Lyrics

All songs written by Naseem Khuri





The Bridge

Jenny got born on the Brookline side
Where you walk within the glow of your shoebuckle shine
She kept her backpack straps tied around her tight
While she stared across the bridge with her widened eyes

Teacher tells Jenny “Jenny don’t you stare,
They got weeds in the streets and they just don’t care
We better better them right, the cause is not yet lost
But the cause ain’t lost, we can help them grow
We can teach them to reach, show them how to grow
C’mon take my hand and don’t get too close”

They’re gone, they’re gone, they’re gone

Papa’s eating peas, saying “how was your day
You went down by the bridge, your teacher said
I’ve always wondered why in that part of town
The green grass suddenly turns to brown”

Mama says “I think it’s great you seem so keen
To shed light on the dark, see the unseen
As a matter of fact, it occurs to me
You could use the extra curricular credibility”

Yeah they’re gone, they’re gone, they’re gone

Tucked in tight, Jenny sleeps so well
Maybe next year she can spends a few hours more
Mamapapa downstairs, locking eyes and glowing
“Those kids by the bridge outta take some notes”

Guess they’re a little too wild, a little too torn
A little too weak, a little too worn
Maybe a little too brown, a little too poor,
A little too black, a little too born

Yeah they’re gone, they’re gone, they’re gone










Try

If these walls could talk to me I’d politely decline
I don't need to look behind
To see a future I'll deny

Dinner dates of late feeling more like killing time
Picking at our plates all night
Shaking salt to kill the quiet

And I know
We get so low

Chorus:
But won’t you try a little harder
Even lie if you must
I would die to live like we're not dying
Try to right this ship, or let us sink with it
Just try

I wonder when our habits went from charming to routine
Once a stitching of the seam
Now a distant memory

I think both of us been thinking it, but no one wants to say
Hoping trouble would go away
Now maybe trouble should stay

Chorus

Tonight I will be brave and I will take the long way home
Chart out how to rock this boat
And forget how to hope

I'll think of open oceans and the beauty you embrace
And at some point it'll fade,
Til you just drift away

Chorus










To The Wolves

I got this million dollar itch, gonna get us gone, gonna set us saved,
I keep it on a handkerchief, on account of the boss, never looking away,
It’s gold, if you could only see,
But I know there’s something stopping me,

Chorus:
I’m looking for a name,
And I’d feed you to the wolves, I’d feed you to the wolves,
If you only showed your face,
I’d feed you,
Cause you know you’re the one to blame,

I am no supermodel’s son, I open doors, all on my own,
I got no Rockefeller blood, when the dollar is done, then the dollar is done,
And I know there’s a hand above,
Grabbing the gold, leaving none for us,

Chorus

Can you tell me when five o’clock does strike,
And I feel salvation in the freedom of the night,
Why can’t I feel the cloth burning a hole inside my pocket,
Instead I hear the clock burning the minutes til tomorrow,

Chorus










Tricks

Well there you go again
You say “I’m pleased to see you, friend”
You can sing my praise, can you say my name?

The eyes you prize as true
I see so easily through
You look in mine, but I know you’re looking right behind

Chorus:
I try and try to turn away
But you cry and cry and here I stay
Oh I know you’re never going to show
The tricks that you roll
Up your dirty sleeves

Your line of pearly whites
Hides the tongue you bite
No need to speak, I know what you’re really saying

But oh those words you fire!
Land like a bullet from a blind man
Keep your lead, I bet you’ll find another fool

Chorus

And all this mud that I throw
You grab and turn into gold
I look beside me, see a million faces just like mine
Doesn’t matter what you tell the devil
The devil’s just happy that you’re there, and that you know

Chorus










Not Like This

It’s late, you’re tired
Let him pour another wine
Because you know there’s no way you can go home

See, your phone’s got time to spare
Your desk is all too bare
But for the frame, you just can’t seem, to look in the eye

Got millions of ideas and they just don't stop
And I'd feed em and I'd bleed em til they're sold and bought

Chorus:
Please see me like that
Not like this

You smashed your TV
Sick and tired of jealousy
And the way it makes you feel, no that’s not you

You’ve been tricked by your sweat and blood
And by time, which says they’re enough
And by the luck you told yourself you’d never need

It’s hard to think the future is a game you win
Never gambled much but I guess I’m all in OR but I gotta be all in

Chorus

Yes you’re a bird, still in its cage
You sure can fly, someone once said
But watch yourself, you hear that enough, you just might believe










Another Other

Cheers to all my friends
As another workweek ends
I'll have another round barkeep,
And won’t you lower the old TV

Showing them fires so far away
You know they’re just thugs anyway
They're hiding behind their skin
Messing with the good cops and preaching

“I’m just another other done wrong”

Well you know it’s just a fact
I look like them but I ain’t like that
I tuck my shirt in right
I smile but not too wide

Now fellas why stare at the screen?
And sip on your beers so quietly
C’mon it’s Friday night!
Let’s get our drink on right

I’m not another other done wrong

Was it something that I said?
Or the hair upon my head?
Was it something that I did?
It better be

Now everybody says they’re tired
When they leave, the barroom’s quiet
Except for the old TV
Much softer than it seems

And I settle in my seat
Staring at the thugs burning down those streets
I think damn what a shame
Thank god I’m not the same

Just another other done wrong










Cavalry

Mama I remember Sunday dinner, you’d stare across the hall
Now I do believe you were staring at nothing at all
The clocks all wound, black pepper ground, the curtains smooth and slim
I wondered why you’d need to iron them again and again

Won’t you call on the cavalry before I’m gone
Please call on the cavalry before I’m gone

Papa them papers never change, we’re always going to hell
The lotto’s always rigged, and the weather you can never quite tell
The Sox keep losing track of their roots and screwing the bullpen
I wondered why you’d need to let me know again and again

Won’t you call on the cavalry before I’m gone
Please call on the cavalry before I’m gone

I’ve been thinking, I’ve been drinking, I’ve been scraping rust
I’ve been keeping clean, the frames that have collected dust
Monday nights I watch the fights, on Thursdays I play cards
But maybe just this week, I’ll skip out on both

Won’t you call on the cavalry before I’m gone
Please call on the cavalry before I’m gone










A Ways Away

Last night I woke up screaming
I had a terrible dream
The world was over, we were done

I dreamt the skies were falling
The tin foil hats were bawling
Guess they were right all along

And then you see me trembling, you smile and quietly say

Chorus:
Don’t you hang your heavy head
You can sleep until you’re dead
Cuz we’ll all be back tomorrow, yes we’ll all be back tomorrow
We’re oh so still a ways away

Everyone’s up in arms
How can you be so calm?
You say you see but you don’t look

So what about the future?
You say you’ve seen the future
You read it in a history book

And you see me trembling, you smile and quietly say

Chorus

You say “stop looking up
Just look around and stop
We’ll be okay or at least the same

Need hell to sell your preaching
Heaven for non-believing
War for the guns you’re building
And peace for flowers you’re tilling

Good crime for your arresting
Bad cops for your protesting
The dark side of the city
To make the light feel pretty
Ring around the rosy
Ashes to ashes, only we won’t fall”

Chorus










Good Old Wind

Dime store Denny seen em come and go
With his armchair heart and his rocking chair soul
When the customers come with a name he can’t sound
He says “this old town is going down”

Goth girl Gabby and her god-damned pen
Telling them tall tales the new wind’s preaching
Denny don’t like the colors she wore
Now she ain’t coming around no more

Oh no the old wind blows!

Denny keeps scraping that window rust
And wiping that register picking up dust
He pounds his desk, he glares outside, says
“the new wind’s blowing my dollars dry”

Oh no the old wind blows!

Sidewalks cracked and the street’s gone quiet
Somewhere Gabby’s ‘neath a warm spotlight
Denny counts dimes, his arms they fold
Waiting for that good old wind to blow

Oh no the old wind blows!










On My Mind

My oh my what a wicked world
With our eyes so wide and a flag unfurled
And the broken man with a beaten tan and a healthy cup
Walks on by my drivers side and my window up
And he’s on my mind

Yes I heard from the late night plea
And the toll free number at the bottom of the screen
A broken child fending in the wild of a distant land
I could write a check from this couch and yet I can’t reach my stamp
But it’s on my mind

Rise and shine with my coffee and cream
And the newspaper proving if it bleeds it leads
Have you heard another city burned, another mother down?
Another freedom fight, another fighting try to clean a bloody crown
It’s such a shame in this age and day so many hurt
Such a weight I’m gonna shake right after work
It’s on my mind










Suddenly The Same

Some surprise meals alone
Some nights a full charged phone
And I wait it out again
And I wait it out again

I nod and grin at your sassy styles
Even hang your punk band’s fliers
I would do it all again
I would do it all

But I don’t wanna fall behind the battle lines
You’ve taken your time now it’s time for mine
I can stand my solid ground
Leave no room for doubt
We’re suddenly the same

I do not ask for much
A sudden smile, an impromptu touch
And I’m catching up again
I’m catching up

And all the silly games we say we’ll never play
Yet we tug of war and the flag remains
I promise I won’t blink
I promise I won’t see
We’re suddenly the same

How long
How long
How long til I’ll know I’ve won

Tonight I’ll hold my phone
Watch it ring all night long

You sell me such a fool
And I’m buying it all in full
I would do it all again
I would do it all again










Thick Of It

We grew up a little bit wary
Of the milk in our cups
And the butter on our bread
Oh the fires you’ll light, they had said
Catch the falling skies, go ahead

So we left home, a little bit worried
About the gas in our tanks
And the holes in our shoes
But never should you mind the rain
When eyes are stuck on sky anyway

Now we’re in the thick of it

When the walls didn’t shake,
The earth didn’t tumble
We said we’d take our licks, before we take our time
Find a fight and drive all night
Never mind your eyes getting tired

Now we’re in the thick of it

I guess dreams don’t die, they just get managed
But is a fire unfed
just some ash and dirt?
Sometimes I drive late at night
I think about you from time to time










What Am I Gonna Do With You

I came home
I dropped dead
Cracked one open
While the TV bled
I didn’t even hear your voice
I didn’t even hear

You want me talking
Just let me rest
The daydreams die when the night lets you forget
Stop going through my pockets please
Those napkins are just words

What am I gonna do with you?

I am sorry
But you’re wrong
Just because those words rhyme
Don’t mean that it’s a song
Stop saving those scraps in your diary
Stop grinning when you do

What am I gonna do with you?

I am certain
That I’m insecure
And when I doubt
I’m sure you’re sure
Oh no don’t listen to me
Don’t listen to me

What am I gonna do with you?










Good Old Wind

Dime store Denny seen em come and go
With his armchair heart and his rocking chair soul
When the customers come with a name he can't sound
He says "this old town is going down"

Goth Girl Gabby and her god damned pen
Telling them tall tales the new wind's preaching
Denny don't like the colors she wore
Now she ain't coming around no more

Oh no the old wind blows!

Denny keeps scraping that window rust
And wiping that register picking up dust
He pounds his chest, he glares outside, says
"The new wind's blowing my dollars dry"

Oh no the old wind blows!

Sidewalk's cracked and the street's gone quiet
Somewhere Gabby's 'neath the warm spotlight
Denny counts dimes, his arms they fold
Waiting for that good old wind to blow

Oh no the old wind blows!










Change You

We've been sitting here in this old barroom
God I don't know for how long
Same salvation spinning soft on the juke
God I used to love that song
Now I'm picking at this bottle label thinking I know
This story's ending, it ain't worth pretending I don't

My my if nothing has changed you, then nothing will change you yet

Now the TV is static, my buddy's emphatic
"When we gonna fix that thing?"
Sneering at the screen ready for one more battle
While he fiddles with his wedding ring
Maybe try to bend that broken antenna this time
Or just keep kicking it, maybe just wishing works fine

My my if nothing has changed you, then nothing will change you yet

Barkeep keeps showing off all the sketches
Of the boat he's gonna build someday
I keep laughing, but inside I sigh
I keep forgetting to forget its name

While the jukebox won't stop slaying this dead town
Screaming "we gotta get outta this place!"
I see my reflection in the bottle in my hand
It ain't this town I got a problem with

My my if nothing has changed you, then nothing will change you yet










On My Mind

My oh my what a wicked world
With our eyes so wide and a flag unfurled
And the broken man with a beaten tan and a healthy cup
Walks on by my driver's side and my window up
And he's on my mind

Yes I heard from the late-night plea
And the toll-free number at the bottom of your screen
A broken child fending in the wild of a distant land
I could write a check from this couch and yet I can't reach my stamp
But it's on my mind

Rise and shine with my coffee and cream
And the newspaper proving if it bleeds it leads
Have you heard another city burned, another mother down?
Another freedom fight, another fighting try to clean a bloody crown

It's such a shame in this age and day so many hurt
It's such a weight I'm gonna shake right after work
It's on my mind










The Good Fight

I'd like to get back to New York City
The water is wide, the buildings are cold
They never let our prints in the pavement dry
They never take the long way home

I'd like to get back and mind my business
The ghosts of this town never seem to leave
They live in the walls where the dime store died
Behind the new craft coffee machines

I'd fight the good fight if I could
We'll see

I'd like to think I got a good head on me
A buck in the tip jar, a church offering
We ought to get mad, we ought to save our souls
But the new guy's got what I need

I'd fight the good fight if I could
We'll see

Tonight I freeze in the lights of the windows
I curse this heart and its righteous song
It's much too quiet to sing out loud
And much too loud to ignore










To The Wolves

I got this million dollar itch, gonna get us gone, gonna set us saved
I keep it on a handkerchief, on account of the boss, never looking away
It’s gold, if you could only see
But I know there’s something stopping me

Chorus:
I’m looking for a name
And I’d feed you to the wolves, I’d feed you to the wolves
If you only showed your face
I’d feed you
Cause you know you’re the one to blame

I am no supermodel’s son, I open doors, all on my own
I got no Rockefeller blood, when the dollar is done, then the dollar is done
And I know there’s a hand above
Grabbing the gold, leaving none for us

Chorus

Can you tell me when five o’clock does strike
And I feel salvation in the freedom of the night
Why can’t I feel the cloth burning a hole inside my pocket
Instead I hear the clock burning the minutes til tomorrow

Chorus










Blind

Tell me why, the dreams I dream are never bout the sky, but my shoes untied
And the painting on my ceiling never dries. I think it’s time.

I’ll run, cause I’ve been told I’m faster than the sun, yes I hold my own
But the shoes I use are never good on ground, so I’d better not.

I been singing my song, I been singing all along
I don't wanna be blind, but I don’t wanna see

I’ll row, faster than the Mississippi flows, I’ll row and row
But I see the sea is bigger than my boat, now I just don’t know

I been singing my song, I been singing all along
I don't wanna be blind, but I don’t wanna see what I’m doing to me

I’ll dream, of the tallest grass tickling my feet, and the swells of the strongest sea, and all the growing glory in between, I’ll dream and dream.

I been singing my song, I been singing all along
I don't wanna be blind, but I don’t wanna see what I’m doing to me










All Night Dynamite

Lost Ross sink your costs, let that diary die
Your rocknroll’s got ways to go and it ain’t because of Papa’s pride
Thrill Jill, take your body off the runway line
Your locks not gold, your eyes not bold, it ain’t because everybody’s blind

Won’t you please get off your knees?

Chorus:
All these cities, all these towns, shake your sorry bones
All you suckers, all you clowns, shake your sorry bones
Get your all night dynamite

I was not born with kettle corn, no butter on my bread
Got fighting on my fingertips, surrender in my head
When I see the sky, I don’t ask why, I just praise the Lord for His word
And someone that I’ve never seen said something I never heard

Won’t you please get off your knees?

Chorus

Way on down the line, when I’m well below the sun
Please judge me on what I have said, not on what I have not done

Chorus










Salt Of The Sea

The chair by the cracked TV
Shedding threads where your cans convene
While you say “son, take a look at your hands,
They can climb the highest mountain in this land.”

Neath his gaze and the TV stand
I find newspapers, tattered and tanned
Dated 1997, they been waiting, to be found

Papa your eyes speak louder than your sage advice
Your deeds speak louder than your guiding light
And I appreciate the effort but you never were a very good liar,
Neither am I

Saying we’re only the salt of the sea

I peek at the family frame, at the bottom of the stairs
It never seems straight, even if you care
I wait for it soon to fall, but I know it won’t, I know it won’t

When all I can ever do determined by what’s already done
We can shuffle all we want with a deck stacked from day one
The lies we prize, the stories we glorify, all deny that

We’re only the salt of the sea

Once more, while the TV bleeds
I shut my eyes, see the sea
I rise, hands free
I will not be

Only the salt of the sea










Set Me Off


Man I got a bad headache
Sipping on sour lemonade
Watching all the waders in the waves
Thinking about nothing at all

Won’t you tell me how this place got really clean
Shelves deny poets trying to bleed
Carpets cover dying diaries
Framed guitars can’t quite breathe

Chorus:
I wanna be your gun
I wanna set my sun
So you can set me off

I should’ve taken my advice
Kept my bloody sneakers in sight
But I made my peace, should’ve kept my war
Because you never forget a good fight

Chorus

I’m so tired of sleeping with my eyes wide
Open up my skin and deep dive in
I just wanna feel you in my veins
I just need to feel you in my veins

Chorus










All in All


My friend, my friend
I'll tell you how this ends
Get up off your knees
And enjoy my company

I know, I know
Your shoes are full of holes
It's hard to think this through
But I was once like you

On and on, I might be right or wrong, but I won't say I'm sorry

See I’ve been, I’ve been
On the sorry side of sin
Nine dollars to my name
And a mirror rich with blame

And I rose in fact
With the sweat upon my back
There was nothing I relied on
Except my bootstrap pride

On and on, I might be right or wrong, but I won't say I'm sorry

When I catch the sun
Leave behind the dark and done
You wonder why you lose
And your questions turn to clues

Cuz you lost and I won
The sun don’t shine on everyone
I’ll carry my own weight
While you just carry on

On and on, I might be right or wrong, but I won't say I'm sorry










Thick Of It


We grew up a little bit wary
Of the milk in our cups
And the butter on our bread
Oh the fires you’ll light, they had said
Catch the falling skies, go ahead,

So we left home, a little bit worried
About the gas in our tanks
And the holes in our shoes
But never should you mind the rain
When eyes are stuck on sky anyway,

Now we’re in the thick of it,

When the walls didn’t shake
The earth didn’t tumble
We said we’d take our licks, before we take our time
Find a fight and drive all night
Never mind your eyes getting tired,

Now we’re in the thick of it,

I guess dreams don’t die, they just get managed
But is a fire unfed
just some ash and dirt?
Sometimes I drive late at night
I think about you from time to time










Cavalry


Mama I remember Sunday dinner, you’d stare across the hall
Now I do believe you were staring at nothing at all
The clocks all wound, black pepper ground, the curtains smooth and slim
I wondered why you’d need to iron them again and again

Won’t you call on the cavalry before I’m gone
Please call on the cavalry before I’m gone

Papa them papers never change, we’re always going to hell
The lotto’s always rigged, and the weather you can never quite tell
The Sox keep losing track of their roots and screwing the bullpen
I wondered why you’d need to let me know again and again

Won’t you call on the cavalry before I’m gone
Please call on the cavalry before I’m gone

I’ve been thinking, I’ve been drinking, I’ve been scraping rust
I’ve been keeping clean, the frames that have collected dust
Monday nights I watch the fights, on Thursdays I play cards
But maybe just this week, I’ll skip out on both

Won’t you call on the cavalry before I’m gone
Please call on the cavalry before I’m gone










Don’t Change My Mind


The walls of old Jerusalem, built on blood of kings not men
Timeless, in tact
I been singing to a ceiling fan, I been preaching to a pepsi can
Praying my voice won’t crack

Please don’t change my mind

The ghosts of this house been stealing time, and I’ve been blind til I made mine
Surely now I see
There’s a kid in a frame on the mantle with, a soft smile and eyes slightly off the camera
No that’s not me, no longer me

Please don’t change my mind

Tonight I’ll dream of where I’ll die, where I will laugh not where I cried
When I was born
And all the things I’ve never done, and all the times I blamed my blood
No more, no more

Please don’t change my mind









Sun’s Gonna Lemme Shine


Dark days have gone and come
I’ve been singing that saintly song
Sin knocking on my door
I’ll say no no more

Them schoolyard days are done
But them school bells linger on
Bullies who dumped my books
Are now writing my paychecks
Goodbye wide eyes, you’ve surely had your time
So long sweet tongue, at least you gave it a try

Chorus
Now the sun’s gonna lemme shine, lemme shine
Now the sun’s gonna lemme shine, lemme shine, that’s right

I’ve climbed the good soapbox
I’ve tried the mountaintops
Ghosts live on my high road
keep saying “go on get low”
Now it’s goodbye good child, you best leave your humble pie
Get some blood on your gloves, and don’t leave those knees behind

Chorus

Tonight I’ll rest my head
And dream dreams I’ve never dreamt
I’ll hold up high my chin
And welcome sin on in

Chorus









Pick Your Battles


Good boy do what mama says
Bleed your blood until it’s red
Toss another dime in hat, colonize your bedroom map, keep your revolution eyes wet

I am thoroughly impressed
Classy course catalog well read
Now you talk about the out and down, walk about with burning crown, wonder why the kiddies don’t beg

Chorus:
And I know why your change is never coming
It feels fine to shame a setting sun
Now it’s high time, you leave your war alone
Better pick your battles

Now you preach on a pulpit built to last
With your gold collar covered up in rags
And you call yourself a weathervane, find a puddle call it rain, pass them baskets fast

Chorus

I’ve seen the hollow man
And I’ve been smitten selling stories of his hands
But bright lights spur submission, honeybee television, taste a little nectar and you’re gone

Chorus









Waiting on the River to Rise


Wake well past midnight
to the burden of bills
and the screaming quiet

We swam along just fine
then she lost her legs
and the bank kicked mine

Now I'm at the kitchen table putting pen to paper, dodging the mirror on the wall
I swear I'd drive til the sun gave light, I need just a little push is all
And I'd build my boat so tall so wide, but I'm still waiting on the river to rise

I was born by the book
I keep my carpet clean
And my money earned

Why is the TV man
always smiling at me
I wonder who he burned

How come everybody for the common man never looks quite like me
They're running on the sun with their shoes undone and they never seem to burn their feet
And I'd build my boat so tall so wide, but I'm still waiting on the river to rise

Scratch tickets on my shelf
Stains on my knees
Pennies in my well

I got faith in faith
Because the other choice
Is no choice at all

But there's a man in the sky that I done right by and he ain't done right by me
And I never asked forgiveness for the things I done but you just wait and see
I'll build my boat so tall so wide and I won't be waiting on the river to rise
No I won't be waiting on the river to rise









Down


Well you try to deny but I’m onto your joke
I’m gonna tell you all the things that your mirror won’t
You climb for your time in the sun bun in fact
Your ladder don’t matter when it’s made out of wax

Chorus:
I won’t go down down down
Down to the valley below
I won’t go down down down
Down to where you want me to go

The shoes that you use for the skip in your step
They don’t walk, they just talk so deliberate
Your eyes they surmise that they own the place
But the wallet in your pocket can’t afford the rent

Chorus

The mask that you pass for that down home fashion
Fits so fine in your carpetbag
You lead to believe that’s a tropical tan
But I caught you in the corner with a gold spray can

Chorus

When you jump on the stump fit for kings so tall
And conveniently forget the tree you cut your knees for
I’ll be crowned on the ground praying quiet for grace
To be humble when you stumble on your low down ways

And I better never settle for your low-down ways









Sigh a While


The highway lights ain’t blinding enough I’ve tried
To block out all the photos and failures
That put me on this road

You see the house I built is shaking off its stilts
And the cold water flows beneath the walls where I buried my soul

Chorus
Oh how we gonna get back home
With our pies in the skies and our eyes on the horizon
But a lollipop stuck to the floor

I will not stand (you can come back home anytime)
With my hat in hand (you can come back home)
And I know there’s a light but the tunnel is so hard to find

Chorus

I’m a man (man I’ve seen you cry)
I’ve got my plan (man I’ve heard you sigh)
And nobody knows it, nobody knows it but me

Chorus

Sigh a while, because these knees are not for sale
But I don’t know for how long









Hard Times for the Quiet Kind


I was born a spark plug girl, cut from heart and iron
Papa’s hands were small and strong, Mama’s soft smile wide
But I know all the good girls move so slow
I’ve been soaking up the TV glow
I’ve been feeding mirrors, bleeding on tip-toes

Chorus:
It’s hard times for the quiet kind
They tame their tongues then wait in line
While the Cadillac kids pay no mind
I don’t want to be the one they leave behind

I cut my teeth neath dead heroes, who live on on my wall
Their voices blown, their elbows thrown, but that’s not what I recall
All around, there were preachers with furrowed brows
Poor pundits paid to stretch their mouths
But the widest eyes are blind when looking around

Chorus

Last night I dreamt I was ten feet tall, and I punched right through the roof
Right past Papa’s sullen stare, sighing “that’s not what we do”
But I wanna hush that quiet chain this heart
And I wanna shout out loud
I wanna climb these walls before they climb all over me

Chorus









The Fire Inside


I know angels listen when you sing
Your music stand in the corner, your voicemail recordings
Cute hair brush tied to a string

But I know dishes ain’t for stacking in sinks
Wrinkles not for shirts, closets not for dirt
This tub won’t scrub itself

Chorus
Sadie stay steady I’m on your side
But baby when are you gonna learn?
Now is not the time for the fire inside
To come out and burn

I know you been sleeping with open eyes
Your demo tape topped the household charts
In your coffeeshop show you looked real nice

I know you been staring at a picture of old
I must’ve looked different, I must’ve looked younger
Cuz I heard you whisper “where did he go?”

Chorus

I heard there’s somebody new at your door
Well I bet he’s younger, but I do wonder
Why you don’t sing anymore

Chorus









King’s Men


Oh I got me a three piece
I wear it with a gold plated pin
No you’ll never see me
Sewing torn stitches within

Oh I bought a Ferrari
I drive it down Main Street and back
No you’ll never see it
Parked in front of my one bedroom shack

Chorus
So why you wanna drink from a bottle that’s broken
Why you wanna think using words so spoken
Why you wanna lose when winning is winning
Where are all the king’s men when you need them

My baby’s a good girl
She knows what to call me at home
God bless her soul
She don’t dare get it wrong

She gave me a good son
He’s got his daddy’s eyes
He says he’s a star in the schoolyard
He knows better not to cry

Chorus

I wake in the morning
Raise my chin, tie my tie
Look in the broken mirror
It’s only a matter of time

Chorus









Strongman


You told me I was born a promised man
You taught me how to feed with an iron hand
I died twice last week but you showed me how to rise again
You can try to take me down boy, I’m not gonna go

Now you’re running with the weak gone left behind
You’re shouting for the sorry suckers crying and quiet
You cry, sigh, lie try to tell me that they really look a lot like me
You can try to take me down boy, I’m not gonna go
No I’m set in stone

I thought about the pounding on my door
I thought about the wide-eyed fires below
I sigh twice at the window then I snicker at the beggars and chumps
You can try to take me down boy, I’m not gonna go
No I’m set in stone

Your ivory tower’s bigger than mine and you know it
But you gotta put your hand in the mud to throw it
I’ve got what you need, not what you want
Just remember where I come from
And imagine here when I’m gone

You can try to take me down boy, I’m not gonna go
No I’m set in stone

The hard rain blew a thorn in my side
The change that came drank my wine
Stones don’t always roll, stones don’t always roll

I’m the kind that don’t look back
At the broken hearts and bones on my path
The sleepwalker never falls down, The wax wing never hits the ground

And it’s so hard to break a habit like you

Now my hands they shake for the first time
I’ve never waited for a ringing phone line
Don’t dare tell a soul, don’t you tell a soul

It’s so hard to break a habit like you

As I lay a hard soul gone
I dream the walls of Babylon
Cracked soon will fall, cracked soon will fall
OR I dream the streams of Babylon, soon grow up to floods, soon grow up to floods

It’s so hard to break a habit like you









This Will Not Be Easy


Seven days and my black shoes keeping their shine
I pack my lunch and drive with no place in mind
But what do you see when your mirror breaks?
And what do you do when you do for the sake?
I will stand like I once stood
But I know this will not be easy

Seven months and these dirt hands cracked at the seams
At night I scrub so hard to remember them clean
So how do you swim when the water’s drying?
And how do you fly in a falling sky?
Hope I stand like I once stood
And I know this will not be easy

Seven years and those black shoes covered in gray
Found them deep in the closet yesterday
All this walk when I’ve run so long
All this talk when I’ve spoken in song
I once stood so tall they say
And I hope this will not be easy









I Don’t Wanna Go Home


Good boy Jack got his good boy wife,
Keeps frames on the wall, makes him pecan pie
But the fires inside keep him up at night,
Screaming if you’re dreaming and you wanna get going, get gone

Leaves his wife at the door because she understands,
Even packs his lunch like a good wife can
’96 Crown Vic, half a gallon of gas,
And a gold road with the ghosts of poets past

Chorus:
I don’t wanna go home, no no
But thanks for the offer my friend

Now the rains falls hard, the wind runs fast,
The wheels cut road like a train off tracks
He stares so straight past the lightning crash,
And the picture of his wife he left on the dash

Down down down the hail and them wheels explode into thick thick air
When the roof comes off Jack’s nothing but nothing
The vultures up above hear him muttering something

Chorus

When the Crown Vic kicks, can’t go no more
Jacks holds that wheel, Jack don’t let go
Can’t quit now, he whispers over and over
While the picture of his wife floats slow to the floor

Chorus









Wonderland


Brother I been lying all along
My collar’s not as clean as I let on
My heart’s pain free, my coffee’s weak
And I been staring out the car window too long
Wandering souls won’t go home, until they find their own
But I won’t go back to Wonderland

Sister I been trying to sing in key
And carry on with decent company
But my smile’s not cold, my sins not sold
And I try to be polite but it’s not cheap
When bright lights sigh at my stroll,
I’ll find my feet and quiet my soul
And I won’t go back to Wonderland


Yes I wholeheartedly agree
These ships set sail on different seas
Oh how hard I’ve tried to straighten my stride on the tides I ride
When my time finally comes,
I’ll hide my sighs and bite my tongue
And I won’t go back to Wonderland

Late last week with my dirt hands blessed
And beat and burned
I put on my Sunday best
And cashed my earn

Uptown man shed a welcome smile
And a sorry sigh
Said the drought gone made this whole well dry
And he smiled goodbye
The drought gone made this whole well dry
And he smiled goodbye

chorus
Oh so you wanna get a rise?
Lemme put black boots on and let’s take it outside
Oh we’re gonna make wrong right
Uptown’s gonna go downtown tonight

So I tipped my hat to the next uptown
Another man to try
He said the earth gone shoot this whole town down
And he smiled goodbye
The earth gone shoot this whole town down
And he smiled goodbye

chorus

Well you can dry my well, you can shake my land
For a good time cheap
But this hat will never go in hand
For a good night’s sleep
They say some men can always stand
And it’s always free

chorus









Quiet Quiet Ground


I wanna be sailing the seas
in a cracked bathtub with a shower curtain on the mast
I wanna climb mountains on high
with block flip flops and a pick axe made of glass

chorus
And if you see me ride with a strut in stride tell my mama I’m a long way gone
And if you see me fly in them screaming skies
won’t you bring me on back down to the quiet quiet ground

I wanna build temples and tombs
for the dead not living and the living dead waking up
I wanna rule armies and fools
With a sword gone dull and a voice gone mute and numb
And if you see me rise and not look behind tell my mama I’m a long way gone
And if you see me fly in them screaming skies
won’t you bring me on back down to the quiet quiet ground

chorus

Laying in this field, floating on my back
with a breeze pleasing dreams I surely pray
That when I’m a saint steering skies uncracked
I remember to remember how the grass felt on my legs
And if you see me sigh at others’ aimless eyes
tell my mama I’m a long way gone
And if you see me fly in them screaming skies
won’t you bring me on back down to the quiet quiet ground

chorus









Mannequin Man


Mama fits frames, finds space on the wall
Papa counts tuition in dimes
I’m a good son soaking what’s around and that’s all
Wondering when there comes a time
When’s it gonna be my time?

The plastic man did a dance, sang me a song,
Offered up the green and the gold
I said “thank you man, I got a plan, I’m righting the wrong
But let me go and get your coat
Let me go and get your coat”

Chorus:
I was born to be a mover, not a mannequin man
Sworn to shake the sugar, not like a mannequin man
I’ll be gone before they take me as a mannequin man

The rag tag man with a shuffle and sway
Offered up a bloody hand
I said “thank you brother, I’ll give you a brand new day”
Just tell em I’m your hero again
Tell em again and again and again

Chorus

I shake a strong hand, beam at a strong stand
Leave in my Rolls, brand new
Mama steps back, sights her frames on the wall
Wishing she could make more room
Oh can we get a bit more room?

Chorus

I’ll be damned, damned, damned if you take me…









House on the Hill


The sixth house on the seventh street
Green shutters and the willow tree
Pot of coffee halfway full
My head on the window sill
Looking up towards the hill

That day the walls collapsed
The sky was torn and fast
I was not overcome
By my father’s son
Yes sir, I finally won

Yet I’m colder still

I learned to not ask why
When I smile at a bright blue sky
Now I sleep in the sun
Like my daddy never done

In this house up on the hill
Up where the wind is still
The lights way down below
Stay warm with a common glow

And I’m colder still

Last night with the coffee full
Put my head on the window sill
I tried hard not to sleep
I tried so hard to dream









Back in the Back


Boy bleeds on a blacktop roof, the waters are rising, the choppers are mute
Boy counts his legs and arms and smiles to the sky and I wonder why

Boy half a world away buckles his belt and kills to be saved
His pants were never dry, yet he smiles to the sky and I wonder why

Oh, you better get better your soul, because the line is forming
Be quick or be quiet, cause just like that, you’re back in the back again

I am a sinner’s saint, I may not be good, but I ain’t no slave
Some men got poisoned tears, do they fear to be loved, or love to be feared?

Oh, you better get better your soul, because the line is forming
Be quick or be quiet, cause just like that, you’re back in the back again

Now I’ve seen the robeman selling psalms. And when the hand shakes, great, but don’t let anybody see you don’t let anybody see cause when you’re down, down, down in the water you’re just like a child.

I’d be just like a child.

And I’m bound, bound, bound to drown. Better run and hide. Better run and hide.

Oh, you better get better your soul, because the line is forming

Be quick or be quiet.









Cul de Sac


I met my daddy’s friend
Three little girls and a hand to lend
I’ve seen him build the deadly drones
I’ve seen them eat when the fires blow

Right next door is my mama’s pal
Olive branch on her bumper and she’s raising hell
Builds stickers and signs with her neighbor’s face
And a hat passed well makes a hearty plate

I’ve got my thumb on the pulse of a nation

I got em tagged from across the street
(Oh Charlie goes round again)
And I see and I write and I hear and I speak
(Oh Charlie goes round again)
And I hope you check the evening news
(Oh Charlie goes round again)
Or else I will go hungry soon
(Oh Charlie goes round)

I’ve got my thumb on the pulse of a nation

And you shake your head from across the tracks
With money in your wallet and a bone in your back
You say “I got ideals” I say “I got my pride”
And words are words from across divides

I know you see
that you’re just like me
You sigh, opine
But we ride

I’ve got my thumb on the pulse of a nation









Cathedral Walls


Down in a town in a house in a room in a bed
The new revolution never made it to the pen from the head
The shoes in the hallway are tied but they’re not worn
The vows in the diary down but they’re not sworn

And Charlie’s outside, standing in line, waiting for word from a man in the sky

Oh father can you hear me outside cathedral walls?

The dust on the window’s a moat for a powerful king
From outside a prison from inside freedom will ring
Papa’s got pictures of old and he looked like me
But they’re stuck in a room in a corner box that you can’t see

The hats in the hall are much too small but I’d like to think I can fit in them all

Oh father can you hear me outside cathedral walls?
Oh Papa are you listening through those damn Wisconsin bells?

Call it a prayer, call it a lie, but nobody gets out of life alive

Oh father can you hear me outside cathedral walls?
Oh Papa are you listening through those damn Wisconsin bells?









Good Enough


I combed my hair real nice tonight
I wore cologne and a shave real tight
No picture frames, no bracelet chains in mind

The buses are lined and lit so warm
I pay my fare and glide easily on
She sat right next to me and sold her scent for a smile

A hat hides headphones, a foot tapping soft
A tattoo peeking where her jeans cut off
I want her sins but I don’t want her name

Her shoes look like ones that you once wore
With a broken buckle jingling on the dance floor
And when you fell, you blamed them well and I sighed
But I ain’t sighing now

If it’s good enough for you, well then it’s good enough for him

The bus slows, she reaches low
Grabs her bag, stands up, grabs the pole
And down the stairs, while my hands are bare and clean

I wonder if she’ll dance tonight
I wonder if her shoes will stay tight
I wonder why I’m wondering at all
And so I say

If it’s good enough for you, well then it’s good enough for him









Stoop Cats


Well I was born in record time
Potty trained when I got home
I grew a mustache by age nine
And by sixteen I owned a Rolls

I don’t want your sympathy, but I only got eight degrees

My oh my, you’ve really done it this time
Why oh why would you lie about those stoop cats sighing?

Now there’s some bridge named after me
And for my plaques I ran out of wall
And while you wait and have a seat
Well I jump and have a ball

They say that scrutiny is a classic sign of envy

My oh my, you’ve really done it this time
Why oh why would you lie about those stoop cats sighing?









Devil’s Arms


Well old Ms. Carter looked so pretty in the dime store spending Bens
The preacher round the corner’s crying foul, and yeah I understand.

Well old Ms. Carter sang so sweetly, her sweetness sent to me.
Well I’ve never heard that song but tonight, I’ll revel in her key.

Late last night, with sins to spare, I wore my shoes and combed my hair.
I felt alright and brought to bear.
I’d find my place in line but the devil’s arms got tired.

Well Sunday morning they just kept threatening and I said “what a sight!”
Preacher’s got a dictionary in his left hand and a wallet in his right.

Late last night, with sins to spare, I wore my shoes and combed my hair.
I felt alright and brought to bear.
I’d find my place in line but the devil’s arms got tired.

Well old man preacher I know my history and I hear you hearing me.
I saw you sighing, staring, making eyes, so why not go and see?

Late last night, with sins to spare, I wore my shoes and combed my hair.
I felt alright and brought to bear.
I’d find my place in line but the devil’s arms got tired.









A Little Too Old


Well I warned you about Etta James, and her monumental mistakes
She never let her lipstick dry
She always let em see her cry

And I caught you with a camera and curls, and a push pin map of the world
Your diary was new and neat
Like the sparkles underneath your feet

Out of a blue, they were singing a song, and I don’t know why you were singing along.
Everyone knows, darling, everyone knows you’re a little too old for that.

I once was a man who could cry. I once had wings, I would fly
But there’s only one way to eat
There’s only one ground for your feet

So go on, go on Betty Blue. Maybe the stars will wish upon you
Or maybe you’ll be just like me
And your wings will turn back into feet

Out of a blue, they were singing a song, and I don’t know why you were singing along.
Everyone knows, darling, everyone knows you’re a little too old for that.

Oh Elaine, won’t you save me.









Roll of the Dice


I’ve known a poor boy for sixteen years
I’ve stored up and swallowed sixteen tears.
When I shake his hand my eyes never stray,
And I check out in the mirror and I’m on my merry way.

Well I was born on Beacon on a street you see on tours
He was born somewhere else, where, I’m not really sure.
But I always trim the curtains, I always trim the fat,
I always carry quarters for upside-down hats.

Hey, I’ve been right, and I’ve been good, and I’ve sung songs where Jesus has stood
You wonder why some weights won’t die? I’ll bet my boots it’s the roll of the dice

My daddy’s got six houses down from Edgartown to Rome,
My momma’s storing statues that she never thought she’d own.
My brother bets on thoroughbreds to win and not to show,
I’m having trouble sleeping and I wonder if they know.

Cuz I know it ain’t so pretty man, it ain’t so safe and clean,
And I do believe I’ve seen em bleed in Time Magazine.
And all the doctor’s daughters and all the bankers boys,
I wonder if they’ve ever packaged up any joy.

Hey, I’ve been right, and I’ve been good, and I’ve sung songs where Jesus has stood
You wonder why some weights won’t die? I’ll bet my boots it’s the roll of the dice

Upon my introspection, upon scrutinizing seeds,
And reckoning a fine line between hobby and need,
I wonder when time passes if I’ll ever feel that shame,
And I wonder if I will recall that poor boy’s name.

I wonder if I will recall that poor boy’s name.
I wonder if I will recall that poor boy’s name.
I wonder if I will recall that poor boy’s name.
That poor boy’s name.

Hey, I’ve been right, and I’ve been good, and I’ve sung songs where Jesus has stood
You wonder why some weights won’t die? I’ll bet my boots it’s the roll of the dice









Eventually


Did you hear about Ray cursing at the river flow?
He left home for an hour seventeen hours ago.
He was thirty years young and got caught in the mud, doesn’t wash his feet no more.

Oh eventually, what a sight we’ll see. Won’t you wait for me all night?

I met Ray once drawing deep from the well.
One more, one more round, cause Ray’s got stories to tell.
And his eyes light up in the neon glow, wishing he’d made more to sell.

Oh eventually, what a sight we’ll see. Won’t you wait for me all night?

They say, he died, paying the river’s debt.
I think he lied. His body never got wet.
A frame in his left hand, a pen in his right, a wallet with dollars to spend.

Oh eventually, what a sight I’ll see. Don’t you wait for me no more.









When I Grow Up


The common king of Babylon found his friends with common song.
And at night, he writes the thought of few and tucks them deep inside his head.

The cordial king, with dirt on hands, cries the tears of the working man.
And at night, out of their sight, and out of his mind, his hands are cold and clean.

When the kings and queens command their dreams, yes sir I’ve got my own.
I’ve seen their eyes, and they’re just like mine.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.

The fearless king, upon a fight, pounds his chest and looks behind.
And at night, without might, will he be a man? Or will he rise above?

When the kings and queens command their dreams, yes sir I’ve got my own.
I’ve seen their eyes, and they’re just like mine.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.

What’s a boy without his toys? What’s a king without his voice?
Jesus left a life to lead, and then he left his name.

When the kings and queens command their dreams, yes sir I’ve got my own.
I’ve seen their eyes, and they’re just like mine.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.
I hope when I grow up, I grow up.









Just A Midnight Ride


I got me a Cadillac, and it’s real nice. It’s real nice.
I keep it out front and not out back. I like the shine.
I like the shine.

These days my bed is so big, but I like it that way. I like it that way.
Her toothbrush still sits in the sink, and there it stays.
There it stays.

But oh Miss Marie, won’t you come outside? I’ve been around, I know the water’s dry. The key’s in the ignition and it feels real nice.
Oh, just a midnight ride.

These days my days are free. It didn’t work out, it hardly does.
I wait in line for a check or three. I can’t sit down, I won’t stand up.

I once had me a puppy dog, but I let him ride. I let him ride.
I tried but he never talked. He wouldn’t stay inside.
He wouldn’t stay inside.

But oh Miss Marie, won’t you come outside? I’ve been around, I know the water’s dry. The key’s in the ignition and it feels real nice. Oh, just a midnight ride.

I got me a Cadillac, and it’s real nice. It’s real nice.
I keep it out front and not out back. I like the shine.
I like the shine.