by Eliot Wilder

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The quality of mercy is not strained
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath
It is twice blest
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes


released March 10, 2017

Cover girl: Sharon Skelton, ca. 1985

For Chris and Astrid.



all rights reserved


Eliot Wilder Boston, Massachusetts

D'où venons nous / que sommes nous / où allons nous.

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Track Name: The Lie Becomes Truth
We want to believe you
We really do
But you make it so hard
We can't help but doubt you
You are so convincing
That's your game
Even when your excuses
Are so incredibly lame
We are not dumb
Then again maybe we are
After all we bought your stories
When they seemed bizarre

Let us see your face
Let us look into your eyes
Let us see if we can tell
The truth from lies
You seem a little nervous
Do you have something to hide
You can tell us anything
Let us be your guide
You know we care
We mean only the best
We love you to death
Please pass this test

When the lie becomes truth
Will you know what to do
When the lie becomes truth
There is no forgiving you
You had your chance
You made your choice
We see it all
We hear your voice

You climbed a mountain
Said it was pretty tall
You survived forty below
And a terrible snowfall
You were courageous
Saved all your friends
Like Holden Caulfield
And all that he portends
We know you're good
No need to convince
We're just not sure
About the words you mince

We went out to dinner
Someone started to choke
You performed the Heimlich
We thought it was a joke
We think you're amazing
We think you rock
You've finally made good
Can we join your flock
Track Name: The Blank Unholy Surprise of It
If you think you're nothing
Well think again my friend
I think that your something
And I will think that to the end
I know that you are good at heart
And I won't let you fall apart

The blank unholy surprise of it
I was never apprised of it
Until I looked into your eyes
Well you got fires banked down in you
Hearth-fires and holocausts

You always found yourself short-shrifted
Never had any recognition
You tripped and fell down time and again
While on the rocky road to perdition
I want to help you find your way
I want to be your personal valet

You're made out of flesh and blood
You're full of warmth and delight
You're lit from within, Tracy
On the screen up there in black and white
You are as graceful as a swan
No you are not made out bronze
Track Name: Say Goodnight, Gracie
What's that you say
You're having trouble falling asleep
Too many distractions
All around your castle keep

Say goodnight, Gracie
Sleep tight and pleasant dreams
Don't let the bed bugs bite
Relax and float downstream
If you have a nightmare
Just remember that I'm right here

You lie there twitching
Say you'd like to catch twenty winks
But the shadows are frightening
And your doll now looks like a sphinx

This world is topsy-turvy
The soundtrack plays in reverse
The sweet taste kind of salty
And the poetry is terribly terse
Track Name: Crucible
A lonely little girl lives in a lonely little town
Wears an ugly yellow dress and an ugly yellow frown
Says, "There's no way here out for me
Believe me I've tried
I wasn't always like this
Way back when I had my pride"

Let me be a crucible for your tender heart
Let me be a vehicle
The horse that pulls your cart

She has lips like sugar tastes like candy wine
She lives in a shoebox temporary by design
Says, "One day I plan leave this place
Maybe move to gay Paree
But for now I am stuck here
With a banjo on my knee"

She gets up at midnight and starts her lonely day
She works as freelance writer for practically no pay
Says, "I've written a novel
That I know that no one will ever read
Sometimes I cut myself
Just to see if I can still bleed"
Track Name: That Ain't the Half of It
We ruptured the ground
And blew out a hole
We shined down a light
Saw into its soul
Cried into the abyss
Never been through something like this

We brought on the night
We rang in the dawn
But that ain't the half of it
Would you like me to go on

Didn't have a map
Or any kind of guide
We all just went along
For the ride
Then a miracle occurred
Oh the secrets we heard

So much is hidden
How little we know
If we knew the half of it
Oh the minds it would blow

We pitched a tent
Settled in for the night
The ghosts that we conjured
Gave us a fright
Then came the dawn
And we could not move on
Track Name: Let Me Be Your Roadie
You have come from such a long, long way away
With your old suitcase in your older Chevrolet
You tell me you've written a handful of songs
About a girl who never belongs

Let me be your roadie, baby
Let me carry your junk for you
Let me be your roadie, honey
And I will be your groupie too
I will carry your guitar
You will always be my one true star

You play on subway platforms for a sackful of change
People they look at you as if you're kind of strange
You only sing about what that you know
And what you know doesn't go with the flow

I admire your grace and tenacity
What you face in the face of adversity
I wish I had your courage and strength
It takes lots of moxie to go that extra length

Maybe one day you will be the next great big thing
But you say that won't change the way that you sing
You found your voice and you know who you are
Even if it that means you'll never be a superstar
Track Name: The Happy Millionaire
I pulled myself up by my bootstraps
I'm a self-made man
Barely have a high school education
Fought in Afghanistan
When I got back I built my own business
Trading souvenirs from abroad
Once I sold a sacred chalice
It was touched by the hand of God

I'm the happy millionaire
My whole world is without a care
I'm the happy millionaire
Good times, good times

I built a house out in Calabasas
It's got a marble floor
I built one in Laguna too
I like being near the seashore
I play golf in the morning
Race my race car in the afternoon
In between I think rich thoughts
I'm a self-styled nouveaux tycoon

I am no shrinking violet
Wouldn't be a rich man if I was
I always mean business
I outdo the one who outdoes

People say that I'm a hard-ass
But I did what I had to do
Yeah, I cast a giant shadow
From here and there to Kalamazoo
I make no excuses
I kicked a dude on his last legs
You can't make an omelet
Unless you break a couple of eggs
Track Name: Snow Day
Outside the world is frightful
Everything is closing down
The streets look like stained linen
All over this frigid town
People huddle on the subway
Trying to generate some heat
No need to be modest or indiscreet

It's a snow day
We're not going anywhere
A snow day
As white as grandma's hair
Might as well build a fire
And pile on the clothes
Outside it's twenty below
The whole world has froze

Outside the world is hateful
Shoppers shoving that way and this
Must be out of the Christmas spirit
Must be out of the Christmas bliss
Time to take stock
And leave a little in the tipping tray
Tomorrow could come Judgment Day

Outside the world is sleeping
Nowhere to go and no one about
In our beds we dream of tomorrow
When we will have to dig ourselves out
Life will start returning
And we will go on about our stuff
Among a sea of marshmallow fluff
Track Name: Partners in Crime
Let me say right from the start
You have a big place heart
But I don't idolize you
Sometimes I despise you
I don't mind when we're apart
We've done a lot of crazy stuff
We've done more than enough
The damage is fairly wide
But no one yet has died
Still we act oh so tough

We are partners in crime
Through thick and thin
That's what we've been
We are partners in crime
Together through the years
The laughter and the tears

We've had our good and our bad
Man you've made me real mad
And I have made you pissed
Still we can't resist
All the good stuff that we've had

Don't turn away from me now
I need you more than ever
Don't turn away from me now
Let's stay in this together

Sometimes you can be a jerk
Sometimes nothing seems to work
We pull at each other
Like a lousy brother
And it all goes berserk
Track Name: Mercy
So many people in this crazy mixed-up world
Never really see what it is they do
So many conflicts that all could be resolved
If they only got into another person's shoes

The quality of mercy is not strained
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath
It is twice blest
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes

So much is wasted on so many needful things
All that we intend and all that we desire
We hope and pray that we might one day change
Through the pitch dark comes a cleansing fire

Why is it easier to hate than love
Why are we waiting for a sign from above
We should be reaching out with open arms
We should be keeping each other from all harm

So many wars are fought in the name of God
I wonder if that's what He had in mind
It'd be funny if it weren't so damn sad
I'd like to take the "kind" out of the word mankind
Track Name: Little Dinghy
I rock, I roll in this rocky place
And I look for a friend
I look for your friendly face
You prove to be elusive like the shifting tide
I'm lulled along
I am lulled along for the ride
I check my maps
I watch as big ships collide
I send out an SOS but there is no reply

I'm all alone in my little dinghy
Who is gonna rescue me
Out here in the great wide ocean
Out here in the deep blue sea
I wait for you
I send up a signal flare
I am over here
And you are over there

I pitch, I heave and I almost tip
I'm on an even keel
I maintain my little ship
Down below waits Davy Jones
He's got a place in his locker for me

J'étais et je serai toujours ton amie
Et j'attendrai pour toujours
Ou au moins jusqu'à la fin des temps
Mon ami

Batten down all the hatches
Here comes a perfect storm
The rain is streaming down
I want to be safe and warm
But I am at sea
I am in dire straits
Track Name: Get Along Little Doggie
Through these days, these desperate days
All I do is sit and think about you
You're on my mind, all the time
Don't know how I could get by without you
You're a miracle girl
And I live your miracle world
Lonely days and lonely nights
Seems like I'm lonely all the time
Without hope I am lost
I am glad I've got you on my mind
You may be just a ghost
But you're the ghost with the most

Get along little doggie
Come on home to me
Get along little doggie
My sweet little sweet pea
Come home to me

You may be from another place and time, oh yeah
But you're just a dream away
All I have to do is close my weary eyes
And suddenly I'm back in LA
If I had a hat I'd tip it
If I had your waist I'd grip it

If you are a phantom please don't you disappear
I can almost touch you, I sense that you are near

Dig a hole, rigamarole
So much bother for very little payoff
Could go here, could go there
Half-way on and half-way off
But I imagine that you care
You care somewhere, somewhere out there