Reckoning

Your Next Bold Move

coming of age during the plague
of reagan and bush
watching capitalism gun down democracy
it had this funny effect on me
i guess

i am cancer
i am HIV
and i'm down at the blue jesus
blue cross hospital
just lookin' up from my pillow
feeling blessed

and the mighty multinationals
have monopolized the oxygen
so it's as easy as breathing
for us all to participate

yes they're buying and selling
off shares of air
and you know it's all around you
but it's hard to point and say "there"
so you just sit on your hands
and quietly contemplate

your next bold move
the next thing you're gonna have to prove
to yourself

what a waste of thumbs that are opposable
to make machines that are disposable
and sell them to seagulls flying in circles
around one big right wing

yes, the left wing was broken long ago
by the slingshot of cointelpro
and now it's so hard to have faith in
anything

especially your next bold move
or the next thing you're gonna have to prove
to yourself

you want to track each trickle
back to its source
and then scream up the faucet
'til your face is hoarse
cuz you're surrounded by a world's worth
of things you just can't excuse

but you've got the hard cough of a chain smoker
and you're at the arctic circle playing strip poker
and it's getting colder and colder
everytime you lose

so go ahead
make your next bold move
tell us
what's the next thing you need to prove
to yourself

Revelling

Ain't That The Way

i love you
and you love me
and ain't that the way
it's supposed to be?

i swing my stick legs 'round at the root
and pile drive each foot into a platform boot
cuz i'm up and i'm out
and i'm bouncing off the walls
and i come when i'm called
and you called

i got a super-cute three-piece suit
one piece for your body
one piece for your smile
one more little piece
if you stay a while

i love you
and you love me
and ain't that the way
it's supposed to be?

i gotta beeline double time
leave my home sweet home for your honeycomb
then i show up steady, ready and proud
and i find i've forgotten how to talk out loud

isn't it just like you
to bring me to my knees
in my brand new stockings
while the cat is out with my tongue
isn't it just like you
to bring me to my knees
in my brand new stockings
love makes me feel so dumb

cuz i love you
and you love me
and ain't that the way
it's supposed to be?

cuz i love you
and you love me
and ain't that the way
it's supposed to be?

This Box Contains...

Instrumental

O.K.

if you ask me
i'll say
yes please
to you today
so don't ask me
cuz i'm weak that way
just don't ask me
o.k.

i'm so glad we got that
straightened away
i'm so glad we got that
straightened away

if you see me
walk by
you better just let me
walk by
you better not
bat your pretty eyes
you better not
stop me to say hi

cuz i got a sweet tooth today
so you better not cut that pie
yeah i got a sweet tooth today
so you better not cut that pie

if you ask me
i'll say
yes please
to you today
so don't ask me
cuz i'm weak that way
just don't ask me
o.k.

Reckoning

you can doubt anything
if you think about it long enough
cuz what happened always adjusts to fit
what happened after that
and it's hard to feel like you are free
when all you seem to do is referee baby
remember when it was just you and me
steppin' up to bat?

and win or lose
just that you choose this little war
is what kills
and either/or it's that this war
is maybe also what thrills you

we thought we left possession behind
but truth is i was yours and you were mine
and now i've replayed a thousand times
exactly what was said
cuz nothing is as it appears
in the funhouse mirrors of your fears
on the roller coaster of all these years
with your hands above your head

and win or lose
just that you choose this little war
is what kills you
and either/or it's that this war
is maybe also what thrills you

i don't care how fast you run
just tell me, baby, that when you're done
with your little marathon
you still got cab fare home
cuz the finish line is a shifty thing
and what is life but reckoning
and, you know
you are still the song i sing
to myself
when i'm alone

and win or lose just that we choose
this little war is what kills us
and either/or it's that this war
is maybe also what thrills us

Garden of Simple

some crazy fucker carved a sculpture out of butter
and propped it up in the middle of the bonanza breakfast bar
and i am stuffing toast and sausage into my pockets
under a sign that says grand opening
while my dog is waiting in the car

i wake up, i check out
i fill the tank and wash the windshield clean and
then i'm back out on the highway
and BANG that's when i remember my dream:

we were standing in a garden
and i had a machine that made silence
it just sucked up the whole opinionated din
and there were no people on the payroll
and there were no monkeys on our backs
and i said baby, show me what you look like
without skin

science chases money
and money chases its tail
and the best minds of my generation
can't make bail
but the bacteria are coming to take us down
that's my prediction
it's the answer to this culture
of the quick fix prescription

but in the garden of simple
where all of us are nameless
you were never anything but beautiful to me
and, you know, debt never really owned you
you just carried them around you
and then one day you put 'em down
and found your hands were free

so now it's early in the morning
at the longitude of memphis
and the sun is setting sweetly on hong kong
and the big plan is just to keep spinning
cuz the big bang is only just beginning
and sometimes it's all that we can do just to hang on

and what i meant to say is c'mon which means i'm thinking of ya
which means i've been thinking of you
all along

So What

who's gonna give a shit
who's gonna take the call
when you find out that the road ahead
is painted on a wall
and you're turned up to top volume
and you're just sitting there in pause
with your feral little secret
scratching at you with its claws
and you're trying hard to figure out
just exactly how you feel
before you end up parked and sobbing
forehead on the steering wheel

who are you now
and who were you then
that you thought somehow
you could just pretend
that you could figure it all out
the mathematics of regret
so it takes two beers to remember now
and five to forget
that i loved you so
yeah, i loved you, so what

how many times undone
can one person be
as they're careening through the facade
of their favorite fantasy
you just close your eyes slowly
like you're waiting for a kiss
and hope some lowly little power
will pull you out of this
but none comes at first
and little comes at all
and when inspiration finally hits you
it barely even breaks your fall

and who are you then
and who are you now
that you can't pretend
that you can figure it all out
subtract out the impact
and the fall is all you get
so it takes two beers to remember now
and three more to forget
i loved you so
yeah, i loved you, so what
i loved you
so what

Tamburitza Lingua

a cold and porcelain lonely
in an old new york hotel
a stranger to a city
that she used to know so well
bathing in a bathroom
that is bathed in the first blue light
of the beginning of a century
at the end of an endless night

then she is wet behind the ears and wafting down the avenue
pre-rush hour
post-rain shower
stillness seeping upwards like steam
from another molten sewer
summer in new york

they've been spraying us with chemicals in our sleep
us / they
something about the mosquitoes having some kind of disease
them / me
CIA foul play
if you ask the guy selling hair dryers out of a gym bag
chemical warfare
"i'm telling you, lab rat to lab rat," he says, "that's where the truth
is at"
that's where the truth is at
that's where the truth is at

and everything seems to have gone terribly wrong that can
but one breath at a time is an acceptable plan
she tells herself
and the air is still there
and this morning it's even breathable
and for a second the relief is unbelievable
and she's a heavy sack of flour sifted
her burden lifted
she's full of clean wind for one lean moment
and then she's trapped again
reverted
caged and contorted
with no way to get free
and she's getting plenty of little kisses
but nobody's slippin' her the key

her whole life is a long list of what ifs
and she doesn't even know where to begin
and the pageantry of suffering therein
rivals television
tv is, after all, the modern day roman coliseum
human devastation as mass entertainment
and now millions sit jeering
collectively cheering
the bloodthirsty hierarchy of the patriarchal arrangement

she is hailing a cab
she is sailing down the avenue
she's 19 going on 30
or maybe she's really 30 now ...
it's hard to say
it's hard to keep up with time once it's on its way

and, you know, she never had much of a chance
born into a family built like an avalanche
and somewhere in the 80s between the oat bran and the ozone
she started to figure out things like why
one eye pointed upwards looking for the holes in the sky
one eye on the little flashing red light
a picasso face twisted and listing down the canvas
of the end of an endless night

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
and kerplooey
you're done.
you're done for.
you're done for good.
so tell me
did you?
did you do?
did you do all you could?

Prison Prism

Instrumental

Marrow

the answer came
like a shot in the back
while you were running from your lesson
which might explain
why years later all you could remember
was the terror of the question
plus, you weren't listening
you were stockpiling canned goods
making a bomb shelter of our basement
and i can't believe you let the moral go by
while you were soaking in the product placement

and where was your conscience?
where was your consciousness?
and where did you put all those letters
that you wrote to yourself
but could not address?

i'm a good kisser
and you're a fast learner
and that kinda thing could float us
for a pretty long time and
then one day you'd realize
you've memorized my phone number
and you'll call it and find
it's a disconnected line
cuz i got tossed out the window of love's el camino
and i shattered into a shower of sparks on the curb
you were smoking me
weren't you?
between your yellow fingers
you just inhaled and exhaled without saying a word

and where was your conscience?
where was your consciousness?
and where did you put all those letters
that you wrote to yourself
but could not address?

and there's a smorgasbord of unspoken poisons
a whole childhood of potions
that are all bottled up
and so one by one i am dusting off labels
i am uncorking bottles and filling up cups
so go ahead and have a taste of your own medicine
and i'll have a taste of mine
but first let's toast to the lists
that we hold in our fists
of the things that we promise to do
differently next time

cuz the answer came like a shot in the back
while you were running from your lesson
which might explain
why years later all you could remember
was the terror of the question
plus i'm not listening to you anymore
my head is too sore and my heart's perforated
and i'm mired in the marrow of my (well... ain't that) funny bone
learning how to be alone and devastated
where was my conscience?
where was my consciousness?
and what do i do with all these letters
that i wrote to myself
but cannot address?

Imagine That

imagine that i am onstage
under a watchtower of punishing light
and in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
and what's beyond you is hidden from sight
and somebody right now is yawning
and watching me like a tv
and i've been frantically piling up sandbags
against the flood waters of fatigue and insecurity

then suddenly i hear my guitar singing
and so i just start singing along
and somewhere in my chest
all the noise just gets crushed by the song

imagine that i'm at your mercy
imagine that you are at mine
pretend i've been standing here
watching you watching me
all this time
now imagine that you are the weather
in the tiny snow globe of this song
and i am the statue of liberty
one inch long

and here i am at my most hungry
and here i am at my most full
and here i am waving a red cape
locking eyes with a bull

just imagine that i am onstage
under a watchtower of punishing light
and in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
and what's beyond you is hidden from sight

Heartbreak Even

it's a heartbreak even situation
nothing lost and nothing gained
so i'm 10 years old again
standing in the backyard waving at a train

and i, i feel you make love to me slightly
every time you let a little laugh slip too soon
and the moment passes over us so lightly
it feels like sand blowing over a dune

you try not to let your emotions show
but it ain't a balloon you can just let go
it's an ice cream cone dripping in the sun
sticky hands
sticky arms
sticky situation

it's a heartbreak even situation
one part powerful elation
one part pitiful and frail
so i'm trying to feel my way around
a book of promises written in braille

and there is pressure from within this
and pressure from above
this pressure on our tenuous, strenuous love
and there's wet wool blankets one, two, three
laid onto my chest
'til i just can't breathe

and i try not to let my emotions show
but it ain't a balloon i can just let go
it's an ice cream cone dripping in the sun
sticky hands
sticky arms
sticky situation

Flood Waters

Instrumental

Harvest

Instrumental

Grey

the sky is grey
the sand is grey
and the ocean is grey

and i feel right at home
in this stunning monochrome
alone in my way

i smoke and i drink
and every time i blink
i have a tiny dream

but as bad as i am
i'm proud of the fact
that i'm worse than i seem

what kind of paradise am i looking for?
i've got everything i want and still i want more
maybe some tiny shiny thing
will wash up on the shore

you walk through my walls
like a ghost on tv
you penetrate me

and my little pink heart
is on its little brown raft
floating out to sea

and what can i say
but i'm wired this way
and you're wired to me

and what can i do
but wallow in you
unintentionally

what kind of paradise am i looking for?
i've got everything i want and still i want more
maybe some tiny shiny key
will wash up on the shore

regretfully
i guess i've got three
simple things to say:
why me?
why this now?
why this way?
with overtones ringing
and undertows pulling away
under a sky that is grey
on sand that is grey
by an ocean that's grey

what kind of paradise am i looking for?
i've got everything i want
and still i want more
maybe some tiny shiny key
will wash up on the shore

Kazoointoit

message erased
next message recieved yesterday at 4:02 PM
Wow I think I exploded your machine playing kazoointoit
so yeah! We'll catch you guys in the new year alright
you have a good one
i love you both
see ya
to hear this message again press one to save it press two
to erase it press three
press three, press three, press three, press three
i love us both but i don't feel good
so i keep pulling over
looking under
the hood
i love us both but i'm at wit's end
where does your compromise begin
and mine end?
i love us both but what
world's it gonna be?
the one according to you
or the one according to me?

i don't feel good so ...
now do my problems include
talks with doctors who don't even understand
about food?
i think in ancient china they kinda
figured out how the body works
but our culture is just a roughneck
teenage jerk
with a bottle of pills
and a bottle of booze
and a full round of ammunition
and nothing to lose

and is it really the best we can do
to arm wrestle over whose world it's gonna be?
(one according to you
or the one according to me)

i love us both and i'll see ya
if you'll see me
so ... who are we?
who are we?
who are we?
who are we?

Subdivision

sorry i'm feeling unfocused
the problem is me
one two three
white people are so scared of black people
they bulldoze out to the country
and put up houses on little loop-dee-loop streets
and while america gets its heart cut right out of its chest
the berlin wall still runs down main street
separating east side from west
and nothing is stirring, not even a mouse
in the boarded-up stores and the broken-down houses
so they hang colorful banners off all the street lamps
just to prove they got no manners
no mercy and no sense

and i'm wondering what it will take
for my city to rise
first we admit our mistakes and
then we open our eyes
the ghosts of old buildings are haunting parking lots
in the city of good neighbors that history forgot

i remember the first time i saw someone
lying on the cold street
i thought: i can't just walk past here
this can't just be true
but i learned by example
to just keep moving my feet
it's amazing the things that we all learn to do

so we're led by denial like lambs to the slaughter
serving empires of style and carbonated sugar water
and the old farm road's a four-lane that leads to the mall
and our dreams are all guillotines waiting to fall

and i'm wondering what it will take
for my country to rise
first we admit our mistakes
and then we open our eyes
or nature succumbs to one last dumb decision
and america the beautiful
is just one big subdivision

Whatall is Nice

today we are only whatall is nice about us
today we turned on in the blue light of dawn
and made love

and you were not a dot dot dot
waiting for me to complete you
and it was like i just forgot
to measure everything that i do

we woke up with the notion
that enough is not enough without more
and then we heaved with one motion
like the ocean pushes a wave at the shore

and you were not a dot dot dot
leaning forward expectantly
and i was not in such a rush
to insure my autonomy

today we are only whatall is nice about us
yeah today we are only whatall is nice about us
today we are nice

Old Old Song

i'll sing you a song that starts out descriptive
and locates a time and a place
like a dinner table where a whole family
is just sitting down to say grace
an old old song that moves into action
taking its sweet sweet time
and waits until we all say amen
again and again in rhyme

it's the story of a father and a mother
who battle each other over nothin'
with a couple of kids trying to figure
which way the plot's spinning
who's winning and who is bluffing

it's a story as common as a penny, son
it ain't really worth anything to anyone
it ain't really worth anything to anyone

poor little sore little song
that aches like a muscle each time that it moves
sad little song that you play
and you play and you play
and you play 'til you lose
while outside history is writing a recipe book
for every earthly pain
this song is inside finger painting dark swirls
again and again and they all look the same

cuz what if you come home from school one day
and you find your whole family's at war
and there's this ominous silence just waiting to be broken
and there's secret places for hiding underneath the floorboards
and everyone seems to be bracing
for the subharmonic thunder of the next bomb yeah
and everyone seems to be waiting for the cops to bust in
with their guns drawn
at the bleak light of dawn

it's a story as common as a penny, son
i don't think it's worth anything to anyone
i don't think it's worth anything to anyone
i don't think it's worth anything to anyone
i don't think it's worth anything to anyone

What How When Where (Why Who)

what what what what what did you think you were doing?
how how how how how did you think this would go?
when when when when when you showed up on my radar
where where where where where did you think you would show?
what what what what what do you make of this station
how how how how how it pulls away from the train?
when when when when when if at all will you realize
where where where where where do and done are the same?
what what what what what now you're out in the open
how how how how how do you think you can hide?
when when when when when will you find some nice soft sand
where where where where where you can bury your pride?
what what what what what do you want from this lifetime?
how how how how how does your story line flow?
when when when when when you finally get to the punch line
where where where where where will the applause sign go?

and why why why why why why don't you just take your bow
cuz who's gonna love you now?

what what what what what did you think you were doing?
how how how how how did you think this would go?
when when when when when you showed up on my radar
where where where where where did you think you would show?
what what what what what do you make of this station
how how how how how it pulls away from the train?
when when when when when if at all will you realize
where where where where where do and done are the same?
what what what what what now you're out in the open
how how how how how do you think you can hide?
when when when when when will you find some nice soft sand
where where where where where you can bury your pride?
what what what what what do you want from this lifetime?
how how how how how does your story line flow?
when when when when when you finally get to the punch line
where where where where where will the applause sign go?

and why why why why why why don't you just take your bow
cuz who's gonna love you now?

Sick of Me

how sick of me
must you be
by now
while you're standing just outside
of what your pride will allow
always reaching into yourself
to find a new way to understand me
when i'm sure that there's no one else
in the world
who could withstand me

yeah the first person in your life
to ever really matter
is saying the last thing
that you want to hear
and you are listening hard
through the splintering shards
of your life as it shatters
and you're standing firm
and you're staying close
and you're seeing clear

i took to the stage
with my outrage
in the bad old days
when you were the make-me-mad guy
but the songs
they come out more slowly
now that i am the bad guy
and i say, i'm sorry that i'm so crazy
I am astounded by your patience
and you say, believe it or not, baby
the joy you bring me
still outweighs it

yeah the first person in your life
to ever really matter
is saying the last thing
that you want to hear
and you are listening hard
through the splintering shards
of your life as it shatters

and you're standing firm
and you're staying close
and you're seeing clear

how sick of me
must you be
by now?

Fierce Flawless

she was cuffed to the truth like the truth was a chair
bright interrogation light in her eyes
and her conscience lit a cigarette and just stood there
waiting for her to crack
waiting for her to cry
his face scampered through her mind
like a roach across a wall
it made her heart soar
it made her skin crawl
they said, we got this confession we just need for you to sign
why don't you just cooperate and make this easier on us all
make this easier on us all
yeah make this easier on us all

there was light and then there was darkness
but there was no line in between
and asking my heart for guidance
was like pleading with a machine yeah
cuz joy, it has its own justice
and my dreams are languid and lawless
and everything bows to beauty
when it is fierce
and when it is flawlesss
when it is fierce
and when it is flawless

on the table were two ziploc baggies
containing her eyes and her smile
they said, we're keeping these as evidence
'til this thing goes to trial
meanwhile anguish was fingering solace
in another room down the hall
both were love's accomplices
but solace took the fall

now look at her book of days
it's the same on every page
and she's got a little tin cup with her heart in it
to bang along the bars of her rib cage
bang along the bars of her rib cage

cuz there was light and then there was darkness
but there was no line in between
and asking her heart for guidance
was like pleading with a machine yeah
cuz joy, it has its own justice
and my dreams are languid and lawless
and everything bows to beauty
when it is fierce
and when it is flawlesss
when it is fierce
and when it is flawless
when it is fierce
and when it is flawless
when it is fierce
and when it is flawless
fierce, flawless
fierce, flawless
fierce, flawless
fierce, flawless
fierce, flawless

Don't Nobody Know

Instrumental

Rock Paper Scissors

it's rock paper scissors as to whether
i will get over you at all
it's hand against hand and both hands are mine
it's standing in a circular line
which is not to say that i'm not also happy
a happy meal with a surprise inside
surprise surprise here's another bright light in your eyes
exposing all the stuff you're not calculating enough to hide

this melancholy that i carry makes me feel so grown up
at my kitchen table doing shots of resignation
i never thought i'd see the day when i would say i give up
and break the stallions of my wildest expectations

but i do not want to know you this way
surrounded by so much pain
but how am i supposed to let go of you this way
like a bird into the sky of my brain?

i think i could accept all these dark colors
as just part of some bigger color scheme
if it wasn't for that drippy string quartet of sadness
underscoring each smiling scene
desire drags me right out of myself
like a gas-soaked rope tied to a piece of coal
and i'm getting pretty good at looking at the bright side
while the flames rip along the sand and swallow me whole

but this melancholy that i carry makes me feel so grown up
at my kitchen table doing shots of resignation
i never thought i'd see the day when i would say i give up
and break the stallions of my wildest expectations

but i do not want to know you this way
surrounded by so much pain
but how am i supposed to let go of you this way
like a bird into the sky of my brain?

School Night

she went over to his apartment
clutching her decision
and he said, did you come here to tell me goodbye?
so she built a skyscraper of procrastination
and then she leaned out the twenty-fifth floor window
of her reply
and she felt like an actress
just reading her lines
when she finally said
yes. it's really goodbye this time
and far below was the blacktop
and the tiny toy cars
and it all fell so fast
and it all fell so far

and she said:
you are a miracle but that is not all
you are also a stiff drink and i am on call
you are a party and i am a school night
and i'm lookin' for my door key
but you are my porch light

and you'll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you'll probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is but one of my truths

what of the mother
whose house is in flames
and both of her children
are in their beds crying
and she loves them both
with the whole of her heart
but she knows she can only
carry one at a time?
she's choking on the smoke
of unthinkable choices
she is haunted by the voices
of so many desires
she's bent over from the business
of begging forgiveness
while frantically running around
putting out fires

but then what kind of scale
compares the weight of two beauties
the gravity of duties
or the ground speed of joy?
tell me what kind of gauge
can quantify elation?
what kind of equation
could i possibly employ?
and you'll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is just one of my truths

and so i
i'm goin' home
to please the one i so love pleasing
and i don't expect
he'll have much sympathy for my grieving
but i guess that this is the price
that we pay for the privilege
of living for even a day
in a world with so many things
worth believing

in

Beautiful Night

Instrumental

That Was My Love

Instrumental

 

Revelling

she went over to his apartment
clutching her decision
and he said, did you come here to tell me goodbye?
so she built a skyscraper of procrastination
and then she leaned out the twenty-fifth floor window
of her reply
and she felt like an actress
just reading her lines
when she finally said
yes. it's really goodbye this time
and far below was the blacktop
and the tiny toy cars
and it all fell so fast
and it all fell so far

and she said:
you are a miracle but that is not all
you are also a stiff drink and i am on call
you are a party and i am a school night
and i'm lookin' for my door key
but you are my porch light

and you'll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you'll probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is but one of my truths

what of the mother
whose house is in flames
and both of her children
are in their beds crying
and she loves them both
with the whole of her heart
but she knows she can only
carry one at a time?
she's choking on the smoke
of unthinkable choices
she is haunted by the voices
of so many desires
she's bent over from the business
of begging forgiveness
while frantically running around
putting out fires

but then what kind of scale
compares the weight of two beauties
the gravity of duties
or the ground speed of joy?
tell me what kind of gauge
can quantify elation?
what kind of equation
could i possibly employ?
and you'll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is just one of my truths

and so i
i'm goin' home
to please the one i so love pleasing
and i don't expect
he'll have much sympathy for my grieving
but i guess that this is the price
that we pay for the privilege
of living for even a day
in a world with so many things
worth believing
in

 

In Here

even when i look right at you
i always just see through
and i always just see new things
to admire about you.

am i what you thought you were getting?
does this love we make-make you proud?
does it look like it did on the menu?
minus, of course, the little dark clouds.

of course, when we signed up for forever...
we had no idea it was in here.
i guess always is all this and then some.
i guess at least that much is clear.

and whenever i look at you
you know i always just see you
and i always just see new things
to admire about you...
you

 

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