Poison Ivy

I went hiking in upper Bidwell Park last spring with my friends Rob and Stephen. We were admiring (and avoiding) the luxuriant growths of poison oak alongside the trail, and for some reason we started talking about poison ivy, which doesn’t grow in the west. A quick check of Wikipedia tells me that poison oak and poison ivy are both members of the genus Toxicodendron, and both produce a chemical called urushiol that causes an uncomfortable skin reaction in most humans, but doesn’t bother deer, which happily munch on the leaves.

Anyway, I thought to myself that “Poison Ivy” sounded like a good song title, so when I got home, I wrote the lyrics. It came out pretty easily; it’s just following the idea of a woman called Poison Ivy. There is one line that I don’t like much, and I’m still fooling around with alternatives. Can you tell which line it might be?

If you want to try it on the guitar, and if you don’t love playing that E flat chord, you can drop the whole song a half-step, which makes it a bit easier. Anyway, it’s a simple song, but I enjoy playing it. Hope you like it.

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/poison-ivy

Poison Ivy

Once you touch her                           Cm
You won’t forget her                          Eb
If she wants you                                  Fm
You’ll always let her                           Fm
When she touched me                       Cm
Got under my skin                              Eb
When she loved me                            Fm
It was better than sin                         Fm

I went back east
And I got lost
In a patch of jungle
I tried to cross
She called my name
I made a mistake
I turned to look
And she took my cake

She was Poison Ivy                                 Cm
She was my favorite itch                        Eb
She loved me to pieces                           Fm
Left me lying in a ditch                           G7
She was Poison Ivy                                  Cm
She really made me scratch                    Eb
I thought I could take her                       Fm
But I really met my match                      G7
In Poison Ivy                                             Cm      Bb
Poison Ivy                                                  Cm      Bb
Poison Ivy                                                  Cm      Bb       Ab       G7
In Poison Ivy                                             Cm

I don’t want pity
I don’t want scorn
I only wish
I’d never been born
Once she touched me
Now she’s in my brain
Once she loved me
Now it’s the sweetest pain

She was Poison Ivy
She was my favorite itch
She loved me to pieces
Left me lying in a ditch
She was Poison Ivy
She really made me scratch
I thought I could take her
But I really met my match
In Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy
In Poison Ivy

I Don’t Think So

Next week voters in Washington state will vote yes or no on Initiative 522, a measure that would require the labeling of genetically engineered food. The corporations opposing the measure (led by Monsanto, Dupont, and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association) have broken the state record for fundraising for an initiative, with over $21 million raised so far, against the $6 million raised by proponents of the measure. You can read about the fundraising here:

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/politicsnorthwest/2013/10/28/no-on-522-breaks-fundraising-record-for-washington-initiative-campaigns/

A poll in early September showed 522 leading by a 66-21 margin, but millions of dollars of anti-522 ads are having their effect, and the most recent poll shows the initiative’s lead down to a 46-42 margin, too close to call. It’s looking a lot like what happened last year in California, where a similar GE labeling bill, Proposition 37, had a huge early lead but eventually was defeated by $46 million in deceptive advertising.

The big multinational corporations will do whatever they need to do to keep their profits going. They are created for one purpose only – to make money – and they are designed to do that efficiently and ruthlessly. Preventing the labeling of GE foods is just one example, and far from the worst, of what corporations will do for money. All over the world, wherever rivers are being poisoned, mountaintops removed, skies filled with fossil fuel emissions, rainforests destroyed, or bombs, tanks, and assault rifles being provided to both sides of a conflict, you can bet that the big corporations are there cashing in. Certainly individual people are capable of great folly as well, but it takes a corporation (or a government) to really make a dent.

But the people will wake up one day. The big corporations are expressions of a fear-based consciousness that is going to fade away. Maybe voters in Washington will approve 522, and it will be one more victory for people over money. Or maybe Monsanto will win this round… But a hundred years from now, Monsanto will be gone, and the people will still be here.

https://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/i-dont-think-so

I Don’t Think So

They’re making transgenic salmon                   F          Csus4
They’re making transgenic corn                         F          Csus4
That’s what they want you to eat                       F          Csus4
From the day you are born                                Bb        F

They’re fooling around with our food                 F         Csus4
They don’t bother to test                                    F         Csus4
They won’t even label it                                      F          Csus4
They say they know best                                    Bb        C

I don’t think so                                                  F
I don’t think so                                                 Csus4
I don’t think so                                                  Bb
I don’t think so                                                  C

They say they own the water
They make you pay to drink
They say they own the airwaves
They tell you what to think

They say they own the forests
Rivers, trees, and soil
They want to turn it all into desert
Just to get some more oil

I don’t think so            (x 4)

I don’t think we’re gonna let the money monster take control
I don’t think we’re gonna let the corporations dig us in a hole
I don’t think we’re gonna let Monsanto be the boss
I don’t think we’re gonna stand here and let the planet be lost

I don’t think so            (x 4)

They say we need more weapons
They say we need endless war
They say the world is full of enemies
They say peace is what we’re killing for

They’re making transgenic people
Out of plastic, poison, and fear
They say a world of computers
Is better than this one here

I don’t think so            (x 4)

I think we’re gonna figure this out
We’re gonna build the world we need
A world of peace and plenty for all
While the leaders fiddle the people will lead

Yes I think so                        (x 4)

Yes I think we’re on our way
The whole beautiful human race
We’re gonna save the planet, and save ourselves
We’re gonna make this world a better place

Yes I think so                        (x 8)

The Peace that Passeth Understanding

There’s all kinds of trouble in our world these days – so much needless suffering for so many people, so much ongoing destruction of Nature, you name it. Even when I’m not thinking directly about it, it’s there and I feel it. And there’s another layer of suffering that the mind adds when it chimes in with all sorts of judgments, thoughts, worries, and fantasies.

And there is also something deeper, a place where everything is all right, the deep place where we all join, and all is healed. I am grateful when I can spend some time in that deeper place. Here is a song that points in that direction.

https://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/the-peace-that-passeth-understanding

The Peace that Passeth Understanding

The clash of metal, the grinding of gears                              Gm        Bb
The bitter weight of the flying years                                       C          Gm
The angry sentinels at the gate                                             Gm        Bb
The armies of war and the legions of hate                             F          Gm

Fevers rising and tempers lost
The bottom line no matter the cost
Ashes and smoke in a clear blue sky
Bombs and tanks and children die

And beneath it all, the peace that passeth understanding              F       C      Gm
Can you hear the call, the peace that passeth understanding        F       C      Gm

Time to move, no time to waste
Trouble’s a-coming, better make haste
Over the hill and under the gun
Get a move on and get it done

Another judgment and another test
Who is worst and who is best
Which one’s right and which one’s wrong
If you’re weak watch out for the strong

And beneath it all, the peace that passeth understanding
Can you hear the call, the peace that passeth understanding
Right next door, the peace that passeth understanding
You’ve known it before, the peace that passeth understanding

So many thoughts, so little time
So many voices in my mind
So many plans and decisions to make
So many choices and roads to take

Here’s a feeling and here’s a thought
Here’s a problem and my mind is caught
A wild hope and another worry
Gotta run ‘cause I’m in a hurry

And beneath it all, the peace that passeth understanding
Can you hear the call, the peace that passeth understanding
Right next door, the peace that passeth understanding
You’ve known it before, the peace that passeth understanding

People on the Moon

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about this song for a while. Then yesterday I read this poetic post on a blog that I really like:

http://thiscuriouslife.me/2013/08/24/memories-for-the-people-of-the-moon/

And so I figured it was time to write about this People on the Moon song.

The song has a bit of an outer-space theme, and it was fun to write about the moon and Mars, and to rhyme (more or less) “interstellar void” and “astronomic noise.” It’s a playful attempt to express my feeling that this life and our universe are much more mysterious and fertile than our consensus reality generally suggests. Particularly in Western science, we hold the provincial belief that humans are the only conscious beings, and that carbon-based life forms like those on Earth are the only possible kind of life. But many of us suspect that, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet says:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

The physicists are catching up to the mystics, beginning to recognize that consciousness is a fundamental feature of the universe. The duality between mind and matter is destined to fade away, I believe, as we realize that all is one on the deepest level. Behind the forms of space and time is the one consciousness from which all springs – far more vast than we can comprehend, an ocean of limitless possibility…

And so why not “Red rock folks living on Mars” and “Gas beings inside the Sun?”

I chose some less-common chords to go with the offbeat lyrics. It’s not hard to play if you don’t mind a bunch of bar chords. But if you drop everything by a half-step, the Eb becomes a D, the Ab becomes a G, and most of the bar chords disappear.

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/people-on-the-moon

People on the Moon

There are people on the earth                Gm       Eb
There are people on the moon               Bb        F
Red rock folks living on Mars                 Gm        Eb
Gas beings inside the sun                      Bb         Ab
Oh oh oh oh oh oh                                Gm        F        Eb

Every star is a child
Every tree has a heart
No stone is left unloved
By the mountain of which it’s part
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Don’t make it so scientific                                          Bb      Eb     Bb     Eb
Don’t leave me alone in this interstellar void             Bb     Ab    Gm    F     Eb
Don’t take it so damn terrific                                     Bb     Eb     Bb     Eb
Don’t leave me to drown in the astronomic noise     Bb     Ab    Gm    F     Eb

There are people on the ground
There are people in the sky
Blue dreamers in the sea
Lava gods flying high
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Every word is a wish
Every day has a night
No time is left for good
No place is out of sight
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Don’t make it so scientific
Don’t leave me alone in this interstellar void
Don’t take it so damn terrific
Don’t leave me to drown in the astronomic noise

Gotta Believe

You don’t “gotta” do anything, of course… and I’m not sure about “believing” either. I could easily write a song that says “Don’t Believe!” (Wait, I think I have…) A lot of trouble can come from believing what some authority tells you to believe.

But this song is about believing in goodness. If you choose to believe that life is basically good, and that love is everywhere, then that is most likely what you will experience. We are all given plenty of hard knocks, so it is understandable if we start expecting bad things to happen. But we are all blessed as well, in so many ways. I am slowly learning that when I focus on the blessings, I am much happier…

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/gotta-believe

Gotta Believe

Gotta believe in the goodness                E7       G7
Gotta believe in love                               E7       G7
Gotta believe in the happiness               E7        G7
Streaming down from above                  E7        G7

Yeah you gotta believe          E7
D7     E7     D7     E7     D7    E7

Can you feel the goodness
Can you feel the delight
Can you feel the tenderness
Where the day meets the night

Yeah you gotta believe

Believe it if you feel it                           A7        G7
‘Cause what you feel is true                 B7        E7
If it hurts, well you can heal it              A7        G7
‘Cause you know it’s real for you         B7

Yeah you gotta believe

There’s anger on the airwaves
Lots of fear for sale
Everybody’s frantic
But love will prevail

Yeah you gotta believe

Love is the lesson
Life is the school
Hate is the exception
Love is the rule

Yeah you gotta believe

Believe it if you feel it
‘Cause what you feel is true
If it hurts, well you can heal it
‘Cause you know it’s real for you

Yeah you gotta believe

I Remember the Days

I woke up one morning with the first line of this song, and the rest of the lyrics followed easily. This is a song with a pretty simple message. It’s probably more message than song, so maybe it’s not exactly “art.” But I hope it’s kind of a catchy tune. My friend Marc says the “La la la” part is good for singing along… so have a listen and see what you think.

It’s just a song, but I really mean it. I think we will be much happier if we can evolve and create a simpler life, living more communally, in partnership with each other and the Earth. Get rid of governments, corporations, armies, economic and social hierarchies. Learn to honor all people without regard to gender, race, age, sexual orientation. Get rid of money, timeclocks, and standardardized tests.

I’m not saying we can or should all go back to hunting and gathering. We have created a human world that is immensely fascinating and includes so much beauty. But our economic, social, and political systems give us a world where half the human race is struggling for survival, and the other half is anxious and unhappy. Meanwhile we are steadily destroying the natural world that we depend on to live. Perhaps things aren’t quite as bad as all that… but surely we can do better than this! Let’s keep the beautiful parts of this civilization, and toss out or radically re-invent the rest of it. Let’s make it work for all people and the planet too. It’s time for some conscious evolution!

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/i-remember-the-days

I Remember the Days

I remember the days when we worshipped the Goddess            D       C
We lived all together in a big happy clan                                      G        D
I remember the days when we worshipped the Goddess            D        C
Let’s do it again, ‘cause you know that we can                            G        D

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la                                         D        C        G       D

The forests were deep and the rivers were clean
The mountains were mighty and the meadows were green
The breeze when it blew was as fresh as the day
The sunshine and rain were as pure as the May

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

We didn’t have money and we didn’t have machines
Our spirits were bold and our senses were keen
No one went hungry and no one stayed sad
We cared for each other and we shared all we had

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

The children all learned as they played day and night
There was no obsession with getting it right
We all shared the pleasure of gathering food
No one was master and no one got screwed

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

When we got tired we just took a nap
We didn’t have timeclocks and all of that crap
When we got older we just took it slow
Right till the end we took part in the show

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

People were free to love many lovers
Women and men and all of the others
No one was lacking the pleasure of touch
‘Cause kissing and hugging are never too much

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

We sang and we danced and we played on our flutes
Feeling the music right down to our roots
We sang and we danced and we beat on our drums
We played and we laughed and we had lots of fun

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

I remember the days when we worshipped the Goddess
We lived all together in a big happy clan
I remember the days when we worshipped the Goddess
Let’s live that way again, ‘cause you know that we can

La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la
La la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la

Wild Woman of the Woods

This is another song that I started by the creek in lower Bidwell Park. The muse has a strong presence there. I was just strumming Gm and C on my ukulele, and I started singing about the wild woman of the woods. I wrote the verses at home one morning about a week later, and I wasn’t sure at first if they were part of the same song. But soon I realized it all went together.

I love alliteration, and there’s a lot of it in this song. I just love singing “Crona the creatrix lives by the creek, crafting treasures for children to seek…” It’s such fun to play with words and feel their shapes in your mouth as you sing them…

This song celebrates the mystery, power, and beauty of the divine feminine. I hope you enjoy it!

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/wild-woman-of-the-woods

Wild Woman of the Woods

Lily the litter lady lives by the lake                                      Gm       Bb        C
Picking up the messes that other people make               Gm       Bb        C
She may seem harmless, but make no mistake      Gm       Bb        C
She’s a wild woman, wild woman of the woods               Gm       Bb        C
Wild woman of the woods                                                  C          Gm        C

The wild woman of the woods                                          Gm        C
Lives just around the bend from you                              Gm        C
The wild woman of the woods                                         Gm        C
Will keep it going till the end for you                               Gm        C
Wild woman of the woods, she’s a wild one                   Gm        C
Wild woman of the woods                                               Gm        C        Gm        C

Suzanne the seamstress sews for a song
She’s mending and stitching all the day long
You might think she’s simple, but you would be wrong
She’s a wild woman of the woods
Wild woman of the woods

The wild woman of the woods lives just across the road from you
The wild woman of the woods will always find the motherlode for you
Wild woman of the woods, she’s a wild one
Wild woman of the woods

Crona the creatrix lives by the creek
Crafting treasures for children to seek
You might think she’s crazy, but wait till she speaks
She’s a wild woman of the woods
Wild woman of the woods

The wild woman of the woods wanders wild right beside you
The wild woman of the woods will even get right inside you
Wild woman of the woods, she’s a wild one
Wild woman of the woods