Brian Laidlaw

Poet | Songwriter | Educator



When I was young, people told me about the workforce,

And the natural competition between the bears and the bulls

But that’s no excuse to treat a man like a workhorse

Or to treat my conscience like the deadweight it pulls


Plainly, plainly, you see it pain me

Daily, daily, come on & pay me

But it will never work…




The first time I slept in a military barrack

human evolution seemed to run in reverse 

There may have a been a time when we weren’t so barbaric

But ever since that time we’ve gotten steadily worse


Nightly, nightly, they try to fight me

Daily, daily, they try to slay me


As soon as we saw that our hands were prehensile

We could have been happy discovering the pencil

but many were drawn to another utensil

whose job is to stab or to cut

suddenly ownership wasn’t so blurry

the iron, the blood, and the dust turned to slurry

I guess you could say we grew up in a hurry

Yeah, but grew up into what?


Swiftly, swiftly, come on & lift me

Deftly, deftly, come on & heft me

But it will never work…








The government advises to stock up the larder

With moderate-sized rations for seven months of meals

Well the venison gets rancid, and the hard tack gets harder

And the smarter you are, the stupider it feels


Then you and the neighbors become superstitious

Not sure how to fill the family’s dishes

You are the loaves and I am the fishes

Now god’s gonna cut us apart

You’ve got a blade for a mouth, like a swordfish or Marlin

That’s all the better for kissing your darlin

You can ask jesus or you can ask darwin

Either will answer by heart


Needy, needy, come on & feed me

Bravely, bravely, come on & save me

But it will never work…




I’ve driven by our nuclear silos

Which guarantee we’ll win, even if we can’t escape

They’ll tear us limb from limb like Venus de Milos

We can rest assured they’re in even worse shape


It leads me to wonder about these lieutenants

When they’re on their knees reciting their penance

Whether the shape at the end of their sentence

Is a question or an exclamation mark

I never voted for taxes to pay for

A bomb that could cook a man into a wafer

Our arsenal fails to make me feel safer

When I’m underground in the dark


Nightly, nightly, they try to fight me,

Daily, daily, they try to slay me

[But it will never work…]




My daddy built us a fallout shelter

With a radio to sing to, and a bible to read

He stocked it with gin and alka seltzer,

‘cause when the rocket comes, what else more could you need



boldly, boldly, stay here and hold me,

tighter, tighter, I’m not a fighter


The lamb of the lord has grown up into mutton

Man is an omnivore, aka “glutton,”

He sits in the silo with his thumb on the button

At the bottom of a bottomless shaft

Out in the deserts of Utah, Nevada,

There’s a fossilized history in layers of strata

Now brothers and sisters, we’re only errata

To be edited out of the draft


But it will never work…