Lyrics of the new song "The Street"

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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:58 am

@ lightning

I simply click Save Target As on my mouse, and it was all OK (safe in my laptop). I didn't notice any problems.
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Postby tomsakic » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:02 am

@ humanponysss2000

Isn't that known Cohen tactic? He said he need to write so many versions so he could erase his private opinions fro the verses, because he doesn't believe his own (political) opinions. "I'm neither left or right, I'm just staying home tonight, to get lost in that hopeless little screen." (Democracy) "I love the country, but I can't stand the scene." (Democracy) "I wouldn't know, I'm just holding the fort." (On That Day) "I don’t even know what side / we fought on, or what for." (The Captain)


That's why I like this song lyrics very much. I think it's poetically so far the best description of post 9-11 world we're living in. That line about September drums is just great. Of course, we can read the chorus about "waiting where it used to be the street" as nostalgia for "old times" (if they ever existed), when hearts were united or something like that, some kind of anti-modern yearning of the soul. The accent on "it USED to be" seems very strong to me. But from the fact that he "no one like the side I am fighting for" alone doesn't mean the song can be understood as if it could support both sides of the stories. Quite contrary - I think he's saying that we do *not* know is there *other side* at all. Hence "some people say" and "I wouldn't know" in On That Day. And also, that his side, which one one liked, was always solitary side, side of the soul alone. That's why he said that he doens't know why Book of Mercy should be published because it speaks only to him (if even that!). And also, there's that little but important poem in Energy of Slaves where he writes something like 'you don't need me now anymore when you have your Vietnam and your blacks'. So, that's his stand, side of soul, what is, in the end, Fljotsdale's side of humanity.

Or, back to The Captain, when the narrator asks Captain of "decent place to stand":
"There is no decent place to stand
in a massacre,
but if a woman take your hand,
go and stand with her."
Last edited by tomsakic on Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tomsakic » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:59 am

From Energy of Slaves.

I don't want you to know who I am
I'm eating a juicy orange by lamplight
but that's none of your business now
now that you've got "Vietnam" and the "blacks"
and no longer have to think about who
scratched her dress off in the heat
I have no electricity or power
nor is it a foreign claw
that tears this from my first and only heart
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lightning
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Postby lightning » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:27 pm

Wht happened to the Puppets link and the Book of Longing? It disappeared. My tech support just taught me how to save it and now it's not there.
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dick
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Postby dick » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:58 am

The song links are in a different thread --- in the news, book of longing section, page one of the thread..."Listen to the 2nd KCRW interview"

greg's mp3s are there.
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Postby peter danielsen » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:47 am

I think this song is a warning about what always happens when socalled modern culture(easily confused with vulture) ends. It ends with new concentrations camps arrising. The spirit of enlightment apperantly is not able to see who becomes victims when a new conclusion, another ideology, or the rebirth of ISMs is taking place. Culture born and giving birth to all culture arrise with the important selfcritique of a King like David. That kind of culture is now swept away by those brightminded guys, who have better conclusion than the form-critique idea, (Form-critique is for example democracy). The new guys on the scene call for a new kind of world. In this world the truth about society is nailed from the begining. No need to argue.


I see the ghost of culture
With numbers on his wrist
Salute some new conclusion
That all of us have missed.

Human work may be empty seen in the greater perspective of cosmos(one nation, one people, one voice, one god) But what the Gurus of modern culture never realised is that this perspective from above involves suffering: "The guru says it's empty
But that doesn't mean it's light."

Cohen knows that he, as all humans live under the condition of sin, and that he therefore is blinded by the light. The blinded wants to join the marching. But he has also been blessed. He knows he is FORGIVEN, but he don't know how he knows. This knowledge, I think, comes from the side he is fighting for. That side is not any side. It is the side of I AM WHAT I AM, it is the side of the bloody cross on calvery.

Peter

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hydriot
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Guantanemo and the Japanese Americans

Postby hydriot » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:02 am

To my mind the most exciting lines, and the focus of the entire song, expanding on the previous 'September' verse about 9/11, are:

"I see the ghost of culture
With numbers on his wrist
Salute some new conclusion
That all of us have missed."

The over-reaction of America to 9/11 has been horrific. When a terrorist organisation is weakening, it invariably launches a 'spectacular' specifically to provoke a heavy handed response from the target nation, a response which in turn results in a flood of new recruits to the terrorists (why do you think Hezbollah kidnapped soldiers and launched rockets into Israel?)

A sophisticated nation holds back and finds other ways to defeat the terrorists. Could we in the UK have brokered peace with the IRA if we had responded to outrages in Northern Ireland and mainland Britain by invading southern Ireland to deny them their bases??

The tragedy of 9/11 is that the terrorists have won. They HAVE changed American society. We have entered a new MacCarthy era. The paranoia they have provoked has undermined the very democratic values the President has sworn to uphold. The obscenity of Guantanamo echoes the internment of Japanese-American citizens in 1942 ... and it will end similarly. Every person held in Guantanamo will leave a millionaire. The lawyers are going to have a field-day.

The three thousand killed on 9/11 were three thousand personal tragedies for which we all weep. But here in Britain on 1 July this year, we had a two minute silence to remember the TWENTY THOUSAND British soldiers killed ninety years ago in just one day (the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916). We must keep 9/11 in perspective.

The above is, to my mind, the "new conclusion that all of us have missed." As LC laments, American culture has been consigned to a concentration camp (Guantanamo) by its own over-reaction.

To conclude, this is what in his 1969 songbook LC is quoted as having told The New York Times:

"The lines are being drawn and people on both sides are beginning to terrorize each other. Somehow we have to break out of this process, which can only lead to both sides becoming like each other. I'm afraid that when the Pentagon is finally stormed and taken, it will be by guys wearing uniforms very much like the ones worn by the guys defending it."
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Postby humanponysss2000 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:33 am

Very interesting discussion.

Yes, Tom, it is a "known Cohen tactic" to withdraw from the action and set the chesspieces warring. In this case, I feel he has misrepresented the scene of battle, making it seem that if only his lady friend hadn't put on a uniform and run off to join some bloodthirsty gang of roaming thugs, we would all be meeting at the corner and engaging in civil debate.

I must say, I'm still puzzling over the "wrist - missed" stanza -- and struggling with what he means by "ghost of culture." It's a bit histrionic, in my opinion, to say everything is over, everything is gone for good, and it's all everybody's fault. If he's saying we've all blown it by jumping on our various bandwagons and riding off into the sunset, that's not a stunning insight. He said the sane thing in the Future: "If only you'd behaved yourselves, kiddies, instead of thinking you could change the world, all this shit would not have happened." To me this is a pretty conventional stance, not to mention the standard conservative one.

Peter thinks America has overreacted, and the terrorists have won. America's government has gone far beyond that, into a world of virtual reality where they both create and manage these traumatic events, then set up a chain reaction of hate. Only the blood is real. Most of what we see and hear on our media can be exposed as uttering deception, and to me that is a much more fruitful line to take than LC's sulky I-told-you-so, look what you've done, just wait till God gets home...

I'm oversimplify of course. I actually hear a plea for reconciliation in this song -- I just don't think he fully understands whom he's addressing. And frankly, I think he underestimates the "other side" -- the side of the argument that walked out and left him behind because he just doesn't listen to subtler points of view than his own.
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Re: transciption

Postby jurica » Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:46 pm

i was away from the forum at the time this discussion was hot, but i do want to share my thoughts on the poem, if anyone is interested...

i think LC admits there's a war going on, but doesn't want to take sides (or, nobody will fight on the side he wants to fight on, which, i firmly believe, is the side of peace). the 'other', the character he addresses in the poem, sort of 'goes to war'. he/she/they believe in the possibility of war. the 'other' thinks that there's a RIGHT side to fight on.

LC, however, has no faith in 'peace produced by war' or 'prosper born in destruction', but has little energy left to rise his voice. therefore the best he can do is 'drink to when it's over (the war), drink to when they meet (when the 'other' returns from the war), and wait on this corner where there used to be a street (the sight was changed by time and wars: there used to be a street, but the people are the same: he's still waiting to the same 'other' to go back to the bar and have a nice drink and a singsong).

"I see the ghost of culture
With numbers on his wrist
Salute some new conclusion
That all of us have missed"

...is a sort of conclusion to the song. the ghost of culture (vulture, as Peter nicely put it) has numbers on his wrists way back from the holocaust, but the vulture isn't dead, he just found a new ideology to work for, a new conclusion that LC want's no part of.

in general, i just think it's a nice anti-war song. close to the ideas of 'Universal Soldier', just leaving out any determination to protest or change the world.

and it has some nice fragments in it. real gems. my favorite being:

'I know the burden's heavy
As you wheel it through the night
The guru says it's empty
But that doesn't mean it's light.'

...it's so cool how he admits to himself that with all his Zen training he never got to the point where 'the emptiness of everything' realy made him feel easy about it. that's what we need to hear more often. whenever you read some 'larger than life' garbage on the lines of Alchemist or a Richard Bach 'wisdom', you always get the impression that there's a truth, an idea so pure and right, that all worldly matters will seem tiny and easy to ignore. but they never do.

thnx, Joe, for the transcription i used.

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