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Original Lyrics

Welcome to the Litt & Alpher Virtual Songbook — an ever-expanding collection of original cabaret songs.

A Brooklyn Lullaby

The shopkeeper turns off his neon light.
Mothers and children kiss good-night.
The subway conductor cries, "All aboard for Dreamland!"
An off-duty cabbie cruises by,
Dreaming of hot corned beef on rye —
So sleep, my sweet one, rockabye.

An alley-cat dozes on the stoop;
The pigeons are safe in their pigeon coop.
A barge on the river glides silently to Dreamland.
A mouse in the wall eats a cold French fry;
Somewhere a dog bays at the sky;
So sleep, my sweet one, rockabye.

The Italian baker kneads his dough
And lights his fire so
That when the night has passed,
We'll have warm bread to break our fast.

All of the neighbors are safe at home.
The churchbells are quiet in the onion dome.
The freight elevator creaks up its shaft to Dreamland.
Under the moon's unblinking eye,
All Brooklyn sings a lullaby,
So sleep, my sweet one, rockabye,
So sleep, my sweet one, rockabye.

© Jennie Litt, 7 September 2008

Christmas In The Doghouse

They tell me Christmas time is when
There's peace on earth, good will to men,
When the fireplace crackles with a fat Yule log,
And Santa brings a treat for a very good dog.
So what am I doing out here in the snow,
Where clouds hide the moon and cold winds blow,
Like a canine Henry D. Thoreau
Shivering in his log house,
Spending Christmas in the doghouse?

It was odd when the family planted
A tree on the living-room rug,
And draped it with baubles and tinsel
And lights you can plug and unplug.
Underneath it, they spread out a blanket
And arranged, in a tableau vivant,
Ken and Barbie, a star, and a chew toy
Which they called "le divine enfant."
Well, I know what to do on the trunk of a tree;
And every toy belongs to me!

Oh, Christmas in the doghouse:
I'm feelin' so blue!
Christmas in the doghouse:
Tell me, what did I do?

I was home with my mistress last Wednesday
When up drove a delivery van
Bringing mistletoe, spruce boughs, and holly,
And a hunky delivery man.
He hung up a mistletoe garland
And anchored it firmly in place.
Then, without even making the play sign,
Mistress bit him right smack in the face!
Who'd've thought Mistress could've been so poorly trained?
I could see that they'd both have to be restrained.

Oh, Christmas in the doghouse:
I'm feelin' so blue!
Christmas in the doghouse:
Tell me, what did I do?

Out here in my lonesome cabana
I can hear them singing carols 'round the old piana.
While they're spreading cheer,
I am shedding a tear,
Chained up in the yard.
Will they send a Christmas card?

Last night I averted a break-in
While the fam'ly was sleeping in bed.
A burglar and eight tiny reindeer
Parked a sleigh on the roof overhead.
The burglar sang out o'er the rooftops:
"Happy Christmas to all, ho ho ho!"
Then he started to climb down the chimney
While I lay there in wait down below.
Well, I chased that intruder back up to the roof,
And scattered those deer with a fearsome woof!

Oh, Christmas in the doghouse:
I'm feelin' so blue!
Christmas in the doghouse:
Tell me, what did I do?

My mis'ry I'm not so engrossed in
That I can't smell pies a-bakin' or a turkey roastin'.
While they're decking the halls,
I'm here freezing my balls,
Knee-deep in a drift.
What a lovely Christmas gift!

Oh, Christmas in the doghouse:
Tell me, what was my sin?
Christmas in the doghouse:
Wait — they're calling me in!
(spoken) Come on in, Fido!  Good boy! 
(sung) No more Christmas in the doghouse for me!

© Jennie Litt, 14 December 2005; revised 4 November 2008

Clarity, Meaning, and Sense

What did I learn at songwriting school?
Teacher said, "Cats, there's just one rule:
A songwriter's bag is communicatin' —
Not rusty gatin'.
So remember, when you commence:
Make sense.

Clarity, sense, and meaning.
Clarity, meaning, and sense.
Don't keep your listeners in suspense:
Clarity, meaning, and sense."

Teacher said, "Your song ain't better for
Some cornball, jive-ass metaphor.
Clarity, sense, and meaning's enough:
Who needs fancy stuff?
Cats'll dig you: Say what you mean.
Come clean.

Clarity, sense, and meaning.
Clarity, meaning, and sense.
Quit that noodlin'!  Off the fence!
Clarity, meaning, and sense.

What exactly you try'n'a say?
You got the blues?  Blew your fuse?
If you're making 'em guess,
You got no message, Jack:
You got a mess."

Teacher said, "Ain't problematical
If your lyric is grammatical.
Cats'll fall out when they collar your jive;
Your song will survive.
And if that ain't where your song is at —
Then scat!


Clarity, sense, and meaning.
Clarity, meaning, and sense.
Got no more wisdom to dispense:
Clarity, meaning, and sense.
Clarity, meaning, and sense.
Clarity, meaning, and sense."

© Jennie Litt, 9 December 2006

The Cosmic Perspective

Consider the universe:
Infinite or finite?  No one knows.
Consider, now, the atoms
Which compose its matter.
Here, densely packed;
There, just a smatter-
Ing: a moon; a rocketship; a rose.

Of atoms
Dancing cotillions
Incomprehensibly complex and far.
They break apart and cluster
Till suddenly, there you are,
For an eyeblink in time,
With your singular luster.
You.  A snowflake.  A star.

Consider this miracle: predictable? May be. here tonight together
For an eyeblink.s eyeblink.
My atoms; yours. 
Let.s toast the magic
Of this random stroke of destiny.

Of atoms
Dancing cotillions
Incomprehensibly complex and far.
They break apart and cluster
Till suddenly, there you are,
For an eyeblink in time,
With your singular luster.
You.  A snowflake.  A star.

(piano solo)

You.  A snowflake.  A star.

© Jennie Litt, 21 January 2010


I live alone — I work alone —
Just me, myself, and I.
For this home-based telecommuter,
Sometimes days or weeks go by
Before I see another human being.
But then again, it all depends
On exactly what you mean by "seeing;"
Because, in fact, I'm surrounded by friends!

Mr. Coffee — Flap Jack — Marge O'Rynn — Yoko Egg.
Pattie O'Furniture — Eric N. Dishning — Lynn Oleum — Rufus Leakey.
Shopping Liz — Jim Shoes — Fanny Pack — Mahatma Coat.
Otto Mobile — Allen Wrench — Jimmy DeLock — Doris Busted.

Old friends and dear and true.
Deservedly famous for sticking like glue.
Without them, what in the hell would I do?
My friends!

Dot Com — Flo Chart — Phoebe Doubled — Millie O'Naire.
Adam Up — Annette Loss — Max Tout — Selma Shirt.
Di Version — Beth Tub — Dee Caff — Luke Warm.
Bess Try — Helena Handbasket — Li Po Faith — Carrie On.

Available on demand.
Deservedly famous for lending a hand.
Without them, our lives would be woefully bland — 
Our friends!

Manya Dreamoff — Willy Show —  . . . [or: Mike Umpany] — Mark N. Time.
Rich Dessert — Sig Arette — Vi Brator — Jack Off.
James Piral — Auntie Depressant — Noel Ettup — Kent Barrett.
Dorcas Hours — Hans Trembling — Barb Iturates — Sue Aside.

They're what the Lord intends.
Deservedly famous for outlasting trends.
They rank Number One on my list of Top Tens,
Those stalwart defenders on whom one depends;
So let's hear a chorus of rousing "Amens!"
For friends — friends — friends — friends — friends!

© Jennie Litt, 28 November 2005, revised 2/5/06

Going Nowhere Fast

On the nineteenth floor, behind a cubicle wall,
A young man crunched numbers as his life sped past
When a voice inside him—a voice still and small—
Whispered, "Buddy, you're going nowhere fast."
"Shut up!" yelled the young man,
And ran to the gym,
Where the pounding beat of a thousand feet
Of yuppies toned and trim
Made that still, small voice 
Sound faraway and dim.

Man, did he work out!
(Stepper, circuit training, crunches.)
Awesome six-pack, dude!
(Push-ups, free weights, Power Yoga.)
Rocking out to his iPod, rock-climbing the wall;
Running laps while downloading iPhone apps.
He was fit!  He was chiseled!  Titanium-assed!
(voice) "Dude, you're going nowhere fast."

Five, six hours each day!
His girlfriend staged an intervention:
"Got to be here now,
Love each moment of the journey!"
But his trainer was waiting; he ran for the train.
Later on, he came home and found her gone.
"Aahh, she wasn't the first and she won't be the last;
We were going nowhere fast."

He took Pilates, Dance-arobics, 
Afro-Latin Groove.
But the more he'd move
The more that still, small voice would disapprove.
In Spinning class, it told him,
"You're spinning your wheels."
On the treadmill, it told him,
"You're stuck on a treadmill."
Lifting weights, the voice said,
"You're carrying a load."
In Step class, however many steps he amassed,
It said, "You're going nowhere fast."

"Trainer, help me, please!"
He was begging.  She said, "Chill, dude,
It.s a mere plateau.
Push that heart-rate to the peak zone."
So he turned up the incline, resistance, and speed.
Heart attack! He fell off the NordicTrak.
There was no tunnel, no white light.  Breathing his last,
He was going nowhere fast.

Got to be here now,
Love each moment of the journey.
Right here and right now,
This is it, the only journey.
Seeker or guru—don't matter who you may be:
Make a choice to heed that still, small voice.
Got to live each minute as if it's your last:
Life goes by so awf'ly fast.
Life goes by so awf'ly fast.
Life goes by so awf'ly fast.
Life goes by so—


© Jennie Litt, 15 January 2010 

The Embryos' Lament

(sung) Hush, little baby: I got my wish
The day you were conceived in a Petri dish —
Along with your eleven sibs,
Now frozen like leftover barbecued ribs.
(spoken) Acme Cryopreservation Labs, Norwalk, Connecticut:
(sung) The best storage money can buy.
So tell me why
Each night I hear them cry . . .

"Mama, oh Mama, it's dark and cold!
Mama, we're only three days old!
Mama, oh Mama, it's cold and dark!
Mama, was it some chance remark
That made you choose some other son or daughter?
No warm breast, just some ice-water
From the cold refrigerator door.
Oh, what were we cultured for?!

Mama, oh Mama, we're lonely and sad!
Our tender bodies all unclad.
Mama, oh Mama, we're sad and alone!
Don't even have a chaperone
To soothe our freezer-burn or tell a story —
Just a tech on routine inventory.
Who'd've thought eleven blobs of cells
Could suffer such personal hells?

Oh, pity us, by-products on ice,  à la carte,
Of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, or ART,
With lives that were scripted by Jean-Paul Sartre!
We never depart;
We never arrive.
Oh, tell us: Are we alive?

Mama, oh Mama, it's cold and dark!
Existence for us is a question mark.
How will the course of our lives unfold?
Will we be born?  Will we grow old?
Life's flowing river, will we take our part in?
Or pass eternity in an egg carton?
Will life's divine spark burn, or stay at minus-twelve degrees?
The lab technician's here again.  For God's sake, hear our pleas!"
He reaches in and grabs the frozen peas.

© Jennie Litt, 20 September 2007

The Harper's Life

Oh, I travel the hamlets and towns around—
Just a harper a-harpin' for bread and meat—
And I stop in the squares and my harp I sound
Till the townsfolk are strathspeying in the street,
With a round and a round and a roundelay.

Or I set myself up at a country fair
And invent a fresh tune for each man and maid.
Then at eventide, seek I, with harp and mare,
For a house where they practice the brewer's trade.
With a round and a round and a roundelay,
Around, around.

Singing, oh, the itinerant harper's life:
Just a harp and a horse and a hunting knife,
And a song for the publican and his wife
In exchange for a pint or three—
Oh, the harper's life for me!

When the harvest is in and the days grow short
And the harpstrings grow stiff in the williwaw,
Then it's welcome I am at Lord Robert's court,
And my mare winters warm on a bed of straw.
With a round and a round and a roundelay.

Here's a jig for my lord and his Lady Anne,
And a jig for the little ones in long clothes,
And a jig for their nursemaid, whose charms no man
Can resist, but she turns up her haughty nose.
With a round and a round and a roundelay,
Around, around.

Singing, oh, the itinerant harper's life,
And a horse that can bear me away from strife,
And a song for the publican and his wife
And the barmaid-a ripe one, she!
Oh, the harper's life for me!

Oh, I travel the hamlets and towns around,
Just a-harpin' for townsfolk the livelong day.
But the music inside me's a sweeter sound,
And to follow I must, though I lose my way,
With a round and a round and a roundelay.

And I play for the hills, and the rills a-gush,
And I play for the owl and the oriole,
And I care not a whit for a nursemaid's blush
Nor companionship with any living soul.
With a round and a round and a roundelay,
Around, around.

Singing, oh, the itinerant harper's life:
Just a harp and a horse and a hunting knife.
I avow that I haven't a care in life!
As the zephyr blows sweet and free,
Oh, the harper's life for me!

But the harvest is in and the days grow short
And the harpstrings grow stiff and my fingers numb,
And I find myself back at Lord Robert's court—
But determined this time I shall not succumb.
With a round and a round and a roundelay.

And the little ones' nursemaid, she begs and pleads.
And the little ones' nursemaid, she'll have her way.
And the little ones' nursemaid, it's I she leads
To the altar on this, our wedding day.
With a round and a round and a roundelay,
Around, around.

Singing, oh, the itinerant harper's life!
Just a caravan snug and Pegeen, my wife,
And our wee ones a-tootling the flute and fife,
Raggle-taggle and gypsy-free—
Oh, the harper's life for me!

© Jennie Litt, 28 March 2009

He Drives Me

I was an auto automaton:
I went where I was steered;
That's how they engineered me.
No beauty queen, but not a car you'd vomit on:
A neutral shade of beige.
I ran fine for my age.
My life was anything but glamorous.
But since they installed my driver-recognition chip,
You can't blame me for feeling amorous!

Now only one man can drive me,
Open my doors,
Start my engine throbbing
Like a man-o'-war's.
So key in that passcode,
Baby, I'm yours!
He's my "Authorized User"!

And those commands he gives me
Knock me dead.
He says, "Lights," and my headlamps
Blush cherry red;
He says, "Doors," and I open
My back door instead.
Jump inside, you big bruiser!

Oh, when he pumps my tank,
Gives my fender a spank —
I'll be perfectly frank:
Just want to cry, "Thank you!  My gashole belongs to you, master!
Oh, drive me fast — drive me faster!"

So won't you stamp on my pedal,
Make me kiss your shoe,
Drive me mad — to distraction — 
Drive me home with you.
There is nothing whatever
That I would not do
For my Authorized User!

'Cause only one man can drive me!
And he drives me,
Ooh, he drives me,
Mmm, he drives me . . . wild!

Every Saturday morning
He calls to arrange
Logistical details
For a date with his ange-
L.  I say, "Telecom error:
Cell phone out of range."
I'll be damned if he screws her!

I spend my nights plotting
How I might contrive
"Accident'ly" to run this chick
Down in the drive.
I can hear him shriek, "Margot!
Are you still alive?!"
I'd do more than just bruise her!

I never used to care;
Now I don't want to share
Him with that French au pair.
I'm tangled in love's snare;
Love's exquisite pain has me reeling.
Oh, was I happier not feeling . . . ?

So let me fasten your seatbelt;
Hand over the key.
I'll lock the doors and the windows,
Play your fav'rite CD.
Destination: Paradise —
Leave the driving to me.
Ride the Paradise cruiser!

 'Cause only one car can drive you!
And I'll drive you,
Ooh, I'll drive you,
Mmm, I'll drive you . . . wild!

© 2005 Jennie Litt & David Alpher

Hello In There

Hello in there.
I feel you as you grow in there:
A tiny elf,
Your own unique unfolding self.

Who will you be
When you're no longer part of me?
What will you sing
As you go forth a-journeying?

A world of wonders waits for you:
A willow tree, a kiss,
A plum, the moon, a melody,
Your child inside — like this.

Hello in there.
Keep baking nice and slow in there.
Compose yourself:
Each perfect part in place.
Sweet miracle! —
To meet you face to face.

© 27 January 2008, Jennie Litt


When you're hot, you're hot:
Then you go with the flow,
You swing a hole in one,
Your crowd is S.R.O.
You play an Oscar scene
In one perfect take. 
Models envy your legs.
You can spot the fake.

You snag that lipstick right in front of the store detective.
With so many offers, you can be selective —
Gives you perspective!

You make the deadline — just.
They want a fourth encore.
You play a seven-letter word
On a triple-word score.
You nail that high B-flat.
You make the basket — swish!
You score a vintage Jag-
Uar in mint condish.

You sell that hot stock high, 
And you buy the next hot stock low.
When you're hot you're hot,
And when you're not, you're not —
And you know.

When you're hot, you're hot.
You can see in the dark.
You slam every pitch
Clear out of the park.
Your pad is wall-to-wall babes.
You bite your thumb at fate.
You wipe the floor with the Veep
At the big debate.

You hit the jackpot, you maintain that third erection,
You bring down the Mafia — who needs witness protection?
You win the election!

You can suss it out.
You take it all in stride.
You inherit a duplex
On Riverside.
Your snappy comeback pierces
Like a well-thrown knife.
Money marries you
And you're set for life.

Mr. Big sees you coming
And he puts out the "Welcome" mat.
When you're hot, you're hot,
And when you're not, you're not — 
You always know where you're at.
When you're hot, you're hot,
And when you're not, you're not —
And that's that.

© Jennie Litt, 2006

How I Learned To Ride My Bike

We went to the park
With my new two-wheeler,
Daddy and I.
Training wheels off,
Elbow pads and helmet:
Ready to try.
I'd made a promise:
Once around the park.
Daddy said, "Ready?
On your mark—"

Whoosh! went the breeze on my face!
The park was green and sunny.
I wobbled on, picking up speed—
Eat my dust, Mr. Centipede!
Woah, here's two guys in a race—
On unicycles!  Funny!
Here come some more!  It's a stampede!
And then I lost my aim
And wiped out in a Frisbee game.

Next I got chased by a goose
Right off the lakeside roadway,
And mowed down three loitering hoods
In "Brooklyn's Last Piece of Native Woods."
Look, there's our dogwalker, Bruce!
"Hi, Bruce!"  I waved and slowed way
Down.  Hottie Bruce got the goods!
Then, because I failed to brake,
Rode over some kid's birthday cake.

And the people said,
"Woah, girl!", "Prego," "Tizahari, yaldah!"
"Pass auf!" "Ostorozhno!" "Attention-ah-ah-ah!",
As I pedalled along on my endless trek,
And one guy in dreads shouted, "Kiss me neck!  
(spoken) Watch where you be dally dat bike, sista!"
I'm do'ng my best, okay?  Unlike!
I'll never learn to ride my bike!

I'd circled the park
On my new two-wheeler—
Sort of, I guess.
Twigs in my hair,
Frosting on my sneakers:
Dressed to impress.
I'd kept my promise:
See you later, park.
But Dad said, "Ready?
On your mark—"

Whoosh! went the breeze on my face!
The park was green and sunny.
And suddenly, I don't know why,
I didn't even have to try.
Scooters all over the place—
Across the path-a bunny!
An airplane writing 'cross the sky,
That coco helado smell—
Who knew that I could ride so well?

And the people said,
"Go, girl!", "Ciao, bella!", "Kol hakavod!"
"Gute Fahrt!", "Molodietz!", "Bon voyage!" Oh, my God,
I did not wobble once the entire trek,
And that same guy in dreads shouted, "Kiss me neck!  
(spoken) I see ev'ryt'ing cook an' curry for you now, sista!"

Whoosh! goes the breeze in my hair!
The park's a celebration!
The music from the carousel,
The yoga teacher in the dell,
Kites rising up through the air,
A frolicking Dalmatian,
A radio playing Patsy Cline,
The softball fields, the bathroom line.
I was going so fast I overtook
An old man jogger-Look,
There's Daddy!  "Hiya, Pop!"
And I braked to an awesome stop.
Big hug and kiss.  What's not to like?
That's how I learned to ride my bike.

© Jennie Litt, 2011

I Want To Be A TV Chef

I want to be a TV chef.
I'm just itchin' for a TV kitchen,
Butcher-block and stainless.
Cooking would be painless
With a darling gay assistant named Jeff —
Oh, I want to be a TV chef
With a windowsill herb garden,
A crock for storing lard in,
A countertop of granite
(The camera would pan it).
I'd become so handy
Flambéing things with brandy,
The neighbors would stop calling A. T. F.
Oh, I want to be a TV chef!

I want to be a TV chef.
I'd be glamorous before the cam'ras,
Purchasing arugula —
Mixing up a kugeleh!
Each episode a roman à clef —
Oh, I want to be a TV chef!
My friends would all come over.
I'd grill a brace of plover,
Serve wine in trendy bottles.
We all would look like models.
Gee, isn't it ironic?
I'd become iconic,
Just like that other lifestyle guru, Hef —
Oh, I want to be a TV chef!

How I'd love to have the whole bunch to lunch!
To serve a crème brûlée  (ah!) to Jacques and Julia.
I'm helplessly gaga for Chairman Kaga.
I've got hours of Lidia collected on videa.
My passion for Emeril's hardly ephemeral.
Amer'ca's Test Kitchen is totally bitchin'!
The Barefoot Contessa — I long to impress her.
Bobby Flay at the grill gives my flank steaks a thrill.
[OR: Though I'm not a fella, oh, bite me, Nigella!]
Wolfgang Puck is my ultimate . . .
Role model.
Oh, if only God'll
Answer my prayer
I'll be there on the air
Blanching haricots verts for all to see-
Like all those other chefs on TV!

I want to be a TV chef,
Mover, shaker, a premier tastemaker.
My fricasee of vulture
Would influence the culture.
Start a fad for making pasta from teff —
Oh, I want to be a TV chef.
I'd sell a line of spices,
And spice-grinding devices,
And other food minutiae,
In tints of pearl and fuschia,
To a zillion individuals;
Get rich off the residuals.
I wouldn't need no TIAA-CREF —
Oh, I want to be a TV chef!

And the wardrobe they'd provide, beside!
See me simmering stock in a backless silk frock;
Harvesting peas in Ralph Lauren capris;
Chiffonading Swiss chard in a lace unitard;
Chiffonading Swiss chard again in pearls and a cardigan;
Rendering griebenes with my hair in "ribbonehs."
I'd use my couscoussier wearing a bustier,
Wrap salmon en croûte  in a pink Chanel suit,
Then show how to bake it entirely . . .
Through, just right,
Ev'ry Saturday night!
This is my wish:
Whether fish or knish,
To present ev'ry dish impeccably,
Like all the other chefs on TV.

But, unlike those other chefs,
I didn't go to CIA [or: cooking school];
Couldn't confit a pâté
For a million dollars' pay.
In fact, in matters gastric,
My ignorance is drastic:
Don't know my eggplant from my aspic,
Sad to say.
And here's the hook:
I hate to cook, but what the F —
I want to be a TV chef!

© 2005 Jennie Litt & David Alpher

If I Were

If I were the air, I'd ruffle your hair,
And whistle and sigh when you walked by.
One blustery day, I'd whisk you away
To a home in the sky where we'd live, you and I,
Way up there — if I were the air.

If I were a goat, I'd nibble your coat
And unravel your glove to show my love.
If the other goats tried, I'd butt them aside.
Then I'd wink a good-bye with my four-cornered eye.
How I'd dote — if I were a goat.

If I were a burro, I'd bray with surro
If you went away.  You'd hear me bray
From butte to butte.  I wouldn't be mute,
But would cry, "Alack!" until you came back.

If I were a fly, I'd land on your tie
And buzz and flutter at each word you'd utter.
If you brushed me off, I'd land on your coif
And hum in your ear, "I adore you, dear!"
All July — if I were a fly.

If I were a dog, I'd lead you through fog
Back home safe and dry.  Each evening I'd lie
Beside you to sleep, and not make a peep
Until a bird sang aloud and you stirred.

If I were a tree, from twelve until three
When sunshine's ablaze, you could comf'rtably laze
In my leafy shade.  I'd drop a cascade
Of apples and nuts and heaven knows what  —
Love's debris! — if I were a tree.

But woe is me, I'm not a tree,
Or a fog-walking dog, or a fly on your tie,
Or a surroful burro, or a coat-nibbling goat,
Or the air way up there;

I'm just a song about love lifelong.
I can only sing; it's the only thing
I know how to do.  Let me sing for you
All night long — let me be your song.

© Jennie Litt, 1/05 (Revised)

Love Will Find You

Back when we were hot babes in New York
Dishing 'bout guys with a bottle of wine, 
We were hunting romance,
That dizzying first dance.
In the end, all guys acted like swine,
But that was fine.
We put it behind us,
Because, one day, love would find us.

Demographics, plain old crappy luck-
Love was a thing that you just never found.
Could've happened to me;
Surprised it wasn't me.
You adopted a Bosnian hound.
She weighed one pound;
A small life to foster.
Oh, how you cried when you lost her.

My friend, I still wish you romance,
But when that first dance is through,
I wish love will, at last, find you.

I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true:
Falling in love with a man who loves me,
Being husband and wife,
Resurrected my life.
Like a seed growing into a tree,
I feel the chi
Flowing around me,
Because one day, yes, love found me.

My friend, I still wish you romance,
But when that first dance is through,
I wish love will, at last, find you.

Romance is an orgy of champagne
But love is more sustaining,
More mundane,
More inner:
Love is dinner
Again and again and again and again.

He lives in Atlanta with his kid.
You met online.  He turned out to be cute,
Fifty-five and divorced.
The talk felt so unforced.
But you said, "It's like go'ng to Beirut
For rotten fruit."
Put all that behind you:
Open wide and let love find you.

Dear friend, I still wish you romance,
But when that first dance is through,
I wish love will, at last, find you.
I wish love will, at last, find you.
(I wish love will, at last, find you.)

© Jennie Litt, 9 November 2009

Make Yourself At Home

For most folks, life's a dream deferred.
They've had to give their dreams the bird,
And put the earning of their weekly check first.
But everyone, or so it seems,
If they could live their life of dreams,
Would operate a country bed-and-breakfast.
Good heavens, are they off the deep end?
Just listen to the details of a typical weekend . . .

Make yourself at home
Make yourself at home
Our house is your house — we have more house —
Make yourself at home!
The phone is ringing  — hark!
We've snared another mark!
Two New York yuppies coming up
This weekend on a lark.
We rush to touch up each
Commode with Clorox bleach.
Right now the oven's full of muffins:
The garbage pail's been dumped;
The pillows nicely plumped;
Our Sunday best's on — bring the guests on!
We are pumped!

Seven, eight, nine; we're now in limbo,
Waiting here with arms akimbo
For Troy Goldberg and his bimbo.
Why don't you call us?
Ooh, you gall us!

Eleven twenty-five
The prodigals arrive,
And park their rental Continental
In the neighbors' drive.
They do not talk, they roar —
We hear them through the floor
With mounting ire, till they retire
At quarter after four.
By nine a.m. they're gone;
They've left the A/C on, 
The bathroom light, and just for spite,
Their tire-tracks on the lawn.
That night, their eggplant Parm
Sets off the smoke alarm.
"It's cool!" they tell us; "Please don't kill us!"
Twist my arm!

Next, the randy little satyr
Plugs in amp, guitar, and fader,
And proceeds to serenade 'er.
Dare I yell up,
"Shut the hell up?"

Now, coming through the floor:
"Oh Troy, oh baby, more!"
His sword unsheathing; heavy breathing;
Symphonie d'amour.
And there they go again.
And there they go again.
The thrill is cheap; hey, who needs sleep?
We turn on CNN.
Next morn, no sprightly tune
Of knife and fork and spoon.
The devil take it!  Will they make it?
Checkout time is noon!
Miraculously, though,
At noon, they're set to go.
"Was all appealing?"  "Well, the ceiling
Was too low."

Adieu!  Now, if we only dared to
Check the place, but we're too scared to.
What to do to get prepared to?
Scrub the sink first?
Have a drink first?

The bathtub's clogged and, yes sir,
Used condoms on the dresser.
A real pig-pen, but then again, 
She made the bed, God bless 'er.
We close the freezer door,
Pick muffins off the floor,
And call the plumber; have him plumb our
Bank account some more.
Okay, let's do the math:
Two-ten to fix the bath;
The cleaning crew gets thirty-two;
And us?  Zilch and a half.

And that's what puts the hospital in hospitality —
But that's the bed-and-breakfast owner's grim reality.
And should high water or should hell come,
For howsoever long that they'll come,
At out place, guests are always welcome:

Because that weekly check comes first, and
We owe the plumber thirty grand.
Well, you know how it goes —
We can't afford to close!

© Jennie Litt, 2/3/05, revised 3/20/05


So this is marriage: my lipstick, your shoes
So this is marriage: the coffee, the news
So this is happily forever after
Instead of laughter,
An after-lunch snooze.

This ring you gave me has mellowed its shine
Our bed's a bed now, no longer a shrine
Our rainbow's faded out to shades of grey now
It's day to day now
Okay now—that's fine.

What was love but some kind of dang'rous game to me
When out of the blue, you came to me
Touched flame to me
Phoenix fire and brandy
Desert spring
Flesh as sweet as candy

We carry water, we gather the wood.
We've weathered rough times the best that we could.
Old soldiers sold'ring on—this isn't new love;
No, this is true love,
It's you, love, for good.
Yes, this is true love;
It's you, love . . .

© Jennie Litt, 23 April 2012

My Man In The Moon

Experts agree: It's become all too clear
That, due to climate change or devastation nuclear,
The earth will be unfit for habitation soon,
Which is why we have to colonize the moon.
Just before they sent my sweetheart into orbit
To build the world's first power plant in space,
I said, "Honey, you go up there and do your bit
To guarantee the future of our race.
But darling, let your heart be weightless;
I'll wait, yes — mateless . . . dateless . . ."

I can no longer gaze in my lover's eyes
So I gaze at the moon, just like a goon.
The stars twinkle just like my lover's eyes
But, oh stars above!  The stars don't love me!
How high the moon?  Too high to fly!
I sit here and wonder why.
I'll wait night and noon until I'm a prune —
I moon for my man in the moon!

There's no cell phone reception up there on the moon,
But it doesn't take much to keep in touch:
Precisely at moonrise on each full moon,
I'm in my boudoir, coordinates charted;
Four, three, two, one — then, strange as it seems,
We whip out our laser beams,
And fairly explode in a true lovers' ode
As we kiss good-night in Morse code!

Oh, my man in the moon!
Always working,
Never shirking.
He's been up there since June!
Mapping, siting,
Pouring concrete foundations, constructing a tower
For converting green cheese into nuclear power.

If I had twenty million, I'd blow it all
On a ticket to space, for a glimpse of his face.
Those scientists think that they know it all,
But what do they know?  Some cute UFO might
Sit on his knee, make him forget
He proposed at the luncheonette!
But I'm flying there on a wing and a prayer,
'Cause the space shuttle's in for repair.

Oh, those protesters there:
Always shirking,
Never working!
What the heck do they care
If the moon is
Bare, or soon is
Developed beyond our imagining's bound'ries
With arsenals, parking lots, prisons, and foundries?

My valise is all packed for our wedding day:
Biological clock; twenty-carat moon-rock;
And the space-suit I'll wear on our wedding day,
With its force-field of gravity, and detachable lavat'ry.
We'll take our vows — celestial cheers —
Then the music of the spheres,
Will sound near and far, a heavenly choir,
And I'll throw my bouquet to a star!

In the meanwhile, I'm stuck on the ground,
Waiting for Gabriel's trumpet to sound
For earth's final high noon.
Ah, I hope it comes soon!
For then, oh joyous reun-
Ion, I'll marry my man in the moon!

© Jennie Litt, 2005

Sea of People

I want to swim in a sea of people:
Here I am.
I want to swim in a sea of people
On the subway and tram.
Just another person in a sea of people,
Drinking people in.
Fish out of water in a sea of people,
Trying to reach out from inside my skin.

I don't want to step out of the door
And step into the car.
I want to swim in a sea of people;
I want to be where the people are.

I want to swim in a sea of people:
Take my hand.	
I want to swim in a sea of people.
I want to understand
What it means to be a person in a sea of people,
How to stay afloat.
Naturally buoyant in a sea of people,
Each one the sea and each one a boat.

I don't want to step into the house
And step out of the sea.
I want to swim in a sea of people,
I want the people to be part of me.

How did we get to be so separate,
Like grains of sand?
Television friends and television neighbors,
Internet conversations and opinions,
Coming and going in the car with the radio on.
Coming and going, coming and going, come on!

I want to swim in a sea of people,
Ride the tide.
I want to swim in a sea of people,
Letting the sea decide
What it means to be a person in a sea of people,
What we need to give.
Connected to people in a sea of people;
Each of us needs other people to live.

I want to step out of the door
And step into a sea of people.
What are people for, if not for other people?
I want to swim in a sea of people.
I want to swim in a sea of people.
Come on, people — swim with me!

© Jennie Litt, 2/27/05

The Opening Number of Our Show

The opening number of our show
Has got to be just so.
We each will do what we do the best:
David will play the piano,
(David plays, a flourish or more)
I will sing mezzo-soprano.
And as for the rest . . .

The song shouldn't be too slow,
Or you might get bored and go.
But then, it shouldn't be too quick,
Nor should it be facile or overly slick
'Cause that's the best way to make all of you sick,
And we've got fourteen numbers left to go
Beyond the opening number of our show.

I think we can all agree
That my attitude is key:
I shouldn't sing it with a smirk.
Simplistic's no good, nor is making you work
So hard that the song starts to drive you berserk
When, my goodness, we've just said "Hello"!—
It's still the opening number of our show.

It isn't called for to be inappropr'ately confessional,
Though we have a strong temptation to confess.
We could give in to temptation,
Or we could just make you guess
What we're keeping from the press.
Well, you see—but I digress.

Shouldn't get too funkadelic.
Nor yet sound like some quaint relic
That once beguiled the Virgin Queen.
Risqué is OK, but let's not be obscene;
Some audience members are not yet eighteen.
And besides, it's hardly apropos
To the opening number of our show.

We're on the verge of global ecological catastrophe!
Oops, it says here, "Keep your op'ner light and fun."
Still, a rousing call to action
Might just get this battle won.
Off your asses, everyone!.
But not before our show is done.

The song needs a touch as light
As a feather—but less trite;
A melody you yearn to croon:
Not starkly atonal, not some cornball tune.
Not serious but not flip;
Hipsterish?  God forbid—yet hip,
And subtle—but not recondite.
A bebop aesthetic, but ever so slight—

Dialogus Interruptus:
DAVID: Jennie!  How many more pages of that book are you going to read?

JENNIE: Well, this notebook has 350 pages, and—

DAVID: We don't have time for that!  We've got this space for one hour!  
We won't have time to finish our show!  I won't be able to play my solo!  
We won't be able to do an encore!

JENNIE: You think?  Oh, they'll be so disappointed.  
And I have this great tip I want to share about encores, where is it?  Let me.


I say we nix the opener and go
On with the show!

© Jennie Litt, 5 February 2010 

The Old Family Nuke

Oh, some get misty-eyed rememb'ring playing catch with dad,
Summer evenings at the cottage by the shore;
And others wax nostalgic 'bout the good times that they had
Buying penny candy at the candy store.
But catch and penny candy aren't what I think about
When I recollect my childhood in Dubuque.
When I think of Mom, and Dave,
And Gran (now, sadly, in her grave),
I think about the microwave.
That magical oven — our symbol of lovin' —
The old family nuke.

Summer evenings we'd bask in the central A/C
(Sing hey, the family nuke),
A-watchin' The Waltons upon the TV
(Sing hey, the family nuke).
The AstroTurf patio greener than grass
A packet of Kool-Aid, tap water, a glass
(Sing hey, the family nuke).

Sing hey, sing ho,
Defrost, power low,
Set clock, reheat,
Beep-beep, let's eat.
Oh, sample the mandolin, banjo, and uke —
The old family nuke!

Oh, Mom worked the swing shift at Acme Sweat Sock
(Sing hey, the family nuke);
Left our dinner to chill in a gallon Zip-Loc
(Sing hey, the family nuke),
With a note: "Heat on medium-high for two min."
Dave would pull up a stool and sit watching it spin
(Sing hey, the family nuke).

Sing hey, sing ho,
Defrost, power low,
Set clock, reheat,
Beep-beep, let's eat.
With a side of freeze-dried and rehydrated cuke —
The old family nuke!

'Round midnight, Mom's shift would be over;
We'd forage for four-leaf clover
And pale crescent moons we could hold in our arms
In a bowlful of Lucky Charms!

Sunday mornings, we'd wake to recorded church bells
(Sing hey, the family nuke),
And a smog-filtered sunrise in golds and pastels
(Sing hey, the family nuke).
Then I'd sneak to the kitchen in time to warm up
Mom's coffee (what's left) in last night's cardboard cup
(Sing hey, the family nuke).

Mom would check on the gauge of Gran's oxygen tank
(Sing hey, the family nuke),
And clean her prosthesis (good God, how it stank!)
(Sing hey, the family nuke).
Then we'd pile in the woodie, a-sparkle with dew,
For a fam'ly McBreakfast at the local drive-thru
(Sing hey, the family nuke)!

Sing hey, sing ho,
Defrost, power low,
Set clock, reheat,
Beep-beep, let's eat.
Now, of course Hallmark sentiment makes us all puke,
But I think of the olden days in old Dubuque,
And I wouldn't have traded my lot with a duke!
The old family nuke.

© Jennie Litt, 18 July 2005

The Public Transportation Rag

Say, look there, neighbor — what's that I see?
Why, it's bigger than the most enormous SUV!
A mammoth snake on wheels!
How it roars and squeals!
Got a hundred people inside,
And it looks like they're goin' for a ride!

Why, it's . . .

Public transportation:
Don't need no invitation.
All across the nation,
Folks are telling a friend
About the hip, new trend.
It's scenic!  It's social!  It's green!
Everybody's making the scene!
Pop's got a brand-new bag:
It's called The Public Transportation Rag!

All aboard the bus,
For convenience-plus!
It'll get you where you want to be.
Take it from me!
There's a stop at every corner, 
And that's no hype!
Here she comes!
Just give your farecard a swipe.
It's more sustainable than the disposable wipe;
Why, it's the greatest invention since movable type!
Grab a seat, sip your iced vanilla chai
And watch the world go by.
And if you see there's a sale on at Niemann-Marc-
Us, no need to park,
Just disembark!
No muss, no fuss.  What's to discuss?
Hop aboard a public bus!

Yes, take that public transportation:
Don't need no invitation.
All across the nation,
Folks are telling a friend
About the hip, new trend.
It's scenic!  It's social!  It's green!
Everybody's making the scene!
If you liked the Varsity Drag,
You'll love the Public Transportation Rag!

Ev'ry savvy swain
Knows you can't beat the train
For the most romantic wedding trip.
Your girl will flip
When a redcap stows her trousseau
Above the seat.
Just sit back
And dig those acres of wheat!
Those amber waves never looked so impossibly sweet
As from the window of your private cosy retreat.
Cuddle some; forty winks; she reads McCall's.
Next stop Niag'ra Falls!
And after saying "I do," and the string quartet,
You can legally pet
In your roomette!
It's sane–urbane!  Pop the champagne!
Love's more lovely on a train!

God bless that public transportation:
Don't need no invitation.
All across the nation,
Folks are telling a friend
About the hip, new trend.
It's scenic!  It's social!  It's green!
Everybody's making the scene!
So, why not garage that Jag?
And sing the Public Transportation,
Public Transportation,
The Public Transportation Rag!

© Jennie Litt, March 2009

Souvenir of Prague

 "What shall it be," I asked myself, "my souvenir of Prague?
Some Russian dolls that nest?
A hand-embroidered vest?"
I wondered as I wandered through the atmospheric fog:
"Antique Bohemian crystal?
A Soviet army pistol?
An Alfons Mucha screen?
Some absinthe, fairy-green?
A Kafka first edition?
An old Trabant transmission?"
I wanted everything, and yet I couldn't pull the trigger.
My appetite for souvenirs of Prague grew ever bigger,
Till suddenly — vastly exceeding my goal —
I swallowed the city whole.

Golden Prague!  So historic, so pretty!
But it's hard to digest a whole city.
Ev'ry gray cobblestone
Makes me grimace and moan,
Ev'ry Gothic façade
Makes my insides feel odd.

The Cathedral of holy St. Vitus
Has given me painful colitis.
The Clam-Gallas Palace
Caused creeping paralys-
Is; Wenceslaus Square,
An acute loss of hair.

Prague's fast-flowing waterways
Are finding all sorta ways —
Some long and some shorter ways —
Through my bowel, which they tore two ways,
On their race to the Baltic Sea!

I've spent crown after crown after crown
At pay toilets all over town.
Some were clean, some were less,
Some a horrible mess,
And still I'm as sick as a dog —
My souvenir of Prague!

Was it the kachna (the roast breast of duck),
Or that foul apple strudel that caused my ill-luck?
Or the parky I bought from that stand in the park?
It smelled like a hot dog, but gee, it was dark.

So I summoned the hotel doktora,
Who politely removed his fedora
Before poking a tool
In my sample of stool,
And then writing a script
(Which he said he'd have shipped)

For a course of fourteen charcoal pellets.
About charcoal, Czech doctors are zealots:
"At apsorbing a wirus,
Its speed, it inspire us!"
Then I paid him — quite cheap —
And I went back to sleep.

The country of Smetana
Is etched on my retina
As a prime place for gettin' a
Case of typhoid or tetanu-
S, or some other ghastly disease.

Ah, my charcoal's arrived!  Let me hasten
To take some right over this basin,
And conclude this vignette
When I shit a briquet
And flee this infernal gulag.
Next summer, I'm going to Quogue!
Read about it online in my blog,
My souvenir of Prague!

© Jennie Litt, Revised 19 December 2005

Thirty-Two Bars

Eight bars, sixteen, thirty-two;
Nights with you intoxicated me.
I knew God no longer hated me
When he sent me flirty, dirty you.

One sweet kiss and I was yours;
I admit, I yielded easily.
Never thought you'd split so breezily —
Just one in a string of cheap amours.

You melted my ice —
Ooh, it felt nice —
Plucked the cherry from my drink.
Then, before I could blink,
You threw it in the sink.

Eight bars, sixteen, same old grind —
Sticky tabletop and spent cigars,
Juke repeats those thirty-two damn bars.
I've done what I can to drink myself blind,
And still I can't get you off my mind.

© Jennie Litt, 16 January 2006

That Zegna Suit

They say clothes make the man: how true!
In every outfit, you're a different you.
A backwards baseball cap makes you look boyish.
In a pair of tasselled loafers, you could pass for goyish.
James-Deanish in your motorcycle leather;
And altogether fetching in the altogether.
But . . .

You're a somebody who
Andy Warhol drew;
Jackie O. claimed you kissed her;
You're an A-lister
With the paparazzi in pursuit,
In that Zegna suit.

You're a Beltway insid-
Er with a trophy bride;
Someone statesmen confide in,
The nation takes pride in!
Who prefers his force and champagne brut
In that Zegna suit.

An ordinary schlepper in your standard duds;
A social leper in your disco floods;
But Ermenegildo Zegna quashes all dispute:
When you put on his suit,
World leaders salute!

You're a person who makes
The routine mistakes;
But you give it your best shot,
Normally dressed — not
To suggest you're just some big galoot
Without that Zegna suit.

Discreet martinis with a Swedish blonde
Like Roger Moore as Secret Agent Bond.
It hardly takes more effort than to change your socks:
Hard knocks to Fort Knox:
That Zegna suit rocks!

On a hanger or shelf
The suit irons itself —
Stuff that angels might sew with.
Silk shirt to go with;
Custom-made Italian goatskin boot;
Cufflinks pearled:
You're king of the world
In that Zegna suit!

© Jennie Litt, 17 July 2007

Thong Song

I once knew a girl
Who walked on a grate
When a puff of hot air
Made her skirt elevate,
Thus exposing her thong
And her thigh-high silk hosier-
Y; next thing she knew,
For indecent exposure,
She was busted by
Such a nice gendarme/copper (named Paul),
Who gave her a ticket —
To the policemen's ball!

In Toronto, L. A., or Hong Kong;
With a chic little suit or sarong;
Against it, believe me,
No man can be strong.
You can never go wrong
In a thong.

I once knew a girl —
She was no mental wizard —
Who insisted on wearing
Her thong in a blizzard.
Hypothermia!  Frostbite!
She called nine-one-one.
And a hunky young medic
Arrived on the run —
And unfroze her, by
Dint of his medical arts,
With an ankle-length mink
And a trip to St. Barts!

Playing bocce, charades, or mah-jongg;
On a date with a king or King Kong;
Against it, believe me,
No man can be strong.
Here's the point of my song:
For devotion lifelong
You can never go wrong
In a thong.

© Jennie Litt, 13 October 2006, revised 13 June 2007


I've checked out potential mates
On innumerable first dates,
And, though I'd happily play ball again,
They never seem to call again.
Have they lost my number?  Are they simply shy?
I'd give anything to know the reason why!

In class, Lorenzo asked to use my diction'ry.
Instantly I felt a vibe, constriction-free.
I informed him I was now addiction-free.
Now I'm waiting by the phone.

Henry was a businessman I flew beside.
Those remarks about his wife I blew aside.
Filled him in on my attempted suicide.
Now I'm waiting by the phone.

Waiting, waiting,
The suspense is suffocating.
I've worn the couch threadbare,
Waiting — waiting.

After dinner, Steve pulled out a wad of cash.
"Stow the greenbacks, kid," I said, "let's dine and dash!"
Then I asked for fifty bucks to score some hash.
Now I'm waiting by the phone.

I told Marcus, if we took a chance and won,
With his genes — oh, he was such a handsome one! —
We could have a fam'ly like the Manson one.
Now I'm waiting by the phone.

Waiting, waiting,
The suspense is suffocating.
I've worn the couch threadbare,
Waiting — waiting.

Greg said, "Babe, you really load my rifle."  It
Was revealed, and it was such a trifle, it
Was impossible for me to stifle it.
Now I'm waiting by the phone.

To his boudoir Jean-Pierre conducted me.
I confessed, when aliens abducted me,
They'd dismembered and then reconstructed me.
Now I'm waiting by the phone.

Waiting, waiting,
The suspense is suffocating.
I've worn the couch threadbare,
Waiting to talk to Fred there,
Or Ted there, or Ed there,
Or anyone else instead there.

But every love-song says, and I believe it's true:
There's someone for everyone in this crazy world:
Maybe my someone is you!

© Jennie Litt, 17 January 2006; revised 6/8/06

Two Apples

Two apples grew on the very same branch:
One named Rosie, the other named Blanche.
Rosie grew rosy in the shining sun;
Blanche grew pale because she got none.
The tree was proud of her two little pippins.
If you asked her, they had all the equippin's
To do great things — to do great things.

One autumn day came a chef of note,
Renowned for his classic French table d'hôte.
He grabbed and pulled Rosie off the branch,
Accident'ly dislodging Blanche.
Thud! went Blanche on the dusty ground,
While Rosie went off with that chef renowned
To do great things — to do great things.

Who's to say what things are great things?
Are they only things that fate brings-
Trophies, kings, and ruby rings?
What about what nature brings —
Winters, springs, the child who clings,
The heart that sings?

The chef baked Rosie in a tarte Tatin,
Due to be served to an important man.
The tart was sliced amid a reverent hush,
While Blanche turned into a pile of mush.
"One bite!" trilled the wife, who was rich and thin.
Poor Rosie ended up in the garbage bin.
What a state of things — what a state of things!

A wily old rat, disheveled and gaunt,
Prowled the alley in back of the restaurant.
He dove in the dumpster for that slice of tart,
And gobbled it hungrily, every part.
Blanche's seeds cracked with a mighty spurt,
And roots uncurled underneath the dirt.
What nature brings — what nature brings.

Who's to say what things are great things?
Are they only things that fate brings —
Trophies, kings, and ruby rings?
What about what nature brings —
Winters, springs, the child who clings,
The heart that sings?

Blanche missed Rosie as the years went by,
And her leaves and branches reached for the sky.
One spring, Blanche blossomed as white as snow;
And now, where the blossoms were, apples grow.
Two apples grow on the very same branch:
One named Rosie, the other named Blanche.
What nature brings —what nature brings.

© 2005 Jennie Litt & David Alpher

We've All Got To Live In This World...

You might think we're a pair of Pollyannas
To sing about minding your manners,
But, since the first amoebic life form unfurled,
It had no choice except to learn to share the world
With enemy, with neighbor, with friend —
Which is why they say "World without end."
And though you might think life on earth's progressin',
It's sometimes useful to review the lesson.

Nobody wants to look at your food
In the act of being chewed —
So eat with your mouth closed, dude!

It isn't just consid'rate, it's smart
To go and stand a little apart
When you feel that pressing urge to fart.

When you cough and sneeze all over your hands,
Wash 'em good, as hygiene demands,
And don't spread your germs to faraway lands.

We've all got to live in this world together.

Kindly turn down your stereo's braying —
It's so loud my nerves are fraying!
And plus, my "Learn to Speak Welsh" tape's playing.

At the café, we're sitting back-to-back:
Can the cell-phone yak-yak-yak,
Or I'll spill my latte on your Mac.

On the highway, you're just itching to pass.
Don't drive so close you're nudging my ass —
I brake; you die in a hailstorm of glass.

We've all got to live in this world together.


Must you build your Wal-Mart right there,
For a one-cent spike in value per share?
One habitat sought for homeless bear.

I know your bright and shiny SUV
Suits your fam'ly's busy lifestyle, but gee!
The climate's hot enough for me.

Feel free to go to war against foreign folk;
But when the whole world's gone up in smoke,
Who'll be left to buy GM and drink Coke?

We've all got to live in this world together.

Pal, I know you think my values stink.
But whether red or blue or old-fashioned pink,
I support your right to think what you think.

'Cause we've all got to live in this world together.
We've all got to live in this world together.
We've all got to live in this world — how? —

© Jennie Litt, 24 July 2005

Your Standard Standard

Darling, your education's been neglected.
The songs of love that you know
Are songs without a clue.  No,
The songs you know leave lovers unaffected.
Let the pros teach us a lesson
About capturing love's essence
In a song . . .

This song is just your standard standard:
A simple song with a simple sound to it,
Like a Berlin tune about the moon.
Love's simple, too, when you get right down to it.

No melody was ever grander
Than a Gershwin melody, all jazz and bite.
Whether slow or quick, one bluesy lick
Snared by a horn echoes in you through the night. 

And the rhythm, a lilting Cole Porter beguine
We can sway to, all day to,
Like the beat of the drums in my heart every time that we kiss.
If you want to know what you've been missin',
Just close your eyes and listen.
Love sounds like this.

White tie, a brandy Alexander,
A rooftop orchestra lit by candle-glow;
Now the singer's gone; the band plays on;
Couples are two-stepping, dancing close and slow.


Now, dear, let's put it all together:
Your standard standard love song, Q. E. D. —
Words and music wed to heart and head.
Darling, take it from me!
And because you are my standard dream come true,
I dedicate this standard standard to you.

© 2005 Jennie Litt & David Alpher

Where Did It Go?

I haven't always been a sylph-like beauty queen,
With assets that the men all love to pat so.
In days of yore, I was voluminous,
Quite beyond the realms of humanness;
Titanic, monstrous, infinite — a fatso.

How big was I? I'll tell you straight:
I was as big as a sovereign state;
I wore a size three hundred and eight.
Where did it go?

I'd start each day with Captain Crunch,
His ship, and crew; I'd scoff the bunch.
I'd eat the Sandwich Isles for lunch.
Where did it go?

Each knee was like a dumpling in a giant's bowl of soup.
I signed up for group therapy; I was the group.

I charged a moderate usage fee
For mountaineers to hike up me.
The view from the summit was something to see!
Where did it go?

Where did it go?  Where did it go,
That harvest moon — times two — on which I sat?
It used to be right here and here, and here and here, and here and here.
Where is it at, that mass of fat
That kept me warm through the winter's chill?
Don't laugh — it cut in half my heating bill.

Our wedding day, what happiness!
A Christo wrap my bridal dress.
I was the darling of the press. 
Where did it go?

My navel, such a yawning pit!
Exxon applied for a work permit
To mine for coal inside of it.
Where did it go?

The time I went to India, to purchase curry powder,
The elephant had to ride on me, inside a jeweled howdah.

And my tattoo — the height of chic —
Shakespeare's collected works upon one cheek.
For fifty cents, I'll let you peek.
Where did it go?

From dust to dust return the dead;
The clouds to earth return as ice and snow;
So tell me why the rules of science don't apply to such as I?
Some years ago I used to know
A lipo surgeon.  Boy, did he have nerve!
He served it chilled — parsleyed and dilled — as an hors d'oeuvres!

Where did it go?  Where did it go?  Where did it go?
That deep-fat-fried, sequoia-thighed, old doublewide I kept inside of me
Has said good-bye to me —
The old heave-ho.  Well, cheerio . . . but where did it go? 

© 2004 Jennie Litt & David Alpher

The Things That Make Us Sing

To soothe a fretting baby in the night
A child's shout when the swing is at its crest
The smooth cheek in a beam of streetlamp-light
Of one so small, so innocent at rest
These are the things that make us sing

Wanting him so much it makes you ache
The ravishment of love, the lover's cry
Drawing out as long as you can make
The moment when you have to say goodbye:
These are the things that make us sing.

Sometimes the juices of life overflow
And set the music going
The universal soul made sound
In the key of you
In the key of me
And the circle goes round and round.

The dearness of a fond, familiar touch
The quick'ning of another life inside
The pain, the sweat, the belly-splitting clutch
Your newborn stirring gently by your side
These are the things that make us sing.

This is the world from an angel's eye-view:
The mystery of music;
Creation as it's danced by God
Rhythm, melody
Ting the steps that our mothers' mothers' mothers trod.

The mellow fellowship of smoke and wine
The Glory Hallelujah march to war
The pris'ner and the slave whose spirits pine
To shoot the bolt and crash through freeedom's door
These are the things that make us sing

The scream that fills the vacuum of a death
The lightning bolt, the sky, the brutal sea
The web of life, suspended on the breath
Of earth, the starry blackness, you and me


Sometimes the juices of life overflow
And set the music going
The universal soul made sound
In the key of you
In the key of me
And the circle goes round and round.

These are the things that make us sing.
These are the things that make us sing.

© Jennie Litt, 11 January 2012

The Voyage of the Manatee

A curious manatee set out to see what he could see
Beyond the balmy waters of his native Florida key.
His mother shed a manatear and cried, "Ah, woe is me!
My child is surely headed for calamity!—
That curious manatee."

His route the blue-green waterway that flows around the world:
Past lighthouse isles where foghorns called and seagulls swarmed and swirled,
Past hilltop forts where breezes blew and pennants bright unfurled,
Past beaches sandy, mountains sheer and granitey.
There swam the manatee.

"I'll swim from sea to sea," he said, "to see what I can see—
From sea to sea to see what I can see."

From Florida to Georgia, up the Carolina shore,
The Chesapeake, the Chincoteague, the Delaware, explor-
Ing inlets, bays, and straightaways where raging waters roar.
The various ecosystems of the planet he
Explored, that manatee.

Through the Verrazzano Narrows into Upper New York Bay.
The New York Times reported on the sea-cow gone astray;
New Yorkers lined the Hudson piers to see him pass their way.
It undermined their cool, detached urbanity
To sight a manatee.

The lordly Hudson flows both ways. He rode the northward flow
Past Yonkers, up to Tarrytown, and cliff-perched Marlboro,
The Rondout's mouth at Kingston town, then Albany-ward, ho!
Past villages and towns a copious quan'ity—
There swam the manatee.

"I'll swim from sea to sea," he said, "to see what I can see.
From sea to sea to see what I can see."

(piano solo)

But the curious manatee had swum a thousand miles or more.
This swimming ever on had started feeling like a chore.
He missed his mother, missed his native waters, native shore.
He bit his lip and uttered a profanity—
That lonesome manatee.

At Lake Tear of the Clouds, he caught a southward-flowing stream—
Was well-wished on his journey by a school of friendly bream.
He passed the ling.ring hours in a yearning tropic dream . . .

He knew he'd reached the waters of his native Florida key
When he looked ashore and saw a Royal Poinciana tree.
His mother, weeping, flippers wide, embraced the absentee.
"I've got you back, thank god!—and now, my sanity,"
She told the manatee.

"I swam from sea to sea and saw a world so strange and new,
Then turned and swam back home again to you.
I turned and swam back home again to you."

© Jennie Litt, 1 March 2010

This Old Year

This old year just slipped away—
It's no use pretending.
January, summertime—now it's ending.

Didn't set the world on fire;
Wasn't a disaster.
Seems however fast you move, time moves faster.

Kiss those old dreams good-bye:
At the stroke of midnight,
You've done what you've done, nothing more--but then,
Time steals 'round to begin again,
Dreaming new dreams for New Year's Day.
Dreaming new dreams for New Year's Day.

© Jennie Litt, 4 December 2012

When my Dreams Come True

When my dreams come true,
I won't be rich and famous,
My picture high above the Sunset Strip;
The critics' darling: "dazzling; ultra-hip;"
Backstage at Feinstein's, listening for my cue.

When my dreams come true,
I won't be honeymooning,
Or decking out my Chappaqua estate—
The nurs'ry blue or pink?-as, with my mate,
We count the days until our baby's due.

I won't be cruising round the world aboard the Normandie,
I won't be sav'ring truffled lobster foam at El Bulli.

When my dreams come true,
I won't accept the Tony,
Or be swept up in a fairy-tale romance—
Not a chance.
When my dreams come true,
I'll be taking an exam for a class I never went to
On stage without my pants.

© Jennie Litt, 18 July 2011

Who Cares?

Who cares if I leave the bills unpaid?
Who cares if I dream by candlelight
About a kiss in some secluded glade,
Or if I just play solitaire all night?

Who cares if that couple on the train,
Who only care for love, can see me stare,
Their kisses like a needle in my vein,
Until the train pulls into God-knows-where?

Who cares if I spill vodka in the bed?
Who cares how much I drink and still can't sleep?
Who cares how my heart has broke and bled?
Who cares how the lonely hours creep?

Who cares if I live or if I die?
Who regards my agony, my joy?
Who is shattered when I say good-bye?
Who's dreamed of me since he was a boy?

Who cares for me when all is said and done?
Someone.  Someone.  Someone.

© Jennie Litt, 4 December 2012