Stand and get off some cliche--
All your tongue can do is lay
Paralyzed, your lips all smiles,
Your imagination miles
And miles ahead by now.
You mumble something like, oh, wow.
The past has got a hold on me--
It doesn't matter what I do;
I go to bed a casualty,
Dreams become a nightmare too.
Living in the USA
Never seemed to make my day.
The past has got a hold on me--
Nightmares coming all too true;
No one's going to set me free
From the stupid things I do.
Help me off the lies I ride,
Undo double binds I've tied.
I let go, I thought I'd fly,
You were getting me so high.
Had me under your sweet spell,
But fell so hard I couldn't tell
Our nights from bright, sun-shiny day--
Expert, though, on shades of gray.
Rain keeps falling, sidewalks feel
Like they're going to melt away;
The shimmer makes them look unreal,
Edges soften up like clay.
And like a dream I can't believe
You're gone for good and that you went
So calmly. Now the heavens heave
A sigh to see no cloud relent
And give a sign that there's a sun
Behind it all--the rain goes on;
Grey and slick the colors run
And fade away. Like you, they're gone.
Not one touch nor single kiss
Gave me a clue I'd feel like this.
Now I'm asking, how much longer?
I'm just hanging on.
Only thing that's getting stronger
From your being gone
Is my crying. You say wait--
You say, think of me and write.
I think of you, anticipate
That any day could be the night.
From her Stetson to her boots
She's cowgirl all around;
Rides bareback, the lady shoots,
And yet her kiss can leave spellbound
The man who can't get close enough:
Her boots stay on. By God, she's tough.
Every time I see your face
That's looking from the picture frame,
I start to get a terrible case
Of blues so bad they put to shame
The best I've seen in movies, yet--
Blues I'd thought I'd never get,
But blues have been around so long
They know just how to get to you.
It must be easy seeing who's
The baby in this story, here.
The one that sits and cries the blues
Because his blues won't disappear;
I dreamed last night you shared my bed,
But I woke up alone, instead,
The blues have been around so long
They sometimes crawl inside of you.
The bedroom smells of your perfume
And I can't get you off my mind;
The living room's become a tomb--
The warmth is gone you left behind;
Except I still can see your smile
Coming from your picture while
The blues have been around so long
They visit while I'm missing you.
Couldn't take his redneck games:
Whisky, women, barroom fights;
Pick-up driving Jesse James--
Highway terror weekend nights.
She decided, no use trying--
Couldn't keep this thing from dying;
She let it go and things got rough--
Someone's going to wind up dead;
He couldn't watch her close enough--
His suspicions way ahead
Of every move she made, so now
She's become his fucking cow.
I would never be your noose;
I'm too square to be your clown;
Can't let go but shake me loose
Should I ever bring you down.
I love you now. And when you're old.
I'll love you hot or when you're cold.
I think she loves me, hard to tell--
Can't pin my honey bee.
When I try things don't go well,
The rest is history.
I've been stung so often that
I don't know where my honey's at.
She can bring me to my knees,
Out there doing what she please.
Trying to figure honey out,
Drives me up the wall;
Smooth sailing runs into some doubt
And turns into a brawl.
I blame honey, blame myself,
Can't keep honey on the shelf--
When some things start coming down
In this busy, little town.
It all ended in a wink:
Sleeptalking someone's name.
No more honey when I think
That things can't be the same.
Just about to lose my mind,
Thinking there's a man behind
Reasons she keeps so much hid.
She says not. I think she did.
She loved him. Sure, she loved him but
A part was missing, not sure what
Except the spark the times he touched her;
Maybe snuffed because he clutched her.
He always had her on his mind,
Always trying hard to find
Some way to keep attention on
Undying love. A marathon.
She struggled for some time away;
She was dreading that one day
She'll break it to him. He'll be hurt,
He's going to cry--
Too nice a guy
To live with such a terrible flirt.
Insecurities he had
He nursed till they were ironclad.
That day came, she had to go,
Going through him, honey, no.
Dirty business figures how
To lay the blame on Chairman Mao,
Marx and Lenin, Castro, Reds.
Get the boys to call in feds
To sniff them out until they're caught
Doing something they ought not.
It takes the public's mind off what
It takes to crack a harder nut--
Those peculiar oddities,
Namely, why commodities
Like double knits and processed cheese,
Sit in storage overseas.
Summer days of sun and then
Some nights on cool cotton sheets;
Past stars and clouds and back again,
We watched the moon as it retreats
Behind the trees, to leave us ache
To do again all we can take.
Jasmine waits for summer nights
To haunt the evening air;
I crawl in bed, turn out the lights,
And dream of nights we used to share
The shadows and to smell the bloom
Of jasmine from our moonlit room.
Chauvin, Nicholas, patriot,
Served Napolean Bonaparte.
By himself, if he were caught,
He'd back off a healthy fart.
His way of leading's leading on
But just get down and Chauvin's gone.
Dip into this cool wonder:
Devil's Punch Bowl, tries your soul,
Swimming under falls that thunder
Out the perfect swimming hole.
I'm going to take you to a rock
Up where it's deep enough to dive;
The water's going to be a shock
But makes you glad to be alive;
We'll swim a while and then bake off
The chill on you and me.
Grab a towel and let's take off--
It's waiting there for you to see.
Stopped to drop big sister a line
(Kim is playing on the floor,
Grunting away and giving a sign
The stinker's working up a chore.
Soon we'll both be rid of the rut:
Diapers and a dirty butt)....
When you take a second look,
You can't help but see the pain:
Doctors going by the book
Are clean and fast but scars remain;
Before the boy learns of the blade
They mend another cut they've made,
Before the crown--a neat incision,
Decision made to pad the wallet--
Episiotomy's what you call it:
Hurried doctors want no tear,
The cut so easy to repair;
Now a blade will expedite--
Nothing like a knife
To dull some nerves, and things go right:
First impression of his life.
Same conditions in the States,
Tables made from shipping crates
Or something salvaged from the dump--
Land of plenty in a slump.
Living poor and living still
Through an economic chill.
Third World living, in the sticks,
Picking up the Third World tricks
Of living in between the cracks--
Getting bankers off our backs.
And far below, what's waiting there,
From shadows, are these eyes for you;
No tenderness--dim eyes that stare
Up dully like you're nothing new.
From floors below those canyon walls
It watches as your whole world falls.
You take what seems is your last breath
Recalling what you knew of love;
The eyes that scared you half to death
Watch you falling from above;
Soon you're down to face to face,
And spit back into empty space.
We were two you couldn't soothe--
Our lives didn't run so smooth.
How bad is it to feel good,
Crying being misunderstood?
Wary like a beaten dog--
Take it, swear,
And plunge my mind into a fog;
Watch TV. Then go to bed.
Forget the tears the family shed.
She cried a lot. I cried alone.
Affection faced a monotone.
How we ever got that way,
Blind to knowing who we were,
Came from dark and hidden play:
Only actors walked cock-sure.
We'd work. Be good.
We usually could
But there were days we'd blow it
Find a seed and sow it.
Seeds of anger, seeds of hate,
Weeds we'd carefully cultivate.
Blamed each other, blamed ourselves,
Joy was burdened by our tears;
Marking off the months by twelves
And punctuated years
With birthdays that, as we got older,
Added one more wick to smolder.
The house stayed neat. The jobs were there.
Usually we just didn't care.
We were thinking of the rent,
Sometimes we began to worry
Maybe we'd live in a tent
If landlord, judge and jury,
Dropped in giving little warning--
Early, like on Sunday morning,
Or days when we're the least prepared.
She was nervous, even scared
They'd throw us out, and once they did,
Her expecting our last kid.
We shrugged and said the place was small.
But outside, drugs and alcohol
In neighborhoods where rent was cheap,
To say the least disturbed our sleep.
And everyday your mind gets blown;
Accidents and violence prone
Folks rage up to homicide,
While others dip to suicide.
To pack in hope
Were popes of dope
And kings of cultural hype.
The popes were high,
The kings would try
Impose another stereotype
Notion that things never change.
Meanwhile, grazing down the range
Is livestock getting old and tough.
The supermarket has enough,
Butchers watching prime go bad,
Along with hamburger they pad.
Then they lay off anyone
Who doesn't make or pack a gun.
Living in a land of plenty
Going deeper into debt;
What cost ten now cost us twenty--
Dollars just a silhouette
And just as thin because inflation
Comes, and prices suck.
We hear talk of our great nation,
But we're thinking, what the fuck?
Jokes were made for us to catch
But comedies were tragic:
Selling stuff no one could match
The TV worked its magic.
Red Foxx always made us laugh,
But comedies left us with chaff--
Every day we'd tear apart
Each other, living poor;
Hand-me-downs worn from the start,
No credit at the grocery store,
Fruit becomes an autumn treat;
We drink powdered milk,
Beans, it seems, is all we eat.
Bath-towels hanging thin as silk,
Kids would beg and I would yell,
If there was love, you couldn't tell.
Elsewhere countless people starve
And watch the corporations carve
Up this world, third from the sun--
No way of saving anyone,
Unless we find a way save
The world from this home of the brave.
I sometimes get a feeling
And then I'd find you here
To set my life cartwheeling
Through a maze. You'd steer
Me this way, that,
Then turn around--
You'd leave me flat,
Feet on the ground.
If I make love to one who's tied
To someone else but petrified,
Caught and choked in swamps of fear
That makes the marriage persevere,
I take a chance I'll face despair.
Whips make vows and I might dare
To tell the whip to keep the vow--
Still, I'm going carefully now.
Eyes stay open, don't go blind;
Eyes watch out so you don't find
Yourself somewhere you get caught,
Resting on what marriage bought.
Marriage is a combat zone--
A fight to see if one can own
The other. But the women pay
For making someone else's day.
Sex gets crazy, guaranteed.
That's the way it's come to be
Because ten thousand years of rule
Once harnessed us before the mule.
The man on top. The man behind--
Damn, you're lucky when he's kind.
The rigid ways of gentlemen
Divide us like we've never been:
Father/daughter; son and mother--
Everybody's guessing with
Secrets and the manly myth:
Resistance cut at least by half.
It gives the man on top his laugh:
With burning tears and broken hearts,
They rub it in until it smarts.
Sister's in the neighborhood
But doesn't see the sisterhood.
Men at work, it's seen that they
Hear what friends and neighbors say
If she ever seems disloyal.
Tempers simmer--start to boil,
Feelings being what they are,
Relationships become bizarre.
On the daily Soaps they sell us,
We're conditioned to be jealous.
Sex becomes the masterstroke
That turns our dreams into a joke,
Then into a sad affair:
She won't come; he doesn't care.
Me, I do the best I can,
What's it mean to be a man?
Confusion rules, I can't explain
How links they forged became the chain
That holds me back, chokes off my breath;
I hear the distant shriek of death
That loves a war, devours sex--
Feeling further disconnects.
Every day they put it to us:
Every day they try to screw us
In between the ledger sheets.
Billboards advertise their feats--
Rated Goldilocks to smut.
Meek are crawling, cocky strut,
Both a sorry, dirty shame,
Oozing through that tired game
Of exploitation, woman, man,
Slave to what the Man began
Before we ever had romance.
I think I'll keep it in my pants
Before a dream I have gets lost--
A dream I'm sure somehow has crossed
The mind of everyone on earth
And will until it's given birth:
The dream of being free of those
Who benefit as misery grows;
The dream of living free of fear
Of losing all that we hold dear.
Will they be afraid or not?
Will they turn and run?
Or will they freeze because they're shot
Through with fear that's won
Their hearts: won beat by beat--
Their paralysis complete?
Only bothered over race
Those times somebody made
A point of it. They'd have to face
A bigot or a serenade
From their friends who want to prove
They know the racist's every move.
The past has made us all a slave
And my, some things are made to last.
Raised and taught we should behave
As we were made to in the past.
So we're born to work and die
And wipe away the tears we cry.
Apartment living, rent is shared;
There they found their happiness.
People outside sometimes stared--
They both walked through a wilderness.
Brothers sometimes spoiled their fun,
And rednecks hoped they both would run.
Men can usually deal with brothers--
No matter how the brothers get.
Sometimes, though, the pressure smothers
A woman's love beneath a threat.
But they made love both bold and strong
And blood soon let their blood belong.
Coming home to sleep alone
You wait for me, there in my dreams;
Weren't we something? Who'd have known
We would have crossed so many streams?
Now it's only dreams that flow
With songs played on the radio.
Don't care where you might have been;
Don't care how you carried on;
Call me up and tell me when
I'll see your eyes again and we
Can make it like it used to be.
Mary, Mary, what a story
I could tell you now.
I've eaten crow and tasted glory,
Gorged myself on sacred cow;
I've sat to money's token feast
And seen bones served up by the Beast.
The years are woven like a sieve--
Twenty years it's been.
Like yesterday, you used to live
Next door--neighbors to us when
You had me, I had your heart,
Parents keeping us apart.
All those years--you're still the same,
Best things never change;
Telling me you kept a flame
Burning somewhere for this strange
Old friend you used to love
And left some time for thinking of.
You have kids, love God, and shiver
At things I say to you;
From its banks we watch the river
Pass between us two;
Burned our bridges. Burning yet.
Just like always. Hot and wet.
High heel pumps and dress that clings,
Perfect wear to cocktail booze;
Be surprised the tips it brings
With four-inch heels on her shoes:
Nice, they tilt the "T" and "A",
But she won't wear them Saturday.
Can't care less how much they perk--
Weekend rush and heels don't work.
She's cutting off the guy in back--
She doesn't mind if they get drunk
As long as they don't snap her slack,
Never mind what kind of hunk.
Be surprised the kind of jerk
She has to humor there at work.
Don't go fooling yourself, sonny,
She only does it for the money.
Gets physical to be apart;
Always thought a broken heart
Was just another way to say,
Come back lover, make my day.
It would come as no surprise
To hear my heart make its good-byes.
Is not enough;
Your heart's above
The Cupid stuff.
You said I'd be perfect, rich.
I fall short. Hey, what a bitch.
You won't find me here again,
I'll pack up and move out when
Somebody like you comes along,
Had my fill of being strong.
I'll be leaving, just in case--
Leaving, leaving little trace.
I'm crying over you no more,
The last time that I did
I pounded teardrops to the floor.
Who am I trying to kid?
You don't love me, never will,
But I can't help but love you still.
Now what's sneaking down my cheek?
How'd this cowboy get so weak?
When you're angry, mad as hell,
A sideline thing you've going thrives;
When your head's clear as a bell
The perfect drug arrives.
When you're up and feeling strong,
A wounded comrade drops
In your arms, and all night long
You nurse a wound till hurting stops.
Just when you begin to act,
You fall in love again;
And when you're happy, it's a fact
You'll be facing one to ten.
Red moon light's from sunlight bent
Around the earth eclipsing it.
Red moon's come to represent
The hopes of women opposite
Those content to leave them none--
In the way and block the sun.