Like a burning monk
My light flared out in the dark
You're my constant call to arms
Took the blind fold off then left chalk outlines where the future was
It's a goddamn war of attrition
It's a death by a thousand cuts
And if these motherfuckers made it to heaven
They burned the bridge when they got across

They're gathering anchors
They're gathering rope
You push into heaven all alone
They're grabbing your ankles
They won't let you go
The ebb and the distant flow
They're cutting your wings off
Built your ceilings out of stained glass

Well you cut like gravel in my skinned knee
The wound will close eventually
You'll stay as a reminder of how fucked this world can be
Held your funeral on a Tuesday
Holy waters, November cold
The kid who pulled the trigger
Knew tomorrow couldn't promise him hope

All these bastards are gathering rope
You push into heaven all alone
They're grabbing your ankles
They won't let you go
The ebb and the distant flow
They're cutting your wings off
Built your ceilings out of stained glass
They were cutting your wings off
I was staring at my idle hands
Maybe I could've done something
Maybe I could've made a difference

John Wayne with a God complex
Tells me to buy a gun
Like shooting a teenage kid is gonna solve any problems
Like it's an arms race
Like death don't mean nothing
So know the heavy price of living poor
The world in my red lines, backed into a corner
Not knowing growing up what it's like to belong here in America

With everyone built the same then how come building's so fucking hard for you?
It's something we're all born into
Enough is enough too gray
It's black or white and some times black and blue
It's something we're all born into
Now I know what's in a name
Not just my father
Three fifths a man makes half of me
Why should I bother?
Machines of misery stuck in the dead fucking John Wayne's fucking God complex
Everything in front of me
But there is far enough
To touch those fever dreams they call America
I am the general's chosen one
The privileged bastard's son


They're gathering anchors
They're gathering rope
You push into heaven all alone
They're gathering anchors
They're gathering rope
You push into heaven all alone
No, all alone



Lyrics submitted by x-Grinchy-x, edited by greenday68

Stained Glass Ceilings song meanings
Add your thoughts

3 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentThis song gives me shivers
    glaupieon September 28, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAP magazine, September 2015 (magazine #326):

    "Repressed memories also come to light on"Stained Glass Ceilings," which features a blistering cameo from Butler and chronicles two major events in Campbell's life: the murder of a student from the after-school program where he volunteers between tours and the police response to Campbell being robbed at gunpoint years ago in South Philadelphia.

    'When he got there, this cop told me that I should buy a gun,' [Campbell] says of the latter incident. 'I was kind of taken aback that that was his solution-that somehow I would be content taking the lives of two teenage boys over a cell phone and the absurdity of that--how little he seemed to value the lives of the people who robbed me. His solution was more violence and more death. He had no interest in education or looking at the system that would cause someone to rob, to feel like they needed to rob. He had no interest in the disease that was causing the symptoms, only what he could see and dismiss without having to face the hard truth: These people are robbing you. They are evil. You can shoot them. That's not the truth. There's a very serious system in place that's causing these kids to feel like their recourse in life is to take my cell phone. It's painting people with broad strokes. He's ignoring their struggle; he's ignoring their humanity. he's willing to kill over petty theft.

    'There's this bullshit idea of "bootstrapping," that no matter where you came from, pull yourself up by your bootstraps," he continues. 'It's this lie we've been fed that everyone stands on equal ground to succeed if they put the work in. You're born on a level playing field. There are so many people who believe that if you aren't successful, then it's your fault--only your fault--because you didn't put the fucking work in. It's a patent denial of privilege. The song isn't about the KKK or a neo-Nazi group; that's not what this idea is. It's about a flawed education system. It's about a flawed judicial system. It's about neighborhood redlining. It's about poverty tax. It's about the war on drugs. It's about the school-to-prison pipeline.
    ...
    'You can work as hard as you possibly can and still struggle--and maybe still end up dead. And that's not a reflection of character or work ethic; it's a reflection of a flawed system.' "
    greenday68on July 31, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationJust some lines I'd like to comment on:

    Took the blind fold off then left chalk outlines where the future was
    (A kid he knew from an after school program was killed...they left chalk outlines where this kid was, and kids are the future.)

    It's a goddamn war of attrition
    It's a death by a thousand cuts
    (this flaw in the education and judicail system is so crippling to think about and widespread it feels like any fight against it is a long war with no progress, and ultimately failing.)


    They're gathering anchors
    They're gathering rope
    You push into heaven all alone
    They're grabbing your ankles
    They won't let you go
    The ebb and the distant flow
    (I think he is refering to the policemen and society that limit the children and hold them back, and the kid goes to heaven all alone because no one supports him.)

    They're cutting your wings off
    Built your ceilings out of stained glass
    (Wikipedia: "A glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic - typically applied to women - from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy" I believe Campbell is relating to this, and making the glass stained glass to either show the complexity of the issue, or relating it to religion and trying to get into heaven. It could also be that people built this beautiful glass ceiling so that the people metaphorically under it can see how amazing it is up there but know they can never get there.)

    Well you cut like gravel in my skinned knee
    The wound will close eventually
    You'll stay as a reminder of how fucked this world can be
    Held your funeral on a Tuesday
    Holy waters, November cold
    The kid who pulled the trigger
    Knew too well, couldn't promise him hope
    (Campbell will never forget about the kid that died, and knew that the kid who killed him was oppressed under the same system)


    They were cutting your wings off
    I was staring at my idle hands
    Maybe I could've done something
    Maybe I could've made a difference
    (he feels non-active in trying to prevent something like this from happening)

    John Wayne with a God complex
    Tells me to buy a gun
    Like shooting a teenage kid is gonna solve any problems
    Like it's an arms race
    Like death don't mean nothing
    (John Wayne is an actor who played a cop a few times, so here he is referring to when the cop told him to buy a gun after he was robbed, and how the cop thinks of the robber as sub-human and has no problem killing him.)

    So know the heavy price of living poor poor
    The world in my red lines, backed into a corner
    Not knowing growing up what it's like to belong here in America
    (Wiki: "redlining is the practice of denying services, either directly or through selectively raising prices, to residents of certain areas based on the racial or ethnic makeups of those areas." Things are not equal for everyone, especially for certain races.)


    Now I know what's in a name
    Not just my father
    Three fifths a man makes half of me
    Why should I bother?
    (Letlive's singer, Butler, has an African american dad, so here he is referring to the three-fifths compromise where African Americans had 3/5th's of a vote, already setting him up for lower opportunity.)
    greenday68on July 31, 2016   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain