Mirrors and Fevers

I was cold in a dream
Somewhere close to the surface
Between the ice and the stream
There is three inches of air
So I swam towards the light
I let my breath get there first
When I opened my eyes
I saw myself in the mirror
And I knew I would do like my father has done
Yes, we will never break from these chains
Your life is going to course like a history book
Don't be frightened of turning the page
Because it is all the same
It will always be the same


I Will Be Grateful for This Day

I had a girl I knew
She grew, became a woman now
I think that she teaches
At one of the schools downtown
We used to roll the windows down
And play the music loud
Smoking out in her car
Lost in west Omaha
And we'd get drunk and kiss
Our bodies twist like shoelaces
And we never came untied
I guess you were just my type
You know that summer never stopped
I still pretend I'm there
The band's in the living room
The neighbors, they never cared
So when I sat behind the drumset
Your heartbeat's what I tried to play
But with the kick and snare so careless, not in time
So you got ahead of me
And I guess I'm still dragging behind
I had a friend who changed his name
But couldn't change himself
Never quite figured out
How to deal with what life had dealt
He put a needle in his arm to calm his handsome hell
Who would've imagined it
Could've worked out so well?
Now he's a shape that moves
Like echoes through my empty room
And there's a voice that speaks
Like someone's right behind me
I turned around and found exactly what you would expect
The clothes I left on my floor
The papers piled on my desk
But where the ink is wet, the cause, effects
What's meant by it?
The story that is incomplete
The picture's left unfinished
So I am writing my own ending
I let my pen bleed black or blue
And I will color in the meaning
It will be gold and green and shrewd
And I'll learn to love my new discovered proof
I'll be grateful for this day
I will be grateful for each day to come


Trees Get Wheeled Away

Anchormen spike their blood
Wear masks of mud
Cucumbers cut to fit their eyes
And so no one would know how tired they've grown
Of talking and telling their lies

While your TVs change stations
Scroll messages
Vctims and Christians both drinking blood
And they pray for the destruction of all hatred
More often, just those with hate for us

Because it hurts when you discover
One's worse and one's better
To suffer or cause others to
And you can live by your conscience
Now guilt is a concept
You're no longer subscribing to

There's a virgin in my bed
And she's taking off her dress
And I'm not sure what I am going to do
There's a song stuck in my head
And I can't help singing it
Oh, how I hope my singing pleases you
Because I am not who I become
But what you made me into

Oh, we got no health insurance
No cellular service
No disease they can cure
But we need more money to burn
So each person must learn the dollar amount they are worth

And your pills make me dizzy
Forgetting my body
I watch as it walks away
And I just keep drinking the poison
And smoking the cartons
A pack and a half a day

So when time comes to claim me
My friends and my family will gather around my grave
And they'll believe that they knew me and love me and miss me
And all call me by my name

So imagine what you want
And then hold on to that thought
Because that's as close as it will ever come
And believe you're where you are and keep acting out the part
But at the end of the end of the day the trees all get wheeled away
And you'll be standing alone in a blank, blank space

So believe you're who you are
And stay in character
But at the end of the play the audience walks away
And you'll be a shivering cold on a well lit stage.


Drunk Kid Catholic

The drunk kids, the Catholics
They're all about the same
They're waiting for something
Hoping to be saved
Well, I have been happy the past couple days
Just thinking of the women who've taken your place
And every night I think I certainly won't ever sleep sober or alone
And then suddenly it occurs to me
I've slept alone before you
And so I pour myself the stiffest drink that my stomach can stand
And convince myself to lay back down again
I'm gonna lay back down, I'm gonna lay back down again
The drunk kids, the Catholics
They're all about the same
They're waiting for something
Hoping to be saved
The drunk kids, the Catholics
They're all about the same
They're waiting for something
Hoping to be saved
The drunk kids, the Catholics
They're all about the same
They're waiting for something
Hoping to be saved
They crawl from the oceans
To paint in the caves
But I'm working all weekend
I need to get paid
They crawl from the oceans
To paint in the caves
But I'm working all weekend
I need to get paid
They crawl from the oceans
To paint in the caves
But I'm working all weekend
I need to get paid
They crawl from the oceans
To paint in the caves
But I'm working all weekend
I need to get paid


Spent on Rainy Days

I wish I saved up for rainy days
Because they're the hardest to be dry
I got no self control
I'm always begging into telephones
I bought a little from my brother's friend
Well, just to get me by
I don't trust his cut
The effect is never as high as the mark-up
I think I'll print it in the personals that I'm looking for a match
Someone to light me up
Someone to burn the proof of the things that I've done
Each day there are hours I skip like a stone
I just crawl in a bag
I'm going to live my life like somebody's shadow

I know I'm lazy with the little things
I mean, I never held a door
But I still loved you more than anyone since or before
You are always saying that I owe you one
Well, let's consolidate this debt
Get on a payment plan, I'll pay you compliments
You can still treat me bad
But now it's easy, getting easier
To leave you and this town behind
I'll do some traveling
Once I'm gone, tell all our friends you got even
I'm held like an object and then set aside
And I'm back on the shelf, I'm locked in the drawer
I'm mint in the box, but you would still sell me for cost

I'll be anything
The cord of a parachute
The blanket on top of you
The window you are looking through
The cord of a parachute Wouldn't you?


The Vanishing Act

Were you surprised that we never spoke?
Then in the still of the night, when nothing stirs
I woke and I gathered up some clothes
I never planned on this but it's the way it goes
And now it all seems so familiar
Like pages turned on calendars
We get the same twelve months to fuck things up
Year after year
And I can't believe how down I am
Like the well I'm being lowered in, now water stops,
The bucket drops us farther and farther down
Well, I guess that you never knew me
Or at least not well enough
So I fill my gut with dark red wine
Until my brain shuts off and my eyes go blind
You won't see me there in that thick black air, yeah
I'll finally make something disappear
Because I've been practicing disappearing
And I think that I've got it down
But now there is no sun, just a cellar
Nowhere is sky, it's just that black, black dirt
Expanding outwards, just echoes for answers
Not that it matters if it's back or it's forwards
Unhappy lovers with baskets of flowers
Use them as markers
The place where your bed once stood
A time when it still felt good
But you'll get that feeling back
You just need some time to drink
And so I'll fill my gut with that blood red wine
Until my insides swim and my veins unwind
I'll be lying there in that hot white air
Once that something is gone it might never reappear


Soon You Will Be Leaving Your Man

He always gets so mad things you laugh at
"Don't get so worked up," you'd say
But on the back deck you admit
That you haven't felt much like laughing lately anyway
And so I say, "That could change"

I noticed how you waste no time
Making your way across the room
You leave a wake of tongues still waving after you
And it isn't no coincidence
Where you finally choose to stand
I guess soon you will be leaving your man

It's a sweet smile and then a denial
Hey, you are just trying to be nice
But there is a meaning to every fleeting action
You unconsciously decide
The clocks, they chime
Now it's time

I know you try and play it cool
But there are some thoughts you just can't hide
Only in your closest friends do you confide
The way you say you'll be seeing me
Oh, like it's so offhand
I guess soon you will be leaving your man

You stare at me so boldly now
You have no lack of confidence
It's just those lessons on subtlety you missed
I know you dream of saving me
Like I'm some plane that you could land
But when you fly you'll be leaving your man


Blue Angels Air Show

Claire's turning blonde for the summer, I guess
The sunlight just soaks into her hair
And she sits next to me on the motorboat
And shyly replies as to which boy she likes
At her school

So I am reminded of things I've forgotten
The way doors can open and people just walk in
It's not unexpected, no, it's just how you planned it
I'm beginning to think that it might never happen
But now it is happening

There's a show we can see at the base outside of town
Where planes, they turn circles in the air
I watch you stand next to me with your hand over your mouth
And join the crowd's heavy gasp
One for each time they pass overhead

So we've been selected in this beautiful lottery
We struggled so long, but it ended so easy
It's starting to suface, all golden and god-like
This feeling we had every day and every night
It bursts in an energy
A door, it is opening


Weather Reports

Well I left my baby
For a dream as lovely
For a love that's only in books I've read

Then I hit the city
Spent all my money
I just left my whole life in a taxicab

Cause it's just a memory
I can love completely
When you're really with me I'm indifferent

But I tried to get my head clear
It's too full of ideas
That I haven't thought of yet

And the time clocks keep waving their hands
Doin all that they can
To get our attention
But the days fly away down a clean interstate
I'm staring drunk at a map

So I let my hair down for the second time now
For the final time now
I had my fun

But there's no returning from the places we've been
Just repeat our slogan
'Never again'

So you split
Said you had to get out
Headed back to the south
Where everything's gentler

But i stay for a couple weeks more
all the weather reports say there will be snow for sure
but the storm moved away to a neighboring state
I started the car


Seashell Tale

Two . . . three . . . four

Let's go place some money
On the order of the horses
Break the ribbon of that famous finish line
Then we'll gather up our stash, babe
Find a little ranch, baby
And buy a lonely little pony to ride

Well, I knew I was lucky
When the needle came and stuck me
This porcupine came and poked my cactus hide
So let me finish what I start, babe
Open up your heart, babe
I saw a land of milk and honey in your mind

Oh, how flesh and blood has found me in your arms again
I see the whisper of the wind has found your hair again
And though my heart said, "Give me refuge in your dignity, my dear"
All I could do was put a seashell to your ear

All flesh and blood has found me in your arms again
I see the whisper of the wind has found your hair again
I know my heart said, "Give me refuge in your dignity, my dear"
All I could do was put a seashell to your ear


Bad Blood

No news, that's good news that someone's gonna break
See, things change, yeah, I've been changing every day
It's peaceful, the pitch black when the last light on goes out
I'm stranded in my bed, so I think about the bad luck
The bad blood that may have come between two good souls
That's one hell of an offering
So take these gifts that have been given, yes
And ended up with an alphabet but some words are too
wrong to define
Now the whole world is waking up, a ribbon cut for the opening
Yeah, we all knew that day would arrive

Up all night, all upset, outside's growing light
No breakfast, just not much of an appetite
So be cool and believe in the things you haven't learned
Because you lost and it's gone but it will return
Now it's all laid out in front of you and that's half murdered the mystery
Are you still too shy to describe?
Now the whole world is waking up, a ribbon cut for the opening
Yes, finally the day has arrived
So seek and rejoice
Fill your hands with something tangible and fly your love like a flag
And destroy the desire for that which is impossible
And accept what you get with a smile


Amy in the White Coat

You take your clothes off right after school
The tea is on, the flame is blue
You hope this won't take all afternoon
The TV's waiting to talk to you
It's your naked body on white velour
But there's no feeling, just weight on you
You get nauseous now as he speaks to you
Such proper language for acts so cruel
He says "We all follow the rules
We can't very well go and break them now, can we
For you?
Your older sisters, I've had them too
But you're my favorite, you know it's true
You look like your mother, in that thin disguise
Your parting mouth, your shutting eyes
And the way that you hate me, and the length of your hair
It's the reason I made you, it's the bond that we share
You see we're all trying to endure
You could easily go and make your own life somewhere
Couldn't you?"

With the sunbeams bright
You keep your eyes shut
Your alarm clock lies
Get to school on time
Where you're a bag of warm fluid
Where you're the corpse in the class
You walk so near to the lockers
You lay so low in the grass
Did you get that coat from the principal?
Did you get that bruise on the bus?
You should wash your hair more
You should look more like us
I saw you walking once under powder blue skies
You looked cold still, your color was high
And I tried to talk to you, but you walked right by
I don't know which I said then, hello or goodbye
We all want to be pure
But it isn't a very easy thing now, is it
To do?


Devil Town

I was living in a devil town
Didn't know it was a devil town
Oh Lord, it really brings me down
About the devil town
And all my friends were vampires
Didn't know they were vampires
Turns out I was a vampire myself
In the devil town
I was living in a devil town
Didn't know it was a devil town
Oh Lord, it really brings me down
About the devil town


I've Been Eating (For You)

So I'm just a medicine
You take when you're sick
You get well and that's it
I'm put back
On the shelf in your mirror
And it isn't exeptional
The course of our fate
Because people love and they hate
And I guess
It's just all turned to hate
Yeah, you were just some song I wrote
A poem on a page
A sculpture I made
Out of clay
Desire was the flame
But now you're more of a basketball
Boys just pass you around
They bounce you hard on the ground
And dribble
Then we all get high fives
And you think I'm an asshole now
Well, you're probably right
But at least I'm not blind to the facts
I've been wishing were all lies
But still, I hope you get everything
That you care to possess
And unbelievable sex
With him
Or any one of my friends
But just don't ask about my appetite
I didn't lose it tonight
It's been gone half my life
It's just, I
I've been eating for you


Happy Birthday to Me (February 15)

All eyes on the calendar
Another year I claim of total indifference
To here, the days pile up
With decisions to be made, I'm sure all of them were wrong
Into this song I send myself
And with these drinks I plan to collapse
And forget this wasted year, these wasted years
Devoted friends, they disappear
And I'm sorry about the phone call and needing you
Some decisions you don't make
I guess it's just like breathing or not wanting to
There are some things you can't fake
I guess that it's typical
To cling to memories you'll never get back again
And to sort through old photographs
Of a summer long ago or a friend that you used to know
And there below
His frozen face
You wrote the name and that ancient date, that ancient date
And you can't believe that he's really gone
When all that's left is a fucking song and
I'm sorry about the phone call; and waking you
I know that it is late
But thank you for talking, because I needed to
Some things just can't wait


Motion Sickness

There is nothing for which I am responsible
Just this baggage that I keep carrying on as if I had someone

Ok, maybe there is a woman somewhere
Who's still thinking of me
Or a girl with coal black hair
Who's haunted in her dreams
But what they've seen, well, it wasn't me
It was just some lie that they slept beside
I kept this from them but I can't keep this from you

So will you look for me in that strange, bright place
Where the statues bloom in the park?
They don't need no rain

Because how I ever got to you, I have no idea
It's like some secret door, well, it just appeared
So, no matter what I do from now on with my time
You will always stay here in my mind
I am certain of this and I am not certain of anything

So I want to get myself attached to something bolted down
So that these winds of circumstance won't keep blowing me around
To when I land to when I leave there is enough time to sleep and sing
I keep running when all I want is to lay motionless


Act of Contrition

The air was all dust and not so untamed
The ground opened up and swallowed all of the rain
And it swallowed you too, into distance unknown
As they sat down for dinner they waited for you to get home
Yeah, they set a place for you

So don't believe everything you read in that diary of yours
And this nervousness, it isn't all your fault
It's just these shaking hands won't do what I want them to
And I've tried to guess what it is that you thought about
That act of contrition that rolled off our tongues as you wept
What are you crying for?

Just dust my heart and you will find
There are no fingers printed there
Just the untouched place that lies inside
Of every lonely boy tonight

And all of this open air has caused me to choke
On your new found hope for me


Hungry for a Holiday

The indecencies of city streets
The cleaners' sweeping trucks from nine to noon
And the factories make clouds to keep the sun from being jealous like the moon
While the husband holds his house
He hates his children for being green when he is gray
And his wife, she likes to talk on telephones
But just to people far away

Well, the big surprise was televised
On a crowded couch their eyes grew wide and wet
Oh, was it really such a sad event?
You could capture this with camera clicks
But it don't exist
Just light on negatives
Another number on the birthday cake
You should act your age

We were hungry for a holiday
Won't cooperate with the calendar we found
We just scattered snow like styrofoam
And sang our Christmas carols all through town
And the voices soared, the people joined
With silver coins they filled our cupping hand, hand, hand
And we all agreed, the charity was much in need
Yes, a nobel cause at that
And I met a man, a mannequin
Who stood so still
I know he was afraid
And he preferred a place of permanence
To the awful guessing game of choice and change

Well, the big surprise was telelvised
On a crowded couch our eyes grew wide and wet
Oh yes, it's really such a sad event
You can't capture this with camera clicks
No, it don't exist
Just light on negatives
Another candle on a birthday cake
And a wish you make

Well, if the costume fits, keep wearing it
But no Halloween could quite account for this
I guess you're getting into character
Or just be yourself, if that would help
Or sink completely into someone else
You dreamt of mountains but sometimes a hole is more comfortable


When the Curious Girl Realizes She Is Under Glass Again

Tomorrow when I wake up I?m finding my brother
And making him take me back down to the water
That lake where we sailed and laughed with our father
I will not desert him. I will not desert him

No matter how I may wish for a coffin so clean
Or these trees to undress all their leaves onto me
I put my face in the dirt and then finally I see
The sky that has been avoiding me

I started this letter, I?m going to send it to Ruba
It will be blessed by her eyes on the gulf coast of Florida
With her feet in the sand and one hand on her swimsuit
She will recite the prayer of my pen

Saying, "Time take us forward, relief from this longing
They can land that plane on my heart, I don?t care
Just give me November, the warmth of a whisper
In the freezing darkness of my room"

But no matter what I would do in an attempt to replace
All the pills that I take trying to balance my brain
I have seen the curious girl with that look on her face
So surprised she stares out from her display case


Entry Way Song

Last Saturday
I stood in your entry way
A place where we used to wait
For cars to carry us away
Like once in this storm
They drove me and Justin home
The music was just being born
It was all I was longing for
Now I'm on a plane
Of singing my songs again
Oh, please don't think ill of it
It's the reason I exist
But you
You're the crutch of a cripple
You're the calm of a conscience
You're the peace that I have found
When all these voices talk too loud
Well, you are quietly reassuring me
With the hands of a healer
And the tongue of a teacher
It's your voice that I have known
To be the first one on the phone
Yeah, you ran all the lights to the hospital

So don't you say to me
That life's a trap
The future is nothing but a tragedy
Because I'll be out of that window
Yeah, I'll start wishing to die again
Just say we're not walking backwards, kid
And show me to the door
And I'll walk behind
Out into the hot sunlight
Where the world's very much alive
Even when I close my eyes

Well, should I admit
That my promise is counterfeit
That I'm careless and childish
And that's all I can hope to be
And would you concede
That I think only of myself
I refuse everybody's help
Who has been reaching out for me?
Well, you reach with the soul of a sailor
And the swing of a miner
You have cleared the rock away
Leaving gold there in its place
And it is more than anyone could claim
Oh, with the sense of a banker
And with the touch of a tailor
You saved this life for me
And you have sown it to beauty
And I am grateful now and I will always be

So would you sing with me
The song is all I know
Some truths are told now only in a melody
So I've been writing a new one
Yeah, I've been taking my time with it
It's gonna be so perfect
It's gonna hold all of us inside of it
You will see
If you just add your harmony
I think it would be complete
And be worthy of singing
My clumsy symphony

Yeah, you're the cool of the water
You're the start of the summer
Keep me still like a anchor
In a storm you're the cellar
When I'm heavy with worry make me light as a feather
When I'm deafened by anger you're the song I remember
With the grace of a dancer and the strength of a pillar
When I'm starving to suffer you just fill me with laughter
You're a poet
And a saint
You are the only one I choose to imitate
Oh, like the love of a father through the eye of a camera
It's this picture I have seen
We're on a sloping hill of green
And you are walking there beside me


It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends

Yeah, you still kiss me, but it's just on the cheek
Yeah, you still kiss me, but it's just on the cheek
Yeah, you still kiss me sometimes, but it's just on the cheek
You pull away so easily

And I still call you, but I get your machine
And I still call you, but I get your machine
And if I'm lucky, I guess, it's your roommate answering
But you're at the bar, or at Gene's

And we go to dinner, but you won't hold my hand
We sit at the same table, but we don't play with our feet
Yeah, we still go to dinner sometimes, but we don't sneak a kiss
When the waitress turns around

And we still watch movies, but we don't share the couch
And we still rent movies, but we don't share the couch
Yeah, we still watch movies sometimes, but you don't lay in my lap
The plot is slow, take a nap

You even stay over, but we stay in our clothes
Yeah, you'll even stay over, but now we stay in our clothes
Yeah, you even sleep over sometimes, but we stay in our clothes
I'm only there so you're not alone

And you say that I hurt you, in a voice like a prayer
Yeah, you say that I hurt you, and your voice is like a prayer
Yeah, well, maybe I hurt you sometimes, let's contrast and compare
Lift up your shirt, the wound isn't there

I guess that your truth is just the ghost of your lies
I guess your kind of truth is just the ghost of your lies
Your kind of truth, darling, is just the ghost of your lies
I see through them all the time

So I'm pouring some whiskey, I'm gonna get drunk
Yeah, I'm pouring myself some whiskey, I'm gonna get real fucking drunk
I'm pouring some whiskey right now, I'm going to get so so drunk
Pass out, and forget your face by the time I wake up