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All songs  by Ray Korona

Is it a blessing or is it a curse?
It could get better, but it could get worse.
Should I try to change it or just let it be?
All of this music in me!
On a fragile planet saved by the sun
From dark and endless night.
If I want to stay up and sing until dawn,
Tell me why that’s not all right.
When your shrink’s trying to rebuild your head;
Your doctor says, “Take these pills. Go to bed;”
Your boss is convinced you do everything wrong,
Time for a really good song!
repeat chorus
Billions of people live on this earth.
Who knows who lives on those planets out there?
If there’s one language they all understand,
I bet they speak music everywhere.
Spend your whole life at the work-a-day grind.
Smoke some good dope and vacation your mind.
Hit the ground running and shoot for the moon.
I’d rather pick out this tune.
repeat chorus
Climate change may generate floods, drought
and disease;
Disasters that could bring us to our knees.
But must we be so negative, afraid to fry or freeze?
We’ve got sweet aerosol sprays and stylish SUVs!
Though, there may be just a little
too much sunshine
All over the earth someday.
If there’s just a little too much sunshine,
We’ll all have to move away.
Let’s be Zen-like as we stand at the precipice,
Creatively combatting this global menace.
Why not make the North Pole a hot spot for tennis?
Put gondolas on New York streets – it worked
in Venice!
repeat chorus

Studies say since seventeen-fifty,
Our actions have caused the earth to warm.
All those years and the planet's not dead yet,
Maybe this is something we can just forget?

Corporate moguls sometimes find laws they
must evade –
Environmental roadblocks to free trade.
It may be true earth’s atmosphere has somewhat decayed
But glitches can occur while there’re billions
being made.
repeat chorus 2x's
One step, then another, she moves with such grace.
The water jar is heavy, but that won’t show
on her face.
Her children must have water in the village far away.
So it’s one step, then another, each and every day.
People need water everywhere.
It’s a source of life, like light and air.
Lives depend on how we share.
Better start getting it right.
She serves the water; there’s little to spare.
For a thirsty man and children, she pours
with great care.
She takes hers from the bottom, like all the
women do,
Where it looks dark and murky with a bitter residue.
repeat chorus
Most of earth’s water is dangerous to drink.
With populations growing, reserves of water shrink.
Now, one in five people must use water that’s impure,
Risking serious diseases – some that have no cure.
repeat chorus
We know how pollution can cause acid rain;
How global water pirates exploit thirst for
their own gain;
How there’ve been wars for oil; how privatizers lie,
And how much we’ll miss the water if the
well runs dry.
repeat chorus
repeat first verse
Too many things to carry.
It’s such a heavy sack.
Not enough inside to make a life.
But go forward. Can’t go back.
Angry and confused.
Forced out and abused.
Dispossessed and chased.
I don’t know where I am now.
Just half here anyway.
So hard to keep on walking
When you know you’ve lost your way.
repeat chorus
I dream of a garden somewhere.
No one follows you there.
Comes to drive you away.
You can rest and you can stay.
We wander the world over.
Does anyone care at all?
From earthquakes, bombs and hurricanes,
Must we walk until we fall?
repeat chorus 2x’s
Displaced. Displaced.
Sometimes the world can get you down
With war and injustice everywhere.
But you do all you can do,
And to help you make it through,
There’s nothing like a song you can share.
Just pick some words people can repeat.
To add some rhythm, tap your feet.
Find a part that makes your voice sound sweet.
Now sing! Sing like Pete!
Great silver river in the sun,
Deep blue under stars when daylight ends.
Keep our waters pure and clear;
Don’t let trash or toxins near.
Then go out on a sail with your friends!
And pick some words people can repeat.
To add some rhythm, tap your feet.
Find a part that makes your voice sound sweet.
Now sing! Sing like Pete!
Changing the world’s a major job –
Takes more than some people at the top.
But through struggle, work and art,
We’ll each do one small part.
Keep singing and don’t ever stop.
Pick some words people can repeat.
To add some rhythm, tap your feet.
Find a part that makes your voice sound sweet.
Now sing! Sing like Pete!
repeat chorus
I’d start by telling you my name,
But first there’re things you ought to know
About the war in Vietnam
That should have been said years ago.
I guess by now we all agree
It was wrong in many ways.
But when they sent me over there,
We lived in a patriotic haze.
Play the rock music loud.
Play it from dusk ’til dawn.
It helps me to forget.
It helps me to go on.
Basic training soon was through;
Touched down in Nam in the morning sun.
The day rolled by – seemed not so bad.
That night the bombers made their run.
The bombs would fall night after night;
Three men ambushed near our base.
A landmine took my friend José.
We were staring death right in the face.
repeat chorus
Men were cracking from the stress.
“They’re all Viet Cong,” they’d rant and rave.
Full of anger; full of fear,
They blamed the ones they came to save.
And I’d been hearing awful things:
A bunch of guys out on patrol
Marched into a village one night
And left behind a deadly toll.
repeat chorus
Then came the day I can’t forget.
Saw these local kids out on a trail.
Lieutenant says, “Kill them, men.”
Can’t believe I’m here to tell the tale,
’Cause I said “no” and then I ran.
I heard shots and I heard screams.
Then, the silence that never ends –
Silence that haunts all my dreams.
repeat chorus
No one ever said a thing
’Bout the order I could not obey.
But like some coward, like some ghost,
I never spoke until today.
If you don’t run against the guns
You’ll be a hero all the same.
Speak the truth with your own voice.
You’ll be proud to tell the world your name.
repeat chorus
Wearing white jumpsuits instead of black habits,
Three nuns cut the chain and walk through the gate.
Sister Hudson says she follows the drumbeat
of her soul.
She wants to cut through the fear and the hate.
With their own blood they paint a protest
Over missiles that can kill ten thousand or more.
When soldiers arrive to seize and arrest them
They sing songs of peace and speak out against war.
No superheroes need apply –
The work belongs to you and me.
If we don’t try, the dream will die.
It’s the cost of freedom.
Look from the bridge to Santa Monica Pier;
See thousands of crosses there in the sand.
A memorial to soldiers, a protest of war –
For each one who dies there’s a cross made by hand.
Volunteers bring them to honor the fallen;
Show war’s human cost, to grieve and to teach.
And if they included the Iraqis who have died,
Made markers for them too, they’d cover the beach.
Whether you stand up for freedom is up to you,
But it won’t be ours for long unless we do.
Raging Grannies tell army recruiters,
“We’ll stop the violence, let us enlist.”
People meet and hold vigils all over the country
Week after week to oppose and resist.
Poets, performers and artists together
Work to inspire others to care.
Have you found a way to speak or take action?
Will you let it crash down or will you be there?
repeat chorus
You stood there after so many years,
I hoped that you misread my stare.
It was still you but faded somehow
And where was your shining blond hair?
The image I carried all these years of you
Never considered the wear.
But as you spoke and smiled at me
I put away my fears.
I felt the richness life had brought
With the turning of the years.
On postcards showing a far off town
The colors seem glossy and new.
But if you live there and make it your home
Those photographs never ring true.
For you’ve felt the rain and the sting of the wind
And that town means a lot more to you.
repeat chorus
And though I don’t feel now
What I felt back then,
It’s great to see you again!
Remember when we first started out
Nothing seemed too hard to do.
Our heads were full of candy land dreams –
Things that could never come true.
But we’ve learned to lose and we’ve learned to go on,
And I know somehow we’ll get through.
repeat chorus
My job blew away;
I can’t work or retire.
My pension account
Burned up in the fire.
So I called my congressman
And here’s what he thought we could do:
Give a bailout to the bankers.
Can’t leave them destitute.
Give each CEO a bonus
And a golden parachute.
That’ll fix the system
Unless it’s rotten to the root.
Now I’m in default
And foreclosure is near.
There’s nowhere to go
And I can’t stay here.
But now my congressman’s
Developed a new rescue plan:
Give the rich another tax cut.
Let our industries pollute.
Drill the ocean beds for oil.
Give the tree huggers the boot.
That’ll fix the system
Unless it’s rotten to the root.
Since rot at the root is very rare
And our economic system is the best one anywhere,
He certainly saw no reason to look there.
A big mob has formed.
We can’t take any more.
My congressman’s running
Out the back door.
This time I bet I know
Exactly what he wants to do:
Pardon all the politicians.
It’s mean to prosecute.
Let them keep their jobs forever.
Flush the country down the chute.
That’ll fix the system
Unless it’s rotten to the root.
How can you fix a system if it’s rotten to the root?
Been so many meetings to discuss what’s wrong today.
People always asking what to do anyway.
We’ve got the best intentions – an idea or two.
Too stressed, too busy, too few.
If we’re gonna stop the war planes,
Turn this world around
For peace and social justice,
Got to find some common ground.
Some say it’s racism that causes injustice and war.
Some say it’s capitalism, always pushing for more.
So many desperate people hanging by a thread –
No job, no dinner, no bed.
repeat chorus
Some blame macho leaders who would
rule the world with a gun.
Some blame religious zealots who hate
everything that’s fun.
Go look outside your window, not at that
TV screen –
Hard rain, no shelter, bad scene.
repeat chorus
We can learn from each other for sure,
But don’t let the carpenters pipe the sink
Or the plumbers lay the floor.
The architect knows where to put the walls;
Just keep him away from the power saws.
Some work through the system; take it to
their senator’s door.
Some do things that lead to jail; see it as a war.
With so much in the balance, why argue
which way’s right?
Stand up, get active, unite!
repeat chorus
They said vote in the election; it’s what good people do.
We’ve got this new machine; amazing but it’s true.
Just touch the screen a few times, it computes your vote for you.
And you don’t even need any paper.
They swore it couldn’t crash; the program couldn’t fail.
There wasn’t any reason to keep a paper trail.
But the counters all went crazy; we were sold
a fairy tale.
Now it’s hopeless ’cause they left us without paper.
You can scream, you can plead, you can argue
all night.
They may be wrong; you may be right.
Use a voting machine to settle the fight.
Just be sure it records your vote on paper.
Our candidate was winning; the polls were
very sure.
She spoke out for the people; she campaigned against the war.
And we knew she really meant what she told us she was for.
And they called her the front-runner in the paper.
The exit polls confirmed it; her lead was
growing fast.
But the digital read-outs left everyone aghast!
Her opponent got more votes than the total that were cast.
Bet she would have done much better on paper.
repeat chorus
If you go shopping at a store when your purchase is complete,
You pay for what you bought and they hand you a receipt.
It establishes a record that makes it hard
to cheat,
Since what you paid is written on the paper.
If someone selling you his car would ask you
to pay cash
On a handshake and his word, would it seem a little rash
To trust him with your money? Well, I just got this flash –
Wouldn’t that be just like voting with no paper?
repeat chorus
Please take my hand and dance with me.
Let the music set your spirit free.
Who knows what’s real, what’s fantasy
When you’re falling in love?
We come alone and arrive from who knows where.
Hear tales of the past, spin in the day
And soon we are no longer there.
repeat chorus
And we can fly away to a place no road can go
Where the darkest fog dissolves in the sun
And dreams don’t melt away like snow.
repeat chorus
Poets say love is light.
I believe they have it right
And that this love we light tonight
Will shine and shine forever.
So let’s dance on and on and on.
Hold on tight; try to be strong.
Where a rainbow ends the gold you find is love.
So let the band play one more song.
repeat chorus
Bottom of the ninth; tied score in the
baseball dome.
Runner on third; we’re toast if he gets home.
My pitch is make or break.
I give the ball some spin.
The bat connects – we lose; they win.
Smacked down like this, how can I pretend?
Then I hear these words from a friend:
Just say mańana when there’s nothing to say.
Just say mańana. Tomorrow is another day.
Funky looking guy just giving the world a smirk.
Trying all day to find some kind of work.
The picture’s getting grim.
They’ve got nothing for him.
The sun fades out and hope grows dim.
TV’s broke; he plays the radio.
Every song he hears is sad and slow.
repeat chorus
Today will soon be yesterday –
Its memories fading fast.
We must live for the future, not the past.
Stranger at the bar so hot, can’t help but flirt.
Your drink slips and drenches her silk shirt.
You ask for another chance
But she won’t even try.
She rolls her eyes and says, “Goodbye.”
See, she creates her own reality;
Doesn’t need your toxic energy.
repeat chorus
Alisha didn’t have a press secretary
To put her message on TV.
She wrote it down on paper; stuffed it in a bottle;
Threw the bottle into the sea.
She wrote the note in England in her kindergarten;
Said write me if you get this someday.
She heard back from Australia. Bob found the bottle
Nine thousand miles away!
Imagine your dreams coming true.
Find a way that works for you.
Reach out from wherever you are,
You’ll get through. You’ll get through.
Phil Ochs didn’t have a big record label
To make his name a household word.
He had a lot to say; wrote it in his music;
Tried to find a way to be heard.
A homemade magazine, speaking out for justice,
Transcribed the songs Phil would play.
They started getting sung back in the sixties, and
Thousands still sing them today!
repeat chorus
Maybe you don’t have a high-powered agent;
No media contacts to call.
No email spam list, not even a bottle, but
Maybe you don’t need them at all!
repeat chorus
You’ll get through. You’ll get through.

All songs
© 2010 by Ray Korona