Carbon County / The Wealthiest of Men /
Gently, Like Water, Cracking Stone

Carbon County / Gently, Like Water, Cracking Stone
Timothy Mason 2003 All Rights Reserved

The Wealthiest of Men
words & music by Geoff Bartley 1997 & 2003
Published by Joshua Omar's Music BMI All Rights Reserved


Carbon County (first section)
Amidst the din & shriek, heavy metal gears strain. Load upon load of disemboweled earth emerges into daylight. Below, he stands smudged & blackened as coal-like as the four walls of carbon encasing him.

The Wealthiest of Men (first verse)
I'm sittin' in this hotel bar sippin' my third beer. I haven't had this much to drink since a bad night early last year when me & Mary almost split, thank God we patched that fight, 'cause I've got something just as bad to talk with her tonight.

Carbon County (second section)
His ax breaks the Paleozoic graphite. Its jagged edge shows crisp through smoky light. His sweat silently echoes its raw luster. Swollen hands & aching arms deliver another blow; the earth yields. "Chunks of black gold" the bosses say, yet all he's seen is small bits of silver coming his way.

Wealthiest of Men (second verse)
For 30 years at the job I work you will get your pension pay. And I've got just six months to go, starting yesterday. Then this letter on my desk. I brought it here to read it slow: "Dear John, with deep regrets, afraid we have to let you go."

Carbon County (third section)
Jaw sets hard. Eyes turn cold. He swallows the thought. His body, now a machine, burns, galvanizing the soot into his pores. Minutes, hours, days... all the same when the only fuel is Will & Pride.

Wealthiest of Men (first chorus)
For 29 years & six months I was steady as a rock. Gave everything they asked & more, now look at what I've got! I'd sell everything I own to have my thirty years again. If I could sell them greed I'd be the wealthiest of men!

Carbon County (fourth section)
Emerging from the pit like Vulcan, the lame God who works the forge, he blinks in the sun & stills himself. Mortality is certain. Regaining humanity takes time & distance.

Wealthiest of Men (third verse)
Nobody sees a sucker punch; and ain't that just like life! So I came in here lookin' for the words to tell my wife. She'll have to go to work until I find another job, & reconcile inside my head the way that we've been robbed.

Carbon County (fifth section)
The path home crosses a brook, weaves among a stand of trees. Only when the wind brushes the leaves does he pause to let it brush his soul.

Wealthiest of Men (fourth verse)
So one last round for courage, then it's time to go. As soon as Mary smells the beer & sees my face she'll know. That little bit she's got saved up won't get us very far. Show me who did this to me! Point out who they are!

Carbon County (sixth section)
A grim smile whispers his thanks for nature's forgiveness. Young in this momentary wilderness he throws back his head & laughs, owning himself again he relishes this sweet reminder of life's priorities. The storefront is the company's, but he will give them some extra copper today for a pocketful of hard sweet candy.

Wealthiest of Men (second & third choruses)
For 29 years & six months I was steady as a rock. Gave everything they asked & more, now look at what I've got! I'd sell everything I own to have my thirty years again. If I could sell them greed I'd be the wealthiest of men! For 29 years & six months I was steady as a rock! Gave 'em everything they asked & more, now look at what I've got! I'd sell everything I own to have my thirty years again. If I could sell them greed I'd be the wealthiest of men! If I could sell them greed I'd be...

Gently, Like Water, Cracking Stone
"It is from numberless, diverse acts of courage & belief that human history is shaped. Each time a person takes a stand for an ideal, or acts to improve the lots of others, or strikes out against injustice, that person sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy & daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression & resistance." That was first spoken by Robert Kennedy at the University of Capetown in South Africa in 1966. Gently, like water, cracking stone, the droplet finds the granite's fault & changes the face of the mountain with persistence & patience. "Man, that joke just ain't funny." The locker room was silent as he shut the door behind him, Gently, like water, cracking stone.



Bones and Breath


track 10

Tim; reads
Geoff; vocal, acoustic guitar, Fender bass


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