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​The Burning City Smoking

This song is by Kevin Devine and appears on the album Put Your Ghost To Rest (2006).

40 million refugees with no place on this earth to call their home
One for every aimless graduate with nothing else to show for it but loans
And those of us who make a mark using someone else's blood
Our western stain won't wash away, won't vanish in the flood
It's just deeper with each hurricane and tidal wave and war
Oh whoa oh woh
We want everything we see and once it's gone we just want more

Atlas had those shoulders, we've got Am bien and Jamesons and blow
To bind us in a bubble, keep the newsprint nightmare distant and remote
But when we wake in guillotines and pitch our screaming fits
When the Governor strikes up the band and gags our parted lips
When the worst case shows up dressed and dazzling ready for the ball
Oh whoa oh woh
Boy that bubble's bound to burst and what a tragic way to fall

The tabloids tell us hate the rat who strikes those subways closed and puts you out
Forget those 50-hour tunnel weeks inhaling steel dust poison through his mouth
Well if he don't deserve a pension that makes his family feel secure
If we're now so disconnected it's our relfections we ignore
And if our constant choice is skimming past the writing on the wall
Oh whoa oh woh
Then I'm sad to say we're lost and I'm embarrassed for us all

So most days I can't put to rest the burning city smoking in my mind
And I play pretend the principals are nothing more than actors running lines
And I stumble through a movie set where torture victims laugh
At abandoned journalist who juggled knives and daggered glass
While they entertain the marble Heads of State and CEO's
Oh whoa oh woh
I stagger past anarchist extras through saloon doors painted gold

So I turn and I see Uncle Sam, walks out of wardrobe ready for the shoot
So I walk right up and talk to him, I tell him that I'm scared and I'm confused
While they test the cameras out and get the lighting right, while catering fills coffee cups and carves up apple pie
And while the stylists trim his beard and straighten those lapels
Oh whoa oh woh
I ask was it pies that made him drive us straight to hell
And as my daydream ends he stands there shamed, a shocked and shattered shell

But there's never any answer for my starving tongue to tell
Oh whoa oh woh oh oh
Cause the director's shouting action and from off set it's just as well