Refusing to View

by David Edward Walker

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about

Produced by Michael King and David Edward Walker. Engineered by Benjamin Ridley at The Boneyard in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

**** (4 out of four stars). Refusing to View showcases the artist's poetic depth and instrumental excellence. "Down from Cumberland" restates the old adage "no man is an island" [John Donne], or in this case, a mountain, as the writer pulls his head down from the clouds and returns home from a retreat. In "Elegance of Fools," stream of consciousness lyrics paint a painful picture of violence in the urban ghetto: "In the churches of the NRA, they tithe to the gun machine with the blood of children and bystanders they've not seen." "Hercules" contrasts a shattered illusion of grandiosity with a soothing cello line. "The Playing Field at Eton" describes seasons of youthful love: "I'll catch the dew to bring to you our holy water sweetened by the days we ran on that softer land at the Playing Field at Eton." "Duncan's Gun," an acoustic blues-favored presentation of the Civil War is a rude awakening for those with a propensity for romanticizing armed conflict. The closing prayer "Jahwe" imparts hope: I am a doubting man, but I saw the evergreen glow in the moonlight, and I'm putting my heart in your hand... may the love in my heart be the will you impart." ~ Music Hound, The Essential Folk Album Guide

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released July 7, 2017

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about

David Edward Walker Seattle, Washington

"With a style that encompasses urban and rural images, rich metaphors, spiritual themes, moving ballads, and ambitious fingerstyle guitar work, David Edward Walker (aka 'David Folks') is a singer-songwriter with special ability to reach listeners on an emotional level."
~ Music Hound,
The Essential Folk Album Guide

"Spilled poetic love." ~ Dirty Linen

"Folk Hero."
~Detroit Monthly
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Track Name: Refusing to View
What blessing this?
I feel
I’ve been kissed by thunder and rain
Fearfulness first
then these sudden drops to wash away pain
and the irony is
I was trying so hard to stay warm
My island of wishes
was not ready for a tropical storm
so when the clouds seemed to gather
around the heart of the matter
I was dreaming
And I never knew
Refusing to view

You broke though and
instead of flying glass
I can ride this wind at last

Who knows my fight?
I had covered my windows in foul weather planks
I watched the horizon
expecting the end, now I’m giving my thanks
and I found it so hard to trust
I was fighting to never surrender
afraid all my riggings would rust
and the tears in my sails would never be mended
then the waves came and the air made me wary
I became my own worse adversary
I was dreaming
So I never knew
Refusing to view

You broke through
and instead of flying glass
I can ride this wind at last
Track Name: Don't Shake My Fist at God
Life is like a wind, it's blowing like a hurricane
I stand my ground and face
whatever will be
You know me well enough,
You know that I won’t back down
I've got to look right inside this mystery

On that day when I went beside the ocean
and I drove my faith into the sand for You
it was not until I had gone through many emotions
that I could do whatever you command me to

And sometimes I've got the dragon at my throat
but I don’t shake my fist at God
some people they've got this fire and brimstone thing to do
and I know they don’t spare the rod
but my God has got this great compassion aimed at me
that put me on the inside road to peace
and why not – when life is not how it ought to be
and those hurt most may have sinned the least?

Where do I begin? I've got to sing about the suffering
If I’m ever going to celebrate the joy
Trouble is – I’ve spent much of life recovering
all the truth I try to avoid
And I recall those words ‘suffer them to come unto me’
and I believe they mean give out your love like a child
only then can you see how willing you might be
just to die in order
to help this world go right for awhile…

And sometimes I've got the dragon at my throat
but I don’t shake my fist at God
some people they've got this fire and brimstone thing to do
and I know they don’t spare the rod
but my God has got this great compassion aimed at me
that put me on the inside road to peace
and why not – when life is not how it ought to be
and those hurt most may have sinned the least

(now if a poor Jewish carpenter
were to tell it right here today,
would we shoot him full of klonapin
and then lock him away?
if he taught all the crazy people
to sing songs of love and hope,
would we send the cops in to shoot him down
and say he peddled dope?)

And I know
(In Excelsis Deo)
it’s not the words we say –
(kyrie eleison)
let's teach peace
and let that be the way we pray.
Track Name: Elegance of Fools
Angelo waits in quietness behind an overstuffed chair,
is it safe for him to come outside?
window glass lies everywhere
like years of broken pride
how long should he be staying inside?
photographs of ignorance
dressed in noble liberal dreams
are shown to him by his teacher at the school
but Angelo knows that power lies
in the barrel of a gun
when it’s pointed by the ones who make the rules
and knowledge isn’t anything but words
to those struck dumb
by the power and the elegance of fools

Gun merchants, would-be presidents
raise up welts upon the ass
of the citizens too poor to keep it clean
in the churches of the NRA
they tithe to the gun machine with
the blood of children and bystanders they’ve not seen
and desktops carved with gang vendettas
teach more than two plus two
when bullets have become the only tools
and when you’re taught by poverty
the lesson is like a stone that ripples through you
like an ever-widening pool
ah, but rich men find the camel’s eye
in the tenements of doom
and walk through it
with the elegance of fools

Tell me how to wave the flag
when your motorcade goes by
dripping dirty oil on my only bed
alcoholic veterans with Vietnam in their eyes
lie in the alleyways among the walking dead
while your words seduce the socialites
they take care to look ahead
they don’t let their slippers fall
where we have tread

But Angelo waits in quietness
in the death of anywhere
while the fear is raining down outside
and the broken glass gets in his hair
and there it will abide
making little cuts that soon will open wide
And the grief and the empty promises
are just the paint upon the walls
in the empty rooms of his mother-junkie’s eyes
will this baby move on to the grave
before he ever crawls?
perhaps there is a mercy
much more wise
ah, but summer heat sends ghetto love
to feel for what keeps cool
beneath that scorching elegance of fools
Track Name: Hercules
I dreamed that I met Hercules
at the end of his hard labors
who stole the raiment of the Amazonian
and asked Atlas for a favor and
I said, “I believe I have worked that hard
trying to keep my life in motion”
He said, “Just don’t try to stop the tide –
you are swimming in an ocean.”

He said, “I was a warrior
and I bent the mighty river;
I was the son of Jupiter;
he took me to the heavens”

And Hercules in the southern sky
when the moon’s in Capricorn
did not deserve the life he got
and was allowed to be reborn.

Thinking I could do anything
that was my great delusion,
Then darkness knocked upon my door
and corrected my confusion.

Hercules said, “You cannot win –
I tried to tear myself apart
I only lost my own omnipotence
to the flame of my mortal heart.”

“Tell them all they should not say
that Hercules was strong,
not by the twelve great deeds my body did
when the gods compelled me on.
Instead, say when Fate had defeated me,
I built my fire high,
and I have battled nighttime ever since
and won their southern sky.”
Track Name: Down from Cumberland
I chewed on hardtack
I tried to make my bed
where the pines help cut the wind
and winter’s chill made the world stand still
it pushed me down and then it froze me in

I walked down today through Cumberland
past a place they call Jump Off Rock
with white and grey my company
except for one lonely hawk

and I tried for fish at the riverbed
but I broke my axe in two;
the only warmth my fingers know
are in my thoughts of you

there’s three more days and nights alone
with this smoky moss and loam
but I don’t believe I’m dying
I know that I am heading home

you know, winter makes me drink too much
springtime makes me dream
summer just goes by too fast
autumn traps me in-between

but the winter grips my life right now
is springtime standing by?
I’m unconvinced this cold will end
or that death will pass me by

but up here, I can walk for fifteen miles
and I barely hear a sound
the beating of my heart going on and on
while the sun is sinking down

so beautiful and terrible
are these icy patterns blown
but I’ve drifted around here for far too long
and I'm finally heading home

I did a dance all by myself
when I saw your cottontail run
and the squirrels and crows
there are very few of those –
who else might be looking on?

Everybody wants to get away
to where these tall pines close me in
try to get away from everyone
that’s such a small victory to win

these mountains were my fond retreat
I am a mountain too
i've got my head in the clouds, I’m full of snow and sleet
and I'm dormant without you

you understand the instinct here –
I cannot live alone
thank God and Cumberland I see that now
and I am finally heading home
Track Name: IMTHTIM
Did you ever get the feeling that you knew who you’d
be dealing with in just a few minutes though
it might have been years since you saw him or her last?
Maybe you saw somebody in a dream or a scheme you were
cooking up and he or she appeared to you like you conjured
them out of your past –

Well I’m here, you’re not mistaken
and I felt those impressions you were making
Wondered if this might be a place I could hang my hat
What would you think about that?

Once I tried to make a long distance call to my aunt in New York –
she was not home so I went to the park; a little old lady
said, “is that your dog?” and I said, “no but my aunt has one
just like it.” And I tried to take it home because it looked like
a stray but then the dog ran away and I ended up chasing after
the postwoman – she would not give me my mail unless I
showed her my license – guess who wrote a letter to me? My
auntie – here’s what she had to say; I’ll read it to you:

Well I’m here, you’re not mistaken
and I felt those impressions you were making
Wondered if this might be a place I could hang my hat
What would you think about that?

Old Einstein said if you’re in one place and somebody else
seems to be in another, the position and relation are a point of
negotiation along the space-time continuum.
And some other guy said if all that we do is just the
predetermined motion of atoms and electrons, how can we
know what we do is really true and not just our senses fooling
us – including fooling us
about the motion of atoms and electrons?
And that, my friends, is circular; or in fancier terms,
it’s tautological, highly-philosophical; really only means we
don’t know if we’re coming or going and this is evident in the
traffic patterns we see every day. So the next time somebody
bumps into you while you’re out on the go, just roll down
your window and say:

Well I’m here, you’re not mistaken
and I felt those impressions you were making
Wondered if this might be a place I could hang my hat
What would you think about that?

There’s one final point of confusion and that’s the Indian
doctrine of illusion, which says we’re all just a dream in the
mind of God – that’s a bit odd but I wish everybody’d stop
ranting and raving so loud until we figure out what happens
when we wake God up. Or maybe God wakes us up with a
license plate that says “IMTHMIMTHTIMTHTIMTHTIM…”
I am that I am. Or any one of a billion improbabilities that
happen each and every day – including the beating of a human
heart – maybe that’s one place we should start; maybe God
would say

Well I’m here, you’re not mistaken
and I felt those impressions you were making
Wondered if this might be a place I could hang my hat
What would you think about that?
Track Name: Willie's Coming Home
Well, I can’t say much about the life I lead –
did you ever spill
the cleanser in a knuckle bleed?
I’ve got a worn-out Ford with a broken bearing
and the only shoes I’ve got are the ones I’m wearing

But a little bit of heaven in a Greyhound bus
Oh Willie oh Willie
he’s coming home to us
Did you ever see the tears
when a mother says goodbye?
They're nothing like the tears
when my Willie says ‘hi’

Been three long years since I’ve even seen him
he was my prince and I was his kingdom
but we got no money and we got turned out
so I come up north to clean a rich man’s house

Now a little bit of heaven on a Greyhound bus
Oh Willie sweet Willie
don’t you make no fuss
momma’s got a brand new bed made up just for you
oh Willie sweet Willie
baby how you grew

I’ve got an upstairs flat down on Grand Boulevard
I ride the Detroit transit past the pig iron yard
and I’m ironing shirts and I’m ironing skirts
I’ve got to iron these clothes ‘til my bones all hurt

But a dollar a day gets put into this drawer
though I may play the numbers
if the spirit moves me more
Now what is the sense in crying out in the rain?
You’ve got to work for your dreams –
I’m dreaming Willie again

I can’t say much about the life I lead
but did you ever spill the cleanser in a knuckle bleed
I’ve got a worn-out Ford with a broken bearing
and the only shoes I’ve got are the ones I’m wearing

But Willie is coming home
Track Name: Duncan's Gun
I'm signing off this letter "Captain James E. Northrup,"
My commission earned of losses we've incurred
In these bloodiest days we've yet had to face at the Battle of Petersburg.

As to the sum total of my fears to date,
I have left them where the ground has turned red,
Where I laid myself low with my fallen brethren
Praying Johnny Reb would think me dead.

And herein you will find a Rebel pistol
Stolen from Virginia, I believe,
With an etching on the cylinder of a stagecoach robbery
And a reference to the Colt Arms Factory.

And I swear when I get back home to you,
Duncan's gun we'll polish clean and blue,
He said he was a bridegroom too
Until a Union sniper shot him through and through.

We'd heard of many giving their lives to the struggle
To save our mighty Union, my dear.
By the time we were called upon to give up our young,
I was a soldier in the New York Volunteers.

Our regiment made a bivouac all around Deer Bottom Flats
At the last Rebel stand at Fort Gregg
And I and two more snuck beneath the hostile fire
Not just to talk to Captain Duncan but to beg.

I had heard that he was a man of honor,
A term used in war but ill-defined,
And he stuck that pistol in the middle of my forehead,
And said, "Yankee, you're about to lose your mind."

But I being so resigned by the dirty stench of death,
Said only, "Then three thousand more shall die,
And by the click on the trigger of your black powder pistol,
How many sweethearts will be left behind to cry?"

And I swear when I get back home to you,
Duncan's gun we'll polish clean and blue,
He said he was a bridegroom too
Until a Union sniper shot him through and through.
Track Name: The Playing Field at Eton
I held your hand and the wind felt warm
on the playing field at Eton
and danced and spun and came undone
to the rhythm of your breathing
your hair was like a willow blown
your eyes were every season
I never loved to love your more
than when chasing you at Eton

I have a tear and it’s just for you
for days that were our fancy
when bitter need did not impede
our hearts forever dancing
when passion won over damage done
and mistrust was defeated
and chasing you was enough to do
on the playing field at Eton

So come with me and be my bride
that we might live as children
and we will find Heaven inside
this love we have been building
between ideal and what is real
I’d lay my life upon
my one true goal –
to feed your soul
on the playing field at Eton

oh loving arms, my prayer enfold
and send this dove above you
and by that Potter’s graceful art
send back a bowl for two
I’ll catch the dew to bring to you
our holy water sweetened
by the days we ran
on that softer land
at the playing field at Eton
Track Name: Jahwe
Jahwe, here is my song for you:
may You bend down
Your infinite grace
pray, may my faith prove true

Jahwe
I am a doubting man
but I saw the evergreen glow in the moonlight
and I’m putting my heart in Your hand

Jahwe
fortune can be so unkind
my life does not seem to be written
help me choose with a clearer mind

Jahwe
flowing inside of my veins
following the path of the tiniest sparrow
diving down through the trees when it rains

may the love in my heart
be the will You impart
amen

Jahwe
this is the truth I would try:
help me to find the kingdom of Heaven
looking back from my child’s own eyes

Jahwe
I hear You in the summer’s last sigh
may I find You somehow in the deepest of winters
when I can’t hear the graylag geese cry

Jahwe
the lilies neither toil nor spin
help me stop fighting the love I am seeking
by finding the joy that’s within

Jahwe
color my cheeks when they pale
help me somehow to lift up my burden
when I’m tired or hurting or frail
and may the love in my heart
be the will You impart

amen