Leak

I have so much to do, especially finish my article and interview with Pow Wow (Wayne Poehlman), but I just ran into an old friend Yana Bogosian who I wrote a song with about eleven years ago. Actually, we didn’t write it together. She had written a little nursery rhyme about a pipe that was leaking behind the wall in her apartment. She wrote more than I’m going to quote, but I don’t remember the rest, because I didn’t rip that part off. Here’s what I remember:

There’s a leak, but we can’t find it
There’s a bust hiding behind it

I was struck with this. For her it was a poem/song that was concrete: it was about her life. But it started in me a creative explosion. And never being one to shy away from ripping off other people’s lives (and I gave her lead songwriting credit even though I wrote all of it except for those two line), I went with it. I thought it would be really surreal if a leaky pipe caused a whole town to flood. Hence the song.

I will get my little studio hooked up shortly and provide an MP3, but for now, here are the lyrics:

There’s a leak but we can’t find it
There’s a bust hiding behind it
And it’s spraying you can’t hind
Turning indoors to outside.

And my friendly next door neighbor
Turning angry into labor
He knows something isn’t clear
In my house it’s very queer.

The Police come, they’re not grinning
‘Though my friends are now all swimming
There’s a beach ball flying high
Hits a cop right in the eye.

Now it’s seeping out the doorway
And I’m mute ’cause no more to say
And the streets are filling up
Watch the floating coffee cups.

So the ‘copters come to save us
And we try hard to behave, must
Tell them all we didn’t know
‘Bout the pipe before it broke.

There’s a leak but we can’t find it
There’s a bust hiding behind it
And it’s spraying you can’t hind
Turning indoors to outside.

There’s a leak but we can’t find it
There’s a leak but we can’t find it
There’s a leak.

Great art? Perhaps not. But the songs that I have written like this tend to be among my favorites. Things like: “My Suitcase and a Clown” and “You Make me Want to be a Meat Inspector”; things that share much with Shel Silverstein, but which are far more adult in content—silly on the surface, but troubling below (e.g. “My Suitcase and a Clown” is explicitly about a violent contract negotiation between a ventriloquist and his “dummy” but is implicitly about the American class system). And musically far more adventurous than the late great Mr. Silverstein.

But it was great to see Yana again.

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