The Official Harry Chapin Thread

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

i'm listening to a harry chapin album! the song "sniper" is INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE. what was this dude on?

by Harry Chapin

It is an early Monday morning.
The sun is becoming bright on the land.
No one is watching as he comes a walking.
Two bulky suitcases hang from his hands.

He heads towards the tower that stands in the campus.
He goes through the door, he starts up the stairs.
The sound of his footsteps, the sound of his breathing,
The sound of the silence when no one was there.

I didn't really know him.
He was kind of strange.
Always sort of sat there.
He never seemed to change.

He reached the catwalk. He put done his burden.
The four sided clock began to chime.
Seven AM, the day is beginning.
So much to do and so little time.

He looks at the city where no one had known him.
He looks at the sky where no one looks down.
He looks at his life and what it has shown him.
He looks for his shadow it cannot be found.

He was such a moody child, very hard to touch.
Even as a baby he never smiled too much. No no.No no.

You bug me, she said.
Your ugly, she said.
Please hug me, I said.
But she just sat there
With the same flat stare
That she saves for me alone
When I'm home.
When I'm home.
Take me home.

He laid out the rifles, he loaded the shotgun,
He stacked up the cartridges along the wall.
He knew he would need them for his conversation.
If it went as it he planned, then he might use them all.

He said Listen you people I've got a question
You won't pay attention but I'll ask anyhow.
I found a way that will get me an answer.
Been waiting to ask you 'till now.
Right now !

Am I ?
I am a lover whose never been kissed.
Am I ?
I am a fighter whose not made a fist.
Am I ?
If I'm alive then there's so much I've missed.
How do I know I exist ?
Are you listening to me ?
Are you listening to me ?
Am I ?

The first words he spoke took the town by surprise.
One got Mrs. Gibbons above her right eye.
It blew her through the window wedged her against the door.
Reality poured from her face, staining the floor.

He was kind of creepy,
Sort of a dunce.
I met him at the corner bar.
I only dated the poor boy once,
That's all. Just once, that was all.

Bill Whedon was questioned as stepped from his car.
Tom Scott ran across the street but he never got that far.
The police were there in minutes, they set up baricades.
He spoke right on over them in a half-mile circle.
In a dumb struck city his pointed questions were sprayed.

He knocked over Danny Tyson as he ran towards the noise.
Just about then the answers started comming. Sweet, sweet joy.
Thudding in the clock face, whining off the walls,
Reaching up to where he sat there, answering calls.

Thirty-seven people got his message so far.
Yes, he was reaching them right were they are.

They set up an assault team. They asked for volunteers.
They had to go and get him, that much was clear.
And the word spread about him on the radios and TV's.
In appropriately sober tone they asked "Who can it be ?"

He was a very dull boy, very taciturn.
Not much of a joiner, he did not want to learn.
No no.No no.

They're coming to get me, they don't want to let me
Stay in the bright light too long.
It's getting on noon now, it's goin to be soon now.
But oh, what a wonderful sound !

Mama, won't you nurse me ?
Rain me down the sweet milk of your kindness.
Mama, it's getting worse for me.
Won't you please make me warm and mindless ?

Mama, yes you have cursed me.
I never will forgive you for your blindness.
I hate you!

The wires are all humming for me.
And I can hear them coming for me.
Soon they'll be here, but there's nothing to fear.
Not any more though they've blasted the door.

As the copter dropped the gas he shouted " Who cares ?" .
They could hear him laughing as they started up the stairs.
As they stormed out on the catwalk, blinking at the sun,
With their final fusillade his answer had come.

Am I ?
There is no way that you can hide me.
Am I ?
Though you have put your fire inside me.
Am I ?
You've given me my answer can't you see ?
I was !
I am !
and now I Will Be

scott seward, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

whatever it was, elton john was on something similar, though elton seems to have taken a slightly smaller dose.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:47 (eight years ago) Permalink

for some reason, harry's delivery reminds me of another harry - nilsson.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

He has one of those voices that is completely forgettable, imo, like this weird generic/bad mix of Cat Stevens and Glen Yarborough and whatever a guy who is into hot carls sounds like.

Noise Pictorial Works Juvenile Fiction (Abbott), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 19:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm sorry, it's spelled Glenn Yarbrough.

Noise Pictorial Works Juvenile Fiction (Abbott), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 19:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

Hmm, a google reveals that a hot carl is also slightly different than the contents of his poem "Baptism."

Noise Pictorial Works Juvenile Fiction (Abbott), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 19:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

Sorry everyone, please ignore me.

Noise Pictorial Works Juvenile Fiction (Abbott), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 19:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Okay for real Harry Chapin of all people has a poem about how his first sexual experience was a girl shitting on his chest when he was 17. It's called "Baptism," from his collection "Looking and Seeing."

― Abbott, Monday, November 12, 2007 9:42 PM (7 years ago)


I used to think
that girls never went
to the bathroom,
and that by some
incredibly intricate
no waste came
from their magically
forbidden orifices.

Then at sixteen
my first love
a seventeen year old
gum chewing angel,
with deadly accuracy,
shat on me.


i ain't marchant anymore (unregistered), Monday, 16 February 2015 23:44 (three years ago) Permalink

Shit's In The Cradle

Don A Henley And Get Over It (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 17 February 2015 00:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Another man might have been angry. Another man might have been hurt.

clemenza, Tuesday, 17 February 2015 00:28 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

One of the big Canadian banks, Toronto Dominion, has a commercial running that uses a not particularly good "Cat's in the Cradle" cover: fathers and sons, getting older side by side, invest in the future, etc. Either they don't know what the song's about, or they're assuming no one watching knows what it's about.

clemenza, Friday, 9 June 2017 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

No redeemable features.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 12 March 2018 01:11 (nine months ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

The Sniper is truly insane. It's also undeniably musically impressive. Why is this not better known?

glumdalclitch, Friday, 23 November 2018 18:01 (three weeks ago) Permalink

"deadly accuracy" in that poem is really bothering me.

JoeStork, Friday, 23 November 2018 19:21 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Dave Marsh:

I’ve had very intense friendships with people whose music I can’t stand. I mean, I was very close to Harry Chapin. And Harry and I just agreed that we didn’t agree about the quality of his music. And I miss him. He was a really good friend. It was funny, there was a record store about a block from my house, and I went down there to get something one day, this was in the summertime, and one of the clerks who knew me said, “Oh well, did you hear that Harry Chapin just died in a car accident out on Long Island? I’m sure that’s a great day in rock criticism for you,” or something. Totally legitimate thing for him to say. And I literally ran out of the store to go home and find out, could this be true?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 23 November 2018 19:44 (three weeks ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.