Songs of Straw & Gold/ words and music ©1999 Z.Oberzan. All rights reserved.

The Wearing of the Blue

We met for reasons lost to us, we met when Christ was Lord
We met when every human being had realized s/he was bored.
I thought I was sad those days, I didn't even know
The ladder I climbed to your bed was made of straw and gold.

When the world went on without end
Here it comes now by surprise
It's just been my nature since then
Can't but help romanticize
And the writers of songs are searcing their souls
To the thought of the waitress not wearing her clothes

I made a wish and threw myself into the wishing well
Then everybody had a good laugh when I landed head first in Hell.
"Why is it you're laughing now?" I said, "The joke's on you.
It's what I wanted all along, you see, my wish came true."

When the world...

My sin is rare, my sin is deep, I wish my sin on you
I'm caught between a little too much and much too little to do.
Fear and magic came at last when Christ unfurled our bed
He saw us lying naked there, he saw where you had bled.

When the world went on without end
Here it comes with no surprise
It's just been my nature since then
Can not but help romanticize
And the writers of songs are taking their cue
From the thought of the waitress now wearing the blue

©1999,1998 Z.Oberzan

The Dance Absurd

O father, I could write a song about your hidden goings on
But I no longer care
O brother, I could sing with ease about your very vast disease
But I no longer care
I left your room cleaner than it was before
I washed over your sins like the sea does the shore
Not to say I was without fault
But yours were the water, mine was the salt

O mother, there's a role to act to make them say, "Hey, look at Zack!"
But I no longer care
O sister, there's a play to write to explain your sleepless night
But I no longer care
In the Garden of Evil I grew bored then cruel
In the Kingdom of Heaven I felt like a fool
I don't live here, I don't live there
I don't live at all, I just sit here and stare

I gave it up, I gave it in
I counted three, I pulled the pin
What do you do? I do it all
I am the Famous Whore on call
Let us set fire to these words
Let us dance the dance absurd
Beware the lie, beware the con
In everything, even this song

O lover, there's a girl I knew long ago when she was you
But I no longer care
O son-to-be, you won't be born even when from the womb you're torn
We'll let you choose your own birthday

©1999,1998 Z.Oberzan

Your Folksinger

(You don't know what I got)
All explanations elude me still
I can not find the wise man on the hill
I'll open one eye but against my will
I walk through the park now to kill or be killed

O you moments of grace, I am one of your children, fresh-faced
Who has fallen by luck on hard times like the figurative Job
I wander the room like Ulysses, the globe
My sweet Molly Mallone. And I'm your folksinger

Some days I don't feel like much at all
Some days I can't help but feeling appalled
Some day I feel I may answer the call
The world has been dialing since Adam's first fall

O I might be a saint, the atheist saviour who can't wait
To take his place by Patrick and Christopher, Matthew and John
I'll spread the good word like nitrates on the lawn
They'll give me Hell because I'm such a smart-ass. And I'm your folksinger

So I'm taking my time but don't know where I'm goin'
Perhaps the next hill where I'll find Leonard Cohen
In your famous rain coat, amid garbage and flowers, oh
In the tower of song where I'll stay until it's closing time
Everybody knows that's no way to say good-bye
But a singer must die. And it's good-bye, folksinger

The last verse contains several allusions to Leonard Cohen's work...anyone who can name them all wins a special prize.

©1999 Z.Oberzan

I Heard the Angels Sing Out of Key

What am I doing here in this room
What do I see on the wall
The longer I wait the harder it gets
To walk away from it all, oh,
So I might learn to crawl

I had such ambition! Such a need to be heard!
But my power and clothing all started to fray
And my flesh cried out for the word, oh,
And it came back--absurd.

Now I owe myself an apology
I heard the angels sing out of key

Onto the altar went all that I had
The gifts which I'm seemingly blessed
Then fire, then smoke, then wind to reveal
The ashes of unrest, oh,
My nakedness confessed

The answers weren't hidden, they simply weren't there
Does that mean the question now doesn't exist
Or does it still hang in the air, oh,
And should I even care?

Now both my heart and I agree
We heard the angels sing out of key

But if there lived a God in the skies
I'd like to think it's a girl
The moon on her tongue and her perfect thighs
Gently holding the world, oh,
Gently spinning the world

©1999 Z.Oberzan

Worse Than All That

"No," she said, "it's worse than all that. The roof's blown away and the chairs are on fire. The piano we bought is flat, and we can't escape the town crier."
"Stay awhile longer," I said, "you know it's not gonna get much worse. It won't be long before I'm dead and all your bad dreams disperse."

She said, "It'd be safer if I waited it out by the side of the road. If just awhile, to get the flavor, if just for awhile to hope for Godot."
Well. If she needs to go I guess that I must let her. I try and I fail and I try again and I fail better. And I am building a bomb, it'll rattle my head. And everybody knows that the plot line is dead.

Sometimes I get the feeling I've seen just one too many days. Staring up at the ceiling, caught in my own crippling malaise! She wants me to shut up, she wants to stuff my mouth with dirt. And my hand is slowly climbing beneath her skirt. Sometimes I think that I'm losing my touch. And sometimes I think that I think too much.

©1999,1997 Z.Oberzan

Solomon's Wake

Everyone knew him well
Everyone had a story to tell
And all did laugh, while others did cry
But no one knew precisely why
They had come to Solomon's wake.

They tied his shoes, they combed his hair
They propped him upright in a chair
And all did scoff, a handful bowed
But no one knew precisely how
They had come to Solomon's wake.

Then from the willows there came a man
A bard in blue with lute in hand
The daylight ended, a lull descended
But no one knew why they pretended
Not to hear Solomon sigh.

Without a word the bard warbled his tune
To the distant waling of lake-side loons
Four strings quivered, their notes delivered
But no one knew why they shivered
In the warmth of the evening air.

Then nine children ringed a rose
Earlier planted by the disposed
As twilight twinkled, sage they sprinkled
Upon his face, weathered and wrinkled
And Solomon began to wake.

Now on foot his lover's gaze
Saw through the cloud of dumbstruck haze
And on the water he left a wake
As he walked across the lake
Yes Solomon left a wake.

©1999,1994 Z.Oberzan

The Last Thing I Wanted

It was the last thing I wanted but I awoke
I looked like the punchline to an idiot's cruel joke
Your mind's growing thicker, your hair's growing thin
Said the man to the mirror said the mirror back to him

I walk to the window where the crowds go by
Down meaningless streets, living meaningless lives
If it's dusk or dawn, I can't really tell
The clocks have all stopped on the side walks of Hell

I guess I should eat but my mouth's occupied
With a monologue of curses and bitter asides
And my audience is solely comprised
Of the phantoms of worth, of the enemies of pride

Then I recall
Those moments of grace
And laughing 'til dawn
In friendship's embrace

Most beasts of burden are blessed with the gift
Of not being aware that they even exist
I'd trade my speech and opposable thumb
To not care what has happened, to not care what will come

One thing in man's favor, he invented a tool
It's a quick ticket out of this sorry cess pool
But ah, what a mess, it'll get on the walls
The carpet is lucky I don't have the balls

You'd better do something, it'd better be fast
Something like putting your fist through the glass
It's better than sitting alone with your brain
As it dissects the universe, grain upon grain

Then I recall
Those moments of grace
And loving 'til dawn
In a stranger's embrace

The day's wasting down to my prime occupation
I'm the chief engineer here of masturbation
For all of my thinking, for all of my gifts
I can't figure out how it's come down to this

Now the ceiling is slanting, the floor starts to slope
And I notice my hands are uncoiling a rope
O holy, o mangled, o absentee lord
Swing me free on this umbilical cord

It's odd how the room takes a whole new look
When you're standing on two feet of old college books
You'd think by my face that all Hell's broken loose
But the rope's looking more like a halo than a noose

Then I recall
Those moments of hope
And somewhere a dog barks
And I take down the rope

©1999 Z.Oberzan

Gideon Providence

Gideon Providence sits in his home with devices all of his own
And he feels what he sees through the glass, a woman he knows from the past
When he was young
But nobody is there, nobody talks to the way he sees
Nobody lives there, nobody talks to the way he sees

Gentlemen walking their rabbits with pride see Gideon sitting inside
And they're watching him watch through the pane, as if they've something to gain
A rabbit runs...
And everything stands still, everything but for his hand and quill
Everything stands still, nevermore moonlight so soft on his sill

Quick on the telephone Missus Dialtone, quick on the other end the Mayor's best friend
Quick to agree that, oh my, he needs help
But no one here is a doctor, no one here oh ayn kun kun

Now Gideon Providence rocks in his chair and he's all the worse for the wear
And the clock says he missed his last chance, but he just might ask her to dance
And I'm still young

©1999,1993 Z.Oberzan

Unreal City

I went in search of a God and a lover
Hoping whoever came first would agree to be the other
Some say I lost my head there but I can't say for sure
In the city where nothing is sacred, in the town where nothing is pure

Every man's seen his woman and his heart it tears, it skips
Mine, she wore a tablecloth down around her hips
She served me for the money with an untouchable allure
In the city where nothing is sacred, in the town where nothing is pure

There's a good train and a bad one, if you're smart you'll ride my line
That's what my murderer told me as we were swimming in wine
But he left me on the wrong one and the night became one more blur
In the city where nothing is sacred, in the town where nothing is pure

This bus is empty but I'm on it
This bus is full and I want it
To shrink down into that thing in my pocket
That I hand you as I walk by your stairs
Where you sit in late-night despair
And you will thank me and I'll keep moving
Through the endless night, once more proving
That this bus ride takes me further from the time and place
That you'd say,
"I am Psyche, your winged mistress, and I renounce it all for you."

I don't believe in a Heaven, no I don't believe in a God
I know no one will save me when I face the firing squad
But still I'm here to distribute my gifts of golden and myrrh
In the city where I am holy, in the town where I am cured

©1999,1998 Z.Oberzan

He Said Yes

He was talking of his plans in space. She was turning coals in the fireplace.
She said, "Would you answer for me the questions I ask every night when the moonlight is soft on my sill?"
He said, "Yes, my lady, I will."

She was in the hall burning frankincense. He was sinking lines for her compliments.
She said, "Would you sing out for me the songs you used to play before you learned how to kill?"
He said, "Yes, my lady, I will."
And I want to be all
I can do just to walk room to room
Sleeping 'til Sunday gives way to the moon

He found proof behind what was physical. She found truth in love, unequivocal.
And I want to be all
I can do just to sing songs in tune
Sleeping 'til Sunday gives way to the moon

She was talking of her plans in space. He was turning coals in the fireplace.
He said, "Would you answer for me the questions I ask every night when the moonlight is soft on your sill?"
She said, "Yes, you know that I will."

©1999,1992 Z.Oberzan

Exodus of Jews

This little boy walks through the square, picking his guitar. Playing for the odd mark beneath the shameful Munich stars. His song is long and sad and it lingers like a bruise, and it comes marching from his heart like an exodus of Jews.

This little girl stirs in her sleep when she dreams the dream again. Of dancers dancing wild in the streets of Jerusalem. She doesn't know what it means or even where to search for clues, but there's an empty feeling in her gut she calls an exodus of Jews.

This little woman writes her brother who is long since dead. To tell him Warsaw's been restored, just like he had said. But it's a shame she can't see it, it's a shame she had to lose her brother and her eyesight in an exodus of Jews.

This little man muses on the state of things to come. He adds all the parts but he knows he'll never find he sum. And though he has not been this happy since the end of World War II, there's been a chain around his heart since the exodus of Jews.

The last verse is for our friend Leonard Cohen, and makes reference to some things he says on "The Future."

©1999,1997 Z.Oberzan


Becca fell down with a grin
Saying, "That's just the shape I'm in."
If you step and find your footing's loose
She says, "Use your hands and cut the noose.

And find a way to live like dust
On old tin cans, cracked with rust
On shelves of hurt and broken trust."

Becca vibrates with her song
Played with tacks on a copper gong
While I wonder what went wrong
Fantastic deeper, real time gone

She finds a way to live like dust
On old tin cans, cracked with rust
On shelves of hurt and broken trust

Now Becca when you see me high above
I hope you know what I'm capable of
Maybe then you'll let me in
And Becca we'll never fall again

And we find a way to live like dust
On old tin cans, cracked with rust
On shelves of hope and broken trust

©1999,1994 Z.Oberzan