Sparkle

Mat Kearney is a poet.

mat-kearney-21

When I first opened his album Bullet, in 2004, I was completely overwhelmed at his acoustic stylings, playing against spoken words and great hooks. And then I dissected each song, and was drawn into the music.

I burned it, though, played it until I was no longer interested, until I picked up my acoustic and learned a few of the tunes, and that catapulted my interest again. This week, the album is once again spinning, and this time I was drawn to his song “Girl America.” The song itself, as well as Bullet, was repackaged into his second album, Nothing Left to Lose, and right now, I am awaiting his third album, and trying to be patient.

When you first listen to his song Girl America, you’re left a bit confused. He speaks the words so fast, and the chorus and the bridge, the songful parts of the tune, are good, and you start to wonder a little. And then you break apart the song, find the lyrics from a Google search, and realize that the song itself is quite powerful. And quite poetic.

I’m not sure what he planned for this song. I’m not sure if he thought he was writing something so poetic and contemporary and raw. And maybe, through the fiasco of the last presidential election, with all of the image and pomp and American degradation, this song speaks to me even more now. I’m not sure, but I have found a new realness in this song that was somehow missed in all of the previous listens.

Click here for his site, and listen to the song by shuffling through his tracks in the music tab at the top. Then read these lyrics, and then maybe you’ll see America in a much different way.

**********

Girl America
by Mat Kearney

My girl America is just a youth in this world,
Her smile is more precious than the sparkle of pearls.

And though her age reads, she’s just a young girl,
The age behind her eyes show the pain that she’s swirled, through the hand that’s been dealt,
Though it’s quiet as kept,the weight that she felt last night when she slept,
And as she crept into the dreams of the things of her past.

Seems to have grown so fast, way beyond her own class,
Though they’re right there with her, her brothers and her sisters.
A natural born leader even when her peers dis her.

My girl, she’s at a crossroads, people praying for her.
Some are preying on her.

Magazine ads, sex, drama, smoking marijuana,
Longing for a father to call her “daughter.”

She’s part of a generation longing for reconciliation,
And this future that they’re facing and this poison that they’re tasting,

My girl, I know this love you’re chasing.

****

My girl America’s crying when she’s lying on her bed at night,
I can see that she’s screaming when she’s dreaming for her freedom.
My girl America’s dying while she’s trying just to stop this fight.
Don’t stop believing, my girl America.

****

Boys with hungry eyes have been beating her door,
Telling her that’s what she’s for, trying to rob at her core,
Then leave calling her a whore, but still she knows there’s more.

I know she knows there’s more because there is a voice she can’t ignore,
‘Cause it was founded in the foundations, from the day of her creation.

“In God we trust” engraved on the treasures of her nation,
And the void that the boys can’t fill,
With the tipping of the bottle or the popping of the pill.

But still most of her friends don’t care as they glare,
Ready to drown down the funnel as they frown down the tunnel.
They stumble and they tumble breaking down into rubble.
My girl America, stop! Can’t you see?

It’s not the circumstances that determine who you’re gonna be,
But how you deal with these problems and pains that come your way.

It’s for you that I pray with hope for a brighter day,
And so I say, your deliverance is coming.

****

My girl America’s crying when she’s lying on her bed at night,
I can see that she’s screaming when she’s dreaming for her freedom.
My girl America’s dying while she’s trying just to stop this fight.
Don’t stop believing, my girl America.

****

Faith like a child from your first birth.
You left it in the dirt on your worst hurt.
And I see each tear and every scar,
The hands that have held you where you are.

And I can see we’ve strayed so far.
A king born under that morning star.
As a crown of thorns was placed to erase
Each tear that’s touched your face.

And his palms and sides were pierced with spears
He hung in love just to draw you near
My girl, out of this whole world,
Can’t you see this is where we started?

****

My girl America’s crying when she’s lying on her bed at night,
I can see that she’s screaming when she’s dreaming for her freedom.
My girl America’s dying while she’s trying just to stop this fight.
Don’t stop believing, my girl America.

**********
Powerful, isn’t it?

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