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Rock Against Reality

by The Submensas

THE SUBMENSAS SONG You know, I never saw a war Nor a casualty, Yet I know what rubble is and what a corpse must be . . . (I read it in the paper somewhere!) Now, isn’t that stupid? It’s just so stupid. I ask God, are we Stupid? We’re Submensas We’re Submensas We’re only Submensas. Twisting spasms in orgies go Round and round the dance floors so I don’t know up, I don’t know down I just crease my mouth and frown (I hope it doesn’t freeze that way!) Now, isn’t that stupid? It’s just so stupid. I ask God are we stupid . . . We’re Submensas We’re Submensas We’re just Submensas You know I wanna run away with you! I want to patch the world together with glue! I want to do it, but I can’t see Why I can’t believe in me . . . (And that’s the way it feels sometimes in the rain, in the dark, or when I’m all alone.) Now, isn’t that stupid? It’s oh, so stupid I ask God, are we stupid? We’re Submensas Under the Lord Under the altar Under the table Of control We’re trapped We’re trapped There’s just one word: inferior. (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
DEATH IS A BEACH They lift their legs high To avoid the rip tide But the going is slow And when they look back They see the huge wave They see the rip tide Descending and drenching And sucking them in And leaving them shiver — Splintered generations Roar past their heads And in their eyes And they start itching Itching over and over Little teensy slivers Wind their way inside And clog their tubes . . . As they pick and choose. And so Majestic Black stream Seizure Starts To clean Their bones And they’re Too tired Too tired for the playground And so They lay down They lay down. In the coral reefs Full of cultural barnacles With the layers peeling With their life exposed And they look back And they see the huge wave They see the rip tide They see the rip - tide. (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY Rain, Rain, Rain The rain washed me down The drain swallowed me up I’m getting sucked through this sewer of life And it’s a tunnel of love. Flame, Flame, Flame The bridge caught on fire Now I can’t return I look for a sign while I watch it burn - Blame, Blame, Blame Was I talking to you? Are you talking to me? Nobody’s listening; There’s only one way to be . . . Honesty . . . is the best policy. (repeat as necessary) Don’t // let // them tell you That love’s too good to be true. Because I know and I’ve tried and I know and I’ve tried And I know that love is true. Now, it may be too good, It may be too good for you. But love is true And honesty is the best policy — Culture wars! (Honesty!) Climate Change! (Honesty!) Military-Industrial Complex! (Honesty!) Propaganda! (Honesty!) Fake news! (Honesty!) Plastic Seas! (Honesty!) Human rights! (Honesty!) Everything! (Honesty!) Take it home When you’re all alone Store it in a cache, A secret stash that will always last. Honesty — Take it home When you’re all alone Put it in a stash It will always last It’s all we got It’s all we have You can’t stop the rain You can’t tame the flames You can’t break the hate But let there be no debate. Honesty is the best policy. (C) Damon Norko 2020
WEARING ASBESTOS On Main Street, I was roasted, In the ghetto I was toasted- In suburbia, I got fried- When I heard somebody lie- It's an eruption of corruption A conflagration of debasement An explosion of corrosion . . . and I forgot to avert my eyes! In the subway, I got seared, When a woman screamed in my ear- At the Olympics, I was scorched When the terrorists stole the torch- Tortured eruptions of corruption Conflagrations of debasement Explosions of corrosion . . . don't forget to avert your eyes- Or you'll go blind! I see a young boy, getting beaten- I see a psycho getting treatment, I see dystopia -I see no justice- You are all wearing asbestos. Wearing asbestos, wearing asbestos - Does your asbestos itch? (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
Barbed Wire 02:34
BARBED WIRE O, scar-faced earth, we embrace thee, You, too, have been changed by our history, We drill a hole in your virgin skin, We need a place to put our waste in. We adorn it with our ugly tinsel, That knotted wire that designates Hell- O, wear our puny baubles well, We need your face for our insidious jail! Amidst the turmoil of a boiling war, The stern-faced heroes aren't human no more, Barbed wire creeps all along the ground, Watching the people as they all fall down, Fooled by another of the useless lies, "These barbed wire walls will protect our lives!" Those barbed wire walls are a clever disguise- They hide the stupid reasons why the people die! America has a hidden site Where secret workers are at work all night Making machines of awesome destruction, Barbed wire rules this grave construction- Barbed wire, bright and shiny new- Barbed wire keeps those secrets from you- Keeps you warm, keeps you quiet Keeps you fed so you won't riot- Keeps you happy, well and clean- Keeps you stupid, if you know what I mean- It's not war, it's slavery- Barbed wire rules your destiny- Cut the wires. The Border Wall, that scar of scars Splits the world between two stars, Warm pools of blood they glistened still From every guard-tower free kill- The missiles in their silos lay Waiting for that fateful day . . . Those barbed wire walls They built for you Are stealing the world Away from you! (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
ROCK AGAINST REALITY Reality is like a National Park, That everyone's trying to carve into one's own backyard, And the Popes of every playground are hawking tiny rocks: Splinters of the mega-fortress of 20th Century Fox . . . Fifty million Rambos are gnawing at the seam, Gulping Armageddon caviar, having strange dreams, Of faces, faces, everywhere, like crosses- And crosses, crosses, everywhere like faces- Rock, rock, rock against reality! I saw an ancient tampon, but it wasn't It was a dead snake's head, it was red And I saw the cosmetic cosmo of a sperm-drenched condom Consumed by roaches as the worshipers watched- Rock, rock, rock against reality! I'm so thirsty, I'm dreaming of [current poster icon] A gigantic erection engulfing their posters- And I plunged into the void, and I fell asleep when I came, And I woke up, smashed, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon! Rock, rock, rock against reality! First you were a skyscraper, reaching for the stars- Then you became a hood ornament on the front of many cars. Hey! Get your maidenhead out of my mausoleum! You're breaking your hymen all over my altar! Rock, rock, rock against reality! (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
GODZILLA'S GIFT OF LIFE Godzilla is alive and well And dressed like a born-again Christian Therefore, I've been through heaven And been through hell, and I've been through things like Christmas I've have the good and bad, But he's the best that I've ever had. The tinsel is all around, The monster's in the corner Of our old, crusty eyes That squint just like Clint Eastwood And we get real lonely, and we get real sad And we keep on living in the distant past. We've had Pink Floyd, we've had Punk Rock, And we've shared thousand beat veins, But the arteries of artistic expression Are clogged with fatty antibodies . . . I want to slash them, I want to rip them wide open And fuck my very own tears But it wouldn't do much good, Because I'm under Godzilla's foot. Yet the struggle keeps me alive. (C) Damon Norko 1987, 2020
VIRGIN JUNKIE IN AMERICA The virgin junkie pawed through the ashes of the past In the mega-mausoleum, she is sinking down Down, down, down, to her knobby knees You can hear her thirsty pleas, thirsty pleas- Her man is coming for his scooby-due The naked steel is a'ripping through leather And the pain in the loins with the pink glue oozing He goes soft, and he can hear her prayer: Won't you please? Won't you please - She sucks phlegm from gnarled , ancient Indians! Doing rain dances on televisions, Washing out their eyes, man, with Heaven's popped hymen; You can hear her, you can hear her crying- Won't you please? Won't you please-Addict me. I have seen her fleeing from those martian ulcers, Her karmic debts are sealed in saline seams, Only a hole in the head still open, Like a secret attic, addicted to breezes- And while trying to insulate her head, She fell in love with fiberglass Just like the candy they feed the children in Disneyland. And the children grow fat, and bloat the borders, And the borders are burning everywhere; I can see her crinkle and twist As we expand. So give it up, now. Give it up you Gummy Sacrificial Lamb! (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
GROW SUICIDALLY BEAUTIFUL You're the one I'm thinking of Because you deny all love Fragment of ice age chill in head Emotions melt and we're annointed Grow. Grow. Grow, Your're the one I'm thinking of Because you deny all love Segment epics and study them Squeezing beauty in slinky revolutions Grow. Grow. Grow, Grow suicidally beautiful You're the one I'm thinking of Now a cool expert on love Either death tolls or wedding bells Clutch in the dark leaves behind marks Grow. Grow. Grow, Grow suicidally beautiful. Ok, Ok. Ok, Ok. Ok. Grow. (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
Anarchy Love 04:39
ANARCHY LOVE We were swinging round and round We were partners, nowhere bound And now I can’t remember when it last was . . . It was oh, so long ago . . . Every two or three lives We run into each other And we lie awake together Feeling dawn . . . a decade away. We were wandering in the rain We were living day to day. We escaped those lonely cloudbursts For a stomping storm parade My pillow smells like oceans And I’m tired of emotions And so I bow and let myself go Giving way . . . to anarchy Anarchy love Too much history has Conspired against me and Now it’s time, now it’s time for Now it’s time for me to be free You know I want something You can tell by the way I sing I want that kind of love that That songs can never bring Anarchy love Anarchy love, Talking about freedom Freedom and love It’s anarchy . . . (C) Damon Norko 1983, 2020
I LEFT MY HEART IN GARBAGE I stepped out of my house I looked down upon the sidewalk And I saw . . . trash. Garbage. Everywhere I look I see that same stuff- I look in the sky above, I see the choking gray clouds Above the city . . . it's garbage. Garbage, garbage, garbage- I even know Deep, deep down in my brain There's garbage. You can't get away from it, It's all around us- On the top of a mountain in the Amazon rain forest, You'll find garbage. Garbage. Garbage North, Garbage South, Garbage in my nose Garbage in my mouth Garbage up my ass Garbage in my ears Garbage accumulated all these years- Whatever happened to yesterday's dreams? Why aren't you what you seem? Look real pretty nice and cute Talking garbage like f**king puke- Garbage- Garbage East, Garbage West Garbage in my girl- Garbage in my bed- Garbage in my lungs Garbage in my head- Garbage makes me dead. I hate all the pretty sounds Fit for garbage dumping sounds Garage garbage makes me cope And some stupid garbage dope- Garbage- Everything is beautiful* In it's own way Life is full of summer nights And winter days There are none so blind* As those who cannot see We must changes our minds And let our hearts be free Sing it children Sing it in the garbage. You can't escape it, Not when it's in your head- This garbage Makes me dead. Dead. (c) Damon Norko 1984, 2020
GO AWAY FROM BALTIMORE 1. I woke up this morning, and everything’s changed. I look around at all of the people and they’re not the same. They’re hollow eyes look past me Nobody says “excuse me” It’s like I’m not even there But now I am aware . . . I’m beginning to see. I’m beginning to see. 2. I woke up this morning And forgot my name I search all over social media But I’ve been erased. I thought it must be me. Maybe I’m losing my mind But the more I see things change The more I begin to believe That it’s not me. It’s everyone else. Want to know what I know? ok, here we go … 3. There are no people in Lexington Market. There are no people at the Inner Harbor. There are no people in City Hall There’s no one left at all. And no one wins the lottery And no one picks up the trash. And there’s no one in the parks especially after dark. 4. They’ve been replaced! You can see it in their face — look at their eyes …. 5. And the planes fly over the stadiums And the air is coded red And the newspapers are all gone And the whole place smells like bread And the subway lines run nowhere And I can’t find a job anywhere And there’s brand new townhouses everywhere: Who lives there? 6. They’ve been replaced! You can see it in their face- see their eyes? Full of lies! A conspiracy. 7. I am not sure how much longer I have When you know what it is that they do, they call you a threat. So before they come for me before I disappear I have a warning for you that you’d better hear, that you’d better believe. O, please. Believe. 8 You have to go You have to leave Go away Stay away Go away from Baltimore. There’s no time for fooling around any more. It’s your life (repeat) 9. Don’t worry about your home Don’t worry about your car Don’t worry about your job Don’t worry about being paid It’s your life Don’t forward your mail Stop going to the the bars There’s no time for fooling around Don’t even try to get laid It’s your life 10. Don’t worry about your dog Don’t worry about your cat They’ve already been replaced You can be sure of that — Throw out your credit cards Get rid of all your keys Make sure to cover your eyes Don’t ever let them see — You’d better believe Oh please, believe! 11. There’s no time for fooling around anymore. You have to go You have to leave Go away Stay away Go away from Baltimore. Repeat verse 1 & 2 12. What’s in the planes? What’s in the drains? What’s in the water? I think it’s someone’s daughter: A victim of the slaughter. I guess someone forgot her. Don’t you see? That could be you Or it could be me. 13. go away/stay away/fade away 14. I woke up this morning, and everything’s changed. I look around at a brand new city. with a brand new name. (C) Damon Norko 2020


The long-awaited reunion album from the original Submensas, featuring new cuts and new versions of old favorites.


released June 21, 2020

The Submensas . . .

Damon Norko . . . vocals
Jim Mcpherson . . . guitar
Mike Bell . . . bass, guitar
Darryl Dardenne . . . drums
The Submensas . . . b. vocals

Recorded at Cone of Silence Studios, winter 2019-20
Produced and engineered by Rich Feinstein

Lyrics by Damon Norko (c) 1983 , 2020

Music by Mike Bell (p) 1985 , 2020 Sonic Kitchen of Love

Arrangement by The Submensas

(c) (p) 2020 Damon Norko Productions

Album artwork by Sonya Norko


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The Submensas Baltimore, Maryland

A Damon Norko lyric-fueled rock band that inhabited the Baltimore-Washington area from 1983-93. UPDATE: The Submensas have recently reformed and are playing gigs and have recorded their first album in 30 years!

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