All The Ghosts That Walk This Earth

I’ll tell you what happened
I was walking downtown
Making something for May Day
Pounding the ground
Some kid pulled a trigger
And then I was dead
‘Cause that’s what happens
When a shotgun blows off your head
I was just 24
Much too young to die
My reason for living
I didn’t know why
I had no time to show
What my life could be worth
Now i’m just another
Of all the ghosts that walk this earth

Yes, I wander the world
And I see all the others
The dead and forsaken
My sisters and brothers
All of us wondering
What are we doing here
Just stuck on this planet
Who knows how many years
In Auschwitz or Baghdad
It’s always the same
Forgotten and restless
No one calling their name
I visit my old friends
They make love and give birth
While I’m just another
Of all the ghosts that walk this earth

And I wish I could show you
All the places I’ve been
Where the flowers grow wild
Where the napalm meets skin
I wish I could trade it
And be back in my life
Maybe we’d live in China
Maybe you’d be my wife
Maybe I would feel something
Not just angry and sad
Always just wishing
For the life that I had
But I just watch you and your lover
In such glorious mirth
For I’m just another
Of all the ghosts that walk this earth

“All the Ghosts That Walk This Earth” originally appeared on the CD, Songs for Mahmud, 2004. It’s one of the several songs I have written about my dear friend and housemate, Eric Mark, who was shot to death when we went out one night, on Shotwell Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, early in the morning of May 1st, 1993. In this song, I imagine being Eric’s ghost, wishing for the life he never had the chance to have, since he died as a very young man.