Songs Of brooklyn Lyrics

SMany Streets

There are so many streets

Many streets

Streets with names

Streets with numbers

Squared in blocks

Crossing at right angles

Row after row

Occasionally crossed by another street

At an angle

Creating a tangle

 

Each covered by pavement

Hard by sidewalks covered by blue stone

Surmounted by stoops and steps

Surrounded by houses of brick and brown stone

With only stray blades of green grass

Striving between cracks

 

Under the heavily soled feet of those passing

From car to curb

From iron underground train

To wheeled bus

To sidewalk

To stoop

Up stairs

Indoors

Inside

 

The sun bakes down

The sun sets on hot streets

The moon shines if you look up

Once or twice a month

And it amazes

Then we forget it appeared

We’re looking down at so many streets

So many streets

So many streets

All words and music by Dave Hall ©

 

I see quiet people

Gathering berries, fishing, swimming

Living simply by green marshes

Their skin as dark as the bark of the trees

 

I see grass and I see boulders

I see brown and sturdy shoulders

I hear the sound of children’s laughter

 

And singing and chanting

And bickering and panting

And the sounds of calling after

 

I see mothers rocking babies to sleep

Fathers fishing in the harbor deep

Young girls weave and giggle and coo

Yes, I see them, too

 

And I see small boys standing on the shore

Arrested, mid-play by the sight of tall masts

On the darkening horizon

Gowanus

Oh, the Redcoats came and the battle roared

And the Maryland regiment trapped in a ford

Loaded each musket, drew each sword

 

Nearly three hundred men

Soldiers brave and true

In battle dress of ragged blue

Were murdered as the redcoats slew and slew

 

And Washington looking over the kill

From a safe place on a distant hill

Marveled at the soldiers’ rustic will

 

Saying “Good, God, what brave fellows this day I must lose”

Indeed. What news.

 

It’s written on a plaque on the crumbling wall

Of the local VFW hall

How the Maryland soldiers fell, nearly all

 

You can imagine the ancient drama

If you see the diorama

At the old stone house at the battle’s scene

Up beyond the green

 

A battle, one of many

Common as a rusted penny

You can read of in a history book

Curled up in a cozy nook

 

But the ghosts of the soldiers dead and gone

The souls of the ones who passed bloodily on

Some feel their presence on great swaths of lawn

 

As the stout lady sings and the brass band plays

As we gather on Memorial days

Have you noticed how a little one smiles and sways?

 

We’re charmed and delighted

We give her a round

As she dances to the bright band sound

Marching her little feet off the ground

 

It’s my fancy that a soldier, long lost

Buried deep beneath the frost

A soldier boy, both true and brave

Once or twice a year rises from his grave

 

And respectfully listens to the band

Occasionally offers his ghostly hand

To the one who dances alone on the lawn

And waltzes with her lovingly as we look on

 

Knowing full well, we and he

That one day we’ll all be

Dancing, after battles, ghostily

Battle OBrooklyn

Sev’ral bridges

Spreading like arms

Wide like a mother’s drawing in

Strong like a father’s gently sending away

But not so far one can’t return

Can’t hurry home again

 

Crossing rivers

Crossing gulfs

Bridging time and tides

Wagons, trains, cars, people

Flooding in and out, across

Passing like blood through veins

 

Answering home’s heartbreaking call

Keening us back, each, all

Into the arms of our beloved mother, city

 

Just once for a holiday

Then sent right back on our way

To return next year or never

Saying goodbye forever

 

As we speed away as fast

As our adulthood can carry us

Hurtling toward our self-made reckoning

In the rear-view mirror we can still see

Arching shoulders

Outstretched arms

Beckoning

Beckoning

Beckoning

Bridges

Stooping men with small round caps

Ladies in white or big bold hats

Bearded worthies bowing low

Under tall white towers

 

Children stuck in stiff white collars

Listening to earnest scholars

Waiting for the music

Looking at the flowers

 

In the great cathedrals

Under big round domes

Before arks and statues

In our public homes

We put on our smiles

Pack away our wiles

Smarten up our styles

 

One day a week

One day a week

We get all meek

 

Fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers

Shaking hands with all the others

Fellow fellows bound together

In a sacred way

 

Bow their heads is saintly rows

Confident that heaven knows

When a humble servant

Knits his brows to pray

 

In the great cathedrals

Under big round domes

Before arks and statues

 

Now one little boy

Alone in his pew

One little boy

With nothing to do

Bored to death

With the hereafter

Looking up and stifling laughter

Spies a bird up by a rafter

 

That little bird

That tiny bird

That flits about

Unseen unheard

And wiser than

A boy should be

He sees that little bird

Once free

Is every bit

As trapped as he

Towers

The streets were hot as the sun shone bright

The dancers shimmied in bright noon light

There wasn’t one little patch of shade

At the mermaid parade

 

The floats were funky and the grins were grand

As music blared from each marching band

People laughed and their hips all swayed

At the mermaid parade

 

On a sunny day on the road by the sea

Everyone came who happened to be free

Everyone came to get unstaid

At the mermaid parade

 

A preacher preached about greed and sin

And the choir sang in a heavenly din

The people cheered as they gamely prayed

At the mermaid parade

 

The revelers waltzed past the men in blue

Who seemed out of place as they always do

Though they looked quite amused

Their nerves unfrayed

At the mermaid parade

 

O a sunny day on the road by the sea

Everyone smiled with a fulsome glee

They danced they posed

They, hm, sasheyed

At the mermaid parade

 

Dances were danced and songs were sung

Drums were thumped and bells were rung

Grownups laughed as if unafraid

At the mermaid parade

 

Rules were invented and promptly broken

And promises were whispered and loudly spoken

Some games were won and some unplayed

At the mermaid parade

 

On a sunny day on the road by the sea

Everyone suddenly knew they were free

And so they brayed and yayed and heyed

At the mermaid parade

 

No one was heavy, no one was sad

Everyone was light, everyone was glad

Every true heart went unweighed

At the mermaid parade

 

No one was crying

No head was hung

No one was dying

Everyone was young

As if every brow was still ungrayed

At the mermaid parade

 

As if we never learned to trade

As if we never ever got paid

As if great plans were never laid

As if we left our beds unmade

As if we were back in second grade

Before we knew our memory would fade

 

At the mermaid parade

At the mermaid parade

At the mermaid parade

Mermaid Parade

Oh, say!

A song for parents from far away

Who crossed the ocean one ancient day

To live on these streets where now we play

Oh, say!

 

Do you recall their smiling faces

Sepia snapped in far off places?

Do you recall their warm embraces

Oh, pray?

 

Their accented voices snag in your ears

To put you to sleep or dry your tears

They echoed the sounds of olden places

 

The smelled of different kind of soil

They sweated from a different kind of toil

You counted all the lines on their wrinkled faces

 

Where have they gone?

Where have they gone?

 

Are they still sitting, hands on canes

In front of houses, on park benches

Do they live in their graves

Unvisited on a hill?

Are they remembered still?

 

I walk along Atlantic Ave

Where the grocery stores all have

Open hearted bins of beans and spices

Overflowing bags of grains and rices

 

With misty eyes I inhale

Lentils stream through my fingers

Like tears the lentils fall

I gather up them all

And paper bag in hand

I wander home

And recall

Atlantic avenue

We call it “Greenwood”

And it is

Green

 

“They did a good job

Mama looked good

Se wore her blue dress”

 

And there’s a wood

With strong green trees

And a view

 

“So many flowers

So many cards

Everyone came”

 

A green wood filled

With the great and the small

With towers for those who stood very tall

With humble places for those

Who mattered not at all

 

She was laid in a satin bed

A silken pillow cradling her head

In a splendor she never enjoyed before

 

She was driven in a grand gray car

Grander than any other car

Than she’d ever employed before

 

“We found a nice little shady spot

She would have liked it there”

 

We call it green wood

When it’s alive

Green

 

“It’ll be a nice place to visit”

Yes

Greenwood

Come to Brooklyn

By winter’s glow

You know it looks so pretty

Under newly fallen snow

Come to Brooklyn

 

Come to Brooklyn

Live in my brownstone

And I promise you 

You will never live alone

Come to Brooklyn

 

(Chorus)

Live with me on the very same street

Where your grandparents happened to meet

 

Come to Brooklyn

When the flowers bloom

Come and see the colors

From the window of my room

Come to Brooklyn

 

Come to Brooklyn

Walk across the bridge

Climb up to my roof

See from Williamsburgh to Bay Ridge

Come to Brooklyn

 

Walk the park under falling rain

See the roofs of houses

From the windows of the train

And listen to the neighborhood’s

Quiet mad refrain

 

Come to Brooklyn

Hear the children play

On the streets and sidewalks

On a humid summer day

Come to Brooklyn

Live with me

 

Come to Brooklyn

When the colors change

Smell the scents of autumn

As the leaves all re-arrange

Come to Brooklyn

 

Come to Brooklyn

Spend a gentle year

And stay with me

Stay with me

Stay with me here

Come to Brooklyn

 

Walk the park under falling rain

See the roofs of houses

From the windows of the train

And listen to the neighborhood’s

Quiet mad refrain

 

Come to Brooklyn

Come To Brooklyn

WeEksville

Beards & Beer

What is happening? What is up?                                               

Things sure are different than when I was a pup

Five dollar hot dogs, strange, fancy beers

Young skinny boys with their pants below their rears

Young pretty girls who cover up their hair

Bearded lumberjacks everywhere

 

Nowadays things aren’t what they used to be

You don’t see all the things you used to see

This wasn’t what the place was meant to be

I feel like I’m living in another century

Not sure if it’s a new or an old one

A modest or a bold one

 

Maybe I’ll move to that place on the shore

Not sure I can take this place any more

But I’m not sure ‘bout the sound of the sea

That's the kinda thing that could really get to me

 

Call me a curmudgeon, call me a nuisance

When I was a boy, a hot dog cost a few cents

A jar of pickles cost a dollar and a half

Now I see a jar for ten, don’t make me laugh

What did you say? It’s artisanal?

What does that mean? It’s medicinal?

 

When I was a young man here were like three beers

Now there are breweries comin’ out your ears

Every bar I step into

Has another micro brew

Hearty lager, frothy ale

Muddy brown or deathly pale

 

Maybe I should go down the 95 corridor

Move in with my sister down in Florida

Sit in swelterin’ tropical heat

Ah, the people down there

They don’t know how to eat!

 

And what’s with those kids

And the crazy things they wear?

Young pretty girls with scarves on their hair

Don’t they know that’s their prettiest part

That best way to reach a young man’s heart?

 

And these boys on skateboards

With hats and sunglasses

Loose-fitting jeans that sag below their asses

I can think of nothin’ more obnoxious

Than the sight of a teenager’s boxers

 

Maybe I’ll stay with my son on Long Island

There at least the streets are silent

But what would I do, how would I keep

It’s too quiet there, how would I sleep?

 

Now don’t get me started on the guys with bushy beards

That a look that I find a little weird

Every guy’s a mix of Paul Bunyon and Walt Whitman

It’s enough to make me want to call a hit man

Like we used to do in the good old days

There was nothing wrong with the good old days

 

Ah, who really cares

Hell, I sure don’t

 

I can’t change them if they sure won’t

I’m too old to change

Don’t tell me I’m not

I’ll just sit here in my shady spot

On my bench here by the park

Where I’ve always left my mark

 

And who knows, maybe I’ll exchange a few sneers

With the skinny kids with the pants below their rears

Smile at the Muslim girls, the sweet young dears

Try me one of them fancy beers

 

Say how aw ya to a passing lumberjack

See if he might say how aw ya back

Decide things aren’t quite as bad as I feared

But I won’t, won’t, won’t, won’t , won’t, won’t, won’t

Fuhgeddabowdit

Grow a beard!

Freedom is sweet

And sometimes it’s fleeting

Like a bird on the street

Or flying or tweeting

The songbird you’re greeting

There on the sill

May fly away still

May fly away still

 

Freedom is grand

Even when it is small

As the palm of a hand

Or a bug on the wall

Yet, freedom is all

It’s everything

So let it ring

So let it ring

 

But not too loud

But not too strong

Remain in the crowd

But not too long

Long enough to get away

Not long enough to stay

 

Freedom is wise

Freedom is mad

Free as the skies

And just as glad

Freedom is sad

But most of all

Freedom is small

Yes, freedom is small

 

Freedom is sometimes granted by princes

And the granting sometimes evinces

A certain attitude

Of bowing gratitude

And freedom thrives in sheltered places

Enjoyed by the most enlightened of races

Until, under bold attack,

The trusted prince takes freedom back

 

Freedom is fine

Freedom is golden

Freedom is mine

I am unbeholden

My freedom’s unfoldin’

Like a bitter rind

In my mind

In my mind