ways home,

They saw that old Hattie’s Lorenzo had come

From voting, resplendent in his Model T.

“Oh, Hattie, dear Hattie, come ride home with me!  For the children just frown.

It’s a long way to Wheatley from Leamington town.”

Verse 6

“Lorenzo,” she answered, “It’s kind, I must say,

If slightly belated at this time of day,

But along with these kind friends I’ll still make my way.

A grand day for walking, and thinking, and talking!  The things that we’ve found!

They shorten the way home from Leamington town.”

Bridge 2

What the law had yielded, their men had to cede,

Still blind to the right, but now sensing the need.

This election day ending, a long night had past.

The women of Wheatley their ballots had cast.

Big Gary Chantey

Verse 1

Big Gary from Columbia, he works to get folks well.

He helps them for to navigate each sick insurance hell.

He knows the ropes, he knows the spars,

He can shoot the moon, the sun and stars,

And he’ll always tell just where we are

Each time we ring the bell.

Verse 2

Big Gary fought for justice; today he stands for all.

He knows you seek a better way, for he has heard you call.

Medicaid he will expand

With healthcare meant for every hand,

And always he will understand:

You are not meant to fall.


And hey, oh!  Gary’s running for Gov!

Help elect a man who won’t scorn love!

Hey, oh!  When he takes command

He’ll run SC with a caring hand.

And rise, Palmetto, rise!

Rise, Palmetto, rise!

Verse 3

Too long our state has labored right underneath the boot

Of racialized oppression that seeks to crush each shoot

Of equal rights; we’ve heard the sound

Of gunfire mowing prayer groups down.

Help Gary hew down to the ground

The tree that bears strange fruit.


Verse 4

And Gary’s heard the Dreamers, too, he knows they walked the line.

They’re raised to love America, but forced to bide their time--

Like everyone with grit and drive

Who seeks to truly be alive

And asks how striving to survive

Could come to be a crime.