Where I grew up no one really cared about much and you learned to fight just so you could feel something. Over and over again, your life meant nothing at all. Finally, when the radio station was stormed and taken from us, we thought it through and began setting fires. Once, just past midnight, we detonated a small explosive in the firehouse and the flames spread back and back, through the chambers of the mayor's office and the court of records. Later that morning, the birth certificates of the whole city went up in flames. Some people claimed to be impossible ages, while others, at convenient times, said that they were someone else. The proof of it all lay back there in the ashes behind the city center. I have never admitted to any of this before. It may've been the wrong thing to do, but not because of what you think. By the time we got the radio back it barely mattered. The only songs we found were mumbles, no real words, and over and over again none of them meant anything at all.
I can't say, I don't know what has happened to all the time between then and now. There was that moment when we looked to our families to find that our families had fallen apart, and the feeling persisted that everyone we knew had been up all night and about the only things left to share anymore were needles. And it's disgraceful but you could almost begin to want what the newspapers were talking about.
I'm sitting here about a hundred years old, still knowing how to set up a bomb with only an hourglass and some metal filings, still within easy reach of the blueprints we drafted that night, when the phone rings. I think of this friend every day and haven't heard from him in months.
Then, in the midst of all these regrets, it hits me that it was worth it. To be able to feel what I feel now was worth the confusion that followed that big downtown blaze, when anyone with any imagination came up with a new name and birthday. To have this friend I'm speaking with, and to want this friend, and to tell him just how much he means to me and to want so badly to hear him say it back--all these are feelings which are worth more than anything else we seem nowadays permitted to experience.
released November 1, 1988
Tom Adelman (Camden Joy): vocals, acoustic guitar, songwriting; Mark Donato: drums, vocals; Mark Lerner: bass, mandolin, vocals; Stephen Lewis: electric, acoustic, and lap steel guitars, vocals.
Mostly recorded live at New Breed Studios, NYC.
Front cover by Stephen Lewis.
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