This city is an empty glass. Words do not hear. No one sleeps. This city is an empty glass. Graciousness is lost. The betrayed yearn. This city is an empty glass. Shops are closed. There is nothing to.... This city is an empty glass. The buildings shrink as everything weeps. This city is an empty glass. The trees hang their heads and the wired wants fade, fray. The swans swim silent leads. This city is an empty glass. In the air: shrieks. The breath is long. For the fires are out and the waters sit still. This city is an empty glass.
LONG ROAD, NO TURNS
Everybody climbs up high then falls real far. A little is all it takes. Everybody climbs up high then falls real far. And I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to say when people come apart. The road is long, the road is dark and these are just the words to somebody else’s song. Everybody gets in line and makes mistakes. A little is all it takes. Everybody gets in line and makes mistakes. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to say when people come undone. The road is dark, the road is long. Remember these are just the words to somebody else’s songs, so don’t play along, or play a part. Don’t look to me under the weight of your shouldered cross. It may please your heart to see some shackled, wrists and throat, naked as the day they were born.... Everybody climb up high then fall real far, a little is all it will take. Everybody get in line and makes mistakes, but I wont know what to say when you come undone, when you come apart. Remember that the road is long. Remember that the road is dark. Don’t waste your time learning the words to somebody else’s song. It may please your heart to see some shackled, wrists and throat, naked as the day they were, but no ones gonna do that for you. Ain’t it funny how it works, someone’s always got it worse. They hit the ground harder than you.
SATAN IN THE WAIT
That bastard had a head like matchstick, a face like he’d been sucking concrete through a straw. “Some faces not even a mother can love.” Says the spit and spatter of broken glass from above. “There’s a tombstone where your headboard used to be.” They tell him every night before sleep, every night before he dreams big and becomes complete. Then he sees himself floating high above the certainty of his feet, meets some gutless worm, seeking a free ride inside the stomach of a whale. He can live without air for several days, he says. He says, he knows things, this man, he says. He says he wouldn’t wait for the light or the dark to fade, he says he would mouth on the mouths of the damned elites. “Their bodies are open, their channels are open. This world is opening up.” “Yeah I’m good for whatever.” The other smiles convinced. “Tell me what’s best and when. I’ll save the date, I’ll set the tone, I’ll wander in my sleep.” They each raise a glass and clang. “Here’s to what will. Here’s to the sharpened pencil, splitting the cast from the skin, curing the itch, curling the toes. Here’s to celebrity and fulfillment. Here’s to the top of the world. Here’s to the tired leaning wall. Here’s to the tragedy to ensue.” Today’s gonna feel like tomorrow, someday. Tomorrow’s gonna feel like yesterday.
THE FLAMMABLE MAN
I don’t lie awake at night, for a good time. I don’t live near the ocean anymore, out of fear the tide will turn. I don’t lie awake at night, for a good time, because it’s fun. I don’t live near the ocean anymore, out of fear that the tide will turn. I don’t bet on the horses anymore, keeping away from the one I rode in on. Is something burning here, or is it me?
THE LORD’S SONG
An eye drips, a heavy heart, a heavy heart. Something waiting, winged. A heavy heart, a heavy heart wanting- for the chorus to sing itself, for the meandering years to fade. “I cry about it because I want to.” If one could hear the song, the sampled voice of God, singing cry.... A will stirs a stolen arc, a stolen arc. Cannons, trumpets swell for a falling arch, a fallen arch stolen. With the words beneath my pillowed head I am staring at the ceiling again. “I cry about it because I want to.” If one could hear the song, the sterile voice of God, singing cry on cry on.
I let it into my home, I let it in from the cold. Led a long way down. I let it into my head, I let it into my heart. Led a long way down. I let it into my bed, I gave it complete control. Led a long way down.
I just thought I’d let you know: there’s war in an old set of bones- when they shake, you can feel the earth moan. There’s a war. And it rips through the hills on a child’s roar. It skips across the water like a stone. There’s a sure rope swinging, without a head in its jaws- it’s waiting. There’s a war. (It takes time then goes) We’re open mouthed in the deepest shit of all, (It comes then it goes) the spitting image of an unanswered call. (It takes time then goes) Lost love in a gaping maw. (It comes then it goes) The same dead hand knocking at the door. So real back and say “Oh, we never should’ve let them go.” and “No, no, there are no saints anymore.” and “Oh, love is a tired whore.” Then the piano wire is impressed by the key. The hammer pulls the car around back and everyone piles in. A schedule is mentioned. A horn sounds in the distance. Some pasteurized idea vibrates a pocket. Is this meant to be or wicked chance? They drive on, as each street lines a memory. Knowing they’ll die here or there. Knowing they die here and there.
THE REASON THEY HATE ME
Don’t tell me how to do my job, while you carry on like a son of a bitch. They got a name for people like you, but I didn’t take the time to write it down. You have a lot of fun playing grab-ass with the boys. Which one’s gonna give you a ride home? Which one’s gonna walk you to the door? Wonder which one’s gonna call? Maybe the sun waits for you to be shown what to do. And pretend. Don’t tell me how to do my job, you gimme- gimme son of a bitch. They got a name for people like you, but I don’t give a good goddamn to remember what it is. You’re hoping that emotionless trips gonna pay-off. You’re gonna hope and wish all day. If you could slide a couple fingers under the skin, do you think you’d find that affirmation that you need?
Paul eases into the driveway, then kills the engine. Sitting for a spell, staring out the windshield, down the hood to the stalled garage door. “Nothing ever works around here.” He says to himself. The ignition births the keys into his hands. He opens the door and the world feels suddenly different. He senses something terrible awaiting him, a loose thread, a worsening. In that moment he turns to the sky. He notices it is darker now than it used to be; it is darker now at this hour, than it was last week. Then within or beyond himself, a voice more primal, is urging him, to go, to run. Across the loose brick he propels himself toward the evening greeting, but his inability to shake the warning sees him grinding his teeth. Paul turns to his right, tracing the unkempt bushes aligning the house and the beds cracking beneath. Reaching over to uncouple the latch, sweat forms on his brow and the back of his neck and years of servitude are at last present; he can feel them in his bones. Paul is overwhelmed with the need to cry, to crumple down to his knees and release, but pride gives him a shove, nursing him across the muddied, neglected lawn. He inhales through his nose, thinks, “There is so much more to be done.” Then suddenly stopped in his tracks, by his youngest child, telling his father: to go, to run. He explodes through the backyard like he’s shot out of a gun, clearing the fence in one leap, landing in a heap in the ally between the neighboring houses. Body broken by nothing, he falls. Knocking over trashcans as he makes his way. Sprinting like some wild animal. A blur beneath the streetlamps. Overhead, a terror-scream. Everything he has is within him. His shoes come from off his feet and shadow him for several yards, ghosts of what he was, desperate to keep up until gone. Now the road, punching upward, into his soft, naked feet. He is never-knowing, never again. Forever flowing. No more waiting. His muscles burn. Deciding to run until he can run no more. To find everything he can find. To know, to see, for himself, if there is an ocean beyond the waves.
The incorrigible wheel tilts at a grotesque angle. The delay is upon me. Who locked the door? Who bent the key? I’ve been knocking and knocking. Let me in. I need a place to bury the soulless, charming, winter-hell creature upon me. Who boarded the windows? Who closed the screens? I’ve been knocking and knocking. Let me in. I have come from great distance, from where you can’t see. It is there, believe me, now let me in. Let me in. Who put a padlock on the cellar door? Let me in. I’ve been knocking, let me in. Who bricked off the chimney? I can’t hear you speak. I’ve been knocking and knocking, let me in.