Strange or Sweet (Stranger Suite)

from by Barry Childs-Helton

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Lyrics and music by Barry Childs-Helton

Disbanded at the door,
we'll gather
but we don't know when.
I've read all this before,
or dreamed up
something like it then.
Oops, wrong century—
nobody here but strangers.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.

We stubbornly defend
the fragments
of our old ideals—
our injuries extend
from underneath
these broken wheels.
mad dogs in burning mangers.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.

Heroically the heretic,
fanatically the foe,
we lean so hard
on the nothing we know,
limping off
to where good martyrs throw
their murdered questions.

Just asking,
are you going
that I could take you to?
And if there isn't time
to jot us down
in the margins of Who's Who,
I'm on your map
as somewhere you're
accelerating through,
then call it fun
until we're done,
more living proof
that one plus one
doesn't always equal two.

Just asking,
where's it written
we must be
invincible or wrong?
That you can't stay,
regardless if I get to go along?
That love and peace
are lyrics
in one more forgotten song?
Not much to save,
no rising wave,
nobody home
who's free or brave.
Tomorrow we'll be too far gone.

Routine disaster's
been and gone,
left no more than this:
these separate flames
in this cozy abyss.
Nothing ventured,
everything missed,
tested or beaten.

Well, sure,
let's beat our treasure
into blades
for never-ending wars.
Catapult our afters
against our ironclad befores.
No security,
just artificial danger.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.

Just two more fleeting sparks
impersonating you and me—
so brief against the dark,
watch them burn away
to mystery:
Tears upon the sea
won't quench him
and won't change her.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.
More than what we see.
Infinitely stranger.


from The Summers Behind You, released October 23, 2015



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Barry Childs-Helton Indianapolis, Indiana

Barry is known to science fiction fandom as a singer-songwriter-guitarist with wife Sally Childs-Helton, the Black Book Band, and Wild Mercy. (Photo by Beckett Gladney; banner photo by Shawn Olson.)

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