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by Franz Nicolay

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The world is mine cuz I'm poor Said the on the road alcoholic Hitchhiking & dumpster diving The joys of life Someone said "What the hell are you doing going into the garbage?" We said "Treasure hunting!" I see all these people going into the same store Where we get the garbage & they don't look any happier than me & all these cars killing me Passing me by while I'm trying to hitch hike But they're going to work All these people working so hard and ending up with nothing I've got nothing but at least I didn't work hard for it But this is not a folksong, this is not a folksong no You know yr headed for shit but what can you do? Future worry never worked for me I've lost that desperate feeling
Carl Watson 00:47
I went away a couple times to Europe & Asia & came back Otherwise I was working I picked oranges, apples I was an ambulance attendant I wrote ad copy I was an ingot buggy operator in Gary Indiana I was a limousine driver in Chicago It was a terrible job I got a novel published in France & that was the end of my career Nothing has happened since then
Singing is part of all of it If electricity was an opera then it would be you Metal is also part of all this Big sheets of metal are always good for banging & for lightning striking Which will also start a fire if there is something to burn & usually there is something to burn Especially if you are from outer space you will be searching for fire Or maybe just the information about fire Even if you have nothing to burn At least you could take the idea of burning back to your home planet yes?
My dad told me his bullet wounds were belly buttons I thought everyone had 4 belly buttons My dad was a very artful liar Him & my mother got into it & he shot her & her boyfriend shot him & they both died I became a ward of the state - In California they call it a 601 They can't lock you in juvenile hall so they would put me in foster homes & I would run away Then I got in trouble and became a 602 - a juvenile delinquent They were going to send me back to the foster home circuit in Mendocino County But I said "fuck that" and started traveling. I was almost 15 & I had my first hitchhike from SF to Wichita County Kansas. A lot of corn.
John Zorn 01:38
I remember swimming in a pool But I wasn't swimming - I was drowning I must have been about 7 or 8 years old & didn't really know how to swim But I jumped in the deepest part of the pool & I started sinking You know how you do the dog paddle to stay up I was grabbing handfuls of water & I was trying to yell but my mouth was filling with water As I was going down for the last time I looked over to the side of the pool & the last image I remember is this blurry picture of my brother Standing by the edge of the pool with his hands in his pockets watching me drown I always thought he was taking the change out of his pockets Getting ready to jump in Now I'm not quite sure
My friend AJ had it figured out long before the doctors had a clue You are an alien monkey Your body was not designed to be on this planet I bet you were an experiment & they got distracted & forgot to finish you
Shakina 00:57
I didn't sleep in someone famous' bed last night That's why I'm so unsatisfied I hung out with his little sister I said yr brother's famous So find me someone to make out with But it didn't happen so I went home
Zero Boy 00:43
The best poets will just say the personal shit & since I communicate with sound obviously I'm not the best poet But I'm international It's like a giant ball that's making contact with the ground & I'm at the bottom looking at the sky & the ball slowly rolls & one day it goes all the way around & the next thing you know I've covered a lot of ground
I was born with a dead twin I think everyone comes into life with a curriculum Mine is death Almost everyone I'm close to dies young Which is good for them & good for me
AC Thompson 00:53
West coast people when they tell you how they feel Means they don't want to hang out with you When they say let's go get coffee it means they want to fuck you But the best thing about west coast people is how they become a different person every year
When I was 20 I complained to my grandfather about a girl & he said when he was my age he complained about my grandmother to her mother That he was a good catch & she was stubborn Her mother said let me tell you a story When I was a little girl in shtetl There was a butcher & every day he would throw out the bones & the dogs would come So every day there is one bone that is the best bone & the dog that gets the best bone is not the nicest dog That's how my daughter got you
Richard Hell 00:53
It's interesting to be talking about this now It's like a big con like 3 card monte or pulling a rabbit out of a hat to support yourself just by describing what the world is like
Penny Arcade 01:21
I've been young for a long time If you live outside of society you are not subject to the same law of aging Because aging in a specific way is a construct Human beings are herd animals Pack animals & they like to fit in They don't like outsiders That's the whole tribal thing Humans tend to worship outsiders only with some distance That's why it went so well for Jesus after they killed him
t's all a pack of lies - I mean - Sure I put staples in the blender But I know I locked the door when I was done So I don't know how all those raccoons got in Or why they decided to build a fort under the bathtub At least they had the decency not to eat the cat I was having problems of my own My wheatpaste was undercooked & poorly blended I had a long night ahead of me & already I was behind The first flyer I tried to put up was a disaster The ink smeared and the paper buckled Altho tragic, this complication was nothing new to me It was eerily reminiscent of the Nuclear Berkeley flier disaster of 1999 In which I discovered retrospectively You have to rub down your fliers with a frequently-worn sock & as all of my socks are frequently worn I was in luck I was in New York City & it was the middle of winter So I was loath to bare my extremities & even so I did it I took off my shoes in two feet of snow & peeled off my seasoned socks Even in the crisp frigid air the fragrance brought a tear to my eye Perhaps I felt a bit nostalgic or maybe it was the windchill factor There I was - in the dark, snow-covered night - alone - with bare feet & a disappointing bucket of paste & a bag full of promising fliers I was starting to think that this is sometimes the best part of the show An invasion of public space Inciting a provocation to commit randomness We all have something darker, more distorted & vulnerable hidden underneath the surface This was what was going through my head when everything started to unravel First of all - a dog ran away with my socks & then a snowplow zoomed by and buried my wheatpaste bucket in its wake All I had left was a bag full of wilting fliers and a need for coffee I decided to return to the scene of my wheatpaste cookout Where I found not only raccoons but an apartment full of passed-out And/or puking punks So again - for the record - it wasn't my fault!
Spike Sewage 01:36
I was a "brick-seller" me & this guy called Army would get empty VCR boxes & put bricks in them & sell them on the bridge You have to put the bricks right in the middle & tape them down so they wouldn't rattle We would take our brick money & buy dried poppies in Chinatown & make this strong opium tea We used to sell bags of sugar & oregano & the shadow to party-going tourists The original founding fathers of this country were dissenters Therefore I am a patriot


Texts are adapted from the PEOPS portrait series by Fly (www.peops.org).

All music copyright 2016 by Franz Nicolay (Eggshell Armor Music, ASCAP/PRS)
Artwork copyright Fly Orr.
Words by the subjects; transcribed by Fly Orr and edited by Franz Nicolay.

The writing of PEOPSSONGS was made possible by a residency at the Rensing Arts Center.


released November 19, 2017

Executive produced by Jean Cook for Anti-Social Music (www.antisocialmusic.org)

Recorded, mixed and mastered by James Frazee at Hobo Sound, NJ

Conducted by John Altieri

Judith Berkson
Erin Kemp
Maria Sonevytsky
Karen Waltuch

Jean Cook
Melissa Collum
Karen Kanan Correa

Ty Citerman
Tomas Cruz
Brian McCorkle

Ray Bailey
Peter Hess
Nathan Koci


all rights reserved



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