"It's Bigger than a war" by Ryan Harvey

Partially based on the riff of Banned from the Roxy by CRASS.

It's bigger than a war
That's to say the least
It's traverses over borders
Through lines of thick police
It's bigger than the oil
It's a military dream
It's politicians propping up
Another sick regime
Now the people are against it
And they show it in streets
They are met with clouds of tear gas
And fake Osama tapes
And the bigger that they grow
The harder it will get
As their pockets fill up further
With every terror threat
And still we lie down on our stomachs
Playing into the charade
Lifting glasses in a toast
To every bombing raid
It's bigger than a war
It's bigger than a war

It's bigger than a war
It's an economic game
A battle for the power, wealth
And the atomic gain
It's a private profit mission
For the elite few
It's clearer than their lies
So we can see right through
In turn we riot in the streets
And shut the city down
When they meet inside the fortress walls
We tear them to the ground
Police bring the cannons out
To keep the war going
Throwing cuffs onto the people
With the prisons over flowing
The poor are housed in ghettos
So they cannot stand a chance
Your vote doesn't count
Unless you buy it in advance
It's bigger than a war
It's bigger than a war

It's bigger than a war
By a striking height
You can smell it in the air
In the dead of night
It's coming through the screen
Of the TV news
When they fill your head with lies
Try to change your views
The same corporations
That make the weaponry
Are telling you what matters
And what you need to believe
While they profit from the deaths
Of the young lying dead
Sticking money in the pockets
Of some lying fed
So the starving and displaced
Can rot away
Another child's mother
Was shot today
It's bigger than a war
It's bigger than a war

It's bigger than a war
It's the whole damn plan
Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia
Iraq, Afghanistan
Let the truth be told
They ain't in it for the people
It's a matter of protection
For the pocket or the steeple
Don't be fooled by their words
Or their remedies
Send your kids to die in battle
While they train their enemies
Open markets, open fire
It's the same damn thing
Forcing poverty upon us
In the interest of the King
Let it be known forever
This world is free
Stand up and fight back at those
Who take that right away
It's bigger than a war
It's bigger than a war

It's bigger than a war
It's the day to day
Capitalism's
Price to pay
It's a system based on murder
And the packaging of fear
The swallowing of lies
And the cranking of the gears

They need us
We don't need them
They need us
We don't need them
They need us
We don't need them
They need us
We don't need them

They would have us work
In the prison yard
Train one of us
To be the prison guard
And we'd fight amongst each other
As we grow paranoid
With the heroin and television
There to fill the void
But freedom lives forever
And our aim is true
The answer lives
Inside of you
It's bigger than a war
It's bigger than a war

"It's Not Just Bush (It's Systematic)" by Ryan Harvey

It's not just Bush, 100,000 dead
Another war, another population bleeding from the head
Another myth of liberation, Laos, Iraq
Another silent population scared of eye-contact
The obediently waiting, watching history repeat
Content to take what we are handed, til the cycle's so complete
That every law and every leader looks exactly just like the last
We're waiting for a future predetermined by the past

Society is wrecked it's a grave-digging game
Teachers say it's getting better but it's always been the same
And it seems there's someone making sure that it's hard to point the blame
Cuz a structure is at fault, not a person with a name
Voting doesn't matter because we're voting for a class
That'll echo all the bullshit that's been echoed in the past
Not of justice, not of peace, but of property and cash
It's not just Bush, it's systematic!

It's not just Bush, it's the politics of war
From the Salvadoran peasants to the folks next door
See the politicians pushing plans to denominate the globe
But global control's gotta start at home
Look around this city there's no place to hide
People working shitty jobs just to try to get by
There's a million in the gutter but the bankers scrape the sky
Got a a cop on every corner, it's occupied

chorus

It's not just Bush, it doesn't matter who's who
It's true that Bush began the war we're in but Kerry did too
You see the labels and the standards are forever set to change
But deep inside the twisted structure it'll always be the same
Behind the wall of silence is a never-ending scream
And at the base of every law's another well-designed scheme
It's a perect scam, a time-tested trap
You pay with everything you've got and nothing comes back

chorus

It's not just Bush, it's so much bigger
It's pretty clear to see but no one dares to point the finger
It's the all-white jury, it's the high school recruit
It's heroin, rape, the slaves who pick the fruit
It's the tricky game of power it's the never-ending war
It's the myth there is justice in the prisons for the poor
All these years, all these people, seems nobody's looking back
Cuz it's too scary to face the facts

chorus

If it's not just Bush, then who can we blame?
Where can we point, to whom can be complain?
Is there something we can build, something we can make?
Something we can shatter, something we can break?
We're climbing up the stairs but we know not where we are bound
So when we get up to the top we simply fall back down
And then we get back on our feet and the cycle repeats
And the cycle repeats, the cycle repeats

chorus

But the truth is this: We dig our own graves
We're conditioned to continue on a path that's prearranged
We all play our part, like actors on a stage
Only we can break the cycle but our roles must change...
We suffer from our silence and our willingness to die
And if we never raise our voices then we'll never ask why
So I keep up hope and I wish us well,
But if we're scared of one another, then we're scared of ourselves.

chorus

"Willard" by Ryan Harvey  (A nice tale that reminds me of Kerouac and Cassady and those dudes)

It started in the city of Baltimore
At the Bayview Yard
The 3 of us we're sitting there
Lookin' for open cars
When we spied a big ol' boxcar
And tossed are packs up
Then the breaks unlatched but she doubled back
And the door nearly slammed shut

So we hopped off that train real fast
And sprinted up a concrete ramp
In the middle of the highway
Walked back to the camp
We slept that night kinda hopeless
And woke to discuss our plans
Then a friend was called who drove us all
To Cumberland

We hid in this open junkyard
We we're told was an easy catch
Right across from us the Bull was parked
And he knew where we we're at
But an early bird past and we made a dash
For these woods where we'd be safe
Then at 7 o'clock a hot shot stopped
And got a straight 48!

Oh, to be on a freight train
Appalachian foothill blues
The early morning sunrise,
The river running through
The mountains never tire
They sit there growing trees
And I think here of everything
I've ever thought or seen

We rode that train though Pittsburgh
On to Ohio,
Hopped off at the gates of the Willard Yard
Walked out to the road
Gotta campin' stove and a bunch of rice
Some peanut butter too
Bread that's flatter than the sidewalk squares
And nothing to do

The cops came by and moved us along
After writin' our info down
So there we were, the three of us,
Walking on in to town
This little place called Willard
The time had seemed to miss
And I sat there drinking whiskey
With these 10 year old kids

A friend came down and drove us up to
Lansing, Michigan
Making art on the street
Bumming change from the college kids
Mugzy got drunk and he kinda got jumped
We figured it was time to leave
So we hitched a ride with this lonely guy
Down to Battle Creek

Battle Creek is a little town
With a freight yard on the edge
We spent the evening by the trains
In a mosquito nest
There was CSX's and CN's stopped
Creeping by pretty slow
While scouting trains we got detained
So we high-tailed up the road

It took at least 3 hours
To hitch 4 miles away
To this busy truck stop
Along the interstate
A starry night, some neon lights
3 kids with a shitty sign,
A stupid cop, and a can of top.
18 Wheeler, Roll on By!

Of course nobody stopped,
We took a Greyound out
Back up to Lansing
Then caught a ride back south
By this time it was 2 of us,
For a traveler departs
When he finds that he'd be happier
Following his heart

Oh, to be nowhere
Where time is just a word
Where you could change about everything
Forget what you have heard
It's the precious moments on nights like these
Where nothing else exists
Just you, the sky and the concrete
And the people the you miss

So Me and Mugzy hopped a train
Out of the Garret Yard
Decided to go back East
Time's we're getting hard
That gondola was shaking
Harder then you would think
The water we filled hit the wall and spilled
It was the only thing to drink

The train was sided on a worker rail
The unit must have been unhooked
4 miles down from the center of town
We took the route on foot
Planned to hop that night
Figured we catch some rest
Faces dirty as a coal miners
Yeah, that was the best

So we got stuck again here
But Willard's pretty cool
The dumpster down at Domino's
Was always pretty full
The Ghost Conductor came to us
Told us how to hop back East
We played guitar cross' from the bar
And drank out on the street

Oh, Willard, Ohio
A small town by the tracks
Riding that train through the starry night
You'd catch me looking back
The hop-out spot the apartment squat
The friends that wished us well
Brent's old truck, the muddy muck
The stories we have to tell

We crept on out of the Willard Yard
Tucked down on the train
Passed though the crossing at the center town
Left out on the main
We caught the split for Akron
Smiled and gave a cheer
Looked up at the satellites
Layed down and drank a beer

It took a week but we found it
The train that took us out
Back on east through New Castle
To Pittsburgh heading south
20 hours sleepless
Beneath the trailer, curled
A nighttime ride on a suicide
Staring out at the world

Once we blew through Cumberland
We knew that we'd be fine
5 minute stop with a tick and a tock
Crew change right on time
Back on through the foothills
Onward to DC
To catch the curve for the Philly line
Traveling for free

Oh, to be on a freight train
Nighttime homebound blues
The starlight shining on the river top
The forest and the moon
The hope and fear of what's to come
Of past and future friends
The winding creek to the Chesapeake
Another chapter's end

It was dark when we saw the City
Glowing against the sky
Rolled slow through the Tunnel
Hopped off on the fly
We we're kinda scared before the jump
But we didn't land too hard
Then the breaks unlatched and we walked back
Into Baltimore

Talking to Strangers by Ryan Harvey

Sometimes I wake up fearing
That nothing's gonna change
Even in the face of victories
Our whole outlook is stained
And I see the folks around me
Seems so many are locked in place
Living their lives for tomorrow
Hiding behind a poker face
And the cops and the corporations
You know they'll go to any length
But even with the worst oppression
Comes the most amazing strength

I met a man outside of Union Station
Who said it best like this:
He said "Sometimes you just gotta talk to people"
To let em know that they still exist"
Houseless don't mean homeless
His neighbor was the passerby
He said "you just made my day" as I walked away
It was real, I could see it in his eyes
What a fucked up culture that we're scared of each other
People walking with their heads held down
And as I walked inside and got in line
That's what I was thinking about

Train ride to Baltimore was the same straight shot
The swamps all filled with trash
Developments popping up where woods once stood
The railroads abandoned shacks
The City's secrets have all been exposed
Now too obvious to conceal
The prison rises up above the Greenmount homes
A dungeon of brick and steel
Across the bridge from the art district
Boarded-up houses line the streets
How quickly the change from the hip to the hood
You just walk across 83

In line for visitation
You know the conversation spreads
We talk about dope and the lack of hope
This old man nods his head
18 years in the Steel Mills
After 4 in Vietnam
1 bullet in his leg and one in his side
To think how close he's come
Now he's lined up here with a few dozens others
With friends inside the walls
Doing weekly visits through a chain-link box
Interspersed by payphone calls

I sit down in this prison
You know to try to bridge some gaps
It's hard as shit when things fall apart
To try to build em' back
I'm like "I know they fucked you over,
They've done that shit to me
But how many times you think they're gonna lock you up
Before they throw away the key
You know I ain't praising them
And I surely ain't blaming you
But you're digging yourself down deeper and deeper
Everytime you heat the spoon"

When the prison doors open it's an uphill fight
You learn from your mistakes
And you can't ignore the human heart
The confessions that it makes
At times I get so hopeless
That the end becomes a myth
But every now and then I meet a new friend
Who sums it up like this
That life is what we make it
Accountability is shared
The fact is people don't understand each other
But almost everybody cares

 


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