RELEASE – A ROCK OPERA

Copyright 2015/2016 Mark Baughman

 

REAL SCIENCE

I got a puzzle I need to work out
Didn't know it 'til I got in this war
Patients come in and soldiers go out
Ain't nobody ever seen it before
Somewhere, something tells me this is –

Charting the numbers, drawing the curves
There's something shiny in this heap
Tear down the theory and build it again
Some nights I think I'm never gonna sleep
Somewhere, something tells me this is –

I got a clue and he's got a friend
They look lost like they don't have a home
They wander my pages like they're looking for something
It makes me think that they're not alone
Somewhere, something tells me this is –

Doctors who taught me to look for the truth
And not just the facts that fit in
This doubt's an addiction that won't let me go
I wake up every day and begin
Somewhere, something tells me this is –

Real work, real play
Real hands, real clay
Real hot, real cool
Real Word, real fool
Real love, real hate
Real dream, real faith
Real thought, defiance
Real vision, real science


TIME IS MONEY

Clock is running
Win the race
Best I can
Keep the pace
Clock is master
Pushes, pulls
Forms, distorts
Makes its rules

Time is money
Time is gold
Time's indifferent
Time is cold
March relentlessly
Standing bold
Urgent, patiently
Keeping hold

Have a schedule
Ahead, behind
Have a mission
A watch to wind
Have a meaning
That's relative
I have a gift
I have to give

Time is futile
Time persists
Time is fleeting
Time exists
Day will come around
Once again
One just starting
One will end

Have my future
In my mind
Have the answers
They can't find
There's a thing
I don't know
Do I have time
Before I go?

Time is precious
Time's effete
Time is brutal
Time is street
We may think we know
The time it is
Time will take back what is his

 

 

GIRLS FROM THE FIELD

Here in my dreams

Sun bearing down

Ebbing like a wave on the sea

The girls from the field

Are headed to town

And the stand in the park ‘neath the tree

They walk for miles

They sell with smiles

They line the aisles

Hoping some stranger will whisk them away

And take them to the world of their dreams

 

Here in the yard

I lay down the law

No one crosses in I don’t know

The asphalt a beach

The water is wine

A boy says it’s time to go

Can’t be for real

The gave I steal

They bought I deal

Blurring the edges, disguise what I feel

The breeze is gentle in my dream

 

There’s little hope

I can get out

And get myself back on my feet

The jury could find

No reasonable doubt

I live here or out on the street

Can’t blend in crowd

Can’t be too proud

Can’t live out loud

Innocuous choice, I just can’t turn around

It’s safer here in my dream

 

WHITE’S THE NEW BLACK

30 days and I'm out of my head
Needed some help, I was sent here instead
Feeling numb, but I can't say why
Must be something in the water that keeps me dry
Nurses smile and divert their eyes
What do they hear when somebody cries?
What do they say when I turn my back? 

30 nights sleeping in my sweat
Who will break first? It's a running bet
Streamline the treatments, Fill out the forms
Take back the blankets in case they get warm
We just exist as a check on the chart
Words on a list, a face with no heart
Everything's inside out, and white's the new black 

Greasing the wheels of the healing machine
Culling the files so the record is clean
Looking for answers where none have been seen
Caught in the gears of the healing machine

I've got a stammer, you got Turret's
She got conditions they haven't named yet
He's hearing noises from over the wall
Patrick acts out like he can't hear at all
A cure is a process, just files to be filled
We're all just vouchers, accounts to be billed
Just fodder for forms, and white's the new black

 

THE ROAD FROM LARAMIE

The road to here from Laramie
Was only gonna take a day
The last part I walked through that God-awful cold
But It's just far enough away
From the demons and devils
Who wouldn't leave me alone
Doesn't really matter where I am
Where I am, I'll call home

One of these days I'll come out of the shadows
And step out into the sun
Until then I'll just stay in my own little world
And be the mysterious one

The lady in Human Resources
I could barely keep her awake
Whatever they're going to offer me
They know that I will take
I read all the conditions
All in all, they're better than some
I know about the hours
All in all, they're better than none

One of these days I'll find the courage
The courage I found before
To put down the papers, not signing a thing
To walk out and close the door

Now I meet the patients
They keep them in a ward
They form a giant circle
Indignant, sad and bored
They look at me vacantly
Their eyes convey disdain
They look out through the window
With their eyes, they touch the rain

One of these days they'll all be able
To walk right out of that room
If God was here, they wouldn't ask Him for much
Just for their turn to come around soon

One of these days we will all be able
To walk right out of our rooms
If God was here, we wouldn't ask for much
Just our turn to come around soon

 

TAKE WHAT YOU CAN CARRY

I was casually dealing
Taking life up through a straw
I went all in for a girl who
Had her troubles with the law
She would find boys on the farm
And take them rodeo
The ride was short and wild and it
Was done before you'd know

She never showed her feelings
She clutched them to her chest
She'd take the things that mattered
And left them with the rest

We drove out to the night
We were going to meet her friends
We were going to find adventure
Out where the gravel ends
The night was black and silent
Her breath was hot and wet
The lights and strobes and sirens
Lit the trap that she helped set

And as they threw me down
A barrel to my chest
She drove off with my future
And left me with the rest

I hoped that some inertia
Would sustain me for a while
Some negotiation would
Avert an ugly trial

Somehow I can't help thinking
This detour has no end
It winds in all directions
And then back here again
I somehow can't help wanting
A thing I can't describe
I just can't shake this feeling
I'm half dead and half alive

You can call me lazy
You can call me blessed
I took what I could carry
And left them with the mess

You may think you know me
By the way that I am dressed
Just take what you can carry
And I'll live with the rest

 

BREACH IN THE WALL

(Amy:)
Will you talk to me?
I want to sing to you
Then it all goes wrong
Oh, the wall is strong
Tall and long

(Patrick:)
Oh I was a hostage
From the day I was born
The rescue they sent
Got caught in a storm
And they all ran away
Instead of my name
They call me a case
Instead of an answer
They long for the chase
It's a game they play

They give me a door
Then lock me back in
My moment is over
Before it begins
And again I fail
I'm not a puzzle
For strangers to play
Not an adventure
You do in a day
Not a wandering trail

There's a breach in the wall
And our hands nearly touch
You could work faster
Just put down that crutch
And take my hand
Your wounds were directions
That brought you to me
Your trauma a lens that
Allows you to see
What they can't
Take your stand


OUT ON A WIRE

Standing alone on the edge of the ocean
In every direction a new world unknown
From back of my mind I hear something calling
Well untether all the ties
Let's head for clearer skies

Laying the burden down of all of life's failures
Putting those memories aside for a little while
Dark-hearted actors, they play their parts without effort
If they go or if they stay
They just hurt me anyway

Growing up, I never could imagine
Getting so close to my hopes and my dreams
Now day after day I say things but nobody listens
They all think they know me
But I'm not what I seem

Oh, out on a wire with no one to catch me
Feeling like this might be my last chance
No savior, no love, no circle of friends to cheer me
Wouldn't understand it anyway
And if they did they wouldn't say

Thinking it over
As if I could start again
As if I could have a choice
Of where and how and when
Summing it up
It's just too much before my time
It's like the race just started
And I just passed the finish line

If I could just sail to the far side of this ocean
Wade boldly ashore, start a world all shiny and new
Would sailing alone have made such a big difference?
Would it have mattered if I failed?
Then why bother setting sail?


What you want, you have to pay
Wouldn't have it any other way
Any other way

 

SURVIVOR INSTINCT

I just got some news
I don't know what to do
With the things that they tell me
They make a big pile
I'm supposed to just take it
I'm supposed to lay back
Buy the stuff that they sell me
And then throw back a big smile
But it wears me down
Some days now I can't tell
Should I let myself go
Or pull back and wait? Pull back and wait
'Til something, somebody
I can hear or I'm deaf to
That I know or don't know
Or I might meet at the gate

I'm not afraid
Of the things they're afraid of
I only want to be nearer and nearer

Oh, I just read some news
'Bout the end of the world
I don't care if it's near
I got some things left to do
I got poems and songs
That I gotta get out
Got 'em bottled up in here
And maybe a story or two
I'm a willow in a storm
The wind blows me over
And still I hold up
And the roots keep me right, keep me right
I may have some scars
From some flying debris
But I didn't pull up
And blow off in the night

I'm not afraid
Of the things they're afraid of
I only want to be nearer and nearer

They don't understand
I don't care about
These things they obsess
These things come and go
They think I'm touched
They think I'm not here
They think it's the stress
They think I don't know
They think too much
And they don't use their heads
They don't see the big scene
How it all comes around, comes around, comes around
I let them talk down
I know they would never
Let me off clean
To go where I'm bound

I'm not afraid
Of the things they're afraid of
I only want to be nearer and nearer

 

ZERO TO SIXTY

Underneath the radar
We all get in my car
Maybe we won't get far
But one way or another we will get out of here
Run the lights and stop sign
Drive across the centerline
Headlights and you fly blind
If you're gonna be a decoy, you don't disappear
We may not have a mission but we sure have a plan
But we better think twice before we offer a hand

Staying off the Interstate
Motor hot, feel great
A little hard to see straight
With all these distractions from every direction
Combing through the road maps
Looking out for speed traps
Hang on to your boot straps
We're gonna jump this wall - do I hear any objections?
Our only destination's where they're out of our heads
Driving through the night while they're checking our beds

All along we let them think we're crazy
Let them think they got the upper hand
Maybe we should see if this does eighty
What's fast depends on where they stand

Oh, I've been doing time
I stand behind the line
Watching other patients come and go
I could drive that beast
I just want release
Zero gets to sixty 'fore you know

Turn just past the high school
Can you believe those young fools
Teachers were such old tools
I don't know why anyone would listen
That's where it all went wrong
A new verse for the same song
Cant just get along
Be branded or christened
We were on a mission but we didn't have a plan
We would learn to think twice
Before we took someone's hand

They're gaining on the downhill slow at turning
Turn up the music - God I love this band
We've got all night ahead, this rocket's burning
And we don't care just where we land

 

DR. WILSON (THE JAZZ AGE)

After the children are safe in their beds
And the sitter raids the bar
The parents got tight
At the dance at the club
Now they can't find their car
The manager takes their secrets
And locks them in a room
The model of discretion
He'll take them to his tomb

Inoculated by his birth
A gilded life ahead
His parents planned his future
While the servants made his bed
The summer walks
On the shores of the Vineyard
With the match the families made
At night they dance
While a jazz band plays Rumba
Upstairs they draw the shade

He pledged to his fraternity
His loyalty and his trust
He pledged to help his brothers
So they would get the grades they must
He charmed the sweethearts in the lab
To look the other way
He got his friends some helpers
And they didn't think they'd pay

In the Spring the boys were thinking
Vacation on the shore
Wilson turned his papers in
And as he touched the door
Cries and shouts
From another room
Runners up and down the hall
Brother Tom
Still and blue
Sat propped up against the wall

The sun was bright, they all wore black
They sweltered silently
They whispered, walking from the grave
"He went so violently"
Who would be responsible?
Who would bear the shame?
Who set off all the things
That spoiled Tom's family's name?

In those simpler days
You just put things away
Don't seem them - they're not there
You live with the fear
If your secret escapes
You're mistakes are laid out bare

You may have sons who need forgiveness
Can you find it in you're heart?
Wilson's life is a tangled knot
Just where does he start?

 

EVERYONE AROUND YOU

In the shank of the night
And the flames burning out
The frowns on the faces
Belie the self-doubt
There are big conversations
About bigger ideas
Pimping the theories
Of the latest disease
Beautiful people
Take their beautiful time
Watching us, sipping
Their opinions and wine
What's the point, after all
Of knowing it all
Unless everyone around you agrees?

When the lecture is done
And they shut down their minds
Well we can't blame the thunder
When it's the lighting that blinds
So relived they're so certain
And the answers so clear
Armed with such reason
There is nothing to fear
The ghost of Da Vinci
Must claw at their dreams
They pull at our hearts
But it's not what it seems
What's the point, after all
Of knowing it all
Unless everyone around you agrees?

In the foggy horizon
You can't make out a thing
But the noise from pretenders
Who would want to be king
And we ignorant ones
Won't repeat the Big Lie
When we get an idea
We will give it a try
Don't have the right breeding
To put on the air
Or in Time or in Newsweek
Or in Vanity Fair
What's the point, after all
Of knowing it all
Unless everyone around you agrees?

 

YOUR TRUE FACE

All the time alone
I wondered to myself
Did anybody hear a thing I said?
Acting out the simplest things
Living impatiently
Locked up in the prison in my head
From the moment
You stepped into my world
And did those things you naturally do
I was at home at last
Finally safe, at peace
With faith in someone beautiful and true
I know enough to know what I am
Didn't know what I could be

The sun came out
Gave warmth to this space
And the chill that I lived with
Left without a trace
I remember the instant
It fell into place
When you opened the door
And showed me your true face

All the ships that sailed
And crashed upon your shores
Was it that they couldn't see your light?
I've been fixed on your beacon
Though it's aimed another way
It may be dim to them, to me it's bright
What I give to you
I know doesn't mean a thing
It's not what you were looking for
I would build you a palace
Of hope and faith and peace
But you'd never let me walk you to the door
Traded one cell for another
But now I can say how I feel

When the sun comes up
And you look around
And you listen for
Some distant sound
It will be me you hear
Singing from this place
Where you opened your heart
And showed me your true face

All the time you spent
Chasing your dreams
Seeming even longer on your own
There's nothing sadder
Than looking all your life
Then finding it, and finding you're alone
I know enough to know who you are
I know who you could be

When the sun is high
And it's beating down
And it's hard to tell
The sky from the ground
I'll be on the horizon
Saving your place
Where we can live peacefully
Out of this race

When the sun goes down
And the night grows cold
And the winds of time
Are testing my hold
I will live in the moment
It fell into place
When you opened your heart
And showed me your true face


LOST AND FOUND

(Amy:)When the phone went off
I just let it ring
I needed a moment
To brace my heart
I've had so many calls
That let me down
But this was the one
A new start
Right here and now
People believed
In plain sight I found
Now Patrick is free

What we see's
Just part of
What is there
Before us
For to see
It, first believe
People tie
Themselves down
Before try-
Ing to fly
It's right there
If they believe

(Thom:) Father took my hand
Put it on his heart
Confided his secret
And broke the frost
No promises unfilled
I paid all of my debt
I got everything back
The warm memories lost
Are back and now
And I am alive
With a purpose found
And I am alive

What we see's
Just part of
What is there
Before us
For to see
It, first believe
People tie
Themselves down
Before try-
Ing to fly
It's right there
If they believe

(Patrick:) My parents never gave up
What family would?
There's no word to describe
That devotion
If I ruined their lives
They never let on
They smiled through the tears
And their emotions -
We were lost
Now we are found
Chasing shadows
And now
We're turned around

What we see's
Just part of
What is there
Before us
For to see
It, first believe
People tie
Themselves down
Before try-
Ing to fly
It's right there
If they believe