Happy New Year: O Freedom – Fridays with Billy.

The policemen broke my door down
Dragged me from my bed
I asked them what was happening
They just ignored the words I said

They waved their guns in my face
Kept screaming out my name
Something terrible had happened
And somehow I was to blame

O freedom, what liberties are taken in thy name
In thy name
O freedom, what liberties are taken
What liberties are taken
What liberties are taken in thy name


May the new year that is so quickly bearing down upon us be one of greater freedom, not less; one of greater accountability, not less; one of greater justice, not less.

Then, perhaps, we will finally know greater peace. If we will it (to borrow a phrase), it is no dream.

full lyricsWhat is Fridays with Billy?



  1. dmf

     /  December 30, 2011

    for fridays and and days of recovery:


    I was a full-time house sitter. I had no title.

    I lived in a farmhouse, on a small hill,

    surrounded by 100 acres. All was still.

    The fields were in a government program

    that paid farmers to abandon them. Perfect.

    I overlooked Union Lake, a small lake,

    with a small ugly island in the middle–

    a sort of mistake, a cluster of dead elms

    encircled by marsh, resembling a smear

    of oil paint left to congeal on a palette.

    Pesticides farmers sprayed on their crops

    over the years had drained into the lake

    and made the water black, the fish shake.

    About the family that built the house

    I knew nothing. Built in 1865,

    perhaps they came after the Civil War?

    It was a simple house. Two stories.

    Six rooms. Every wall crooked.

    Before the house, Indians camped there.

    If you listened you could hear them.

    On Sunday afternoons in early June,

    the sun would burnish the interiors.

    Shafts of light fell across the rooms.

    An old gray cat sparred his mote-swirls.

    Up a tiny staircase, ladder steep,

    I was often found, adrift, half asleep.

    I forgot words, where I lived, my dreams.

    Mirrors around the house, those streams,

    ran out of gossip. The walls absorbed me.

    There was every indication I was safe there.

    Outside, children sang, sweetening the air:

    Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.

    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream . . .

    their fingers marrying each other with ease

    as the dark built its scaffolding above the trees.

    Peonies spoiled, dye ran from their centers.

    Often, the lawn was covered by a fine soft rain.

    Days disappeared as quickly as they came.

    The children receded. The moon rose.

    Cows paused on the wild green plain

    of all that land still left uncommercialized.

    Three years I had there. Alone. At peace.

    Often I awoke as the light began to cease.

    The house breathed and shook like a lover

    as I took for myself time needed to recover.

    • Thank you for this. I’ve just been reading in old journals, and I can feel in my bones the days that I might have read this and felt “this is what I need right now.”

      Lovely. Thank you.

  2. dmf

     /  December 30, 2011

  3. And don’t forget this gem: “This isn’t a court of justice, son/This is a court of law.”

    • Ah Billy. He’s just about the best there is, on so many levels. I love what he says about socialism: “It’s just organized compassion.” I’m not sure I agree 100%, but I like that approach to politics and humanity.