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Words to Womansongs

Tendering

“Tendering” is a song about closeness. There were many different in-puts that contributed to “Tendering” being written. Sometimes this song has to do with my relationships with women. Other times it speaks of my relationships with men. Sometimes it tells of my work in a nursing home where some people are feeling empty and aching—and I feel spilled out and hollow. Sometimes “Tendering” says to those around me “I am vulnerable and want someone to tender me.”

Tendering, tendering, I want some tendering,

Gently, please listen while I share.

Tendering, tendering, I want some tendering,

I need to know that you are there.

Just hold me for a minute, hold me for a night time,

Let me feel your presence right here by my side.

Just fill up the spaces that are empty and aching,

Just fill up the “me” that is crying for

 

Tendering, tendering, I want some tendering,

Gently, please listen while I share.

Tendering, tendering, I want some tendering,

I need to know that you are there.

 

I am bursting from being so alone.

I am drained and myself is all gone.

I am hollow

And my insides are echoing, echoing, echoing,

“I am here. I am here. I am here

And I want, and I want, and I want

Tendering, tendering, tendering.”

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Mother May I?

This culture starts promoting the idea of permission-asking very early in life—particularly with little girls. As they grow, change into young women, and go into the arenas of education, religion, marriage, they continue to be told to ask. I hate to reveal how old I was before it was clear to me that I could trust myself, my judgement and decisively give myself permission!

Mother may I cross the street?

Mother may I have a date?

Mother may I? Mother may I?

Mother may I stay out late?

Yes darling daughter

Yes is the answer today

Just remember to always ask if you may.

Teacher may I be excused?

Teacher may I make up the quiz?

Teacher may I? Teacher may I?

Teacher may I be the whiz?

Yes lovely student

Yes is the answer today

Just remember to always ask if you may.

 

Preacher may I be forgiven?

Preacher may I serve mankind?

Preacher may I? Preacher may I?

Preacher may I happiness find?

Yes well-taught Christian

Yes is the answer today

Just remember to always ask if you may.

 

Husband may I fix your meal?

Husband may I please go out?

Husband may I? Husband may I?

Husband may I ever shout?

Yes darling wife

Yes is the answer today

Just remember to always ask if you may.

 

Now I’ve found the truth at last

Don’t have to ask anyone but me

Woman may I? Woman may I?

Woman may I now be free?

Yes woman

Yes is the answer today

Just remember you don’t have to ask

if you may.

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Restroom Door

Like the song says, it started in a public place where I noticed that the restroom door said “Our Pretty Ladies,” and I refused to be a patron any longer. That was just the beginning of watching those doors and the variety of signs on them, and the implication of roles written into them. It’s a song about language and its importance, even on restroom doors.

Look at what you’ve got on your restroom door

I’m not going in there anymore

And I won’t buy, I won’t pay

I won’t give you the time of day

Till you can hang a sign with a simple word

Saying “Women”

 

I’m tired of signs sayin’ “Ladies”

I’m tired of signs sayin’ “Girls”

I’m tired of sign with colonial silhouettes

with curls

 

I’m tired of signs saying “Senoritias”

The sing in the west “Cowgirls” is wrong

I saw a sign “Our Pretty Ladies” and I wrote

this song

 

I’m tired of signs being so cute-sey

I’m tired of signs being so dumb

I’m ready for the day when signs can simply

say “Women”

 

Look at what you’ve got on your restroom door

I’m not going in there anymore

And I won’t buy, I won’t pay

I won’t give you the time of day

Till you can hang a sign with a simple word

Saying “Women.”

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Take Back the Night

There is a growing movement among women which says, “We refuse to fear—to stay home—to be dependent. The night is ours too. We will go out together and we will take back the night!”

Stay inside and lock your door.

Not this woman, not anymore, not this woman.

You must fear except in the light.

No, no, we’re taking back the night.

No, no, we’re taking back the night.

 

Take back, take back, take back the night.

Claim it for your own and don’t stay home.

Go out together in three’s and five’s and ten’s

And walk the streets again and take back the night.

 

When I was a little girl Mother used to say

“When it’s dark you go inside and shut the door.”

She never gave a reason, I never asked her why,

I simply knew I didn’t dare go out anymorel

 

Then I was a teenager and my mother said

“If you have a date and your young man is strong,

Then you can go out at night and it will be all right

But just don’t start to think that you can ever

go out alone.”

 

Listen carefully if you’re a woman

Lots of things can happen in the dark

Beatings, stabbings, rape, you know about rape

And if you’re alone they’ll say you asked for it

somehow

 

Take back, take back, take back the night

Claim it for your own and don’t stay home

Go out together in three’s and five’s and ten’s

And walk the streets again and take back the night.

 

Stay inside and lock your door.

Not this woman, not anymore, not this woman.

You must fear except in the light.

No, no, we’re taking back the night.

No, no, we’re taking back the night.

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Bitch

Usually as I sing this song, I wear a necklace that says “BITCH” in rhinestones. As I introduce this song to an audience, I remind them that men have often called a woman a “bitch” when they have experienced her to be a person who does what she pleases, asks for what she wants, is hard to live with, and claims time and space for herself. I think it is good for women to affirm these qualities—so let’s also affirm the word. I certainly do. I say it with a toss of the head, and a lot of pride: I am a tall, brown-haired, selfish bitch.

I’m just a tall, brown-haired, selfish bitch,

I want what I want today.

We can do lots of things together

Just as long as we do ‘em my way

I’m just a tall, brown-haired selfish bitch.

I know it and it makes me grin.

I’m willing to fight just as long as I know

I’m gonna win.

 

I’m just a tall brown-haired selfish bitch.

I don’t like “should” or “ought,”

And I’m not gonna do all the things

That as a girl—I was taught.

I’m just a tall brown-haired selfish bitch,

And I’m chucklin’ deep inside

Because it’s out—it’s no secret

And I no longer have to hide—that—

 

I’m a tall brown-haired selfish bitch,

And I don’t believe it’s a crime

To say, “This is what I want” over and over

“This is what I want” all the time.

I’m just a tall brown-haired selfish bitch,

Do you see how it makes me smile,

And it’s what I’m gonna be—yes indeed—

For quite a while.

 

I’m just a tall brown-haired selfish bitch.

I don’t like responsibility.

I don’t like assumptions, so please don’t assume

Where or what I’m gonna be.

So now you know and I guarantee

That I’m gonna be a witch

‘Cause I’m a smiling, swinging, lovin’ tall

Brown-haired, selfish bitch!

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

I Want To Choose

The Supreme Court has affirmed the right of a woman to make the decision about abortion. That right to choose needs to be given to each woman, regardless of her economic state. It is never an easy decision.

If I am poor and have no money to pay,

The Congress of this country is prepared to say

“No abortion for you—there isn’t any way

‘Cause you are poor and don’t have money to pay.”

 

Choose, choose, I want to choose,

I want to have the right to choose.

Choose, choose, I want to choose,

I want to have the right to choose.

 

It’s true I’m poor and I just don’t understand

The rules about abortion that we’re making in this land.

You can have an abortion if you have the money to pay,

Or if you’re raped and you report it right away,

Or if your life’s in danger and you’re apt to die that day.

Then you can—

 

Choose, choose, I want to choose,

I want to have the right to choose.

Choose, choose, I want to choose,

I want to have the right to choose.

 

Now listen Congress to this—woman’s voice,

I may be poor but I must have the right to make a choice,

“No abortion” you say—you have set me up to lose,

I don’t like losing. I just want my right to—

 

Choose, choose, I want to choose,

I want to have the right to choose.

Choose, choose, I want to choose,

I want to have the right to choose.

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price


I’ve Got a Gun

It feels to me like this song needs no explanation except itself. The weapons or the threats may change, but the roll of the drum continues and gets louder until…

I’ve got a gun right by my side,

I’ve got a gun so you better hide,

I’ve got a gun, I’ve got a gun,

And I’ll keep the peace

Just as long as you don’t get one.

 

I’ve got a tank, I’ve got a tank,

So put your gun away.

I think it’s neat—You’re obsolete,

And I’ll have the peace my way.

 

I’ve got a sub and you do not,

Now all your tanks are not so hot.

I’ve got a sub, I’ve got a sub

And I’ll keep the peace

Just as long as you don’t flub.

 

I’ve got a jet, I’ve got a jet

That will sink your submarine.

I’ll start with four—then order more,

But peace will be my dream.

 

I’ve got napalm in supply,

Right in stockpiles way up high,

I’ve got napalm, it will burn

But you can be sure

That peace is what I yearn for.

 

I’ve got a bomb, I’ve got a bomb,

A neutron bomb today,

It will kill what’s alive, but property survives,

And I’ll make peace this way.

 

Where will it end the whole world round?

Who will be first to lay arms down?

Where will it end?

Who will be first?

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

The Army Is Having a Bake Sale

A postcard from the Fellowship of Reconciliation first suggested the image: the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force having to have bake sales because they were running out of money. Sing along—it’s a good feeling to have the words come out of your mouth. Then follow through on saying “No” to more money for defense.

One day the people started to say,

“All this money for defense is wrong.”

One day the people started to say,

“Stop it! We are not gonna play along.”

So now the Army is having a bake sale,

And the Marines are bringing oatmeal cookies,

And the Navy is bringing cinnamon coffee cakes,

‘Cause they’re all running out of money.

 

Some of the people sat and added it up,

Millions and millions for weapons that can wipe folks out.

Some of the people said, “We are not going to pay—

So stop it—that’s the message we shout.”

So now the Army is having a bake sale,

And the Marines are bringing pecan pie,

And the Air Force is bringing chocolate chip delight,

‘Cause they’re all running out of money.

 

Congress keeps claiming we need all this stuff,

They vote and say, “You people have to pay the bill.”

We are the people and we can demand,

“Stop it—we will not pay to kill.”

So now the Army is having a bake sale,

And the Air Force is bringing peanut brittle,

And the Navy is bringing snickerdoodle cookies

‘Cause they’re all running out of money.

 

More, more for the Pentagon—the overkill’s not enough,

The budget for defense, it has to grow and grow.

The people say “This ain’t the way—we’re shouting out our NO!

So stop it—and put some time,

Stop it—and put some money,

Stop it—and plan a program for peace.”

So now the Army is having a bake sale,

And the Marines are bringing a bit of toffee,

And the Air Force is bringing divinity fudge

‘Cause they’re all running out,

They’re all running out,

They’re all running out of money.

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

I Git Tired

I was in the orthodontist’s office with my child and the nurse shared that she was going to use a hurt finger to get out of doing the dishes that night. I wrote the song for her—and for myself—and for a few other women I have met.

I git tired of doin’ the dishes,

I git tired of sweepin’ the floor,

I git tired of doin’ the shoppin’

And I’m not gonna do it anymore.

 

‘Cause I git tired of doin’ the washin’

I git tired of cleanin’ the house,

I git tired of drivin’ the car around

I git tired of havin’ to grouse about—

 

Who’s gonna straighten the linen closet,

And who’s gonna take the garbage out,

Who’s gonna clean the dirty toilet

‘Cause I’m gettin’ ready to stamp and shout.

 

Now, don’t you tell me it’s part of motherhood,

Don’t you tell me that it’s women’s work,

Don’t you tell me that you thought that I enjoyed it,

While you sit back and shirk—you jerk.

 

I want the work all written down now,

I want the jobs divided today,

I want to do my equal part and that is all

What a great way.

 

I am here, a part of this household,

I will work but so will you,

I am here but not as a slavey,

Just as a part of the household crew.

 

I git tired of doin’ the dishes,

I git tired of sweepin’ the floor,

I git tired of doin’ the shoppin’

And I’m not gonna do it — anymore.

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Call Me Woman

It’s not too hard to figure out where this song comes from. Strangers, co-workers, man on the street—many of them feel free to call a woman any number of choice names. A friend said to my husband, “How’s your old lady?” and another song was on its way.

 

Don’t call me lady, gal, chick, dame, sugar or sweetheart,

Baby or doll or “hon”

Don’t call me cookie—don’t call me cutie,

Not even in fun.

 

I don’t want to hear you shout “girl,”

And don’t say broad,

And just remember I’m not your old lady—never was.

 

Don’t call me slut, honey, dearie, hussy

Or big mama,

Don’t call me your stuff.

 

I’m a woman. I’m a woman,

Get your language straight,

It’s already late,

Clean up your vocabulary,

And call me right—call me woman.

 

It happens all the time as I walk down the street

And those construction men, they think

They’d like to greet me

On this sunny day, as I just walk along,

But now I turn and I just sing ‘em this song—

 

It happens everywhere, in offices each day

When someone doesn’t think, and simply starts to say,

“Just ask the girl out there.” I wonder who they mean,

There isn’t any girl in sight to be seen.

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Do You Hear Me Talking

My friend Stacey said to me, “Doesn’t it seems sometimes like you talk to men and you think they hear and then the next day or week you have to say it all over again?” That’s what it feels like sometimes—repeating, explaining, helping and then going right back to the beginning and repeating, explaining, helping. Hello—are you there?

Do you hear me talking,

Do you see my lips moving,

Do you hear my words floating through the air?

Do you understand me,

Do you comprehend me,

Could you give me a signal that you are there?

 

Do you hear me shouting,

Do you hear me raging,

Do you feel me wanting you to be

Where you make the struggle,

Where you ask the questions,

Where you start the move from “A” to “B”?

 

Are you really present,

Have you left your body,

Could you blink your eyes twice to signal me?

Are you finished teasing,

Are you finished laughing,

When will you begin to take me seriously?

 

Must I keep repeating,

Must I keep repeating,

Will we have this conversation ten more years?

Will you break your wall down,

Will you tear your mask off,

Will you open up your eyes and ears?

 

Should I start all over,

Right at the beginning,

Should I be so patient and help you along?

Must I start all over,

Right at the beginning,

I am getting tired of this whole damn song.

 

Do you hear me talking,

Do you see my lips moving,

Do you hear me talking,

Do you see my lips moving?

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Don’t Write Me a Letter

When it comes to beginnings, it seems crucial to spend time and energy, create space, explore diversity. When it comes to endings, I want to spend the same kind of quality time—to say goodbye.

Don’t write me a letter when it’s over,

Don’t use a pen to say goodbye,

Don’t stuff all your feelings in a blue envelope

And lick it shut—with a quiet sigh.

Don’t write me a letter when it’s over,

Don’t spell out those words that mean the end,

If we are saying goodbye, if we’re saying it’s finished,

Just don’t say it in a letter my friend.

 

But come to my door, let’s clear a little space,

We can say it’s over—face to face.

I don’t need to play any disconnected game,

Our hello’s took time. Our goodbye’s can take the same.

 

Don’t call me long distance when you’re weary,

Don’t use a telephone to call it quits,

Don’t dial all the numbers and forget who I am,

You know it tears me up—in little bits.

Don’t hold the receiver while you whisper,

Don’t stand there a hundred miles away,

I just need to have you hear, See your pain and feel your fear,

Don’t end us long distance my friend.

 

But comes to my door, let’s clear a little space,

We can say it’s over—face to face.

I don’t need to play any disconnected game,

Our hello’s took time. Our goodbye’s can take the same.

 

Just come here—say goodbye,

Hold me—let’s cry.

Come here—say goodbye,

Hold me. Let’s cry.

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

Step Close

I used to believe that I was unique in feeling this tension between closeness and separateness. Not so.

Step close, I want you,

Step close, I want you near,

Step close, I want you,

I want you here.

 

Oh no, I’m feeling surrounded,

Step back, I can’t breathe.

Step back, I made a mistake

And I want you to leave.

 

Hold me—I need you,

Hold me in your arms so tight,

Hold me—I need you

And it feels so right.

 

Let go, I’m going to be smothered,

Let go, I’ve got to be free,

Let go, I’m being absorbed

And I cannot be me.

 

Just when I think I know what I’m wanting,

Just when I think I’m starting to care,

Just when I think I’ve finally found

A person with whom I can share,

 

Then it starts—I split down the middle,

Then it starts—I push you away.

Then my being starts acting double,

Come here. No, don’t stay.

 

Yes, No. I can’t believe myself and what I say,

Yes, No, Yes, No—Be here, go away.

 

Don’t touch, I have to have space but

Do touch, I want you so.

It doesn’t make any sense—

Yes, No, Come, Go, Yes. No.

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

SURVIVORS

“Survivors”s dedicated to Nan Self of the national Commission on the Status and Role of Women in the United Methodist Church. We met at a retreat. The first evening someone said, “I don’t know if we’ll survive.” Nan spun around to quickly say, “We’ll survive because we’re survivors.”

The times have been tough,

The barriers have been strong,

The laws have been rigid

And the rules have been wrong,

But through all the hard times

And through all the pain,

We have survived, because we’re survivors.

 

The days have been long,

The struggle has been hard,

Real change has come slowly,

And we’ve grown oh so tired,

But through all the anger,

And through all the rage,

We have survived, because we’re survivors.

 

We stand in the storm,

The thunder echoes round,

We stand firm together

And we forge a strong bond,

And we grow in new ways

And walk on fresh roads,

We can survive, because we’re survivors.

 

The dreams have been born,

The vision starts to grow,

We all form a circle,

And we know—yes, we know,

That through all our journeys

And through every day—

We will survive, because we’re survivors.

 

© Copyright 1983 by Ann F. Price

———-

NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE

Nuclear-free zone: an idea that has been sweeping communities and the world—an idea worth spreading. I want to live in a nuclear-free zone.

I want to live in a nuclear-free zone.

It is the only place to work and have a home,

And if you make your spot nuclear-free to,

We’ll live in a world that’s safe for me and for you.

 

Defense build-up, we say: “NO”

World says: “We don’t like this show.”

Nuclear missiles have to go,

Defense Build-up, We say: “NO.”

 

Government must open ears,

Nuclear wastes stay hot for years,

Nuclear plants are cause for tears,

“Shut them down,” the shout rings clear.

 

Accidents at nuclear plants

Are bad news for residents.

Evacuate makes no sense.

Evacuate—not a chance.

 

I want to live in a nuclear-free zone,

It is the only place to work and have a home,

And if you make your spot nuclear-free too

We’ll live in a world that’s safe for me and for you.

 

© Copyright 1984 by Ann F. Price

———-

WE NEED PLOWSHARES

Reconciliation is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. As it was once spoken in Biblical times, it is now more than ever time to beat the swords into plowshares. For it is time to decide against war—anymore.

We need plowshares made out of swords today,

We need plowshares ‘cause that’s the living way,

So beat your swords back into plowshares my friend,

Beat your swords back into plowshares.

 

When you get to talkin ‘bout the neutron bomb,

Someone’s got to say a big strong “NO”

And that someone’s got to be you and me

And the message has to travel round the world.

 

Military spending for the Pentagon,

Every year takes lots and lots of dough,

And you know that you and me—have to agree

And tell the Pentagon we’re saying, “NO. NO. NO.”

 

Someone’s making choices in the armaments race,

And they are choosing tension and strife,

We need to make new choices for ourselves and our children,

And we need to start choosing life.

 

We need plowshares made out of swords today,

We need plowshares ‘cause that’s the living way,

So beat your swords back into plowshares my friend,

Beat your swords back into plowshares.

 

© Copyright 1984 by Ann F. Price

———-

PEOPLE WANT PEACE SO MUCH

In 1959 in London, Dwight D. Eisenhower said the first 23 words of  this song. I wonder when governments will listen to the people? Or, I wonder when the people will insist that their governments “get out of the way” and let them have the peace they want.

“People want peace so much

that one of these days

governments had better get out of the way

and let them have it.”

 

We are the people who want the peace,

We are the people who want the peace,

We are the people who want the peace,

We want peace.

 

© Copyright 1984 by Ann F. Price

———-

PEACEMAKERS

The talk of peace is lofty, but the action of peace is specific, beginning with me. The excitement of it is that as each of us begins to live in concrete ways as a peace-maker, the fears begin to fade and we feel the healing and the wholeness. Blessed are those who make peace for they shall be called the children of God. May I be one of them.

Where is the hope in the midst of the conflict,

Turmoil surrounds us, Tensions increase.

Trust has vanished,

People despair and feel helpless, hopeless,

There is a whisper:

 

Blessed are those who make peace

For they shall be called the children of God,

May I be one of them.

 

Deep in each person the spirit lies waiting,

Dormant, yet ready, Waiting for life.

Flames rekindled

Bring forth a birthing of goodness, caring,

There is a shouting:

 

Blessed are those who make peace

For they shall be called the children of God,

May I be one of them.

 

Move toward the vision of peace now created,

Stand in its center, Move toward the dream,

Touch the stranger

Banish the fear and feel wholeness, healing,

There is a singing:

 

Blessed are those who make peace

For they shall be called the children of God,

May I be one of them.

 

© Copyright 1984 by Ann F. Price

———-

I Didn’t Know

My Mother died in April 1984 and I thought I was prepared for her death. I wasn’t. In the summer of 1984 in the very midst of my grief, I wrote this song.

I didn’t know it would be

so very hard to let you go

I didn’t know, I didn’t know.

 

I wonder did I say that

I love you so, I wonder

did I say enough I love you so

 

And every moment I am thinking of you

Around each corner I am seeing you too

And I am dreaming it was just a nightmare

I was having for a while

‘Cause I cannot let you go

I cannot let you go

 

Come back, please come back

I didn’t mean for you to go

Please come back, come back,

I didn’t know, I didn’t know

 

Come back, just come back to me

Oh, just come back to me

‘Cause I cannot stand the all alone without you here

‘Cause I cannot stand the all alone without you here

‘Cause I cannot stand the all alone without you here

 

I need you — I didn’t know that

I want you — I didn’t know that

 

I was rushing here and there

Spinning circles in the air

Never knowing you were there

Waiting just for me — to care

 

I didn’t know it would be so hard to let you go

I wonder did I say enough I love you so

Every moment I think of you,

Every corner I see you too

I am dreaming

It’s a nightmare

‘Cause I cannot let you go

I cannot let you go.

© Copyright 1984 Ann Freeman Price

———-

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