The massive lyrics post

Posted on April 9, 2010


Here are the lyrics to everything besides Eight Delicate Olives (those are here), going all the way back to my first recordings. They were all on the myspace, but then I realized that no one goes to Myspace. So here they are. All I have to say is man, it was really intense re-reading these.

Your Body Is Your Soul

Holy Holy Little Fist

Burden me with white coats, twist apart my fingers into symphonies or wild oats
single single single to the end of earth and cutlery, tools made out of birds and iron
sawing at the wide world, tearing at the holy mother

We are fields of wise goats defecating joyfully
we prick our fingers with our souls, endless endless endless are
we are fields of wise goats celebrating joylessly
we scream until we fill the holes. endless endless endless we are not
we are not

the humiliation of never knowing
the pleading eyes the phony longing
he says “okay okay to the ocean
but I will never drown with you”

celebrate your cellophane
the masquerade through windowpanes
or eyes that churn so quietly
endure endure the agony
I know fate is a lead coat
weighin weighin weighin on our
silky ties and dead bolts
all our exoskeletons
I know fate is lead, molten,
pouring pouring pouring into
forms we cannot understand
guided by our own two hands
jesus and the lord god
holy holy little fist
holy holy little fist
holy holy little fist

well I know fate is a telescope
a trick to take our eyes from us
and drop them on the moonscapes
flaccid flaccid evermore
I know fate is a dead horse
it’s snowing in the desert tonight
I wanna die young, by my own design because

the humiliation of never knowing
the crying child, the woman yawning
the icy cold ejaculation
bought for words of consolation

he says “I am not an animal I am not an animal I am not an animal I am not an animal etc etc etc

If You

If you play an instrument I’m probably a little bit in love with you
and if you strum a steel string while reclining on the bedsprings at my parents house
we could be red and red on white
the kindest firefight
if you come to visit me in the name of anthropology I’ll sleep with you
and if you make me promises I’ll probably be a little bit happier for the rest of my days
tell me the sun won’t overcome
everything we’ve done
and I won’t turn around to find you gone

in the outstanding wealth of the open country
we could plant our shoes
fresh from the landing-strips
of the crowded cities
we could be red and red on white
the kindest firefight

If you fall in love with me and if I fall in love with you what will we do?
Distances are skin and hair but is some great weight waiting there to pounce on us?
To make us go and face the truth
we don’t know what we want or who
but if you stand serenely undisturbed by fate’s topography we’ll safely stay
and someday we can call the same bay windows and stone walls by the same three words:
home sweet home.

and the sun won’t overcome
anything we’ve done

and I won’t turn around to find you gone

So Loud, So Far, So Deep

Every time I am calm in the knowledge that I will win
pain will subside and I will be whole and new and
pleased to meetcha no matter who you are
pleased to meetcha no matter who you are

but one time it will be a point of light so pure
it could only be in the center of a cooling television

So loud, so far, so deep, I will not catch my breath
anyone who ever loved me, even secretly, will hear my name and see red, raw meat
sickly shining like a blade
sickly shining like a blade

I will ruin them with my leaving, and that’s what I want
this is no time for kind detachment or benevolent silence
but for running through the sprinklers in the dark
for making memories with edges that are sharp

my stock will go up in one last great spike
before the great crash crashes and the bread lines form

so loud, so far, so deep, I will be powerless to stop it
this is why I want to call you at 4 a.m., rouse you from sleep
just so I can take something away
wake the man next to you now, saying:
knowing this old love, knowing all this
how could you?
how fucking dare you say my name and not mean forever?

Missiles of Light

Lately I been feeling kinda down
It’s been rainy in my head and in the town
and I think maybe it’s because you’re not around
I’ve been lazy, in my bed while the earth goes round and round and round

come home and maybe
we could get a little crazy
on my back porch let the neighbors watch
I know you’ll hate me in a month or three
so let’s bet it all away while our hand’s still hot
I wish I had a life to give to everyone I love

I know you’ll hate me in a month or three
when I leave you for my new life
but darling that day’s just as far away
and inescapable as the endless, airless night
through which those missiles of light glide on
softly resigned to bring on endings to good things and bad

so tonight, you’ll turn off the lights
but I want them all on, let’s remember everything.

I’m sorry I’m not sad about disappearing.

Leaving Boston

Loose ends like ladies hands pull me raw awake
I cannot sleep inside this house, I wait I wait I wait
for music or for love, descended from above
but they only come to liars

eyes wide so I call you up
just to hear your voice recorded
the miles at my feet
and the miles at your feet add up to broken hearted
We’ve got time
We’ve got time I must remember

troubles fall away from me, cold and clean cold and clean oh god oh god
so much sky fills my mind oh my oh my heart cold and free oh god oh god
when I fly I won’t look down when I fly I won’t look down when I fly I won’t look down
when I fly I won’t look down when I fly I won’t look down when I fly I won’t look down

Someone I Love

just being awake, I feel blessed and full of grace
I am a machine of perfect mortality
and I, I am the sky that swallowed you up, up, up
I still look the same, but I am not the same
I’m never the same

cause someone I love is gone
someone I love is gone

in the middle of the trees, there’s a system of one, two, three stones
where my sister fell
and in the middle of my life, there’s a blank spot where I, I, I
cannot unlearn how fragile we are
and how lucky two

someone I love is gone
someone I love is gone
from my open arms to my empty hands
the weight of your absence measured in sand
someone I love is gone

and serious men with serious beards say that nothing, nothing at all is real
but I don’t subscribe
I may not exist, but I will still love, love, love
everyone here til I disappear
and this, this is a song we can all sing a long, long, long time
cause it’s always the truth
and it goes like this

someone I love is gone
someone I love is gone
from my open arms to my empty hands
my heart is an engine seeking to understand
the truth of my body, the truth of the land
someone I love is gone

from my open arms to my empty hands
my shining eyes locked on lives made of sand
forgive me my darling as only you can
forgive me for being no more than a man
who sings, “someone I love is gone”

One day the distance between myself and god will disappear

Into the dark!

it’s the season of
blacktops not blackboards
of high tops and bike rides
of ice pops and low tides
it’s the season of
nights spent on rooftops
cold beer and flip flops
birdsong and hopscotch

and july marches in on the heels of three score elephants with skeleton keys and diamond rings, the lips of god and wild things

and july marches in on the heels of three score elephants all clad in white with shining wings the lips of man split wide to sing:

songs about himself
songs about himself

all the names of the ones he knows
well they melted: sugar in the sea
and when the eye of the lord is past
well the world will just be that much more sweet

eyes are the windows to the soul (we know, we know, we’ve all been told)
existence is proved by thought alone (we know we know, but still we will not go into the dark)
there’s naught to fear in the unknown (oh no, oh no, we will not go into the dark!)

all the names of the ones you know
they will melt just like sugar in the sea
and when your days on the earth are grass
well the soil will just be that much more sweet
I’m afraid of the sound of rain
I’m afraid of the way you say my name
and everything else that has an end

why don’t I feel what I oughta feel, we are unknowable
far as stars from the arms of those who hold us close
and all the nights we didn’t light with a love that was not love at all

Whisper In a Hallway

that’s a 20 cent answer to a million dollar question
the lasting legacy of the internet generation
everybody’s in love with a whisper in a hallway
everybody’s in love…

five years of leaves on the ground and the truth is coming out
we coulda kissed em but we cursed em instead, and swelled to burst they gave head to some other guy
everybody’s in love with a whisper in a hallway
everybody’s in love with a whisper in a hallway

Once Only, Once Again

stay, stay awake
we don’t have to eat
we don’t have to say

words that rhyme with love
all the secret sweet
things we’re dreaming of

move down my chest
as the lightning cuts
down the past

sweet summer rain
in your white bedroom
our bodies sing

(note: I changed my mind after recording this and the lines “all the secret sweet/things we’re dreaming of” have been replaced with “it’s so beautiful/and so meaningless”)

Year One (words by Franz Wright)

I was still standing
on a northern corner.

Moonlit winter clouds the color of the desperation of wolves.

of Your existence? There is nothing

sorry skin

once you pulled the trigger I only got sicker
I been tumbling down through rows of crooked teeth
thought I could sleep it away, so i slept in every bed in town
I been throwing rocks at boarded up windows

everybody’s saying that the winter’s closing in
I’m trying hard to hate you but my body won’t submit
every night i tear apart your soft and sorry skin
and fall upon your body as the snowfall locks us in

to the tiniest circles
and the cruelest words pour out in little silver rings
only fools submerge them
turn your house upside down it’ll never be the same
it’ll never be the same

everybody’s saying that the winter’s closing in
I’m trying hard to hate you but we’re siblings now in sin
every night i sink into your lost and holy skin
and awake entangled over-warm and abandoned

The great gift of forgetfulness

The boys all blew away, left me freezing on the corner outside the bar
just like a movie where I posed for no one in my black hat, overcoat against the red brick, it made a stunning composition, The Boy With The Tears In Just One Eye, and which way was home again?

I stayed there speechless as the birds all fell quietly politely from the sky
in the backseat of my eye I thought I saw a page turn and a year burn and
the trees drop their leaves and bow to the tearing of the fabric of my life

the greatest gift, to know the kindest soil
the silver trees, that grow alone
it’s ashes all, and daughter’s love
insatiable, blurred by sweet sun
we do go on, words like ants tow our
saving grace, a little time bomb
inside of us, everything we could
ever want

Great American Novel

we were living off of
stolen bagels from the

we were living in the
empty margins of the
great american novel
we were the twisted sheep
the brain’s unconscious speech

the hearts that are not on the map
our rooms were cloudy with the
instruments of music instruments of light
the race, the race, the race we run

dear exploding beauty
I wish I saw more of you
we were living off of
wit and instinct like a good coyote should
in place, in place, in place of sun

dead men we count upon
are failing hearts and straw
our father’s shades are drawn
we all go out alone

big white lie

i pulled my lips apart
there were no words inside
instead a flowing white sheet
before my mothers eyes
this world devours lies
but it won’t devour mine

when we have arrived

the kindly white whisp
folds us inside of it
before those teary eyes
ohhhhh we glide
through the glass divide
between the booths and sky
we smoothly promenade
simple as lemonade
and when we touch the ground
in far off fields and towns
we know we have arrived
devoid of all desire

good hands

I’ve been ungrateful don’t I know it to be true
I’ve been ungrateful to the symptoms of the flu
oh fire I am sorry
oh water I am sorry
I have grown beyond the son you held aloft
and I am leaving but I promise I’m not lost

I’ve been ungrateful don’t I wish it weren’t so
I’ve been ungrateful to the paint on my front door
oh cinderblock i love you so much
oh spiderweb i love you so much
I am a bridge that ties cathedrals into knots
and every place I go is new blood for the clot
I am so grateful for the friends I have got
I’m in good hands
I’m in good hands
I’m in good hands

I am so tired of this city and its dues
no matter what I wear the wind just cuts right through
i hear people screaming murder in the night
there has to be another way besides just fight or flight
but in the hour of my dissipating hope
when every christmas light’s an arrow through my throat
a hundred arms reach out from all across the globe
I’m in good hands
I’m in good hands
I’m in good hands


I remember the holidays
shelves of whisky and chardonnay
and I drank til yesterday
I don’t remember the holidays

stumblin home singin to the trees
all the pretty girls on their knees
shadows spin black spider legs
fresh snow skin tense tight wet

i don’t remember the holidays

hotel shower

standing in a hotel shower
awake at some ungodly hour
the site of some ungodly act
the beast with one too many backs

my blood was red against the tile
far away horses went wild
threw a girl upon her back
saved her from a heart attack

to tell the truth I only slipped
gave blood i didn’t mean to give
almost dying can save your life
almost living can make you
the garbage trucks know yr name
they breathe yr breath you are the same
other people fill you up
with things they couldn’t learn to love

on the floor of this icy room
(hell is white I never knew)
i watch my body point to you
the only north my compass knew

and I wonder clean at last
how you know that you’re so sad
how you know so much is wrong
why you will not trust a song

dear skies of blue and grey
get the hell out of my way
dear pretty girls who pray
i will hurt you
go away

dear staying in bed all day
i don’t love you, go away
dear girls who drink all day
you will hurt me,
please stay

dear birds in tampa bay
how do you make it through your day
dear suicides and strays
i think i love you anyway

The Pity Parade

The Pity Parade

Cover your walls with words
that they may chase all bad thought away
fill all your hours with work
that they may finally be okay

distraction is all you ask for
distraction is all you ask for
wake up in the morning with sparks in your blood
go to bed spinning loose teeth and buzzsaws
distraction is all you ask for

wake up, one morning, early june
thunder shakes the paint from your little room
rain brings on black wings dark polaroids of little things
about the last girl

pillows on your grave white chalk on your tongue
try to rewind but there’s salt on your gums
white rabbits die easy bad habits die hard
if someone still loves you they don’t steal your car
distraction is all you ask for

your arms are tired from digging graves
the pity party becomes a pity parade
somewhere in the silk hair of the platinum blonde with her makeup smeared
a voice calls

The Angel descends into Somerville


you were you were
the rank and file
and I and I
went sailing through the night
on willow wings wove tight
son, my son, I know you feel confined
I know this body
is holding you behind
and waving flags of white
but listen to your heart as it
plays and listen to it when it says
it says I LOVE YOU
every protein chain says i love you
every ribosome says i love you
every red blood cell says i love you
every nucleus says i love you
they’re all talking to you
they’re talking to you

so don’t you dare back away
don’t you dare make it grey when it’s not
the rain’s just water
oh the rain’s just water
i said the rain’s just water
just water, baby

The road is not the road

lift up your white white arms
the road is not the road you’re on
lift up your red roofs
rise up your white white arms white dawn
i was a lover
i was the one to call
i was another
i was the one to call

Plea for the Unexamined Life

I wanted a friend
I was aching with suspense
I was breaking into evidence
I was quaking with the czech defense
don’t make me go home

I am the place where all lies start

when i said never

i could never love you
let’s not waste our time with why
i am not above you
just very very far

I don’t want to talk about it
maybe it’ll just go away
you are your own disaster
undertow, tidal waves


I am a candy apple chock full of razor blades
You are a papercut and I am lemonade
I am a fucking machine you just have to turn me on
you are a gambler and I’m just one big con
get gone
get real gone
get real real gone
go now

suddenly made of cement scent of bleach mouth shut tight
made out of phrases you cobbled together from detective novels and lyrics
clear as a bell now you know and it’s hell you were never not alone

Let’s Pretend

I may be alone but maybe someday I won’t
and if I hold my breath, time slows down just a bit
some days the words cling to my tongue, no they won’t come
walking past the old folks home again but it’s okay
summer waits with open arms for me

let’s pretend there’s no such thing as air conditioning
let the sweat run from our hair, til on our lips it’s mingling

my life lights up at night, sirens warn me: walk on by
went out to shake it off, but I got swallowed up dissolved
I don’t understand the happiness I see
the homeless man with the long white beard talking to himself
summer, young man, packed its bags and left

let’s pretend that words can really convey a meaning
and all this waste of space and energy and it’s nothing i’m feeling
i just want to

Turn the Knife

we were the sentries at arms for the life and the way
stationed together at twilight every other day
I was never gonna be the one to tell you
I was never gonna be the one to tell you

There in my hand was the shortest of the straws
a dark sudden cloak on the loser of the draw
i was never gonna be the one to kill you

dear friend I hope these words can reach you where you are, oh
dear friend I hope you see I’ve fallen very far, and I’m sorry you’re gone
when I turned the knife
I ripped out your life
well I felt so alive
I felt so alive
dear friend those bells are ringing, ringing just for you
dear friend I’d do it all again if I had the chance to

It’s not like we thought

These eyes are made of sky
and you will look into them when you die
and I’ll be smiling
we’ll all be smiling
who will know you
who’ll remember
I will know you
I’ll remember
your veins your bones your inner roads
your eyes won’t see a light
your cells won’t multiply

I will take you into the night
do not struggle do not fight
your children cry
tears of sky

don’t don’t don’t scream

waiting for a garden to grow
all the sky knows
teardrops won’t disclose
who is the victim here
things aren’t what they appear to be

summer’s guns are firing are you home
blood running out your nose to
spread upon your blue jean dreams
soaking, slick and wet
fish writhing in a net don’t

be still

A rectangle of light, floating through the urban night
pierced by pairs of headlights
blue and conspicuous I fall to dust
I am thinking, I am thinking about the morning
about the morning
and all the mornings, all the mornings
to come

Got burnt once but

through the winter I was waiting
through the summer anticipating
i was pent-up, second-grading
i was chopped up sliced and flayed
into a meal for you
and a descending shoe
and you’re so goddamn cute
I don’t know what to do

through the years there may be others
other breath and sleeping quarters
but like you said, we’ll be warriors
and we both know we were lovers
in the lightning-thick rooms
of our prior lives
and I know I have proof
way behind the sky

and i wait and i wait and i wait i ain’t waiting no more
someday don’t mean a thing unless someday is now
(break your heart)

I meant never.

fire in your blood
water in my heart
I am not in love
I am the place where all lies start

do not call my number
do not get in your car
i am not above you
I am just very very far

Songs to Sit in Empty Rooms To

A Brief History Of Boy Without God Part I: Elementary School

when i was a boy
i’d ride out the night
in columns on camelback
through the red and orange desert sunset
ear to the radio
voices from somewhere warm and oh so quiet
I was fighting off the day
it always caught me anyway
and in its prison of red arms i cried and wished the sun away

when i was a boy i was a loaded gun
I loathed every touch I fought everyone
but now that the safety’s on
am i living just to stay alive
sitting in empty rooms
singing songs to sit in empty rooms to
I am longing for a time
when I was moved enough to cry
when every traitor held my beating heart up high to winter skies and let it fall, a sacrifice
every child was a knife

What happened when you left

trust is gone and with it goes
the litany of lovers woes
i will always be alone
till the winter goes till the birds come home

till the winter goes till the birds come home
by the bedside lamp mistakes will grow
the petals curl when they’re feeling low
drinks pour themselves and who am I to say no

drinks pour themselves and who am I to say no
the prettiest girl I’ve ever known
4 months 12 days 3 hours ago
she stepped out of my kitchen door

she stepped out of my kitchen door
the apple tree with its crop of cores.
The demon fear lets out a roar:
I will always be alone

(wear rings in your floor at 2 AM
wish you could call know that you can’t
cold out cold in silent as sin the birds long gone)

A Brief History Of Boy Without God Part II: High School

when I was a young man, I was rust
from the walled city the crows were laughing at us landlocked idiots
I walked alone through the headphone dusk
and when they spoke to me I jumped for joy or, was it nervousness

kids I called friend lied through their teeth
or through the holes where their teeth shoulda been, the young ain’t innocent
they went ricocheting off the night
but i was lying when I said that I was gonna be alright

the ones who win are the guns who fire
never trust a man who says he isn’t a liar
clocks watch but watches get checked for time
things i believe but I can’t become

when I heard them say he never acts dumb
is when I knew I was still a long way, a cold pre-dawn day,
when I threw the bottle I was mad
missing kissing at sunrises I’d never even burned a house down

on a new years eve I met the prettiest problems
like a puppy dog I swished my tail and followed the soap opera
and I fell harder than 16 tons
when I confessed she said it would be wonderful if you’d love some other girl

I sat through the credits til the lights came up
my favorite song said something is wrong with me, singing along with me
I held a couple beating hearts
but I couldn’t believe in a god whose face was right there in front of me

so i got higher than 24 blackbirds
in times of thunderstorms the wildest hearts seek the calmest energy
so I let you come to me
and then I couldn’t ever be accused of being a human being

Banjo Summer

with my head bent I pushed ahead through the loneliest summer
the wind was high the sun was blinding, but i
never loved another
the way I never got to love you
never you

ohhh a thousand daggers runnin through my heart

Pain is Overrated

I’m so sick of metaphors
carefully fashioned to describe all of our pain
why don’t we ever talk of open doors?
of opportunities
of what we all can gain?

i can be your me and you can be my you
you can be my you and I can be your me

A Brief History Of Boy Without God Part III: (I’m not going to) Grad School

when my masterpiece is finished everything will be revealed
i will hang above a card that says my name, the year and reads:
I Am What I Believe

I will worship the impermanence of every precious thing
you will leave and i’ll be sad but i’ll believe it when I sing:
To End Is To Begin

If you wrote a poem of isolation it would have to be
about me
From the far end of the haze one sentence strayed its way free:
My Greatest Fear In Life Is That I Should Never Die

Ours is not to understand but just to burst through padlocked doors
to bore a hole in the universe to demonstrate our force
We Don’t Need You


i need you like i need a
hole in the head
which is to say
if I didn’t have you

I couldn’t eat
I couldn’t breathe
I couldn’t talk
and I damn sure couldn’t sing

don’t make me starve
don’t make me suffocate
don’t make me mute
don’t make me silent

oh just come here
and let me love you
let’s make the sky
green with jealousy

we will scream
we will multiply
we will glow
and when we’re through

the phone will ring
but we won’t hear a thing
and in bars of sun
we’ll awake

to angry voicemails
from the neighbors
who want to know
who were we murdering

at 3 a.m.
well it was our old selves
and this morning
we are new
we are new

(i need you like i need a hole in my head)

and we are big
yeah we are powerful
our hearts have grown
to 10 times their size

yeah come here
and let me love you
let’s make the sea
green with jealousy

we will explode
we will time travel
we will combust
and when we’re through

the phone will ring
but we won’t hear a thing
and in bars of sun
we’ll awake

to an eviction notice
from the universe
because we can’t
fit in here anymore

and we will die
but we’ll die happy
and here is something
no one knows

that last moment
lasts forever
and that’s where god lives
and where we’ll live too

and he’ll forever be making
angry phone calls
at 3 A.M.
to me and you
oh to me and you

April Fool EP

This is not a joke

everything is lighter than it’s ever been
and i don’t feel so guilty every time I grin

uh uh oh

soon you’ll be here, but it won’t be what I wanted at all, oh no. uh uh oh
i hope i didn’t make a mistake. I’m a little worried I did, oh no. uh uh oh
i hope it works out alright

existential terror song

I break down
radiating spiderwebs of every color running from the ground
why why why why why why why am I alive?
i’m so sick of questions
sick of words
we always come back to say the same things in the same ways to say the same things in the same ways to say the same things in the same ways to say the same things in the same ways to say the same things in the same ways to say the same things in the same ways to say the same things in the same ways
verse chorus verse 1-4-5
how can we be sure we’re alive?
does every road end up the same?
every road ends up the same

Hangups EP

yeah I got mad

yeah i got mad today
and you deserve all the wrath I’d never heap on your back
for an hour imagined on the phone
I screamed and I scorched though I was all alone
no matter what I do to this room it stays like it was
on endless afternoons where I cried and I pined for missing doves, missing loves

dial tone

it’s hard to remember that she once loved me true
while the pay phone dial tone howls at my ear from the blue
that there once was a time when she’d never hang up on me
I just want to talk but she says she must be free

it’s hard in november, and all through the holidays
as my little apartment gets smaller day by day
she’s abandoned the years she now regrets
yesterday i stared at her number and smoked three cigarettes

I guess I understand
that I will never know
why she’s on dry land
and I’m immersed below

Nothing is wrong I don’t have any less
reason to live than I did before we met
It’s easy to reason your way out of these caves
but turn out the lights and everything’s the same

I took out my gun
laid it on my bed
and though I closed my eyes
I couldn’t make it end
all these telephones
only serve to say
no one wants to know
how bad it is today

Groceries, garbage bags everyday supplies
never looked so lonely in this life
I open each letter for occupant dropped at my door
I hunt for bargains but what am I saving for

I guess I understand
that I will never know
why she gets another life
and mine winds down to close

silent hearts

every girl i’ve ever known
crossed the bedroom floor
“sweet dreams” over soft shoulders
from behind closing doors
and sad smiles kept me up for awhile pacing
berating my downcast eyes, and my silent heart’s racing

there’s a panic built into my bones, sealed in by fallen rocks
and every time a building dies, my heart ticks like a clock
don’t go, you’re so pretty
but we both know that you’re the woods and i am the city

i always wake up early with dust upon my hands
and dream again of promises, of far-off seas and sands
birds take flight when you close your eyes, darling
and you were born into a beauty like a warning

Autobiography EP

Goodbye 2006

Happy new year
did you escape your fears
in the arms of some second-hand me?
it’s okay babe, I know it’s hard to wait

I’m alone now
she has flown from my chest
and freedom is mine yet again
that crippling sight of endless colored lights

the same fears plague me
consistently, someone
give me a pretty face
and break my neck before I let her down

If you only knew
how I’m coming unglued
at the mere thought of you in your room
but take your time, I’ll just be lying by the door
no don’t bother bout me, just wake me up when you know
oh and lady please, leave the light on when you go

nothings broken
lift up your head
and walk out that door
these lies hurt bad
but you can be your own god
and go into the river

in the water I was born again at last
and that morning with some whiskey in my flask
I set out once and for all
wanting finally to be free from all the rise and fall
singing: I won’t be afraid!

stole an airplane with a medal round my neck
flew it out of range of all the cigarettes
and in the silence of the sky I
heard the voice of god and it was me
and it said: I won’t be afraid!

I won’t be afraid!

I won’t be afraid!

Right Here, Right Now (words by Amy Hempel)

I would like to go for a ride with you, have you take me to stand beside a river in the dark, where hundreds of lightning bugs blink this code in sequence: Right here, nowhere else; right now, never again.

song against songs

i don’t ever want to stop caring
about things I can’t ever fix
i don’t ever want to try and picture you
and ache as you wait, veiled, just out of view

I don’t want to be haunted by what might have been
I don’t want to be chased and ruined

forget the ambitions, the tours and the records
I’ll stay home with the children forever and ever
the fifteen minutes where that life is better
will wear away under friction and slow pleasure
I won’t ever stop loving you
and you won’t ever stop loving me

I tried to tell you but you didn’t believe me
it all means nothing without you next to me
maybe I’m crazy, and maybe I want to be
don’t look at me that way, babe, it’s like you didn’t know me
and I won’t ever stop loving you
whether or not you want me to

you don’t mean anything anymore

I saw you break the heart of every soldier
send them aching off to war or someplace colder
and I was cool and calm we sang a leonard cohen song together
and from a thousand shaking towers I watched you two come together
and fall apart
like a wave, or an echo, or a premonition

someone told me lies and broke my shoulder
while I watched on a television screen
and I was wild-eyed I rode into the rising tide whistling
and hearing of my gift of song the mermaids swam from miles off to devour me
but I cried no, I cannot rest in your beds, too soon it will snow

I once fell for a girl who wanted only
to live her own life backwards and flipped over
she said when you’re born upside down you spend your life tying things to the ceiling
and wondering as they shatter on the ground is it myself or god I’m deceiving
I said “we’re all building castles out of cards”
she said “I must be leaving”

and on a subway car I found your secret
written on a sticker among graffiti
I can’t believe I missed it for so long, I felt a fool, it was so obvious
it said every single song that has been written since the dawn of man was about you
you’re the muse, and I place this humble tune at your feet, and I turn and walk into the dunes

you have my number if you ever
need a scapegoat or a lover
remember I’m never any further than the seagull from the ocean
but even as I say this I can see your mind is clear your eyes are closing
oh well
I wish you all the best and a long road to hell

There Are Bones In The Trees:

lost in the snow

i know i am lost
out here in the snow
you’ll never hear me
you’ll never see me
i know i am lost
out here in the snow

Starlight (words by Philip Levine)

My father stands in the warm evening
on the porch of my first house.
I am four years old and growing tired.
I see his head among the stars,
the glow of his cigarette, redder
than the summer moon riding
low over the old neighborhood. We
are alone, and he asks me if I am happy.
….Are you happy?” I cannot answer.
I do not really understand the word,
and the voice, my father’s voice, is not
his voice, but somehow thick and choked,
a voice I have not heard before, but
heard often since. He bends and passes
a thumb beneath each of my eyes.
The cigarette is gone, but I can smell
the tiredness than hangs on his breath.
He has found nothing, and he smiles
and holds my head with both his hands.
Then he lifts me to his shoulder,
and now I too am among the stars,
as tall as he. Are you happy? I say.
He nods in answer, Yes! oh yes! oh yes!
And in that new voice he says nothing,
holding my head tight against his head,
his eyes clsoed up against the starlight,
as though those tiny blinking eyes
of light might find a tall, gaunt child
holding his child against the promises
of autumn, until the boy slept
never to waken in that world again.

Please don’t bury me by the highway

Please don’t bury me by the highway, though it’s true
that I was long in wandering. In search of things
always just round the bend.
Time divides into smaller and smaller sides.
You’ll never see your life end,
so just relax, it’s not a test we’re here for.
Forgive yourself your life.
Please don’t bury me by the highway, noisy and gray.
Let me fall forgotten; no monument an embarrassment to my memory.
When I go, some endless evening,
be not sorrowful for me.
You go on. Pick up where we left off.
Home, it follows you.
please don’t bury me by the highway, underneath famous eyes
spent cigarettes and plastic cups, multicolored lies
When I go, some endless evening,
be not sorrowful for me.
You go on. Pick up where we left off.
Home, it follows you.

rise rise rise

see title…


it’s darkening and something’s wrong, but I will not
leave the city wrapped in song. Turn off my
mind, kill the engine. Everyone wins.
i’m wandering and something’s wrong: why am I
out of sorts where I belong? Laughter spills
from lit windows: it overflows.

The dogs are out in the street
turning down scraps of meat
they’re animals but they won’t eat

Rain is falling all around, and if I
leave the city I will drown. Watch as the
clouds slowly recede. sink into peace.
But I don’t know how to drown, my body
lift me up when I wanna go down. light reflects
from every angle, up we rise. up to the skies. up to the heights.

The dogs are out in the street
turning down scraps of meat
we’re animals but we won’t eat

The Tree Is Me

Outside, the kids are killing braincells
pink polo shirts and dirty mouths
get drunk and fuck, baby leave your cross at the door
jesus don’t love you anymore.

on the table in the morning
cold mozzarella sticks and warm busch lite
it’s so easy to be angry
when you’re dying by fluorescent light

girl breaks your heart? son, have a drink
got a brand new job? well hey, have a drink
it’s tuesday night? well damn, have a drink.
stumble home blind drunk, take a piss in the sink

in the toilet in the morning, everything you don’t wanna see
everybody wants to get to heaven on a technicality

don’t be afraid of love, that’s what the stereo says
but I don’t wanna love someone thinks I’m going to hell
the kids are bending into question marks underneath the weight of the blue blue sky
the dead-eyed boys are dying in their pillows while the girls cry black mascara tears into their smirnoff ice

wake up, feel down
the king is in the kitchen with a half a crown
roads lead, away
but there’s a man with a gun and he looks just like me
sunlight, barbed wire
searchlight towers and machine gun fire
let me pass, let me pass
I gotta get out or leave my blood on the grass
don’t shoot, don’t shoot
my hands sprout leaves and my feet grow roots

if a tree’s transplanted to a hotel
no matter what you do, he ain’t gonna do well
complimentary coffee just stunts his growth
he’s afraid to stay and he’s scared to go

A little less love

push everyone away
talking never helps anyway
the sickly scent of smoke
and other people’s dirty jokes
says in my clothes for days
try not to fall in love
sing a song of murdered doves
and things too big to say
the girls I’ll let grow old and gray
there’s a little less love
in the world today

sleep the sting away
replace it with a dull gray ache
flowers on your grave
for doing things the right way
what a good man, they’ll say
shoulders weren’t meant
for cryin on, just being ice and payin rent
hustle to your grave
before you track dirt
on the family name
life you never spent
a refund won’t come heaven-sent

all the ones he loved too much
there’s always something he’s afraid to touch
all along, been doin it wrong, don’t go away
we still got something to save
grown on the other side of the fence
there is an empty nest

oh my friends, my friends
it’s all “just wait”s and “until then”s
but you’re never so alone
as when you’re standing on a sputtering sun
and everyone’s TV’s on
there’s no silence in this place
but I won’t be what I fucking hate

Happy as a clam

many months ago
before it all began
I cried tears of snow
happy as a clam

harbor no regrets
harbor no hopes
hollow out your home
hang your walls with rope

let it not be said
that i went like a lamb
words won’t raise the dead
only time can

water up above
water down below
four white birds are the ones
departed before the snow

i have no remorse
i have no surprise
the meek become the earth
no one ever cries
I don’t even try

holy ground

the air outside is cold, unworn and new
your hair’s alive, it stands and it salutes
and all at once you know just what to do
you can save every hard-hearted knave all bent and blue
forgive them all
slowly, so slowly, so slow
lean against the wall
and think only of how lonely this stone be if you won’t see your clothes streaked by earth and cold sleet

and soul sing louder (be serious about happiness)
than flame and gunpowder (be serious about happiness)
taking aim at the glowering silence (be serious about happiness)
of mustachioed minds

Remembrance (words by Tim Bowling)

We used to blacken the windows
wreathe black the door
now the children of the dead
grieve privately in metaphor

elegy is the wheels spinning on the bicycle
of the capped boy
who brings the yellow telegram telling of
sons who fell in the wars

the neighborhood knew the pain

we blackened the windows
blackly wreathed the door
now the blood is drained from the poppy
we’ve worn for eighty years
I refuse that hollow wreath
I won’t be that rotten door
Better to go and hear
the cattle screaming in the abbatoirs
afraid to die afraid to live
these are the same fears
elegy is the sound of windfall pears
hitting the wet grass
and we die like this
living, we die like this
mute at the little grief-windows
of the flesh
we die like this

bury it in bells

when we met, you were headed out to sea
and I waited patiently
you’d been hiding in another man’s arms
he was just another in a series of storms

I can’t eat, I can’t see
Trust became a powerful part of me

I sent myself a message, it said:

There is blood in the well
There is a rising hell
swallowing glade and dell
push it back against the swell

There is blood in the well
There is a rising hell
swallowing glade and dell
choke it back, bury it in bells

There is blood in the well
There is a rising hell
swallowing glade and dell
push it back against the swell

the first time I heard you laugh
I knew something was wrong
all frayed and singed and cut within
you careened along
and I couldn’t hold on

every shining word

once upon a time,
we’d twist and rhyme
and I left with some
of your breath in my lungs

and the wind will stay
exactly how it was that day
shivering my bones
like last legs of long roads home

oh, oh, oh you’re coming soon
to spin around my empty room
shed new light on this old, old tune
every shining word, the truth

life is easy until…

Life is easier without words.

life is easy
till someone wants to know your secrets

can’t explain, I can’t explain

Posted in: lyrics