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Now that the furnitures returning to its Goodwill home With dishes in last weeks papers, rumours and elections, crosswords, an unending war That blacken our fingers, smear their prints on every door pulled shut Now that the last months rent is scheming with the damage deposit Take this moment to decide If we meant it, if we tried Or felt around for far too much From things that accidentally touch Hands that we nearly hold with pennies for the GST The shoulders we lean our shoulders into on the subway, mutter an apology The shins that we kick beneath the table, that reflexive cry The faces we meet, one awkward beat too long, and terrify Know that the things we need to say Have been said already anyway By parallelograms of light On walls that we repainted white Sun in an empty room Take eight minutes and divide By ninety million lonely miles And watch the shadow cross the floor We dont live here anymore
Why dont you ever want to play? Im tired of this piece of string You sleep as much as I do now And you dont eat much of anything I dont know who youre talking to I made a search through every room But all I found was dust that moved In shadows of the afternoon And listen, about those bitter songs you sing? Theyre not helping anything They wont make you strong So, we should open up the house Invite the tabby two doors down You could ask your sister If she doesnt bring her basset hound Ask the things you shouldnt miss: Tape-hiss and the Modern Man The Cold War and card catalogues To come and join us if they can For girly drinks and parlor games Well pass around the easy lie Of absolutely no regrets And later maybe you could try To let your losses dangle off The sharp edge of a century And talk about the weather, or How the weather used to be And Ill cater with all the birds that I can kill Let their tiny feathers fill disappointment Lie down; lick the sorrow from your skin Scratch the terror and begin To believe youre strong All you ever want to do is drink and watch TV And frankly that thing doesnt really interest me I swear Im going to bite you hard And taste your tinny blood If you dont stop the self-defeating lies Youve been repeating since the day you brought me home I know youre strong
My citys still breathing, but barely, its true Through buildings gone missing like teeth The sidewalks are watching me think about you Sparkled with broken glass Im back with scars to show Back with the streets I know Will never take me anywhere but here The stain in the carpet, this drink in my hand The strangers whose faces I know We meet here for our dress rehearsal to say I wanted it this way Wait for the year to drown Spring forward, fall back down Im trying not to wonder where you are All this time Lingers, undefined Someone choose Whos left and whos leaving Memory will rust and erode into lists Of all that you gave me A blanket, some matches, this pain in my chest The best parts of lonely Duct-tape and soldered wires New words for old desires And every birthday card I threw away I wait in 4/4 time Count yellow highway lines That youre relying on to lead you home That youre relying on to lead you home That youre relying on to lead you home
It had something to do with the rain Leaching, loamy dirt And the way the back lane came alive Half moon whispered, Go For a while I heard you missing steps in the street And your anger pleading in an uncertain key Singing the sound that you found for me When the winter took the tips of my ears Found this noisy home Full of pigeons and places to hide And when the voices die I emerged to watch abandoned machines Waiting for their men to return I remember the way I would wait for you To arrive with kibble and a box full of beer How Id scratch the empties desperate to hear You make the sound that you found for me After scrapping with the ferals and the tabby Id let you brush my matted fur How Id knead into your chest while you were sleeping Shallow breathing made me purr But now I cant remember the sound that you found for me I cant remember the sound that you found for me I cant remember the sound
Late afternoon, another day is nearly done A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one A thousand sharpened elbows in the underground That hollow hurried sound, feet on polished floor And in the dollar store, the clerk is closing up And counting loonies trying not to say I hate Winnipeg The driver checks the mirror seven minutes late The crowded riders restlessness enunciates The Guess Who sucked, the Jets were lousy anyway The same route everyday And in the turning lane Someones stalled again Hes talking to himself And hears the price of gas repeat his phrase I hate Winnipeg And up above us all Leaning into sky Our golden business boy Will watch the North End die And sing, “I love this town” Then let his arcing wrecking ball proclaim I hate Winnipeg
Now that the treatment and antidepressants And seven months sober have built me a bed In the back of your brain where the memories flicker And I paw at the synapses, bright bits of string You should know I am with you, know I forgive you Know I am proud of the steps that youve made Know it will never be easy or simple Know I will dig in my claws when you stray So let us rest here like we used to In a line of late afternoon sun Let it rest, all you cant change Let it rest and be done
Measure me in metered lines And one decisive stare The time it takes to get from here to there My ribs that show through t-shirts And these shoes I got for free Im unconsoled Im lonely I am so much better than I used to be Terrified of telephones And shopping malls and knives Were drowning in the pools of other lives Rely a bit too heavily On alcohol and irony Get clobbered on by courtesy In love with love and lousy poetry And Im leaning on this broken fence Between past and present tense And Im losing all those stupid games That I swore Id never play But it almost feels okay Circumnavigate this body Of wonder and uncertainty Armed with every precious failure And amateur cartography I breath in deep before I spread those maps out on my bedroom floor... And Im leaning on this broken fence Between past and present tense And Im losing all those stupid games That I swore Id never play But it feels okay And Im leaving with goodbye And Im losing but Ill try With the last ways left To remember, sing My imperfect offering
Im lost, Im afraid A frayed rope tying down a leaky boat To the roof of a car on the road in the dark And its snowing If Im more, then it means less Last call for happiness Im your dress near the back of your knees And your slip is showing Im a float in a summer parade Up the street in the town that you were born in With a girl at the top wearing tulle And a Miss Somewhere sash Waving like the queen Beautys just another word Im never certain how to spell Go tell the nurse to turn the TV back on And throw away my misery It never meant that much to me It never sent a Get Well card I broke like a bad joke Somebodys uncle told At a wedding reception in 1972 Where a little boy under a table with cake in his hair Stared at the grown-up feet as they danced and swayed And his father laughed and talked on the long ride home And his mother laughed and talked on the long ride home And he thought about how everyone dies someday And when tomorrow gets here where will yesterday be And fell asleep in his brand-new winter coat Buy me a shiny new machine That runs on lies and gasoline And all those batteries we stole from smoke-alarms And disassembles my despair It never took me anywhere It never once bought me a drink
Woke up in a parking lot Air mattresses gone flat The sun selecting targets for the shadows to attack So make a visor with your hand Squint at where youre from A lonely line of buildings you can block out with your thumb Salute the way we tried And no one knows were anywhere were not supposed to be So stay a while and watch the wind throw patterns on a field This crop withstood the months of snow Scavengers and blight Tuned every year towards a tiny lengthening of light Found a way to rise We know this world is good enough because it has to be Allow the hope that we will meet again out in the winter wheat Find me in the winter wheat
Theyre tearing up streets again, theyre building a new hotel The mayors out killing kids to keep taxes down And me and my anger sit folding a paper bird Letting the curtains turn to beating wings Wish I had a socket-set to dismantle this morning And just one pair of clean socks and a photo of you When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site And well write some notes to tape to the heavy machines Like We hope they treat you well, hope you dont work too hard We hope you get to be happy sometimes Bring your swiss-army knife and a bottle of something And Ill bring some spray paint and a new deck of cards Hey, I found the safest place to keep all our tenderness To keep all those bad ideas, keep all our hope Its here in the smallest bones, the feet and the inner ear Its such an enormous thing to walk and to listen And Id like to fall asleep to the beat of you breathing In a room near a truck stop on a highway somewhere Well you are a radio, you are an open door I am a faulty string of blue Christmas lights You swim through frequencies, you let that stranger in As Im blinking off and on and off again And weve got a lot of time, or maybe we dont But Id like to think so, so let me pretend These are my favourite chords, I know you like them too When I get a new guitar, you could have this one And sing me a lullaby, sing me the alphabet Sing me a story I havent heard yet
Just one more drink and then I should be on my way home Im not entirely sure what youre talking about Ive had a really nice time, but my dogs need to be fed I must say that in the right light, you look like Shackleton Comment allez-vous ce soir? Je suis comme ci comme ça Yes, a penguin taught me French Back in Antarctica I could show you the way shadows colonize snow Ice breaking up on the bay off the Lassiter coast Light failing over the pole as every longitude leads Up to your frostbitten feet, oh, youre very sweet Thank you for the flowers And the book by Derrida But I must be getting back To dear Antarctica Say, do you have a ship and a dozen able men That maybe you could lend me? Oh, Antarctica Oh, Antarctica Oh, Antarctica Oh, Antarctica
So your presentation went terrible All wrong dongles, sweat stains and stares Leave the TV on with the sound down low in your underwear Don’t despair you’ll get it right tomorrow night In Thunder Bay, maybe Don’t delay, your day is short You can’t afford to wait I believe in you and your PowerPoints I know why you can’t stay away Out on Highway 1 with the rental car and a lot to say Don’t despair you’ll get it right tomorrow night In Nipigon, maybe Don’t delay, our day is short You can’t afford to wait So take that laminate out of your wallet and read it And recommit yourself to the healing of the world And to the welfare of all creatures upon it Pursue of practice that will strengthen your heart
On the twenty-first day, the sun didnt hate me The food wasnt angry, the bed didnt sigh The ceiling said its possible I might get my looks back On the twenty-first day of my stay here On the twenty-first day, I danced to the twelve-step Examined, admitted Im powerless too Sang the one about the spring the cat ran away On the twenty-first day of my court-ordered stay here The punk and the priest and the real estate agent The girl with no teeth and the shaky Marine The Serbian Deadhead who wears his sunglasses So no one can see at my eyes In for three weeks or in for forever Here at the 17th Street Treatment Centre Most of us probably not getting better But not getting better together
That hashtag wants me dead, but I dont mind Its just another way we grieve For all the times we failed to be the ones We thought we had the chance to be And when it gets too complicated When you cant get to sleep When the morning seems impossible Select all, delete Select all, delete Select all, delete And I dont mean to miss the good old days The good old days were mostly bad But I recall how dark the night got then How absences could make me glad So when its too illuminated Too loud and indiscreet When it gets you stoned or gets you strange Select all, delete Select all, delete Select all, delete
How I dont know how to sing I can barely play this thing But you never seem to mind And you tell me to fuck off When I need somebody to How you make me laugh so hard How whole years refuse to stay Where we told them to, bad dog Locked up whining in a word Or a misplaced souvenier How the past chews on your shoes And these memories lick my ear I know You might roll your eyes at this But Im so Glad that you exist How we waste our precious time Marching in the picket lines That surround those striking hearts How the time is never now And we know who we should love But were never certain how I know You might roll your eyes at this But Im so Glad that you exist I know You might roll your eyes at this But Im so Glad that you exist I know You might roll your eyes at this But Im so Glad that you exist
Now the lounge is full of farmers for the 7:30 draw Teammates all left before they had to buy a round When they pull the 50/50 and Ive lost again, Ill go Maybe have one more brown one for the snowy road All the championship banners going yellow on the wall And my name when it gets closer to last call So Elvira brings my bottle, hold it up and let it bend Figures of two rinks battling in extra ends And Im peeling off the label as they peel a corner guard Dance down the sheet to the tune of Hurry, Hurry Hard And my popcorn squeaks a question, wonders why Im not at home Where you wait beside a silent telephone Doodle circles within circles all alone Have to stop myself from climbing on the table full of empties to yell: Why, why cant I draw right up to what I want to say? Why cant I ever stop when I want to stay? I slide right through the days, Im always throwing hack weight Right off, no never never ever ever Right off, no never never ever never Right off, no never never never ever Right off, no never ever never ever Right off, no never never ever ever Right off, no never never ever never Right off, no never never never ever Right off, no never ever never ever Now the senior bonspiel winners circa 1963 Are all staring, glaring disapprovingly From their frame in that old photograph at me And I know youre out there waiting For an answer, I cant give you So tell me Why, why cant I draw right up to what I want to say? Why cant I ever stop when I want to stay? We roll right through our years We rip right through our months We slide through our days Im always throwing hack weight Right off, no never never ever ever Right off, no never never ever never Right off, no never ever never ever Right off
Headlights race towards the corner of the dining room And half illuminate a face before they disappear You breathe in forty years of failing to describe a feeling I breathe out smoke against a window Trace the letters in your name Our letters sound the same Full of all our changing That isnt change at all All straight lines circle sometime You said, Somewhere, theres a box full of replacement parts To all the tenderness weve broken or let rust away. Somewhere, sympathy is more than just a way of leaving Somewhere, someone says, Im sorry. Someones making plans to stay So tell me its okay Tell me anything Or show me theres a pull Unassailable That will lead you there from the dark alone To benevolence that youve never known Or you knew when you were four and cant remember Where a small knife tears out those sloppy seams And the silence knows what your silence means And your metaphors, as mixed as you can make them Are linked like days, together I still hear trains at night when the wind is right I remember everything Lick and thread this string That will never mend you or tailor more Than a memory of a kitchen floor Or the fire door that we kept propping open And I love this place: the enormous sky And the faces, hands that Im haunted by So why cant I forgive these buildings These frameworks labeled home? Headlights race towards the corner of the dining room And half illuminate a face before they disappear
Im standing on this corner, cant get their attention Facing rush hour faces turned around I clutch my stack of paper, press one to a chest Then watch it swoop and stutter to the ground Im weary with right-angles, abbreviated daylight And waiting for a winter to be done Why do I still see you in every mirrored window In all that I could never overcome? How I dont know what I should do With my hands when I talk to you How you dont know where you should look So you look at my hands How movements rise and then dissolve Melted by our shallow breath How causes dance away from me I am your pamphleteer I walk this room in time to the beat of the Gestetner Contemplate my next communique The rhetoric and treason of saying that Ill miss you Of saying Hey, well maybe you should stay Sing, Oh what force on earth could be Weaker than the feeble strength Of one, like me remembering The way it could have been So, help me with this barricade No surrender, no defeat A specters haunting Albert Street I am your pamphleteer I am your pamphleteer I am your pamphleteer
My Confusion Corner commuters are cursing the cold away As December tries to dissemble the length of their working day And they bite their mitts off to show me transfers, deposit change And I cant stop finding your face in their faces, all rearranged And angry like you never were And I ease us back into traffic Dusk comes on and I wonder Why Im always remembering you At civil twilight For the most part, I think about golfing and constantly calculate All the seconds left in the minutes, and so on, et cetera Or recite the names of provinces and Hollywood actors Oh, Ontario; oh, Jennifer Jason Leigh But this part of the day bewilders me Streets slow down and ice over Dusk comes on and I struggle Stop to stop, to stop thinking of you In civil twilight Hey, every other hour I pass that house Where you told me that you had to go I wonder if the landlord has fixed the crack That I stared at instead of staring back At you, my chance to say something Seemed so brief, but it wasnt Now I know I had plenty of time Between the sunset and certified darkness Dusk comes on and I follow The exhaust from memory up to the end Of civil twilight At civil twilight At civil twilight At civil twilight
The vampire Alberta stalks across the money market rates Ducks into a Hummer The vampire Alberta wears a bowtie and a pin that says Support the arts The vampire Alberta takes a photo for another slide In the Powerpoint of all the places he wont remember The vampire Alberta wipes an oily mouth along a sleeve Of forest in the foothills The vampire Alberta drools a perfect inky tailing pond And shakes awake The vampire Alberta lifts a nearly empty glass and pleads I need another one of these, so keep em coming Good times are coming
Garage sale, Saturday – I need to pay My hearts outstanding bills A cracked-up compass and a pocket watch Some plastic daffodils The cutlery and coffee cups I stole from all-night restaurants A sense of wonder only slightly used A year or two to haunt you in the dark For a phone call from far away With a Hi, how are you today? And a sign, Recovery comes to the broken ones Wage slave forty-hour work week weighs A thousand kilograms So bend your knees comes with a free fake smile For all your dumb demands The cordless razor that my father bought When I turned 17 The puke-green sofa, and the outline to A complicated dream of dignity For a laugh, too loud and too long For a place where awkward belong And a sign, Recovery comes to the broken ones ...or Best Offer
I count to three and grin, you smile and let me in We sit and watch the wall you painted purple Speech will spill on space, our little cups of grace But pauses rattle on about the way That you cut that snow-fence, braved the blood, the metal of those hearts That you always end up pressing your tongue to How your body still remembers things you told it to forget How those furious affections followed you Ive got this store-bought way of saying Im okay And you learned how to cry in total silence Were talented and bright, were lonely and uptight Weve found some lovely ways to disappoint But the airports always almost empty this time of the year So lets go play on a baggage carousel And set our watches forward like were just arriving here From a past we left in a place we knew too well Knew too well Knew too well Hold on to the corners of today And well fold it up to save until its needed Stand still, let me scrub that brackish line That you got when something rose and then receded Hold on
Doctors played your dosage like a card trick Scrabbled down the hallways yelling ”Yahtzee!” I brought books on Hopper, and the Arctic Something called The Politics of Lonely A toothbrush and a Quick Pick with the plus You tried not to roll your sunken eyes And said ”Hey can you help me? I cant reach it” Pointed at the camera in the ceiling I climbed up, blocked it so they couldnt see Turned to find you out of bed, and kneeling Before the nurses came, took you away I stood there on a chair and watched you pray
In the stick count for the song of knowing youre gone Glancing up at where you lived when you lived here I see you, suddenly alive and nearly smiling Stop and hold my breath and watch the way you used to be The full moon makes our faces shine Like over-ironed polyester Then disappears behind the clouds And leaves me under empty rows of night windows We could walk to where these streets get pulled together A blinking line with gravel shoulders squared towards an end Where the radio resounds from doppling traffic Where the power lines steal ss from the hourly news De-pluralize our casualties Drown the Generals out in static Wed turn and watch our city sprawl And send us signals in the glow of night windows But youre not coming home again And I wont ever get to say Remember how... Im sorry that... I miss the way... could we? Remember how... Im sorry that... I miss the way... could we? Night windows
I want to call requests through heating vents And hear them answered with a whisper, ”No” To crack the code of muscles, slacken, tense Let every second step in boots on snow Complete your name with accents I can’t place That stumble where the syllables combine Take depositions from a stranger’s face Paint every insignificance a sign So tell me nothing matters, less or more Say ”Whatever we think actions are Well never know what anything was for If near is just as far away as far” And I’m permitted one act I can save I choose to sit here next to you and wave
I want you to know what I forgive you for Now that youre all ashes anyway Every step into the river pushes you further away I want you to hear the farm apologize For letting you believe you could return I want you to dream in all the languages we couldnt learn I want you to write my name under your name With the year I was born and you began to disappear I want you to watch the generations sprawl Constellations in a northern sky I want every satellite to circle you when you arrive I want every highway sign to remember we were here I want you to take your time to disappear I want you to know what I forgive you for Now that youre all ashes anyway
For now I know we are alone here Still we should be prepared to leave Ive found a place where I have hidden Supplies and books and sleeping bags And Ill sing in my prescriptions From our fort out in the forest near a stream And theyll place them in a tiny yellow sailboat And sail them to me All I can say is Im excited All I can do is let you know You are the one I wanna be with When they return to claim the Earth For a planet near Orions belt Where everyone is happier and tall And they sing a billion stories with their minds While flying all around the sky I have heard them singing each to each And whos to say that they wont sing to me Im not certain but Im pretty sure Theyre gonna sing a song for you and me
When the bus shelter windows and napkin dispensers surprise With distorted reflections, its never the someone youre hoping to recognize And the rent is too high living here between reasons to live Where you cant sleep alone and your memories groan and the borders of night start to give When you cant save Cash or conviction, youre broke and youre breaking A tired shoelace or a wave So long past past-due, a new name for everything When the one-ways collude with the map that you folded wrong And the route you abandoned is always the path that you probably should be upon When the bottle cap ashtrays and intimates ears are all full With results of your breath, and the threads of your fear are unfurled with the tiniest pull One more time, try Stand with your hands in your pockets and stare At the smudge on a newspaper sky And ask it to rain a new name for everything Fire every phrase They dont want to work for us anymore Dot and dash our days Make your face the flag of a semaphore All you wont show The boxes you brought here and never unpacked are still patiently waiting to go So put on those clothes you never grew into, and smile like you mean it for once If you come back, bring a new name for everything A new name for everything A new name for everything
Let the waitress put the chairs up Let the glasses that you broke Form a picture of our leader With a halo made of smoke Let the golden oldies station crackle and come through With a final benediction well hum along to Before we say goodnight Let our talk about the ball game And the weather show we care Like a sound we didnt notice Until it stopped and left us there With the traffic and our heartbeats beating in straight time Let our hatred and affection march in the same line Before we say goodnight Oh protect our secret handshake once more, with feeling Let the toast to absent members push through the ceiling Before we say goodnight
Oh, the streets of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas fill with smoke Doorbell rings I put my controller down and pick it up Shoot some things Later, the darkness hits reboot and the loneliness increases She said shed come back home when I write my masters thesis Oh, the hours I spent in the archives wearing cotton gloves Shuffling photos from the Ninette Sanatorium Halloween parties Emaciated ghosts hiding in those curtains creases Ill let you haunt the world when I write my masters thesis No more marking first-year papers No more citing sources So I left home, cried the bumpy ride to Highway 23 Started west Theyll be there to say that I dont need to take their stupid test Greet me with banners and balloons and my hard drive smashed to pieces Nothing left for me to save when I write my masters thesis Its all gonna change when I write my masters thesis
Held like water in your shaking hands Are all the small defeats a day demands 10 to 6 or 9 to 5, trying, dying to survive Never knowing what survival means Leave the apartment to buy alcohol Hang our diplomas on the bathroom wall Pick at the plaster chipped away, survey some stunning tooth decay Enlist the cat in the impending class war Lets lay our bad day down here Lets make-believe were strong Or hum some protest song Like maybe We Shall Overcome Someday Overcome the stupid things we say Say I needed more than this, say I needed one more kiss We left that light on way too long now Lets plant a bomb at city-hall Lets kill an MLA Well talk the night away You call in sick, Ill quit the word-games that I play I swear I way more than half believe it when I say That somewhere love and justice shine Cynicism falls asleep Tyranny talks to itself Sappy slogans all come true We forget to feed our fear
February always finds you folding Local papers open to the faces ”Passed away” to wonder what theyre holding In those hands ​were never shown, the places Formal photographs refuse to mention His tiny feet, that birthmark on her knee The tyranny of framing our attention With all the eyes their eyes no longer see And darkness comes too early, you won’t find The many things you owe these latest dead A borrowed book, that cheque you didnt sign The tools to be bereaved with, be beloved Give what you can: to keep, to comfort this Plain fear you cant extinguish or dismiss
The north wind sinks the fence around a lot full of debris Near the corner of Memorial and me Where resurrected brick and drywall lead back into place Theres a terrified reflection on my face All alone at the gleaming knife display at the army surplus sales As the dusk descends and my inspiration fails Ghost-filled discount parkas, sleeping bags Peer at me from the crumpled dark Inky bruises punched into the sky by bolts of light And then leak across the body of tonight While rain and thunder drop and roll then stop short of a storm Leave the air stuck with this waiting to be born As I stand before an unresponsive automatic door Just another door that wont open for me anymore The exit red gets brighter then blinks off Presses me into the crumpled dark Theres a billboard by the highway That says welcome to But no sign to show you when you go away And our demolitions punctuate All we mean to save then leave too late So I make my shaky exclamation mark With a hand full of The crumpled dark
Rain for the last day that I will be known the way that I want them to know me Rain for reporters predictable leads on the darkening stain of my name Rain like the morning you left with the international brigade A streak of your face at the glass when the train pulled away The aspidistra that refused to die A miniature camera in a Cambridge tie To get that Soviet control to crack a smile All in our file, my fellow traveler Sleep for the telephones silent receiver on its beetle-black back in the hall Sleep for the bottle that rolled off my desk Danced itself out on the floor Sleep for the overturned ashtray splayed across an unmade bed While I interrogate every word that I ever said I fall from buildings into angry air Lecture my students in my underwear But once I was allowed to dream of you instead My dear defected fellow traveler How you booked your final passage With a passport that you paid for with a pair of roller skates How you dyed your hair and mustache Put on a mid-Atlantic accent but you couldnt stop the shakes When they asked where you had come from And you muttered, Thats a good one Though you were never really certain Every umbrella down on Portman Square Opens and closes to arraign our fair Theory of something I cant picture anymore A forgery for my fellow travelers I wont wait to see I still believe in you and me, my fellow traveler
So you watch the sunrise sinking and shes talking in her sleep A dream of how alone she was tomorrow when you keep All those promises to someone in a mirror you will find At your parents house in 1989 Terrorized By the ruling party, calendars and commas Small request Could we please turn around and around and around? Turn around So you whisper your arrival walking backwards to the door Wonder briefly what it is youre hesitating for All the streets lie down, deserted in the darkest part of night To lead you through the evening to the light Pulled along In the tender grip of watches and ellipses Small request Could we please turn around and around and around? Turn around
Oh, all the words I should not know That those doctors wrote on me Swell up and thrum their syllables. Wont let me get to sleep The sun will start late and clock out early So I drive around and wait for it Follow familiar roads Emptied of every memory Under a sheet of silence and unmarked snow Then idle in some parking lot Smoke half a smoke and ask St. Boniface and St. Vital Preserve me from my past Repair our potholes, prevent plant closures And if they remember me at all Make them remember me As more than a queer experiment More than a diagram in their quarterly Make them remember me
Her body is a difficult sister and she loves her And hides her somewhere in herself, safe from harm Shes barely coasting into a paycheck, stuck on empty Her blue eyes frozen green in the low-lit ATM I need a way to measure the distance I need a way to say why Out of breath or out of key Her voice resonated in me Wish on everything Pray that she remains Proud and strange and so hopelessly hopeful Her body is a difficult sister and she loves her And hides her somewhere in herself, safe from harm Her night shift is over, shes writing you a postcard To say that shes okay and its raining there again My furys rising faster than bus fares Could someone clarify why Theres no structured narrative? No neat storyline to explain Wish on everything Pray that she remains Proud and strange and so hopelessly hopefull Wish on everything Pray that she remains Proud and strange and so hopelessly hopeful She shoplifts some Christmas gifts and a bracelet for herself And considers phoning home, has some quarters in her hand But she sits down on the sidewalk and bites her bottom lip And spends the afternoon willing traffic lights to change
A soft breeze With the slippery concrete black and full of muddy slush Contrasting with the hoarfrost, clean and hung On a tunnel of silent shivering trees The ones you said youd like to be And the birds that screamed at the sun Now buried deep below the ground Beneath the snow, I press my shoulder to this wall between us I know you are behind me and I press my shoulder to this wall Determined not to turn around I didnt see you standing Still that statue that I moulded in my mind to kiss So beautiful youll never move again Someplace far away At some sad table littered with chipped plates With bad light in 48 frames from a movie on the cutting room floor You said, True meaning would be dying with you And though I wanted to, I did not smile But now I will give up on this wall that I have fought with Never uncover meaning behind our rich words If I could I would make you a raging river With angry rapids supplied with rain So you could always meander And forever be able to run away Without contending With myths wrongly interpreted With pain A harsh wind A harsh wind
So you dont get to be a saint Martyrs never last this long Guess Ill never be the one To defeat desire in song Heres a marker Heres my naked skin Our exhibit A Put a small X where I lost my way All the actors broke their legs And its too late to postpone The producers getting high And the audience went home Smile and take your awkward bow Turn and stumble off the stage Let the rain be your applause And every encore soothe your rage Squint with one eye Hum a show tune, wait For your ride to say Oh, thats where you must have lost your way Megaphones in helicopters squeal Hey, are you okay? As searchlights circle Where we lost our way All our accidents went purposeful and fell Stripped of providence or any way to tell That our intentions were intangible and sweet Sick with simple math and shy discoveries Piled up against our impending defeat
Quiz night at Looky Lous Quiz night at Looky Lous Quiz night at Looky Lous I trust you will know what to do I cant recall what we were waiting in line for When the first plane fell a block away And the next even closer Massive thumps and flames And then I woke up with a calico cat on my chest In the basement of a bar in Sudbury I sang to it calmly with my mind and it obeyed my commands Slunk off to rub itself against the leg of a broken Terminator 2 pinball machine I dream of the line and the falling planes Once or twice a week these days Usually after a particularly challenging quiz night Which, for a reasonable fee and a place to sleep I administer in bars and lounges across the land Quiz night at Looky Lous Quiz night at Looky Lous When we meet and I sing you this song with my mind You will know what you need to do The quiz I have developed is an elaborately coded message A quiz within a quiz Answerable only by Alpha Adepts and mind singers Each night I am certain they will reveal themselves to me Each night I am disappointed I must admit I am getting older And years of folding my legs into a Greyhound seat every day Is beginning to dull my powers Which were once considerable And are now wasted instructing cats Or warding off the body odor of my fellow passengers So when I saw you standing in line in the dream I felt joyful and certain When we finally meet tonight at Looky Lous Sports Tavern in Sioux Lookout I will sing you the following song with my mind And hand you all my quiz materials I trust you will know what to do Quiz night at Looky Lous Quiz night at Looky Lous When we meet and I sing you this song with my mind You will know what you need to do Quiz night at Looky Lous Quiz night at Looky Lous Quiz night at Looky Lous I trust you will know what to do
I changed the oils and oiled the squeaks Patched the holes and fluid leaks At dusk beneath a diabetic moon And wait to take the TV crews Across the creaking ice The news is howling to the timber wolves and soon Ill go through it all again Watch their doubtful smiles begin But the visions that I see believe in me So praise the things I cant forget With burgers and a silhouette On t-shirts at the council general store Ill listen to the south winds sigh With rumors and regrets and I Dont want to talk about it anymore Wont go through it all again Watch their doubtful smiles begin When the visions that I see believe in me Oh the visions that I see, they will believe me
So when they wonder where the money went And we cant swim here anymore And bankers warble algorithmically from the shore The stations pump the new austerity The Ogallala Aquifer and crackling California reservoirs making sure Priced out of that old neighborhood for good The payday lonely pray in parking lots A one-bar wi-fi kind of town The pilot flares oppose another night coming down Coming down
Youll recall from the sagas, I hope, Grettirs last stand at Drangey How his grip on his sword made his enemies cut off his hand If hed fled here instead and had tasted this terrible coffee Or read these letters you sent, hed surrender and lay the blade down And its Halloween Skinny ghosts dress like cowboys and rest At the railing by my door On their way from the childrens ward Bev Monro and his Pembina Valley Boys play at the party And I practice my English on nurses: Oh, thats a nice name And they may ask for mine, but the burns on my back from the x-rays say I shouldnt show anyone anything ever again In another year Ill be buried or shivering here Coughing at that gray spittoon Painted orange by the harvest moon Pack up mothers clothes Drive her down to the new Betel Home Sell the boat to Arnason, and then go Stand up straight In the place youre longing for And dont write to me anymore
Before we built that smirking airport Before the phones told us where to go Before the strike, before the streetcar Before we read comics on the radio Long before we found a way to gauge the coldest day Before the flood, before the treaty Before we broke a promise to appear Before we drew the new team logo Before the taste of Malathion lingered here Way before we skated down the Eaton Place parkade Before we built that Before the fire You were lifted by a blue jay beating wings above a sea With a wave of grazing bison, tall grass prairie You were set in sandy soil and stand a mighty oak Stand a mighty oak
The sirens woke me up again I know theyre coming for me someday, just a matter of when Count to 25 and yawn Touch the clock and turn my back against the dawn And hope for that one dream Of hardware stores with checkered floors And buckets full of nails Or floating effortless Over the apartments in a boat And rowing past the office windows Mother, mother, may I cry? Father, will you teach me how to die the right way someday? I dont want a second chance To turn my stuttering reluctance into romance With these documents And kindergarten anthems with my drunken liturgies Tune the FM into static and pretend that its the sea But four words fumble for the microphone You should have known You should have known
They called here to tell me that youre finally dying Through a veil of childish cries Southern Manitoba prairies pulling at the Pant leg of your bad disguise So why were you so anchorless? A boat abandoned in some backyard Anchorless In the small town that you lived and died in Ive got an armchair from your family home Got your P.G. Wodehouse novels and your telephone Ive got your plates and stainless steel Got that way of never saying what you really feel So anchorless A boat abandoned in some backyard Anchorless In the small town that you lived and died in I dont want to live and die here I dont want to live and die here Where were anchorless A boat abandoned in some backyard Anchorless In the small towns that we live and die in
Wake up, coughing, tired, with my face in my hands Staring at the window as the sunlight demands action All the energy it takes to close these bedroom blinds Wrote this selfish sadness on a bathroom wall Spent half the span of some lost cultures rise and fall But Im as clueless as a drooling four year old Still hoping I might find the capacity To let you know I know youre lonely So heres the last call for regrets A final slow dance through The days that we all hold on to Heres the promises Ive made Tied too tight to undo An unwrapped gift from me to you Slightly insane on the 18 North Main Reaching for a small-town downtown, night rain Nothing I could say could be worth saying anyway today Like Hey, whatever happened to whats-that-guys name? We get a little older and it looks the same, askance Excuse my failing sense of humour Still hoping I might find the capacity To let you know that were all lonely So heres the last call for regrets A final slow dance through The days that we all hold on to Heres the promises Ive made A razor blade and this broken piece of chain A history left to rust out in the rain
So the fields are stubble, the gardens done Where the scary scarecrow stands Sees her holding up horizons with her hands Shes so tired of reading daddys lips That essay on a frown Watch her memories of human voices drown Let horsey bray break between the thunder boom Make grasses swish meet the crickets ring Let every sound consecrate our whispering The words that Betta never heard So the back lanes tie the city down A mess of dirty string Winter dies the same way every spring As the sky tries on its uniform Of turned off TV gray And the ways we watched her watch us walk away Let every rain clatter down at groaning streets Make footsteps tick, talk to echoed walls Let every sound consecrate our whispering The words that Betta never heard Let every wind howl and creak the creaking doors To rooms that too much has happened in Let every sound consecrate our whispering The words that Betta never heard
The mirrors and the unacknowledged nods Dial tones and license plates The words you didnt choose Everything the days too small to hold Spills on to the dusk And shorts the evenings fuse So you fumble for a voice And sing happy birthday Read it to yourself again The stories always end the same He cant stay and she wont run And fear is where theyre calling from Staunch the blood from countless tiny cuts Were all out of bandages The heaters rattle, taunt Sifting through translucent shards of glass Looking for a filament That lit the life you want So you stumble for the phone Grasp the cord and pull Will your readership complain the stories always end the same? She cant stay and he wont run, and fear is where theyre calling from Afraid is where where theyre calling from Afraid is where we live for far too long
We emerged from youth all wide-eyed like the rest Shedding skin faster than skin can grow And armed with hammers, feathers, blunt knives Words to meet and to define and to... but you must know The same games that we played in dirt, in dusty school yards Have found a higher pitch and broader scale Than we feared possible, someone must be picked last And one must bruise and one must fail And that still twitching bird was so deceived by a window So we eulogized fondly, we dug deep, and threw Its elegant plumage and frantic black eyes in a hole And then rushed out to kill something new So we could bury that too The first chapters of lives almost made us give up altogether Pushed towards tired forms of self immolation That seemed so original. I must, we must never stop Watching the sky with our hands in our pockets Stop peering in windows when we know doors are shut Stop yelling small stories and bad jokes and sorrows And my voice will scratch to yell many more, but Before I spill the things I mean to hide away Or gouge my eyes with platitudes of sentiment Ill drown the urge for permanence and certainty Crouch down and scrawl my name with yours in wet cement
Oh may the roots reach beneath the sleeping street Station in the riverbed, register what we won’t hear May the leaves puzzle out the canopy Shake and photosynthesize everything were sorry for Into one long breath of air May the rings of tanglefoot and fiberglass Guard against the thunderstorm, canker worms and climate change May the bark rub away the power line Bandage over knots and burls Commemorate our injuries May the hydro workers blade be swift and precise May the rope remember all the rhymes for knot To lift me up and lay me down Bear the swinging weight of love May the birds answer carabiner clicks Carry off the tiny seeds Better ways to be alive May it all seem plausible wherever we land May we grow
The nights a spill, a permanent stain The city soaks in silence, salt and dirty snow A blue glow from the TV again The curtains never open, faces never show And every time a light is turned on Theres a light thats turned off somewhere For every other moment thats lost Theres a perfect cost, theres a debt you cant share Clock stopped at the corner of Albert will show Your last bus left an hour ago So stumble down the stairs again Pretend youre not too proud To understand and still know when Your voice cuts through the crowd Lonely people talk too loud The nights a spill, a permanent stain The city soaks in silence, salt and dirty snow A blue glow from the TV again The curtains never open, faces never show And every night they play the same song To the same offbeat believers And everyone is singing along Wearing blue-black eyes, wearing dead mens neck-ties Clock stopped at the corner of Albert will show Your last bus left an hour ago So stumble down the stairs again Pretend youre not too proud To understand and still know when Your voice cuts through the crowd Lonely people talk too loud Numbers on a washroom stall Theres always more than one last call calling you Oh, youve got blue eyes Oh, youve got green eyes Oh, youve got grey eyes Oh, youve got blue eyes Oh, youve got green eyes Oh, youve got grey eyes Oh, youve got blue eyes Oh, youve got green eyes Oh, youve got grey eyes
Got this feeling that today doesnt like me Oh the air tastes like flowers and paint Theres a sink full of bottles and cutlery And the car has got a list of complaints I just wish I were a toothbrush or a solder gun Make me something somebody can use We can wish on the pop of a light bulb Or those photos lying yellowed and curled Loose in boxes near abandoned electronics In the corners of the basements of the world Guess our wishes dont do dishes or brake repairs Make them something somebody can use Got a face full of ominous weather Smirking smile of a high pressure ridge Got more faults than the state of California And the heart is a badly built bridge Seems the most I have to offer doesnt offer much Make it something somebody can use Make this something somebody can use
Find the airport, 7am My heart pumping pure mini-bar Sit on the concrete by the carts And some girl throws a dime in my lap You wont be laughing when you hear how this one ends So I sleep through the entire flight Dont really wake up until the cab driver says Hey, where you going, I forget Think of the time I came to visit you here The year after Jeremy died And the elevators fast and pops my ears out Theyre all waiting patiently Touch my name tag, should say HELLO IM too tired to smile today Squeak the chair once, take a deep breath Straighten my tie and say whats the damage? And the pause feels like an extra year of high school The CEO takes me aside Im down 12 points and theyre selling The graphs in the board room show By the time that the market opens in Tokyo Ill be worthless So, what Im trying to say I mean what Im asking is I know we havent talked in a while But could you come get me?
Theres blood in the sink and hes plunging his wrists in A hangover halo is washing away Mechanic-school dropout stares into the mirror Stands up in his derelict daydreams Always too tall, always walked around wearing A smile that was never quite sure of itself Planning a future of failures inflicted In phone calls from strip clubs and bail bonds Theres a light left on Theres a pace to our direction Theres a movie still Of a heart Id like to mention Dont give me that look, I looked harder than most did Let details like sharp nails punch holes in my shoes Soft-traced to frown as I put the receiver down Where do I go for a pardon? Theres a light left on Theres a pace to our direction Theres a movie still Of a heart Id like to mention Were listing whats left: A signed Slayer t-shirt A car up on blocks in his mothers backyard
So long living in between a tiny screen and slightly larger screen The loneliest way to stay alone Your face frozen up in light From milder climates and wilder times I cant watch it glitching anymore I know why you had to go An ocean asked you to play another show The mountains arrange for you to run I knew you would do your best In vacuum tubes where the feedbacks nest To make me smile But it seems impossible now From another December we will barely remember When summer arrives So ... so long, living in between
Wait until the day says its closing And public is put away Write by the light of a pay phone Your list of I meant to say Like Winter comes too soon Or Radiators hum out of tune Out under the Disraeli With rusty train track ties Well carve new streets and sidewalks A city for small lives And say that well stay for one more year Wait near the end of September Wait for some stars to show Try so hard not to remember What all empty playgrounds know That sympathy is cruel Reluctant jester or simpering fool But six feet off the highway Our bare legs stung with wheat Well dig a hole and bury All we could not defeat And say that well stay for one more year Bend to tie a shoelace Or bend against your fear And say that youll stay for one more year With so much left to seek The lease runs out next week
Rolling cable slick with beer to hang up on The broken stands, the house lights​ lit Our injuries for crowds with plastic cups That clapped beneath bartenders sleepy brooms And boom, boom, boom Boom, went amps and cases down the stairs Into the parking lot out back A burst of moon, a blast of air An understanding somewhere Between the turning signal clicks The shiny food we found with gasoline The daily prayers of set-lists, tender jokes about Retards and crashes and queers I lost the chiming ring of keys to everything I lost the chiming ring of keys to everything I lost the chiming ring of keys to everything Safe and safely locked away back home Safe and safely locked away back home Safe and safely locked away back home Safe and safely locked away back home
I manage my fantasy baseball team better Than I manage my anger these days And Id trade my best pitcher For a draft pick and a picture Of the president writhing in pain Its a weird thing to wish for, but I cant stop wishing Refreshing the browser, someday If I live long enough And the world doesnt end My wish will come true in a way And hell die like we all die In pain or asleep And well still have our fantasy baseball And the next fascist fucker in line for the job Of demolishing hope for us all So Im putting in love now, Im putting in faith Putting fear on a long term IL Im going outside, Im gonna help organize Something better, something beautiful
He looked more like our fathers Not a goalie, player, athlete period Smoke, half-ash, stuck in that permanent smirk Tugging jersey around the beer gut Im strictly a whiskey man Was one of the sticks he taped up And gave to a nation of pudgy boys in beverage rooms Favorites from Plymptons list Of objects thrown by Rangers fans Soup cans, persimmon, eggs, a folding chair and a dead rabbit The nervous breakdown of 68 and 69 After pant-crap flights from LA, the expansion A shrink told me to change occupations, I had to forget it He swore he was never afraid of the puck, we believe him If anyone asks, the inscription should read My face was my mask.
Neon lights and slinking purple skies Squeeze out soft regrets from all our lies As I greet another door that opens in To that place where we repeatedly begin Im tangled up in try Slipping on I wonder why I face Affection, not embrace Another urban wasteland thick with fears Icy lights that shine like frozen television tears Or dying embers of another day Please tell me what it is I want to say Im tangled up in try Slipping on I wonder why I face Affection, not embrace Affectionate embrace
All night restaurant, North Kildonan Luke warm coffee tastes like soap I trace your outline in spilled sugar Killing time and killing hope This brand new strip mall chews on farmland As we fish for someone to blame But we communicate in questions And all our answers sound the same Under sputtering fluorescents After re-fills are re-filled Negotiations at a stand-still Spoon and rolling saucer stilled If you ask how I got so bitter Ill ask how you got so vain And all our questions blur together The answers always sound the same We cant look at one another Ill say something thoughtful soon But I cant listen to the quiet So I hum this mindless tune I stole from some dumb country rock star And I dont even know his name Its like my stupid little questions The answers always sound the same Tell me why I have to miss you so Tell me why we sound so lame Why we communicate in questions And all our answers sound the same
They called here to tell me That youre finally dying Through a veil of childish cries Southern Manitoba Prairies pulling at the Pant leg of your bad disguise So why were you so Anchorless A boat abandoned in some backyard Anchorless Small town that you lived and died in Shoe box full of photos Found a grainy mirror Sunken cheeks and slender hands Grocery lists and carbon Copied letters offer Silence for my small demands Hey howd you get so Anchorless A boat abandoned in some backyard Anchorless Small town that you lived and died in Got an armchair from your family home Got your P.G. Wodehouse novels and your telephone Got your plates and stainless steel Got that way of never saying what you really feel so Anchorless A boat abandoned in some backyard Anchorless Small town that you lived and died in Dont want to live and die here Dont want to live and die here where were Anchorless, anchorless Anchorless, anchorless Small town that we live and die in
So Im the first one in again With the quiet and the window growing snow When I hear the furnace rouse itself From its slumber, somehow suddenly I know As my eye stops on one curled up in my lesson plan That Im just your little ampersand When your voice springs from the intercom With announcements and reminders and a prayer I remember how you made me feel I was funny, I was thoughtful, I was rare But like the jokes about my figure Kids think I dont understand I know Im just your little ampersand After Christmas holiday you never asked to drive me home again Sometimes in the staff room, Id catch your eye with whyd it have to end But I know from how you worry at your wedding band That Im just your little ampersand The last conjunction after every other and I was just your little ampersand
Takes a dried up ball-point, lemon juice and water Keeps a diary invisibly In the kitchen corner of a basement bachelor suite Theres a certain search for certainty you know well never see Her hands touch her childhood home in photos that she took Its one more omission from a high school history book How whole lives get knifed and pushed aside To whom it may concern Theres a bus thats leaving half an hour from now It wont take her where she really wants to go So she sits there with her luggage at her side In the empty stations of our empty lives Take a broken bottle, take a rafter beam, or Take a needle and a tarnished spoon Or just words to kill off one more unheard statement Of another dying afternoon, she says shes leaving soon So, so long to ten-hour shifts and faking sympathies Farewell to piles of bills, unpaid utilities All rolled up and unfurled like a flag, wake up and pack your bag To whom it may concern Theres a bus thats leaving half an hour from now It wont take her where she really wants to go So she sits there with her luggage at her side Leaving empty stations leaving empty lives
Morning bright, rise, go over your lines Iron your carefully crafted disguise Wed all like to sing, its easy to sigh To sprinkle a handful of plausible lies Our buildings will rise, poke out our own eyes Publicly smile and privately frown A weeping reprise, please hear my cries Id like to pull just this one building down So turn off the sky, head in my hands Night keep me warm, white windowsill Blinded by heart, cut my hair short Eyeless in Gaza with the slaves at the mill
I have a headache, I have a sore back I have a letter I cant send I have desire, it falters and falls down It calls you up drunk at three or four AM To wonder when, wonderful All the cheap tricks I tried too hard not to pull Pulled along or pulled apart The diagnosis of a foreign frame of heart I have a story that Id like to tell you Its littered with settings and second takes I have a feeling that hums with the street lights Hides under ice in always frozen lakes My mistake to make you cringe Another greeting like a broken creaky hinge To oil and push or pry apart The diagnosis of a foreign frame of heart Found a cure for being sure And sure as anything Ill smile for my reckoning Oil and push, pry apart The diagnosis of a foreign frame of heart
Back in those old punk rock days Mornings were rough enough Public access volunteers We were always, always in between Miking up the Tec Voc choir Waiting for our turn to play We were here to take your calls every telethon We were keeping drive alive At the Beausejour Senior Centre dance Rolling down drivers side Toss an ember to the night We end this broadcast day We knew that it was coming We end this broadcast day Keep the camera running On the last time We end this broadcast day On the last time We end this broadcast day On the last time We end this broadcast day
Whereas Reggie Leach was born and played Minor hockey back in my hometown The Rifle fired his first 500 here And slapped his way into the NHL Whereas some of us werent always fair To the Native kid on borrowed skates Chippy Goolies and Ukranians In the corners with our elbows up Whereas Reggie on a playoff run Could make a dad go buy the new TV Put his youngest by the window place The split antenna in her tiny hands Whereas photos from the old Tribune Of Reggie smiling with the Stanley Cup Curled their corners, dropped off bedroom walls Left a square of where they used to be We, the undersigned, put forth his name To the Hockey Hall of Fame We, the undersigned, put forth his name To the Hockey Hall of Fame Therefore, we, the undersigned put forth his name To the Hockey Hall of Fame
You always stole all my last words Heres no exception then, one more for me to send And nothing happens in the end Im thinking of you less, more concerned and more is less I guess it doesnt matter now Maybe well never go insane You always said we would, sometimes I wished we could With you lying naked in the rain And singing Boney M, cutting down all our old friends I talk to them again now So heres the last one I have left We fell a little deep, I watched you fall asleep And nothing happens in the end But I remember when I could remember when Seems like a long time ago
Had one of those days when you wanna try heroin Drunk driving, some form of soft suicide Sitting in silence and staring at ceilings Or peeling the paint off of things to confide Maybe someday The lies weve led around Will crawl under our beds And sleep off the years Teach me to wiggle my ears like that Show me the scar that you got when you fell off your bike Ask me the questions you never want answers to We can re-write them however we like Maybe someday The lies weve led around Will crawl under our beds And sleep off the years Stop the hardwood floors lopsided grin Leave the dirt and dead flowers in a brown coffee tin Let your hand melt a hole in the frost Peer out under a sky that looks just like a shirt I lost Someday The lies weve led around Will crawl under our beds And sleep off the years Sleep off those years
This spring made winter an insulting opening offer down the passing lane Its getting harder to negotiate, thawing out and icing up again Past the Mint, where a circle of provincial flags are flagging in the front yard Im tired of trying to make us think that it hasnt always been so hard The sky looks sea-sick on the boxcar sway Where the Atlantic and Pacific are the very same far away So the sun pulls me out a bit and lets me go, Im a vacuum power cord In the back of that van full of kids, cleaning carpets for the Lord And I make a little list of sounds I found have comforted us in the past The roar of the rumble strips and the Mennonite meter of the flood forecast Oh, how the wind strums on those signs that say The Atlantic and Pacific are the very same far away Steer this boat around the slowplow spray While the Atlantic and Pacific are the very same far away
All the unpaid bills Wrestling interest rates While past-due dates wait with their boutonnieres And the slumping bike Strangled with a lock That we forgot the combination to The old house drinks everything we hide And hums sad songs that keep us up all night With the doorknobs loose And the pipes that burst With the fuses blown And the taps reversed The calender requests A meeting to discuss The time we waste: When would be good for you? And the sidewalk cracks Spell the way back home In one uninterrupted palindrome The old house keeps all of our receipts In envelopes secured with rubber bands Oh, the blinking snow And the dark dispersed With a smear removed With our taps reversed
Knock so Ill know youre still there Half listening, interpreting the air Full of failing foreign tongue My dialect of stammer come undone Ive got these threads of you and I I use to tie my doubts down And from four time-zones away Still yesterday, still talking to the past From the front seat of your car Gravel road and falling Falling hands and falling stars Start the engine up Id like a new identity A pseudonym, some plastic surgery Or just some way to disappear Someone to write me out of here I hear you hum an unfamiliar song Thought maybe you would come along Perhaps youd like to see Some piece of this, my new philosophy is that a Crappy tape deck somewhere Plays a greatest hits collection Of strange and tender moments lost Stranded, and forgotten Ill meet you there Something I forgot to say Cant find a way to make this mark more clear So crack your skull before you weep And Ill try to keep some part of me sincere
Cruel snow, cracked lips, sun lost by four Cold winces through the cardboard window Where the cobblestone smashed into glass And the bare bulb of moon swings over Portage Avenue And lights the icy ruts sprinkled with sand Down the dim hall of chain stores to Grace Where the parking lot is full again I dont bother locking up The face before the doors slide apart Is hers the day they took away the candy Left gift-shop tulips to frame her alarm What will I do now? What will I do now? What will I do now? What will I do now?
Oh, wait for me, I fell behind three signs for services ago And some sarcastic satellite says Im not anywhere Spent every cent of your goodwill on fossil fuels and magazines So let this field of flax forclose on everything I own And scratch Saskatchewan away Make Manitoba paper dolls Lift up a line from Highway 1 To tie Ontario Oh, wait for me
Too far to walk to anywhere from here Too far to walk to anywhere from here Too far to walk to anywhere from here Too far to walk to anywhere from here And it didnt take long for the words to slow Roll over the gravel shoulder Thump into the ditch Engine cut, battery dying The station metastasizing Tumours of evangelists and ads for vinyl siding The city, some cheap EQ with the mids pushed up In the one long note of wheat Too far to walk to anywhere from here Too far to walk to anywhere from here Too far
I know its annoying borrowing your brothers car But mine wont start and its Sunday Soon a line of headlights peering down the avenue Could find you there in a lawn chair Next to our old El Camino with the racing stripes On cruise night, on cruise night, on cruise night Dude just make it happen, I cant take another week Of feeling lame with the same old same old King-can on my ten-speed, circling the Dairy Queen While jacked-up rides idle at me I wanna rock the RPM between the reds and greens On cruise night, on cruise night, on cruise night Drive awhile in one direction and well turn around On cruise night
My monitor is frozen In late-for-something sun That cuts through icy patterns Another days begun Recalling all my losses While trying to ignore The theme that keeps repeating From Call of Duty 4 I tap-tap off the volume And stare out at the road Where cars and snowplows scroll by A broken line of code From some embedded program That executes our town The river and the Co-Op This house thats falling down So tape over my window With dark green garbage bags Enclose my name in brackets Make HTML tags To start and end forever Above the wheezy breath Of cooling fans and hard drives Beyond the screens of death
Theyre tearing up streets again Theyre building a new hotel The mayors out killing kids to keep taxes down And me and my anger sit folding a paper bird Letting the curtains turn to beating wings Wish I had a socket-set to dismantle this morning Just one pair of clean socks and a photo of you When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site Well write some notes to tape to the heavy machines Like, We hope they treat you well Hope you dont work too hard We hope you get to be happy sometimes Bring your Swiss Army knife and a bottle of something And Ill bring some spray paint and a new deck of cards Hey, I found the safest place to keep all our tenderness To keep all those bad ideas, keep all our hope Its here in the smallest bones, the feet and the inner ear Its such an enormous thing to walk and listen And Id like to fall asleep to the beat of you breathing In a room near a truck stop on a highway somewhere Well, you are a radio, you are an open door I am a faulty string of blue Christmas lights You swim through frequencies, you let that stranger in Im blinking off and on and off again Weve got a lot of time, or maybe we dont But Id like to think so, so let me pretend These are my favourite chords, I know you like them too When I get a new guitar, you could have this one And sing me a lullaby, sing me the alphabet Sing me a story I havent heard yet
Waking up each morning with confusion in my eyes Wind is biting through to wave hello See in my reflection an exterior of lies Hope this shaky feeling doesnt show As if I have to tell you, there was little left to say It was stilted conversation colored blue You were sitting down and you got up to walk away Tried to stay but I was right behind you I was right behind you Tension in the stare I cannot bear So close to helpless as the songs I sing Inside me ring Final words are boring, never touching Oh you whispered something in my ear I could not hear you Girls with the greenest eyes The first time you have kissed Our quiet softest sighs A song for all those who shot and missed Waking up each morning to a multitude of ties People always have to change and grow Seeing my reflection in your sullen, infected eyes Makes me wonder if youll ever know Tried to change relationship with words gray and bland Words that never seem to rest or rhyme Turned around and still I hope you try to understand I was right behind you every time I was right behind you Tension in the stare I cannot bear So close to helpless as the songs I sing Inside me ring Final words are boring, never touching Oh you whispered something in my ear I could not hear you Girls with the greenest eyes The first time you have kissed Our quiet softest sighs A song for all those who shot and missed
Another Sunday afternoon Nothing much to do But sit and try and make some sense of what I think about you Soaked with surroundings that just make me yawn First snow is melting outside on the lawn Scattered bits of yesterday with melancholy flecks of grey Creeping back to tell me I was wrong A heartful of whats hard to say Ive let that skipping record play far too long Fall Still were shot down by the likes of it all Fly Up above all that still steals the lights from your carnival One smiled and said to me dont stay awake Some kind of affirmation knowing you were truly wrong Some kind of happiness at things we never see No we are not half as smart as you pretend to Well you were right I have pretended to be me And now these jaded eyes Can barely see where is this going anyway Its always hard to say Hard to say
I woke you up at four this morning To whimper and to whine To hear myself through spit and crackle Of a poor long distance line Twelve clever ways to say I love you With words that always fail Hang up and light a cigarette Sit waiting for the mail Some flyers from department stores A, another get rich plan A bill or two, some shampoo, and a note from Ed McMahon Although youll always be the one in which I will confide Sometimes youre the razor on my private water slide By the way, I got your letter yesterday It said theres no need to be sad It said that some things would never ever change But that some already had And Id heard it from the corner of my ear How that voice makes things right And Im sure theres something more than memory Across the Maryland bridge tonight How ominous these undercurrents They crowd me now it seems And every time I meet you in the darkness of my dreams Its likely that Ill turn around and parody myself Imagine were in different places Pretend were someone else Well, I can be J. Edgar Hoover You be JFK As power hungry egocentrics Well paper fight the nights away Sometimes youre my nemesis When I am paranoid Sometimes I have doubts and worries Too strong to avoid By the way, I got your letter yesterday It said theres no need to be sad It said that some things would never ever change But that some already had And Id heard it from the corner of my ear How that voice makes things right And Im sure theres something more than memory Across the Maryland bridge tonight ... Maryland bridge tonight
Heres a little picture for your wallet and your mind Its us when we were searching for the blue we could not find Its us with padded pockets, dazzling futures and these unpolluted smiles Reality pushed back just by the thinkings of the latest styles Well, Im nineteen and Im catching myself living in the past Walls with wilted Polaroids of friends that didnt last And everything that was promising is common now I find So heres a little picture for your wallet and your mind Heres a little picture for your wallet and your mind It seems that what we wanted didnt like what we would find It seems you didnt listen when I told you what I mean Futility is reminiscence. Shades of velveteen The ceaseless beatings of our histories, memories fill our lungs Drowning us in different futures, down another rung Well, my voice cracks with the thought of you, so innocent and blind So heres a little picture for your wallet and your mind Its just one of many pictures I must learn to leave behind
She found me in high school, its a Story you have heard before, of Sunlight and the hope for something more And friendship turns to passion, like some Bird that learns to fly There is no time for the chance to wonder why So kiss my eyes until I get to sleep With promises we knew we could not keep She said stand up, make some sound Try to let them see Throw your histories to the ground Set all your prisoners free She stands back to sigh This impossible goodbye Now who can show the moment when Commitment goes astray? Does my mind still so entwined in yesterday Strung out my emotions, like some Loving puppeteer But these strings are not as light as they appear I came a thousand miles to see her eyes She met me with this new, aloof disguise This fear tastes like a rusty knife A chocolate bars tinfoil Love tastes like its soaked in life Anger, blood and soil She stands back to sigh This impossible goodbye Well, I am witness to her soaring soul and my Am I another souvenir that she must leave behind? With light that sings, the ice, these wings, my bonds untie I think I see some open sky She said stand up, make some sound Try to let them see Throw your histories to the ground Set all your prisoners free This fear tastes like a rusty knife A chocolate bars tinfoil Love tastes like its soaked in life Anger, blood and soil She stands back to sigh This impossible goodbye We both start to cry Its this impossible goodbye She found me in high school, its a Story you have heard before
My citys still breathing, but barely, its true Through buildings gone missing like teeth The sidewalks are watching me think about you Sparkled with broken glass Im back with scars to show Back with the streets I know Will never take me anywhere but here The stain in the carpet, this drink in my hand The strangers whose faces I know We meet here for our dress rehearsal to say I wanted it this way Wait for the year to drown Spring forward, fall back down Im trying not to wonder where you are All this time Lingers, undefined Someone choose Whos left and whos leaving Memory will rust and erode into lists Of all that you gave me A blanket, some matches, this pain in my chest The best parts of lonely Duct-tape and soldered wires New words for old desires And every birthday card I threw away I wait in 4/4 time Count yellow highway lines That youre relying on to lead you home That youre relying on to lead you home That youre relying on to lead you home
Hey, another numbing light of early morning Another pile of half-read books Nice and safe in my serene surroundings Evil smiles and empty looks Why justify why you can think at all? I guess Im far too sane Cry, falsify this turmoil of emotion Until you feel no pain, but Im pretty sure some sun will rise, and Give me the strength to shield my eyes, from All the lights and all the lies of compromise And I always try to understand, but Looking back its hard to know That you were bought and sold for a box filled full of Spanish gold I sifted through some archives yesterday Met you in a photograph I saw your face and simply had to look away I know that that would make you laugh So many things I guess I should remember But I dont know how So many things so easy to forget I guess I miss you now, but Im pretty sure some sun will rise, and Give me the strength to shield my eyes, from All the lights and all the lies of compromises And is this a faded memory, or Did I see you crawling Out towards the open sea, so sad and free without me Oh, without me I bid farewell to the faded memory
To that place where I repeatedly begin Slipping on I wonder why I face Affection not embrace Another urban wasteland thick with fear Icy lights Dying embers of another day Please tell me what it is I want to say Im Slipping on I wonder why I face Affection not embrace Affection not embrace
An open window shows the stars shine well up there I clear my throat to hear some sound And think of falling out into the open air Blue-black sky and cold, familiar ground Something always pulls me back Something always pulls me back Something always seems to come along despite the, despite the Blow up dolls of superheroes, sad sound-bitten lives These crowded streets of empty faces, loneliness and lies Im waiting for some sympathetic smile Im confident its just another mile I stay up thirty hours waiting for a sign Stilted sunlight pulled through old, venetian blinds Lost cause, a pregnant pause, a shiver when I wake To perseverance wearing thin through all the noise I make Something always pulls me back Something always pulls me back Something always seems to come along despite the, despite the Blow up dolls of superheroes, sad sound-bitten lives These crowded streets of empty faces, loneliness and lies Im waiting for some sympathetic smile Im confident its just another mile Im waiting for your sympathetic smile Im confident its just another mile
Slouch down in my puke-orange chair and sigh The air is full of nerves and human cells Beside me sits some awkward girl who lies Fell half in love within the airport lounge Captain says No smoking, if we crash try not to die Flying some preposterous amount of meters high The lavatory has smoke alarms and lukewarm water and I can see The clouds outside stretched out to nowhere, ribbed and textured easily So aimless for so long I think I might have lost my way Its far too late to talk about tomorrow These are things I feel and things I think and try to say Still waiting for the morning, Im still waiting for today Well try to make you see there is no way Attempts at comprehension always miss She lays her body down and tries to say, she tries to say, she tries to say: There is no answer to a kiss These people make me angry, what is yours and what is mine Talk of shopping, pure white noise, abide by every Dont Walk sign Dinner at the restaurant so isnt very nice Nineteen dollars and fifty cents for some tasteless chicken and wild rice So aimless for so long I think I might have lost my way Its far too late to talk about tomorrow These are things I feel and things I think and try to say Still waiting for the morning, Im still waiting for today So aimless for so long I think I might have lost my way Its far too late to talk about tomorrow These are things I feel and things I think and try to say Still waiting for the morning, Im still waiting for today
This is where we come up with a larger plan This is where we study for the nurse exam This is where we spend a part of every day Thinking in a language that they tried to take away This is where the sad lamp on the second floor Leads us to a winter afternoon Here is a branch where we sing out the call Millennium for all This is where we test out our replacement knees This is where were knitting mitts for refugees This is where we medicate in bathroom stalls This is where we call home from a payphone down the hall This is where we work the circulation desk Or counting out a haiku in our head Here is the branch where we sing out the call Millennium for all This is where we worry over breaking news This is where we read a hundred Nancy Drews This is where were difficult and cant sit still This is where we come in from the feels like with the wind chill This is where we find the hour of sleep we lost Wake up knowing what we need to say Here is the branch where we sing out the call Millennium for all Here is the branch where we sing out the call Millennium for all Millennium for all
Flying, floating, softly spinning swiftly through my dreams Attempts are made and understanding what it really means Trying to hold humanity in life got truly mad Extenuating circumstances always make me sad And sadness is eternity, I cannot tell you why Generally speaking all I wanna do is sigh Cigarettes and cups of coffee, skies as clean as blue All of this is anger, this is pain, but just for you Here is a happy song to burn the days away Happy song, to drown the bad today Happy song, it makes you wanna say Happy song, I almost feel okay Call myself a coward, I defy all I believe I think of things beyond me, things I never could conceive Love and death and happiness, something in your eyes Is telling me youre understanding all my lies are lies Expressing all this feeling is important for a while Words are just disguises, theres some meaning in your smile No one seems to notice, Im the only one to see That all of this is anger, this is pain, but just for me Here is a happy song to burn the days away Happy song, to drown the bad today Happy song, it makes you wanna say Happy song, I almost feel okay Well on my way to feeling okay Okay, okay Okay
And the road only goes one way And you cant get lost The trees drive by And we carry the river I ask you four questions You give me four answers The ininiwish that live here The book that changed your life And the river only goes one way And you cant get lost The akiwenzii that assigned you The oil rig, it sang Marx We keep the critic in the back seat I keep the answers In the hollow part of me And the river only goes one way And you cant get lost Thеre are simple stolеn moments These are simple stolen moments And we love when we are able And there are beating wings reminding me if you fly Forever you can have two summers And the river only goes one way And you cant get lost
Morning bright, rise Go over your lines Iron your carefully crafted disguise Wed all like to sing Its easy to sigh To sprinkle a handful of plausible lies Our buildings will rise Poke out our own eyes Publicly smile and privately frown A weeping reprise Please hear my cries Id like to pull just this one building down So turn off the sky Head in my hands Light keep me warm, white windowsill Blinded by heart Cut my hair short Eyeless in Gaza with the slaves at the mill
Out on the front porch with a kerosene lamp See white-capped waves rolling five feet high But begging these memories for another advance Is like whispering love to the sky I have this picture of you taking my hand Sink to my knees in the damp, dark sand Take off all your clothes and we reach out in vain The light goes out as it starts to rain Saint Cecilia, send me something simple and sublime Close my eyes and douse my head with red raspberry wine The wind rises swiftly and the trees start to sway To take back the delicate words that you said Place me there in the sunrise of the strong, new day Cause the light here is failing, these words are all dead Just leave me my cherished ambiguity I need it sleep with, I need it to see For all contradictions that I try to disguise Will rise up from my lungs, come to be baptized by Saint Cecilia, send me something simple and sublime Close my eyes and douse my head with red raspberry wine
I turned on all the sprinklers in the pouring rain To try and hide the real, and I recall Couldnt get to sleep that night, its still the same No one left to call No one left to stop me from the fall All this self pity, I am shit Dreamed of rows of quickly closing doors I heard the things they said and I refuse to be misled Your reach is awfully sore Is it wrong of me to ask for something more? Swear by someday Always stays the same Swear by someday Chalk drawings smearing in the summer rain again Turned on all the sprinklers in the pouring rain To try and hide the real, and I recall Couldnt get to sleep that night, its still the same No one left to call No one left to stop me from the fall All this self pity, I am shit Dreamed of rows of quickly closing doors I heard the things they said and I refuse to be misled Your reach is awfully sore Is it wrong of me to ask for something more? Swear by someday Always stays the same Swear by someday Chalk drawings smearing in the summer rain, again Someday Someday I swore to you I would never use the word someday But now I think it seems to be the only way to justify The simple thing to survive The meaning is to be alive Now I think Ill take it easy for a while Sit back and watch you others standing with a smile Procrastinate a little until we can see A sunny place where we can stand and be So, swear by someday Always stays the same Swear by someday Chalk drawings smearing in the summer rain again Chalk drawings smearing in the summer rain again Chalk drawings smearing in the summer rain again
Flowers Moonlight Stickythings Old guitar stings And smoothly obscene And I use the word you I dont know who I mean If this song was a painting it would be velveteen We sat on a beach at night We all need the space To fall down and grow And I use the word you I dont know who I mean If this song was a painting it would be velveteen
Expectations loom and haunt me With these questions I must choose In our minds that youth formed with the Friction of opposing views Were not spilled on grasping whims Kick em in, so plain to see Stressly fierce and yet unvented Still I have no tragedy To be soaring in un un un unearthly refrain Fall face down in the mud for the tiny comment, rough and bland To be soaring in un un un unearthly refrain Fall face down in the mud for the tiny comment, rough and bland Salted crackers, sun and water Sprinting fast through unmarked snow With all these thoughts of moving forward Thats okay, we eat too slow Smell and taste and interaction Watch me wonder, watch me strive Breathing deep the suns first shadows Cause I live, cause I am alive To be soaring in un un un unearthly refrain Fall face down in the mud for the tiny comment, rough and bland To be soaring in un un un unearthly refrain Fall face down in the mud for the tiny comment, rough and bland Youre rough and bland
Home, home, all souls home Dead to the graveyard, living to the lamplight Old to the fireside, girls from the twilight Babe to the breast, and heart to its haven Lost ones home —Kathleen Raine, Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home Twilight casts its spell The forest sighs and trembles Children, shadows long Hurry down the lanes Swinging through the gates Home, young ones home! Home, strayed ones home! Sailors ride dark swells Drunkards drink their fill Sad girls bathe in lamplight Glassy-eyed and pale No one to regale Home, all souls home! Home, lost ones home! Feather and fur reclaim the night Creep and prowl Scatter in haste at dawn’s first light Heed the call Home, night owls home! Home, small beasts home! Home, strayed ones home! Home, young ones home! All souls home!
Come on, Gwen. Where’ve you been? Are you feeling right? You got so thin What sets you running when you hear us coming? You can’t hide from a landslide Maryanne, still so young. New Year’s Eve, in ’91 You held his hand and looked around You could take that chain down You could take that chain down Bleeding heart and clover blooming, roses on the vine When it’s raining hard, darkness glooming I could change my mind I could change my mind Come on, Jean. You’ve got to get up Let’s comb that hair. You’re looking rough The nurse is coming, she’ll bring you something You could put your foot down You could put your foot down You could put your foot down

Dataset Card for "huggingartists/john-k-samson"

Dataset Summary

The Lyrics dataset parsed from Genius. This dataset is designed to generate lyrics with HuggingArtists. Model is available here.

Supported Tasks and Leaderboards

More Information Needed

Languages

en

How to use

How to load this dataset directly with the datasets library:

from datasets import load_dataset

dataset = load_dataset("huggingartists/john-k-samson")

Dataset Structure

An example of 'train' looks as follows.

This example was too long and was cropped:

{
    "text": "Look, I was gonna go easy on you\nNot to hurt your feelings\nBut I'm only going to get this one chance\nSomething's wrong, I can feel it..."
}

Data Fields

The data fields are the same among all splits.

  • text: a string feature.

Data Splits

train validation test
116 - -

'Train' can be easily divided into 'train' & 'validation' & 'test' with few lines of code:

from datasets import load_dataset, Dataset, DatasetDict
import numpy as np

datasets = load_dataset("huggingartists/john-k-samson")

train_percentage = 0.9
validation_percentage = 0.07
test_percentage = 0.03

train, validation, test = np.split(datasets['train']['text'], [int(len(datasets['train']['text'])*train_percentage), int(len(datasets['train']['text'])*(train_percentage + validation_percentage))])

datasets = DatasetDict(
    {
        'train': Dataset.from_dict({'text': list(train)}),
        'validation': Dataset.from_dict({'text': list(validation)}),
        'test': Dataset.from_dict({'text': list(test)})
    }
)

Dataset Creation

Curation Rationale

More Information Needed

Source Data

Initial Data Collection and Normalization

More Information Needed

Who are the source language producers?

More Information Needed

Annotations

Annotation process

More Information Needed

Who are the annotators?

More Information Needed

Personal and Sensitive Information

More Information Needed

Considerations for Using the Data

Social Impact of Dataset

More Information Needed

Discussion of Biases

More Information Needed

Other Known Limitations

More Information Needed

Additional Information

Dataset Curators

More Information Needed

Licensing Information

More Information Needed

Citation Information

@InProceedings{huggingartists,
    author={Aleksey Korshuk}
    year=2021
}

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Built by Aleksey Korshuk

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Models trained or fine-tuned on huggingartists/john-k-samson