I grew up in the land of houses in rows
I had asthma, that’s how it goes
When you’re in LA and there are cars everywhere
See the sky and smell the air
I left home, looked around
Trying to find some solid ground
I found life in the northern wood
And I knew that this was good

I saw the dozers, the death machines
Tearing apart everything green
I built a platform, sat in a tree
Said if you’re taking her down, then you’re taking down me
I saw the highways, I saw the mall
I saw the eagle, heard the clarion call
Voices of reason were talking to me
So I burned down a couple of SUV’s

Among the words and the deeds in the war for the west
A chapter was written and I was the test
To shut us all up and drive us apart
All who have life and love in our hearts
The judge did the math then he did some more
He was a man out to settle a score
An illegal sentence in a stolen land
With life or death in the palm of his hand

And now here I am, so long behind bars
For trying to breath in a nation of cars
Sanity jailed and madness in power
Our time it is short and now is the hour
So may you hide in the darkness and stay safe in the night
Find whatever you need to stay in the fight
There’s a planet at stake and that’s all that I see
And my thoughts will be with you until I am free

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“Free” originally appeared as “Free (Song for Jeffrey Luers)” on the 2003 Soundclick release, Beyond the Mall. In 2009 it appeared as a spoken word piece on the CD, Ten Thousand Miles Away.

I read stuff that Jeffrey Luers had written about the reasons why he set fire to cars at an SUV dealership in Eugene in 2000, and I wrote this. He heard it while he was still in prison, and he told me he liked it very much. Because it was a politically-motivated act of property destruction, rather than just a random act or something, he was originally given a prison sentence of more than 22 years, and charged with terrorism. But this was ultimately reduced to less than 9 years. He is now a free man, living in Eugene, Oregon.