What’s Your City’s Anthem — A Song, A Sound, or Something Else?

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I’ve written at least a few dozen songs, and the vast majority of them I haven’t shown to anyone, including “City’s Anthem.” This isn’t one of my positive songs. I wrote it from the perspective of a little boy who got yelled at and pushed around 30 years ago. I might tell that story publicly some day. For now, know that it wasn’t my parents and it wasn’t my grandparents.

I’ve been working on transforming my life in a healthy way to show that little boy / my inner child / my younger self that I can take care of him and that he doesn’t have anything to be afraid of. I have felt like a victim for too long. It’s quite the switch to go from seeing myself as a victim to seeing myself as a victor, from seeing myself as worthless to seeing myself as extremely valuable. It’s an uphill climb, but it is possible.

There’s another thing to make note of before sharing the lyrics for “City’s Anthem.” I’m not a musician. I’m a lyricist. I don’t write the music for songs. I write the words. I can hear the music. I can hear the tune, and it might be worth collaborating with someone who can write the music for songs.

For now though, it’s still progress to share what I’ve got so far. Enjoy, and if you see someone that needs help, do whatever you can to help them. You might be more effective than you think.

Now here is the lyrics for the “City’s Anthem” song. Enjoy.

“City’s Anthem” lyrics by James Barnett

The old familiar sounds
Greet me yet again
Someone’s yelling in the night
However far away
In these impoverished neighborhoods
There’s plenty of anger to go around
More than enough to share and multiply
It can often sound like
Someone’s life is in danger
Some sort of spectator syndrome
Keeps me from risking my life
For a stranger
Or even simply from calling the cops
To see what could be done
Whatever the yelling’s all about
It sure doesn’t sound fun

I can hear the sirens
They’re our city’s anthem
I can hear the sirens
I wonder who’s hurting now
I can hear the sirens
Help is on the way
Arrive in time
Live to see another day

Somehow eventually I get to fall asleep
And be transported back to childhood
When being yelled at made me freeze
And push turned into shove
As I was knocked around
I couldn’t help but feel
Like nothing could be done
Those incidents still define my life
Keeping me closed off
Who did I have to rescue me
And who else ever knew
While it was happening
What I was going through
Why should I now rescue someone else
Where was the help I needed
Back when I needed it
Where is it now for those people
Who are simply down the street

I can hear the sirens
They’re our city’s anthem
I can hear the sirens
I wonder who’s hurting now
I can hear the sirens
Help is on the way
Arrive in time
Live to see another day

Reminds me of an incident
I saw in a Wal Mart parking lot
It was dark outside
I heard a man yelling
With what sounded like murderous rage
He was in the driver’s seat
In a truck close by
The target of his anger was a woman
Sitting next to him
Who had clearly heard it all before
He made her feel so small and helpless
Worthless and hopeless
There was no dishwasher or loud TV
Or walls to block out his screaming
So others could hear him
Boy, could they ever hear him
And that made all the difference

I can hear the sirens
They’re our city’s anthem
I can hear the sirens
I wonder who’s hurting now
I can hear the sirens
Help is on the way
Arrive in time
Live to see another day

Thankfully, someone called the cops
And the folks in blue soon showed up
That was quite the relief to see
Sometimes there’s help available
Sometimes somebody cares
Sometimes it works out that way
For those who receive assistance
They can be the lucky ones
Sometimes there’s help available
Sometimes somebody cares
Sometimes it works out that way
For those who receive assistance
They can be the lucky ones
Here’s to the lucky ones

I can hear the sirens
They’re our city’s anthem
I can hear the sirens
I wonder who’s hurting now
I can hear the sirens
Help is on the way
Arrive in time
Live to see another day

Conclusion

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Until next time,

James Barnett

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2 thoughts on “What’s Your City’s Anthem — A Song, A Sound, or Something Else?”

  1. Dear J.B.,
    Wow, this song says a lot. Childhood trauma is a very deep and powerful thing. It’s so good you are able to get emotions, thoughts, memories, present day events that relate, into words and in print. You are facing some fears and able to overcome them.

    I had a childhood trauma where I, too, was greatly mistreated. With a broken heart and spirit, I ran down the hall, rivers of tears pouring down my face. Running from my father who had struck out at me over a minor thing. I was shocked to my very core and terrified. My mother was out and knew nothing of this for many, many years. When she learned about it, she was shocked. She finally understood what had happened to her happy little girl who had become quiet and sad.

    I’m so sorry you had such a sad thing happen to you as a little boy. All children need to feel safe and cared for.

    1. Hi Maisie, thank you for sharing with me what you’ve written over the years. That has helped encourage me to get to this point and keep going. Thank you for your unconditional encouragement. I’ve learned to appreciate you more. And you’ve been moving past your childhood traumas, too. I’m proud of you. Thank you for being you. You are a treasure.

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