Phil Ochs Song Night at the Eighth Step

PHIL OCHS SONG NIGHT will showcase the music of the 1960s songwriter, and will honor the 45-year performing career of folk duo MAGPIE.


September 22
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Tickets are $28/$26 advance for General Admission / $45 Gold Circle (Front rows).


Margaret Rosenkranz

I Wish Phil Ochs Was Here

Original poem may be found here


I Wish Phil Ochs Was Here


I’m sitting on my morning bus,

Surrounded by Candy Crush

And mute Korean dramas

While Pleasures Of The Harbor

Waves and swells in my ears.

The softness of its strings

Asserts that beauty is a thing

On which you can still place

A portion of your faith,

And I wish Phil Ochs was here.

But my breakfast of toast and bombs

And coffee and atrocities won’t stop

Playing in my primed, exploding mind,

Like death’s contorting bassline

Beneath the strings’ elegant veneer.

Childrens’ wild, enormous eyes

And their weeping mothers’ cries

Condemn the blank cocoon

Of our tortuous commute,

And I wish Phil Ochs was here.

We need voices now, in time’s night,

Songs of beauty, truth and bite,

To shine a light and speak

For the suffering and the weak.

We need singers, we need seers,

But all I hear are selfish songs,

Indulgent, soulless. I want ones

Which touch your heart and mind and give you hope,

Songs with depth that help you cope,

And I wish Phil Ochs was here.

I wish he was here to sing his songs,

For I know he can help me to be strong.

He gives me words, though I have no voice,

He shows me that I do have a choice

To see evil or pretend it isn’t near.

He kept on singing though he felt weak;

I know he was weighed down by the bleak

World he saw and all the cruelty and pain,

And I feel just the same; it’s never gone away,

And I wish Phil Ochs was here.

The ones he called “the heartless men”

Are on their remorseless march again

(Though they never ever went away!)

Like a black cloud on a sunny day,

And I know the rain is drawing near;

You can scent it in the latent air,

With the rustling sound of despair

And there may be nowhere left to run

When the gathering storm comes,

And I wish, really wish Phil Ochs was here.

(Aug 16 2014)

© Brendan Buxton 2014

All Rights Reserved