our father who art in a penthouse
sits in his 37th floor suite
and swivels to gaze down
at the city he made me in
he allows me to stand and
solicit graffiti until
he needs the land i stand on
in my darkened threshold
am pawing through my pockets
the receipts, the bus schedules
the matchbook phone numbers
the urgent napkin poems
all of which laundering has rendered
pulpy and strange
loose change and a key
ask me
go ahead, ask me if i care
i got the answer here
i wrote it down somewhere
i just gotta find it
i just gotta find it

somebody and their spray paint got too close
somebody came on too heavy
now look at me made ugly
by the drooling letters
i was better off alone
ain't that the way it is
they don't know the first thing
but you don't know that
until they take the first swing
my fingers are red and swollen from the cold
i'm getting bold in my old age
so go ahead, try the door
it doesn't matter anymore
i know the weak hearted are strong willed
and we are being kept alive
until we're killed
he's up there the ice
is clinking in his glass
i don't ask
i just empty my pockets and wait
it's not fate
it's just circumstance
i don't fool myself with romance
i just live
phone number to phone number
dusting them against my thighs
in the warmth of my pockets
which whisper history incessantly
asking me
where were you

i lower my eyes
wishing i could cry more
and care less
yes it's true
i was trying to love someone again
i was caught caring
bearing weight

but i love this city, this state
this country is too large
and whoever's in charge up there
had better take the elevator down
and put more than change in our cup
or else we
are coming

Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

Coming Up song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment

    To me, this song is all about male power. From the first line Ani equates ‘Our Father’ (the patriarch) with a businessman/property owner who attempts to control and command the woman narrator.

    However, ‘Coming Up’ refuses the subordinated female position, Ani refers to the power of feminist action - ‘somebody[’s] … spray paint got too close’ – which immediately leads to the male figure affirming his powerful position by demanding ‘the land I stand on’. However, the narrator will not give up. The line ‘it’s not fate / it’s just circumstance’ refuses the naturalisation of powerless female. Hmmm … I know that sounds like a toss, but I guess I just thought I’d add my two cents. Sorry that was a bit incoherent.

    self_consciouson December 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Kindof like a statement to the world from an ahiest, maybe.... like "im glad you have your beliefs and god loves the earth and eveything is perfect, but i am oging to make things better" and if everyone questioned the normalcy then things wuld be difrent

    regardemylasheskgmon May 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love this.

    precipitateon February 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I'm with self_conscious. And it was very coherent.

    Technicolor_Dreamson September 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This makes me think of New Orleans and Katrina, and I was surprised to find it was written a long time before that!

    But more generally, it seems to be about government and the way the common people (us) are so far removed from them, and their lifestyles are almost dreamlike in comparison. It's from the POV of the normal people, who have to deal with it, while 'he' doesn't.

    I first heard it live from one of those Def poetry slams, and the thing I love about how she did it there was the way she tells this story, this perspective, free from that generic anger you hear so much of in anarchist/anti-government songs and poems. It was so calm and human. And it feels like it's about the powerless side of this perspective, be it liberal or whatever you want to call it. There's so much about the powerful side, 'the people will rise up', but this is unusual because it feels like it's about how it feels when your efforts to change things seem to be going nowhere, but there's this subculture of hope anyway. It's such a very bittersweet poem.

    Cornflakezon May 21, 2008   Link

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