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by Alma Cook

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Calling students, teachers, poets & preachers, The straightedge & rough-around-them truth seekers, The "too deep"-ers, those blessed with the boldness to speak And those who express more by the quiet they keep. Calling those who want solutions, those who pray until their knees hurt, Those who want revolution just enough to buy a T-shirt. It's for the homeless, the vagabonds & the phoneless, The people thinking they already know this. You say, "She can't be talking about us," 'cause you don't think I should, man. Aren't you what they call a good man? We've got love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness… Convenience & comfort should also take precedence, right? I'm not impressed with it, fight until the death with it; Might be a southpaw, but I won't be left with this. So before we get too far talking vision for changes, I'd like for us to visualize what change is. CHORUS: Maybe it's me, but it seems kinda humbling How we lay concrete but can't keep it from crumbling. Call me naïve, but you got me wondering Why we got two good feet but prefer to keep stumbling. Hey, stop—look both ways Before crossing your heart at the end of the day. It's not that we don't know that crime pays; It's that someone else is cast as the criminal. (She can't be talking about us; she's talking about them.) 'Cause, baby, you never killed nobody. (No matter the mark, she must be trying to condemn.) Some say that I am. CHORUS Enough—you're raising a glass To stocking up on sympathy and hoping it lasts. Mine's up for some people of the past, But I'd much rather toast it to all of you. (She really needs to give it a rest, take life as it comes.) 'Cause you're one of the good people, right? (Gather 'round and give it our best; we'll get this done.) But it's take twenty-one. CHORUS
Blind Side 03:31
It's just a trick of the light That makes your teeth look brighter than white. Your skin doesn't really shine; It just caught the glare off mine for a second, darling. I could say that you're too tall, With flavor that dissolves when you look at the long haul, 'Cause beneath the superficial lies and the doe eyes You're not a pretty creature after all. CHORUS: But it's not true; I'll never justify my blind side like I want to. It's not about you, But I'm gonna let hindsight clear up my view. Don't even gotta pretend That they don't stop when you walk in. 'Cause no matter the time they spend, You're just a one hit wonder to them; they don't love you, darling. I could say it's the first time I noticed you'd arrived turning heads with your hands tied, And I could say I never stare at your black hair With envy that could eat a girl alive. CHORUS
Honey 03:55
Here she comes, She's smelling like vanilla & peaches. Skin like honey, I hardly even notice what she did. Making trouble again & I— I will defend her for the first round, But though her words seem sound, they don't hold any water When you write 'em down. CHORUS: Oh, fool me once, fool me twice, We're gonna get it right. Maybe I should take that warning, Or maybe it can wait till morning. To know every word of advice— Wouldn't it be nice? I look at her & oh, she's lovely, But I'm getting kinda sick of that honey. I look at her & oh, she's lovely, But I'm getting kinda sick of that honey. Got a grip on me Between a bad dream & a secret, With a kiss so sweet— Oh, don't you know it puts me to pieces? I have got to pretend that I Will not defend you in the next round, 'Cause though your words seem sound, They don't hold any water when you write 'em down, so… CHORUS SIck of the way she'll… Take me by the neck & bite me When I'm stocking up the kitchen. Been a clean couple days; I might've Finally broken the addiction. I swore I'd cut you at the source, But when I shut the doors You leave me wanting more. Honey, whatcha do that for? You know you seem so sound, You always seem so sound. You really seem so sound, But you're only ever gonna weigh me down. CHORUS I look at her & oh, she's lovely, But I'm getting kinda sick from that honey.
Head Rush 03:42
I’m not so small as they try to market; I’m not so calm, nor am I so harmless. Mine is not a fire fed by chemical, And what kind of Lover would I be if I didn’t let you know? I’m not in line with the clean-cut kindness, Like, “Just knock ten times if you need some guidance.” But I know what you’re made of, I know what you’re hungry for— And what kind of Lover would I be if I didn’t want it more? So if at the ride’s end you’re ever tired & weak And find you’re needing someone To confide in, you can abide in Me; I can be your all, ‘cause There’s still time To love you like I hope to someday. Pay no mind; She’s only in it for the head rush anyway. I’m not so vain that I need to impress you, And you’re not so brave that I need you at My rescue. Don’t matter what you do, it doesn’t matter who’s involved— What kind of Lover would I be if it mattered at all? So you might’ve fought Me, you might’ve thought I lied Or thought you caught Me tongue-tied. It didn’t phase Me; turn the page & find I’m not gonna change My mind, ‘cause There’s still time To love you like I hope to someday. Pay no mind; She’s only in it for the head rush anyway.
The blame shifts, the game drifts, But can we gauge the status of our tameness? Each society has a laugh at improprieties of the past that I'm not so sure that we're really past yet. But we've got tactics—always unafraid to be Trading up the old chains for a new brand of slavery. Making apathy from tolerance, indulgence from desire, Piling it onto a soapbox that's only getting higher, And before you know it, we're on fire. Say that you're inspired, but I don't think you understood me, Walking around like, "No shame about the way that we're wired, 'Cause how we're wired is exactly how we should be." And it could be, so hit me with your best defense, And Operation Do-Whatever-You-Feel, commence; But if you listen, I have a lesson for the choir & the critics Called the First Law of Spiritual Physics.
This is not what it looks like, Your Honor. I might've been unkind, But I'm not a crook—everything is by the Book When I'm present in mind. He got the better of my sanity when He put the pressure on my vanity. Coming at me overbearing, he daringly Summoned up the nerve to look at me & say, "Oh, girl—don't tell me the issue. Lord knows it's a cold world, but nobody asked you. Now, if you just sit tight, I'll put your head on right; You're gonna see the light..." CHORUS: He thinks he's a hotshot, & it got in my way I wasn't really trying to fight today, But if I don't run my mouth, it looks like I got nothing to say. So can I get a little, get a little more grace? I'm making trouble & I'm struggling to save face. And then my cover blows & colors show, I know how the story goes: You'll put me back in my place. Am I really at fault now, Your Honor? Since when is caring a crime? It was impolite, but it would've come out right If I'd taken my time. See, it grates me, irritates me To see somebody thinking he can deflate me. I can't track my place in his lack of case & I don't know if I can keep a straight face. He say, "Oh, girl, you're walking a fine line. You might've heard: it's a cold world, so I gotta get mine. But if you take my hand, I'll be the better man And help you understand." CHORUS He really thinks he's a…and it got in my way [x4] CHORUS 2: I really think I'm a hotshot, & it got in my way I wasn't really trying to fight today, But if I don't run my mouth, it looks like I got nothing to say. Oh, can I get a little, little more grace? 'Cause I'm making trouble & I gotta save face, Oh, & the cover blows & colors show; I know how the story goes: You'll put me back in my place.
Worn 04:03
Yours is a poetry Of many words unsaid, And I'm afraid that if I let this pain have free reign I might be in over my head. Sometimes I sit, let you kiss on my temples And whisper so gentle and ease my mind, Taking the risk that my heart wants Your Promise For some kind of solace it needs to find. CHORUS: I'm worn and beat down— Won't You help me tackle the tears And tell me something that I want to hear? Something that can conquer the fear, 'Cause I'm feeling torn & weak now— The odds are too good to ignore But bad enough to leave me crying on the floor. I can't help but think we've been through all this before. I know I don't read as much as I should; It's been a while. But I remember something About how the wise are only wise in their own eyes, How we'd better start thinking like a child. I heard what You said, so no one's catching me sleeping Or casually steeping in apathy; But turning my head, I see credible people All begging it's evil & fantasy. CHORUS
New Nation 04:59
CHORUS: I know the New Nation that we've been chasing Isn't all for waste, and I know You're here when I need You around. But maybe I'd be stronger if I stayed longer, Learning right from wrong, or The other thousand things that I'm figuring out. She loves the morning. She loves every part of the day, but especially the morning. I think it's in the artistic redemption— The quiet call to lift eyelids & skylids, The second chances, the third chances, The fourth chances. And of all the people who might petition God for another chance, She has a case. A case of trophies boasting of the ways she used to move, Used to sing, used to. A case of empty bottles & ziplock backs Testifying to the ways she had been used. A case of book after wisdom after book, Bought to be borrowed—and we do. Her name is J For the joy that she gives, For the jewel that she is, For the Jazz that she lives. She's bright in every sense of the word; She's bright because of The Word, And her Light is my Morning. CHORUS How humbling it is that a third of our lifetime is untouchable. Are we so fragile that for every 16 hours of movement We require 8 of stillness? Is the world so heavy that by our dying day we cannot lift it? Are we so in danger of thinking ourselves invincible That we must be reintroduced to weakness on a nightly basis? I think so. I think often about this, Especially as I watch her 24 hours trimmed further & further down Until the ratio is flipped, leaving only one third for her use— And a painful third. Still, that third in all its discomfort brings a comfort— Better yet, a Life— Like nothing I've seen in all my waking hours. From the heart of the storm, From the confusion of the worn A Revolution has been born, One that will outlive every sunset Until the day there is no sunset. And everything is as the Son said. CHORUS


released October 17, 2014

Click each title for individual song credits.

All songs written by Alma Cook. All vocals arranged & performed by Alma Cook (except "Hotshot" duet featuring Chrissi Hartigan). Produced by Chris Thigpen, who also served as musical director on all songs except "Worn."

Recorded at Studio 2424 in Chicago, IL. Engineered, mixed & mastered by Danny Christy with additional production work by Chris Thigpen & Alma Cook. Artwork by Olivia Boyd.


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Alma Cook Los Angeles, California




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