All the ways we can shine

by mike skliar

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1.
Start with a basic imbalance of power Selling the cheap way to get some kicks Its entertainment that’s oh so sour With more then a hint of bullying tactics Punching down, it’s your m.o. Punching down, it’s part of your show You think you’re cute, you think you’re so clever But anytime you’ve got your hand on the lever Its easy to punch down Much harder to lift people up On your TV show, without permission You played an unknown guy singing his song Tried to take him down like he was in a competition Made fun of his sound, had the crowd laugh along Punching down, it’s what you do Punching down, it’s your worldview You think you’re cute, you think you’re so clever But anytime you’ve got your hand on the lever Its easy to punch down Much harder to lift people up Ain’t you the cool kid on the block, Sharpening your critical talons The one thing that I want to say to you, Screw you Jimmy Fallon! He didn’t ask to be in your comedy skit Where you make the audience feel superior ‘oh look at those singers, those freaks and misfits’ Making folks feel ok to make others feel inferior Punching down, it’s never cool Punching down, last refuge of a fool You think you’re cute, you think you’re so clever But anytime you’ve got your hand on the lever Its easy to punch down, Much harder to lift people up (c) M. Skliar 2021
2.
A layer of frosting on every straight line A blueprint etched in black and white And the sky is raining sugar or maybe frozen flour Seems to be the color of moonlight Like old-time illustrations with a flakey wind That sprinkles daggers in your face The sidewalk is invisible a carpet of cream A path of slippery queen anne’s lace In a microscope you’d see all the crystals are unique We forget that most of the time For what the white covers it can also reveal All the ways that we can shine All the ways that we can shine I don’t trust in too much to tame this town To reveal things we’ve never seen before But a foot or so of snow can quiet all the sound And reveal the majesties of next door lyric (c) M. Skliar 2021
3.
When that day of life arrives Take to the streets flyin’ high as a kite Reflect on the changes in our lives How close we came to losin’ the light Seeing faces seeing smiles End of endless winters of discontent Celebrate in style Let others write about what it all meant At last on unmasking day Where will you be that day Strutting on silver sidewalks in your town Bust out those dance moves from yesterday Lift us all up, get us all down Find a stranger find a friend Find a restaurant, find a bar Look up at the sky and send A thank you thought to your lucky star At last on unmasking day At last on unmasking day At last on unmasking day (c) M. Skliar 2021
4.
I always thought there would be more time Just another illusion in my mind Beginnings are easy, endings unforeseen I need to appreciate the days in between Time is a dirty rotten thief The thought you won’t be here is beyond belief I’ve read the statistics, studied the medical arts The brain can absorb it, but not the heart Some things I can’t even say out loud, would be a kinahora Like opening a box that belonged to pandora Is the road ahead, paved with only pain and grief? The thought you won’t be here is beyond belief Going thru those stages, denial anger bargaining depression I have none of the answers, not even sure of the question Where does somebody go, when they’re in your DNA Are they ever really gone, or does part of them stay? Nice thought to hold on to, but its just not enough Cause that journey thru hell is going to be rough Why does the goddamn tree of life have to shed this particular leaf? The thought you won’t be here is beyond belief (c) M. Skliar 2021
5.
We are divided, We are split The whole thing is turning to shit Republican voters, more then 60 percent Think the last election was fraudulent Big lies gain traction, when those in power have little reaction Can’t unify under a big lie 65 judges, of every state Said the evidence just doesn’t rate Only way to unify is thru truth That there was no widespread fraud at the polling booth Big lie, big lie, you only make it grow by giving a blind eye Can’t unify under a big lie The big lies of the past, used by dictators Worried about fascism, that’s a big indicator A virus of the mind, a moral infection To push the fake story of a stolen election Big lie, big lie, how could so many believe that con artist guy Can’t unify under a big lie Can’t unify under a big lie Can’t unify under a big lie (c) M. Skliar
6.
What is going on with me I got something new in my system High on the possibilities Try to go ahead and list them Same body different day bad times fly away what is going on with me Here is a brand new story Here is the power and the glory Hi welcome to the new wave This is what progress gave same body different day bad times fly away what's going on with me (c) M. Skliar 2021
7.
Sylvia 04:37
In a little Polish town, named Kashifka Six Jewish families in 1942 A tall Father and his brother ran the mill Lived off the land, knew what to do They heard rumours of upcoming executions Other families just could not believe But the father and uncle, the kids, the grandmother Knew that night they had to leave Slipped out the door and into the forest, Where they hid for almost two years Its hard to believe it happened that way cold memories were the only souvenirs The two children were nine and eleven Bernie and Sylvia, their childhood lost Huddled in the snow with their grandmother dying One of a million tales from the Holocaust Finally escaping to post-war promise In the new world, the city of Montreal Tho a relative helped, other promises were hollow Which led to many sad phone calls Sylvia met Dave, a fellow survivor Dave’s father disappeared on a Siberian train He lost two brothers, but not his spirit Could always see sunshine thru the drops of rain Sylvia and Dave they had five children Who had their own kids, and those kids’ll have more Now Sylvia and Dave have both passed on So many stories, from that long-ago war The moral of the story, the point of the tale? An inspiring story of survival and grit It took a psychic toll, tho, thru the generations Its not simple, the pieces sometimes don’t fit Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction There are things we don’t want to conceive or believe The darkness that overtakes, the ripples thru time Some escape but they never truly leave When you slip out the door and into the forest hiding in the snow for almost two years It changes your outlook, your head heart and soul Cold memories, the only souvenirs There’s so much to say, almost too much After 89 years, Sylvia breathed her last Remember her name, remember her story We’ve got one less ambassador from the past Its not our choice to be born in this world Or to be born in difficult times Here’s to Sylvia and all the survivors And her father and uncle who heard the warning signs (c) M. Skliar 2021
8.
A 12-piece set of Lenox china gathering dust (that’s all it does) Formal dinner service, no one does that anymore (no they don’t) Glass decanters, fish forks and butter trays (I know what you mean) All made by hand before the first world war A collection of computer monitors from the CRT era (can’t upcycle those) Guaranteed to stay put in a tropical storm 8 track tapes, cassettes, and a few 78’s (they don’t make music…) A set of old marching band uniforms All of the detritus of an earlier age Now just a footnote on a history page Recall past glories, raise your glass and sing Nothing to be done with all these things My parents and grandparents saved these things (mine did too) In the hope that one day they would come in handy (we played with a few) Boxes of books, a mountain of slides, several globes (I kept a globe) Like trying to give away a ton of used cotton candy We’ll call in the junk dealers, the traders of antiques (plus e-bay) See what’s worth something, give the rest to goodwill Its hard to bid farewell, but who has the room (who has the space?) Dreams and memories end up in a lonely landfill All of the detritus of an earlier age Now just a footnote on a history page Recall past glories, raise your glass and sing Nothing to be done with all these things (c) 2021 M. Skliar, w/ additional lyric E. DiMasi.
9.
I’ve got a message for the anti vaxxers, Who would leave vaccines on the shelf Lest there be any remaining ambiguity Go fuck yourself anti vaxxers spread bad information Causing sickness and death to rise This ain’t about your personal freedom That argument is all lies You want to be free to spread germs around To the vulnerable whether old or young How about you all go live on an island somewhere And fuck up each other’s lungs The measles was wiped out after vaccinations Till some study was misread The communities that bought that line of garbage Well some of their community is dead I’m sick and tired of having foolish assholes Fucking it up for the rest of us I guess that’s sadly the story of mankind Maybe it was ever thus… I’ve got a message for the anti vaxxers, Hope you’re nibbled to death by a rabid elf Lest there be any remaining ambiguity Go fuck yourself (c) M. Skliar 2021
10.
A parliament of owls meets a caravan of camels As a cackle of hyenas start to laugh A quiver of cobras eyes an army of frogs In the jungle near a tower of giraffes A zeal of zebras suspect a murder of crows A business of ferrets disagree A bask of crocodiles basking in the sun a band of gorillas practice near a tree A knot of toads got tangled in an elephant’s parade A conspiracy of lemurs just looking for some shade a prickle of porcupines or a shiver of sharks A pandemonium of parrots squawking in the park A swarm of bees a pack of wolves, those are no surprise What do we call a group of humans? “All youse guys” (c) M. Skliar 2021
11.
Black dress 02:29
White girl in a black dress White boy in a black dress Black girl or boy in a black dress Looks like freedom to me He she or they in a black dress Multi-racial person in a multicolored dress No matter who or how you wear your own dress Looks like freedom to me Love everybody in their own dress Love everybody that’s God’s test Walking or wheeling in their own steps Looks like freedom to me Everyone’s got their own dress All together now in their own dress Whatever works and makes you feel blessed Looks like freedom to me Looks like love to me (c) M. Skliar 2021
12.
After all the rain After all the pain Something still remains Love will in a moment bloom Love will slip into your room You’ll be listening and boom Love creates its own vibration When the stars fall down When you feel knocked around Listen for the sound Love will in a moment bloom Love will slip into your room You’ll be listening and boom Love creates its own vibration You have to look inside Sometimes it will hide Go and take that ride Love will in a moment bloom Love will slip into your room You’ll be listening and boom Love creates its own vibration (c) M. Skliar 2021

about

This album was written/recorded in February, 2021, (except the track "Sylvia" from late March 2021) as part of "February Album Writing Month", and serves as a bit of a 'diary' of what was going on with & around me at the time. A mix of the personal, the political, the pandemic, the perils and possibilities. A few notes about some of the songs-

The opening track 'Punching Down' was inspired by a true story, an event that occurred on a popular American network late night TV show, where the host has a semi-regular feature, making fun of non-professional singers/musicians. In this case, they decided to make fun of another member of this musician's collective I've been part of for years, "February album writing month". Sorry Jimmy but you messed with the wrong songwriters :)

"Snow (all the way we can shine)" -I wrote the lyric, & my great friend (& fellow FAWM member) Nancy Rost wrote the music. She sings backup vocals on this track as well.

Another FAWM member, the talented Rob Cooperider, plays bass and drums on "Snow", and drums on 'Punching down', 'Unmasking day" and "Can't unify under a big lie". Rob is a great instrumentalist and was a great help in realizing these recordings.

Elaine DiMasi (another great FAWM member as well) wrote and sings all those great 'answer lines' in the song "Nothing to be done with all these things".

"What is going on with me" was written after getting my first vaccine shot, 'Unmasking day' continues with that feeling, and the 'anti-vax' song 'anti vaxxers go f yourself' is the flip side of that, I guess.

"Sylvia" was written for my late mother-in-law, a Holocaust Survivor with an incredible life story, who died in March 2021.

"A parliament of owls" is a fun little children's song, and all those names for groups of animals are actually real, believe it or not.

Enjoy!

credits

released April 6, 2021

Mike Skliar- acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, nylon-string guitar, mandolin, harmonica, bass, banjo, keyboard programming, music memos drum programming, percussion, vocals.

Rob Cooperider- bass and drums on "Snow", and drums on 'Punching down', 'Unmasking day" and "Can't unite".

Nancy Rost- background vocals 'Snow'

Elaine DiMasi- background & 'answer' vocals on "Nothing to be done"

All songs written by Mike Skliar except "Snow" written by Mike Skliar & Nancy Rost.

(c) 2021 all rights reserved.

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mike skliar New York, New York

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