(Early version, recorded live on my iPhone outside in the Italian Garden at Harlaxton Manor, June 11, 2015. Blackbirds sang for free.)
Richard, he loved Alice Frye, who thought everyone was strange.
Samuel, he loved Janey Jones. They were just 19 and change.
“I-I-I…I love everyone,” fluttered James inside his hair.
He didn’t have a someone then, and he swore he didn’t care.
And there were many hours when we’d walk straight into the flames,
And I would laugh at danger with Richard, Samuel, and James.
We were students in a tower room, an English manor’s mad design.
Was it real or were we dreaming fools? That haunted church was down the line.
We studied lost philosophies and burned a hole inside of time,
Discovered hidden passageways, unlocked with esoteric rhyme.
And I felt I held the power to heal the lonely, sick, and lame
And light my way to freedom’s shore with Richard, Samuel, and James.
This was many years ago, the year Dick Nixon dumped the law,
Somebody else’s President, and we could see his tragic flaw.
We were reading William Blake, Thomas Paine, and Kerouac,
Singing “Mrs. Robinson,” “Let It Be,” and “Paint It Black.”
The bankers and the lawyers would tar and feather us in shame,
But there was wisdom, truth, and innocence in Richard, Samuel and James.
One afternoon Charley Lee passed through, and Alice Frye crept to his bed.
Richard wasn’t rich enough or strange enough or so she said.
And Janey Jones betrayed Samuel. She loved Renaldo from St. Croix,
Who played free jazz on saxophone. He was a man and not a boy.
So James and our two lovers dove from Tower Bridge into the Thames,
And I stood at the inquest of the death of Richard, Samuel, and James.
Now you may scoff and you may scorn and say my story’s just a lark.
But none of that can touch me now. I hold a lantern in the dark.
I have no time for those who can’t or won’t read a book or sing a song,
Who blind themselves with ignorance and this religion of the strong.
You bankers and you lawyers, go off and play your foolish games.
I’d rather walk the underworld with Richard, Samuel, and James.
Harlaxton Manor, June 2015