The Way the World Will End

from by Derek Brink

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References: "Armageddon in Retrospect," "Cat's Cradle," "Galapagos," and Vonnegut's personal letters.

This is another one I've had sitting around in one form or another for about 10 years. I like this one a lot. It's been stuck in my head all that time, but it so heavily leans on Vonnegut that it wouldn't have worked in most other contexts. It's a big sound and a big lyric. Kinda bleak, in fact.

Toward the end of Vonnegut's career, most of his writing came in the form of essays. George W. Bush was in power and those of us on the left thought things couldn't get any worse--it wasn't like Donald Trump or somebody like that would ever be president for God's sake! This was as bad as it could get! In those years, Vonnegut saw little hope for us, even though he desperately kept looking for it. In one essay he referred to himself as "The Prophet Jeremiah" (known in Christian studies as "The Weeping Prophet") and declared humanity "rolling drunk on petroleum." It was hard to argue either point.

I leaned heavily on that essay and also on the books "Cat's Cradle" and "Galapagos" in this song, both of which have the extinction of Humankind as their central themes. In Cat's Cradle, the Vonnegut semi-Messianic character Bokonon is one of the last humans alive, thumbing his nose at "you-know-who" as he commits suicide. In Galapagos, the ghost of Kilgore Trout is beckoning his son to step into the blue light with him and leave the Earth to continue depleting, the other humans reduced to strange seal-like creatures that barely count as human anymore.

Stir all of that up, and this is the way that the world will end. I guess.


This is the way
that the world will end.
Humans on display
in front of school kids.
Somewhere back in time,
it’s all starting again.
You might feel it coming,
but you can’t change
what you did.
This is the way
that the world will end.

Is this all that has become of us?
Dresden to ashes.
New York to dust.
Hero or the villain:
Become what you must.
And God will come to join you.
God will come destroy you.

This is the way
that the world will end.
Lunatics disguised as Christians
while the Prophet Jeremiah
weeps his eyes out again.
Smoke ‘em while you’ve got ‘em and share some with a friend.
This is the way
that the world will end.

Is this all that we’ve evolved for?
If we can’t live forever,
why fight it anymore?
Step into the blue light and
set sail for different shores.
And all your ghosts
will follow you.
Or the loneliness
will swallow you.

This is the way
that the world will end…


from * (Asterisk), released November 11, 2018


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Derek Brink St Louis, Missouri

Derek Brink is a musician from St. Louis, MO. He offers all of his music for the low cost of absolutely FREE. Just put $0.00 in the box after clicking "Buy." For those who are generous, you may pay any amount you wish with Derek's thanks--but you are not obligated to do so. Thanks, and come back for more, any time! ... more

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