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We Played our Tambourines

We played on our tambourines
as the stop lights blinked red and green,
and the streets were wet from falling rain,
on the street corners, and the sidewalks
of so many unknown places.

We were very, very young
and still lived deep, deep,
within our multi-colored dreams,
and thought we would go on forever.

We played our harmonicas
as the rain fell down upon us,
and the children danced
to the sweet music of our minds.

We played our violins
and watched the pretty girls
go out and in, to the places
where red lights were glowing
wondering all the time
what they were doing.

They had sad, sad faces,
and the lipstick they were wearing
was as bright in the bitter night
as the street lights in the falling rain.

We played our tambourines
on the streets so cold and mean,
and stole the pennies from the dead.

The saints and the sinners
never invited us in for dinner,
and the hellfire preachers,
rattled their money buckets
and shook their grey and grizzled heads.

We left the street corners,
and the girls with red lipstick,
and their faces as white as circus clowns,
Our tambourines are broken,
and the preachers stole the bows of our violins.

Now we are riding the train going nowhere,
looking back and wondering
in our frail fading minds
if we had really ever been.

Mr. Conductor, we don’t have no ticket,
so can we ride for free to the next county.
We’d sing you a song as we travel along,
but our throats are dusty
from riding the rails,
and we had to hock our tambourines
in the last town to pay for our bail.

But those days have faded fast away,
and we have left our freedom songs,
and our hopes for tomorrow,
far behind, on the train going nowhere.

Were the tambourines in our imagination?
Is the train still stuck in the station?

We played on our tambourines
as the stop lights blinked red and green,
and the streets were wet from falling rain,
on the street corners, and the sidewalks
of so many unknown places.

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