Jump Roping in Chains

by Michelle Lynn

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Take a Guess 03:26
Take A Guess what have we here get a handle on yourself can’t shut it up forever get a handle on yourself can’t shut it up forever you pulled me aside and said stop running from yesterdays lies I know you know you’ve been bottled up air tight blue in the face and bled white now it’s time you spelled it out right do you believe beyond the benefit of the doubt benefit of the what yes double-guess the obvious if that's what you’re asking we’ll see what we can do (refrain) our minds are made up our minds are made up of whatever it takes until the choices are making us the choices are making us my friend do you believe in justice and fairness shorter end of the stick all the better to beat the dead horse with how is your appetite face duct-taped at the head of the buffet how do you sleep at night still using a nightlight how many fingers am I holding up if that’s what you’re asking we’ll see what we can do (refrain) how have things been going at home the deed has been redone they say it’s time brother john bought the farm kid I’m not much for your psycho babbling how is your concentration there is something on the wall I don’t know who wrote this next one’s protocol if you disappeared tomorrow would anyone notice you’re gone you say jump I say how far is the fall I’ve been wondering if I’ve been wandering too far how did I get here who’ll get me out alive (refrain) all the time I spent wishing I could fly I could’ve built a rocket and sling shot it to the sky but I lied cried brain fried landed by your side kid you’ve got quite the imagination do people clap when you survive a normal conversation take a guess
Half of It 02:37
Half of It tear this apart scratching around in the dark you’ll find a ruptured heart with punctured skin and bones through five windows I’ve been peering in throughout your soul hear touch taste smell see all you want never can be gathered every bit of what’s been scattered here through a crystal clear view you’d still have your work cut out for you (refrain) something seems to be missing that’s half of it mix my questions with your questions do you plan to fill me in you’re puzzling to my peace of mind with your excuses piled up so high honestly why try to plot this any thicker we’re treading through thick and thin trying to even out these burdens are you certain you heard silent screaming help me help me out you can’t complete me but you can still reach me now I’m still falling (refrain) spill it egghead you know full well breaking out of your shell all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put humpty together again so they talk talk more talk as off the wall another one falls here lies my head in your hands (refrain) but you don't answer when you don’t answer why
Cupid's Eye Patch don’t say you didn’t see it coming I don’t understand the first thing about the way you’re put together giving mind body and soul not necessarily in that order as we recklessly run fly by night one on one to what we should be wise enough to run away from I was wondering kind of sort of a little bit could you possibly get out of me what I want downslide or upswing heads cocked to the side eyes wide and grinning taking delight in the nagging possibilities I’m really just a prisoner jump roping in my chains trying to beat you hands down at social charades innocent enough behind all these words but sometimes I think you hope I get what you deserve (refrain) was this a coincidence can we pass it off as an accident since when has your aim been to get the hit or miss waiting to happen when it’s not that I block your vision or you block mine just tell me why can’t we see we’re blind should I say sorry I opened my mouth nothing good came out of it we’re out of touch tied in tongue standing now who means to make it hard if it’s not where it counts are you trying to confuse me with your little rules about how what guard goes up in time must come down whether you talk your way out or you talk your way through the facts get bigger as they get closer like most things do (refrain) cupid’s got an eye patch don’t say you didn’t see it
Two and Two 03:38
Two and Two for more on confusion go to my head see other side and roll me over again this game of life came full loaded with dice does that mean I can drop out at anytime say alright you win confirm my suspicion I’m never right (refrain) one two can you tie your shoes three four run back for more take it for what it is or tell me what we came here for so caught up in everything but only truly caught between who we are and who we are becoming who we are who are we to say when we take it only so far get our name on it and run away true befriends false when whichever way it falls there is a choice representing no choice at all when honesty calls hand it over if it doesn’t kill me it will make me wonder now I’ve been beaten commonsenseless with my eyes so far back in my head there is room for nothing else to sink in intellectualize this someday your gonna die does that make any sense well good neither does your life and I should go play outside (refrain) for more on left unsaid get to the bottom see other side and roll this over again off in the distance tires are spinning can you see some wound tight rocket scientist about to chase a butterfly off a cliff sit and think about this someday your gonna die does that make any sense well good neither do I and I should go play outside somewhere there’s a point to know this might be enough I put two and two together I still live only once (refrain)
Big Blue Ball what gets it rolling were you sitting around last night watching solutions circle the world hundreds at a time to get them into our minds would you have to whip out a chisel I want to know what you know and what you think of it potential blood sucker born every second life spent hording cash just to count it then congratulations you win the biggest coffin (refrain) someday you’re gonna wake up dead what are you going to believe in then some say believe in yourself maybe I should ask and what else with your eye kept on the threat something else will smack you upside the head I want to have what you have and what you’ll have with it I can’t put things up high enough can I kid you better learn to do what you’re told or I’ll flash your life in front of your eyes so many times it’ll get old (refrain) watch the big blue ball roll around again baby I want to show you the world but not some of the ideas on it nobody can dig a pit that deep unless they’re standing in it first nobody should listen that close yet avert from everything they’ve heard nobody’s rock and hard place holds them together sometimes the blood on my hands might as well have been my own forever (refrain) watch the big blue ball roll around again baby I want to show you the world but not some of what you’ve been born into oh my god what keeps it rolling
Watch Your Head sometimes we make it worse than it is half the time that is our problem stumbling through this mental block called my head no true way around it no two ways about it where is the do it yourself kit can I rewire this how I feel for you he says so much I feel for you can you feel for me I don’t want to hide to seek but retreat when it hits from all sides left to the middle I seem is it too late to see that I should free myself from myself (refrain) cuz what you’re running from eventually haunts you hunts you down relentlessly taunts you and when you’ve got nothing to lose you better watch your head there's always something that should’ve been said who can say it now if it mattered then don’t cripple yourself and think the truth stands on it’s head can I feel for you he says so much I feel for you can you feel for me I don’t want to relapse collapse and fall back so don’t you dare quit the world just to rid yourself of those selfish ways if still to a beast youÂ’d slave at least free yourself from yourself (refrain) I’ll admit I find it funny when you think you’ve broken me to find me back standing right where I said I would be in the midst of this frantic firing you’re leading me around but I see you set me up for that need to knock me down can I feel for you he says so much I feel for you can you feel for me I’m through thinking I could ever breathe for you and I won’t leave it up to you to teach me to take care of myself
Self-Proclaimed Self Reliance I’m almost pretty sure you want to tell me everything but you want me to know nothing saying take my word who knows where and tell me you heard it from me when it gets there I’m almost pretty sure we don’t know what we’re doing but that’s never stopped us from trying anything else so I’ll take your word who knows where if you swear to say a prayer for this future when we get there when we get there we’ll be aware why we’re here (refrain) why would you worry what’s worth the worry not this time not this time why would you hurry why would you hurry up just to wait and watch it pass you by early this morning and late last night I was talking to myself again and looking for advice oh what to do how about this scratch your head and make a sound effect I think you think we think your wrong stack it up add it up counting on a helping hand and holding your own so would you take your own word or would you rather take it to your grave rest-assured everything is the only thing worth chasing as you pack it up to move it out handle with care then look at the time there goes your ride (refrain) look at the ditto I found it goes faster up as it comes around should I go mark it down as another discount we don’t know what we’re buying we don’t know what we’ve bought the only thing getting cheaper in this life is the talk How may I help you Come again
As Good As Mine I will look at you tell me what your looking at Haven't you ever seen the way the world is strapped on one man's back Yes I believe I'm still very much alive Been trying to climb this mountain since the day that my daddy died I will look at you tell me what your looking at Haven't you ever seen a desperate act bring somebody back I guess I'm not the only one with death written on my pocket I'm not supposed to read it till I reach the top of this mountain (refrain) Nevermind What I will go through Nevermind I'd gladly do it for you Nevermind I feel the fight I'm gonna get it all As good as mine This might be a mission to justify my existence if I made my decision clearer I would keep your distance Yes I've been thinkin' I should settle these old scores yeah, but I have found out that there's more There is more to this There is always more to... This must be the top Can I get any higher This must be the top My air has gotten thinner This must be the top All I've got is a chill Greeting me snowballs and can't be rolled back up its hill (refrain) Nevermind I can't feel my hands Nevermind I'll take it as far as I can stand Nevermind I question stuff like I'm gonna get it all As good as mine I will look at you tell me what your looking at Haven't you ever seen somebody ask about the drawbacks Scared of heights? Just spin around hands thrown in the air Watch out when the clouds come down somebody shouts, "Get down from there!" Nevermind I can't see a thing Nevermind Maybe there is nothing to see Nevermind I forgot what I came to find But I still get it all As good as mine Sometimes I'd give anything Maybe I'd give everything If I could get myself something worth keeping I pull out daddy's note See what it says "Someday your day may come but don't trade your life in for it"
Self-Inflicted Deafness caught here in your revolving door would you like to tell me what I’m here for past life in pictures line the wall it’s dead in here except voices down the hall I think is there a place for me to press my face against the glass if not could you please pass the time my life seems to be for writing be back soon on the devils door and falling flat on my face trying to face up to false beliefs I’d love to tell you everything I’d love to tell you everything my version of the truth as plain as I think it sometimes it’s only what you make of it (refrain) my head has hit this wall too many times I’m thinking straight but seeing cross-eyed and I guess that makes a change cuz we stopped at nothing to change now sanity has become a madness all it’s own everybody is trying it so pull out the cash you can buy it but pity for a dime will burn a hole in your pocket cuz here we’re in the same boat with some silly trying to rock it you better buy me a big box and put it beneath a bridge does my diagnoses read self-inflicted deafness and are you going to put your foot down or are you just going to kick my well nobody knows but maybe if I listen real close (refrain)
Blank 02:31
Blank wouldn’t you like to believe everything happens for a reason should I shake this dust off my feet but keep the reasons to believe drifting might settle me down and so it comes and goes on back to this can’t forget the time has arrived to move on wouldn’t we like to believe everything happens for a reason striking with lightning what if it doesn’t through our skewed views we see as memory is but a game rigged by a child who wants nothing but to play and if it made sense yesterday say lets rearrange it and so it comes and goes on back to this can’t forget the time has arrived to move on hold on to each moment but never long enough to go down with it and don’t wish to reach too far then reach right past what is worth reaching for the future fills it’s own time before the sands spill no more see what needn’t be left behind to fill the blanks in everyday life
here is a penny for your thoughts here is a dime for what your not as you die for what you want but you can’t live with what you’ve got (refrain) not big words just a lot of words who really knows what they’ve heard don’t feel the need to explain yourself to me watching the news stay the same over time I view myself as a spectator in life my biggest fear is becoming someone else’s parade animal as I strut through a highly edited version of myself screaming (refrain) you say nothing anywhere makes any since (or so it seems) I don’t think you want to know me I is the most frequently used word in the dictionary facts like that tend to scare me I have never toured the country If I did my family would think it’s because I’m a truck driver so everyday I drive by where my brother works because that is where my father works past where my other brother works just to get to where my mother works I have one check and no cash with a gas light flashing on my dash they say here is a penny for your thoughts and here is a dime for what your not (refrain)
Ticket into Heaven she said should I pack my bags and try to get away again it didn’t work when I was twelve but I’ve got more to run away from now he said you haven’t got a prayer and if you did I bet nobody would listen she said you can’t control me now do you know what it feels like to be god (refrain) are you going to get yourself the ticket into heaven and sit around and flaunt it even if you didn’t buy it or are you going to get yourself a little piece of heaven and grow it down on this earth before you have to sell it between you me and four walls these walls are pretty thin do you think you should be telling me this when they think your safe and soundly sleeping have you been through hell and back what’s your take on the view is that disease going to die an hour after you do (refrain) she called on her demons to deal with her problems then like hypocrites they crawled through the hospital chapel these memories echo in my brain but not long enough to scare me into reasoning when are you coming home don’t leave me here alone I don’t know you anymore but it’s not like I did before are you sleeping brother john you can not take this lying down hey are you sleeping brother john you can not take this lying down morning bells are ringing
My Own Worst Critic (refrain) could you spare a little faith could you spare a little confidence could I be you for one day then maybe I’d get through this sometimes I do believe you don’t want to hear it but hell look at me I’m the one living it so throw this back when you are finished don’t worry about breaking me don’t worry about breaking this leave it up to me I’ll take care of it I can guarantee I’m my worst critic could I take my life now and put it to application as I’m reading all your books and pretending I understand them oh well now you know maybe it goes to show you cannot read someone else until you can read yourself well I suppose if there’s anything I should learn from life it’s once upon a time getting lost inside a dream the path split both ways and I had to wake up as me (2nd refrain) with a crazy thought in my head should I lock it up and keep it or would you like me to decode this through the efforts of well said well said too many times will leave you in your head as you’re going out of your mind (refrain) correct me if I’m wrong being two different people and right now they happen to be getting along if I could I would shut one off can’t push the button for you (2nd refrain + refrain) it’s just my life laying on your line you can take it and you can rate it better throw it back when you’re finished don’t worry about breaking me I tried to get a break from this this voice inside that keeps getting louder it says don’t you wish you could get paid for listening by the hour to me


"Iowa's Emerging Butterfly Of Song"
by Clay Riness, Tapestry Magazine, February 2006

The great state of Iowa, which is the back drop for this essay, has a new member in its musical family, singer / songwriter Michelle Lynn. Born and raised the youngest of three on a farm near Monona, Iowa, she looks every bit the heartland farm girl, fresh-faced and beautiful, with long, dark Irish curls and a smile that could melt down the entire football team at Mar-Mac High School, and probably did. But she couldn't have been too typical a kid, because there is very little child in her writing.

Michelle's story is a rather remarkable one and it begins with the fact that she is just nineteen years of age and has only been playing guitar for a couple of years. Yet, she has created a debut CD entitled Jump Roping In Chains which gives us a serious look into who she is. It is a fearless collection of songs that strips away any pretension and hangs her deepest feelings out like laundry for the world to see. The album is quite sparsely produced, which seems appropriate for such personal writing, and helps listeners to appreciate the lyrical weight of the songs.

Her singing style is folksy but contemporary, rather like Ani DiFranco in some respects. But what really makes the Michelle Lynn story worth noting is the interesting style in her writing. She claims some of the best influences in music...Dylan, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, Bob Marley. Yet, her songs are like none of these stellar word smiths. Thoreau once wrote: "If man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears."

Michelle has taken in the messages from her favorite artists, but rather than copy them, has stepped to the music which she hears. Henry would be proud. She is an inward thinker with a knack for odd structure. Often her words come and go quickly, as fleeting as the thoughts she confesses.

For a writer of nineteen with so little life experience, her lyrics contain weighty statements. One won't find songs of puppy love or catchy pop rewrites rolling off the pen of Michelle Lynn. She writes without fear about whatever motivates her. Some of her songs almost have a James Joyce, stream of consciousness quality. Others are quite profound and to the point.

In sum, Iowa can indeed be proud of Michelle Lynn, and we can all enjoy watching her future unfold as an ever-evolving singer and songwriter. Watching from a distance with a sturdy binocular, we should resolve to keep our eyes trained on what is clearly Iowa's newest emerging butterfly of song, because nothing is as wondrous and beautiful as a butterfly, and one day, she may spread her wings a fly away from us on a greater journey.


released November 15, 2005

Engineered & Mixed by Harold Pederson
at Studio of Dreams in Mabel, MN
Mastered by Justin LeBreck
at JPL Records in Cary, IL


all rights reserved



Michelle Lynn La Crosse, Wisconsin

Songs from the perspective of overlooked historical people.

Michelle's first five albums focused on psychology and creative living.

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