Gospel of the Jester

Sometimes, you write something that still resonates no matter how much later you rediscover it, or in how different a frame of mind you are from when you wrote it. The Gospel of the Jester is such a song for me. Written in a 23-hour songwriting binge when I first moved to Boston and knew no one, when I was writing on both piano and guitar almost simultaneously. Certainly a lot of the songs ended up sounding similar, and many of them lean almost too much in the direction of Van Morrison (good for Van Morrison, not so good for me most of the time).

Ring around the radio, listen to a dream
Close your eyes to visions that you haven’t seen
The truth is misperception and the fact is a lie
Wisps of clouds are covering the face of the sky

Ring around the telephone, pealing like a bell
Turn on your machine so if you’re home, no one can tell
Read between the lines of what has never been said
Make believe you’re make believe, go where you are led

Fall down, fall down, all fall down
Queue up for the symphony, the same old sound
Dream on, dream on jester kings
Dance your dance for the puller of the strings

Ring around the television: watch your life unfold
Put your trust in advertising; do as you are told
Your future is decided, don’t attempt to be free
Your friendly big brother runs the ministry

Ring around the roses, made from plasticware
Keep your polyester, and for God’s sake, cut your hair
Trust in the brotherhood, you’ll be all right
Don’t be afraid, we only come out at night

Fall down, fall down, all fall down
Listen to the piper’s hypnotizing sound
Dance on, dance on jester queens
Dance your dance onto the stage of the machine

You can be anything we want you to become
You can learn the language of the deaf and dumb
You can control the future, well, that is nothing new, but
You can win friends that are just like you.

Fall down, fall down all fall down
Listen to the music leading underground
Dream on, dream on jester fools
You can play the game while we re-invent the rules

Fall down, fall down all fall down
Listen to the piper’s hynotizing sound
Dream on, dream on jester kings
Dance your dance for the puller of the strings

1990

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