Knuckle Down

Knuckle Down

That's just my cowgirl alter-ego
Riding on her bar room bull
Dripping with the sweat of irony
As the cowboys whoop and drool
Shooting glances at the mirror
To see if her scar is showing
She is truly going nowhere tonight

Lecherous old lady wanna-be
Much too young and shy
Flailing her whole life
Just thinking she can teach herself to fly
Vehement romantic
Frantic for forever right now
But forever's going nowhere tonight

Sick of goading her self-loathing
She thinks, I think I'd better leave
Course whiskey makes me smarter
And I'm happy as can be
But please excuse me darling
It's not you
It's me

And there's a dusty old dust storm on mars, they say
So tonight you can't see it too clear
Still I stood in line to look through their telescope
Looked like a distant ship light
As seen from a foggy pier
And I know that I was warned
Still it was not what I hoped
Yes I know that I was warned
Still it was not what I hoped

Well I think I'm done gunning to get closer
To some imagined bliss
I gotta knuckle down
And just be ok with this
I'm gonna knuckle down
Just be ok with this
Course that star struck girl is already someone I miss

I swear some stuff you just see better from further away
And I think I communicate best now, the less I say
And I can't dance if the band can't play
And the vibe is going nowhere tonight

Cause somewhere between Hollywood and its pretty happiness
And an anguish so infinite it's anybody's guess
Is a place where people are all teachers
And this just one long class
And that ass will get you nowhere tonight

There's a dusty old dust storm on mars they say
So tonight you can't see it too clear
Still I stood in line and looked through their telescope
Looked like a distant ship light
As seen from a foggy pier
And I know that I was warned
Still it was not what I hoped
Yeah I know that I was warned
Still it was not what I hoped

But I think I'm done gunning to get closer
To some imagined bliss
I gotta knuckle down
Just be ok with this
Gotta knuckle down
Just be ok with this

Course that star struck girl
Is already someone I miss

Lag Time

There's really no hope for me
And that three second rule
Something gets dropped
And still I'm the slowest damn fool
Slow to realize what's really going on
Slow to know in a moment
Who or what has gone wrong

I wanna tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time

Your consonants were buzzing
Around your head like flies
Your true colors were showing
And your shape and your size
You were drinking your way though it
I was shrinking right there inside of my clothes
My eventual twenty/twenty
Arms crossed
Tapping her toe

I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time

Survivors are part turtle
We are part potato bug
We know enough to go fetal
Til it's still up above
And you gotta crawl through the desert
Between when you hear it
And when you can play it with your hands
Just to rendezvous with whoever you are
When you finally understand

I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I wanna tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time
I gotta tighten down on the lag time

Studying Stones

I am out here studying stones
Trying to learn to be less alive
Using all of my will
To keep very still
Still even on the inside
I've cut all of the pertinent wires
So my eyes can't make that connection
I am holding my breath
I am feigning my death
When I'm looking in your direction

Course numb is an old hat
Old as my oldest memories
See that one's my mother
That one's my father
And that one in the hat, that's me
It's a skill I'd hoped to abandon
When I got out on the open road
But any more pent up emotion
And I think I'm gonna explode

There's never been an endeavor so strange
As trying to slow the blood in my veins
To keep my face blank
As a stone that just sank
Until not a ripple remains
I am high above the tree line
Sitting cross legged on the ground
When all the forbidden fruit has fallen and rotted
That's when I'm gonna come down

Course numb is an old hat
Old as my oldest memories
See that one's my mother
That one's my father
And that one in the hat, that's me
It's a skill I'd hoped to abandon
When I got out on the open road
But any more pent up emotion
And I think I'm gonna explode

Parameters

Thirty-three years go by
And not once do you come home
To find a man sitting in your bedroom
That is
A man you don't know
Who came a long way to deliver one very specific message:
Lock your back door, you idiot
However invincible you imagine yourself to be
You are wrong

Thirty-three years go by
And you loosen the momentum of teenage nightmares
Your breasts hang like a woman's
And you don't jump at shadows anymore
Instead you may simply pause to admire
Those that move with the grace of trees
Dancing past streetlights
And you walk through your house without turning on lamps
Sure of the angle from door to table
From table to staircase
Sure of the number of steps
Seven to the landing
Two to turn right
Then seven more
Sure that you will stroll serenely on the moving walkway of memory
Across your bedroom
And collapse with a sigh onto your bed
Shoes falling
Thunk thunk
Onto the floor
And there will be no strange man
Suddenly all that time sitting there
Sitting there on what must be the prize chair
In your collection of uncomfortable chairs
With a wild look in his eyes
And hands that you cannot see
Holding what?
You do not know

So sure are you of the endless drumming rhythm of your isolation
That you are painfully slow to adjust
If only because
Yours is not that genre of story
Still and again, life cannot muster the stuff of movies
No bullets shattering glass
Instead fear sits patiently
Fear almost smiles when you finally see him
Though you have kept him waiting for thirty-three years
And now he has let himself in
And he has brought you fistfuls of teenage nightmares
Though you think you see, in your naivete
That he is empty handed
And this brings you great relief
At the time

New as you are, really, to the idea that
Even after you've long since gotten used to the parameters
They can all change
While you're out one night having a drink with a friend
Some big hand may be turning a big dial
Switching channels on your dreams
Until you find yourself lost in them
And watching your daily life with the sound off
And of course having cautiously turned down the flame
Under your eyes
There are more shadows around everything
Your vision a dim flashlight
That you have to shake all the way to the outhouse
Your solitude elevating itself like the spirit of the dead
Presiding over your supposed repose
Not really sleep at all
Just a sleeping position and a series of suspicious sounds
A clanking pipe
A creaking branch
The footfalls of a cat
All of this and maybe
The swish of the soft leather of your intruder's coat
As you walk him step by step back to the door
Having talked him down off the ledge of a very bad idea
Soft leather, big feet, almond eyes
The kinds of details the police officer would ask for later
With his clipboard
And his pistol
In your hallway

Manhole

I'm holding here a book
Notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest
In a long line of thieves
And I'm just about to drop it
Down that manhole of memories
When I realize it doesn't bother me
Like love's mementos usually do
And I look up to see who's different here
The latest me or the latest you

Course, you're the kind of guy who doesn't lie
He just doctors everything
Chooses some unassuming finger
And quietly moves his wedding ring
Who rewrites his autobiography
For any pretty girl who'll sing
But you can't fool the queen, baby
Cause I married the king

And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality
Like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees
But after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I'm pretty different now
Considering

I kissed you on the street that night
On the far side of four
But I didn't like the taste
In my mouth or yours
Ignoring the persona you wore for my benefit
For once I had the balls to call it
Just call it
But a lesson must be lived
In order to be learned
And the clarity to see and stop this now
That is what I've earned

And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality
Like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees
But after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I'm pretty different now
Considering

I'm holding here a book
Notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest
In a long line of thieves
And I'm just about to drop it
Down that manhole of memories
When I realize it doesn't bother me
And heartache not so dire
Cause I looked up to see integrity
Finally won over desire

Callous

You cried and you cried and you cried wolf
So it took me a minute to understand
That you really were hurt bad
That day you deeply cut your hand
And then that look that you gave me
Sent me rushing through guilt's door
I'd already started to feel callous
Like I really should care more

And it was my work that kept me upright
So you called it a crutch
While I drifted off
Into dreams of such and such
And by the time we'd come full circle
We knew exactly what to do
Just keep looking at the triangle
Instead of what it is pointing to

But you can't will yourself happy
You can't will your cunt wet
You can't keep standing at the station
Pretending you're being met
You can't wear a sign that says 'yours'
When that ain't what you get

It flows and flows away from me
My love is a stream
Your love is a vaudeville show
So charming and obscene
We both had our moments
We both had our fun
And then I hated to prove 'em all right
All those that said I'd run

But you can't will yourself happy
You can't will your cunt wet
You can't keep standing at the station
Pretending you're being met
You can't keep wearing a sign that says 'yours'
When that ain't what you get

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning
Slow beats seething
Through the screens in
The open windows
Eggs frying
Legs shaking
After we stayed lying
So long in bed
Sunday morning
Both of us reading
And looking up occasionally
And looking up occasionally

Sunday morning
You're doing your thing
And I am doing mine
Speaking words
More a formality
Cause we can feel we
Are of one mind
Sunday morning
Sheets still warm
Kitties swarming
Round our feet
Life comes easy
Your sweet company
Making it so complete

Of all the Monday through Fridays
We joined the crusade
Of all the Saturday nights
In which we were made
Of all the exorcisms
I've done with your ghosts
Still it's Sunday morning
I miss you the most

Sunday morning
Slow beats seething
Through the screens in
The open windows
Eggs frying
Legs shaking
After we stayed lying
So long in bed
Sunday morning
Both of us reading
And looking up occasionally
Looking up occasionally

Paradigm

I was born to two immigrants
Who knew why they were here
They were happy to pay taxes
For the schools and roads
Happy to be here
They took it seriously
The second job of citizenry
My mother went campaigning door to door
And holding to her hand was me

Yeah I was just a girl in a room full of women
Licking stamps and laughing
I remember the feeling of community brewing
Of democracy happening

But I suppose like anybody
I had to teach myself to see
All that stuff that got lost
On its way to church
All that stuff that got lost
On its way to school
All that stuff that got lost
On its way to the house of my family
All that stuff that was not lost on me

Teach myself to see each of us
Through the lens of forgiveness
Like we're stuck with each other (god forbid)
Teach myself to smile and stop and talk
To a whole other color kid
Teach myself to be new in an instant
Like the truth is accessible at any time
Teach myself it's never really one or the other
There's a paradox in every paradigm

Yeah I was just a girl in a room full of women
Licking stamps and laughing
I remember the feeling of community brewing
Of democracy happening

Modulation

In order to
Say thank you to you
I must do it intentionally
But tonight with every breath
I can feel my death
As sure as I can feel my knees

And you were my modulation
So that's what you’ll always be
We took each other higher
We set each other free
We set each other free
We set each other free
We set each other free
We set each other free

Course, neither of us were wearing helmets
And our blood was just everywhere
And when the morphine kicked in later
The censors threw their hands up in despair
And that's when the truth came marching in
And promptly pulled the plug
But you were better than any drug
You were better than any drug

In order to
Say thank you to you
I must do it intentionally
But tonight with every breath
I can feel my death
As sure as I can feel my knees

You were my modulation
And that's what you will always be
We took each other higher
Then we set each other free
We set each other
We set each other
We set each other free

Minerva

You wandered in
To the forest
Following that shiny red ball
And by the time you looked up
You were lost
But that's not all

You confused your journey
With my journey
You tried to nail me
Like Minerva to your bow
But my job here
Is not to deliver you
But to hold a mirror
Till you see how

Oh say can you see me
Oh say can you see me
Oh say can you see me over here?
Over here

And you want me
To tell you a story
But I am weary
Of entertaining
I'll have more to say when I'm happy
Course, then I'll have less to sing

But there's no me
Left for me
No incidental time of day
No wild adventures
Except in darkness
So dark I'd rather not say

Oh say can you see me
Oh say can you see me
Oh say can you see me over here?
Over here
Way over here

Seeing Eye Dog

You're my seeing eye dog baby and I am blind
You take me there every time
With that winning combination of loyal and kind
Your eyes like wells to the water of your mind

I want to take a long, cool drink from your bucket
To every thought I could think now, I say fuck it
I just want to go with how I feel
Like my only job here
Is to care for and covet you, dear

I love the way your stories seem to fall from your lips
With just enough slobber so it sparkles and drips
The way you hang the whole room on a word
Like a little stick in the beak of a bird

First we touched fingers and then we touched toes
Then my army surrendered
My government overthrown
And I threw myself a little role reversal and followed you home
Just dying to be chewed
The dog was chosen by the bone

Be my seeing eye dog babe
Cause I am blind
Just take me there
One more time
With that winning combination of loyal and kind
Your eyes like wells to the water of your mind

I want to take a long, cool drink from your bucket
To every thought I could think now, I say fuck it
I just want to go with how I feel
Like my only job here is to care for and covet you, dear

Recoil

Come home and my guitar
Has nothing to say to me
I recoil from all my friends
And then I'm in misery
Been so long since I've been held
Really since I was his
Probably just need to be held
That's probably all it is

Course, then I think of my dad
Who time travels mostly now
Back to when he was free
And holding out hope somehow
Who sits all day in a line
Of wheelchairs against a wall
Inventing ways to play out time
Like us all
Like us all

To all the people out there tonight
Who are comforting themselves
If you should happen to see my light
You can stop and ring my bell
I'm just sitting here in this sty
Strewn with half written songs
Taking one breath at a time
Nothing much going on
Nothing much going on

Little flashing zero
On my answering machine
Rats scratching at my brain
Brain shuffling its feet
Yes I have my father's heart
It may or may not keep on trying
Can't really tell you what it is
Keeps me this side of that dark line
But I'm not there to take care of him
And I'm not here to take care of me
I'm going outside to watch the house burn down
Across the street
I'm going outside to watch the house burn down
Across the street

To all the people out there tonight
Who are comforting themselves
If you should happen to see my light
You can stop and ring my bell
I'm just sitting here in this sty
Strewn with half written songs
Taking one breath at a time
Nothing much going on
Nothing much going on

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