These are the poems that appear on My Life was a Taxi.
My life was a taxi and I always paid for the ride in the back / sometimes right there at the moment / other times long after the fact / now I’ve seen every street in this city / and know every dark corner by heart / but the next time I need to go searching / I’ll negotiate the fare from the start.
Sailing on an ocean of sleep / the deep blue water rushing by below / and though I wasn’t ready to go / when the slumber came to take me away / I was too tired to resist if for another day / now I’m traveling through another land / and everything I planned has fallen far behind / it’s impossible to know the night from day / or what I might find when I open up my eyes / sailing on an ocean of sleep / the deep blue water taking me away / the daylight lost and nothing left to keep / I just got too tired to remain here for another day.
The greatest terror I ever faced / was being tossed into this world / without any money / and the greatest joke I ever heard / wasn’t in any way funny / it was this talk about equality / and how we all are equal in the end / in death perhaps / but in this kind of life / it only comes down to the money / my friend.
There is a distant chant that is coming down from the hills / it is as far away as a barely remembered dream / something important has gotten lost / there are rivers that can never be recrossed / a man alone in this world has no meaning / I’m ready to quit this life / and go back to the dreaming.
I dreamed I sailed around a dark continent / as if I’d been sent on a mission of sorts / to gather information and write out reports / in an entirely new way / and though I didn’t know what to say / or who would be there / to receive it when I did / still I sailed like Captain Kidd / crashing my ship into every storm / and aiming my sails / for where the heavens were torn / this morning I awoke / still not sure what it all really meant / but the daylight broke like waves / as I returned from the dark continent.
We’ve got to take pills / just to bottle up the rage / so we can sleep inside of the cage / we talk about kids / like they’re just going through a stage / when they dare question the walls of the cage / we trade our lives away / and still it’s hard to gauge / how we will ever pay to keep up the cage / and as our days end / then we spend our old age / looking out through the holes / of our own lonely cage.
I wanted to be stopped / but I could not be stopped / I swore to make a change / but I would not be changed / at times things got too strange / and I wanted to return / instead I tossed my maps away / and watched the highway burn / sometimes we hear a higher call / that tears us out of our life / I wished to go back home / but found myself living / on the edge of the knife.
Maybe I’ve had a few / but I’m starting to get an underwater view / objects look closer in the palm of my hand / small smiles flicker in the chasms of the sand / I think I’m in the ocean now / and overhead / I see your bright / white / shining / little sails / if all else fails / then I’ll just do what I have to do / but I’m starting to look at you now / beneath the sunbeams / with my underwater view.
I just moved into a new world / where there’s room for everyone / Mr. Chang please take a seat / Mr. Washington come over and sit down / when your working day is done / Senora Ramirez here are the keys / you can take my heart and turn it on / whenever you want to feel the breeze / little animals and plants / I think there’s more than enough sun / please come and sit down inside this new world / where there’s room for everyone.
Crossing borders is always going to be tough / but the man afraid of crossing them / will never be man enough / to claim the life that he’s always wanted to live / and at the end of the day / all he’ll ever really have / are his own little criticisms to give.
Good intentions are always the first stop / on the way to my detention / locked up in a house full of bad vibrations / this is the kind of paradox / that could shatter the nations / try to do good / and get evil in return / it is only the young at heart / that will never learn.
If you’ve ever been around / you’ve probably heard of Struggletown / we call this place our home / because it’s the only place we’ve ever known / we hear of cities afar / where the people have been blessed by a star / but that is not the life we lead / each day is a desperate day indeed / one day I’ll soon go down / and dig in the dirt until I’m safe underground / if no trace of me ever gets found / then you can put the blame / on Struggletown.
There is no animal more dangerous / than the awakened mind / you can try to bind it / but it won’t stay down / you can attempt to dim it / but it will still continue to shine / once you turn it on / you can never turn it off / even a nuclear bomb cannot compare / to the power that is contained inside of one awakened mind / and there is nothing in this world / that is harder to find.
This is a field of grain / not of human pain / the incinerators stood here in the past / but they weren’t meant to last / what must burn things down / must be burned down / and what must remain / must remain / this is the human heart I speak of / returning like a field of grain / what must burn things down / must be burned down / and what will remain then / will remain / this is the human heart I speak of / still standing like a field of grain.
I happened to hear / the echo of waves / bouncing off of them / and returning to the sea / what will be / is not what has been / but it will happen again / just as it has happened before / I stood beneath the roar / of the distant pasts / and the possibilities / and I found myself lost on the shore / not knowing which were my friends / and which were my enemies.
A world of glistening sand / this is the kingdom that I command / each day a battling wind / tell me where will it go / once the gales begin / there was once the mirage of a plan / the motions and dreams that engage a young man / but now I have noticed the shift / and know that my mind is beginning to drift / a world of glistening sand / this is the glass that slipped out of my hand / each day a battling wind / tell me where will I go / once the gales begin.
Looking out across the Salton Sea / there was still something to be / there were still many years ahead / and not so many far behind / sometimes you wish that you could just rewind / or find out what might have been / but now all these dead fish line the shore / and there’s no way of ever reeling them back in.
My life is too sad to live alone with it / inside these four walls / it will slowly overcome me in the end / I need to frighten the hell out of it / and whip it down the streets / leave it bleeding in the alley / and sprawled out beneath the bleacher seats / my life is quiet but it’s a killer / so I’ve got to keep it in check / I’ve got to get it before it gets me / so I can never let it know / just what to expect.
To be a broken mirror / is to reflect a thousand different shards of light / and you never really know where you belong / and you never really know what is wrong or right / you just lie on the ground in pieces / and you stare up at the sky / and you never see what the others see / and you don’t know the reason why.
Words come down / like attending birds / in the middle of the night / when I’m sitting there alone / far away from any home / and far away from any friend / the words come down to me again / and make sense of the desolate night / what the world has done wrong / they begin to do right / words come down like attending birds / in the middle of the desolate night / what the world has done wrong / they begin to do right / what the world has done wrong / they begin to do right.
I’ve spent a lifetime weathering storms / at the hem of each one / there has always been / a distant ripple of light / sometimes bright / and sometimes dim / like an ancient hymn / the thunder has lumbered across the plain / I’ve spent a lifetime weathering storms / but look / I still remain.
These days I’m learning new things / and I’m happy to be alive / last year at the same time / I was struggling just to survive / but seasons change / and moods do too / so it’s best to bide your time / while you’re waiting for the boat / you hope will some day take you / to a new kind of beautiful blue.