Land of the Living


I went to see Lucy Kaplansky play last night. It was really good--I've never been a huge fan of her's, but thought her last album, The Red Thread, was pretty exceptional. A lot of my love for the album was situational, however, as my very good friends S. and T. adopted a little girl from China about the same time Kaplansky and her husband did, so a lot of the subject matter on The Red Thread moved me on a personal level when I heard it.

Last night, though, it became clear that it wasn't just situational--they're great songs. Kaplansky also made a joke about Greg Brown being a womanizer, which was fabulous, if you are a folk geek like me.

Given everything that has happened lately, and the anniversary of 9/11, I was surprised she did it, but someone requested this, and she did it. And I cried. Not so much for 9/11, maybe, but for New Orleans. For Iraq. For all of us. So I thought I'd share it.

"Land Of The Living"
(Lyrics by Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Litvin,
Music by Lucy Kaplansky)

Late afternoon back in New York town
Waking up as the wheels touch down
Pick up my guitar and walk away
Wish I was going home to stay

Line of taxis, I wait my turn
Tar and asphalt, exhaust and fumes
Beside the road on a patch of ground
Taxi drivers are kneeling down

Beneath the concrete sky I watch them pray
While the people of the world hurry on their way
I think they're praying for us all today
And the stories that fell from the sky that day

This is the land of the living
This is the land that's mine
She still watches over Manhattan
She's still holding onto that torch for life

Back home fire's still burning, I can see it in the air
Pictures of faces posted everywhere
They say "hazel eyes, chestnut hair
Mother of two missing down there"

I pass the firemen on duty tonight
Carpets of flowers in candlelight
And thank you in a child's scrawl
Taped to the Third Street firehouse wall

There's shadows of the lost on the faces I see
Brothers and strangers on this island of grief
There's death in the air but there's life on this street
There's life on this street


Then I got in a taxi, said "Hudson Street please"
He started the meter and he looked at me
I glanced at his name on the back of his seat
And I looked out the window at the ghost filled streets

I noticed cuts on his hand and his face
And I said "You're bleeding, are you okay?"
He said "I'm not so good, got beat up today
And I'm not one of them no matter what they say

I'm just worried about my family
My wife's in the house and she's scared to leave"
And I didn't know what to say
I didn't know what to say
But I said a prayer for him anyway


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April 2012

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