You're fine, how am I?

by mike skliar

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This latest collection of songs was written in February 2015, as part of this great online thing called 'February Album Writing Month" (FAWM). It was recorded in February and the first half of March, 2015. Earlier versions of these songs were up at the FAWM website but alot here has been re-mixed, re-recorded, and even a few re-written parts as well.

I'm very excited about this one, and while it's cliche to say 'my best one yet' I think it is. It cuts a little deeper and more personal, but I think still entertaining, accessible and fun.

I had the pleasure of working with several great collaborators here on several songs. Nancy Rost wrote the music to my lyric on "Journey from my head to my heart", and plays piano and sings the chorus of that song. Angelina Powers contributed the basic ideas and most of the lyric (I made a few changes) to "Falling, Falling" and I wrote the music. Tim Echols wrote the lyric to 'Punching at shadows' and I wrote the music. Paul "Hoopshank" Turrell played bass, piano, drums and organ (and arranged those parts) on "Stay weird, stay different'. Forrest Wolf plays the bowed psaltrey in "A Winter's memory".

A note on the personal nature of some of the songs- it's not all strictly autobiographical, but does bear a resemblance at times to the author. Not always, tho, and objects (and issues) in the mirror may appear larger then they are.

And as always, in addition to the personal, there are a few little topical and/or political things poking around here and there- think of them as gentle persuasions, or singing to the choir, or think of them any way you like, if they raise questions or entertain.

Above all, have fun, and please let me know if you listened and enjoyed, as it'd be great to hear from you all...

This album is a 'free or pay what you want' download, so please, if you listen, rather then just streaming it, go ahead and download it- that way you'll always have it..


-Mike Skliar
New York City, March 2015


released March 15, 2015

Mike Skliar- acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bass, harmonica, synths, percussion & drum programming.
Paul "Hoopshank" Turrell- drums, bass, piano, organ on "Stay weird, stay different"
Nancy Rost- piano and chorus vocals on 'Journey from my head to my heart"
Angelina Powers-background vocal on "Falling Falling"
Forrest Wolf- psaltery on 'A winter's memory"

All songs written by Mike Skliar except for
'Journey from my head to my heart- by Mike Skliar (lyric)& Nancy Rost (music)
'Falling falling" by Mike Skliar (music) & Angelina Powers (lyric).
'Punching at Shadows" by Tim Echols (lyric) and Mike Skliar (music)

All songs (c) 2015 as indicated



all rights reserved
Track Name: You're fine, how am I?
I saw your status update -like, like, like
I saw that photo of you on your new bike
You’re walking and talking and watching and eating
And somehow found time for that business meeting
On social media we are never tongue tied
You’re fine, how am I?

I saw your post about your new blood test
Those numbers really have the world impressed
Photos of your friends in every permutation
Are being retweeted across the nation
What happened to the days when folks would hide?
You’re fine, how am I?

How am I? I guess if you look at my facebook page, never been better
But would I paint a different picture if I wrote you a letter

Everyone’s doing great except when they ain’t
But look at us all, we all sound like saints
Everyone’s active and perfectly framed
Never self-conscious, never ashamed
And so I say it again with a sigh
You’re fine how am I?

© 2015 M. Skliar
Track Name: Stay weird, stay different
Back in Junior High School, I didn’t like sports
Picked last for every team
So I turned my attention to other things
Or stayed in my head and dreamed

Stay weird, stay different
Stay as strange as you are
Stay weird stay different
One day you're gonna be a star

If I could give advice to that me long ago
A 14 year old skinny kid
Who did a lot of talking and telling of jokes
Trying to keep sadness hid

Stay weird, stay different
Stay as strange as you are
Stay weird stay different
One day you're gonna be a star

Now I’m not some huge movie star or a king or a queen with their own country,
But I know there’s nobody else who is quite like me

Stay weird, stay different
Stay as strange as you are
Stay weird stay different
One day you're gonna be a star

© M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Journey from the head to the heart
I'm starting a journey from my head to my heart I have not been down there in years
The same old things have kept me back the same collection of fears
My hearts been sending messages up, my head just files them away
It's done it's best to ignore the things that my heart has to say

well I packed my bags & headed out, aiming for my destination
stopped along the way for something to eat, a little creative procrastination
talking myself out of continuing the journey to that unknown
what if I got there and I found out my heart was just made of stone?

And oh the language that my heart was speaking, would I require a translation
Sending me pure feeling when all I knew was information
But maybe some of that feeling started finding a path inside
Something felt different, and I knew I enjoyed the ride

lyric (c) 2015 m. Skliar
Track Name: A Menace and a Moron
There was one single study once, linking autism and vaccines
Turns out the study was fraudulent, this is what that means
The whole thing was made up, & completely untrue
Rebutted again and again, so what are you gonna do?
Will you vaccinate your kids or must I tell it like it is?
Cause if not, you're a menace and a moron

Now you want to raise kids some special way, I get it
Do what you want except if that choice, make the rest of us sick
Babies too young to get shots can be killed by your unvaxed offspring
Which forces me to write these words, and have the rest of us sing
Will you vaccinate your kids or must I tell it like it is?
Cause if not, you're a menace and a moron

So many childhood diseases prevented, till some stupid parents dissented
The measles battle was won but now there's a war on, cause of you morons

Look I get that you want to live naturally, without a lot of chemical fuss
And ingredients you can't pronounce, they sound dangerous
Let me tell you about danger, when your kid kills someone, how will you sleep?
Or maybe it’s your kid who bites the dust; will you sow just what you reap?
Will you vaccinate your kids or must I tell it like it is?
Cause if not, you're a menace and a moron

© M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Falling, falling
Look at me, who do you see?
Are you really seeing?
Do you notice my face morphing?
Into a different human being?

And have you tried to study your own
You might find it to be frightening
Its easy to deny we’d be this way
But it comes on faster than lightning

Falling, falling, my skin is crawling
And settling around my knees
Calling, calling, childhood is bawling
And begging me not to leave
Stalling, Stalling, stay with me please….

Who knew a mirror could just terrify
Good thing I can’t feel what I can’t see
Yet the aches and pains the wrinkles and lumps
Just sneak up on me

Lets make a deal not to look again
Let’s pretend we’re who we were before
Without war paint staining out cheeks
War paint? That’s right, this is war

Falling, falling, my skin is crawling
And settling around my knees
Calling, calling, childhood is bawling
And begging me not to leave
Stalling, Stalling, stay with me please….

Funny how much time it took
To take a very long hard look
Those crease of anger split our faces
Time just drips until it flows
Eventually a lethal dose
With hardly any saving graces

© 2015 Angelina Powers (w/ Mike Skliar)
Track Name: 55
Here I am, I’m still alive
Try another year on for size
Still writing ‘bout all this crazy jive
Been a while since I played out live

But here I am, to my surprise
did my ship come in, did it arrive
hard to say, but ive survived
the ripe old age of 55

I heard that number & thought ‘old age’
Like is it time to get off the stage
You put that number on a page
Seems like I’m as old as the stone age

there’s only so much you can rage
Father time’s got us in his cage
I’m redefining it as middle age
Not a young Turk not an old sage

And yes it's true you can bet
There are things in my life I'd rather forget
And certain people I wish I'd met
But in so many ways I’m really set

I'm lucky to be married to
The one that stops me feeling blue
The only one for me was you
Morning noon and night that's true

Got little health stuff joints and knees
But I still got my hair, please
And tho its true I nap with ease
And I’ll never get back on those skis

I never skied in the past
Not that you really had to ask
I’m slowing down I can still think fast
Not always first but not always last

Here I am, I’m still alive
Try another year on for size
Guess its true ive survived
To the ripe old age of 55

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Punching at shadows
you can't push on a rope
or pull yourself down
you cannot escape to within.
so instead of standing
your own kind of ground
you go punching at shadows again.

you can't drown in hope
or eat off your dreams
you cannot live on a whim.
so instead of confronting
the way that it seems
you go punching at shadows again.

can't keep punching at shadows-- you have to let go
before the past messes up your aim
if you’re fighting your demons instead of your foe
you've only yourself to blame.

you can't recall real pain
or fake true disgust
you cannot feign real fear.
so i beg you for the love
of all i hold dear
don't go punching at shadows again.

no shadow exists without a light behind
except the shadows in your mind
don't feed them and they will wander away,
no need to punch at shadows you’ll find

lyric by Tim Echols
Track Name: A winter's memory
Frost on the windows ice on the pond
Everything is painted with a white magic wand
Big blizzard aftermath
No streets no path. No school

Winter of maybe '69
Adults were concerned but us kids were fine
Flying saucer sled up on the hill
Too close to the highway almost got us killed

In an alternate universe it would be a tragedy
Why nothing happened is a mystery

Within a week the snow would melt
Hard to remember just how we felt

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Mona
My friend Mona has been sitting and looking from behind the glass window
Looking at the Tourists looking at her for years they come and go
They come because she's famous written up in all the books
But how many who come to stare really really look

Years on the job, never retired
you can't blame Mona for being tired

You're so small i hear them say, they even say you're lame
They'd probably pass right by if you didn't have that name
They take their selfies after turning their backs to prove that they were there
Then there off somewhere to eat and drink and park their derrière

Now her friends have been out and toured the world in every continent
But she is just too valuable (to all the world ) to ever be sent
So she sits behind the glass with a smile that's just a teaser
And says to all the world here I am Mona Lisa

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Vacant lot of abandoned dreams
A Nobel prize, skinny thighs
Phd, Piano prodigy
All those unrealized crazy schemes
All there in the Vacant lot of abandoned dreams

Bigger ambition, famous mathematician
Wealthy physician , Vegas magician
The captain of that famous football team
All there in the Vacant lot of abandoned dreams

Weeds between the cracks where no dreams can grow
Thoughts of park avenue turn slowly into skid row

A compromise here, a deal there
Deal wasn’t square, life’s never fair

It felt so close but was farther away then it seemed
All there in the vacant lot of abandoned dreams

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Questions for libertarians
Do you like bridges that don't fall, Planes in the air
Food to be roach free, With not too much hair

Or laws against sex trafficking, And less child labor
Some military folks Protecting you and your neighbor

Internet and the space program
Government created
The same Internet you use to say
How government is hated

Do you like having a library, Filled with books
Do you like when the police, Arrest some crook

Do you like to have some doctors, To help stop Ebola
Do you like how there's no more cocaine, In coca cola

This is the bridge to the song but in a libertarian world bridges might just collapse
Everyone's entitled to their own opinion but they're not entitled to their own facts

You can worship all day at the free market altar
But all the facts of history you just can't alter
Modern society needs a government strong
You say your libertarian I say you're just wrong

you’re just a bit too hung up on phony notions of ‘free’
Like Ayn Rand who collected social security
Your parents went to college on the GI Bill
Paid for by the government which you would like to kill
You drive on public roads and went to public schools
You may be nice in person I’m not saying you’re a fool
But this libertarian thing has gotten out of control
Don’t let some crazy doctrine eat away at your soul…

don't be a libertarian

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: The other gods
God is dead said Nietzsche others say he's just asleep
But I just don't have faith or belief
I don't think there someone up there sitting on a throne
There is just no Commander-in-Chief

What there is nature beautiful and vast
And maybe the most beautiful thing is to laugh

So I worship Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers too
George Carlin, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks
Louis CK, Lily Tomlin, the Monty Python crew,
Dudley Moore and Peter Cook

repeat then ad lib section then , whatever

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Jon Stewart's leaving
Jon Stewart’s leaving, Colbert has left
And I’m feeling so bereft
There’s more real news in these fake news shows
Who always showed us the emperor’s new clothes

Who’s gonna analyze what it all means
The twists and turns from now to 2016
Who’s taking issues on, no one would touch
The rest of the media, not so much

who skewers Fox for the clowns that they are
making up facts to get us into war
who finds hypocrisy in right wing indignation
finding video with that fatal quotation

more talent was discovered on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show
then ice cubes held by an Eskimo

Jon Stewart’s leaving, Colbert has left
And I’m feeling so bereft
There’s more real news in these fake news shows
Who always showed us the emperor’s new clothes

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: Special Snowflake
When I’m wrapped up in my special snowflake bull--- it
And I think that I’m the best that ever was
Will you shoot me down but not too hard this time?
Talk me down without killing all the buzz

Will you leave me with some sense of perspective?
Not too high, but not down in the trash
Won’t you be my subtle corrective?
Lukewarm water, cool down my hot flash

I get high, I get low,
I just don’t know where to go
When the ego’s driving much too fast
I just know this stuff ain’t gonna last….

(c) M. Skliar 2015
Track Name: This love of chocolate
This love starts with just a tree
And on this tree there is, you see
This little thing that’s called a pod
Which you might think is very odd

And in this pod there are these seeds
Which normally grow trees like weeds
But seeds you see are also beans
and by quite clever artful means

those beans are gathered in a pile
this whole thing can take a while
till people probably not named Jeeves
cover with banana leaves

the beans are left there to ferment
and then the beans are quickly sent
back to the sun to dry and dry
and then they sail or maybe fly

across the world by parcel post
where they begin to roast and roast
in giant cylinders of metal forged
not yet ready to be gorged

the beans thus roasted then get ground
that process makes a fearsome sound
into things that they call nibs
that’s really true, that’s no ad lib

then nibs are crushed into a paste
they use it all, no part they waste
chocolate liquor is what its named
tho there’s no alcohol just the same

then they pour it into molds
eat it now its not just bold
but really really bitter
those chocolate makers they’re no quitters

they then put in a special machine
which does the strangest things you’ve seen
airate and fold and whisk and pound
and then the sugar, in heaps and bounds

is added with some other stuff
soy lecithin to make less rough
cause smooth is gonna get you far
to make the finest chocolate bars

tempered cooled and heated then
then they do it again and again
such a very big labor
to get that very special flavor

and what does all this have to do
with love, and what’s it all to you
well who does not love chocolate bars
Godiva Hershey’s or even Mars

Cadbury’s a British brand
In Switzerland they understand
and Brooklyn out in Williamsburg
go there if you feel the urge

the brothers Mast, with matching beards
obsessed with chocolate, really weird
they sailed it up from Venuzuela
had to pay a lot of sailors

hand crafted on north third street
you go there and it’s really neat
artesinal they call it now
the milk not just from any cow

ive tasted it, its quite sublime
old chocolates’ having quite a time
so now you know from near and far
what really makes a chocolate bar

(c) M. Skliar
Track Name: Seat at the table
If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu
To be sliced, cut up and divided, by those much richer then you
They’ll start nibbling away at the unions, keep minimum wages too low
then call it right to work, till you’ve got no place else to go

Next election Koch brothers will spend more, then both political parties will
And Rile up the red states with issues, as fake as a three dollar bill
To distract and exploit you, and maximize their every dollar and dime
You think that there’s income inequality now, just wait until they draw the lines

If you didn’t arrive in your own private jet, you didn’t arrive at all
If you don’t have a team of accountants to be at your beck and call
If you cannot buy all the lobbyists and the tax cuts that they can push thru
If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu

(c) M. Skliar 2015