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  • I learned the truth at seventeen,
    That love was meant for beauty queens
  • There's never much to say between
    The moments of our games and repartee
  • Put your ear to the ground,
    there's a buzz
    about a new type of song
  • And I'm leaving the light on the stairs
    No I'm not scared - I wait for you
    Hey Jesse, I'm lonely, come home
  • Nothing's sadder than the man who thinks he's free
    when he is chained to the prison of his hatred,
    and a dream gone up in flames
  • I would tell her how I've yearned
    to be worthy of the grail.
    All these years and all I've learned
    is just how brilliantly I fail
  • There are voices on the wind.
    Stolen whispers, sacred moans.
    You can hear them through your skin,
    and the singing of the bones
  • Here we all are, waiting for God,
    or someone who looks just like Him
  • We live beyond our means
    on other peoples' dreams,
    and that's succeeding
  • We were speaking of values and violence.
    Breaking silence
  • And if I never reach Orion,
    and if I never fly that far -
    still there's no harm in trying
    to go walking on a star
  • And if Jesus was a black man,
    or as white as Sambo's grin,
    it's his words that we'd remember,
    not the color of his skin
  • Old lace and picture frames
    rattle their ancient chains.
    Midnight will surprise moonlight at the door
  • I want to make you love me,
    and I want to make you smile,
    and I want to be your family,
    for just a little while
  • I believe in tomorrow,
    but I remember yesterday
  • How could I have loved you for so long?
    I know I enjoyed you,
    but how could I have liked you?
  • Old cliches, they grow like vines,
    to clutch the heart of the one you leave behind
  • It's the road that makes the rhythm.
    It's the chalk marks on her soul.
  • She was younger than forever.
    She was older than goodbye.
  • It's not who you love,
    but whether you can.
  • Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.
    Sursum, Domini, sursum Domini.
    Ora pro nobis, in ora pro nobis pacem, Kyrie.
    In ora Kyrie eleison. Kyrie.
  • She can taste it on your breath,
    cutting through the cigarette.
    She can smell it on your sweat
  • The city casts no shadow now.
    At midnight,
    all the whores come out and dance with darkness,
    and the night rains pour.
  • How does it feel to pull out the nails,
    and find you still can walk?
  • Yesterday's preacher,
    today's bikini beacher
  • Now all over this big wide world,
    I play like a girl -
    from the California lights to the Serengetti nights,
    I play like a girl
  • Close the light. Still the flames.
    Candles light the empty frames.
    A photograph can never be
    the song you are to me.
  • Some overdose, and some wrap like a rose
    'round the slick perfumed nose of high noon.
    Burning their lips as they stoop low
    to kiss some rich man's excuse for the moon.
  • First time I saw Paris in your eyes,
    you told me how you loved me,
    under blue Picasso skies.
  • No one sends roses to crazy old ladies
    who lie in dark dusty rooms,
    the size of a small foreign car.
    Sometimes I wonder
    where all the good people are.
  • Some sell their bodies for dimes,
    while others marry for the houses,
    and the jewelry.
    It's a real thin line,
    what you charge for your time.
  • Hide me in the wisdom of your thighs.
    Ride me like a wave.
  • And is she beautiful?
    She must be pretty, or worse,
    to ride the high seas.
  • The gates of the city are closed until dawn,
    when the ghosts of midnight have come and gone,
    and the hearts of the weary carry on
  • Why can't my wings soar like yours?
    Why can't my span spread as wide?
    Maybe I've got too much left to hide
  • I am waiting for my life to be
    one long unbroken symphony.
    Will it come too late to shelter me?
    I long to be eternity.
    Come on, come on, eternity!
  • I lay the baby out each dawn,
    inbetween the tender corn,
    with sunrise for her bonnet,
    and flies her only blanket.
  • Somewhere out there are millions just like me -
    homesick for Eden,
    heartsick at the memory.
  • You mistake the moment for the song.
    The drama for the play.
    The actor for the role.
    The neon light for day.
  • The old ones like to claw and clutch.
    Be careful not to offer much.
    They understand the fist and crutch.
  • Here I am dancing at last.
    Holding my own,
    even when the band plays fast -
    tonight's the night!
  • How we used to like the old-time movies.
    The silent picture show,
    where you make up your life
    at the end of the night,
    as your reel to reels unfold
  • Her new name was tattooed to her wrist.
    It was longer than the old one... tattoo.
  • God said I wish you'd known me,
    when I still believed you'd be true.
    Now for the rest of your days,
    when you call our my name,
    I'll be "Mr. God" to you.
  • Every man's an island in the desert of his soul.
    Take to the sky,
    there's nowhere else to go.
  • I went to drink some water,
    but the faucet heads were gone.
    They weren't sterling silver,
    but I loved to turn them on.
  • Enough about me - let's talk about you.
    What do you think of me?
  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian playing percussion for 'Stars' - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian on stage
  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian with Kathy Mattea & Deanna Carter cutting 'Emmanual'
  • Janis Ian with Eric Bibb & Leon Bibb
  • Janis Ian with Eric Bibb
  • Janis Ian with Utah Philips & Eric Bibb
  • Young Janis Ian with Leonard Bernstein
  • Janis, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen - Bottom Line 12-01-74
Hot News
  • Join Janis on HBO's "Getting On" series!

    Janis guests with Rita Moreno and Laurie Metcalf in the final episode, along with stars Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, and Niecy Nash. 

  • Janis & Jean Smart co-narrate a book!

    The long awaited audio book Patience & Sarah is slated for release September 15. Listen to excerpts at Entertainment Weekly.

  • Stars audiobook on CD finally available here!

    Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian is now available in our online store as a CD audio book. Featuring original short stories by 30 top SF writers, including one by Janis, with her singing the prologue to each and narrating many.

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Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on April 19, 2015

    Check back or join the Mailing List to be notified when new dates are added.

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more free downloads

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Or if you don't have a computer, you can send a check to:

The Pearl Foundation
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Nashville TN 37215

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Patience & Sarah Audiobook

Jean SmartPatience and Sarah is a meticulously researched historical novel, originally self-published by the author, Isabel Miller, in 1969. This classic of GLBT literature garnered so much attention that the American Library Association created its first Stonewall Award specifically for it in 1971. Narrated by Janis and Emmy Award-winning actress Jean Smart, each performs as one of the characters in this dual point-of-view love story about two young women whose romantic bond does not sit well with the puritanical New England farming community in which they live. Their narration brings new life into this beautiful and inspiring novel that is just as relevant today as it was decades ago.

"I came across Patience and Sarah while in 1972, and it opened a world to me," said Ian. "It was the first time I’d read a love story starring two women that had a happy ending. And it was beautifully written! The story isn’t just about a gay couple – it’s about any couple who fall in love and have to defend their choice. It’s about women’s rights, religion, the works. It’s Romeo and Juliet without the death scene. The timing is right, politically and socially, for this gorgeous book to make its way back into the limelight."

Directed by Stefan Rudnicki, who also directed Janis’ Grammy-winning autobiography Society’s Child, the creation of this audio book was truly a labor of love on everyone’s part. The entire project was initially funded by Janis and her wife; everyone worked for lower than their normal fees because of it.

Said Ms. Smart, "The book is well written; charming, erotic and sweet. I wish more Hollywood writers and directors would read this, and see that it’s possible to be erotic without ‘showing all’!!"

In addition to being an inspiring love story, the audiobook for Patience and Sarah is an ideal listen for young adult audiences. It is a story that shows how irrelevant race, religion, and gender are to love, and that loving, and being loved, are what keep us human and sane.

Read an article about Patience and Sarah in the Boston Globe.

Patience & Sara is ON SALE right now in the Shopping Mall.

Who Really Cares eBook

See where it all began. The poetry Janis began writing at age seven is here, along with ideas that became songs. Beautiful presentation, with photos.

Who Really Cares is finally available as an eBook. You can purchase the Kindle version from Amazon or the Nook version from Barnes & Noble. You can also purchase the paperback version in the Shopping Mall.

Says Janis: I can never decide whether to be proud or embarrassed by this book; proud, because the poetry's not bad for a 15-year-old, and the introduction is stellar. Embarrassed, because I was 15 years old. But enough people like it to keep it in print, so there you go. The perfect gift for a literate adolescent, written by a literate adolescent, with enough angst and humor to make fun reading for anyone. And at this price, why not buy two?

Includes a new poem and 10 previously unpublished poems ("rejected" by the publisher of the original book) and a new introduction and afterword written by Janis.

A cool side note: Johnny Cash kept a copy of the original version in his home library!

"The Autobiography Collection" CD/BookSociety's Child: My Autobiography: AudiobookSociety's Child: The Verve RecordingsSociety's Child Book Foreign Author's Preferred EditionStars eBook
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