You had enough so you moved out to find what the world’s about. Then you hit 21 years old. Something snapped, and now all of your stories don’t make much sense. Losing touch, with your job, your school, parents, where are your friends? Static grew and somehow faces end up black and blue. You got me outta bed for what? Watch you getting drunk and yelling fuck ‘em all, the fall it flew in and fell on you. Flood the room with wine, you float across the floor, the war spilled out I’m wading through. Talk about the kid who took the window down and found a snow bank, broken man. I wonder if he thinks he shoulda took the stairs? Aware, some are playing with raw hands. No there’s no reason to doubt these chemicals won’t balance out. Ya got a hungry lonely look. All your intentions get mistook. I grabbed your collar hard and shook. Scratch it off, kinda like the tattoos we’d rub on in school. Stayin’ close, ‘cause I know in your head self-destruction’s cool. So late – I’d offer to buy, I know you won’t take. Minds get corrupted; it’s too hard to talk. Stay here much more we’ll get outlined in chalk. I say I’ll call a cab you say I’ll walk. How’d another year turn out so bad?
Keep holding the days that time’s stolen with you. The funny, sad dumb things that you’d do, mistakes and bad tattoos. And we’d burn ablaze through the streets of this maze getting lost. You’d make me laugh ‘til dawn broke, I got the note that you wrote/and finding holes to fall through, I wonder where you’ve gone to. A shot, you flew. I’m hoping that you’re not a shadow of the girl that I once knew, because the world turns perfect faces black and blue. Are you keeping up, or are you falling down?
The boards, they bounce up and down in an abandoned house. Amps exploding, and our ears bleed red – but we yell out every note. In the kitchen you tell me ‘bout the evils of the world. Swallow hard on every truth that’s been fermenting in your throat. Know that’s it’s my luck I’m leaving, I met you once when I was dreaming. I’m waiting for a spark to reignite. Lie to me, I love believing. Take the mundane, look for meaning in everything, you’re everything tonight. On the lawn outside Gabe shoots bottle rockets through the night, lighting up the summer sky. Catch fire, I’m burning up with you. Something in the air makes me wonder why the hell I’d care about tomorrow when it’s all right here – the wine the hope and you. So I hit the road; wheeled the van off of the grass and drove. Miles slipped in between of you and me, it’s what I always do. And in the morning all that fills me is regret. I know I’ve traded winning hands for losing bets. The moment’s gone.
STARTING AT AN ENDING
Counting down the days ‘til I’m with you. I cringe at words I say. I’m swimming with the sharks the work week through, so I’m drowning come Friday. Reaching front door, turning on the radio, walking to the liquor store. You’re what I came here for, you’re what I came here for. But I’ve got nothing left – a couple bucks, some cigarettes. I pick a day to say I’ll quit. I’m filled with hope or full of shit. It doesn’t really matter where I look, the directions seem the same. I’m closing out my nights with Fante books. If you’re happy then why change. Counting up what’s left. I let it ride on easy bets. Once I traded in free will it got easy to keep still. You’re what I came here for, what’s the point of anything.
Half asleep with the sun coming up out east. We’re driving down Garfield Ave when you said a strange and significant thing: I can remember the words “this was, a beautiful night, it won’t ever happen this way again.” No my dear, nothing much grows around here. We carry our roots with us, a couple of weeds, pulled up. Misguided girl you’ll be the heroine of my book. The plot is the course we took, the setting can’t be no where else in the world. And the story opens up with you, your broken dreams and cheap perfume. You’re on a city bus, the rain it falls. Your makeup bleeds, the wind it howls. I stumble on from Uptown bars – I guess that’s all I’ve got so far, but at the end, I don’t know how, you save me and you save yourself. It ends so soon, the night and the fading moon. I put my hand inside yours. The city looks strange and significant. Know these streets, the place where I’ll live and die. Resigned to that fact but I’m hoping it happens this way again. Fall asleep to the radio. Try to keep what I got from you. Hard to do in these dreary days.
Scraping skies with shirts and ties and I can feel you waste away. The bets are long, I wanna get it wrong with you. It’s such a goddamn beautiful day. To hell with red lights, driving on. An open cage, this bird is gone. But I can’t leave this town if you’re not with me. I’ve been fighting boredom and routine. I’ll trade the white for forest green. But I can’t leave this town if you’re not with me we’ll see/I’m lost. Crimson skies, drinking oceans dry. Not where the salt paints colors grey. It clouds your eyes. Take what hasn’t died with you. I’ve got a map, sleep all the way. I marked a place worth going to (cue the brightest moon, kill the city lights now). The coast is clear, an amazing view. We’ve got your luck to see us through. We’ll keep on running through the warning signs. It beats sitting here all the time. And at the crosstown disappear behind the northern skyline.
DRAINS TO THE MISSISSIPPI
So where did August go? The leaves are shriveled up and dead. What started yellow has turned to grey. I turned you red. I was suffocating so I took a breath and let you go. You left me leaning and I spent the evening pounding sand with pounding head. I woke up to the rain. It won’t be the same here without you. So goodbye and good luck, know it won’t be the same. Was kinda drunk that night you know, and now I’m outside kicking stones and getting drunk on grief. Down and incomplete, walking Carson Street alone. The summer heat it grabbed me by the neck and hung me out to dry. Dropping into cold, twist my fists in folds of my winter clothes. Alone, I’m going home to an empty room, to a cave on Orchard road. Absurd fucking world. Feel like dropping dead, but I laugh instead. Dumb guy, smart girl.
FAREWELL TO IRON BASTARDS
Settle in ‘cause the road going West got drowned. A river’s running through this town. It picks me up that for a few more days you’ll stick around ‘cause alone I’m sick, get sad quick, hate no sound. We’re inside while their cars are stalling. Drying out with the raindrops falling down, and tonight tonight you’ve opened up my world, so thank you. Smiling hard like my face was frozen. I figure out what I can’t when you’re not around and tonight tonight you’ve opened up my world, so thank you. Told you once that if life got too grim I’d coast to Meadow Bay, become a ghost. I’d tie some weights on and think ‘bout what I’d loved the most – you, in Minnesota air, ‘lone and standing there, I’ve been so close. In the midst of enough how I’d end up starving? It’s a foreign country. Never felt like home. Took a storm and a drink, washing out pretense. Puddled up on the floor soaking up defense. Squinting eyes makes the world make a bit more sense, you know?
Counting lines that cross my face and moving objects into place. I’ll never make it through so I’ll make a deal with you – let me drink your wine and waste your time and whatever I’ve got I’ll give to you. We’ve just got to wait ‘til Spring and see what all it brings. I bleed like everybody else, you look like everybody else. We’ll breathe this toxic air and pretend not to care. If we can conquer Bleeker Street I know we’ll land right on our fucking feet. We’re just walking home through an empty lot. We’ll take the world on – the year that I’ve had think it’s worth a shot. I’m writing over days better left forgot and navigating ways through a twisted plot. And we’re just walking home through an empty lot.
HOLD ME UP
A look at you it hurts, I can’t deny that. It makes all the blood and bones melt right out of my knees when you speak. A picture so perfect – it’s framed with the moon, your face and eucalyptus trees. All of the streetlights are broken tonight. I’m broken down. So let me go with you. I get through days finding ways to feel alright. Be the tape and glue that holds me up. Wanna know where you go when you’re not lighting up the night and taking lows to drunken heights. I can’t go home. I grin a crescent moon, it lights the road in a dead valley town. You say “can’t imagine my days playing out here, lawns are so perfect” but you’d be amazed, can end up here lots of ways. So let me stay with you. I get through days finding ways to feel alright. Be the tape and glue that holds me up. Settled in poured our hearts out on the floor. Said on 10th and Grand, I saw a bum leaning up against a door. As we passed him by my only thought – could be you, could be m, we’ve still got time. April 1 and the ground has just thawed out. The white got black. Pray for rain and an end to March’s drought. Tell the ceiling cracks we’re the same we got tired of fighting. Slept it off and I woke up writing. Places I’ve been, the people I’ve known. Capped the pen, grabbed my bag and headed home. Bottle days so they spill out into night. Scattered thoughts on a page polluting white. I find myself in the kitchen, aim for a couple barks that bite. I scratched your name but nothing came.
Another day, it’s poetry. Write it, spill my heart out to her – but I’m no writer. Just bad rhymes and some confused sentiment. It was love, she’s done with me. I’m no good here in this world to no one, I watch the window. Count cars, not a new thought in my head. And I sold my hopes to closing doors. Left to die in the snow, getting old and getting bored. I color inside the lines of days with blue since we drove up to Bunker Hill and you said “I can’t take a winter one more year. If I don’t leave now I’ll die right here.” You got aboard on a train headed no place. Took a seat by yourself – we all need space. Passing towns with no names, no lit streets. From wet and cold to dry and heat. Dozing off, nest in your arm. Rumbling through desert night, cling your overnight bag. Train jerks, voices float, the engine wails. When the station emptied out I dragged myself down to Franklin Ave where the sleet it hit me. New dreams resting on some old steel rails.
WRITE IT DOWN
The ragged clothes you wore made you look like a hobo. Ten to four, the neighbors pound the floor. We’re cracking up ‘til I couldn’t take no more from you. The wine, the heater glow. Warming up under icy Midwest skies. I would have left here long ago, but knowing you means there’s always some surprise. We’re done with keeping score. Flipping through all your records across the floor. The snow has blocked the door. We played them all and we’ll play a couple more… so I wrote it down, kept that night around. Kept it right here with me.