A Prodigal Son

A Prodigal Son

Recorded in Chicago, 12/18 – 6/21.

Words and music by Eric Schuurman.
Produced by Eric Schuurman.
Executive Producer, Richard Schuurman.

In December 2018, my brother Richard set me up with a couple of beautiful guitars, and encouraged me to be musically creative again. I hadn’t played or recorded in over a decade. For whatever reasons, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it again. This project is the result of that intervention.

      Days Are Few
      East West
      Obliteration
      A Prodigal Son
      Epilogue
      Genbaboom
      Airplane Dreams
      Two Brothers
      Tucson
      Natural Light
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Pfizer #1

Covid 19 Vaccination Center
Covid 19 Vaccination Center

March 30, 2021 11:10 am
1155 Oakton Des Plaines, IL

Got my first Pfizer shot. Guy next to me in the observation area went limp and wound up on the floor. Other than my upper left arm being a little sore, I’m fine. Walking into this old Kmart, the sight of it took me off guard. I’ve gotten thru the pandemic better than a lot of people, but it was weirdly emotional. Second shot in three weeks.

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Airplane Dreams

      Airplane Dreams

Two jets merged proximities
Distant, but visible to each other
Ones’ mechanical failure
And its focused, futile response

Home

Yea, we’re at twenty sixth thousand feet
We are in a vertical dive

Two jets merged proximities
Distant, but visible to each other
Ones’ mechanical failure
And its focused, futile response

Again

361, we’re at twenty four thousand feet
Trying to stabilize

Two jets merged proximities

Home

Yea, he hit the water
He’s now down

Distant, but visible to each other

I’d say, he, uh…

Home again

Definitely in a nose down, um…

Distant

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Natural Light

      Natural Light

My darling ones
we’re not afraid
of distant thunder
across the plain.
The day gone black
above us forms
a gathering of
the perfect storm.

A crackling  bolt
of lightning hits.
The planets’ tinder
now is lit.
Downslope wind
brings no rain,
scatters embers,
and fans the flames.

Screens glowing with
conspiracies,
devoured whole
willingly.
Masses nod
and duly rise
and plot a course
to their demise.

Their headlights pass,
an endless line
towards glowing orange
In a black sky.
But darlings we’ll
endure this night
And reach the morning’s
Natural Light

——

Oh precious ones
alone it seems,
we shed no tears
for dead machines.
No binary in
the fibers’ light,
no digital pox,
or social blight.

We huddle masked
our little tribe,
with gratitude
to be alive.
With curtains drawn
sealed from the night,
whispered prayers
by candlelight.

The hatred shown
by those we knew,
spreading lies,
rumors too.
Lost in winter.
Long in night.
But our days grow
with Natural Light

——

Tho we see things
differently,
we’ve a common
history.
Carrion prey
on our discord,
reap the windfall
of the war.
We know the way
we’re meant to be:
benevolence
and decency.
The love we show
the way we should.
The way we see
the common good.

——

Eyes open now
squint in the light.
A new day
born of night.
A passing mirror
glimpse is shown
a price drawn
more than known.

We view ourselves
unlike the way
others see thru
our display.
In direct light
we see clear.
Dimly lit,
truth disappears.

Choice to seek light,
a will to know,
like moths drawn to
a lanterns’ glow.
The sacred shine
from stained glass souls
illuminates,
Into night flows.

My kiddos fair,
in springtime sun,
reconstruction
now begun.
In a meadow rich
with varied life
we step into
Natural Light

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Tucson

      Tucson

They took to the road with a map and a stash
and stoned at a truck stop, paused for a break.
Wore scalloped mirror bug-eyed reflective sunglasses,
Bought donuts and coffee to keep them awake.

They’d stumbled out with idiot laughter
But back on the road the smiles turned to pouts
As two silenced brothers reached for cold coffee
and French swirl donuts congealed in their mouths.

——

Signs for free 5 pound steaks if eaten in an hour
started appearing in southern Illinois,
thru Missouri, Oklahoma, into Amarillo, Texas,
home of the lone star and hungry cowboys.

Onward they drove as the dry plain expanded
With mesas and storm cloud mountains revealed.
Thru the desert to Tucson, their destination,
with the bond of a brotherhood forever sealed.

——

The years rolled on by and the hairlines receded.
One grew a gut and one a bum knee.
A continent spread out between the two brothers
still resonating on the same frequency.

Two parents smile down with loving approval
Send laughter and warmth from the great beyond.
Whisper their names in the breeze when it’s blowing,
and beam like the sun at the two brothers’ bond.

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Two Brothers

      Two Brothers

First brother set the house on fire,
licking flames dancing higher.
Second brother rose to run
when he seen what he had done.

But he stood there transfixed
at what he had just witnessed.
Sparks swirled and scattered round them,
thinking ‘bout the blood that bound them.

Second brother then heard
First brother say these words:
“Now the reason you’ll learn,
did it just to see it burn.”

=====

Second brother brushed the ashes
Shook his coat and wiped his glasses
Took a bottle, poured a drink.
Said “I need some time to think.”

First brother sat next to the other.
They had a drink and then another.
By night’s end with the rising sun,
they both knew what had to be done.

Out they stepped into the morning
And without a word of warning
Second brother took his turn,
He lit a house, they watched it burn.

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TR-808

TR-808

By ’83, me and John were burning thru drummers endlessly. We were in Barrington, not in the city, and the available musicians generally were not into what we were into. We got sick of constantly auditioning new drummers, so we figured we’d use a drum machine, which was something new we’d heard about. We got a TR-808 and tried using it, but the sound was synthetic. Also, switching to playing with a drum machine from a loose, sloppy, raw band was a challenging transition. I soaked up the manual, understood the machine, saw the possibilities. The band took a break, and a year after I bought the TR-808, I sold it for a Martin acoustic to take with me on my long Europe trip. When I got back, I moved to the city and started working with Sequential and Oberheim drum machines. The MIDI spec arrived linking tape decks, drum machines, samplers, and synths together. Suddenly everyone had great, new tools. It was a revolution.

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Genbaboom (jen-buh-boom)

      Genbaboom

My generation, born of the greatest,
coming of age to a dark bells toll.
Idealism, a flower in a gun barrel,
entrusted with the national soul.

My generation deployed to rock and roll
and fought in a jungle at seventeen.
And when it was over, returned to a country
had no idea of what we had seen.

My generation watched as a president
betrayed the trust and was held to account.
We saw the same thing, the truth was apparent.
There’s no other way, the leader was out.

 

My generation settled into easy living.
Got older and so far from our youth.
Once had a hunger, now got whatever.
We search for the remote, not for the truth.

My generation split like a tree trunk,
bought into charlatans hate filled lies.
Soon it was brother turned against brother.
Common ground lost, goodwill died.

My generation now sickened and sun-blind,
once entrusted with the national soul,
will pass on the flame, turn over the keys,
and fade away, disgraced and old.

Fade away, disgraced and old.

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The Culling

Covid-19

This is the God I believe in: If you take the laws of physics, the mystery of life, and that which is un-knowable, beyond comprehension, un-verbalizable; that would be God for me.

The planet has recognized our species to be a threat, and is doing something about it. Like a plant bending towards light, the migration of birds, or the pull of gravity, a force is exerting itself and an event is taking place.

It is beyond our control. We can only do our best to understand it. Some will make correct decisions that lead to good results. Some will make mistakes. The old order will be un-recognizable. A new one will emerge over time.

God will continue with this culling until balance is restored. The species is being challenged with new commands that it cannot resist. Our planet, our skies, and everything beyond remind us how small we are. Species come and species go. It is time to evolve.

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Epilogue

      Epilogue

Epilogue

Born into a family, fifth of five.
We lived beneath the same roof for some time.
Then one by one we began dispersing,
and the last departure then was mine.
We set off for school, jobs and families,
with spouses and children of our own.
Now the passing of seasons dim memories
of a family, together, long ago.

They wed on a Baltic summer afternoon.
One year later the three of them were gone.
Westward heading, they began their journey,
sailing off into the unknown.
The path they shared then began to widen,
and one day it split into two lanes.
And tho they all traveled on together,
it never would return to one again.

Soon from the other side, will you hear me
when I play a passage meant to move?
Now my notes linger with sadness
as I de-tune and lose the groove.

Both of you were born on a Monday,
and from the first day you did things your way.
I watched you grow and become you,
and with your mother, helped you on your way.
Took such pride as you came of age.
My soul’s put at peace to see you two.
And now, tho you live in another place,
I never do feel apart from you.

Soon from the other side, will you hear me
when I play in a certain style?
And when there is a moment in your daydreams,
may the specter of my face look upon you with a loving smile.

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