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The Chris Chandler Show

  • Freedom Is / Bird on a Wire (8:08)

    Freedom Is…
    (for Blair Powell)

    I offered first choice of dueling pistols to an ATM and I considered it a fair fight.

    I missed and hit the little camera above its head and the machine cried out with a heavy computer accent, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God, I am free at last!”

    On the corner I found Freedom locked inside a 1996 Chevy Malibu. The safety belt was stuck and she could not exit the vehicle. She had been trapped there for years and was barely hanging on to life sucking substance from miles of abandoned dreams.

    I untangled the thin yellow lines from infinite highways which had ensnared her like cords of Kudzu swallowing power-lines on an Alabama back road.

    I bought her a tank of gas and together we took off.

    I can’t say for sure, but I think we did doughnuts in the parking lot for ten years until we ran out of gas. The only thing I know for sure is that when she finally stopped we were in the same gas station parking lot and Freedom had not changed a bit.

    She left me there. Dizzy. Alone. I was without Freedom and forced to fill out a missing persons report. The cops reluctantly wrote down my description as I said. “Freedom no longer has a full tank of gas.”

    The cop interrupted me and said, “No, what does she look like?”

    I said, “Freedom is glancing in the mirror and not noticing yourself.”

    She is a blank yellow legal pad sitting on the driver seat of a $250 pick up truck, sold as is.

    On a cold day, Freedom is getting your tongue stuck on the frozen metal while giving a blow job to a bronze statue of the city’s fathers – just because they need one so.

    Freedom is using the words ‘blow job’ so that your list of platitudes will not wind up printed on a poster hanging in the bath room room of an insurance salesman living in the suburbs of a minor American city.

    Freedom dances with strangers.
    She is dancing alone.
    She is dancing with your lover.
    Dancing with your mother.
    Dancing with your ex.

    Freedom is tipping well when you can’t afford it. waxing your mustache into a Salvador Dali and letting small children play with the curly cues. drawing underarm hair on advertisements hanging in the subway – then writing a letter to the ad company thanking them for printing the ads that way.

    Freedom is premature reincarnation. making eye contact with the blind.

    The cops looked confused until I spotted her out of the corner of my eye gathering a group of pedestrians for a rousing chorus of “No more chanting! No more chanting! No more chanting!”

    Freedom is thanking a God you don’t believe in. losing a contest, shaking the hand of the winner, looking them in the eye and saying, “No hard feelings.” having hard feelings.

    ... is taking those hard feelings and tying them to a stick so that they can be used as a hammer to build a cathedral for your for the one that made you feel that way. obeying stop lights you see on TV. giving credit to the space as one of the letters in the alphabet.
Eventually the cops got frustrated and wandered off in the direction of the crowd that had gathered still yelling “No more chanting!” The cops joined in while arresting them all for civil obedience.

    Last I heard she is still in county lockup some where north of the Macon County line. I visited her once, though I am not convinced she recognized me.

    Though fifteen years had passed – her trial had still not come up and no one had posted bail. She offered me a dueling pistol and pointed me towards an ATM.

    I considered it a fair fight.

    originally released on the album with Anne Feeney Live from the Wholly Stollen Empire (2005) and with Paul Benoit on Matadors in (2012)


    Freedom is/ Bird on the Wire
    Chris Chandler/Leonard Cohen

    “Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.”  - Jean-Paul Sartre

    Paul Benoit: Guitar, Bass and Vocals
    Frankie Hernandez: Vocals
    Dan Weber: Drums
    Hugh Sutton: Organ
    Chris Chandler: Spoken Word

    Recorded and Mixed by: Blake Harkins at Lost and Found Studios, Seattle, WA

    Freedom is/ Bird on the Wire
    Chris Chandler/Leonard Cohen

    Published by: 9th Wave Publishing/ Stranger Music
    Licensed  through Harry Fox