Teddy Bears in Toronto

Teddy Bears in Toronto

mike skliar's picture
Artist Favorite



Liner Notes: 

A few days ago I saw a news item that in Toronto, Canada, across from the U.S. consulate, or embassy, someone had placed over a thousand teddy bears, one for every child who was seperated from their parents when they came across the US border from Mexico, fleeing violence and more from Central America. While the first song I wrote and posted here (a few hours ago as I write this) was more vague, I thought this could benefit from being a bit more angry and specific.

I'm having a weird recording issue where playing back a track results in intermittent static, so this recording (where i did the guitar track first and then sang over it, while sometimes what was playing back was just static) was challenging... but somehow I got it together. I'm in a weird open D-type tuning, (DADGCD) on a resonator guitar, by the way. If i get my recording setup more glitch-free, I'll perhaps overdub some more onto this.


Teddy bears in Toronto
Across from the US embassy
One for every child separated
From his or her family

And there are more people protesting
In every country on the earth
Standing up for human dignity
And what America used to be worth

We hold these truths to be self-evident
That refugees are people too
Created in whose image
The same image as me and you

From space you can’t see borders
But you can see temperatures rising
No Kings can last forever
When all they offer is fear and lying

Let us not forget
Let our voices be like sirens
And if history teaches anything
We have overthrown bigger tyrants

You’ll get your day of reckoning
In Shakespearian proportions
Let the ones who enter the border
Be the ones to read your fortune

Teddy bears in Toronto
Across from the US embassy
One for every child separated
From his or her family

© 2018 M. Skliar

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


colgoo's picture

Great lyrics, Mike! You've got a great start on this song. I can totally hear this with some drums, more percussion and a few harmonies on the vocal (when you finish up 50/90 and polish up your next album, I imagine this may be on the next album!) This is very topical, and I totally see the similarity between our first offerings this year.

billwhite51's picture

it is a shame when rich countries like the united states treat refugees who come into their country this way, especially when poor countries like peru are welcoming over 300 refugees a day from venezuela, and the people are offering them beds in their homes for 25 cents a night. fine delivery on a strong song, mike. looking forward to more as the marathon continues.

Sw1n3flu's picture

Classic Skliar. Words with message and meaning. That resonator suits the song too!

Good stuff, really like that rich drony resonator sound and the lyrics are pointed and powerful. Hope you can get your recording issues sorted but kudos for pushing through the problems to get such a good song recorded!

nancyrost's picture

I like the dimension to this - the wide-open chords and reflective lyrics grounded in this very specific image. I like where you take these reflections, too. Great song!

johnstaples's picture

This is really lovely Mike! Really perfect inspiration that lead to an excellent, meaningful and memorable hook! Nicely played and sung with just the right amount of emotion! Great work!!!

Stephen Wordsmith's picture

My favourite part is the 'chorus', especially the opening line. It gives us a concrete image which is sweet and intriguing, but the words themselves have a euphony that falls agreeably upon the ears.

Overall, there's a certain universality to the lyrics - reflecting on timeless themes of human dignity and the artifice of our borders and divisions - John Lennon would be proud.

Beautiful chord progression, too.

katpiercemusic's picture

It's very sad. Did you go to the march across the bridge on Saturday? I avoided the subway heat and went to one of the protests upstate. My favorite line in this one is "You’ll get your day of reckoning
In Shakespearian proportions"
That appeals to me. I'm going to touch on that in a long later this summer. Also, the melody is very natural and easy. Good work all around! Would that this one were unnecessary.

Technicolor Gramophone's picture

I really like the sound of that tuning ... will try it myself! Lyrics are insightful and right on the money. Love the change after "fear and lies" ... nice!

sherrycanary's picture

Mike, this is so wonderful.
Thank you for the message of hope within this most scary and surreal times we are living through.

NuJ4X's picture

Very political, very heartfelt lyrics Mike! I love the title "Teddy Bears in Toronto" because its so amazingly clever! I can feel your conviction and I can feel your frustration in your song and those are the best ones! When your emotions translate to me and I can feel what you're feeling! Outstanding job sir!

auldy's picture

The messages in this song are on point. I wish more people felt the same way as you. Short and bittersweet.

kahlo2013's picture

Yes! Thank you for writing this and sharing it. I think we all knew a Trump era would have thoughtless fallout as your work from the past two years conveyed so well, but I'm not sure I every really believed he could be so instrumental in demoralizing , dividing, and deconstructing a nation in such a short amount of time.

Thank you for this message Mike. Every time I think there cannot be any thing more appalling then yesterday's news, I find new evidence of the moral bankruptcy of not just Trump, but every politician that supports him for fear of losing their seat on the gravy train. What ever happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?

bithprod's picture

Strong and important message! We really need songs like this in this time and age. I love your original and clever rhymes. Well done!