What should I have done?

Shamed to say I didn’t know

We saw you run through the hotel lobby

Head down, distressed and angry

My first thought was, there goes my night

On the town with friends from work

You didn’t say, you wouldn’t, couldn’t

But your day was done, the rodeo ridden

You’d sing no more, going home

We talked all night, weed delivered

In the calm of a Manhattan dawn

You told your tale of commercial pressure

And a predatory producer

Write a hit, they said and do it fast

Our budget for this man won’t last

You were tough, alone, you always said

But a posse of men and a factotum shouting

Made you a girl on your own, surrounded.

We both went shopping, late that morning

The crying and sadness ended

Lawyers called, the phone kept ringing

First hers, then mine, we turned them off,

sought a place to feed us

Over lunch you made a call

You’d sing again if they’d agree

To limit contact with the offending grandee

The only other person there was me

We caught a cab to the Midtown studio

The tone subdued, the light, funereal

We joked, we chatted, smoked a doobie

Then played back last night’s hooley

A half written tune about dancing lessons

you sang, you cried, it took all day

I felt trapped and you looked grateful

The producer never said a word

you called his bluff, now he’s withdrawn

You thanked me then, I felt undone

the record was made, release date decided

you sang the songs, the promo tour

the producer’s name was never mentioned

You told me once this business killed you

but singing was always the reason you did it

but I’m shamed to say I did nothing

hamstrung by the power of silence

my inadequate defence was ignorance.

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