"ST. PAUL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH BLUES"
By La Dispute
Stained-glass and the choir sing out that strong and ceaseless chorus here.
So sweet the voices, sweep like leaves into the street.
On Eastern, a celebration carried on for God and hope and refuge
To keep each other, life; give shelter from the storm. And keep warm.
The congregation gathers outside in the parking lot, each service done
They keep the old hymn rolling on and on and
I see the scene in color each day driving out to Eastown,
That old abandoned church and have I gone the same sad way?
Have I gone the same sad way?
Through the sixties flourished and the seventies in flux.
The eighties fluctuate each year unclear of when the money would dry up.
And when the nineties violent crime and rising unemployment rates came by
That parking lot grew dim and thin of sinners and saints
Until the voices, unceasing, slowly faded to black
Until the weeds stormed the concrete from unattended cracks.
It had to know, had to feel that glory never coming back,
Like I could feel it when the passion left, the last of what I had,
It had to know like I knew.
And I can’t find it still.
Might not ever.
Ten years now standing vacant.
Ten years on empty, maybe more.
Once held the faith of hundreds,
Soon one more cell phone store.
For years they gathered here
Inside the building sound and true
To sing their praises to a god that gave them hope
To carry on, to carry through.
So, I’ve been thinking about that,
Sometimes go slow when I drive by,
How a home of stone and a house so holy
Grows so empty over time.
What gave those people purpose
Past death approaching constantly
Now left to crumble slowly,
Now left to wither with the weeds.
Now left to ice and vandals,
The advent candles long since gone,
The old foundation shifting hard,
The concrete overgrown, but
That stained-glass window sits untouched amongst the brickwork worn,
A symbol of the beauty only perfect at that moment we were born.
And just the other day I swear I saw a man there
Pulling weeds out of the concrete, sweeping up and patching cracks,
I saw him lift a rag to wash the years of filth from off those windows.
Made me wonder if there’s anyone like that for you and me and
Anybody else who broke and lost hope.
This song is about this grand church that draws in people from everywhere in the community, a loving and pious congregation. As time wears on, people cease to attend the church and slowly the church crumbles and is left neglected on its own. The narrator of the story sees this the same way he sees his own life, once so happy and bright, and now left neglected with nobody, including himself, caring to aid in repair. One day as he drives by the church, he sees a man there who is fixing up the place, and he thinks Maybe someone will come into my life to save me.
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.