Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Music — Song #119

Poison
“Something To Believe In” —

Poison is an American rock band that achieved great commercial success in the mid-1980’s through the the mid-1990’s. The band charted 10 singles to the Top 40 including 6 Top 10 singles and the Hot 100 number one song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

The band was originally from Pennsylvania, but moved to L.A. to make it big. When they arrived they had no money and no family so things were rough for them financially at first, but the band became familiar with many people living on the streets. They were amazed at the large numbers of homeless people in L.A. and they lived nearly homeless themselves until their music finally began paying off.

On Christmas Eve 1989, Poison lead singer Bret Michaels’ huge Polynesian bodyguard died alone in his Palm Springs hotel room. His name was Kimo, and much like the rest of the band, he became heavily involved with alcohol, drugs, and women, which had taken a toll on his health. Kimo was also a personal friend of Michaels and when the Poison vocalist was informed of his mate’s death, he reacted by locking himself in his room and writing this song.

This song is not only about Kimo, but also Bret’s cousin Bob who was wounded in Vietnam. In the June 10, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone, Michaels said: “All the songs I write have a bazillion verses. ‘Something to Believe In’ is one of the only songs to get played on radio that’s over six minutes long.

Well I see him on the TV preachin’ ’bout the promised lands
He tells me to believe in Jesus
And steals the money from my hands
Some say he was a good man
But Lord I think he sinned, yeah

Twenty-two years of mental tears
Cries a suicidal Vietnam vet
Who fought a losing war on a foreign shore
To find his country didn’t want him back

Their bullets took his best friend in Saigon
Our lawyers took his wife and kids, no regrets
In a time I don’t remember, in a war he can’t forget
He cried “Forgive me for what I’ve done there
‘Cause I never meant the things I did”

And give me something to believe in if there’s a Lord above
And give me something to believe in, Oh Lord arise

​My best friend died a lonely man
In some Palm Springs hotel room
I got the call last Christmas Eve
And they told me the news

I tried all night not to break down and cry
As the tears rolled down my face
I felt so cold and empty
Like a lost soul out of place
And the mirror, mirror on the wall sees my smile it fades again

And give me something to believe in if there’s a Lord above
And give me something to believe in, Oh Lord arise
Sometimes I wish to God I didn’t know now
The things I didn’t know then

You gotta take me home

I drive by the homeless sleeping on a cold dark street
Like bodies in an open grave
Underneath the broken old neon sign
That used to read JESUS SAVES

A mile away live the rich folks
And I see how they’re living it up
While the poor they eat from hand to mouth
The rich is drinking from a golden cup
And it just makes me wonder why so many lose
And so few win

And give me something to believe in if there’s a Lord above
And give me something to believe in, Oh Lord arise

You take the high road, and I’ll take the low road

Sometimes I wish to God I didn’t know now
The things I didn’t know then
And give me something to believe in

See an entire collection of songs relating to homelessness here!

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About the Author

Tim Houchen
Tim Houchen was homeless and living at the Santa Ana Civic Center between 2011 and 2015. He began advocating for the homeless community there while he was still homeless as a founding member of the infamous Civic Center Roundtable. The “grass roots” organization was composed of homeless individuals living at the civic center and Houchen was elected to serve as the groups first official spokesman in 2014. Tim is now in permanent supportive housing and lives in the City of Anaheim where he serves as a Commissioner of Housing and Community Development. Tim is also a member of the Orange County Continuum of Care and serves as Co-Chairman of the Homeless Providers Forum. He founded the nonprofit, Hope 4 Restoration, in 2017 and serves as Executive Director of the organization. Houchen created this site as a vehicle to share his knowledge, information and most of all, his experience which allows him to view the current homeless crisis in Orange County from a different and very unique perspective, a “Homeless Perspective.”

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