SOS: Essential Voices Songs and Lyrics


Caring for our co-workers

Based on text by Melhim Bou Alwan, music by Breezy Love

When I shook her hand this morning to introduce myself
My patient nearly cried when I wasn’t petrified to touch her.
Within those first ten days as the sole physician
A community cross section had already collected in hospital doors.
I cared for two barbers, two pastors, a pilot and her wife
A retired high school teacher who spoke of the after life.
Maybe tomorrow an electrician, a waitress or only son
You’d think caring for our co-workers is something we’d always done before
But not like this before.

I cried when I realized I might not make it home
To Lebanon to see my family for a long long time to come,
So I focused on what to say to the staff on coffee breaks
Desperate to make sense of it all
We sit in the silence we made
Thinking ‘bout the two barbers, two pastors, a pilot and her wife
A retired high school teacher who spoke of the after life.
Maybe tomorrow an electrician, a waitress or only son
You’d think caring for our co-workers is something we’d always done before
But not like this before.

I swallowed back the tears in the hospital grey
What’s holding me together, breaks me all the same
Thinking ‘bout the two barbers, two pastors, a pilot and her wife
A retired high school teacher who spoke of the after life
Maybe tomorrow an electrician, a waitress or only son
You’d think caring for our co-workers is something we’d always done –


I Have A Bag Full of Dreams

Based on text by Veronica Rua, music by Matt Frey

I came from Colombia with a bag full of dreams
One of millions of immigrants carrying a heart full of hope
I work for the Environment Service Department at Mass General
I clean the areas that are most exposed to Covid patients
The procedure rooms and bathrooms
The floors where many infected people have passed

I got infected with Covid
And infected my husband and five year old son
It was terrible to live with the uncertainty
Would we get better, or get worse?
Who would take care of our son?
That thought oppressed my heart
After three weeks, we felt better
I went back to work, fearful again
But sometimes, the needs are bigger than your fears

I’m grateful for this new chance to live
I feel reborn
Many have lost the battle
Others continue to fight in hospitals
I have a big hope that one day
All humanity will be free and Covid, a memory
I have a bag full of dreams
A heart full of hope


My Life After Corona

Based on text by Chiruza Mohammed, music by Dylan Tran

I wake at 6 every morning to get to school on time
At 2:30, I go to debate club
At 3:20, I catch a bus, then a train
To go to work at Roche Bros
At 11 at night, I leave work
I do my homework
In the bus and train home
At 12:20am, I arrive home and cook dinner
I worry about who I meet on the bus and train
I wonder if my thirty coworkers are sick
I’m afraid of whether my customers have the virus
I can’t tell who is sick

One day, I got home and found
That my two roommates, father and son, were sick
I was afraid to leave my room
To use the bathroom or kitchen I shared with them
We didn’t have cleaning supplies
I had to stop working for 2 weeks

The son died
I lay in bed at night
And listened to his father cry
Through the paper thin walls
I was so lonely
My heart so heavy
My family in the Congo called everyday
Worried about the surging virus here
I didn’t want to lie to them
But I did
I told them everything was fine
I have to wear a mask at work
And I wear a mask when I talk to my mother
So she can’t see the pain in my face

Then I got the virus.



Lyrics adapted by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate from text by Sophina Calderon, music by Jerod Tate

There’s an urgent call to reach back!
We believe in hozhó!
Ung-ahehhaeh. Ung-ah ehhaeh
I saw families and friends. So many faces I knew.
I heard their stories of families losing.
Saddened for their grandchildren.

There’s an urgent call to reach back.
Our people will come out strong!
Sickness came across our community.
Houses without running water.
Poverty amid the shattered souls!

Depression, anxiety.
Desolated people who are fighting.
I’m a doctor working in the place that I was born.
Devastation: prisoners of this illness.

Ung-ah ehhaeheh ah. Ung-ah ehhaeheh ah.
Ung-ah ehhaehhozhó. Ung-ah ehhaehhozhó.
We believe: History Survival Resilience.
We are proof our people will come out strong.
Hozhó! Hozhó!


Neither Snow nor Rain

Based on an interview of Trevor Tom by Cerise Lim Jacobs, music by Marina Lopez

I’m a mailman, I wash my hands, I wear my mask, I do my job
I’ve been a mailman for thirty years
I love my job
The corona virus can’t take that away
I worry about my health and that of my co-workers
I know many postal workers have gotten sick

My customers are like family
They used to come to me to pick up their mail
Lean over the gate and chat
But now they’re socially distant
They won’t even sign for a letter

I’m from Trinidad
But I’m American now
I believe in America
It’s a place of opportunity
I’ve been pulled over by the cops many times
For no reason other than I’m black

My son I left behind in Trinidad is thirty two years old now
He’s never been to America
I’ve filed papers for him to join me


The Privilege of Witnessing the Last Breath

Based on an interview of Andrea Rocha by Cerise Lim Jacobs, music by Michael Ippolito

I’m a pediatric nurse
But when Covid hit my city, I asked to serve in the Covid ward
The need was so great.
I went home each night crying
I went to therapy to help me deal with all the death.
My patients and their families needed to be with each other
So this became my mission:
To make sure my patients did not die alone
When I couldn’t connect a family member, they would ask me
“Were you at her side?”
“Did you hold his hand?”
“Was she afraid?”

I got Covid myself, but I continued to work
Many of my co-workers got sick, but they continued to work
There was no one else to care for the patients
I was afraid to infect my husband
He’s been diagnosed with cancer
I was afraid to move into a hotel
I sleep walk and he stops me when I walk
I need him and I asked God everyday to protect him

I’ve been asked “why leave the safety of the maternity ward?”
It’s because I had a mission
I am privileged to be at another human being’s side
When they took their last breath


Who Will Care for the Children?

Based on text by Felino Taruc, music by Patrick Holcomb

I’m a flight nurse transporting Covid patients
From the Four Corners and Navajo Nation, to hospital
Being in a small aircraft for many hours with a patient
Increases your exposure
Many co-workers have caught the virus

I remember transporting an elderly man
To the same hospital as his wife
She was also critically ill with the virus
When I moved him, he had just been told that his son
Who was in his mid-20’s, had died from Covid-19
He and his wife had been looking after this son’s three children
Who will care for those children now?


Kitchen Melody

Based on text by Yang Li
Lyrics Adapted by XiRen Wang, music by XiRen Wang

What is this silence in between sirens?
Every block, every dock, down down down
We are locked.
Am I still a chef, if I but dream with empty hands
Sweep, dust, then pretend that it’s good to live.

Normal is a fragile state, kitchen not essential.
How? What is essential?
Cooking was my remedy, now there’s just depravity
Scrolling for some good news, it’s all blues.
Doctors, nurses, walking skeletons
No time to sleep, no time to eat, no time to eat

I am still a chef, and I can feed,
I can feed the doctors, the nurses, whoever’s hungry at the hospital

We are in a fragile state,
Kitchen is essential
Cooking is my remedy, in times of depravity
Don’t say the world stopped as death tolls surge
Medical gowns, body bags, tell us more than reports
Lies can send you to the other side

Minefield and a battleground
Hope is often lost, not found
But it’s essential
Like love is essential
Like you and me
Yes, you and me
And dreams to be dreamed . . .


Crack, Crack

Based on text by Edward Rippe, music by Stefan Weisman

Code blue, Level A, Block one!
I caught Covid at the end of March.
Code blue, Level A, Block two!
I was back at work in a week
Code Blue, level A, Block three!
The announcement came during morning rounds
Code blue, Level A, Block four!

Saving Covid patients is risky because of air born particles
We gowned up
Started chest compressions
Went her ribs
Another epi!
The C.P.R. continues

After twenty minutes it was over
We did not achieve a pulse.

Code blue, Level A, Block five!
That day there were six code blues.
Code blue, Level A, Block six!
I don’t remember who lived or who died
But I still can hear those ribs


A Teaching Aide’s Heartache

Based on text by Geovanna de Andrade, music by Eric Delgado

Waking up to a world that seems to have stopped
Makes you sit down and question your worth…
School overwhelms the souls behind each screen
Emotions hide behind zoom calls without faces

We live in the most powerful country in the world
Yet we feel small and scared of tomorrow
Nobody was prepared, nobody is!

“My grandma died yesterday, I am so scared of losing my mom too”
A friend confided, holding in an ugly cry

We’ve never missed the perfume of Cape Verde so much
We’ve never stopped to think about life so much
Black Lives Matter and racism took over our brains
We cannot stop thinking

Waking up to a world that seems to have stopped
Makes you sit down and think…
About home, about the sweetness of home