Self Realized Nation: a song cycle

by Alma's engine

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about

Click on individual songs for lyrics and more information.

All these songs are part of a long in the works (and still in the works) song cycle observing the occupy movement in all it's rooted hopes and pitfalls (and by extension many other radical social movements). The questions in these songs have guided me though many a crisis of purpose and I hope they can be helpful to others as well.

I will be posting rough versions of many of the songs and updating them as the tracks change and grow. So if you so desire you can check back in and listen in as my project changes and grows. As always, I am open to all comments, input, and collaboration.

I know it is a small thing, but I like the idea of merging form and content even in the production of these songs, which call for transparency and community.

In love and light,
Alma.

credits

released 03 July 2013

Cover art from Adbusters. An utterly DIY project.

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about

Alma's engine Northampton, Massachusetts

Alma's Engine is Alma Sanchez-Eppler's musical voyage in pursuit of honest reflection and deep connection to others. Alma has been writing songs with compulsive abandon since 2011. She is so grateful for all the support and encouragement she has received, and excited to be able to share these songs with you, in their thoughtfulness, in their open sorrow and their musing joy. ... more

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Track Name: I Want to Live for the Future
I want to live for the future
Built out of hard things and soldered with love.
Hope is a river that’s swollen.
They melted the ice down with fear in god and eyelashes.

Ashes to ashes
Dust on the curtains cling.
Long as my heart beats
Wring my hands and march my feet.

I want to be there
I want to see it with my own eyes

I want to live for the future
Chiseled in our hearts with all the pain that might still come.
Learning to give what’s not easy;
Blessings are shared like the naked dandelion’s seeds.

Hidden in voiceless
is all the help we need.
Long as my heart beats
I’ll follow hopelessness with dreams.
Track Name: Boot Straps
To be cut off at the boot strap is to have a dust bowl in the sink.
She’s washing up after avarice had a bit too much to drink.

Ceiling obsidian while the walls tell her to fly free.
Contradiction America all she wants is your dream.
Red is the color of the traffic sign that she obeyed.
White is the skin she served and blue is disillusionment’s way.
She is stricken made tired by a future expired after tasting the spoon.
it's hard to get out of bed. The cold gets into her head. Gotta leave the cocoon.

To be cut off of the road map is to have a long journey ahead.
Picture time in a traffic light, picture her face washed in red.

Hold her hand futilely as the wind's ripping up her picket fence.
When she tried to warn avarice he just showed her his bank statements.
Red is the fire burning underneath the bags of her eyes.
Blue is the calm of the storm and white are the hallowed lies
Her Great-Grandfather came with only hope to his name. Why is she not the same?
Feeling shrunken inside is it the head or the drive that catches her blame

To be…

Ooo and it doesn’t get easy, but you learn how to breathe and you find some good people to hang on.
Ooo I wana reach out my hand like a vine to the quicksand. Yeah we’ve got a pretty good plan.
Let's put the cart before the horse. We’ll reassess what things are worth
cause we ain’t got much to lose by doing things a new way. We ain't got much to gain by doing things the right way, the old way.

To be cut off at the boot strap is to be fenced-in to a change.
Wake up to a world transformed telling you "you're not to blame"
Track Name: Rubble
I was born in the rubble of the Berlin wall,
when the future had just opened up and the politicians stalled.
As a child looked to my mother, asked her: "How should I behave?"
For my fathers dug the trenches and the maker made its grave.
Late last night I saw the beating of my nation like a slave.
All the windows filled with tears, but there was no one we could blame.

There’s a struggle in our heartbreaks, it’s all tangled up in love.
Silver linings seeping tarnish after when you polish them with blood.

I was born in the rubble of the Berlin wall,
when our innocence had failed us and the politicians stalled.
We cannot be forgiven for the things we haven’t done
when our hands are all we’re missing to begin to beat the drum.

There’s a struggle in our heartbreaks it’s all tangled up in love.
Silver linings just seep tarnish when you polish them with blood.
Where is will if not in outrage? where is change? what is enough?
Like my mother used to tell me, fight the fights you can’t give up.
Track Name: When We Started
I’ve been picking at the bones of freedom struggles come and gone
looking for a starting point that that doesn’t disappoint someone
tomorrow is the path that wraps itself around past failures
listens long to their confessions with gratitude and salt
salt salt let us sing let us sing:

When we started to fight we fought for all the wrong reasons
We mistook need for change as a lesson chalked it up to God’s will
When we started to fight we had to make sure we didn’t sound crazy
we guarded those too hard too hear realities with morals and cup cakes

and you’ll call me a white girl who plays sad guitar.
And I am trying very hard at not presuming who you are.

When we started to fight we fought with dulled instruments of oppression
we fought by candlelit ink wells of guilt this cabin we built we didn’t build windows.
When we started to fight we didn’t know how to look at each other.
We still don’t know how to look at each other: the other.

our nineteenth century dreams were patronizingly simple
And now it’s been 200 years only if imagination serves.

We can change the world rearrange the world is dying to get better

When we started to fight we didn’t know how to be allies
we named ourselves Generals but where the real battles lied we had no idea.
well there’s wrong and there’s and then there the things that we do when we’re trying.
but there’s no excuse and there’s no denying we don’t always get better
And we have been blessed with a life full of privileges
and we have been blessed with a belt full of tools
and we are only starting to fight to fight
we are only starting
Track Name: Integrity Song
And if the truth were really true
how would we act? what would we do?
Is there a door we must fall through
before we recognize what is the truth?
And since the truth is really true
how will we act? what will we do?

Will we collect our frightened tears
to scatter on the droughted fields?
Will we blow hard—blow with the wind
and watch the mills spin round our sins?

or will we dance? or will we pray? or will we learn to live another way?
I think it’s clear we don’t believe in what is true: our frailty.

Integrity means that we live—live like the truth were what it is.
Track Name: My Lazy Sins
Self-reflection didn’t steal my car keys.
Objectivity like a friend or a disease.
My heart still squeezes, but it
beats like treason through my knees.

Run across the boarder to where the simple sound of industry is tamed.
You have a job I wouldn’t take but you’ve gotta take it all the same.
When the morning wails, and I wake up stale
I still haven’t rearranged. I made a promise that’s grown strange.

“Introspection heals the world.” They say,
so write me a soliloquy to unbind me from my ways.
I want to pray. Like Moses prayed I want the chance to run away
A cog alive, a cog enslaved.

Implicate me in my lazy sin.
Self-aware and terrified I want to begin.
I want to begin. I want to begin to see outside the engine.

Rummage through the rubbish mountain tumble down the hills I threw away.
Plastic rains Poseidon weeps and the air is getting thicker every day.
When excess fails to swell the sails I’ll mar myself to you.
There was so much more to do.

Self-reflection didn’t steal my car keys.
Some sense of gravity won’t bring me to my knees.
My will like reeds Bends in the breeze this is not easy.
This is not easy. This is not easy.
Track Name: Savior
Won’t you give me your hand cause I need a savior
And I don’t understand how Jesus works.
If I could believe in something it would be the rising sun,
But I’ve heard about the winters way up north.
And on my peace-less planet I paint murals in my bones
Of a darkness as it stretches towards the light.

And all things equal I think I would like to start again
with naming all the creatures and the boarders and the sins
Cause all things given to us are so hard to comprehend
In dreams sometimes I glimpse them just before they round the bend

There’s a lamb and a lion and the persuasive things they said
There’s a plow tilling fast behind a war horse
There are children holding hands praying for me to understand
But I don’t I still don’t and I can’t.

They say -blessed are the house-less when our hearts become our homes-
With velvet pulsing curtains and a ceiling fan that moan
Cradled in the difference between dreams and coming true
Is you taking my hand like we saw the children do.

Carry off my expectations for the things I cannot change
Save me the loss of my patience and bless me through my blame
If god is in the future and hope is in the rain
With our hands griped tight together we’ll put one foot in front of the other

If you give me your hand then I’ll be your savior
And Friend we’ll walk a long way like that
a long way like that
Track Name: Pick Your Battles
Pick your battles like you pick your mistakes.
Tie your horses up where they wont mind the wait.
If you have to ask then it's gonna be okay.
You pick your battles like you pick your mistakes.

Oh you’ve spread yourself thin
with your oil slick passion across the water.
And you’d better believe
there is no immunity to wanting power.

count your footprints humbly
or they'll stop you in your tracks.
See if you can feel the beauty
of letting someone else take up the slack.

Pick your battles like you pick your mistakes.
Tie your horses up where they wont mind the wait
No, you wont have time to do everything right
so pick your battles and fight with your life.

What are your most precious things?
Like every other politician, you'd better count them.
You’ve got a preachable patch
of overgrown grass to hide your face in

You’re not taking questions.
No, you’re not just making friends.
It’s not clear what the lesson is
when you run to win and then you’ve won to run again.

You pick your battles like you pick your mistakes.
Tie your horses up where they wont mind the wait.
No, you wont have time to do everything right
so pick your battles and fight for your life.
Track Name: Courage Grows
Sleeping with the status-quo,
between the sheets and the need to grow
there’s a knock on the door
is there still a knot in my throat anymore?
In the morning I woke
to the refuse of culture: the shell and the yoke
there beside me I noticed
how only self-hating loves something that’s broke.

I don’t know how courage grows
fed by disillusion and soul.
Revolution wasn’t bred in my bones
I drank milk from the breast of the hopeful.
In the evening I spoke
with the echoes of goddess that clamor and choke.
I've got to pacify all the lines I wrote;
send them up in the signals of smoke.

If I’d been born in a back logged town where the girls grow like corn,
I would have worn my head like a heart on the sleeve of my soul shorn.

Sleeping with the status-quo,
my unconflicted dreams let him go.
I awoke in his room.
Ambiguity wrestled me over the moon.
I want courage like doubt.
I want tears from the sky like the rain in my mouth.
I’m gonna count my bruises and never look back.
I’m moving out to the count civil-rights soundtrack.

We shall overcome.

I don’t know how courage grows
fed by disillusion and soul.
Revolution wasn’t bred in my bones
I drank milk from the breast of the hopeful.