"self evident" by Ani DiFranco

(inspired by the WTC disaster)

us people are just poems 
we're 90% metaphor 
with a leanness of meaning 
approaching hyper-distillation 
and once upon a time 
we were moonshine 
rushing down the throat of a giraffe 
yes, rushing down the long hallway 
despite what the p.a. announcement says 
yes, rushing down the long stairs 
with the whiskey of eternity 
fermented and distilled 
to eighteen minutes 
burning down our throats 
down the hall 
down the stairs 
in a building so tall 
that it will always be there 
yes, it's part of a pair 
there on the bow of noah's ark 
the most prestigious couple 
just kickin back parked 
against a perfectly blue sky 
on a morning beatific 
in its indian summer breeze 
on the day that america 
fell to its knees 
after strutting around for a century 
without saying thank you 
or please 

and the shock was subsonic 
and the smoke was deafening 
between the setup and the punch line 
cuz we were all on time for work that day 
we all boarded that plane for to fly 
and then while the fires were raging 
we all climbed up on the windowsill 
and then we all held hands 
and jumped into the sky 

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast 
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed 
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar 
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far 
so far 
so far 
so fierce and ingenious 
a poetic specter so far gone 
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling 
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on 
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it 
you can keep the pentagon 
keep the propaganda 
keep each and every tv 
that's been trying to convince me 
to participate 
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution 
perpetuate retribution 
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution 
is still hanging in the air 
and there's ash on our shoes 
and there's ash in our hair 
and there's a fine silt on every mantle 
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn 
and the streets are full of stories 
sudden twists and near misses 
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters 
with tales of narrowly averted disasters 
and the whiskey is flowin 
like never before 
as all over the country 
folks just shake their heads 
and pour 

so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine 

el salvador 

here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation 
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore 

here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors 
who daily provide women with a choice 
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city 
just to listen to a young woman's voice 

here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now 
awaiting the executioner's guillotine 
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads 
to find peace in the form of a dream 

cuz take away our playstations 
and we are a third world nation 
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son 
who stole the oval office and that phony election 
i mean 
it don't take a weatherman 
to look around and see the weather 
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks 
and boy did he ever 

and we hold these truths to be self evident: 
#1 george w. bush is not president 
#2 america is not a true democracy 
#3 the media is not fooling me 
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation 
i've got no room for a lie so verbose 
i'm looking out over my whole human family 
and i'm raising my glass in a toast 

here's to our last drink of fossil fuels 
let us vow to get off of this sauce 
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes 
and find that train ticket we lost 
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river 
and peeked into all the backyards 
and the laundry was waving 
the graffiti was teasing us 
from brick walls and bridges 
we were rolling over ridges 
through valleys 
under stars 
i dream of touring like duke ellington 
in my own railroad car 
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches 
in a grand station aglow with grace 
and then standing out on the platform 
and feeling the air on my face 

give back the night its distant whistle 
give the darkness back its soul 
give the big oil companies the finger finally 
and relearn how to rock-n-roll 
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there 
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets 
and clear the air 
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand 
of someone else's desert 
put it back in its pants 
and quit the hypocritical chants of 
freedom forever 

cuz when one lone phone rang 
in two thousand and one 
at ten after nine 
on nine one one 
which is the number we all called 
when that lone phone rang right off the wall 
right off our desk and down the long hall 
down the long stairs 
in a building so tall 
that the whole world turned 
just to watch it fall 

and while we're at it 
remember the first time around? 
the bomb? 
the ryder truck? 
the parking garage? 
the princess that didn't even feel the pea? 
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D? 

can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design 
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?! 

it was a joke, of course 
it was a joke 
at the time 
and that was just a few years ago 
so let the record show 
that the FBI was all over that case 
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face 
and scoping that scene 
the CIA 
or is it KGB? 
committing countless crimes against humanity 
with this kind of eventuality 
as its excuse 
for abuse after expensive abuse 
and it didn't have a clue 
look, another window to see through 
way up here 
on the 104th floor 
another key 
another door 
10% literal 
90% metaphor 
3000 some poems disguised as people 
on an almost too perfect day 
should be more than pawns 
in some asshole's passion play 
so now it's your job 
and it's my job 
to make it that way 
to make sure they didn't die in vain 
baby listen 
hear the train? 

Ani DiFranco Lyrics brought to you by danah boyd since 1995