Story

This is an Epilogue to Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”; a musing on the American Dream with post- 9/11 New York City as the backdrop. A girl gets in a cab and “Fast Car” begins to play on the radio. When she tells the cabdriver she loves the song, this Middle Eastern man turns it up to hear what it is, and confesses he too loves the song. The girl begins to wonder about when this man first heard the song, and what he liked about it. Was it the beautiful guitar hook? The lyrics? She begins to think about how the events surrounding 9/11 have affected this man’s American Dream.

Lyrics

One day I’m running late
So I cannot take the subway
I hop into a cab
Love what’s on the radio
The driver turns it up
I smile ‘cuz he confesses
This Pakistani man
Loves what’s on the radio too
And so we sing together
Speeding down Bleecker Street
“You’ve got a fast cab”
Is it fast enough that I won’t be late?

Taximan, do you feel you belong?
Taximan, does your dream live on?
Taximan, you take good care, all right?
Taximan, keep the change, and keep on keep on keepin’ on


“Where are you from?” they ask
And he always dreads the question
He came to NYC
To git with Lady Liberty
And the flag he displays prominently
Shields him from the vigilantes
They don’t know that he sings with Tracy
And he has a dream like you and me

[Repeat Chorus]

Oh and by the way
You have made my day
Even in a small way
I’m forever changed

Story

I had made a new, very close friend just before I moved to New York for several months. While I was away, the unspeakable happened to her. I was unable to reach her for days and I was extremely worried about her. I also felt guilty in a way—like if I had been around, this would not have happened to her. I just loved her so much, but there was nothing I could do from where I was, except keep trying to reach her. In between the messages I left, this song came to me through the tears.

Lyrics

Fire ruby brightest gem
Soulful sister, sweet friend
Separated at birth
Our reunion god sent
It wasn't easy to leave you
When our fun had just begun
Believe me
(And) I'm missing you all right
I am hoping that you're well
Gotta message last night
You've got something to tell
You know I never would have left you
Had I known what was to be
Forgive me

Chorus:
I will call you every hour
I will fly ten thousand miles
I will wield a gun if I have to
All for you
I will do what you need me to

Where the hell were all the angels
Gone for over seven hours?
This is not supposed to happen
How the randomness devours
If the angel God had sent you
Was supposed to be me
Forgive me

Repeat Chorus

Don't disappear
Don't lose your bliss
Don't hide your tears
Don't shrink from this
Don't disappear
Don't lose your bliss
Don't hide your tears…

I am aching for you
I am hating for you
I am crying for you
I am plotting for you
I am hoping for you
I am praying for you…

Story

This song is a declaration of unconditional love to a friend who is struggling with her demons.

Lyrics

I see your face as a child
In a photograph
Such beauty such wisdom, so much pride
Too much experience
Now you cannot look into a mirror
Without the hurt and shame
Through eyes that can’t see that you are not to blame
No you’re not to blame (and)

I’ll never give up on you, no no no
I won’t forget the day you bore me your soul, no
You may be losing all your faith in yourself but
I’ll Never give up on you No no no no no


38 steps you move ahead
Only to find yourself
having fallin’ back 37 steps
I know it’s maddening
But what you don’t notice as you stand
To try to walk again
Are those who can’t even see the path
But you can see the path (and)

Repeat chorus 

So many things come to my mind
When I think of you
Like laughing so hard my belly aches
Until I plead with you
Yes, you are a fiery ball of life
So very powerful
And passionate caring and alive
Yes you are so alive (and) Repeat Chorus

Story

This song asks the question, “what do I have to do to improve myself so that I will be loved—by a potential partner, by God, by whomever we seek approval from?” The real question is, “ when will I be good enough for myself? I refer to myself as a “freak” in this song. My mother saw the lyrics on my desk one day and got emotional: “Honey, do you really see yourself as a freak?” ‘Fraid so, ma.” Needless to say, she’s not a fan of this song.

Lyrics

If I watched less television
Would my productivity rise?
With my productivity risen
Would I feel legitimized?
Would you want me
Would you need me
Could this freak be loved?
If I meditated daily
Would I come to accept my life?
What if that's just resignation
Expectations pacified
Would you want me
Would you need me
Could this freak be loved?
Would you loathe me
Would you leave me
Would this freak be shunned?

Will I be good enough for you
When I make up for lost time
Will I be good enough for you
When I obtain piece of mind
Will I be good enough for you
When I am good enough for me
Will I be good enough for me
Ever, Ever, Ever?

If I moved out of the city
Would my demons follow me there?
Could I reinvent my story
Smile at strangers everywhere?
Would you want me
Would you need me
Could this freak be loved?
Would you loathe me
Would you leave me
Would this freak be shunned?

Repeat Chorus

If I practiced yoga weekly
Would I float around peacefully?
I could cease to eat meat freely
But would it even change a thing?

Story

This is a trip-hoppy lust song utilizing a sort of urban Shakespearean language.

Lyrics

Can't explain this feeling
I just know it's swarmin' 'round me
Can't explain this feeling
Birds and bees are tryin' to tell me
Can't explain this feeling
Better let Nature take her course
What's this impulse to dive in
right about now?
What's this need that I have inside of me
To be all up inside of you?
Can't explain this feeling
I just know it's swarmin' 'round me
Can't explain this feeling
Birds and bees are tryin' to tell me
Can't explain this feeling
Could be much ado ‘bout nothin’
So you want to know what I'm thinking
Don't you know?
Come close…
When you read my mind
what's your comprehension?
Yes I see that you also have the need to…
Can't explain this feeling
Where for art thou slippery man?
Can't explain this feeling
Slings and arrows gonna screw you
Can't explain this feeling To thine own self you best be true…

Story

Winner in in the Folk Category of the John Lennon songwriting contest. A song about peace, justice, kindness, love and freedom...

With this song, I attempted to write in the vein of the great 60's protest songs while I was living in NYC just after 9/11. The first verse was inspired by the documentary “Under the Veil”—about the Taliban’s abuse of Afghani women. This verse and chorus ultimately calls for the liberation of women from any and all oppression. The second verse came to me when I saw that homelessness in NY was as bad as it had ever been. I thought it distressing that while American citizens proved themselves to be so generous with their time and money in relation to the World Trade Center tragedy, they seemed less generous when it comes to long-term tragedies like homelessness. I juxtapose the image of a starving man on the street with that of Americans over-fed with lies from our press and our government. In the final verse, I am commenting on the hypocrisy of the Christian Right, whose leaders actually blamed “gays,and feminists,” for 9/11, claiming it was God’s punishment for liberals’ evil-doing. These extremists see recent tragedies – 9/11, AIDS epidemic, natural disasters-- as evidence of the Second Coming and actually welcome Armageddon. They believe that they will be “saved” simply because they are “believers.” It is my belief that only positive, humane, progressive ACTION will save any of us in the here and now. Corporate greed is out of control, the Earth is rapidly deteriorating, and the warmongers in our government and citizenry are beating the drum that will send many innocents—Americans and non-Americans—to their graves. Hence, I call for Justice and Peace. And ultimately, I call for Love. When I say that I am love, and that You are love, I am referring to the fact that change begins within, one person at a time. As Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Lyrics

In a place far from heaven
Where the blue ghosts fly
A woman's underneath
And she's terrified
But her spirit is stronger than
Any woman-hating man
She needs freedom…

On a sidewalk in winter
In the greatest city
A man lies on the ground
Tryin' to get some zzzz's
And while we're fed a million lies
He goes hungry every night
He needs kindness…

Now I do not believe
In what the Bible beaters say
That the famines, plagues and floods
And the fiery skies
mean the end is near
and I do not believe
That in order to be saved
All you got to do is say that you believe
And sit back
and watch your Profit margins grow
And watch your Mother Earth implode
And watch the children burn and moan
While living in your combat zone
Now don't you misconstrue
I say we've all got our work to do...

We need justice
We need kindness
We need freedom
We need peace
We need love
I am love
You are love
It's all up to you
It's all up to me
It's all up to us...

Story

Two people from very different cultures found love and romance in NYC, for a time...

Lyrics

Some would call me naive
Some would call me romantic
Some would say to forget the whole thing
just a fling
But they wouldn’t have it right
Ooh yeah, you got inside
You were barely hanging on
Songs for dollars on the subway
Still you arrived the first time
with a rose in your hand
A little shy to my surprise
You feared you were my plaything
But baby you were wrong
From two different worlds
Speaking different words
Still I’m feeling like
we were so connected
Why’d you go away
When you could have stayed?
Were you so afraid
we were soul-connected?
Did you come from a land
Where men can’t stand to disappoint
That must be why you left without saying goodbye
Or did you think I wouldn’t cry?
Ooh now you’re feeling sorry
Now you’re the one who’s crying
But I’m gonna wait
Long as it will take
Cuz I’m feeling like we were soul-connected
(And) if it’s true that we
We were meant to be
Then I know that I’ll be
Re-connected with you
I miss you
Some would call me naïve
Some would call me romantic
Some would say to forget the whole thing
But I can’t…

Story

A young woman is in love with her best friend, but is too shy to tell him before it's too late and he's found another.

Lyrics

Hey what's up,
I missed you while you were gone, tell me
Your work was done
you had some fun
met someone
well that's nice
Well what's her name
and is she cool, is she bright, is she?
I'm feeling kinda low,
can we spend some time, can we?

It's times like these I wish I smoked
I'd sit out on your porch and puff the tears away
I'm trying not to wake you
with my whimpering, my friend
Many, many thanks
I know you tried to ease my mind
Like every other time
But really what's the use?
When the truth I can't reveal is
I'm in love with you

But you'll never ever know
No you'll never ever know
Cuz I cannot let it show
Just how deep you touch my soul

Hey what's up
I thought we had plans tonight, tell me
She's back in town,
surprised you with theatre seats,
well that's sweet
Oh that's OK, I understand
go to her carefree
I gotta go,
yeah sure I'm fine
all the time, really!

Oh my God what's wrong with me?
Too shy to show desire,
too fearful of the risk
I might have leaned in closer
to your crooked little smile
And placed a gentle kiss
And if I could have held on tight
To some kind of belief that I was wonderous
You might have finally seen
what I have always seen in us

Repeat Chorus

Hey what's up,
you've got some exciting news, tell me
You bought a ring,
got on your knees, shivering,
well, that's sweet
The date is set,
the both of you, are just so happy
And will I stand, as your best man?
Surely…

Story

In the context of an estranged couple, the themes intersecting in this song are self-esteem and parenting, morality and a woman’s right to choose.

Lyrics

Somehow you pick up a phone to tell me this
That your girlfriend, she’s with child
Well this seems a tragedy to me
But you say so imperiously
“You know I’ve always wanted a child”
Well how strange for you to say,
A boy, who’s merely 28
But I know what you meant to say
I should have had our mistake
And you judge me for the choice I made
How dare you play the saint

That is not a halo
Above your precious head
You think this will save you
God I hope it can
The moral weight is heavy
Either choice you make
Prayers to the young one growing
Daddy’s in need of grace


You think I’m sad, because you really love her
I think the truth is that I’m mad
Because I know that you really don’t
You see, I know you’re neighbors,
They tell me this:
You yell at her like you yelled at me
Gee, that’s something I don’t miss
And I wonder how you will love them
When you barely love yourself
How many times did I have to hear you say,
You bought a blade to end the day?

Repeat Chorus

Two years later and you say it’s all over
You come to me to see yourself better
Well I can’t hold this anger forever
And I see you doing the best you can

That is not a halo
Above your precious head
But this may be what saves you
Letting more light in
The life you hold is precious
Forcing you to change
Prayers to the young one growing
Daddy’s
achieving grace

Story

A friend of mine was hopelessly in love with one of those men who are always off choosing some spectacular adventure over a committed relationship. Yet he’d always come back to her and make her feel like when he’s ready, she’ll be “the one.” But he’d broken so many promises, she was less easily filled with hope every time he came back. I got the idea for this song when this friend told me that this guy wanted one more chance with her. She told me, “I’ll hear what he has to say, but I’m not sitting on a plane or spending a dime or anything for it.” I began to list all the things we as women do to prepare for a hot date—all the things my friend was no longer willing to do for this guy who had broken her heart one too many times.

Lyrics

You must be back cuz there's the smell
Of indecision in the air
I wonder what it is you think that you can say to me
when I finally ceased to even care
You're so sorry for the millionth time
And will I please just give an hour of my time
For you to state your case that you have changed
Well I don't buy it

Not gonna walk a block for this
Not gonna set my clock for this
Not gonna brush my teeth for this
Not gonna chew Dentine for this
Not gonna shave my legs for this
Not going to Jenny Craig for this
Not gonna change my sheets for this
Not gonna make believe for this


I must be sick cuz I can feel
My concentration slip away
(my gorgeous revelation slippin’ away)
The drops of hope I've always made Into an ocean feel like
Beads of sweat upon my face

Repeat Chorus

Not gonna wear a thong for this
Not gonna write a song for this...

Story

As modern, enlightened people, we’d like to think that we could forgive someone for letting us down--for example, a lover who cheats on us. This song is about a woman who had tried to take her lover’s infidelity in stride, but ultimately decides that she is, on second thought, “not ok” with what he has done to shatter her faith--and their fate.

Lyrics

I was working overtime
there was a ton on my mind back then
You were feeling insecure
my willpower made you fear you’re needs
But that was not something you would concede
And it seemed as if you disappeared (but I)

I tried to take it in stride
And I thought that I was OK with it
Yeah I thought that I was ok with it
Oh I thought that I was ok with this…
But I’m not


She was freer to be free, well-equipped to fulfill all your needs
You were relieved you told the truth
you believed we’d grow much closer now
And I wanted to believe it somehow
And you said you’d make it up to me (so I)

Repeat Chorus

I’d like to say I forgive you
I’d like to say that we’ll be all right
I’d like to say I still love you
But it’s not gonna be tonight 

I’ve got nothing left to say
why don’t you just go away from here?
What’s the point you’re trying to make?
You were the one careless with our fate
And I don’t see it changing again
So forgive me if I changed my mind (but I)

Repeat Chorus