AGATE STONE

 

BEFORE I TOOK MY REST

 

[Verse]

I worked as hard as the Apache

who raised me.

I burned those small pox tents and tilled

the debris.

I worked as hard as death

before I took my rest.

I worked hard

before I took my rest.

 

[Verse]

I worked as hard as a thief

digging a hole to hide his grief.

I dug a hole to the devil

and died.

I worked hard with that leech

who shows his tail willingly.

I worked hard

before I took my rest.

 

[Bridge]

I slept in a room without windows,

no one to see my smoke signals.

No one knew where to find me

and they were right.

Whenever I come back again

to touch the wheel of sin

fallen men on that day

will all be right.

 

[Verse]

I worked as hard as a priest

in the rain planting trees.

Some were for the worms

but most were for me.

I worked at that awhile,

but soon grew tired.

I worked hard

before I took my rest.

 

APACHE: PART I

[Verse]

I worked as hard as the Apache

inside of me.

I never made a face;

I forgave the snake sting.

What else would you expect

from an Apache,

sleeping on the ground

dreaming of mercy?

 

[Verse]

When they challenged me

I accepted.

I gave up ground

and learned their legends.

But when they offered death

I grabbed my weapon

and without a sound

struck them down.

[Chorus]

'Cause I'm an Apache

like the ones who raised me

and I choose life

over death and slavery.

What else were we to do?

We gave them our native lands

and withdrew.

But they wanted more.

 

[Bridge]

She says, “there will be smoke wars

above a river

where men sleep with gold.

There will be fevers

and a year of winter.

Through our blankets

running faces enter.”

Oh that Navajo woman,

she speaks in riddles.

[Verse]

“Above a river,” she was right.

Formations trained to kill.

They kicked their horses

as we watched from the hill.

Reading lines in spider webs

we knew a storm was near

and by reading their lines

knew which ranks to kill.

 

[Chorus]

I'm the Apache

the cavalry is chasing

'cause I choose life

over reservations.

What else were we to do?

We gave them our native lands

and withdrew.

But they wanted more.

 

[Outro]

Grab your horse, put out the fire.

It's time to run again.

From the mountains in the distance

come a hundred men.

And they want to bury you

and purge you from the land.

With the sun to our backs

we may have a chance.

 

With the sun to our backs

we may have a chance.

NAVAJO WOMAN

 

[Verse]

Trees your mother planted bloom

and often give fruit,

dropping like those truths

you hide in stories.

It’s true your mind sees behind

both worthy and unworthy eyes.

Will you be in my head tonight

dropping truths in the fire?

 

[Chorus]

Navajo woman

I can hear your voice

in bold desert snakes,

several days away.

If my place is with you,

what am I to do

if our paths change

like shadows in the rain?

[Verse]

Beauty unfolds effortlessly

down your body, spreading

like dogwood seeds on the breeze.

Who knows where they land?

It's time to dance so I dance

and wait for my chance,

near enough to glance

into your silver eyes.

Now you stop dancing to explain

bad men are bringing rain,

but take our rivers away.

While we wander for 100 years.

 

[Chorus]

Navajo woman

I can hear your voice

in bold desert snakes,

several days away.

If my place is with you,

what am I to do

if our paths change

like shadows in the rain?

 

[Verse]

You ask us to take a stand.

“They’re building a road through our land.

With fortresses and slaves they command

us to make peace.

But if we surrender to them

like all our cousins did

their greed will never end

and we will wander for 100 years.”

[Chorus]

Navajo woman

I can hear your voice

in bold desert snakes,

several days away.

If my place is with you,

what am I to do

if our paths change

like shadows in the rain?

 

[Bridge]

The fruit trees you’ve planted

are growing lush,

but I'm afraid there won't be enough

children to eat them.

 

[Chorus]

Navajo woman

I can hear your voice

in bold desert snakes,

several days away.

If my place is with you,

what am I to do

if our paths change

like shadows in the rain?

 

RUMORS AND GHOSTS

 

[Verse]

Word spread like the wind

on those dry desert nights;

they called us wolves and said

we’d devour our own kind.

Those were only rumors

but rumors served us well.

Maybe they would leave

and settle somewhere else.

 

[Chorus]

Rumors about our horses.

Rumors about our men.

Word spread quickly about

the Apache's revenge.

They say our dead become ghosts

who ride without a sound,

wearing nothing but charcoal

and oily human scalps.

 

[Verse]

It's because we've seen death,

the life darkness displays,

that we dress in such symbols

and carry on this way.

Working hard and killing,

we'll be digging ‘til the end

when violence turns to the pleasures

civilized men call sin.

 

[Chorus]

Rumors about our horses.

Rumors about our men.

Word spread quickly about

the Apache's revenge.

They say our dead become ghosts

who ride without a sound,

wearing nothing but charcoal

and oily human scalps.

[Verse]

And word was spreading like the wind

on those dry desert nights,

the kind that turns a flaming arrow

into a whirlwind of revenge.

They may call us savages

and curse the funny ways

we reinvent their dead

and leave them displayed.

 

[Chorus]

But there are rumors about our horses,

rumors about our men.

Word spread quickly about

the Apache's revenge.

They say our dead become ghosts

who ride without a sound,

wearing nothing but charcoal

and oily human scalps.

 

[Epilogue]

The most skillful among us

was known as the thief

'cause he could enter their camps

without being seen.

There was no end to our warring;

heroes had become beasts.

And so it was

with the thief and his leech.

THE THIEF

[Verse]

Few have actually seen

into the pitch black eyes

of the man we call the thief,

but if the story’s right

he moves like a snake

towards every life he takes

then dissolves into night.

 

[Chorus]

He is known as the thief

'cause he sneaks into our camp

without ever being seen.

 

I pray he makes it quick

if he ever catches me.

 

[Verse]

Most of our company

reckoned him mad,

said, "It was plain crazy

the way he dressed the dead.

But behind those eyes

you might see why

he did what he did."

 

[Chorus]

He is known as the thief

'cause he sneaks into our camp

without ever being seen.

 

I pray he makes it quick

if he ever catches me.

[Verse]

Our captain once was trapped

in the light of a waning moon,

and by the thief was scalped

then bandaged and turned loose

to spread word about the fun

they have watching us run

once our heads are removed.

 

[Chorus]

He is known as the thief

'cause he sneaks into our camp

without ever being seen.

 

I pray he makes it quick

if he ever catches me.

 

SO FAR OFF THE GROUND

[Verse]

Walking around again

by myself.

Drunk on stolen whiskey

for my health.

'Cause these days it's getting harder

to keep on killing.

Circles of vultures mock

the blood I'm spilling.

 

[Chorus]

They call me a thief

but I've never taken anything

a man hadn't offered for free.

Maybe they shouldn't sleep

so far off the ground.

So far off the ground.

 

[Verse]

They found me in the desert

shallow breathing.

Our rain priest said my heart

had stopped beating.

I don't remember death but

for some reason

there’s a leech on my chest

and nobody sees it.

 

[Chorus]

They call me a thief

but I've never taken anything

a man hadn't offered for free.

Maybe they shouldn't sleep

so far off the ground.

So far off the ground.

 

[Verse]

I still can't sleep very well

and when I walk around

I think of how all this looked

before those men came around.

I see wrinkles on their faces

from desperate screams,

then take a pull from my bottle

as a toast to the leech.

 

[Chorus]

They call me a thief

but I've never taken anything

a man hadn't offered for free.

Maybe they shouldn't sleep

so far off the ground.

 

A ROOM WITHOUT WINDOWS

Darkness falls from the air,

false pictures of truth.

Alone in this room

without windows.

No way to see outside.

Still I look around

and see mountains blowing by.

I don’t see why,

 

just some reptile in the distance

peopled by past chiefs.

 

Then hands I didn't know existed

take my soul and twist it.

I can hear my heartbeat sway,

spreading ripples through space.

 

Now the room is muted

and memories show their face.

 

Are these memories of the past

or memories of the future?

Inside a seed are many paths

towards growth and towards stupor.

This dream leaks like a water basket

filled too high to carry

and if you thought darkness was scary

 

wait ‘till you see the light.

 

Brightness falls from the air.

At first I’m pleased

and overwhelmed,

then terrified.

 

If you thought darkness was scary

wait ‘till you see the light.

THE RAIN PRIEST

[Verse]

Like mosquitoes, they could be

repelled by the smallest things,

like the scent of minted herbs

or calculated smoke rings.

 

[Pre-Chorus]

Far away

I would go.

Float away,

come back with hope.

Showed me days

ancestors spoke.

Went away,

still sitting at home.

Which medicine

will make

my people whole?

 

[Chorus]

I tell them stories all day.

There's no more to tell.

Goddamn this new way;

it's taking us all to Hell.

We tried following the animals,

but we cannot fly.

Now visions of us crawling

flood through my mind.

 

[Verse]

They used to be easy to defeat

until they moved our home,

and stopped fighting face to face

but with sickness alone.

[Pre-Chorus]

Far away

rising to stars,

making my way

to teachers afar.

Speak to me

in tongues so dark.

Speak through me

in tongues of light.

Which medicine

will help

my people fight?

 

[Chorus]

I hear stories all day

about the fires of Hell.

But mission life I say

is a far greater Hell.

We tried learning their language

but we cannot sing

those songs of salvation

under their lock and key.

 

A LITTLE BIT OF LIFE

[Verse]

Follow coyote through the hills.

Don't stop for men promising deals.

If we make it to the ridge we're safe

but there are no prayers to say.

If there were who would hear them?

Only the demons in our loins will listen.

We are in the dark and alone.

For weeks we’ve eaten nothing but bones

'cause fire gives us away.

If we make it down the ridge we're safe,

but there are no prayers to say.

So we ask our horses

to give a little more

and they do.

Some give their lives.

 

[Chorus]

Just a little bit of life.

I'll give a little bit of life

so I can send those men

to the spirits on the other side.

 

[Verse]

I won't regret a thing,

even losing good men

‘cause it will help our healing

to watch those cowards pleading

for a little bit of life.

Some say it's not right

but they burned our village.

How can we not avenge it

and take a little bit of life?

Forfeit any afterlife.

We have nothing else to lose.

Just a little bit of life.

[Chorus]

Just a little bit of life.

I'll give a little bit of life

so I can send those men

to the spirits on the other side.

 

[Verse]

Sleeping with teeth clenched.

What kind of life is this?

Maybe we can find peace

on the ground where we sleep.

There's spies coming our way

with white flags to parlay.

But why make deals

for men who steal?

Death still runs or walks

if we fight or if we talk.

At least we find revenge

in this life we live again.

 

[Chorus]

Just a little bit of life.

I'll live a little bit of life

so I can send those men

to the spirits on the other side.

THE SPY

I am a spy,

unless you think I lie.

Spying on my brother

with a truce in mind.

Can a deal be signed

without a dotted line?

The same question

time after time.

 

I am a spy,

and at least I tried

to find peace in the shadows

some men despise.

When it’s all on the line

will you help them find

your brother’s campground

or stay behind?

 

I am a spy.

Who knows why?

Spying on my brother

until the day I die.

Who's guilty? Am I?

The same questions

from this age,

time after time.

APACHE: PART II

[Verse]

I worked as hard as an Apache

and everything burned.

We fought hard all day

but more returned.

Keeping watch all night

we took our turn.

Days without sleep,

the fire spoke.

 

[Verse]

The sun in the sky leaves us blind.

We don’t see who we fight,

just week after week of

an eye for an eye.

Was there any other way?

We tried, and we tried, and we tried

to coexist as brothers

but the enemy changed his mind.

 

[Chorus]

So we lived like Apaches,

killing all who survived.

In the morning we drank the water

while the smoking river cried.

What else were we to do?

We gave them our native lands

and withdrew.

But they wanted more.

 

[Verse]

I worked as hard as an Apache

and everything burned.

Still I don’t regret a single day

we sent those cowards home.

 

PENTECOSTAL FIRE

 

There's a fire burning in the sun above us.

It will burn after we're dead and turned to dust.

But there's another we don't often discuss:

the fire that brings change and sets you free.

 

You cannot cease a man from exploring,

and once one comes, others will cross the ocean

to preach of love and devotion

even as they’re exploiting you and me.

 

But at the end of the wars and battles,

when our bands are tired and out of arrows,

we will arrive where the river narrows,

narrows before returning to sea.

 

We will know this place for the first time

though we were born here last time,

many more riddles to unwind.

A lifetime exploring mysteries.

 

AGATE STONE

"Stone sharpens stone.

Fire breeds fire.

So was it that our anger ignited.

Layer after layer it rose up

and burned us all."

-Apache elder


[Verse]

From the plains to the hilltop cliffs

where the ruins are extended

you no longer see that wooden fence

that kept order in the mission.

All that remains are coyote dreams

appearing through plumes of sage

where faces of catastrophe

come to take their place.

 

[Chorus]

Some claim to hear

a whisper in the smoke

speaking of the ways

their peaceful hearts were turned.

 

[Verse]

As soon as their dogs started barking

they could hear burning tents,

and there was no time for talking

to the men making their decent.

Some were too surprised for anger

but many knew the risk

of trusting a greedy stranger

whose promise was a trick.

 

[Chorus]

Some claim to hear

a refrain soft and low

rising from the fields

their trusting hearts were burned.

[Verse]

For many years they learned to fly.

For many years they raided.

Some poor fools even turned to spy

for the men whom they hated.

You can see phantoms of those days

in shadows spun like smoke

from the rocky cliffs and sedge

to the mines of agate stone.

 

[Chorus]

Some claim to see,

layered in the rock,

where coolness turned to heat

and heat turned to stone.