Feeling My Age

Getting older has its drawbacks – but it's a lot better than the alternative.

Matthew Sheppard

“Matthew” from the album BILLIE’S BONES by JANIS IAN
A song for Matthew Shepard (1976 – 1998). This performance is taken from the DVD ‘Live at Club Cafe’, which can be purchased at Janisian.com.

Matthew
Janis Ian

Footsteps on gravel at the neighborhood bar
Things start to unravel, then they go too far
The sound of pain written on the wind
fades to grey and then goes dim…

A boy is tied to a barbed wire fence
for the crows to ride and the claws to clench
For the sweet bouquet of blood and bone
to undermine the scent of collegiate cologne

What makes a man a man?
The cut of a coat, the hint of a tan?
It’s not who you love, but whether you can
What makes a man a man?

Who did he harm, what was the crime?
Did he walk too lightly, did he seem too shy?
Did he make them wonder deep inside?
Did they feel like real men when he died?

Did the waning moon look down from on high?
Did the twinkling stars try to catch his eye?
Did the wind caress his flesh and bone?
Did they leave him there to die alone?

What makes a man a man?
The cut of a coat, the hint of a tan?
It’s not who you love, but whether you can
What makes a man a man

Now the stars are nailed to an empty sky
The moon is pinned like a butterfly
and I’m afraid to shine too bright
since the day they took his life

So mothers, teach your children this
Don’t overreach, don’t run the risk
Hide in the shadows, don’t expect
your good heart to save your neck

What makes a man a man?
The cut of a coat, the hint of a tan?
It’s not who you love, but whether you can
What makes a man a man?

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