DVD - 2004 - Ralph America - RA016 - US
with guests: M. Harvey
Shot in Cologne, Germany August 1997
Directed by J Payson
Stage Manager: H Fokker
Sound Engineer: T Janssen
Stage/Light Design: C. McGregor
Featured artist: S Cerio
Directed by J Payson
Stage Manager: H Fokker
Sound Engineer: T Janssen
Stage/Light Design: C. McGregor
Featured artist: S Cerio
Silly Billy bought his breakfast from a fat old man,
who cooked his eggs and bacon in a big black frying pan;
The pan was made of metal that was once an army tank,
holding soldiers with their wounds that oozed until they stank;
And every time the breakfast man put eggs upon his plate,
the yellow yokes stared up as Billy cut them, then he ate;
He saw the eggs as bulging boils that burst when they are poked,
he tasted tears from someone's fear, and made a silly joke.
The rest of his day like all the others moved along a path,
Filled with visions of somebody's pain inflicted past;
He saw a woman raped by brothers who had left her in
the back seat of a Chevy that had honked its horn at him;
A chance encounter with a clown once made him scratch his hand
from a case of hives and then he met a mad milkman,
whose sister swallowed shards of glass inside a sugar rose,
and died with blood exploding from her mouth and from her nose.
He lived alone inside a world of other people's pain,
isolated from their joy and love his life retained
its innocence because he couldn't hear or speak a word,
releasing pain as easy as a tree releases birds;
It even made him happy in a strange and funny way,
reversing misery to joy and agony to play;
They called him Silly Billy when they saw his sappy face,
but no one knew it came from someone's less than happy fate.
Then one day he met a monkey sitting in the rain;
The ape, who somehow lost a leg, would soon make Billy change;
The vision that the monkey made, when Billy touched his paw,
was not too different from the ones he all too often saw:
a little girl with golden hair, who also had one leg,
was crying by a bowl that cripples sometimes use to beg;
But then another vision came, as Billy sat and stared,
he realized the monkey and the girl were once a pair;
With their two good legs the cripples made each other strong,
but what really blasted Billy was the young girl's song.
Isolated in his mind, his world had been complete,
until a simple song released his undiscovered need;
With that wistful melody repeating in his brain,
Billy hesitated, looking out into the rain;
For, despite the things he'd seen, a mystery remained
until the purpose of those other people was explained;
But in the ape and girl he saw a perfect usefulness,
so Billy vowed to reunite them in the present tense.
Soon the crippled chimp and Billy set out on their way,
but then another question came and with it was dismay;
If life was nothing more than just a vehicle for pain,
he could not see why he was free, but that was soon to change;
While Billy once had been immune to agony and sorrow,
he soon began to feel the dark emotions that he borrowed.
Billy and his new companion traveled everywhere
looking for the little girl with gold and curly hair;
No longer seeing other beings like he saw the wind,
For the first time in his life, the dummy had a friend;
Smiling, laughing, playing games and knowing that he cared,
while mumbling the melody into the empty air;
Yes, for Billy life was different than it was before
but change was not just knocking, it was breaking down the door.
Soon the manchild and chimp were walking down the street,
when they saw a taxi driver with a piece of meat;
As Billy bumped the driver's shoulder, visions formed inside
his mind of something slowly sliced to pieces 'til it died;
Instead of smiling as he would on any other day,
Billy hit the ground face first, weeping all the way;
Devastated by the shock of feeling death and pain,
Billy began to understand what he had lost and gained;
With increasing frequency, more incidents occurred:
Dead babies cried from safety pins and memories from birds
told of chicks that left their nests and fell beneath the feet
of cattle who were not concerned with tiny things that tweet;
He felt a mother's misery whose child had become blind,
and a cancer victim's will to live, as it declined.
Soon the pain became so great they only moved at night,
as Billy tried to blind his mind from everything in sight;
And the goofy grin that once resided on his face,
now reflected his infected fall into disgrace;
Where a sweetness once had radiated from his pores,
now his face was covered up with festers, welts and sores;
around the sores was scar tissue resembling a pox
that made his skin look like some thinly coated clumps of rocks;
Surrounding those were tiny blisters popping constantly;
Overall his face recalled a charbroiled Christmas tree;
But as his life descended into black and blacker pain,
two sympathetic little points of light remained unchanged;
The monkey and the song were always there regardless of
the pain he felt from someone else's loss or lack of love;
The song provided nourishment for Billy's beaten soul,
and the monkey made him smile, while they pursued their goal;
Then one day as Billy pulled the monkey from the mud,
it wheezed and sneezed and filled the air with tiny drops of blood;
with heat projecting from its skin and fluid from its eyes,
the monkey barely breathed for two more days and then it died;
Sorrow soaked in Billy's bones and numbness in his neck,
but nothing had prepared him for the impact that was next;
Exploding in a choking scream, his sadness was so strong,
it blotted out the memory of Billy's sacred song.
Devastated and alone he crawled beneath a bush,
coiled himself into a ball, and imitated mush;
Drifting deep into despair an opening appeared,
above and below, it opened up around him everywhere;
The hole was like a vacuum cleaner sucking him into
a dark and barren emptiness that clung to him like glue;
Losing containment like the raindrops in a hurricane,
Floating like a limpid flower in a sewer drain,
down and and down and down it sucked him
'til there was nothing left,
except a tiny hand held mirror and an unwrapped gift;
Desperately he ripped it open and found inside the box
the monkey's head which winked and grinned and bit his left leg off.
Horrified he screamed in painful agony and cried,
and then the mirror drifted up and stopped before his eyes
causing him to watch as teardrops healed his open sores
while noticing how long his golden hair had grown before
realizing that he looked just like the little girl,
and then he drifted back into a cold and lifeless world.
A huge white hand reached out above his head as he awoke;
"Perhaps it's God," he thought he saw, inside a long white coat;
As his eye moved down to where a right leg should have been,
he saw a wooden crutch that touched the floor right next to him;
The hand moved down to stroke his cheek and quickly he was filled
with memories of melodies that mocked his mind until
he saw the golden hair cascading down below her waist,
and realized what he had heard was nothing but a taste;
At once his mind was wild with words that he had never known
defining lines inside the song with light and liquid tones;
He sat up straight and radiated life from far within
the center of his soul where pain and darkness once had been;
Then, like the sunshine in the summer fills the air with birds,
Billy stood upon his bed and filled the air with words:
We Are the World
There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it's time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all
We can't go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of God's great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me
Send them your heart so they'll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand
When you're down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there's no way we can fall
Let us realize that a change can only come
When we stand together as one
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