“LOVING IT!”
-Bevin

 “My mom said it reminded her of Hamilton or Sondheim.”
– Chris

“This one will be promoted to the CD changer in the trunk of my car.”
– Sharon

“I admire the craft.”
– Bruce

“Unmistakable Lee Chapman style.”
– Jeff

“Just thrilled with your latest production.”
– Pat

“I love your music, art and poetry. It touched me.”
– Margaret

“The lyrics are very Lee.”
– Bill

“I loved that it brought back many memories for me.”
– Joan

” It’s like the most well-produced off-Broadway production of someone’s lost diary.”
– Steve

“We loved your new CD, for the poetic words the very  nice music, and the exceptional arrangements.”
– Guy and Nelson

“Kept me giggling throughout.”
– Steve (Tired Old Queen at the Movies)

“I share your frustration that such a brilliant mathematician threw his life away.”
– Joe

“Oh my dear Lee Chapman
though you are not a ‘rap-man’

A genius you still are and you very clearly rate
The words just flow from you infinate

You could have written Hamilton the hit
but my dear Lee Chapman

you are a little late!”
– Corky

The Cover

What on odd assortment of men: the “greatness” of each is compromised in some way. And none of my heroes is here—no Einstein, Stravinsky, Picasso, Joni Mitchell, or Stephen Sondheim.


Stream the full album here

or selected songs with commentary and lyrics below:

Great Men of the Second Millennium : Full Album – Lee Chapman

All songs: Unless otherwise noted: Words, Music, Vocals, Guitar, Arrangements: Lee Chapman

Tommy Was My First Best Friend (1979) : A very personal song with true details.

Guitar: Ahren; Clarinet: Seth Kibel; Upright Bass: Mark Schatz; Drums: Ele Rubenstein; Trombone: Mike Noonan; Trumpet: Tim Stanley

Arrangement, recording, mix: Ahren

 Tommy was my first best friend.
 
 He was a year older
 and lorded it over me.
 He was ahead in school
 he thought he was cool
 he made me
 mad sometimes
 but usually
 we had
 lots of fun.
 He tried to 
 educate me
 especially
 about next year’s nun:
 weighs a ton
 carries a gun.
 Nonetheless
 
 Tommy was my first best,
 Tommy was my first best,
 Tommy was my first best friend.
 
 I’ll never forget the acrobatic spectacles we put on on his swing set 
 My tricks were the warm-up act
 For the finale he’d do his
 
 I’ll never forget the fantastic shows we put on in the playhouse
 Tommy taught me all I know
 about show biz
 
 Tommy was my first best friend.
 
 I’ll never forget the day total artistic inspiration struck me in his sandbox
 We had these triangular two-by-four scraps of wood we were using for building blocks
 Before that day was over
 the world had another Mies
 I’d created my first architectural masterpiece
 
 But I kept it to myself
 that I was the better builder
 ‘cause I was too polite
 to denigrate my elder
 
 and Tommy was my first best,
 Tommy was my first best,
 Tommy was my first best friend.
 
 We’d hop on our bicycles
 ride to Sunkist and buy popsicles
 Use the handlebars to split ‘em on the creases
 and make fun of me when I got three pieces
 
 We’d ride home single-handed
 balancing precariously
 with sticky strawberry goo
 melting messily
 
 But we really just wanted 
 the sticks to use
 we’d dry ‘em overnight behind Tom’s garage
 next morning we’d make bi-planes
 with Elmer’s glue
 and paint made-up insignia on the fuselage
 
 We went into mass production
 when I got my mom
 to buy us two hundred sticks
 but we experienced a significant reduction
 in quality
 and it really got boring 
 it got boring quick
 
 Tommy was my first
 Tommy was the best
 Tommy, Tommy, Tommy,
 Tommy was my first best friend

 He was a year older…

lyrics

You’re My Type  (2017) : To me a truly great man must be nice, hot, and smart.

Guitar: Lee; Recording, Mix: Ryan

 You could be greedy but you're nice
 you never grab the biggest slice
 
 You could be ugly but you're hot
 Like any crew-cut astronaut
 
 You could be stupid but you're smart
 You know The Yeomen of the Guard by heart
 
 Types of personalities
 Form a perfect cube
 Of eight possibilities
 
 Two by two by two. But
 Only / one / will do
 That's why / I / chose you
 You're my type
 
 You could be nasty but you're nice
 You never criticize me twice
 
 You could be ugly but you're cute
 In Speedos or a three-piece suit
 
 You could be stupid but you're smart
 You've even heard of people like Descartes
 
 Types of personalities…
 
 You could be bossy but you're nice
 You only offer good advice
 
 You could be ugly but you're fine
 On any scale you’d be a nine
 
 You could be stupid but you're smart
 You love both French Baroque and modern art
 
 Types of personalities…

lyrics

Good for Me (2008) : The real Lee worships Mozart, Bach and Debussy, and can appreciate Wagner. / I played this at an Indiana University Musicology party once. They loved it.

Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Tom

 Used to listen to
 music that was good for me:
 
 Mozart, harpsichords,
 Wagner, oboes, Debussy.
 
 Now I’m probably
 as good as I’m going to be.
 
 So it’s bye bye Bach;
 now I listen mindlessly.
 
 I’m gonna listen to music I like.
 I’m gonna listen to music that’s fun.
 I’m gonna listen to music 
 that ain’t mentally straining,
 that ain’t emotionally draining,
 that’s actually entertaining.
 
 Used to go to the
 opera: murder, suicide,
 
 torture and
 consumption,
 broken hearts
 (poor Tosca).
 
 When the colora-
 tura died I always cried.
 
 I wanna listen to lyrics that rhyme.
 I wanna listen to lyrics in English.
 I wanna listen to 
 music that’s really dumb
 music that I can hum
 music that leaves you numb.
 
 Give up honey, you cannot 
 make me be civilized.
 
 No more music written in
 Europe by dead white guys.
 
 Give me country, rock and roll,
 Broadway, or even rap.
 
 Please don’t tell me not to snore,
 or shush, or when to clap.
 
 Don’t wanna listen to music that’s deep.
 Don’t wanna listen to music that 
 puts you to sleep.
 I wanna listen to music 
 that ain’t mentally straining
 that ain’t emotionally draining
 that’s actually entertaining.
 I wanna listen to 
 music that’s really dumb
 music that leaves you numb
 music that has a drum.

lyrics
Lee & Pilsy

Heat Flow (2020) : What one writes when one can’t get warm in bed.

Drums: Nick Bertling; Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Shaker, Bongo, Guiro: Ahren; Recording, mix: Ahren 

 I got a warm bed
 I got two cool sheets
 I got a hot head
 I got two cold feet
 I cannot tolerate
 
 this status quo
 I must recalculate
 the hot/cold ratio
 I know
 I know
 I need
 I need
 I need some heat flow
 
 Heat flow
 
 But how? Somehow.
 What might all the laws of physics allow?
 
 In 1822
 a famous Frenchman knew!
 Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier
 pride of his nation
 blew the French and us away
 with his creation
 not just symbolic
 truly consequential
 a parabolic
 partial differential
 equation
 a great sensation
 a distillation
 of all there is to know
 regarding heat flow

 Heat flow
 From hot spots—whoa
 to cold
 
 For a function u
 in a homogeneous isotropic medium
 the time derivative
 of the function u
 is the diffusivity times the Laplace.
 Gosh!
 
 Heat flow
 From hot spots—whoa
 to cold
 spreading perfectly—as Fourier foretold
 mathematically, exquisitely controlled
 
 It’s taken all night
 I got toasty toes
 But something ain’t right
 I got a frozen nose.

lyrics

I Want to Teach You (2012) : I do love to teach. Especially subjects people hate.

Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Tom

 I want to teach you,
 I want to teach you things.
 I want to teach you 
 what joy a little knowledge brings
 
 I want to teach you,
 I want to teach you stuff.
 I want to teach you 
 'cause you don't know enough.
 
 To carry on a stimulating 
 conversation.
 Something beyond next weekend
 and your last vacation.
 
 So say goodbye (although I 
 may be overreaching),
 goodbye to ignorance 'cause 
 I love teaching.
 
 I want to teach you…
 
 I want to teach you quantum theory
 and the bottom quark.
 I'd like to take you to each art
 museum in New York.
 
 I want to sit you down with my guitar
 and show you chords
 and Egypt's pyramids
 and Norway's best fiords.
 
 I want to teach you…
 
 If I knew fashion we could
 ridicule the latest styles.
 I know computers! I could 
 show you how to backup files.
 
 If I knew mollusks
 we could marvel at the octopus.
 I do know math—I'd love to
 teach you calculus.
 
 If you want that mortarboard
 I could act like—Glenn Ford
 Don't worry, future—Dead Poet
 If it's boring we'd forego it
 
 You could be my blackboard toady
 You bring out my Miss Jean Brodie,
 Mr. Kotter, certainly
 Our Miss Brooks and Miss Crabtree
 
 I'd be sweet, I'd be tough
 Professor Kingsfield, Mrs. Puff
 I'd provide the skills you lack
 You could call me: Conrack
 What is fuzzy I'd make clear
 Just like Mister Belvedere
 You could be my teacher's pet
 Sing with Sister Virginette
 
 Like Poitier and Mr. Chips
 I've much to say, important tips
 On how to live, and grammar rants es-
 sentially I am Miss Frances
 
 I'd make proper fractions simple
 Wearing rosary and wimple
 Complex numbers and all that
 Are easy in a wizard's hat
 
 Unlike Trunchbull, like Miss Honey
 I would show you ancient sunny
 Greece, Paree, the Taj Mahal and
 we'd compose like Mr. Holland
 
 I can out-teach Dumbledore, 
 And old Mz. Frizzle, any nun, for
 Every book report, term paper, 
 every quiz'll be pure fun
 
 I want to teach you…
 
 If I knew world lit
 we'd deconstruct some fiction.
 If I knew logic
 I would prove by contradiction
 
 that love exists, cause otherwise
 my favorite songs are full of lies.
 If that were so I'd rather
 not philosophize.
 
 I want to teach you
 the secrets of Tut’s tomb.
 I want to teach you
 “Cogito ergo sum.”
 I want to teach you
 who’s who and who is whom.
 I want to teach you.

lyrics

Don’t Do It (2017) : After extensive research (i.e. a couple internet searches) I’m still confused about exactly what Galois’s contribution was.

Guitar: Lee; Stylophone: Ahren; Recording: Todd & Ahren; Mix: Ahren

 In Paris, in 1832, a twenty-year-old mathematical genius, Évariste Galois,
 was challenged—to a duel.
 
 You're French, sophisticated,
 not some macho Latin fool.
 Sleep in; solve some equations.
 Don't get up at dawn and duel. 
 Don't spend the next few decades decomposing in your tomb, 
 but staring at a blackboard
 in a tiny, attic room. 
 
 Don’t do it,
 Évariste Galois,
 don't do it!
 Please consult a priest;
 talk to your mama.
 Évariste Galois,
 don't do it!
 
 Derive some compromise
 or else concoct some clever lies. 
 Or write your girlfriend's boyfriend; earnestly apologize. 
 You’ll never comprehend
 these matters matrimonial,
 so stick to numbers, algebra,
 and polynomials.
 
 Don’t do it…
 
 Some perspicacious high school kids consider it to be a fun thing to do
 
 to solve a polynomial equation
 of degree one, sometimes two.
 Some talented Italians, in the sixteenth century, raising the score,
 found nasty formulas to solve equations
 of degree three, later, four.
 But no more.
 
 No matter how valiantly all of them strive,
 they’ll never be able to do it for five. 
 It took you, young Évariste Galois, to show 
 that four is far as it’s possible to go.
 
 You saved a lot of matematicos a lot of time
 when you invented finite groups,
 a theory so sublime,
 you’re one of my top mathematical heroes. 
 We need you to work on Riemannian zeros. 
 
 Don’t do it,
 Évariste Galois,
 don’t do it!
 
 You did it,
 Évariste Galois,
 
 you did it.
 You were killed and so
 we will never know
 what you might have done
 at age twenty-one.

lyrics

Surely You’ve Heard of Him (2019) :When I wrote this I assumed everyone had heard of Jesus and St. Damien and that no one had heard of Convit. The second of these assumptions is very wrong, so for most people the song will make no sense. (Inspired by David G. McAfee)

Acoustic Guitar, 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Pump Organ, Harmonica, Shaker, Cymbal, Tambourine: Ahren; Recording, mix: Ahren 

 A carpenter from Galilee
 miraculously, mystically
 made cripples walk again and blind men see
 took pity and healed ten of leprosy
 
 He was a good man
 Did what a good man can
 Made the world better
 
 than it had been
 Surely you’ve heard of him
 
 Saint Damien of Molokai
 prayed to Jesus Christ on high
 and ministered to those in quarantine
 and touched the heart
 of those so-called unclean
 
 He was a good man…
 
 Jacinto Convit, MD
 researched immunotherapy
 created a vaccine for that disease
 saved thousands with his hard-won expertise
 
 He was a good man…

[/expander_maker

Two Bettes (2019) : Inspired by the movie A Stolen Life. (Weird that Glenn Ford appears in two songs. He’s no GMotSM.)

Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Tom 

 Good Bette Davis (i.e. shy Bette Davis)
 and bad Bette Davis (i.e. sexy Bette Davis)
 are twins. Identical twins.
 (probably won’t work out so well)
 Both Bettes fall in love with Glenn Ford.
 Just one Glenn Ford
 (probably won’t work out so well)
 
 Glenn Ford is shy but horny.
 (probably won’t work out so well)
 Guess which Bette he likes?
 Guess which Bette he marries?
 (seemed like a good idea—
 probably won’t work out so well)
 
 The sisters reconcile.
 Bad Bette takes her sister sailing.
 (probably won’t work out so well)
 Ignores severe storm warnings.
 (probably won’t work out so well)
 
 Their bloat flounders.
 Bad Bette drowns.
 Good Bette tries to save her
 but only manages to save her wedding ring. (seemed like a good idea)
 Good Bette slips it on
 and pretends to be Bad Bette.
 (seemed like a good idea—
 probably won’t work out so well)
 
 It’s a challenge
 trying to fool Bad Bette’s maid,
 trying to fool Bad Bette’s dog,
 finding out Bad Bette’s having an affair,
 finding out Bad Bette’s getting a divorce.
 Of course.
 
 Good Bette (pretending to be bad Bette) doesn’t know what to do!
 What would Bad Bette do?
 What would Good Bette do?
 But Glenn Ford figures out who is who, forgives her, and they live happily ever after.

lyrics
lyrics

Battleship New Jersey (2017) : One of my bucket-list items is to tour a World War II-era battleship. Every January we go to Philadelphia. Across the river lies the New Jersey—closed for the holidays. / During the “Christmas Truce” of World War I, soldiers from both sides came out of the trenches to celebrate together.

Percussion: Mickey; Recording, mix: Frank 

 The battleship New Jersey
 is closed for Christmas.
 But the parking lot is open;
 you still can see
 the great gray God
 of special treatment steel,
 displacement fifty thousand tons,
 and its nine great guns,
 with smaller guns defending them.
 
 If you send
 one thousand bucks
 you can be
 a “Special Friend
 of The Battleship New Jersey.”

 On Christmas 1943
 a teenaged sailor,
 dixie cup teetering,
 leaned over his best girl
 and stole a final kiss.
 Her left foot rose almost all the way.
 
 If you send…
 
 On Christmas 1969 
 the battleship New Jersey
 and a Viet Cong submarine
 ceased fire for the day
 and traded Hershey bars and weed. 
 Their choirs came together,
 singing “Baby it is cold outside.”
 
 If you send…
 
 If it weren't Christmas
 then you could take
 the turret tour:
 See how seventy-seven sailors
 operated the great gray guns
 singing “Silent Night.”
 No high heelED shoes
 ARE permitted
 
 If you send…
 soldiers from both sides came out of the trenches to celebrate together.

lyrics

Corporal Cooper (2017) : This is a true story, as told to my husband by his Naval Academy classmate. I made up the details, e.g. the name “Cooper.” (It was great fun researching Vietnam-era military lingo and hippie slang.)

Guitar: Lee; Recording: Todd ; Mix: Ahren

 Corporal Cooper comes into my tent,
 salutes, and says,
 I’m gonna re-up. What?
 Another year in ‘Nam? How come?
 I’m stoked. I’m gettin’ married.
 Who? A village girl, Kim-ly.
 I know just what you’re thinking
 but relax—deep down I feel
 she ain’t no hoochgirl whore;
 our love is boo-coo real.
 
 Corporal Cooper always smiled.
 Ain’t nothin’ here to be afraid of.
 The third platoon's short-timer
 flower child is going native.
 
 Is she knocked up? Are you OK?
 What will your parents say?
 I got no dad
 and mom’s a hooker too in Omaha!
 
 Would Kim-ly understand Nebraska?
 How could she belong?
 I’ll wrangle you some R&R in Hong Kong. Think about your future.
 Far out, sir! Can Kim-ly tag along?
 
 Corporal Cooper always smiled…
 
 I’m back, sir! Had a blast!
 Have you decided what to do?
 You were right. Kim-ly’ll be bummed out but me and her are through.
 I met a girl in Hong Kong named Lijuan. We’re gettin' hitched!
 Relax. It ain’t just physical this time—
 deep down I feel
 she ain’t no Hong-Kong whore;
 our love is boo-coo real.
 
 Corporal Cooper always smiled…
 
 My tour was up; I headed home;
 he stayed in Vietnam.
 A week before they were to marry—
 he was
 wasted by a friendly F-100 cluster bomb.
 They couldn’t find enough to bury.
 They couldn’t find enough to bury.
 
 Corporal Cooper always smiled…

lyrics

We Snuck Out (2020) : Inspired by the exploits of my brother-in-law Rick. / Miss Eldred, who humiliated me for using the word “snuck,” would be horrified.

Drums: Nick Bertling; Vocals, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Tambourine, Clave: Ahren; Recording, mix: Ahren

 We were VMI’s
 Truly badass guys
 We were real men
 We proved it again
 
 We snuck out
 Despite the general’s threats
 We snuck out
 We were not model cadets
 We snuck out
 We needed beer
 We snuck out
 
 We had to hear
 
 Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts
 (it took real guts)
 Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts
 (to go out after dark)
 Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts
 
 We were VMI’s…
 
 We snuck out
 around midnight
 We snuck out
 To some mean shit-hole dive
 We snuck out
 our sacred rite
 We snuck out
 And came alive to
 
 Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts..
 
 They wouldn’t sell ‘em at the record store
 ‘Cause Hot Nuts weren’t a bore
 They wouldn’t play ‘em on the radio
 ‘Cause Hot Nuts did not blow
 
 Who gives a shit about reports and grades
 we love “Big Jugs”
 
 and “Two Old Maids”
 We’re only thinkin’
 with our “Ding-a-Lings”
 when our man Doug Clark sings
 
 Baby, we ran the block
 baby, rocked ‘round the clock
 now baby, out here in these boondocks,
 “Baby Let Me Bang Your Box”
 
 We snuck out
 midnight vacation 
 We snuck out
 we’d bum some rides
 We snuck out
 To the greyhound station
 to pick up seven copies of  their latest sides
 
 they came by bus
 especially for us
 The music that could kick some military butts
 
 Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts

lyrics

Midshipmen (2018) : This started as a poem and, I’m afraid, never quite completed the transition to song.

Flute, Piccolo, Alto Sax: Kim; Recording, mix: Frank

 They’ve set up tents
 in Ogle Hall’s back yard.
 The biggest has a crystal chandelier.
 Hors d'oeuvres are in the ballroom
 Lafayette once called
 “the most beautiful room in America.”
 
 Midshipmen drink iced tea and lemonade,
 alumni and their spouses wine and beer.
 We grownups sit around and reminisce;
 the kids plan their career.
 
 Midshipmen.
 
 Some are graduating this year,
 getting shoulder boards and bars,
 some heading off to submarines,
 
 They’ve set up tents
 in Ogle Hall’s back yard.
 The biggest has a crystal chandelier.
 Hors d'oeuvres are in the ballroom
 Lafayette once called
 “the most beautiful room in America.”
 
 Midshipmen drink iced tea and lemonade,
 alumni and their spouses wine and beer.
 We grownups sit around and reminisce;
 the kids plan their career.
 
 Midshipmen.
 
 Some are graduating this year,
 getting shoulder boards and bars,
 some heading off to submarines,
 
 I guess this celebration’s
 not the time or place.
 I get myself another Chardonnay.
 I look for blood and tears
 but I can’t find a trace
 
 in “the most beautiful room in America.”

lyrics

Iron Lung (2017) : Based on the poem by my writing group buddy John Slidell.

Lyrics: John Slidell & Lee; Music: Lee; Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Ryan

 I cannot feel my body
 no feeling in my toes
 This capsule’s breathing for me
 a tube runs down my nose
 
 My mother stays beside me
 she sleeps here every night
 She is my inspiration
 to not give up the fight
 
 They say I might get better
 play basketball someday
 I dream of cold spring waters
 ride rockets to the Milky Way
 
 I think I’m getting better
 that’s when the pain begins
 It takes all spring, all summer 
 Sometimes I feel my limbs
 
 My mother stays beside me
 she sleeps here every night
 She is my inspiration
 to not give up the fight
 
 They say I might get better…
 
 I’m choking
 No one’s around
 I’m choking
 Starting to drown
 I bang on the bars, can't scream, can't shout
 the nurses came running
 before I escape to the mountains
 they suction me out
 
 The feeding tube’s removed
 It’s time to break away
 and my first taste of ginger ale
 
 yes, my first taste of ginger ale
 stays with me to this day

lyrics

Berzelius (2015) : Like all the boys I loved my shapely blond high school chemistry teacher but will always loath the subject. This song is my attempt at atonement. 

Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Eli

 Jöns Jacob Berzelius,
 Swedish chemist, alias: Bonds,
 among forgotten sacred icons,
 prince of protons and electrons,
 in multiple careers,
 in only sixty-eight years,
 expanded our world view.
 What did you do?
 
 He was ennobled by the king.
 Do you deserve ennobling?
 If you’re a duke, viscount, or baronet,
 then you were born that way I’ll bet.
 
 While you were working on your abs
 or chewing on ice cubes,
 he introduced into his labs
 paper filters and rubber tubes.
 
 Jöns Jacob Berzelius…
 
 Explore exciting new frontiers?
 Lead scientific pioneers?
 Earn accolades from all your peers?
 Do anything deserving cheers?
 
 While you were propagating genes
 Bonds identified proteins.
 While you dropped out, tuned in, turned on,
 he discovered silicon.
 Jöns Jacob Berzelius…
 
 Did you close your eyes and plug your ears?
 Believe your lies, deny your fears?
 Cause your sweetheart salty tears?
 Drink a few too many beers?
 
 While you were conked out at your desk,
 depressed and fighting tedium,
 he just precipitated a new element, selenium. And thorium. And cerium.
  
 Jöns Jacob Berzelius,
 Swedish chemist, alias: Berz,
 (that’s the alias his great-great-
 grand-daughter prefers)
 in multiple careers,
 in only sixty-eight years,
 expanded our world view.
 What did you do?
 
 Like all of us he suffered from
 imperfect human nature:
 He made a choice much worse than dumb:
 in Berz’s nomenclature
 
 for molecules he got
 his numbers somehow flipped:
 the two in H2O was not
 a subscript; it was a superscript!
 Like H-squared-O.
 
 Jöns Jacob Berzelius,
 whatever were you thinking?
 No wonder you’re forgotten
 and your reputation’s sinking.
 I once considered you a genius too
 but here’s the rub:
 you’re not if you can’t differentiate
 super- and sub-.

lyrics

Don’t Tell Mom (2006) : My longest song ever—they played it on the radio in Bloomington but wanted me to cut it. I couldn’t. / Third episode true; first two invented.

Acoustic Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Tom

 Midnight
 Christmas Eve
 1991
 Mark was six
 eating Santa’s cookies
 drinking Santa’s Coke
 His dad awoke wondering
 why he can’t assemble a God-damned thing
 like real men
 He went downstairs to try again
 and caught the thief
 cookie in hand
 
 Please, dad, don’t tell mom
 Don’t worry, Mark,
 
 we’ll keep her in the dark
 She’ll never understand
 ‘Cause women don’t know beans
 about what it means
 to be a man
 
 Midnight
 Christmas Eve
 1998
 Mark was thirteen
 hiding in the attic
 with dad’s old magazines
 His dad awoke to a sound
 mice or maybe bats somewhere near
 maybe reindeer
 He went upstairs
 to look around
 and caught his kid
 Playboy in hand
 
 Please, dad..
 
 Midnight
 Christmas Eve
 2006
 Mark’s dad dreams
 of baby screams
 and tennis teams 
 the former future rookie
 with the killer stroke
 
 eating Santa’s cookies
 drinking Santa’s Coke
 shepherds, angels, camels,
 and three kings
 the phone rings
 
 9am
 Baghdad daylight saving time
 Mark is 21
 Hello son
 It isn’t anything
 a superficial wound
 maybe bad enough
 to get me home soon
 no broken bone
 near the Green Zone
 not like yours, dad, in Vietnam
 an IED, not a real bomb
 got me in no-man’s land
 weapon in hand
 
 Please, dad…
 (We may win, we may lose / don’t let mom watch the news. Life is like basketball / if you play, you may fall.

 Don’t tell your mom I said it, but women just don’t get it.)

lyrics

Hey Wolfgang (1977) :I wrote this during my long, frustrating quest to appreciate Mozart. I was attempting to describe my frustration at my philistinism, but everyone assumes the song just says “I hate Mozart.” In fact, my quest succeeded and I’ve loved him for decades. Except the operas. Except The Magic Flute.

Guitar: Lee; Recording, mix: Eli

 Hey Wolfgang
 you little twit
 take your magic flute and stuff it
 Hey Wolfgang
 you little shit
 take your magic flute and stuff it
 
 When I was young I was sure
 I’d be a great connoisseur
 of fine music and art
 but to this day I still can’t stomach you, Mozart
 
 You’ll never be on my juke
 Your music makes me puke
 It’s all so prissy and quaint
 and rather elegant, but funky it ain’t
 
 Hey Wolfgang
 you little bum
 take your high-heeled shoes and stuff ’em
 Hey Wolfgang
 you little twit
 take your magic flute and stuff it
 

 Now I can groove on Van Gogh
 and I can move it to Bach
 I’m not that big on Gaugin
 but I sure dig Ludwig Van
 
 I gave the old college try
 now I’m into most of you guys
 but lately I feel so dumb
 can’t understand where you and Wagner
 are coming from
 
 Hey Richard
 you paragon
 take your Viking helmet and sit on it
 Hey Wolfgang
 you little twit
 take your little baton and stuff it
 
 I always wanted to be
 a child prodigy
 but I weren’t no genius like you
 
 when I was thirteen I was still faking stomach flu
 
 You were on a stage
 conducting your symphony
 I was in my back yard
 getting chased by a bumblebee
 
 Hey Wolfgang
 just wait and see
 you’re gonna live a life of poverty
 But don’t worry
 your music thrives
 soon as you bite the dust at thirty-five
 Hey Wolfgang
 you little shit
 take your magic flute and stuff it

lyrics