The August Single (2012)

Good Friday at Little Rock

Third International


Back in the 90s, when Bill Clinton was running the White House and the Nasdaq was like a poker player's wet dream, we who lived on the coasts had little inkling of what life in the heartland was like. The little towns that struggled day in, day out, whom the fast track to riches had somehow left behind. I travel a lot. And one Easter I was in a deserted LIttle Rock, Arkansas, and this thought struck me. I wrote the song in the space of a few minutes and a couple of months later entered it, as a poem, into a NY TImes contest. It was published later that same year.

Things aren't so different today (except maybe we on the coasts are looking at our respective oceans thinking "Oh my god, we're going to sink into that bugger" and not "Hey, let's go for a dip"). Point is, Little Rock is the same. Like a lot of midwestern cities. It holds on, braving unknowable threats from distant horizons.

Both this song and Chemical Eyes were recorded in June, 2012 at my studios (Calicut) in New Jersey. I play all the instruments.


                                                         Good Friday at Little Rock



The hotel shades are clouded with the mildew of the ages

Tar roofs black and empty shadow single storey businesses

Hanging by a thread before sidewalks cracked and broken

Devoid of any meaning, or a symbol, or a token

Of human aspiration beyond simple plain survival

And the only sound to be heard is down at the church revival

Down in Little Rock


As homeless walk the sidewalks and do lazy shuffle dancing

As papers in the breezes through an empty gaze are blowing

There’s a feeling of beleaguered poverty inside the cradle

You could say they should be working if they were willing, if they were able

But I don’t think that easy explanation holds the key

There goes your representative in the halls of anarchy

In Little Rock


A threat pervades the heartland hidden in a ruin

Like the cold and steely sky that covers western Arkansas

And ventures over you in high rises and church steeples

And permeates the marrow and the lifeblood of the people

So passes this Good Friday, or at least you call it “good’

You won’t have trouble parking, or at least you never should

In Little Rock

Little Rock Arkansas