Too Late to Fixate

Tried some bad meditation
Sitting up in the dark
They say to picture an island
'Cause that's one place to start
I guess I could count my blessings
I don't sleep in the park
With all my earthly possessions
In one old shopping cart
No, I'm up in the penthouse
On a big feather bed
Is it too late to fixate
On that instead
My wife takes a vacation
One she can't afford
I go fishing the alleys
For someone to escort
No, I don't mind the money
It beats betting on sports
And though it might get expensive
It's cheaper than divorce
And I love her torn stockings
And her lipstick of red
Is it too late to fixate
On her instead
You know you're my favorite
She says when we're through
Some parts are off limits
But I'd give them to you
Where the hell was Dock Ellis
When I gave up that hit
Where was Timothy Leary
When reality bit
Who's the new Dalai Lama
That shy little kid
With no room in his body
Where a stranger could live
I can't blame him for dreaming
He'll sleep when he's dead
Is it too late to fixate
On that instead
Is it too late to fixate
On that instead


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Gossamer Thin


Rings 'round his eyes
Tracks down his arm
His fans are confused and his friends are alarmed
His wife doesn't talk
Hates when he's gone
Counts every skirt in his new entourage
And they're all gossamer thin
Left of the dial, bohemians
And they dance, turnin' in style
Twirl 'round the room, curtsy and smile
And they sit at his feet, read poetry
Swoon with each word he speaks
She likes the new pope
She's not scared of hell
They meet once a week at a secret motel
She kisses his neck, she plays with his hair
Her screams sound like pleasure, her moans like despair
And they're spread gossamer thin
Pushed to the edge, frayed at the ends
And it's no business of mine
They can love more than one at a time
But they're pushing their luck
Hard but they must
Risk it all for love
Now I walk around in some kind of altered state
The drink in my hand is starting to shake
I get used to it if it has to stay this way
A new bunch of flowers I'll have to arrange
I don't want to eat
Or get out of bed
Try to recall what the therapist said
Ego and Id
The Essential Self
You are who you are and you are someone else
But I'm worn gossamer thin
Like delicate arch, carved by the wind
There's a glass psyche at stake
Throw me a brick, see if it breaks
'Cause the mind and the brain aren't quite the same
But they both want out of this place


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Overdue


I'm in bed beside some jail bait
Megan's passed out on the staircase
Michael's searching for a good vein
Tomorrow comes we'll do the same thing
Jim got blacked out at the tailgate
Emma's dressed up for the new wave
We're all so tired of this dance craze
We never learn so we just sway
And it's long overdue
It's so long overdue
It's just so long overdue
Still feels too soon
Still feels too soon
I read a book about the bad land
Sometimes this house looks like a death camp
And too much sun can be a drag, man
That's why we sleep as late as we can
And it's long overdue
It's so long overdue
It's just so long overdue
Still feels too soon
Still feels too soon
But it's so long overdue
It's so long overdue
It's just so long overdue
Still feels too soon
Still feels too soon
Will you meet me at the station
Promise me a long vacation
Laying on the beach for hours
Laying on the beach for hours


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Afterthought


I woke up this morning still wearing that tie
The one with the hammer and sickle design
Threw up all the pills my doctor prescribed
And I went out to fetch me some air
This world was so crowded with billboards and signs
Two trucks double parked in parallel lines
I thought about breakfast but settled on wine
Always choose hunger over despair
And what's possible over what's there
Because it isn't as though we get what we want
No matter how hard or long we have fought
And my happiness is a mere afterthought
When I'm with her I keep it in mind
Then she leaves and I've run out of time
I sat down today in a high barber's chair
To hear the town gossip and clean up my hair
He said she was seen on the bus station stairs
With her suitcase threatening to walk
Not sure how true it was but I'll hazard a guess
Probably not more and it's probably not less
If that college kid bookie was accepting bets
The brackets would mostly be chalk
It's safe to assume that she's lost
But it isn't as though we get what we want
No matter how hard or long we have fought
And my happiness is a mere afterthought
When I'm with her I keep it in mind
Then she's gone and I've run out of time
I can't be concerned with the state that I'm in
At the height of the scandal with vertigo spins
I'll take every audition til I'm Errol Flynn
And bring it to life off the page
And I'll get up tomorrow still wearing that tie
The one with the skull and the crossbone designs
If I'm asked if I miss her it's easy to lie
In this world that's called more of the same
No I wouldn't feel proud or ashamed
'Cause it isn't as though we get what we want
No matter how hard or long we have fought
And my happiness is a mere afterthought
When I'm with her I keep it in mind
Then she leaves and I've run out of time


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Next of Kin


I saw a crash on the interstate
It left a feeling I could not shake
Just a name in a database who must be notified
It's not a phone call I wanna make
A stranger answers, I hesitate
"Got some bad news that couldn't wait
Are you sitting down?"
Her bathrobe hangs on the bedroom door
Though she's been dead for a year or more
He buried her by the sycamore
So that he could keep her close
It broke his heart and it made him old
Tries to rebuild but it just erodes
Some people say that's the way it goes
But he don't feel that way
Get too drunk and you can't perform
Something dies when a star is born
I spread my anger like Agent Orange
I was indiscriminate
Yeah, I met Lou Reed and Patti Smith
It didn't make me feel different
I guess I lost all my innocence
Way too long ago
She called my bluff and she won the fight
I ran outside in the hot twilight
I had a lighter that didn't light
Well I know I shouldn't smoke
I was going, I was free to leave
Walking fast down the Bowery
Tears in my eyes so I couldn't see
But I made my way back home


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Napalm


It's a quixotic quest on a hot summer's night
I got a fistful of fireworks
I wanna try and set things right
I lost my inhibition
I think I may have lost my wallet, too
In this dying land of plenty
There's a whole lot of nothing to do
Oh I, I'm Billy Pilgrim, you're a Dresden doll
They carpet bomb the city
Thank God they spared the mall
Let's hold a vigil
For the kinda, sorta innocent
I guess I should defend your virtue
But the truth is I'm still on the fence
And old Heinrich Himmler, he never broke the law
Well, technically speaking as Sam Peckinpah
Sometimes you need a vigilante if you want to get a just thing done
And I don't want to kill nobody
Whose only crime is worshiping the sun
Breakfast of napalm
Burn down the place where I belong
Our travels, make love
And they gotta keep it secret
They still do it with the lights on
And I got bad nostalgia for what came before
Sad reenactments of a civil war
My heartache is obsessive
I just wish that I could let it go
But there's a mountain down in Georgia
With a kickass laser light show
And I can always convice you you're just like Patty Hearst
Or you're sympathetic, baby, when I'm at my worst
I don't want to brainwash you
I just wish that you would change your tune
'Cause I've been gunning for redemption
And I think I'll hit the bullseye soon
Chartreuse and menthols
Burn down the town that we were from
I lost my true love to a three-alarm fire
They tried to put out with a squirt gun
Sing little child like a Nightingale
Sing little child, send me anthrax through the mail
I wanna to know you, I wanna know if you are true
Because the closer I get to you is the further that I feel from you
Breakfast of napalm
Burn down the place where we belong
Our travels, make love
And they gotta keep the secret
Yeah, they gotta keep it secret
Yeah, they gotta keep it secret
They still do it with the lights on


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Mamah Borthwivk (A Sketch)


Just because you got it
You don't have to flaunt it
With an endless stream of famous men
Pretty as a portrait
Looked like Mamah Borthwick
On that Shining Brow of Taliesin
Someone might try and burn it down
So you'll have to put the fire out
Fortunes spent but that's irrelevant to build something that's sacred till the end
It cost twenty dollars to visit Fallingwater
It's the perfect house where no one lives
Maybe someone once did but they got evicted by a busload full of greedy tourists
And it would take a time machine
To fulfill all of my fantasies
'Cause a hidden dream can be embarrassing
And the only thing that's sacred till the end
Every time I tempt fate
There's a major earthquake
Heard the people scream as the ceiling fell
Every building damaged
Only one left standing
It was Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel
A rumination in my mind
Winding like the ramp at the Guggenheim
I'm not content
But I'm feeling hesitant to build something that's sacred till the end


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Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out


Rise and shine, get out of bed
Get ready for the day
Get a coffee from the deli
And walk the riverbank
Be careful with your headphones on
When you cross the FDR
Don't want to be a casualty
Before you make it to the bar
And hide your shapes and worried face
Just sit down in the back
Your friends got there ahead of you
And night is falling fast
Oh, you know you shouldn't say it
So you're thinking it out loud
Some things we lost are never to be found
But if you're gonna talk like that
At least buy another round
And we can keep drinking till St. Dymphna kicks us out
This world is made of blinking lights
They're changing all the time
But depending who you're talking to
It's likely to be fine
I watched you go from bad to worse
The blues is here to stay
Sometimes it's the simple things that make it all okay
Oh, you don't have to lie, say you're alright
We're just happy that you're here
But if you yell and tell me to go to hell
Well, at least you'd sound sincere
Oh, you know it's all a spectacle
When you go to take a bow
You always did get nervous in a crowd
But if you need some company
I'd gladly stick around
And we can keep drinking till St. Dymphna kicks us out
Let's get enabled
Great minds, they think alike
I never was a good judge of when to call it a night
Oh, you don't have to say it
So you're thinking it out loud
Some things go south and they never turn around
But if you want a confidant
I'd never let you down
Oh, we can keep drinking till St. Dymphna kicks us out
Yeah, we can keep drinking till St. Dymphna kicks us out


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Barbary Coast (Later)


There's a dance hall there
Where the sick folks go
Like the olden days
On the Barbary Coast
There's a barefoot child
Playing in the rain
You can sell your wares
Even if they're hard
In the great bazaar
Or the parking lot
'Cause it takes a while
To know who to blame
I might have a taste
'Cause the first one's free
And the checkout girls
Got a thing for me
And they're both as sweet
As the day is the long
I don't wanna feel stuck, baby
I just wanna get drunk before noon
I don't mind my head
When there's room to dream
Feel like Paul Gauguin
Painting breadfruit trees
In some far off place
Where I don't belong
Tried to lose myself
In the primitive
In Yosemite
Like John Muir did
But his eyes were blue
And mine are red and raw
'Cause the modern world
Is a sight to see
It's a stimulant
It's pornography
It takes all my will
Not to turn it off
I don't want you to feel sad, baby
I take everything back, I swear I do
'Cause once all the friends I had
Have used me up and left
I bet you hang around
I bet you'll hang around awhile


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Tachycardia


It's a mass grave
A dollar-fifty resting place
On the north face
It's a rope I've gotta climb
I'm a stone's throw from everyone I love and know
But I can't show up looking like I do
In an old suit my hair is slicked back nice and smooth
In a court room, sweat rolling down my back
It's a bad dream
I have it seven times a week
No it's not me
But I'm the one who has to die
Needs a cold draw to slow his tachycardia
In a dark bar the world just melts away
And you feel fine
Your feet can just lose track of time
It's a good sign when he can stay awake
On a slow day the rain against the windowpane of the cafe
She spills the coffee grounds
And the same thought hits her like a cinder block
Life's an odd job that she don't got the nerve to quit
Yeah it's just there
At the bottom of those spiral stairs
It's the world's fair
The future's on display
In the still night
They turned on the electric lights
And the crowd cried out
Everyone looks so amazed


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Empty Hotel by the Sea


Order an Old Fashioned with a splash of Grand Marnier
I'll be there in ten minutes if you'll stay
I don't wanna argue, but I got to tell you straight
And better if it happens face to face
They're looking for you, brother, they keep stopping by the house
They're waiting at my work when I get out
What do you think would happen if they'd followed me here now
Do you really think they'd let it go?
Well judging by your silence, the answer's no
It's not true, Matthew, no it's nothing like before
They know exactly where you're gonna be
In that presidential suite up on the thirty-seventh floor
With your feet propped up, watching the TV
With a tray of food you're never gonna eat
And some shit excuse that no one would believe
In that empty hotel by the sea
Now when it's over I'll be talking to your grave
You might as well hear what I'll say
I can't forgive you and I'll never sing your praise
Why'd you always have to get your way?
Now you're a legend to those sick Neanderthals
The ones who count the bullet holes
Can't help admiring the splatter on the walls
Like cherry blossoms in the spring
Oh, it's a thing of beauty 'til it gets cleaned
It's not true, Matthew, no it's nothing like before
They know exactly where you're gonna be
In that presidential suite up on the thirty-seventh floor
With a blindfold on, trying to fall asleep
While your rental car's on fire in the street
And the snowflakes falling softly on the beach
In that empty hotel by the sea
Oh, it's
It's not true, Matthew, no it's wouldn't be like before
They know exactly where you're bound to be
In that presidential suite up on the thirty-seventh floor
With your fingers broken, picking up your teeth
With the realization you were in too deep
With some final words that no one will repeat
While the snow's still falling softly on the beach
In that empty hotel by the sea


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Anytime Soon


You could come around once a year like a Christmas ghost
Or hold me down like an anchor, baby, but you can't do both
I can't be your father figure but I could be your friend
Watch me burn my candle crazy at both ends
Nothing's gonna change here anytime soon
Catching fish in the morning, get drunk before noon
Watching little brown bubbles floating in the spoon
Could be soaking in a warm bath or back in the womb
Anytime, anytime soon
Used to want to be an astronaut but I was just a kid
Spent my days in a batting cage where a robot pitched
Once you were my blushing bride I was your nervous groom
But now we're just more comfortable sleeping in separate rooms, oh
Nothing's gonna change here anytime soon
Make a bed for the roses, hope that they bloom
I don't know if it's safe, but I just assume
I won't play in the majors or walk on the moon
Not anytime, anytime soon
Spin me a tornado, honey, cry me a monsoon
Let's just get through the holidays and the terrible twos
Christmas has passed, it's just yellow snow
Sometimes you gotta hear something that you already know (whoa whoa whoa)
Nothing's gonna change here anytime soon
When it's all unpredictable, I can still count on you
Looking for the mailbox with the red balloons
I'll be late to the party, and I have an excuse
'Cause no one likes breaking bad news
It's nothing I'm wanting to do
Not anytime, anytime soon


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Counting Sheep


Closing my eyes, counting sheep
Gun in my mouth, trying to sleep
Everything ends, everything has to
Get well balloons, going insane
Weight of the world, papier-mâché
Gone with the wind, out into nothing
Just trying to be easy, agreeable
I don't want to seem needy to anyone, including you
Little Louise drowned in a pool
Billy got killed walking to school
Hope it was quick, hope it was peaceful
Life is a gas, what can you do?
Catheter piss, fed through a tube
Cyst in the brain, blood on the bamboo
Highway to hell's littered with signs
Every last thing they advertise
I want to buy, I want to sell, too
But I don't want to seem greedy, I'm generous
I just wanna be pleasing to everyone, including you
Tomorrow is shining like a razor blade
And anything's possible if you feel the same
Early to bed, early to rise
Acting my age, waiting to die
Insulin shots, alkaline produce
Temperature's cool, blood pressure's fine
One twenty-one over seventy-five
Scream if you want, no one can hear you
I'm just trying to be easy, acceptable
I don't want to seem needy to anyone, especially you
Especially you
Especially you
Especially you


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Rain Follows the Plow


Straight away I learned to pray
He prays upon the sky
You go to heaven when you die
But keep that lake of fire in mind
Broke all the rules at Catholic school
Turned to a life of crime
When I stole that motorbike
I left a trail of tears behind
Had casual sex, smoked cigarettes
Threw caution to the wind
Was a winding path that I always plan to get back to you again
Till the ground 'neath under clouds
The rain follows the plow
But it was never as profound as I had wanted it to be
The birds, they sang the rites of spring
In summer's La-Z-Boy
I sat down to enjoy a world that's comfortable in green
A red feather hawk and a Celtic cross
Are pierced into my ear
No matter where I went, I meant to make my way back here
Well, I don't need God or common law to tell me right from wrong
'Cause when you press me to your chest
I know where I belong


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You All Loved Him Once


You all loved him once and not without cause
He fed you through the winter
He led you through the fog
You hid behind his body to be sheltered from the mob
You all loved him once and not without cause
You all loved him once when his glory was unmatched
Your signal when to celebrate was the bugle of his laugh
Oh, when it came time to stand with him
You scattered with the rats
You all loved him once, that time has passed
You all loved him once when the future was opaque
His reassuring visions were the pillars of your faith
Through a thousand false horizons
He would always fly it straight
You all loved him once, that turned to hate
You all loved him once, an uncommon love at that
What you saw as a pedestal was his elevated path
So to satisfy the Philistines
You stabbed him in the back
You all loved him once, imagine that
You all loved him once
Yes, you ate out of his hand
He mirrored your confusion
So that you might understand
Then your soul was an experiment so he drew a diagram
You all loved him once, it ended bad
You all loved him once and not without cause
He helped carry your baggage when your strength was nearly gone
And the more and more was put on him
He tried his best to take it on
You all loved him once, not without cause
You all loved him once, now he is gone


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A Little Uncanny


We started drinking the Kool-Aid
We were taking the bait
We were talking the big talk
Never playing it safe
Looking good as Jane Fonda
On a Vietnam tank
You can't get something for nothing
Gotta energize your base
But she was young enough
She was blonde enough
She was about a perfect ten
Had millions of admirers but not one single friend
But it's a, it's a little uncanny
What she managed to do
Became a symbol for a pain she never knew
You know old Ronnie Reagan
He was a shoe salesman's son
He got himself in the movies
Yeah, he impressed everyone
He thought trial by fire
Was America's fate
He made a joke of the poor people
And that made him a saint
But he was tan enough, he was rich enough
He was handsome like John Wayne
And there was no one at the country club
Who didn't feel the same
But it's a, it's a little uncanny
What he managed to do
Got me to read those Russian authors through and through
I miss Christopher Hitchens
I miss Oliver Sacks
I miss poor Robin Williams
I miss Sylvia Plath
Every morning's a desert
Every night is a flood
They say a party can kill you
Well sometimes I wish it would
But I'll be strong enough, I'll be man enough
Oh I'll keep myself in check
'Cause all my friends who flew to town
Said that's what they expect
But it's a, it's a little uncanny
What they managed to do
Got me admittin' to things I knew were never true


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Salutations
To whom it may concern
The litter box has overflowed
The frozen dinner burned
Oh we're running low on wine, my man
Could you please swing by the store
My TV's just reality
And I can't watch no more
There's a shining diamond somewhere
Where a kid is striking out
His dad is in the dugout
He's foaming at the mouth
A stomach's turning sour inside
Of a disappointed scout
Yeah he thought he'd found the real deal
But now he's got his doubts
So it's over before it began
But I could nurse you in the triage
I could stick you with some pins
But it's hopeless
These rules make no sense
First they say we can't be lovers
And now they say we can't be friends
Ruminations
This medicine don't work
Had that same thought ten thousand times
It's only getting worse
Swore off temptation
But what if it's what I really wanna do
But how could I apologize
For telling you the truth
There's a burnt out light bulb above my head
It's storing my ideas
There's a yearbook on the book shelf
That can't explain the years
Well I never should have signed it
But you know summer's coming soon
When I almost drowned you gave me mouth to mouth
Beside your neighbor's pool
It was over before it began
You could've left me in the water
But you made me live again
And I'm sorry
I can't pay you back
I wanna hold you 'til the world dissolves
But we just can't get attached

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