“Down to the Mud”: Song Lyric

April 1, 2020

“Down to the Mud” is an expression used to describe the worst case scenario for a drought in which the reservoirs are completely depleted. In mid-May, 1992, I applied it to the City of Los Angeles as it convulsed in the aftermath of the L.A. “Riots”/”Uprising.” Given the oncoming economic tumult about to be set loose on working people as a result of the federal government’s mismanaged reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, the lyrics still seem pertinent.

DOWN TO THE MUD
(Ballad for a city burning)

Weathermen scowl, “There’s no rain in sight,”
Asking each other, “When did this drought start?”
“Gotta ration — not enough to go around.”
“All of us get ready to do our part.”

But even if rains all along the coast —
Even if it pours until the rivers flood,
The faucets of the poor will tremble with thirst
And the rich insist, “We’re down to the mud.”

Down to the mud
Down to the mud
Not enough rain
Too much pain
Down to the mud
Down to the mud

Hot tubs, champagne and aquariums
Flickering with tropical fish
Carbonated soda water at the bar
Whenever the politicians wish.

Ever drink it, my friends, straight from the tap.
Just one sip and you know it’s chlorinated crap.
The poor mix it with sugar and crushed ice
Purchased at the corner at twice the price.

Down to the mud
Down to the mud

Up north’s the reservoir of hope
Where we once danced and drank our fill
The stupor of the sky’s a slippery slope
And the high flat clouds are still.

Look at the lake with the tree-line of despair
They don’t need a boat or a bucket of bait;
Just a stick and a hook and a badge to wear:
The color of your skin is the legal weight.

Down to the mud
Down to the mud
Not enough rain
Too much pain
Down to the mud
Down to the mud

Bill Mohr
May 17, 1992 / March 30, 2020