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Today & Tomorrow

by Ryan Harvey

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1.
She's the strongest woman I know But tragedy just cut right through her And it all just hit her that much harder But she's clean and sober now She made it through somehow And she's looking forever forward And hard lines get drawn And hard lessons get learned And sometimes we get stuck behind She's clean and sober now She's got it figured out And she's looking forever forward It's tough to just move on But the process that makes us stronger And sometimes we get stuck behind She's the strongest woman I know Just watch her go She's looking forever forward
2.
Watching wars begin on the TV screen Ninety, ninety-nine, o-one and three From the suburban bunkers of the Reagan nation Waiting for the next pre-planned invasion Read the desperate theories of desperate times From desperate people living desperate lives They thought a simple spark would ignite the blaze But this prairie's been wet for ages If ignorance is bliss take my smile from me Run the truth through my heart so it changes me Put it all on the table, let me soak it in Let hear the sad stories of what could have have been There's lineage of struggle where my pain is felt A long line of people who gave themselves To a world of work and waiting Who either learned to find peace or let the hardness break em' These are lessons So I chose early on to play my part in it To be a part rather than apart from it To be among the first ones starting it To never back down if I was targeted I'm a hard-working dude with a list of dreams A willingness to speak and the capacity To always roll up my sleeves and put the work in Down to see it through to the end But it's a long road that we're walking down You gotta keep your feet on solid ground I found that out the hard way that that's a fact Accumulated weight piled my tired back And I lied to myself about my limitations The emotional strains and the weak foundations That can leave you feeling alone Reflect, recognize, analyze and grow These are lessons You can't stop the tide, you can't stop time But you can top who you we're last time Sometimes you don't float when the waters rise You get pulled inside it or left behind New ways come slow cuz it's head to toe It's gotta hit a hundred percent of you From the things you say and think to the things you do It should test your power to change and push through You can't advance if you lose you lose sight your goals Or motivation to act and push back and grab hold Burning out young yeah the stories old I wanna face and overcome so I'm emboldened Now the best I can do is to do my best I can't build from my past if I don't reflect Or smile or rest, or take a breath How will I change others if I can't change myself?
3.
04:06
We tried to block the cities, we tried to block the ports Strategic desperation, we did what we could And it was my generation that lined up to get on board The train of false promise, to be part of the war Ah, but it's an old, old story Then they were soldiers, focused and confused Over-worked and under-slept, honored and accused Propped up and pinned down by a shared mythology Of country, and family, and gender identity Ah but it's an old, old story, oh it's all been done before In search of something larger, in search of something just Abused and abandoned by the men who won their trust Now struggling to reason with a purpose undefined A generation amputated in body and mind Ah but it's an old, old story, oh it's all been done before It's an old, old story, that far too many know Your people, how they struggled to keep the numbers up Strategic desperation, that's how the war was fought With your bodies and your bombs, you counted the days As your daily and deadly surprises marked the way Ah but it's an old, old story And they tried to break you with a thousand tricks Tried to pit you against one another in violence And I wouldn't say you lost, but I wouldn't say you won You just struggled through the hard days and tried to enjoy some Ah but it's an old, old story Oh it's all been done before Now the best that we can work for in times like these Is a just and peaceful future for your families To find space for healing, to find space to mourn To find space for dreaming, so you can move on Ah but it's an old, old story, oh it's all been done before It's an old, old story, that far too many know
4.
It's best to know the worth of what you've got before its gone But you cant let yourself get stuck because you're afraid you might be wrong Your nostalgic for 68, I'm nostalgic for the 99 But sometimes thinking back too much can make you close your eyes What we do today Matters both today and tomorrow The point of learning history is to build something new I don't care what you've read about unless it impacts what you do You wanna recreate 68? You wanna recreate 99? Try learning their hard lessons to reflect and then and refine Because the good old days just sucked sometimes, if you ask those were there And the answers weren't just blown' in the wind, they were put there chorus Ah, but history gets simplified with the passing on of time And causes and effects sometimes take decades to define I seen the long shadow of 68 by the ruins of the Berlin Wall I seen the long shadow of 68 in Seattle And looking back from here now all the pieces seem to fit Sometimes its hard to notice the changing world when you're right inside of it Ah, but without us the future is a boat without a sail Without our best attempts we set the next ones up to fail
5.
I feel I'm getting stronger as I travel through my time Making sense of the emptiness from things I've left behind And finding out it's better to be present in my life Than frozen in the moments when I thought I had it right You know the breeze don't always blow in one direction It twists and it turns from what's in its path's reaction And the best thing that you can do is accept it, or deflect it I'm growing up fast in a world that's growing too Sometimes keeping my eyes open is the best thing I can do And that's teaching me again how to find comfort in a smile As I overcome walls that I erected as a child Now I can read the intentions of the things that I have done And I can see their reflections in the man that I've become And I will become the type of man that I look for And these things I carry, these words my body wrote Are buoyed in a sea of thoughts that keeps my heart afloat And I know now I can summon them from deep inside of me To tell me who I've been so I can get to who I can be Concepts lead to action when you wrap your hands around The things that you can tackle, that's how the world goes round And I'm one step further down that road now
6.
Your strength has grown immensely over the course of these hard years As you stepped up to challenges and faced up to fears And with steady imperfection you navigated it all Some say giving yourself to larger things can set you up to fall Looking back now, we can't help but laugh At times we walked alone cuz we we're too proud to ask And brushed off recognition for the work that we put in And wrote off accumulated stress as a thing of privileged pain We'll always be right there helping build the roads That will take us towards the places that we want to go Cuz we're not done yet, we're just setting pace These long years have been hard on you, they been hard on me too Hard times'll catch up to you, we know too well that that's true And so we hold high these stories that help keep us up And tap the comfort and support of the many friends around us There's glory in the proud times, but the proud times are few In this world of unbalanced scales we put weight where we are able to But it's not just for these moments that we build ourselves to fight It's also for the pain we feel when we don't do what is right
7.
Soon he’ll be a prisoner like his comrades have become But he’s proud when he tells their story cuz he’s proud of what they’ve done He’s an anti-fascists from the ranks of the working-class And when the Nazis come to town he doesn’t let em pass He’s says “my grandfather fought fascists cuz it’s what he had to do You can threaten me with prison time but I’ll fight fascists too Maybe my body be a barricade that won’t let fascist through In the name of my grandfather, and for me and you, And for the future we’ll fight fascists too He says “two years is injustice, but it’s twice as good as four, A much higher price was paid by those who suffered through the war And I’ll be damned if my action lets that power rise again We can bury the hatchet once we bury fascism Cuz my grandfather fought fascists cuz it’s what he had to do You can threaten me with prison time but I’ll fight fascists too Maybe my body be a barricade that won’t let fascist through In the name of my grandfather, and for me and you, And for the future we’ll fight fascists too It takes more than fists to stop oppression for hate’s born in the heart But alongside the slow shifts, the fist must play its part For the violent deeds of a fascist few can silence everyone We can bury the hatchet once we bury fascism Cuz my grandfather fought fascists cuz it’s what he had to do You can threaten me with prison time but I’ll fight fascists too Maybe my body be a barricade that won’t let fascist through In the name of my grandfather, and for me and you, And for the future we’ll fight fascists too
8.
03:02
He must have looked a hero in the eyes of many men The forgotten souls of broken generations Sharing nods and smiles, that spoke of other times They held a grim silence that was recognized The invisibly wounded, they too walk these halls They're trapped in these appointments, in the memories and pills Long after the war is over and the country stops paying attention It stays with those for whom it never ended There is nothing profound about it at all I've seen the haunting distance, the coldness and the fear Alongside the tenderness, the love and hope and care I've wrestled with events that are more than mere events That dig deep holes of despair that you can lose yourself in There is nothing profound about it at all It is a pain and a wreckage, it's things that can't be undone It is symptoms on a checklist of trauma It is loss that is mourned, it's a loss with no one left to mourn It is another night that he can't sleep and he just tosses and turns There is nothing profound about it at all My generation disappeared down these long halls of war As their stories were normalized and their suffering ignored Long after the war is over and the country stops paying attention It stays with those for whom it never ended There is nothing profound about it at all He must have looked a hero in the eyes of many men The forgotten souls of broken generations And once their war was over, a new one'd just begun Modern day is just the same, no war is ever won There is nothing profound about it at all
9.
04:18
And I gave it everything I had To try to change for the better And in those days I felt all the highs and lows I had to push myself to feel it I know you too seek wisdom From the hard truths of life And mold your heavy heart To hold a lot inside We get lost in attempts to find ourselves Along these open roads Searching for perspectives on our lives To bring back home Cuz there's something about the way we move Through this world when we're alone That we seek after, That we follow I found in you a comrade A lover and a friend A critic, a supporter And an inspiration For inside of you is that side of me That can't be turned away From the constant pressures of a world In which we share responsibility As we point ourselves like cameras Towards all the things we see To try to capture the desperation And the hopes of society But its not so much to justify As to grasp the complexities That we seek after That we follow And I made A poetic piece of you A concrete fleeting moment To come back to Cuz sometimes that's all we've got Sometimes it's all we need To face the world with open hearts And accept the things we've seen And they ask us what we're looking for They ask us what it means Are we running from our demons, Or are we running towards our dreams? But it's something more fluid And ever-changing in between That we seek after That we follow

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released November 20, 2015

Recorded and produced by Michael Redding in Baltimore, MD.

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Ryan Harvey Baltimore, Maryland

After more than a dozen self-released albums, folk-punk trailblazer Ryan Harvey has teamed up with Kareem Samara (London) & Shireen Lilith (Amsterdam) with Thin Blue Border, the trio’s debut album. Blending the flowing sounds of the Arabic oud with Harvey’s rhythmic folk-punk guitar strumming and Lilith’s haunting melodies the trio is forging a new sound. ... more

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