SPARROWS

Fast birds through the tree-line
oh queeny
come on in the water's fine,
the water's fine.

Stretched across her pretty dress
peach-tree flowers
lifted over her skinny breasts,
her skinny breasts.

This crown of sparrows too
will fly away
scythe & harrow you from me

The things you gave me
I taped in wheelwells
& wrapped in bedsheets
down hollow trees

This crown of sparrows too
will fly away
scythe & harrow you from me

 

TIGERS

I'm scared to touch her
she's a girl-shaped fire
a girl-shaped fire
Naked & burning
in a shower stall
steam clouds leaping higher
leaping higher
Glowing like a stove-coil
on the one bright night
the one bright night
Clawed like a diamond
from this dark mine of a life

Say fight & we'll die like tigers
& fire on the bright sky
and never cry mercy
and never cry
never cry
never cry mercy

 

FIVE WAYS I DIDN'T DIE

Shoulders squared
but my fingers are fading
in the mirrored night
& shaky

I is for I See Stars
& blood on yr tiny paws
Out behind the restaurant
in the car lot

hey hey why'd the car stop
& the strip mall start twirling
I only remember
clubbing & crushing & you purring
as we went hurling
down along a long lake of rain

five ways that I didn't die
or make anyone cry
five ways that I didn't die

so yeh okay go on & love me a little
& yeh my heart is kiting
fine never mind the brave losing
I'll settle for the loveless fighting

hey hey why'd the car stop
& the strip mall start twirling
I only remember
clubbing & crushing & you purring
as we went hurling
down along a long lake of rain

five ways that I didn't die
or make anyone cry
five ways that I didn't die

 

RAINING IN EVA

It's raining in Eva
Damp flowers bloom
& black waters rise where
her long legs lie

Pond weeds twine on couch legs
& clouds glide by
in bright-edged files
across her ceiling tiles
& hide her starry houselights

Behind her bangs
behind her bright bangs
an uncloudy day
shines & fades
& shines & fades again
but Eva rains
Eva rains
Eva rains

 

DISAPPEARER

Tenderly I remain
Disappearer
Always just the same
Disappearer

& I don't mind
if the sky burns and stars fall & die
& some sweet night
that seemed alright
writes my name in sirens

Tenderly, moth to flame
Disappearer
Such a sweet boy, such a shame
Disappearer

& yeh yeh that's right, any night
Can grow like a trembling vine
And, flame to moth this time,
bind my legs like ivy
& tenderly
disappear me

 

HONEY

On a scrap of paper
with drink rings from some sunny summer
is the name Honey in honey-colored ink
beside a number.

& my life rushed by
in the blink of a tired eye
& for just a while I felt just fine.

On the back of a napkin
in an outskirt Atlanta diner
is the plain promise of ragged glory
looming behind her.

& the three words that I can't hear
and never could abide
hold me soft & kind & tightly
in the shy Georgia night
in the shy Georgia night.

 

IT MAY BE LOW

(Daniel Rickard)

Where's your hand, where's your command,
how can you stand?
Hold your urgent suffering need back when you speak.
Your body has suddenly frozen
and water is keeping it so cold
Get out of the hole
it may be low

Seeing you, under & through, many & few.
Hold your breath until you can feel everything still.
Your body has suddenly frozen
and water is keeping it so cold
Get out of the hole
it may be low

For now it can be made.
Forget the last mistake.

Where's your mouth, where's your sound,
what have you found?
Hold to something when you pass
& don't give it back.
Your body has suddenly frozen
and water is keeping it so cold
Get out of the hole
it may be low,
Get out of the hole
it may be low,
Get out of the hole
it may be low.

 

ELIZABETH PIER

I am a black-hulled freighter
moored low in the water off Elizabeth Pier
It's all Mott St ghost shadows
& sliding sidewalks
& shadows of ghost shadows here

But you'll all see how perfect it will be
when I go clean
when I go clean

Now ladies & gentlemen we are floating
down the aisles at Veselka Corner Deli
Toes trailing a thin line of glowing bubbles
through the flourescent floors of Chelsea

But you'll all see etc.

 

MODERN ROMANCE

(Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

Don't hold on
go get strong
Don't you know
there is no modern romance

Time is gone
it stops who it wants
I was wrong
It doesn't last
There is no
this is no modern romance
modern romance

Time is gone
it stops who it wants
& it doesn't last
It never did
there is no
this is no
modern romance
modern romance

DEAR FLIES, LOVE SPIDER

Dear flies,
gliding by
in the warm night, in the warm night
Won't you light
& stay awhile,
love spider

Dear flies,
in the night time
Always just out of sight
but I see them clearly
& love them dearly
all pretty lies & kindness,
bright eyed & childlike
& so fine, so fine

dear flies love spider
dear flies love spider
love, spider

Dear flies,
Always outside the porchlight
bright eyes like deers' beside highways at twilight
won't you come inside
& all night, all night
blindingly & so kindly
sixteen & all mine
& the stars stared & did not shine
the stars stared & did not shine
& did not shine
love, spider
love, spider

 

WHITE LINER

hey
hey liner
do you ever
get the blacks
& hey
hey liner
do they ever get you back
Tie up tight to latch and rack,
Lash down or lord knows

hey
cold harbor
Can I rest here
in yr lap
I don't love you just as much
as you don't love me back
White Liner etc

hey
tar baby
can't you hold me
any tighter
hey
tar baby
turn the lights down
& make it brighter
White Liner etc

 

VELVET

(Daniel Rickard)

the beginning of our velvet curtains drawn
looking down on every fragile feeling gone
at your brother & your sisters hand in hand
and their hearts all holding on to where they stand
we wait & we wait & we wait for meaning

we are running for a finish we can't see
with a moonbeam showing us where we shouldn't be
when the water shook & took our homes away
we remembered that we never saw your face
we wait & we wait & we wait for you

sticky velvet left us with our senses light
when we touched it every promise made us fly
but the meaning so obscure it slipped away
you were silent no one could have made you stay
we wait & we wait & we wait for no one

 

SAINT NEIL

On a drunken motorbike
in a muddy field after the show,
idling and parked,
which doesn't stop the branches flying by
like jays against the night sky
way too fast & too low
& dangerously close.

Saint Neil preserve us
oh hold me in your arms
Saint Neil save our poor band from all harm,
from all harm.

I lay down to rest
in a hornet's nest
with a real bad symphony in my poor head
and woke with swollen fingers
like rifle shells
& where the hell's my friends
that got me in this.

Saint Neil preserve us
oh hold me in your arms
Saint Neil save our poor band from all harm,
from all harm.

 

WOLVES

I'm too high
to call a simple girl
I am crushed to a perfect pearl
& can't do more than fall & stutter

I never should
have ever left the woods
I should have known I never could
have not hurt you

Wolves eat dogs
& knives are for carving
I was wrong but I was starving
I was starving

 

POOR GEORGIA

Mandy
is frail as a cane reed
her eyes are birds
in a tall tree, swaying
sweetly

Poor Georgia girls
Georgia girls

oh Bunny let's go shooting
I dare you to wear that
Don't cry we'll drive real fast
& get real high or real smashed

Poor Georgia girls

I know that we just met
but jesus wept, Georgia,
your laugh is a blank check
& your smile, sweetheart,
is gorgeous

Poor Georgia
Poor Georgia girls

 

LANE FIRE

The blinding strobes
& the shining roads
& the shy kindness of strange strange girls
is all I know
is all I know
& I can't recall my home at all

God damn you all if you think I'm a monster
I'm dying of sweetness
What makes you so sure that I'd love you to pieces

The faders rise
& the house lights fall
& that's all I know
til the end of the show
when a mirror world
of stoned drives & high girls
uncoils like a bright spool of wire
Lane Fire
Lane Fire
Lane Fire

 

NO SUCH THING AS SARA JANE

The dam of her mouth
crumbled and she kissed me
it's always april
behind her pretty lips, see

In a shiny silver bird's-nest
I found and have been keeping
only I hear
six silver chicks softly cheeping

& everyone knows
there's no such thing as perfect days
No such thing as days that sparkle and sway
and are so, so lovely and glowing
no there's surely no such thing as Sara Jane

 

AQUANAUT

What's underneath,
overhead, in my bed,
all carnation red, tarnished & breached.
Swimming, caught up in the swell
I can just barely tell, I can breathe,
I can sing like a bell

Respirator
in the deep end of the endless inland sea
Respirator
emptying in the hissing, the endless hissing sea

Holding me up at the oxygen bar
you have come so much farther than I could have swum
Inhaling to see what shines through, is it true,
falling out of my scales
& all turning blue

Respirator
in the deep end of the endless inland sea
Respirator
emptying in the hissing, the endless hissing sea

 

THE RUSSIAN ENDING

A pale girl in milky heels clicks quickly
past sequential and seemingly endless lines of flyers,
traversing anxiously the pale field of brooklyn boys.
It's her design to be shiny and collapse things,
her function to scrap the quiet laws,
before and after which she sulks and loads.

Meanwhile a blonde in her mid-twenties
with no identifying marks except the 50-plus stamps
in her winsor-colored passport,
now slightly lost, eyes the accretion
of clouds between blackish buildings,
with an eye for cabs but no intention
of going anywhere more exotic than her Park Slope walkup.

It seems to me now
that the red lights lean and sway
in gusts of wind to see them pass,
as they travel outward on hidden subways
beneath invisible cities,
unconnected any longer
except in my fitful and faulty memory.
& bit by bit we're no longer friends.
Little by little we never met again.

The turncoat trees run up the trembling red flag of fall
& the new girl moves north-to-west
across the floor of the 40 Watt,
a clear boat on a dim and murky sea.
Her eyes are blue enough to float in, or at least try,
til midnight, when she's off like a prom dress.

It seems to me now
that the red lights lean and sway
in gusts of wind to see them pass,
as they travel outward on hidden subways
beneath invisible cities,
unconnected any longer
except in my fitful and faulty memory.
& bit by bit we're no longer friends.
Little by little we never met again.

 

THE LOW LOWS

From a DC-9 at night
I look out on a field of lights
but that's not for you and I, I know.
Pools of darkness lie
both to the left and right
Beneath the swollen sky
The low lows

On a DC-9 in flight
they turn the aisle lights off at midnight.
I saw a bright and shining sidewalk through the clouds
slowly diverging from our route
& pressed my hand against
the tiny row of plastic windows
and watched the next-to-last hope go.
The low lows
The low lows
The low lows

 

JUNE GLOOM

This Spring is overgrown
I hope it blooms to death.
I swam right here with you
but the waves want nothing to do with me now
& they turn away
when they see that I'm not you.
The dunes disclose
a dull new view.
June Gloom
June Gloom

Late late late on a grey May day
I'm busy killing myself
with kindness.
Bar light, bar bright,
first bar I see tonight
I wish I might sleep tight
& wake to a bright room
lying beside you
the sky outside a bright blue
June Gloom
June Gloom

 

I AM A GUN

Shoot me
I am a gun
Don't take me off the shelf,
you'll be sorry you drew me,
sorry you knew me.
I am a gun

You think flowers are pretty
but they don't mean to be
they're just hungry for sun.
& it's true I'm a lousy man
but I'm a fine, shiny gun.

Sorry I went off honey
Sorry I love to fight
Sorry I went off honey
Sorry I'm not right

Hing hang hung
I am a gun
Hing hang hung
I am a gun
I am a gun

 

SUIT OF FIRE

This suit of fire
is cut entirely
from my desire
& lined inside
with shining flames

It might be hot but it fits just right
So I go out every night
in my burning suit of lights
FLAME ON
Suit of fire
FLAME ON
Suit of fire

oh Stephin Merritt
your diving suit sounds nice
& cool inside.
I want to trade you
this suit of fire
for just a little while.

I shine at night-time
I light up a party when I arrive
This suit of fire is so bright that I might
burn your eyes when I decide to
FLAME ON
Suit of fire
FLAME ON
Suit of fire

 

THE LAST GOOD NIGHT

The first bad day
started okay,
started okay

& the last good night
ended alright,
ended alright.

But this isn't quite the same fight as usual
Please tell me you & I can't be this happy drowning
Don't blink your stylish eyes like that at me
You're not the fucking prom queen.

The first bad day
started okay,
started okay

& the last good night
ended alright,
ended alright.

 

CANDY'S LAST DAY

Ask around,
it's Candy's last day.
Pills in her pockets,
there's a smile on her face
Now and then her eyes glaze
& she waves.

See her cry
but not very hard
A short stab of something
slips under her guard
and blocks the sound of passing cars
and stops the wound-up stars.

Candy's kiss is a red weal
Slow slip & sweet spill
Candy's eyes are islands but her hands are gulls
& can't be still

Candy's eyes are islands
in a rising tide.
All ships that sail on her seas
& all planes that fly
sink below the surface,
fall down from the sky

Candy's kiss is a red weal
Slow slip & sweet spill
Candy's eyes are islands but her hands are gulls
& can't be still
& fly away
on Candy's last day.

 

SMASHING PARTY

I walk the way you walk,
in fashionable circles.
& I talk the way you talk,
in fashionable circles.
In a fashionable crowd I've found
I'm almost always odd man out
& I frown & say I'm sorry,
smashing party.

On night like these you're never up past 3, I know
& sometime after 4, two by two the boys & girls leave
me dimly viewed, & framed with bottles, far from sleep.
If there's one thing you've taught me
it's how to throw a smashing party

 

USER'S GUIDE

Chapter One, user's guide:
Nothing comes back, nothing goes fine.
Chapter Two: she gets under my skin
Just a small puncture, then she's in.

Chapter Three: I saw the ghost of me
& it was so pretty.
One-Two-Three,
is it just me or is it dark for Spring?
Check inside the user's guide.