Thirty Seconds on the Traffic Light

Thirty seconds with your head above your hands

Dangling feet high on a changing traffic light

Thirty seconds to grab your shot at fame

Whilst in thirty seconds' time, all will fall and tumble down

They put on a mask that everyone can see through

Training and failing till the night is wide and awake

What can you do when you're scratching out a living?

Nobody knows how this whole phenomenon started

But it caught on like a wildfire enveloping the world

Nobody speaks out, nobody thinks, "this is wrong,"

Because maybe all our life we've been hanging

Onto traffic lights for just a second longer

There's a little blue-eyed young girl named Ella

Who thinks that the world is waiting for her name

To be written in a little black book called history

Can't seem to see her beaten down and torn apart

Because she's dangling up there long than the rest

Holding on for her life, for all she has given up for

Watch out! There's a boy whose work-tired fingers are slipping

Nobody notices; they turn a blind eye to his demise

When you're in this business, those who fall are ignored

They don't even know his name; if they did it was forgotten

He was left on his own in the darkness

His name is Allen

The little boy had fallen, broke and recovered all wrong

He grows up jaded and sees through the masquerade

What's the use of holding on for thirty seconds?

If, in the end, it's inevitable you come crashing down?

This world is one where no one knows the truth

When for one day only the spotlight's all on you

But in the end it all will change like a tide

Because, Allen noted, the only constant is change

Nothing has the resolve to stay the same

Bright lights: Ella has finally made it to center stage

With the curious blind faith that people inside are truly good

Allen comes and knows that she'll lose her wings

Warns her of tomorrow, but she's living in today.

"Stop looking back, don't think of looking forward

Life's a dream that needs to live in the now

And if I fall," she shrugs, "So be it.

I'll remember when I was a shooting star."

In the end, she fell.

Sharks are in the water; prowlers on dry land

Never trust a soul for they all wish to take advantage of you

Who would think that holding on a traffic light

Can buy you mere seconds of hope and fame?

Not I.

Lights are changing so fast you couldn't blink

Until your world is uprooted and burned in flames

Consuming till all you held dear is lost

But Ella has no home to linger in the night

Clouds push back moonlight to a night black as pitch

A ghost of a woman wandering in a faded dress

Watching the young ones as they go for the gold

Hanging one second longer on the traffic lights

Scarce noticing the danger below

She had once told Allen (Who had long disappeared

To a place far off into the horizon; the unknown

Had he smiled when he left?)

One should always live in the present, but now she knew

The past was so much more enticing when it was all she had

The memory of her glory days occupy her mind like a virus

She returns to her former home, the one in sunlight

Before the clouds had to ruin the perfect blue sky

When she was never scared of falling; only holding on

The effort of her sweat and blood and tears

Thirty seconds longer with her head above her hands

Back to the building rising like a giant what-if

That when seen other than in person one never could guess:

Was it real? Or the product of a disillusioned artist

Here in the building juxtaposed in the center

The pupil of an eye where humans watch others

Dangle feet high with their head about the lights

Ella saw in the mirage the days in the sun

When children still believed that adults knew the solutions

When birds were songwriters and thirty-seconds worthwhile

Lost hope purged out of society in these days of smog

Is the world still not ready for what we in our hearts hold true?

Our society – lost? In a whirlpool of misconceptioned beauty

Quick-fix getups and five-second fame frenzy fought for like gold

What had happened to magic? Trust in your arms and mind?

When you're thirty-seconds above rushing traffic holding on for dear life

The world doesn't stop for any man or woman

Ella couldn't weep in her sorrows forever unnoticed

The world moved on, with or without her

Desperate the fallen star employed herself to a father-daughter team

By the name of McKell with a get-rich-quick-scheme

Doomed by the deadline in a hassled last chance to make it big

A miracle happens: they made it; they were safe from the fall

Once again it was a triumphant thirty seconds passing unnoticed

In celebration a song erupts somewhere: slow and sad from golden days

Her face pales and she breaks down in tears: it was her song from the distant past

There's a small apartment building in the outskirts of town

Run by a stranger that nobody but us knows

Changed by years passing by like speeding cars

Allen keeps to himself after long years of solitude

A woman rented a room in advance two months ago

He blanched when he read the name she put down

'I-told-you-so's stop working when the listener knows

Collectors spread out all over the planet

Collecting what – heavens, nobody knows but the collector himself

You think its one thing but it turns out to be wrong

One thing for sure: it's their treasure and gold

With much persuasion Allen persuades one who hoards

Memorabilia from a girl named Ella's prime years

To part with his heart's only joy at the ransom given

Ella arrived on an uneventful Monday

The beginning to every week, the end of a moment

World-weary and tired, who would have guessed it was she

Who dangled longer than the rest on the traffic light

Thirty seconds with her head above her hands

Lights illuminate truths and lies: these lit the truth

Or what our mottled minds conceive to be

But, certainly, it lit the distant past on fire

All was there for her to gasp and see

All her memories of her earlier, golden years

Filling up the wasted years, the gap in space, when she had lost her heart

Collapsing to her knees, gasping for breath, there lighted a final truth:

She was home

When you give up everything to chase a falling star

Be ready to face an early denouement and a slow ending

Remember while dangling thirty seconds longer 'fore you fall

Home is always waiting; you just have to find it

No matter how long the journey nor how far it takes you

New faces are seen challenging the traffic lights

Again, Technicolor brightness brings a whirlwind of change

They might, Ella hopes, bring more change than expected

Maybe they won't lose themselves while holding on for thirty seconds

Maybe, now and forever, they will remember home

A fact of life: people die, thirty seconds diminish, stories end

Another fact: it lives on in our hearts