Paddy

by Dave Hause

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1.
Yeah, I'm stealing cigarettes Selling them off to friends for rent Plus a pay check and still in debt? I'm asking how could it be? I know they know I'm beneath them Even homeless assholes know my name Now it's "urban flight" or a cell for the night You know it's all the same One can tell themselves about when going gets rough Determination just ain't enough When your overtime defines your life This American me Tradition tells us home own But the time card's saying no go Now the suits are talking foreclose From sea to shining sea Time was a war time economy Was a silver lining to tragedy But even those with homes are now those alone In the land of the free I asked for nothing and I got it in spades Worked for a living and I earned a cage They say I look old for my age This American me This American me This American me This American, this American, this American This American me This American, this American, this American This American me This American, this American, this American This American me
2.
They called it faith They called it fair They called it resolution I call it shit when we were alone They simply paid no mind You'd suffered such a crime Then there you were A mother way too soon They said you'd made your bed Then they filled your head With the sound The bells of a cathedral You say you're still ashamed I wish that I could make it stop Like salt thrown over shoulder A coin tossed in a fountain Not unlike a knock on wood You said only in as much As you were sensitive to touch Did you feel like a human when they spoke And so you hid your life All bottled up inside Just enough to make Your angels choke You took all you heard And tried to make them your own words Only deafened by the sound The bells of a cathedral Now you hate yourself and I wish that I could make it fucking stop All my life Surrounded, unfounded Teachings thought as threats I won't forget
3.
Sometimes it's simple things that make it hard Spoiled baby T's with credit cards Overtime always on my mind Could have been's eat away in side now Praise God and pass the bottle of Beam Because tonight I can't seem to say what I mean Don't know if I would even if I could, Amen Somehow this seems like borrowed time Pay it no mind, everything is fine But sometimes I'd rather hear laughter while this whole place died A johnny jump-up is a lovely thing A pint of cider and some whiskey I had four dead inside of me Just to hear this jackass sing his line about How he used to hang out somewhere "back in the day" Knowing terms only that an asshole would say So I sat there drinking more Thinking about drinking more Nelson Algren came to me And said celebrate the ugly things The beat up side of what they call pride Could be the measure of these days God save Otis Redding because I know he's never gone As sick falls from this mouth hear me sing it wrong Is it "Cigarettes and Coffee" now or "Dreams to be Remembered" I'll leave regrets for dead and sing along So I'm reaching for the phone I don't want to be alone I want to get some friends here tonight I got a basement full of booze and some blues to lose I'll ignore the whole world tonight It will be alright
4.
It's all wrinkled elbow shirts and poker faces on this bus Back to a niche, dug just like a ditch in this city's weathered crust But there's something about the city's gray that seems to say all there is to say Riddled with regiment, vindictive intent, faking loyalty and getting paid Fuck 'em all Fuck 'em all Fuck 'em all Fuck 'em all She keeps the Variety section and then gives the rest to me She says she remembers when buses were nicer, "no dignity in plastic seats" But there's something about the way she said, "the only good boss is one that's dead" Broad shoulders giggled all over the bus and work ethics crumbled into "them and us" Fuck 'em all Fuck 'em all Fuck 'em all Fuck 'em all And all these spectres of the workplace Turned from effigy back to reality And yeah, I wish it was that simple To think a belly laugh is really all we need But it's the slow decay of the day-to-day That says take your paycheck Accept your place and fade away But there was dignity in plastic seats that day
5.
We were raised to be just what we are, in case you didn't know If I offered up to you some proof, would you let your anger show? Or would you put your mind to sleep, kept warm by simple novelties And a history that's really not your own? Is freedom just a privilege of hatred guaranteed? Is compassion just a second thought of hope brought to its knees? Can dignity see fit to work past all it doesn't want to see? Seven guns for degradation Three cheers for cruel tradition Red, white, and black eyes forever Somewhere south of respect tonight, this tension's wrapped up nice and tight The static's felt but never makes a sound A man finds nothing left to eat, another sells his body for a place to sleep As Klansmen flood a conference hall downtown This TV has the answers, let fashion have your eyes This job is your achievement, this Bible is your pride Can dignity see fit to try and fix what it knows fear can't hide? Seven guns for degradation Three cheers for cruel tradition Red, white, and black eyes forever I think of a story my father told me About a fella he know in the Army The Pentagon traded him checks for both his legs "Fuck the States" was the last thing father heard he had said Still it's said that this war was won Well, I refuse to be just another dead nation's bastard son I have eyes that see, I have a mind that thinks I have a mouth that speaks and goddamn, it will Because I've had enough of all this shit About making do and playing ball, the way things are and dealing with it Mixing pop and politics He asks me what the use is I'm not into making excuses And I'll die the day I find them fucking useless

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released October 23, 2020

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Dave Hause Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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