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by Zack Hemsey

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I am icon I am that pictured in those tales to song I am that which from the brink responds I bring unrest when the seas have calmed I am legend, I am fool I am one of many, I am under no rule I am peasant, I am loon I’m disparaged, I’m consumed I’m most certainly confused Am I seeing something real or is it smoke? Am I on the ground or am I hung without a rope? And is this fantasy or from the dream have I awoke? Am I stead on the path or am I clinging onto hope? Am I? If you gather all the teachings that the wise have told Compile every scripture from the books of old And muse upon the meaning of the truths you’ve sewn You will germinate the mind but the fields won’t grow This is the high of low This is the friend turned foe This is what the light can’t show If you stand still don’t expect the Earth will slow See that every wind up plateaus If you want a seed to rise up, let go The greatest tragedy as every breath takes toll Is to live a life and never witness depth of soul Snake inside the rocks, your tale you will consume Liberate the mind but lock the body in a groove Know that sedentary can be tantamount to tomb This is why a coma patient must be regularly moved In the quest for plenty, know the paths are many But few will lead you past the regions where the past is buried Giving is the levee that will bound a man’s greed Prison is the dwelling when you take no leave Faster than a sparrow flies, trap the cupid by surprise Grab his bow and arrow and shoot straight into the empty sky You can spend eternity immersed in what’s inside But if you’re searching for a purpose then no purpose will you find I am icon I am that vision, I am fate transformed I am that allegiance to the sword you’ve sworn I am false idol, I am fraud Ratchet down disaster like a phoenix in decline Imagined up in rapture, but no miracle am I If you sing inside a cavern like canaries in a mine Know indulgence is a hazard so be wary with your time To mean something, we live and we strive for it To feel something, we fight and survive for it To love something, we scream out and cry for it But tell me now are you willing to die for it? Take of what may come as you lay on the line for it? Armored at the core, at the ready and primed for it? Breach the battleground with the courage to drive for it? And to know the fundamentals of being alive? Am I?
The Runner 04:35
He was living his life in a fog Oblivion’s welcoming arms His view of society marred No perception of forces at large Quite the misfit and always on guard In his mind rang a silent alarm And so lays the ground of a future that waits When you feel like you ain’t where you are Out of control his compulsion to flee Absent of value as best he could see As from within so without unto thee Knew he’d strike out on his own eventually And so it would be Patience no virtue amid certainty Fortune unknown but determinedly On the day when he had turned twenty three He decided to leave He was gone The freedom was like an addiction he soared on a glorious high Living to him was a mission devoid of objective in mind He’d move at the drop of a dime with no thinking or questioning why Never developed attachment to things all would get left behind This was the method that patterned his ways Perpetual motion without any reins No repercussions, no piper to pay No obligation to come into play Nothing to weigh No one to sway No inhibition or stress to allay “No benefit to the bonded” he’d say “So die on the morrow but live for this day” Lone as the wolf strays he remained one in kind A habit of force made as he wade far and wide Now onwards and upwards, no grind If you don’t seek you can’t find Devil-may-care, well no devil compared He was onto one hell of a ride He was gone Then runner The runner The runner The runner Brick by brick, stone by stone Block by block, home by home Bridge by bridge, zone by zone Piece by piece, forged his own path Years come and gone Sites come upon Miles drifted on Wounds licked and gnawed Fate hemmed and hawed Yet this single flaw Fulfillment he never saw Running from guilt and from sorrow disguised and from things insecurity hides Running from doubt and the pressure to cope with no semblance of hope on the rise Running from heartbreak and love Running from who he had failed to become Running from fear he soon came to realize He was left all alone with but words of the wise And so on the day when our passage entwined Now long in the tooth at the end of his line He said “friend, go yonder, but bear this in mind In this world, know one truth: you can’t run from time”
I used to hear them say of bad news, when it rains then it pours Fitting for a generation yearning out for more A story of the ancients etched in relics from before Faded echoes that survive this vicious cycle that we mourn No telling how much pain a people can ignore How much heartache can communities endure? How much of the problem is systemic and ensured? How much profit over people can executives procure? Tension on my conscience, feel it wrenching at the core The walls are closing in, I need an exit to explore When precious opportunity comes knocking at the door Will you dive into the waters or keep standing at the shore? Long lost but I have found The bright of day, the here and now The ways of old are out of view Before I go, I’m waiting for you This is child’s play indeed Realization of wants, hopes, and dreams Good intentions tangled with vines, thorns, and weeds Racing through a thicket that blinds, rakes, bleeds Anxious in our slumber, we moan, beg, and plead The cart’s before the horse but the eyes don’t perceive Monster in the flesh that the mind won’t believe And few among us left with the courage to come clean I know the sigh of subsisting without the means Aim that’s off the mark when you drifted by mere degrees The hunt for explanations and answers we all need I’ve come to find the truth is much stranger than what it seems Long lost but I have found The bright of day, the here and now The ways of old are out of view Before I go, I’m waiting for you Lost but not forgotten In our struggle no stopping until it’s found Till dawn has cleared the haze and the bright of the day surrounds No death before dishonor, no reason for guilt to shroud No need to check the records, my signature’s in the sound To capture that potential one seizes the pain Conquers the doubt and remains up though the weight of it hangs down You’re thinking on the stage but you’re standing inside the crowd Leap off the precipice of change for the moment that’s right now
Monuments atop the summit of the mind But stone pillars turn to dust when attention shines That granite chips when the point of observation pries Them cornerstones are prone to crumble right before our eyes Now that’s the truth in lies Grave deceptions are but servants of the wise Deluded in our grandeur like a fool that’s in disguise But strip away the surface and reveal the great divide Between the ornaments of culture and the meaning of our lives Before we lay in ash I feel ascension giving way at last Into the valley once more now we go Into the gray, into the ground down below You can search the afterlife for pearly gates But only manner of the earth can serve to wipe the slate Reject what’s given or accept it, that’s the choice you make But destinations are determined by the steps we take So make that great escape That fixed belief it will fracture before it changes shape That chain holds firm up until it shatters amidst the ties you break Don’t root your feet or you’ll never manage to slide and shift your weight Turn about face and imagine what can happen, see that’s the twist of fate They found the treasure but their pockets are full of toys And their victors of status but of true spoils they can’t enjoy Although no man’s an island within many of them exists a void And they will forever forfeit passage across the bridge that they’ve destroyed In the hollow of our hands we survive Drifting through the meadow next to mountains in the sky No method to the madness but in madness they will climb Why settle in the heavens when the river’s in decline To arrive is to wither and erode To rest upon your laurels is to shrivel to the bone To catch the unexpected ditch the devil that you know And if you get to where you’re going then there’s nowhere left to go Before we lay in ash I feel ascension giving way at last Into the valley once more now we go Into the gray, into the ground down below
Soothsayer 06:09
Soothsayer, can you save them? Can you see the streets in blood? The remnants of your name? Soothsayer, can you save them? I had heard of her gift Off the road from nowhere Divine in her sight Of hereafter aware A child of no tricks So the ravings declared This patron looked right “Beyond that far hill in a house she lives there” So there I’ll go There I go A crowd was in form, believers in prayer Shouts of “die witch” amidst the fanfare A mere 14, her look was of despair This gift seemed more of a curse that she bears And she spoke of how there is much that’s unknown That she sees but part of a future unfold She speaks of only the things that she’s shown With what becomes of it she’s not in control But one by one they told her of their plight They begged her to give of her knowledge and insight With poise she imparted her visions of foresight But more fickle is the finger of fate than she’d like Soothsayer Soothsayer Soothsayer Can you see the way? May these words bring you peace And now, go behold of what will come to be Soothsayer, can you change this? Can you see the coming flood? The warring in your name? Soothsayer, can you change this? By week’s end her legend was tenfold The news of the heavenly oracle took hold I stood in her audience, now at the crossroads As swarms had developed surrounding her small home Then I spoke, not of to be, but what’s been And warned of the slippery slope that she slid That I see an era of violence that brims And implored she consider this choice that I give Soothsayer All that will, let it be Soothsayer All that is, none can see Soothsayer Let these words set you free And now give this leave and come away with me Soothsayer Can you save them? Soothsayer Can you save us?
Road to riches The motive was to work till a fortune of size grew With which a life of leisure by reason would ensue From which no turn of hardship would threaten to undo To sacrifice the short to invest in the long view And so it went, the hours and weekends they pushed through A family full of ghosts but the payoff would yield huge Till decades down the line this epiphany stung true They’d raised their worth along with a son that they never knew They ride, they ride They chasing crescents in the sky but they hold only a vision They ride They riding toward the sheen of an image They ride that road to riches Right past a road of riches Road to riches They’d gather at the park always after class Where troubles of the youth never seem to last And fantasize of things that they hoped to have How they would all be famous signing autographs They’d let out a laugh But one boy among ‘em, this meant more than he showed 'Cause absentee parents always left him alone So love and adoration wasn’t something he’d known And he was adamant that someday he would have it in droves And so it was, celebrity life came to pass With followers and all the acclaim that you could ask But something was amiss, it still eluded his grasp He missed belonging like those days at the park that he’d had They ride, they ride They chasing crescents in the sky but they grasp only the vision They ride They riding toward the sheen of an image They ride their road to riches Right past this road of riches They ride Only they hold a vision Just an image They ride, they ride Riding the road to riches They ride, they ride Just an image Chasing crescents in the sky They’re riding a road to riches I ride, I ride I’m riding that road of riches They ride for that pot of gold As they’re blinded by their obsession Racing toward a rainbow engaged in a fool’s errand Dogged in pursuit there’s no altering their perception Till they spin out at the bend and they wake up inside the trenches And this the moral them fables had failed to mention Many fall to ruin succeeding in their objectives Realized opportunities flourish among the wreckage When goals are selected, but methods are ignored When misaligned incentives undermine a greater cause When shadows of perspective cloak the end you’re working towards Like movements of the heavens that the senses don’t regard These moments pass ‘em by, their own precession of the stars So put to work all the lessons that you can draw To reach out for the moon let it capture you from afar As seams of perfection are sewn with the silk of flaws The riches that you seek are existent right where you are
Law hangs by a thread Hate grows when it’s fed Though blue skies overhead The sun shines on the dead And blight creeps up through the beds On calm winds plague can descend And paradise turns on its head When brutality looms and upends We’re always but steps from that edge Tottering steps off that ledge You can stare off, deny and pretend But reality snaps when you’ve bled The seat of true power holds, beyond the throne The seed that in man corrodes, beyond the throne The crown of supreme control, beyond the throne Commands and consumes you whole, beyond the throne Too eager to be bossed Too eager with no thought Too willing to be bought We’re too willing to ease off These are the lines that we cross Open your eyes or you’ll lose what you’ve caught Many a man who have gone where we walk Ended up winding through the killing fields lost The seat of true power holds, beyond the throne The seed that in man corrodes, beyond the throne The crown of supreme control, beyond the throne Commands and consumes you whole, beyond the throne No mercy is laid When cancer invades When trust that you gave Returns and betrays This is the bed that they made This the result when grit wanes This the effect when nerve fades If you lay down your sword then be slain And I see the desire in your veins I share the resolve you maintain I feel the dominion you crave But I refuse the kingdom you claim As wars wage and lives are disposed Beware of the frame of mind you impose 'Cause I’ve seen the face ascendancy shows And none can assuage the hunger that grows Insidious as it unfolds Drunk in a poisonous hold This is the trade when you take to that throne The power commands but it’s you it controls The seat of true power holds, beyond the throne The seed that in man corrodes, beyond the throne The crown of supreme control, beyond the throne Commands and consumes you whole, beyond the throne The seat of true power holds The seed that in man corrodes The crown of supreme control Commands and consumes you whole That absolute rule forbodes That trap that entombs the soul Have mind to forsake what’s shown Have will to disown Go beyond the throne Beyond the throne Beyond the throne Beyond the throne Beyond the throne The more you feed the black hole The more it takes to control The more you feed the black hole The more it takes and controls
The sun was scattered through the colored glass The floor was stained as light enveloped in a bath And shadows on the wall from piles of books were cast With rows that formed an aisle in through which I passed These the quarters of a recluse whom I’d come to ask About the origin of wisdom he was said to have To get the story of “the man who knows more than any”, or so I read He welcomed me to sit with affection and then he said: “Since I was seven I’ve traveled the globe through words Set on a mission to devour all I could learn I’ve studied the writings of the greatest minds you’ve heard Discovered the tenets that the finest thinkers observed The more I gained, the more that I sought to earn The more I attained, the hotter the fire burned With every book I finished another was there to serve For every text I read there were pages still left to turn I’ve learned from all the migrants and drifters to whom I’d listen Philosophers and soldiers whose knowledge I would solicit I know histories of nations I’ll never have chance to visit Complexities of science and language with great precision But in the end I’ve seen nothing of what’s been given This life that I’ve employed, while I love it, it has its limits The failing I regret, though it’s painful, I must admit it For everything I know of this world, I never lived it” A silence hung for a moment’s thought As echoes from the room decayed and tapered off And there we sat reflecting, was it all for naught? Until I spoke in earnest with this brief remark I said that “while it’s evident your knowledge is rivaled by much shrewdness I’ve never met a man with such wisdom who’s so foolish” Then he grinned and he chuckled and asked if I Would speak on what I’d seen through my travels, so I replied: “I’ve seen the treasure that waits for a man to find I’ve seen the consequence when the sun and the moon combine I’ve seen the peaks of mountains that reach out and touch the sky The struggle to survive and the desert where dreams have died I’ve seen the best and the worst that we try to hide The salt of the earth and the evil of humankind I’ve seen the wrecked and ravaged and scavengers rummage through debris And those that searched in hope, finding meaning where none once used to be And some that stormed the beaches Some that pledged allegiance Some that scorched the earth for motives that they don’t agree with Seen some get lost among the current of their grievance While the tide of death and birth left some speechless I’ve seen love bring some to their knees And some lift hearts when they smile for no reason I’ve seen fairytale endings to believe in And now I see a man who’d see the same if he’d but seize it”
No man alive this planet can illuminate your path No guide that came before can show the way beyond the pass No footprints on the trail for you to follow in the tracks For you to make it there you have to leave without the map And no amount of pleading can release you from the trap There’s no degree of toil that can serve to bridge the gap You can trek across the plains without much weight upon your back But if you’re tortured in your mind, you will crumble from the facts So flee the shelter for the storm before the caves collapse I’ve stood among them like a ghost they fail to recognize Amidst the cattle and the wolves that roam the countryside Stood between the trenches where the sound of battle cried Where reason went to die along the ground where Hell and Earth collide And now I stand where fortune shifts and channels open wide Where essence flows within these rivers under open sky I’m in that place where few have been though many tried So if you stand for something, stand for something more than simply standing by This that gem to find This that certain kind This the truth that hides This is that great divide Break out from that tomb That empty room I’ve been inside No method, no plans No direction to advance Just step across that line that’s in the sand This is the land of no man


released November 4, 2016

Digital booklet included with album purchase.

Music, Lyrics, Production, and Vocals by Zack Hemsey
Additional Vocals on Tracks 3, 4, and 6 by Heather Hemsey
Published by Zack Hemsey Publishing (ASCAP)

Album Mixed by Zack Hemsey
Album Mastered by Lou Hemsey
Artwork & Design by Omead Afshari


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Zack Hemsey New York, New York

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