The Slow Demise...



All songs written, performed, recorded, and produced by Riverman in his home studio in Orlando, FL, except for “Today” which has lyrics by Bob Hedrick, and music by Riverman.

Original Cover Art By Nick Boyles

Track Listing / Lyrics

1. Today
Today I’m more than alive
I’m a spring, I’m overfull
A volcano which suddenly awakes
To overspill its bowl

Today I leap and never step
I skip but do not walk
I’m a loaded bank deposit safe
Open with no lock

Today I’m full of empathy
Radiant, I feel no pain
I’m a flashlight in the dark
An umbrella in the rain

Yesterday I was sparse
Out of focus, and ground down
A watch’s busy second hand
Turning round and round

Yesterday I folded early
A full-house in my hand
A left-behind, from a falling tide
Lying in the sand

Yesterday I was dim
Too thin and fading out
A lifetime believer
In a moment of doubt

Tomorrow I could wake to be
An arrow smooth and pointed
A holy man, a monk or saint
With his head anointed

Tomorrow I could witness
The end of the universe
As it slows down to stand still
And starts up in reverse

Tomorrow is an open page
A holiday or traffic jam
But today I’m this, this I am today
Today I am…

2. Greeting Card from the States
I hope this letter finds you
Reclining on Moroccan sands
With your bronzed skin and wild hair
The sun on your sweet hands…
With flowing robes of silky white
And sandals of finest palm
And rings upon each finger
Gold bracelets on each arm
I hope this finds you well…

And where there still lie footprints
Of Jesus and Saint John
In the dust of that fiery valley
You dance toward the dawn
Or bathing in the river
Where patriarchs and queens
Were baptized in sacred waters
Or rested ‘neath willow trees
I hope this finds you well…

I hope this letter finds you
Though you might be in Tangier
With Saint Christopher watching closely
To guide you safely through the years
That you travel as a pilgrim
So beautiful and fair
Until the east winds catch you lightly
I feel the salt spray in the air…
I hope this finds you well…

3. Head Down
Between the close of the day
And the coming of the dawn
I keep my head down…

Dodging streetlights and shadows
A clap of thunder
The faces at the window, silent

Between the close of the day
And the coming of the dawn
I sleep alone

Arms stretched out like offerings
To a nocturnal god
As sweat pools on my brow, I keep my head down

I live in your shadow
But you never call
Brighter later may it be
For now this is all
For now this is all

Between the close of the day
And the coming of the dawn
I pray upon my knees

Meditating all the while
I get no sleep
Beneath this phantom moon
I keep my head down
I keep my head down…

4. Strange Days
“Strength and sacrifice”
The echo chambers offer this advice
And we comply, we comply
With “Freedom” tattooed on our lips we die
Unaware that revenge tastes sweeter to the one
Who isn’t there…

“Strength and sacrifice”
The words were cheap but bitter was their price
We paid it well, we paid it well
In bones and bodies numbered, who can tell?
Or heal this scar
A memento of the times and who we are…

And pages stained with nothing
But the blood of trickery
Measure now according to their means…
Come into the fire!
Come into the fire!

“Let them come again!”
Or an analogous directive, I can’t recall…
By heart, by heart…
The vitriolic threads have torn and come apart
So old, the tired feet goose-stepping for the gold…

Strength not dignity
The carnage of this bellicose decree
We have learned, we have learned
That the bells of fortune rang but went unheard and unseen,
The hands of dissent rising in between…

And pages stained with nothing
But the blood of trickery
I’d like to introduce you to your ends…
Come into the fire!
Come into the fire!

Strange the days unasked we have been given
Coming up to greet us with a punch…
And unwarned
And unasked for
And unwarned…

Oh what did I read?
On the parchment signed, displayed upon the screen?
Was it a lie?
Was it a fib?
No in truth it was no lie but of the same kind
An untruth…
Or perhaps an indiscretion of our youth (I didn’t think so…)

And pages stained with nothing
But the blood of trickery
Billow from the furnace in the end
Come into the fire!
Come into the fire!

Strange the ways of progress and forward thinking
Rising from the mouthpiece of a grin
In our time
In our time…

Strength and sacrifice!
I call upon the poetry of change
Strange days
Strange days!
The calendars remind and condescend
To what end?

5. Omens
Please stop the “knock on wood”s
Un-saw the rabbits feet
Uncross all your fingers
Watch the black cat cross the street…

Does the glass mirror when shattered
With no one to hear it
Keep the hours spent looking on
From disappearing so vanely…?

Come along, what’s your name?
Come along, why play the game?
Superstition it’s all the same…

A red sky in mourning
The planets so dangerously out of line
The vultures up there circling
Pay no attention to these signs…

To despise the scavenger so
Seems a misgiving
When we live with intent
To devour the living… Do you deny it?

Come along, you and me
Come along, can’t you see?
The slow demise of the pathetic fallacy…

And hey, I’m as guilty as the next!
Or more so, I might expect…
Yeah I’m as guilty as the next
Well come on, what’s coming up next? … (The slow demise!)

Six billion walk the earth
Can the sun shine just for one?
The leaves name you in whisper
Like the seasons turn just for fun…

No the storms of winter’s rage
Don’t swell and then recede
In accordance with your moods
Or follow the trail you lead with your weeping…

Come along, I wish you would
Come along, I think we should
Redefine bad omens for the good…

6. No Exit


7. Comfortably Desperate
Were you let down by the elusive American Dream
Were you let down to find what’s going on behind the scene
The cinematic spirit actors stunningly portrayed
But in vintage style with an arcane smile they staged their getaway…
Were you let down

Were you let down by the elusive American Dream
Were you let down by the secret adolescent society
They praise the benefits of sleeping in to pass the day
So misunderstood you think they would forget the new decay
Were you let down

And so comfortably desperate
And fashionably pale…

Were you let down but did you have a fighting chance
Were you let down by karma or by happenstance?
You raised the white flag before the coming of the storm
But so statuesque, at your request nature won’t change her forms
Were you let down

And so comfortably desperate
And fashionably pale…

Were we let down question cynics much too young
Were we let down by the century of the overhung?
We’ve reached a balance and live between two extremes
But do you hear the call coming down the hall
The sound of silent screams of “Were we let down?”

And so comfortably desperate
And fashionably pale…

8. Light of the Moon
Shine on me, light of the moon
Be you counterfeit, be your counterfeit
Borrowed rays, forged in the sun
For our benefit, for our benefit
Shine on…

‘Cause the turning of the world
Is gonna catch us in the end
Counter our rotation
And show your face again
Show us again…

Smile at me even behind your teeth
Though we’re hypocrites, we’re all hypocrites
Bring out the stars and all of that stuff
We’re made of it, we’re made of it…
Shine on…

‘When the lunar horns have drawn
Together in full sphere
I mark another page in this sentimental year
And I’m still here…

Shine on me, light of the moon
Be your counterfeit, be you counterfeit…

Shine on
Shine on
Shine on…

9. A Happy Accident


10. Winter's Coming
The eastern sky is golden red
Silhouetted souls scurry below
Reflected in the windows
The city of the lakes
Blanketed so graceful
By white-washed snowy flakes…

A painted modern canvas
Painted faces fill the crowd
Shopping carts glide silent
Moving up or moving down
As the church bell chimes collide
The night the evening steals
Aged faces waiting patient
Father time nipping at their heals…

Amidst the mass of urban sprawl
A scent of dust and coffee grounds
Carried on the icy wind
Wish I could stick around…

The visage of the city:
Piercing eyes from liquid pools
And a look that shows no pity
Mocks the ever-running fools
Trash bags under pallid eyes
With pupils dark as night
And cheeks that fill and empty
Air-breaks and neon light

And ears glitter silver pond’s
Plastic swan jewelry
Teeth capped, pavemented
Geometric streets
A hoary beard of sun-baked weeds
And a mane of Spanish moss
Backlit by the falling sun
Mixed with rain and candy floss…

As the eastern sky grows silent
It emits a hint of purple calm
On the empty streets come running
Winter’s coming
Sound the alarm…

12. Sacrifices to the Muse
The sand in the glass
Falling won’t last too long
Who ordered this theft
The words I have left are near gone

A stone-smiling, reclining statue in springtime
Gazing at the slow burning fuse…
Or an artist sacrificing to the muse?

Twenty years old
And already sold into selling
The truth and the cost
Somehow get lost in my telling…

A warm-blooded, wayfaring stranger so willing
To find, but more so to lose…
Or an artist sacrificing to the muse?
An artist sacrificing to the muse…

It’s been a strange year
Growing stranger I hear each day
Trying to keep the pace,
Remove every trace of decay…

A sensitive, cryptic, cavalier calling
Straight into the heart of the blues…
Or an artist sacrificing to the muse
An artist sacrificing to the muse
An artist sacrificing to the muse…

Singer-Songwriter | Multi-Instrumentalist | Bossa Nova Enthusiast

All material on this wesbite © Steve Hedrick 2023