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A Debt So Vast It Can't Be Paid

MJS's picture

A while back I wrote lyrics for a song titled "The Algebra of Death and Guns"* (since retitled "A Debt So Vast It Can't Be Paid") with no idea what music might go with them (hint: I often have no idea what a song I write might sound like). Mentata, who did the music and vocals for Jam It In Your Craw, Boys has once again proven his mettle with his rendering of those hard, sad lyrics (written about the events that took place in Haditha, Iraq) into music.

Mentata has provided a link to "A Debt So Vast It Can't Be Paid" and I bring it to you here.

I wrote the lyrics with this thought in mind: By choosing violence we bring tragedy to ourselves and others like nobody's business. We bring destruction to the victim and to the perpetrator, be the destruction a blow to the body or the psyche or, by dulling consciousness itself, a blow to the fundamental core of our presumed humanity.

Anyway, Mentata sent me the mp3 he put together and in my humble opinion took a difficult set of lyrics and made them come alive with his talent and artistry. Hat tip to you, Mentata. Hat tip to you.

*The original title was "The Algebra of Death and Guns" but the more I
heard this one line sung my Mentata--a debt so vast it can't be paid--the more I wanted it for the title.

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Original lyrics:

In the darkest place in hell
Beneath the ashes of the dead
A hollow made of shame and hate
Awaits the soul who sighs with dread

But I was never meant for this!
I had love and tender heart!
They broke me down, made me a killer
It never ends, what shouldn’t start!

Acrid, metal, burning flesh
Bullets hot as fire, sun
Lives are rendered, torn apart
The algebra of death and guns

But I loved giving, I loved life
To church I went and to Jesus prayed
One night of madness and all my glory
A debt so vast it can’t be paid?

The house is empty near the square
The echoes die, the curtains billow
A house that once held so much life
Is filled with scars and empty pillows

I just want to go back home
And take back the life that once was mine
To see my friends, to laugh again
But all I see is my blood crime

In the darkest place in hell
Beneath the ashes of the dead
A hollow made of shame and hate
Awaits the soul who sighs with dread

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Original post here.

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