Paprika Plains - Joni Mitchell

    It fell from midnight skies
    It drummed on the galvanized
    In the washroom, women tracked the rain
    Up to the make-up mirror
    Liquid soap and grass
    And Jungle Gardenia crash
    On Pine-Sol and beer ...
    It's stifling in here ...
    I've got to get some air ...
    I'm going outside to get some air

    Back in my hometown
    They would have cleared the floor
    Just to watch the rain come down!
    They're such sky oriented people--
    Geared to changing weather ...
    I'm floating off in time
    I'm floating off
    I'm floating off in time

    When I was three feet tall
    And wide eyed open to it all
    With their tasseled teams they came
    To McGee's General Store
    All in their beaded leathers
    I would tie on colored feathers
    And I'd beat the drum like war ...
    I would beat the drum like war
    I'd beat the drum
    I'd beat the drum like war

    But when the church got through
    They traded their beads for bottles
    Smashed--on Railway Avenue
    And they cut off their braids
    And lost some link with nature
    I'm floating into dreams
    I'm floating off
    I'm floating into my dreams

    I dream paprika plains
    Vast and bleak and God forsaken
    Paprika plains
    And a turquoise river snaking

    (Where crows gaze--vigilant on wires
    Where cattle graze the grasses
    Far from the digits of business hours
    The moon clock wanes and waxes--
    But here all time is stripped away
    Nowhere on these plains
    Is a sprout or an egg in evidence
    To measure loss or gain ...
    Only a little Indian band
    Come down from some windy mesa
    No women to make them food and child
    No expressions on their faces
    I'm low in a helicopter
    And the wind from whirling blades
    Flaps their woven blankets
    And flags their raven braids
    How came they to this emptiness?
    How came they to this dream?
    How came I to this view
    From a flying machine
    Of earth and air and water
    And a band of Indian men
    Without herds or flocks or crops
    Or families or fires to tend?
    Like a phoenix up from ashes now
    A blanket figure springs
    With a fist raised up to turquoise skies
    Like liberty
    And at the point of vanishing
    Where the sky and the earth meet
    A bomb blooms
    Deadly mushroom
    Like a phoenix up from ashes
    Up from violent mysteries
    And growing 'till the giant blast
    Is to it like a golfer's tee
    there comes a child's beach ball
    And memory takes me back
    to the beach to toss it up
    to the garage to get it patched
    A pink and yellow beach ball
    Turning the blues and greens of earth
    From space probe photographs
    I float out of the hovercraft
    Naked as infancy
    And weightless
    And drifting
    Like a filing to a magnet
    Like the long descent of rain
    I am drawn
    I fall against the ball
    And lose paprika plains
    I suckle at my mother's breast
    I embrace my mother earth
    I remember perforated blinds
    Over the crib of my birth
    And just as Eve succumbed
    To reckless curiosity
    I take my sharpest fingernail
    And slash the globe to see
    Below me--
    Vast Paprika plains
    And the snake the river traces
    And a little band of Indian men
    With no expressions on their faces.)

    The rain retreats
    Like troops to fall on other fields and streets
    Meanwhile they're sweet talking and name calling
    And brawling on the fringes of the floor
    I spot you through the smoke
    With your eyes on fire
    From J&B and coke
    As I'm coming through the door
    I'm coming back
    I'm coming back for more!
    The band plugs in again
    You see that mirrored ball begin to sputter lights
    And spin
    Dizzy on the dancers
    Geared to changing rhythms
    No matter what you do
    I'm floating back
    I'm floating back to you!

    Marco Giunco
    Work Basket Music Words