The War Has Come

The War Has Come

 

Rich white American children 

crawl from the suburbs and go to a college

where they learn a second language; 

sometimes the language is a dead one 

(it does not bother them).

 

Other American children come from the city

and join an army,

where they’re certified to kill or heal;

if they fail at either they come home dead

(it does not bother them).

 

Sometimes I can’t believe these things I write;

I write down anything.

Pulling songs from the mouth of unbelieving,

it’s only words,

(it does not bother me).

It’s easy to write a bullet,

it does not hiss it is not close to me.

It’s easy to write a wound,

I’ve never clamped a femoral artery.

 

Hey, hey, hey, the war has come

Hey, the war has come

 

Sometimes I see a cop, 

I think I’d make a good officer.

Sometimes I see you on the street,

I think, I’m glad I’m not a cop and this ain’t my beat.

Some nights I sleep in my truck, 

I want a handgun in my glove compartment.

Some nights you make a noise,

thank God there’s no handgun in our apartment.

 

Hey, hey, hey, the war has come

Hey, the war has come

 

You know, ever since this started, I’ve wanted someone to get it over with,

to give me the bite or the bug or the bomb

or the backbone to drive a plane into the ground.

Some folks I know, they’ve fled to places like France or places like Australia;

they’re the vanguard of an exodus or they’re rabbits running, running scared.

But all I’ve got’s these four chords and the mercy that you’ve granted me.

I want to show you something true:

the truth’s the ugliest kid you’ll ever see.

 

Hey, hey, the war has come

Hey, the war has come

Hey, hey, hey, the war has come

Hey, hey, hey, the war has come

Hey, hey, hey, the war has come

Hey, hey, hey, the war has come

The war has come

The war has come

The war has come

The war has come

The war has come

 

(Life Underwater Music, 2002)

 

 

James O'Brien