How To Dream Again

by M. Lockwood Porter

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1.
Left without a future, born without a past. I was always told my birthright was an ever-half-full glass. My heart is full of anger, we’ve been left behind. I’m an only child of American dreams denied. Stay isolated, empty, anxious, and afraid Watch your back and mind your own until your debts are paid It took me all these years to learn to look beyond the lies I’m an only child of American dreams denied. If a tree falls in an empty forest, does it make a sound? I came to sing a simple chorus for the underground You corpses and you sleepers, it’s past the time to wait. The hungry and the hoping, they’re all pounding at your gate There are thunderclouds above us, but they’re about to burst The water’s gonna keep on rising until the battlefield’s immersed My heart is full of anger, we’ve been left behind. I’m an only child of American dreams denied.
2.
Burn Away 04:23
I can’t go out with all my friends Because all my friends are gone. The scene’s dried up here, and the bars are all closed. It feels like it’s time to move on. But like a fever, Like a day, I won’t let our love Burn away. When your gut compels you, when your roses die, When all your dreams go dry, Who can you turn to? Where do you go? I promise that I will try. But like a fever, Like a day, I won’t let our love Burn away. It’s the phantom of failure. It’s the thrill of the chase. It’s that I’ll die if I don’t leave this place. We could vanish without a trace. Tell this town to forget my face. But like a fever, Like a day, I won’t let our love Burn away.
3.
Bright Star 03:06
Oh, my darling, you lie dreaming in the daylight While the sun shines through the shutters of my room. I'm just like a man possessed by the beauty in your chest As you rise and fall like tides turned by the moon. You rise and fall like tides turned by the moon. I once daydreamed of a doe-eyed dark-haired beauty With skin as fair as milk in a kitten's bowl. With a smile that said “Hello”, and a laugh to melt the snow. Well, I swear you seemed to spring right from my soul. I swear you seemed to spring right from my soul. I thirst for love that's wild and not possessing For a tame and slavish love is never true. Fuck our parents and the priests, I want to love you just like Keats: Bright Star, were I as steadfast as you. Bright Star, were I as steadfast as you. Do you remember when we'd make love 'til the morning? Do you remember when we'd lay in bed all day? Do you remember when we'd park outside the diner in the dark And kiss like it was Armageddon day? Now kiss me like it's Armageddon day.
4.
Your eyes, they are still dripping. Your sorrows, like stormy waters, rise. Deep blue and green, I find you While waiting for a parting in the skies. I thought that I could make you understand A pretty crystal castle in the sand. I wonder where this pigeon will land Once it flies out of my hand. I just woke up one morning and my deepest fears had died. I hope that I am strong enough to keep you by my side. Now you and I are driving On a road that runs adjacent to the sea. The wind blows cold and salty. You press your head so softly into me. I tried so hard to summarize my code. I long to truly live before I’m old, Explore every inch of this road, And hold you ‘til my bones are cold. If the sky above were burning, would I just run and hide? I hope that I am strong enough to keep you by my side. Fate holds the revolver And Time, it holds the blade against your throat. I crossed a sea of tears And you alone were keeping me afloat. Chimes of faith and love Echo through the canyons of my mind. It’s farewell to those old days; I have no cause to sneak a glance behind. I’m prepared to proudly piss into the wind - To seek that silver summer dawn within. I’m so glad I finally let you in. It wasn’t “whether”. It was “when”. I told myself I’d never write a love song, but I lied. I hope that I am strong enough to keep you by my side.
5.
You steamed in from Sweden, looking for freedom Looking for work and for dignified pay What lay beyond Lady Liberty shocked you: A land of corruption and greed and decay You worked on the docks and you worked on the railroads From Portland to Pedro to the Park City Mine You sang songs for workers on strike, so they framed you Giving hope to the hungry is a capital crime You said not to mourn when they shot you, Joe Hill But what bullets can’t kill, fear and hopelessness will You put the voice of the people in, the point of your pen Can a dream that has died be revived once again? They heard you in union halls through the Depression They heard you in Selma through the walls of the jail You fought Vietnam through the radio airwaves You were In Chile, in Jara’s sweet wails Poor Woody went crazy, the Boomers got lazy Punk rock’s a fashion you buy at the mall Hip-hoppers trip off the power they were fighting Al these phony folk singers say nothing at all You said not to mourn when they shot you, Joe Hill But what bullets can’t kill, fear and hopelessness will You put the voice of the people in, the point of your pen Can a dream that has died be revived once again? Say a prayer for us, for the soldiers of lust Make the dealers in dreams and disguises a toast That we’ll keep our eyes clear, face down our fears And preserve what the power despises the most You said not to mourn when they shot you, Joe Hill But what bullets can’t kill, fear and hopelessness will You put the voice of the people in, the point of your pen Can a dream that has died be revived once again?
6.
It’s a psychopathic isolation daydream come alive: The worker drones still serve their queen though she’s destroyed the hive. Instead there’s bigger houses and some better cars to drive, A screen to feel connected A pill to kill the pain, A ladder to convince you that your climbing’s not in vain, A mortgage and a mouth to feed that keep you up at night. “You may reach the top one day,” they say, “if you play your cards right.” First, they took the farms, and then they built the factories. But then they took the factory jobs and they sent them overseas. They raised all the tuitions and told us all to get degrees. Now we’re deeper into debt, Deeper in despair, Deeper underwater and we’re running out of air. But if you want to see the rainbow, you must put up with the rain. “You may reach the top one day,” they say. “There’s no need to complain.” There’s something percolating in the poorest parts of town. There’s new cafes and restaurants and new money all around. And everywhere you go, you hear the same familiar sound. From Detroit to San Francisco. From Brooklyn to the South. In everything that goes into or comes out of your mouth. In the shirt upon your back or the very bedroom where you sleep. “You may reach the top one day,” they say, “but it ain’t coming cheap.” The suicide is sprawled upon the bloody bathroom floor. A policeman shot another boy and no one knows what for. I try to listen to the wind blow, but you can’t hear it anymore. There’s only smoke and static. There’s only noise and fear. There’s only so much talking until you tune out all you hear. There’s only buried bodies trying to shout up through the dirt. “You may reach the top one day,” they say, “but someone’s getting hurt.” Our new path to heaven’s paved with hundred dollar bills And a hundred ways to justify the people that we kill. We have now more than ever, but that won’t satisfy us still. Every drop of oil. Every drop of blood. Everyone who fights back lying facedown in the mud. Everything belongs to us no matter what the price. “You may reach the top one day,” they say, “but you’ll have to sacrifice.”
7.
Baby, this world keeps breaking my heart If I didn’t have you, I swear it’d tear me apart There ain’t enough money, there ain’t enough time I’m either dragging all my dread around or scraping up dimes The future ain’t what it used to be I’m not even sure it was originally We can’t afford to live in the land of the free The future ain’t what it used to be Anyone can make it in the USA All you have to do is just struggle and pray Taught how to smile, but never taught to weep You shouldn’t make a promise that you can’t keep The future ain’t what it used to be I’m not even sure it was originally We can’t afford to live in the land of the free The future ain’t what it used to be Jesus was a CEO Now he’s got a TV show Sure he’s got a lot of dough Got it fair and square, though Didn’t lie, didn’t cheat Other folks just can’t compete Saw you sleeping on the street Why’d you think I’m packing heat? The future ain’t what it used to be I’m not even sure it was originally We can’t afford to live in the land of the free The future ain’t what it used to be
8.
Charleston 04:17
I woke up yesterday and heard the news about the boy in Carolina - How he stayed for the whole Bible study and then brandished a gun, And he killed everybody there except for one To leave a witness to recount the awful reasons for the bloody thing he’d done. There’s a part of my hometown that I was taught to never hang around in grade school. I learned to draw conclusions from a glance upon a face. How could I call him an isolated case? How could you say we’ve abolished all the hatred so embedded in our race? And there’s a pale moon over Charleston tonight. It’s the same one that shone 200 years ago, and we’re still living in its light. I know I barely understand, and I know my skin is white, But my father once told me that the guy Who says that he’s just standing by Is no better than the one who starts the fight. There’s a hunger in the heartland, and a rich man’s war upon the poor is raging The politician promises a change that never comes And warns the white man of the plot to take his crumbs And stokes an ancient bitter hatred as the hope we had just slackens and succumbs There’s a darker side of history, we pretend it’s been forgiven or forgotten All the lies told to divide us by the color of our skin Have built the brutal empire we’re still living in We must pierce the myth’s illusions, and only then can we pay penance for our sins I saw a red flag on a pickup truck tonight It’s the same that flew 150 years ago, and we’re still fighting the same fight I know I barely understand and I know my skin is white, But my father once told me that the guy That never questions how or why Can’t see the gap between what’s wrong and right
9.
I was a solipsistic drifter getting high on my pain I thought my loneliness was special, that we'd kiss in the rain, But my posture didn't fool you, my disguise was in vain And you saw the decent person inside. When your deepest dreams are dying, and they slip out of view You say we're born alone and die alone, and that may be true But what you do in between can be much bigger than you. You just have to learn to face what you hide. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. Am I a coward to keep singing songs of sadness and love? With so much blood in the streets, so many bombs up above. When the takers keep on taking though it's never enough And we're only falling further behind. Everyone I meet is either broken or broke And there's a criminal among us, but he swears it's a hoax. When you said to keep on hoping, was that some kind of joke, Or were you only taking me for a ride? Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. They tell me, son, don't trust a single word that you hear - That everybody's trying to make another buck off your fear. You've got to lower your eyes and try to plug up your ears. Don't even bother going outside. Like a bee to the blossom, like a moth to the flame, You'll get lured in with money and distracted with fame - Mistakenly believe that people knowing your name Means that you're anything but empty inside. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied. Don't be so sad. Don't be so satisfied.
10.
Dream Again 05:27
The walls inside the single-wide were paper I could hear my mother crying down the hall The door slammed like a comma The ignition raised the drama Will he even come back home this time at all Dad said he liked sleeping in on Sundays And one time Mama taught me how to pray I was a young boy lost in dreaming But one night I woke up screaming So I prayed to God to keep the dreams away And I barely dreamt at all after that day The nightmares of the world can make you close your heart so that it won’t break To love someone, you’ve got to let them in I was living life in fear so long I forgot how to hear the angels’ songs Now I’m learning how to dream again It was late one night, and I was staring at my cell phone And I read about a kid I used to know It was heroin and oxy It was deep despair and whiskey It was a promise that was broken long ago When we were told we could be anything we wanted Well, I’m starting to believe it was a lie Kings will try to keep the throne By throwing peasants scraps and bones Make us struggle, hate each other, kill and die But we’re really not that different, you and I The nightmares of the world can make you close your heart so that it won’t break To love someone, you’ve got to let them in We’ve been living life in fear so long we forgot how to hear the angels’ songs Now we’re learning how to dream again I used to think that I believed in Jesus That God would use the weak to shame the strong But there’s so many poor and dying If there’s a God, he sure ain’t trying Maybe what the Bible said was wrong Or maybe God was within us all along

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Physical copies of this album (CDs & vinyl) are available at www.blackmesarecords.com/shop/how-to-dream-again-m-lockwood-porter.

credits

released September 16, 2016

All songs written by M. Lockwood Porter
Recorded at 25th Street Recording, Oakland, CA
Produced by M. Lockwood Porter

M. Lockwood Porter: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica
Peter Labberton: drums, percussion
Bevan Herbekian: bass, vocals
Jeff Hashfield: keys
John Calvin Abney: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lap steel, 12-string guitar, percussion, harmonica

Engineered by Peter Labberton and John Schimpf
Mixed by Peter Labberton
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Focus Mastering, Omaha, Nebraska

Photography and artwork by Joseph Casey

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