As Seen On CCTV

by Matt Parker

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Written and recorded in February 2016 as an entry for the RPM Challenge


released March 1, 2016



all rights reserved


Matt Parker Ely, UK

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Track Name: Tightrope
Standing on a tightrope
Stranded in midair
Struggling to balance
Mortality aware
Scared of looking downwards
As the drop below is much too far

The pole is getting heavy
Sliding through the hands
Braced against the headwind
Submit to their demands
A sharp intake of breath precedes
The muffled yelp and strangled roar

Balanced barefoot on the rope
Time to think about letting go
But what lies below

Taking two steps backwards
And forwards only one
Never reach the destination
All progress is undone
Forced to dance the moonwalk
On a tightrope 40 metres high
Track Name: Public
See that post? They see it too
Tracking down your latest move
Right or wrong, they don't care
Intercepting as you share
And I bet you feel secure at home
Check the blinds you’re not alone

Ever get that subtle feeling
That they’re watching from behind
Staking out your public persona
Trying to get inside your mind
To take control

Watch your mouth, they’re listening in
They have been where you’ve ever been
Suit and tie, and dark grey shades
An SUV, no ID displayed
Behind the tree, the silhouette
You didn’t see so just forget
Track Name: Raven
If you get rid of me
The tower will fall down
Can’t wait to see the back of me
Not hard to push around
That's what you wanted all along
But your prediction’s very wrong

Taking flight the raven turns and then escapes
Wraps its wings in an embrace
That’s soon replaced

You think you can dishonour me
And maybe that's your plan
I sympathise to some degree
But expect the final stand
I can see it in your eyes
So it comes as no surprise

Sticks and stones
Can’t scar these brittle bones
But the words they always sting
When you say them
Track Name: Tongue
Twisting and flapping
Never making sense
At the end of the argument
Offered no defence
Stacking the odds
Before the debts accrue
A sign of the times
A case of déjà vu

Tongue, bite your tongue
Declaring the winner
Before the race has run

Like a kid let loose
In the candy store
Suitably rationed
But left wanting more
Addicted to shame
Come to steal the show
Can’t be hurt
By what is never known

Draped in the flag
Never fringed with gold
Follow the trail
Down to Mexico
Fortune favours
The less than the brave
Under CPR
But still can’t be saved
Track Name: Greed
This city is dangerous
It cuts like a knife
Traffic flowing down a one way street
No time to fight

Overtime not injury time
Shots ring out on Kings Road
Double blasts of shotgun
Pay back what’s been owed

The city's pulling free
Break the shackles of greed
And dare to disagree
Mirrors life across the water
And when the story's untold
Always follow the gold
Illegal influence
But still no consequence

Meanwhile in the suburbs
Mr and Mrs Jones
Keeping up with the neighbours
Finance it all with loans

Equity in the negative
Sell the family car
Not enough to stave off repossession
Ride the wave but not too far
Track Name: Planet
Looking back, travelled so far
A green outline all that's left
Floating off, no more sunset
All the memories seem bereft

Moving faster, increasing speed
Boosters dropped long ago
A silhouette against the starlight
Much more time, now it's slowed

Once more over the rainbow
Once more into the sun
Wide awake in the tiny capsule
The countdown’s just begun

Pressurised but with no air
Docking control engaged
A weightless dark relationship
Connected via open space
Track Name: Medicated
Drowning in a sea of pills
Testing their performance
Keep from slipping off downhill
Accept this circumstance
Jump right back in to the fray
Expect reaction no delay

Balance, it’s the new mantra
Balance, the new prayer
Balance, control the anger
Balance, and repair

Prick the finger with the lance
Note the boundary readings
Can’t afford to leave to chance
Cauterise the bleeding
Measured dose but mind the gap
Navigate the hidden traps

Before it was watching from the sidelines
Before it was mainly sympathy
Before it was waiting for the punch line
But that’s before it affected me
Track Name: Sloth
Woke up late again today
Just in time to catch the matinee
Filling up on TV
Another coffee
And a smoke

Back to sleep until midday
Ignore the morning cabaret
Never met the postman
Bills delivered
But never read

Stuck in the position
A fading apparition
The spark slowly ebbing away
Time is for forgetting
And nerves are for unsettling again
It stays the same

The satellite invades the tomb
Illuminates the darkened room
Stranded on the sofa
Remote control
Glued to the hand
Track Name: Vandal
Scarf tied to hide the face
Lurking in the shadows
Entertained by every chase
Covertly underexposed
Tag it
And admire it
Then on to the next wall

Fluorescent basement sign
Hiding in the rat run
Phosphorescent alibi
Stylistic but overdone
Tag it
And admire it
Then on to the next wall

You’re just a vandal
Just a vandal
A petty vandal
Sprayed your parting shot
Within a cause you can’t control

A stencil autograph
As seen on CCTV
A spray can epitaph
Monosyllabic eulogy
Tag it
And admire it
Then on to the next wall
Track Name: Emergency
It's an emergency
It's time to follow through
This fateful spell
This hateful shell
This view

If only you'd permit yourself
To see the vision before your eyes
The intervening years
The fading cheers
The garden full of wine

A million voices calling out to me
Timeless cries
Dragged through history
Chaotic laughter
Formed from background noise
Echoes across the void

It's an emergency
Our only chance is running out
We roll the dice
We pay the price
We doubt

And so we carry on
Without a thought, without a sound
With all the poisoning
And the torturing
We turn and face the crowd