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Lyrics


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Lyrics


All lyrics by Marc M Cogman (c) 1999-2016

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Nothing is Fantastic (2017)


Nothing is Fantastic (2017)


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The Train and the Tunnel

Spring on the plains. It’s looking like rain. I’m trying to reach you. But you’re out on the coast with some holy ghost. That’s where it keeps you. So I might catch a ride on a jet out west and come pick you up, and we can remember the best of times, when we felt alive. Because you got lost somewhere out there and it broke your heart when things fell apart. So you shut your eyes.

But how do I say: that light at the end of the tunnel, it ain’t some saving grace. It’s a freight train racing fast, and it’s going to knock you flat. That line that gives you hope, it ain’t some rescue rope. There’s poison in its teeth. You gotta wake from this dream.

The gods inspire. Faith lights a fire. It overtakes you. But gods betray: they giveth, they taketh away, and fathers can fail you. So why don’t I gather the old gang together for one more show, and we can play all your favorite songs, because it’s been too long. You got lost somewhere out there and we need you back, with your soul intact, not some empty shell.

But how do I say: that light at the end of the tunnel, it ain’t some saving grace. It’s a freight train racing fast, and it’s going to knock you flat. That line that gives you hope, it ain’t some rescue rope. There’s poison in its teeth. You gotta wake up from this dream. You gotta wake from this dream.

 

 Fake Constellations

Nothing feels like seventeen, riding round with the music loud like a high school punk-rock queen, but all the stars you’re wishing on are really just bulbs on a string and what you think you want so bad really doesn’t mean anything.

I never should have walked you home. I never should have walked you home. You’d have been better off alone. I never should have walked you home.    

Back then everything was a game. To be young is to suffer and yet never really feel any pain. No, that comes later, when you realize it’s never the same. And all the stars above your bed are just plastic and double-stick tape.

I never should have walked you home. I never should have walked you home. You’d have been better off alone. I never should have walked you home. When you think of how one thing leads to another, you can’t help but wonder - if you’d gone a different road… I never should have walked you home.

Yeah, I was your high school punk-rock king, but all the things we thought were true didn’t mean anything, and the stars we were wishing on were really just bulbs on a string.

 

 Ode to Disaster

Praise the lord for his disasters: all the agony and dread. And those things you can’t imagine: if they came along and happened, they just might be for the best. I’m not tethered to a monster. I’m not drowning in the red. And no matter how depressing, I should be down counting blessings on my knees beside my bed.

Tattoo roses for the living. Tattoo black stars for the dead. And there ain’t no use crying now. Be a fortunate son somehow.  Praise the lord for his disasters, hit the floor beside your bed, hush the voices in your head.

I go back to California. It still feels a lot like home. But that knife that keeps on twisting: when I hold my brothers’ children, I can’t help thinking of my own.

Tattoo roses for the living. Write the other two an ode. And there ain’t no use crying now.  Be a fortunate son somehow.  Praise the lord for his disasters, keep on carrying the load. You’re a lucky one, you know.

Tattoo roses for the living; don’t forget the others, though. And there ain’t no use crying now. Be a fortunate son somehow.  Praise the lord for his disasters. You’re a lucky one, you know. Keep on rolling up that stone.

 

 The Trouble with Sinking

She corners you as you leave the party, pulls you by your belt to her body, lets you know she’s onto your weakness, lets you have a taste of her secrets, shows you where you can sink your teeth in.

Now your life is like a blue movie. On the floor, says “Do it to me.” Now you lose your way in all your hunger, every rolling wave, you’re diving under, paddling out to where it gets deeper. From the shoreline you’re just a black blur, courting danger out on the water. And all your friends say you’re disappearing, but out to sea, it’s not like you’re hearing talking heads with all their opinions, drifting further into the distance, unaware you’re already sinking.

And all of the fog thins out by noon. And all of the grey soon burns off to blue. When the layers are lifted, what’s left of you?

The old crowd moved on to new cities. They’re scattered now, the ghosts of your history. You can’t recall the moment when it hit you: you realize they already missed you. You’ve been lost to them since the beginning, ever since she sent your head spinning, ever since you first started sinking.

 

The House in the Canyon

I dreamed I was young, in a top-down convertible under the sun, snaking up serpentine curves to the hilltops above. Perfumed air in my lungs, a lucky American son, resting on laurels for what little things I had done, enjoying the spoils from a battle that I hadn’t won.

There’s a house in the canyon with the boys in your band, and 4,000 square feet of open floor plan, and a deep blue pool surrounded by tropical plants. And a softly lit room and a girl by your bed, and a way that she bends as she slips off her dress, and a thundering fear that you’ll wake up before what comes next.

Every mile that I drove, another new staggering vista arose, the impossible blue of the sky and the valley below. Like a dream, but I know, hidden somewhere behind the tableau: the unshakeable feeling that all of it’s only on loan, and soon someone might come in a truck, pack it up and then go.

There’s a house in the canyon where the money gets spent, and you sell your guitars but you still can’t make rent. You used to write songs but now you throw parties instead. There are holes in the ceiling where rain pours in, and rooms full of her junk where your friends used to live, and the deep dirty pool, yeah you’d have to be mad to jump in.

And when everything’s slipping away, you tighten your grip, and you try to hold on to the girl, but she doesn’t exist. Once the role has been played out, only the actress is left.

I dreamed I was old. In the grey light of evening, I walked down a road, staring off into the distance through light falling snow. It was quiet, I was cold, and deep in my soul, I knew I was alone. And in that same instant, I felt myself turning to stone.

There’s a house in the canyon where it all comes undone, and the storm breaks above you and blocks out the sun, and everything you used to care for gets lost in the flood. There’s no phrase to be turned now, no tale to be spun. Your words melt to nothing as the ink starts to run. No staunching the wound now, no clotting the blood. No path to redemption, the damage is done.

 

 Shimmering Mirage

I remember pink light and sweet smells and spilling to the sidewalk after they rang last call. Yeah I remember every last detail: the way you walked up the Boulevard, smiled, and took my arm. And it was long past three AM, but you and me, it was all just beginning.

Hey, the mirage might fade, but in the pre-dawn shimmer, this city’s a sight to see. Yeah the mirage might fade, but we don’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe.

I remember red lips and blue eyes and trying not to stare at the glow of your moonlight skin. Yeah I remember joking about star signs and the way that you cradled my face when you leaned in. And it was long past time to wake, but you and me, we never started sleeping.

Hey, the mirage might fade, and we ain’t even 21, but we’re drunk on all our dreams.

Yeah, the mirage might fade, but we don’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe.

 

And one day I’ll see my name in lights, and one day you’ll start that jewelry line, and one day we’ll stick to what we love, yeah one day there’s gonna be enough, and you can quit dancing in that club, and I can quit trying to act so tough, always stopping short of what I want to say.

Yeah, the mirage might fade, but in the predawn shimmer, you’re such a sight to see.

Yeah, the mirage might fade, but we don’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe. Yeah we won’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe. No I won’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe.

 

 Perspective

Went down to the gallery show one night: a skinny band playing shrug-rock under the lights, with a chorus in every song, something clever and we nod along, another crowded in-crowd kind of night.

I was never a cool kid; I just joined in and went for a ride. But you could open doors then, so if I stayed close, I could follow inside.

Went down to the gallery show one night: all the splattered canvas under the lights. And there’s a million different scenes, it all depends what you want to see. You point out yours and I’ll point out mine.

I was never the picture of what it is you think you need, but from a certain angle, I could seem like a masterpiece.

I was never the picture of what it is you think you need, but from a certain angle, I could be a masterpiece. It’s all about perspective, because things are never what they seem and whether it’s fantastic all depends on what you believe.

 

A Story Worth Repeating

You had to be drunk tonight and calling me late, from your diner table, your Belgian waffles, you’re sitting alone. Because a song made you nostalgic: it’s devouring you whole. And nothing is fantastic. You tell me, “Nothing is fantastic.”

So you chalk it up to whiskey and you chalk it up to bad light.  You blame it all on boredom, yeah just blame it all on Friday night. But me, I’m just an impulse-buy, like I caught your eye while you waited in line. So you gave me a try.

Because I’ll always take your phone call and I’ll always hear you whisper. If the truth be told, I’d still walk all the night-streets just to sit there, and soak up all your moonlight, every ounce that I can capture, but this feeling I’ve been missing is the one that leaves me shattered.

I wasn’t lost tonight until I picked up my phone and you opened up that door a crack, inviting me in. Because I’ve always been a sucker for going back where I’ve been. And nothing’s ever over. It seems like nothing’s ever over.

And I think about the first time, when we felt two halves of something, and I lay inside you trembling and it felt like life beginning. But now I’m just shot you take at a fragile moment to silence the ache. So you call me up. 

Because you’re feeling awfully reckless and you know I’m always willing. If the truth be told, I’d still burn all the bridges I’ve been building, to taste the old sensation that I hate myself for needing, because the feeling I’ve been missing is the one that leaves me bleeding.

So I hear the pregnant pauses, and I fumble with responses, and I wish that you’d remember all the other times we’ve done this, and I want it all to matter like the songs that I’ve been singing. I want it all to seem like it’s a story worth repeating.  And I bottle all the frenzy, and I focus on my breathing, and I try to shake the memories, and I dare to keep believing: your epiphany is coming, and your apathy is ending, but I’ll think about this later and I’ll know you were pretending, but I’ll come over, I’ll come over, I’ll come over, I’ll come over.

 

Apples Off the Trees

It was you and me, eating apples off the trees on a cool foggy morning, New England in autumn, all red and gold leaves. And I knew right away we’d look back on it someday like a polaroid photo, over-exposed, and I’d use it to say: Even though our love may be crumbling, even though our life got tough, even when our love was a foolish thing, I remember that it was enough.

It was me and you in that circular room, slow dancing to “Sparks,” high above the park, by the light of the moon. And it’s easy to forget all the best things we said when our blood’s gone to boiling, our patience is worn, and we give up instead.

Even though our love may be crumbling, even though our love got rough, even though our love may be slumbering, that just means we can still wake it up.

 

Merry Xmas 2009

Christmas night and I was on the couch in an empty million-dollar house. Got a key from a friend for a place to go if I needed shelter just up the road from the mess of my poison life, the cramped apartment, the hateful wife, and I didn’t even bother turning on the lights. No joy to the world, just silent night.

And I was staring off into empty space, thinking how we misplace our faith, thinking how devoted and blind we get, thinking how it always ends in regret, and the East Coast is three hours ahead, but I needed to say it out loud instead, so I found your number, made the call. And I tried to say it all.

For every wrong turn that came to be, I made my apology, because I was sick with a fever dream, couldn’t see right in front of me. And the first casualty was you, and the band, and the house in the canyon too, and I wish that it wasn’t true. I wish I’d saved a thing or two. And I know you tried to talk me down when my head was stuck in the clouds. But how do you drag a friend to the ground? I’m still wondering that now.

Christmas night and I was on the couch in an empty million-dollar house. I didn’t bother to turn on the lights. No joy to the world, just silent night. Merry Christmas, 2009. Maybe next year, I’ll be all right. Maybe next year, I’ll be fine.  

Nothing is Fantastic

(Released March 21, 2017)

  1. The Train and the Tunnel
  2. Fake Constellations
  3. Ode to Disaster
  4. The Trouble with Sinking
  5. The House in the Canyon
  6. Shimmering Mirage
  7. Perspective
  8. A Story Worth Repeating
  9. Apples Off the Trees
  10. Merry Xmas, 2009
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Albatross (2014)


Albatross (2014)


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If I Stop Singing, Check My Pulse

I left Los Angeles, that cloud of dust, knowing I won’t live a day unless I beg or busk, so if I stop singing now, you better check my pulse. I left Los Angeles and headed east, for miles of two-lane blacktop and unknown city streets, and no one to rely on but the people that I meet. Sweet charity.  So now I’ve quit that graveyard shift, and now I’ve sold my birthday gifts. And in this beat-up car, I might not get too far, but I might go find the girl I love.

All these years of distance haven’t cured me of her yet, and sure, I made a mess of things but I’ll fix them if I can, and she don’t pick up my calls yet, but she always writes me back. And I can picture her through the miles of cold, waiting patiently in silence, in a fire’s glow, with a big old dog in a big old house, buried under snow. That’s where I’ll go. So now I smoke them down to the filter, and now I’m probably skipping dinner.  So I count my change in the pouring rain, and dream about the girl I love. Yeah I keep dreaming ‘bout the girl I love.

And every night, another microphone stand, and a dark room full of strangers saying, “Please me if you can.” So I beat this old guitar until I’m bleeding from my hands and sing out again. So here’s the one about the rock band that never made a sound. Here’s the one about the actress, sleeping all over town. Here’s the one about the poetess, cause she’s still got the crown. Are you pleased now? I see the bar, where they’re all drinking: long rows of bottles, like arms to sleep in. And if that bloody thirst doesn’t kill me first, I just might get back the girl I love. Yeah I might get back the girl I love.

I got good memories from plenty of towns, I’m sure I’d learn to love them if I’d stop and settle down. But “home” is just another four-letter word to throw around. I can’t stop now.  Because now my gaslight keeps on blinking. I gotta find a safe spot to sleep in. Now it’s coming clear: I might die out here or I might get back the girl I love. Yeah I might get back the girl I love.

 

Still Running

I’m heading back from New Orleans, got a bootleg on the stereo that a buddy made for me, but last night I had the strangest dream: I kept chasing after something that was always out of reach. But I think I can get through the night - if that Louisiana girl with those eyes like diamonds - if I can see her in my mind, I think I’ll get through all right.

We crossed into Texas yesterday, now we’re snaking through the hills ‘cause Benny wants to see Townes’ grave and pour some whiskey where he lay. Yeah, when you’re running on blind faith, we all got our patron saints. But me, I’ll get through the night; if that Louisiana girl - with those eyes like diamonds - if I could set her in my sights, I think I’d get through all right.

Hey where’s that place that makes me make sense? Because I’ve been out 10,000 miles and I ain’t found it yet. So I hold on to everything I get: even a handshake or a smile or a pair of sparkling eyes. I think I’ll get through the night; if that Louisiana girl with those eyes like diamonds - if I could just keep her in sight, I think I’d get through all right. I think I’ll get through tonight; if that Louisiana girl with those blue eyes like diamonds - if I could see her face tonight, I think I’d get through all right.

 

The Long List of Names

All the vitamins, guidebooks, science, and myth, all the calendar-counting, it adds up to this: radio silence in a hospital gown and night coming fast as the light dies down. So we tangle like a knot at the foot of the bed and cry until morning comes shuffling in. And this house will never be the same one we left, where nothing can ever seem happy again.

So I might stay off the ground and circle like a sea bird, always looking skyward and never make a sound.

In the face of disaster, two roads diverge and no one gets home without blood on their shirt, from the differences now that you just can’t ignore like the long list of names, buried deep in a drawer. Because you’ll carry these things now wherever you go, they’ll follow your footsteps, unwelcome ghosts, forever a little more weight to tow, and somehow you’d rather just pull it alone.

So I might stay off the ground and circle like a sea bird, always looking skyward, and never make a sound, alone and feeling fine. Maybe in a future life, in a future life.

Off a highway stop in the south and west, I lay on the table and laid bare my chest to the needle’s rough buzz and the skin flooding dark, as it scratched an ink-black star over my heart, so in my reflection I might see the grief until it’s one more common-place scar on me, just a new tooth you tongue til it’s part of the scene and you give up on figuring out what it all means.

So I might stay off the ground and circle like a sea bird, always looking skyward, and never make a sound, alone and feeling fine, maybe in another life.

 

The Wedding Party

We creep away from the party, to an alley just out of sight. I light your skinny cigarette, then do the same to mine. You say you really be will quitting soon, it’s just been a hell of a week. But me, I’m trying to stay away from promises I can’t keep.

You ask: how’s it working out for me, a different city every night? I skip the stuff about loneliness, just tell you it’s all right. You say you wish that you could have many lives, different boys and different towns, and you could live them one by one, flee the scene or hang around. I say I like the sound of that, don’t let no one tie you down.

And it’s a strange routine to follow, to keep circling on your own, when “forever” is on the lips of everyone you know. And if you burn me with those blue flame eyes, I almost have to turn away, or I’ll be dreaming about that look on your face for days.

If wishes really came true, and all we had was time, with all the lives we’d get to live, I’d make you one of mine. But I got 300 miles in the morning, and you got an early class. So we stomp out the cigarettes, you straighten out your dress, and we creep back to the crowd, just like we’d never left.

 

No Show Tonight

There’s no show tonight. There’s nothing to see here, folks. No homeless traveler jokes, no sheepish open hand.  You’ve got nothing planned, but the weather’s growing cold. Can’t be sleeping by the road like you did a week ago. So you crash with a high school friend that you haven’t seen in years but he just wants to drink some beers and confide: he’s been cheating on his wife. There’s no show tonight. There’s no show tonight. There’s no…

There’s no show tonight, no chance to see what’s next, no wreck to rubber-neck before you go moving on your way. Just another lonesome day where you try to force routine, some half-familiar scene might convince you you’re okay. So you kill time in cafés just trying to write a tune, maybe the one that breaks you through, or just another dead end. But it’s all you got left. It’s all you got left. It’s all…

There’s adoring crowds in videos and plush hotels on TV shows. There’s highway love in pop songs. But you’ve never written those. There’s dancing crowds in videos and backstage lust on TV shows. There’s careless love in pop songs, but you’ve never written those.

Yeah, there’s blinding light in videos and story arcs on TV shows. There’s catchy hooks in pop songs but you’ve never written those. There’s adoring crowds in videos, they sing the words on TV shows. There’s dreams for sale in pop songs, but you’ve never written those. Yeah he gets the girl in videos, the baby’s born on TV shows. There’s happiness in pop songs, but you’ve never written those.

 

That’s Yours, This is Mine

That’s mine, and this is yours: bare bookshelves and empty drawers, and the standard legal forms that we sign. That one’s yours, this one’s mine. So get your cardboard boxes out before the tenth, and leave the “Thank You” cards, I’ll fill out all the ones we left unsent.

That’s yours, and this is mine, so we separate our lives. And a stirring in the throat: that sour taste. Same old failure, different day. Take your new history, you can tell it like a joke, and leave your old dreams - like photographs set fire, they’re soon up in smoke.

So take your new start, consider it a gift. Take your love, whatever you’ve got left. Take the albatross hanging round your neck, and go forth.

 

Tender Venom

So here you are: exorcising demons, thinking up new schemes and swallowing them whole, that currency so cold. You know how you can spend it. All the tender venom, poison down your throat, careful you don’t choke.

So here you are, the impossible vacation: looking for salvation, everywhere you go, that holy-moment glow. So you run like heaven’s waiting, you run like hell is chasing, your wander-lusting soul, careful where you go.

You been caught out in the rain too many times, and you’re never getting dry, no you just can’t keep your eyes in front of you. You been caught with all the wrong ones at your side, and you’re just not getting by, no, you just can’t keep the past behind.

So there you are, retreating to addiction: there’s always some new victim, another girl to meet, new ground beneath your feet. I know you still love California, but don’t say I didn’t warn you, don’t say I didn’t plead. Don’t say I didn’t plead.

You been caught out in the rain too many times, and you’re never getting dry, no you just can’t keep your eyes in front of you. You been caught with all wrong ones at your side, and you’re just not getting by. No, you just can’t keep the past behind.

 

You’ll Never Work in This Town Again 

Maybe I’m just ink and hollow bones, trying to get off of the ground. But I got stories that I call my own, got a voice to sing them out. “You gotta be someone to be in this town,” said the Worm behind the bar, “Self-deception makes the world go round, so keep telling lies, it’s a lovely sound.  Just speak in lies; what lovely sound.”

Went to the shop, I tried to pawn my songs, but the Worm behind the counter shook his head. He said, “There’s just no value with you keeping on, but they’re priceless if you’re dead.” So I apologize to the ones I love and make my peace with the sky above and walk the L.A. river hoping to drown or pray for a flood that’ll wipe me out, just pray for a flood that’ll wipe me out.

I got bored, so I swam to shore and went to read the writing on the wall. And plead my case to the ones that reign and raise some hell about it all. “Off with his head, now, off with his head!” said the Worm upon the throne, “Off with his head, now, off with his head! You’ll never work in this town again, no, you’ll never work in this town again.”

I got souvenirs from all those years, postcards of the sunset melting west. I got a list of all the things I miss and a longer list of the regrets. So I’ll write my poetry on bathroom stalls, become a wanderer with wings for arms, and maybe I’m just ink and hollow bones, but I’ll say it now, I feel I’m more at home. So I shot from a cannon into outer space, been getting bruised from the ricochets and maybe I’m just ink and hollow bones, but I’ll say it now, at least I’m less alone. Even now, I feel I’m less alone.

  

Elizabeth Murphy & the Albatross

Oh Elizabeth Murphy, you pale cotton cloud, in the hour of my longing, you rain in my mouth, but I give you no warning of when I’ll come back around. Yeah I leave you waiting for me patiently, with our concrete city etched in my memory, to the glass and the money and the magic I seek, to the liminal light and the rippling blue sea. I’ll come home to you one day with stars where my eyes should be. Yeah I’ll be the albatross, you be the sturdy tree. You be the lighthouse and I’ll see you flickering.

In the houses in hills I can make my own destiny, with the names from the radio, gods of the silver screen. So I learn all my lessons, like the rest of the crowd: don’t shake hands with heroes, they’ll just let you down, fall off their pedestals, fracture their fragile crowns. So I lay out the table with those who worship me, and I give the performance, the one they expect to see. And all the cold melodies, sung through my teeth, fall earthward like icicles down at their feet, and add to the infinite list of forgotten things. Yeah I’ll be the biter and they’ll be the hand that feeds. I’ll just keep guzzling and they’ll just keep pouring drinks.

But scratching in books just don’t do the trick anymore, so I’m panicking like I never have before. So I make my escape under cover of night, just as broken and foolish as when I arrived, to turn up at your door in the city I left behind. I’ll be the swirling dust, you be the beam of light. I’ll be the crying child, you be the lullaby.

But that was just another fantasy, because you weren’t there to wait around for me.

When your car crash came, you flew from your seat, shot straight through the windshield and into the street, and your body lay still as you closed your eyes to sleep. And the sky swelled up with the siren melodies. And the gathering crowd exhaled their silent grief. And you died like all of my foolish childhood dreams.

 

The Road Home

On a sparkling desert morning, with a thousand miles ahead, before I stepped out the door, my father sat me down and said, “There’s no shame in happiness, no guilt in growing old. And all that outlaw behavior will just leave you broke. I know you’ve been kicked when you were down too many times and you’ve found no bright solution for the darkness in your mind, but self-destruction is for cowards. You got to survive. Now you’re blessed with a second chance, so you gotta try to stay alive.”

It’s true I’d set out to run aground; be buried by the burden I’d become. But what comes unexpectedly can change your plans soon after they’ve begun. And I got nothing but sincerity for all those ears, for all these years I’ve sung. So I learned when to say when and what’s done is done.

In a dusty western city, Benny sat across the way and he dared me then to look my desperation in the face. So we set off empty bellied, looking for the great escape. And what he gave to me that day, I can’t repay.

So I did that movie-montage dance: yellow hatches flying beneath the car, and a hundred dark and smoky rooms and waking in the driver’s seat at dawn. And somehow all my dizzy, foolish dreams snuck up on me and came true after all. Because that bird I chased ten years, I finally caught. 

And there’s a smile in every city now, a story to relive in every town. And I’ve shed pieces of my soul, like feathers fallen, everywhere that I touched down. And my ghosts will never leave me, but I’m all right as long as she’s around. No, I may not make sense, but I’m okay for now.

It’s been a sad story. But it ends happily. It’s been a sad story, but it ends happily.

And Benny’s still alive and kicking in New Orleans. We’ve got journeys yet to take. And that Louisiana girl has graduated; she’s got other hearts to break. And I know “home” ain’t just a four-letter word, it’s a saving grace. No, I may not make sense, but I’ve found my place. No, I may not make sense, but I’ve found my place.

No I’ll never make sense, but I’ve found my place.

Albatross

(Released February 25, 2014)

  1. If I Stop Singing, Check My Pulse
  2. Still Running
  3. The Long List of Names
  4. The Wedding Party
  5. No Show Tonight
  6. That's Mine, This is Yours
  7. Tender Venom
  8. You'll Never Work in This Town Again
  9. Elizabeth Murphy & the Albatross
  10. The Road Home
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Anthems (2012)


Anthems (2012)


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Typewriter

When the daylight broke, it stirred me from a dream, and I woke up at home with you lying next to me, and I had places to go, but instead I stayed to sit and watch you sleep.  I had a tune in my head that I didn’t want to leave.  So I sat up in bed and I pulled you close to me, and I hummed every note into your ear, into your memory to keep. 

So sing, please sing those sad songs with me.  When you do, my heart beats slow and evenly.  When you do, I swear that fragile harmony is all I need.

In the night, a spell was broken, and tore me from a dream.  And I woke up alone, no one lying next to me.  And I had nowhere to go, but I still got up, ‘cause these days I can’t sleep.  So I pulled out the old typewriter, the one you gave to me.  And I wrote another song about our bitter history.  And all the words we have spoken became melodies when I pressed down the keys.  So will you still sing, please sing that sad song with me.  When you do, my heart beats hard and rapidly.  When you do, and I hear that fragile harmony, I almost believe it’s the only thing I need.

 

The Rest of My Life

I still got a bag packed in the car from the trip we didn’t take, and the song I wrote for you is in my head, too fresh for me to shake. The bed’s not made, and every day, I find another long blond hair clinging to my pillowcase. And though I try not to be surprised that you’re suddenly out of my life, I’m not ready to get over you tonight.

You must be the deepest darkest shadow to ever cross my path, yeah, you must be the palest ghost, still fogging up my past. But this won’t last, this too will pass, and I will lose my appetite for always looking back, and I will try, when the time is right, to get on with the rest of my life, but I’m not ready to get over you tonight.

And maybe once it gets to be too much, I’ll stop licking all my wounds and decide enough’s enough, yeah I will try, when the time is right, to get on with the rest of my life, but I’m not ready to get over you tonight. 

 

Oh Lily

Oh Lily, turn off the American news.  We need to go somewhere soon.  The weight’s piling on and I think I’m breaking down.  Yeah, my knees are giving out.  We need to go somewhere now, where some window light comes slicing through the room. 

Oh Lily, the world’s moving faster now, and California’s got me spinning like a carousel.  I need an anchor to keep me from blowing away.  Oh Lily, I don’t mean to seem sudden, but I got a bruise on my heart that I need you to touch. So touch me, Lily don’t turn me away.  Say something.  Smile. Now, save me.

Oh Lily, I’m burned right down to the end.  I’m punch-drunk and stumbling.  Yeah, the pressure’s on and I think I’m going to crack.  Yeah, the shakes are coming back.  We need to go somewhere fast, where there’s plenty of darkness for me to wallow in. 

Oh Lily, my grip’s getting looser now, and California’s got me swinging like a man in a noose.  I need an anchor to keep me from blowing away.  Oh Lily, I don’t mean to seem sudden, but I’m getting scared that I haven’t got anything left.  I need you in my bloodstream, don’t make me wait. Say something. Smile. Now, save me.

I need to know the answers, need to sing these anthems.  This junky crawl is for you.

Oh Lily, my grip’s getting looser now, and California’s got me swinging like a man in a noose. Oh Lily, there’s nothing more I can do.  Oh Lily, I don’t mean to seem sudden, but I’m getting scared that I haven’t got anything left. Oh Lily, this junky crawl is for you.

 

Song For E

The night that she made her escape, you stood there soaking in the rain to show what’s permanent. You found the tree from that July where you put fireworks in the sky and knifed the letters in. You give your love away, give your heart away, give her everything and she dances off again.

You sent her off to see it through, convinced her what she had to do, you foolish gentleman. She fled back to her actor’s arms. No growing up, no moving on, just keep on twirling. You give your love away, give your heart away, give her everything and she dances off again.

And maybe one day she will see those letters carved into that tree and remember how to breathe.  You give your love away, give your heart away, give her everything and she dances off again. You give your love away, give your heart away, give her everything and she dances off again.

 

Snowflake

Welcome to the bitter end, I’m falling off the floor again, repeating routine tragedy.  Side by side it has to be: the mad-high of possibility and the feeling when I hit the street.  So I’ll put all my thickest armor on, icy cold, cause I don’t need anyone, til I melt like I snowflake on your tongue.

So welcome to my chosen rung: the dangerous place I dangle from, a melancholy music stave, and piano wire: a copper cage, and nooses out of guitar strings, and the saddest songs I’ll ever sing. Now I’ve chosen whose side I am on, and I’ll swear that I don’t need anyone, til I melt like a snowflake on your tongue, til I melt like a snowflake on your tongue.

So I sing, til the air all leaves my lungs, shut my eyes, cause I don’t need anyone, til I melt like a snowflake on your tongue, til I melt like a snowflake on your tongue.

 

Understudy 

She’s a doomed thing, darling, a song in minor key, foreign and cold, floating off the balcony. And she doesn’t have your voice, she doesn’t have your sound, but she’s the only one around. Her skin feels different, and she doesn’t have your taste, but when I move my mouth, she shakes like an earthquake.  And she doesn’t get me high, but at least I’m off the ground, and she’s the only one around.

Every day another piece - the polaroids and poetry: I phase them out with new routines. No, I won’t learn to love her but I can learn to love deceit.

I’m not out for revenge; I just like healing quickly.  And I’m grateful for all the pretty things that stepped on me. And these are the thoughts that no one wants to speak out loud. But it’s not like you’re around.

 

Need A Hero

You’re counting up your woes, one by one.  You’ve dug a hole, you’re reaching up. And I’m the branches that you climb; your exit out.  And I won’t every fall down.  You’re rising now.  But it’s out of my hands, it’s out of my heart. I know you need help, I’ve known from the start.  But I know you don’t hear, I know you don’t heed my warning.

You can cry for me, I’ll come running, but you need a hero, and I’m no hero.  You can cry for me, and I’ll come running, but you need a hero, and I’m not him.  I’m not him.

You’re taking off your clothes, one by one, and shivering cold, and reaching up.  And I’m the sun in your face to warm you up.  And I won’t ever burn out: I’m summer now. But it’s out of my hands, it’s out of my heart. I know you need help, I’ve known from the start.  But I know you don’t hear, I know you don’t heed my warning.

You can cry for me, I’ll come running, but you need a hero, and I’m no hero.  You can cry for me, and I’ll come running, but you need a hero, and I’m not him.  I’m not him.

 

Safe in Here

Come rolling to the middle, wrap your arms around me, and if you’re not asleep yet,

tell me another story about how the walls went up, brick by brick, high around the city where you live. You might say you love me. You might even mean it, even put a ring on, even have my children, but if the walls go up, it comes undone faster than we built it. So if it’s all the same to you, let’s pretend that we are young again, undamaged by the cold, wide-eyed children like before, never fearing for our little lives, feeling whole once more.  Ease up, now. It’s safe in here. Ease up, now. It’s safe in here.

Let’s gather up the pieces and put you back in order. We’ll learn to see the bright side

of the darkness you have spoken, or compare you to a beam of light: bent but never broken. So if it’s all the same to you, let’s admit we’ve never done this right, we’ve never had a clue.  But I’ll have all the answers soon, and when I do I promise to tell you, so you have them too. Ease up, now.  It’s safe in here. Ease up, now. You’re safe in here.

So if it’s all the same to you, let’s go hide somewhere that’s hard to find, some snowy quiet room. And I will smash all my guitars, we can use them all for firewood, and burn away the gloom. Ease up, now. It’s safe in here. Ease up, now. You’re safe in here. Ease up now.  It’s safe in here. Ease up, now. You’re safe in here.

 

Baby I’m Okay

We were sitting on the couch, watching the fire burn down, while on the stereo: six months of the saddest stories I have ever told.  And when it all was over, you turned and stared at me with the sweetest sympathy.  But I have learned: there is beauty in this sorrow, and the girl who doesn’t love me is a song I’ll write tomorrow.  And it may take me half a year for these things to come clear, but I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.”

Then we walked outside the house to watch the stars come out and you couldn’t help but ask if all the pain had past, or was it just as bad as it was back then.  Now that we’re just friends, how does the story end?  And I said, “There’s this method I have mastered: if I quit while I’m ahead I just might avert disaster.”  And if she’s a friend instead of lover, she’ll design my record cover and I can say, “Baby, I’m OK.”

And if I make her understand, she might even quit my band, and I can say, “I promise it’s OK.”  Then I can say, “Baby, I’m OK.”

 

Bullet

I’ve got one bullet left in this gun, and it don’t seem like much, but I’m sure it’s enough, if I find myself needing to get the job done: I’ve got one bullet left in this gun.  I’ve been punching the same wall for so many years, just singing songs hoping somebody hears, and maybe thinks I’ve got a story to tell.  I’ve got one shot of ink in my pen.  I’ve got just enough black to cross out every sin, to try and come clean, and slip out this skin.  I’ve got one shot of ink in my pen.  Because it’s hard to believe that you’ll still be a star when you’re falling asleep on a stool at the bar, wondering if you deserve anything more.  Like one last chance to be something.  Just one last chance to be something.

I’ve got one great song in me yet.  I’ve got one little tune spinning ‘round in my head, and I’ll use it to say all that I’ve never said. I’ve got one searing song in my head.  So I’ll stop all the world and I’ll fall to my knees and you can turn on the cameras so everyone sees what becomes of me.  When I’m given one last chance to be something.  Just one last chance to be something.  I just need one last chance to be something.

 

God Forbid

She says, “I love my man. Love him forever. Forever and ever. I love my man.  But God forbid: if something should happen.  Don’t look at me like that.”

She says, “I love my man. Love him forever.  Forever and ever. Ever and ever.  But God forbid: if something should happen. If something should happen, I’d be at your door.  If God forbid, if God forbid, I’d be at your door.”

“Don’t look at me like that.  Don’t look at me like that.  If something should happen… Don’t look at me like that.”

Anthems

(Released March 6, 2012)

  1. Typewriter
  2. The Rest of My Life
  3. Snowflake
  4. Understudy
  5. Song for E
  6. Oh Lily
  7. Baby I'm OK
  8. Safe
  9. Need a Hero
  10. God Forbid
COGMAN (58 of 81).jpg

Beneath a Balcony (2009)


Beneath a Balcony (2009)


Welcome to the Danger Show.jpg

Australian Girls

In the twenty-fifth year of my wandering, I crossed equators and datelines still chasing the dream, got a room on an island with a view of the sea, and six weeks committed to memory. But of all of these things I can’t forget, there’s the Australian girl that I kissed on the lips who said to me, “Always keep your promises. If you lie to me, I’ll know it.” 

We lay on our backs in the salty dark, and before the sunrise we saw three shooting stars, and then a rainbow the size of the St. Louis Arch. Everything in its place. I got out my guitar and I tuned a bit, then I played her “Twilight” by Elliott Smith, but I don’t think that I got away with it. 

It seemed for a while we’d part happily, but she cried once she thought I had fallen asleep. And when I opened my eyes, she just ran down the beach. I didn’t follow. I just picked up a stone in my trembling hand, and I bent down and carved out my name in the sand, but the ocean just washed it away again.

 

Waltz Beneath a Balcony

The big teddy bear flies through air, three stories down to the street, something so sweet, soon a moth-eaten memory. And I’m trying my best, as you throw down the rest, to not just give up and run. But I may duck for cover whenever the TV comes. 

I have to admit that I failed you occasionally, and I never did dance, but I always could sing you to sleep. And sometimes when my voice would hit just the right notes, you’d crawl over and silence me, and we had thin walls, so the neighbors heard everything. 

But that’s in the past, I know the luster’s faded. And that couldn’t last, but maybe there’s something worth saving. So if you’re not the cure and I’m not the cure, then instead of just letting it fall, let’s just admit that there ain’t no cure at all. 

I’m still standing my ground with our things all around on the street, trying to sing a waltz beneath a balcony, so I’ll tell you a joke, and it’s a little baroque, but at the risk of being ignored: it’s the one where I knock and then you unlock the door.

 

Passenger Seat

I'm trying to take us somewhere, baby, but I don't always know the way. But if I could hold your hand a while I promise no mistakes, because we're going very fast now and you're riding next to me and if I follow your directions maybe one day you can fall asleep in the passenger seat. 

I've been called much worse than reckless, I've got danger in my face, but I could turn and see you there, I promise that I've changed. Because I'm tired of all the silence, tired of all the empty space. Maybe one day you can close your eyes and know that you'll be safe, fast asleep in the passenger seat. 

You've had plenty of collisions, you've got scars that I can see, but I'll help you to forget them if you do the same for me. You may think that you are broken but you fit me perfectly, so believe in this, believe in me, believe that you can fall asleep in the passenger seat.

 

Baby, I'm Okay

We were sitting on the couch, watching the fire burn down, while on the stereo: six months of the saddest stories I have ever told. And when it all was over, you turned and stared at me with the sweetest sympathy. But I have learned: there is beauty in this sorrow, and the girl who doesn’t love me is a song I’ll write tomorrow. And it may take me half a year for these things to come clear, but I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.” 

Then we walked outside the house to watch the stars come out and you couldn’t help but ask if all the pain had past, or was it just as bad as it was back then. Now that we’re just friends, how does the story end? And I said, “There’s this method I have mastered: if I quit while I’m ahead I just might avert disaster.” And if she’s a friend instead of lover, she’ll design my record cover and I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.” 

And if I make her understand, she might even join my band, and I can say, “I promise it’s okay.” Then I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.”

 

Love and the Line

When it all works out for us, and all the music come to an end, and you ain’t got any poems left in your pen, sure there’ll be some things that I miss, but I will learn to love your silence instead and you will learn to love my hand at rest, no ink on my fingers, no song on my lips. And I’ll feel like I’m on track again. And you’ll feel you can’t go back again. Love and the line, even another hundred times, still we won’t know the half of it. 

We can learn a few new tricks. And we won’t talk about when I’m leaving next. No, we’ll just talk about the books we’ve read, and where we’ve been. I won’t promise you the moon. But maybe I can make the small dreams come true. Yeah, maybe I can scratch your back for you. All the little things you need, darling, I’ll do. And improvise the rest of it. And try not to make a mess of it. Love and the line, let’s cross it one more time, and we’ll just make the best of it. 

We’ll just make the best of it. And try not to make a mess of it. Love and the line, let’s cross it one more time, and just improvise the rest of it.

 

The Blue-Eyed King of Manhattan

Before it all started to happen, I felt like the blue-eyed king of Manhattan. I had the whole damn world at my feet. 

Then you flew across the sea for your fashion - flash-bulbs flashing and men with accents - but you couldn't do it all on your own, no no. So you pulled a little trick that was classic: walked high-heeled out into traffic, and the half that didn't crash were wrapping themselves around you, so... To say that you kicked me around is a little misleading. It's more like you kicked me when I was down. 

Dream big, love hard, fly high, fall far, there ain't no way around it. When the place that you live ain't a place that forgives, stand up and be counted with the other broken bricks. 

Meanwhile back in the city of sadness, banished to Brooklyn with an old guitar and a mattress, I'm the greyest street corner around, wondering how: with the rattle and hum still seeping in my skin, can I wash it out and start over again, with your 40-foot billboard frowning down upon me, now...To say that I'm feeling low is a little misleading. How much longer can I go? 

Dream big, love hard, fly high, fall far, there ain't no way around it. When the place that you live ain't a place that forgives, stand up and be counted. Stand up and be counted with the other broken bricks. 

I was with an old friend in a Park Slope cafe, debating whether God = Love when a thought occurred to me: if you were The One, we would survived those petty fight and long nights so I should feel better about the whole damn thing. 

Dream big, love hard, fly high, fall far, there ain't no way around it. When the place that you live ain't a place that forgives, stand up and be counted. Stand up and be counted. Stand up and be counted.

 

Bullet

I’ve got one bullet left in this gun, and it don’t seem like much, but I’m sure it’s enough, if I find myself needing to get the job done. I’ve got one bullet left in this gun. I’ve been punching the same wall for so many years, just singing songs hoping somebody hears, and maybe thinks I’ve got a story to tell. 

I’ve got one shot of ink in my pen. I’ve got just enough black to cross out every sin, to try and come clean, and slip out this skin. I’ve got one shot of ink in my pen. Because it’s hard to believe that you’ll still be a star when you’re falling asleep on a stool at the bar, wondering if you deserve anything more. Like one last chance to be something. Just one last chance to be something. 

I’ve got one great song in me yet. I’ve got one little tune spinning ‘round in my head, and I’ll use it to say all that I’ve never said. I’ve got one searing song in my head. So I’ll stop all the world and I’ll fall to my knees and you can turn on the cameras so everyone sees what becomes of me. When I’m given one last chance to be something. Just one last chance to be something. I just need one more chance to be something.

 

The Night I Swore I'd Leave You

On the night I swore I'd leave you, I go out driving in my car, running circles for an hour round an empty parking lot. And I know you're back home sleeping, with the television on, but I just sit here, wide-awake, wondering if you'll even call. But you won't call. And I'm done trying with you, and lying to you, because I know the truth, it's not all right. On the night. 

On the night I swore I'd leave you, I think about when we began - how a single day away from you was more than I could stand. Now I'm contemplating history and what it means to be a man, feeling weaker every moment, with the future in my hands. And I'm through pleading with you and bleeding for you when I what I need is the truth: can we make this right? On the night. 

On the night I swore I'd leave you, I think about a brand new start. And someone else to pull me close and melt the splinter in my heart. Maybe the bird who brings me bottles, or the green-eyed girl on stage, someone unaware of all the stupid choices that I've made. And I'm through pleading with you and bleeding with you, because I know the truth, we won't survive. 

No we can't survive. We ain't gonna survive. You do this one more night, and I'll leave you next time. I swear I'll leave you next time. I'll swear I'll leave you next time. Some other night.

 

Me and My Friends

Me and my friends, we’re starting a band. Yeah me and my friends, we’re getting a van 

And we’ll drive round and round, with the stereo loud and the lights down low. We’ll drive round and round with the windows down until someone tells us where to go. 

Me and my friends, we’re going on tour, because we just can’t sit still anymore, and I’ll get a girl with me, singing harmony in a polka-dot dress, and I’ll get down on one knee, three times a week, but no matter what she won’t say yes. 

And I’ll document my fears, for the whole wide world to hear, I will, I will, I will. And escape the same old spin, find something to believe in, I will, I will, I will. 

Me and my friends, we’re learning to see: a year just ain’t what it used to be, so we’ll ring the bells at the cheap motels in the dead-end towns, and we’ll knock back shots in the parking lot and run ourselves into the ground. 

Break a bone in every state, and be dead by twenty-eight, I will, I will, I will. Find something to believe in and never go home again, I will, I will, I will. 

I’m trying like hell to believe in something.

 

Ten Years Down the Road

We were down in a basement the night that we met, and so young we didn’t smoke cigarettes yet, but I knew right away: something inside of me changed. They kept playing the same song on the stereo and I asked you dance, but you told me no, and I thought about leaving, but I decided to stay. I was never much good at giving up anyway. 

Then I moved away and I started a band and a dated some girls who could never understand: I was never more happy than when I came to visit you. And I’d knock on your door and you’d let me in, and I’d kiss your mouth, and the room would start to spin and when I went back to them, I could never tell them the truth. Because I knew how perfect it could be with you lying next to me. Ten years down the road, I still wouldn’t disagree. 

Then you dropped out of school and I smashed some guitars and you took lots of pills and I cut up my arms, but no matter how bad, we had each other to save. And that one winter night I was scared to death, but you were telling me to take baby steps, because I was only fifteen but I didn’t have time to waste. It was a step I had to take. But you promised I’d be okay. Ten years down the road, I still haven’t lost my way. 

I went all across the country trying to find myself, but staying home you were just as well. You know, loving each other doesn’t mean that we’re the same. I thought maybe next spring I’d see you again, maybe next fall but I couldn’t say when, because I was running down a dream that didn’t leave any space. And it’s hard to keep a thing alive when one year turns to five. Ten years down the road, I’m just happy we survived. 

I’ve done the strangest things, looking for fame, but now a whole lot of people, they know my name, and I’m still trying to decide if I did things the proper way. When I’m standing backstage, just a few minutes left, and you’re holding my hand because I’m scared to death about having everyone’s attention and nothing to say. Well this life has its ups and downs, but I’m happy to have found. Ten years down the road, I’m still chasing you around.

 

Blessing in Disguise

You pack your backs and slam the trunk and hit the gas like you were in a race. And you don’t bother looking back; this happy home was just another fleeting phase. So paint your face, and dry your eyes, because it’s a blessing in disguise, you are free, you are free to make your mistakes. 

So you forget who stood beside you, only go where lights are shining bright. Just hanging in the corridors, passing blank looks back and forth to pass the time. And by and by, you get confused and take the junk they say as gospel truth.You are free, you are free to believe those lies. 

The bad ones got you figured out: you’re the type that just can’t get enough. And you can’t afford to think about if mom and dad could see you now, would they judge? Because it’s too much fun, the role you chose: to be some grotto girl with a frozen nose. You are free, you are free to lease out your love. 

But Hollywood’s no storybook, your phone ain’t ringing off the hook no more. And the best days you don’t think about how you won every battle but still lost the war. But now I’m sure, since I got wise, it was all a blessing in disguise. Now I am free, I am free to not mourn you anymore.

Beneath a Balcony

(Released August 4, 2009)

  1. Australian Girls
  2. Waltz Beneath a Balcony
  3. Passenger Seat
  4. Baby, I'm Okay
  5. Love and the Line
  6. The Blue-Eyed King of Manhattan
  7. Bullet
  8. The Night I Swore I'd Leave You
  9. Me and My Friends
  10. Ten Years Down the Road
  11. Blessing in Disguise
danger demos.jpg

Welcome to the Danger Show (2007)


Welcome to the Danger Show (2007)


Welcome to the Danger Show.jpg

Run Like Hell

Go to the place that makes you make sense. You can leave your friends behind; they won’t pay you any mind.  And when you’re gone, you’ll realize that things have changed.  The old neighborhood may fall apart, but deep inside that’s what you want.  So run, run like hell, run from the stupid things you’ve done.  Run for your life, run for your love, run, run, run.

Go to the place where you can breathe in deep.  No more tearing at the throat, no more choking on the smoke.  And when you leave, you’ll see you left an iron lung.  It’s one black cloud from dusk ‘til dawn. It’s amazing you survived this long. So run, run like hell, run from every lie you told.  Run for your life, run for your soul, run, run, run.

And in your new locale, you’ll fill books every day.  All the poet suicides, you will bring them back to life.  And when you sleep, you’ll just dream about the place you are, where no one ever talks, just sings, and telephones don’t ever ring.  So run, run like hell, run from every lie you told.  Run for your life, run for your soul, run, run, run.  Run, run like hell, run from the mutilated world, the poison sky, the mercenary I.  Run, run for your life.

 

Foreign Movie

Come over baby. Come sit on the couch and crack your knuckles with me.  We don’t have to kiss, we’ll just watch a foreign movie where everyone’s in love but there’s no happy ending.  I haven’t disappointed you yet, but give me time.  ‘Cause you’ve still got some hope left, and I’d hate to change your mind, and let you know I’m not all right.  Then you’d know I’m not all right.  All right.

Come over baby.  And play that brand new song you wanted to show me about how nothing’s worse than feeling lonely, but somehow it’s the only way we know how to be.  I haven’t disappointed you yet, but give me time.  ‘Cause we both get secrets kept; sometimes I’m dying to tell you mine, but then you’d know I’m not all right.  Then you’d know I’m not all right.  Yeah, soon you’ll know I’m not all right.  I haven’t disappointed you yet, but give me time.  Give me time.

 

Lonely, Lonely

You’re the picture of uncertainty: sad as a bruise in your big black boots.   So chalk it up to poetry, get another tattoo, embrace whatever’s hurting you.  Or just write it in a line, sing it with a rhyme, but don’t deny that it’s the truth: you chose a lonely, lonely way to spend your time. So add it up and decide: are all the words in the world going to keep you satisfied, or do you need more out of life?  Or do you need more out of life?

You’re the poster-child for misery: you sulk and you brood. Oh, how it makes them swoon.  But you can’t commit to anything. You’ve always got one in the wings, waiting for you to make your move.  And someday you might see, but for now you’d rather be the boy who’s always got the blues.  You chose a lonely, lonely way to spend your time.  So add it up and decide: are all the words in the world going to keep you satisfied, or do you need more out of life?  Or do you need more out of life? 

You’re allergic to stability, refusing love, thinking you can’t risk enough.  But the danger swallows everything.  It’s a song you only meant to sing, words you meant to write, but never meant to be your life. You chose a lonely, lonely way to spend your time.  So add it up and decide: are all the words in the world going to keep you satisfied, or do you need more out of life?  Or do you need more out of life?

 

I Can’t Fix It

You wonder what I’m doing: these days I’m always cleaning house, moving things around.  And trying to forget the day you first moved in, when everything was sparkling and life was for the opening.  And the cat, her belly to the floor, eyeing every doorway, unsure of what lay ahead.  But all that fades eventually.  You learn the geography and there’s no mystery left.  Forgive me: you didn’t need this stuttering, this scratching at the scab, but the cuts still itch so bad and I can’t fix it.  I’m sorry: you didn’t need this elegy, this salt rubbed in the wounds, but there’s nothing I can do.  I can’t fix it.

You wonder where I’m going: I’m spending much more time on the road, going it alone.  And I’m supposed to be improving, but I still close my eyes at every single show.  I hide inside a poem.  Forgive me: you didn’t need this stuttering, this salt rubbed in the wounds, but there’s nothing I can do.  I can’t fix it.  I seem all right, but I lie awake at night, hedging all my bets and fending off regret. Can I risk it?  And the face you have in photographs, well, it may sell the clothes, but I know it’s just a pose.  You crack between the clicks.

 

Chiaroscuro

I’m suffering through one of your off-days.  I know, I know, you’ve got so many calls to make.  I know, I know, you’ve got so many pills to take.  Well I never wrote a poem entitled “Chiaroscuro” but I know a thing or two about the dark and the light.  Your eyes get red and misty and that’s when you say, “Kiss me.” And I think how much you’ll miss me when I up and die.

I’m rocket-riding through one of your good days, climbing higher in the sky with every plan we make.  And I know just how dangerous it can be; I do it anyway.  And I never wrote a poem entitled “Chiaroscuro” but I know a thing or two about the dark and the light.  Your movements all get shifty, and that’s when you hit me.  But I’ll keep these head wounds with me, if I can just stay alive.

 

Porcelain

Reaching out with a porcelain hand, she’s wanting to go where nobody knows her face, the bad intentions.  Swallowing hard down her porcelain throat, she’s known it before.  She opens the door, goes outside, sings her song.  And if you fall, I won’t let you, I won’t let you slip through the cracks. I won’t let you, I won’t let you slip through the cracks.

She’s not all right, so porcelain white. She’s light as a feather, so easily broken every time.  And if you fall, I won’t let you, I won’t let you slip through the cracks.  I won’t let you, I won’t let you slip through the cracks. I won’t let you, I won’t let you slip through the cracks.

 

We

I was a ghost you heard on the radio a thousand miles from home, a dream you had ten years ago.  An audible crash, a brilliant flash of light that woke you up at night until you went to sleep and let it go.  But we used to have something that seemed worth dreaming about.  And people liked to listen so we often just dreamed out loud.  And they say there thinking that we had it all figured out.

And years down the road, you duck into a show and hear the songs you know, and you’re right back at the start.  And after a laugh, you get my autograph, ‘cause I’ll sign anything, I’m so desperate to leave my mark.  But we used to have something that seemed worth singing about.  And people liked to listen so we always sang it loud.  And we sat there thinking that we had it all figured out.

But we were just two seeds sprouting their first leaves deep underground.  We were just two sweaty teens in a basement, fooling around.  We were just two lost souls trying to find what can’t be found.  We were just two wallflowers at the big dance, scoping things out.  Yeah we were just two sweaty teens in a basement fooling around. We were just two lost souls trying to find what can’t be found.  We were just two wallflowers at the big dance scoping things out.  We were just two seeds sprouting their first leaves deep underground.  And I was on my way up, you were on your way up, we were on our way down.  I was on my way up, you were on your way up, we were on our way out.  I was on my way up, you were on your way up, we were on our way down.  I was on my way up. You were on your way up.  But we were on our way down.

 

Complete

The city lights blink out.  My hands are shaking, and I’m still outside your house waiting for you to come out.  It’s getting colder: L.A. shutting down.  This city’s foggy and forlorn.  Sky-scrapers disappear up past the fifteenth floor.  And I’m always wanting more.  But I just settle for what everyone settles for.  If you turn out to be just what I need, could we ever come out clean, or are we lost?  Is that the cost of being complete?

The city lights blink out. And I’m getting high tonight, the only way I know how.  But it doesn’t matter now.  God, it’s getting hotter and we won’t get out.  If I turn out to be just what you need, could we ever come out clean, or are we lost?  Is that the cost?  If you turn out to be just what I need, could we ever come out clean, or are we lost?  Is that the cost of being complete?

 

Incurable Blues

I came west from Boston, Mass., another punk you met in class. We spun our stories one by one, bragged about the drugs we’d done.  And real people do exist, they just don’t live in Los Angeles.  But then you hear someone sing, and it just changes everything. 

So we load our words like gattling guns and fire off the rounds for fun, but now and then you hit someone and cause a fatal wound.  It came to pass: you hit me square, but I was equally prepared to hit you back and so we shared a dangerous month or two.  Sometimes you really ought to turn and run and but still you stay. 

Well I know exactly where we were when I started thinking you were the cure.  It may have cost some mystery, but you showed me your history – there were shoeboxes full of photographs, and notes you passed in English class, folded like envelopes with tabs that opened when I pulled, and all your teenage poems spilled out, cursive soft and crimson loud, they stained my fingers reddish brown where they touched the words. 

Well, a burden’s lighter when it’s shared, so it’s no surprise that you got scared when the weight came tumbling down on you – there wasn’t much that you could do.  You tried like hell to keep away, and I tried like hell to make you stay.  Neither of us got our way, it sort of changed from day to day.  Sometimes I’d think I’d won the fight, but your conscience kept you up at night so I kept these things to myself, hoping maybe that would help.  Sometimes you try to bottle something up and it just explodes. 

Well, you finally struck out on your own, moved into another home – I took the tour and now I know: there isn’t room for me.  And I guess I never aimed too high, trying to be your consolation prize, but I’m happy just to know I tried to make you see.  But I never say just what I mean, I never keep my language clean, I never ever flee the scene of where I commit the crime.  Sometimes the hardest thing to say out loud is easy to sing.  What if I love you?  What if I love you?  Would it ruin everything?

 

This Won’t Last

This won’t last and you know it. We’re tumbling toward the precipice and we can’t do a single thing to slow it.  You’re hoping for some solid ground, but everything is slipping down.  Don’t you know me by now?  This won’t last and you know it.  We’re tumbling toward the precipice and you can’t do a single thing to slow it.  And you can try to shut my mouth, but still these words are coming out.  Don’t you know me by now?

Welcome to the Danger Show

(Released March 27, 2007)

  1. Run Like Hell
  2. Foreign Movie
  3. Lonely, Lonely
  4. I Can't Fix It
  5. Chiaroscuro
  6. Porcelain
  7. We
  8. Complete
  9. Incurable Blues
  10. This Won't Last