Lyrics

Apology
Bandit Guides
The Brunt of Our Jokes
Call Me the Fool
Cheating At Grief
Christmas Break
Come on Down
The Crack of His Door
December 25, 1967
The Distinguished Man
Don’t Look Now
Flaking Friends
Fools Errand/Fools Gold
A Herring Overhead
If You Please
Labrador
Last Great Massacre
LS
My Kicks
The New Year
Peaking from the Brim
Red State Soil
Seize It Quick
Sorry, Didn’t Catch Your Name…?
Tower In Grins
Your Laugh

Apology

I don’t know and I don’t care
Why did you ask me here anyway?
Talking on your phone with a finger to your pulse.
Maybe I should just go.

Sitting at home watching you hurt yourself
Watching you break yourself
Watching you kill yourself.
Do you think I like to hear my voice?
Do you think I just want to write a song?
Do you think I’d like to sing along?
When really I just want to cry out loud
Why won’t you say the word?

I don’t know and I don’t care
Why did you ask me here anyway?
Screaming at my face trying to tear me down
How much more can I take? I’m gagged and bound.

Look at the tears streaming down your cheek
I want your eyes like a fountain that leaks
I want ‘em to flow I want to make you weak.
For all the shit you put me through
There’s not enough curses for you
Not that I won’t search them through.
We’ve been here for hours, so why don’t you
Just say the word?

I don’t know and I don’t care
Why did you ask me here anyway?
Talking on your phone with a finger to your pulse.
Maybe I should just go.

I don’t know and I don’t care
Why did you ask me here anyway?
Screaming at my face trying to tear me down
How much more can I take? I’m gagged and bound.

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Bandit Guides

The empire clutches command, you’ve seen their hand.
And made a jubilant call to town, “Citizens! Lay your arms down!”

They were cut down and the king never lost his crown.

You’re walking in a sandstorm shutting your eyes
With severed hands and bandit guides.

Passing off your dallying for a system
that can’t be changed, it’s above the small man’s range.

A dot to Seurat, faded then forgot.

You’re walking in a sandstorm shutting your eyes
With severed hands and bandit guides.

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The Brunt of Our Jokes

Your witty curve, from your hip to your pinkie toe.
Can’t help but admire the grace, in which you cross the room.
You don’t have to try it’s art, it’s kindness, it’s thrilling compassion.

Because you still have your curves
And I still have my admiration.

Trying not to cross, those who are cross
Little do they know they’re bearing the brunt of our jokes.
Without even entering the room.
We never demanded anything,
We were content with what was given to us.

Because you still have your curves
And I still have my admiration.

Those fuckers, shooting from the hip.
Both guns drawn, bullets whizzing by our ears.
Tackling little girls smarter than them.
Yeah, it’s frustrating, but at the same time, so satisfying.

Because you still have your curves
And I still have my admiration.

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Call Me the Fool

From when your lucent eyes said, “Hi,
How ’bout we take a ride?”
To when your weepy mouth quivered dry.
“Make it? Yeah, we just might”
Hold me near ’til we’re old and dear
‘Cause you won’t feel the same tomorrow night.
It’s a shame, but if this time was bottled up
You and I wouldn’t have a drink in sight.

Lay your hand upon my wrist
Or squeeze above the knee and writhe with bliss.
The dog barks as I give chase
I’ll trace about your frame with a shape of grace.
It’s no mystery to me,
The sun only shines when it watches your face.

Don’t call me the fool when I say I’m the lucky one
I may not wear my heart like you, that doesn’t mean it’s not open
It’s still falling hard and it’s still apt to break
But it doesn’t care about remarks. It won’t hesitate on mistakes.

Away from you in a hotel room
The return trip is never too soon.
You’re watching bees fly to blooms
Your mind lies to how well I am without you.
Press the receiver against your lips
‘Cause I’m more apt to hear their subtle tune.
And if our bottle was filled up
It’s a shame to drink it without you.

If I forget to check in
That doesn’t mean you’ve lost out to my friends.
In my mind I play your day.
Every breath you take leaves me one more away
From you and our clumsy fears
And our slow pace.

I would call you the fool if you said you’re the lucky one
I may not wear my heart like you, that doesn’t mean it’s not open
It’s still falling hard and it’s still apt to break
But it doesn’t care about remarks. It won’t hesitate on mistakes.

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Cheating At Grief

“Your dad was in an accident… He fell asleep… I’m at the scene.
Dreamed about his restless head laying calmly in bed.”
While you… You rush in rain, slip on wet leaves
There’s too much to see or believe.
If the call was faked I should be on my guard.

The embers fly in hot, black, and charred.

“Are you sure you don’t want to talk? It’s good to get it out.”
Cathartic tears pathetic pouts won’t help these secrets of doubt.
Happy times, memorable moments,
flash bulbs, and incandescent eyes.
You say I should talk or the cliche, “Go for a walk…”

Speaking in past tense for one pence. A moment.

The pipes are calling, from glen to mountain.
While cheating at grief, wallowing eyes from a thief’s ducks.

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Christmas Break

They tore down my elementary last week
Just a cheap asbestos clogged antique.
Back when an off-key Deck the Halls rose from the gym,
The brick wall stole our tennis balls so we tore down the rim.

Now it only exists on the holidays
When we drive slow and point at nothing
We explain, “it used to be something.”

If you were careful with the wrappings
You could see the future from your parent’s attic.

And when the traffic slowed
We’d pack snow with stones enclosed
So blood would flow with just one throw.
What we didn’t know drove us close.
We found out later what led us astray
With all the things we forgot to say,
And if we lose nerve on this holiday we’ve got next Christmas break.

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Come On Down

I’ll drive all night, up and down this town
I’m at the bottom of your stairs, come on down.
I’ll drive all night, and this ain’t no Cadillac
But Baby, baby why don’t you come on back?

I’ll drive all night, and this ain’t no Coupe de Ville
But join me in this seat, for a surefire thrill.
I’ll drive all night, all ahead is pitch black
Come on baby, take me back.

I’ll drive all night, blasting Lady Day
It’s times like these, we gotta meet halfway.
I’ll drive all night, down past those tracks
Baby, baby would you come on back?

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The Crack of His Door

Driving for hours, down the interstate
We reached the top peninsula.
At a castle of rock,
The stairs reached up for hours.

An 8-year-old curled up with his pillow
Looking through the crack of his door.
His mom tilts her head back with a fingernail to her nose
She sniffs it up then does some more.

As I leaned against the railing
I pictured falling to the pines below.
If only Paul and Babe would share their plots with my child frame.
I leaned in but my shirt was hitched
It stretched taught around my neck and chest.
A distant breeze on my back.
I leaned in but my shirt was hitched
And the view was spectacular.

An 8-year-old curled up with his pillow
Looking through the crack of his door.
His mom tilts her head back with a fingernail to her nose
She sniffs it up then does some more.

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December 25, 1967

Mr. Greene didn’t know where he was driving
Until he twisted the key.
Speeding past the Main Street Christmas Tree
Reminds him of sled hills and broken teeth.
He loves his Chevy
He keeps it clean.
Mr. Greene.

Mrs. Greene looks forward to what’s on TV
She plans her night accordingly.
The oven chimes for left-over cuisine.
Pulls her curtains to cut the lights from the Main Street Christmas Tree.
She loves this routine.
Her face lit from the screen.
Mrs. Greene.

Mr. Greene pulled into the lot at 8:15,
Slips on the snow, “probably the whisky.”
Always orders the same drink from the same barkeep
They’ve never spoke, but he always tunes in channel 3.
He loves this scene
A welcome reprise,
Mr. Greene.

Mrs. Greene’s eyes are heavy, it’s 9:03.
The trash needs to go out but the snow is falling heavy.
She’d stay up for Jack, but he might be gone ’til 3.
Perry Como sings her to sleep,
Off to dream
Finally at ease
Mrs. Greene.

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The Distinguished Man

“Can I tell you tomorrow?”
“I don’t think I’ll be 10 years older by then.”
Oh, the distinguished man.

His time sides with his money not his life
He won’t break your heart, he won’t even start.
So when you walk away, don’t you dare bat a lash
Just dodge and dash despite the cliche.

Smile at the evangelist
Hands off his mistress.
Oh I don’t think you can best
His tantalizing bliss.

His heart beats to his money not belief.
He doesn’t care for stars, ’cause he’s scared of the dark.
So when you walk away, don’t you dare bat a lash
Just dodge and dash despite the cliche.

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Don’t Look Now

Sometimes,
I have a tough time speaking with this foot in my mouth
The truth was the goal and the first victim
Animals, we’re all animals with lying calls.
Hey! Don’t look now! It’s just me with posies in my pocket
Stop me before I fall down.

It’s my time,
To live with regret. A resolution to what’s in store way ahead
I’ve been digging so long, to imagine stopping now
Is like leaning on a car, on a hill, on the way down.
Hey! Why look down? I’ll keep climbing these stairs, I need the fresh air
Hope I don’t fall now.

I’m coming around,
To your side of it. One step closer but evaded yet
Hold on to what I’ve sold, though it’s old and broke
We can keep on fixing, twisting, bending, and mending more.
Yeah, I might let you down. I’ll keep hanging around, you might as well enjoy the sound
Of my voice in your town.

I’ll never bend,
But I might be broken.
You can ask in words I’ll pretend not to get.
You’ll see that look in my eye like I’m playing in Holden’s rye.
Wave your hands in front of my face and have me repeat you’re lines.
“Hey, I promise not to lie.
I swear I’ll stay down and wound around your side. I’ll make the most of our time.”

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Flaking Friends

Maybe I should write about the obvious
Trying to live by the book gets us nowhere.
Settling in on your precious life
Flaking friends from your shoulders.

Maybe you should think this one over.

You know what, you can fuck off.

This drama queen romance only gets you so far.

Hugging enemies and pissing on friends
Where do you hope to go when you’re above the world.
Looking down at your creation to only notice we’re still spinning
Smiling, dancing, and laughing away
Having the time of the day
While your bitterness takes you so far away that no one cares.

You know what, you can fuck off.

“Who was that?” No one cares…

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Fools Errand/Fools Gold

Follow your fools errand to fools gold
Chart your path
One thousand paces in, will you notice only your dog is in the fight?
You wear a personality like a disguise.

The newspaper’s front page headline
You can’t ignore it. No, not this time.

Thinking, we’re above the trends again?
When we are just fading footsteps in an empty lot.

Like a kid dressed in blood to look tough
I’m holding out from hands out-of-touch.
This town is gonna take all I’ve got and more, I’m sure.
I’m trying to believe what I read and what you tell me
But this city isn’t looking to you or me.

The newspaper’s front page headline
You can’t ignore it. No, not this time.

Thinking, we’re above the trends again?
When we are just fading footsteps in an empty lot.

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A Herring Overhead

She said, “I saw a coyote off the road.
“Traffic slowed on I-94.
“They’ve increased around here sharply.
“And did you know Gervin attended up the road?
“Right here, EMU. Right here, Ypsilanti.”
Collins chimed, “Wasn’t that before your time?”
“Gotta preserve our history.
Don’t worry John, I’ll keep hush about your story.”
I said, “Come on! Come on! Let’s order another drink.”

A herring overhead, the Huron beneath my feet.
Mind the open windows. A discreet whisper ’til we’re off the street.
We might even head to a show, “How ’bout Friday, are you free?”
“No but Saturday… Saturday looks good to me.”

“Monday?”
“You know I gotta work all week.”
“Friday?”
“I gotta catch up on some sleep.
But Saturday I’ll meet you right here in Ypsi’.”

That’s beside the point of our trip here.
One by one we left to a Bronx cheer.
Set to follow the Mistress of Fun,
“Terribly sorry, gotta run.”
No matter we’ll soon return to Sherzer’s scopes
Laugh at lame jokes, share plans and hopes.
Under stars we’ll find time to talk about
Brick walks, the Tridge, and the Depot Clock.

A herring overhead, the Huron beneath my feet.
Mind the open windows. A discreet whisper ’til we’re off the street.
We might even head to a show, “How ’bout Friday, are you free?”
“No but Saturday… Saturday looks good to me.”

“Monday?”
“You know I gotta work all week.”
“Friday?”
“I gotta catch up on some sleep.
But Saturday I’ll meet you right here in Ypsi’.”

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If You Please

(I’ve grown so tired of your arrogant ways.)
Sitting, waiting, contemplating
Where the day will take your selfish play.
Bored of this and that always
Expecting the argument to stop at your debate.
Worried for your petty material
While the obvious suffering occurs.
So just crank up your stereo
And listen to some horrible sounds
Or a pointless song, just as this has become.

Yeah, you can take what you please, if you please.
Just take what you need, let’s make a deal.
You can take what you see, or what you need
Yeah, just take what you please.

(Knock knock, is there anyone there?)
Do you hear what I’m saying
Are you looking my way
Or are you just staring off into space
Thinking of what you crave?
Still bored after another day.
I can’t believe I believed what you’d say.
Duped into thinking too highly of you.
(You’ve) sunk so low,
There’s no promise you can keep.

Yeah, you can take what you please, if you please.
Just take what you need, let’s make a deal.
You can take what you see, or what you need
Yeah, just take what you please.

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Labrador

I had a dream that God didn’t swap Isaac with a lamb
When old Abraham came down with his hand
The poor boys head rolled across the land.
It was a gruesome scene
You were swallowed by the sea
The women wore black on their faces to hide wet cheeks.
They cried, “Oooh.”

They dredged up your body. You’d been gone three days.
Visitors stormed from far away
Torn up to find old Dave had been nabbed by the Labrador waves
Little Davey was especially changed
He went from a boy to a man just as the wake was arranged.
The casket was beautiful
Oh, she was beautiful
The flowers were beautiful
It was beautiful…
We cried, “Oooh.”

You sat up to stares, asked why we were there.
I didn’t believe it
I still don’t believe it, no.
Mama nearly had a stroke, pointed her finger and spoke
She said, “This old heart needs your love.
My little Davey needs your love.
You know this whole damn town needs your love.
The Labrador sea, needs your love
My, my (it all) needs your love.
Right now…”

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Last Great Massacre

Here’s a story about this kid
Setting a path a bit different than the rest of us did.
His Daddy hit the bottle everyday, sometimes twice
When his son was just fifteen he took his life.
Climbing into high society
His Mom set a course for high esteem.
She gave her kid much affluence
Even bought him a guitar one Christmas.

He said, “Thanks Mom. I hear your pleas but I don’t care what you say ’cause I want to be…
The last great rock ‘n roll man
In the last great rock ‘n roll band.”

She pushed him into corporate life one like her own.
He disappeared one day without any calls back to home.
Moving around towns, convinced he was the best
Thought he was John Lennon before he even had a hit.
Started taking drugs and playing every instrument
Told everyone he talked to God about shit.

“And thy Lord said onto me that one day I will be…
The last great rock ‘n roll man
In the last great rock ‘n roll band.”

He was gonna start a revolution, was gonna get paid
If it wasn’t his way it could just fade away.
Ups and downs, and downs and outs,
The people around him wanted to know what this kid was really about.
They expected either a miracle or the devil to show his face
On stage, entertainment and riots were one in the same.

“Yeah, Listen man if you fuck with me I’ll kick you in the God damn teeth, ’cause I’m…
The last great rock ‘n roll man
In the last great rock ‘n roll band.”

The band broke up but you couldn’t convince him
He still trudged around committed to his revolution.
Everybody dropped it, turned their backs and minds away
“He’s just and arrogant prick. His petty fits will keep him stuck in one place.”
But as time goes by his legend grows,
We’ll never know if some kid walking through a record store

Will say, “Hey man look what I picked up today, what a find this guy was great. He was…
The last great rock ‘n roll man
In the last great rock ‘n roll band.”

Back to top…

LS

Watching basketball on the tube
Drinking a beer and feeling rude.
There’s a band playing in the other room
But no one is paying any mind.

Watching the cue smack the nine
And that pinball’s screaming line.
The lights are dancing to Wilco on the juke
It’s that song complaining about someone being out of line.

I used to come here with friends
We’d drink Irish whiskey and talk about the people we knew.
Laughing about stretching before punk rock shows
Reminiscing about playing Frisbee in graveyards.

These friends span the country now
But we make plans anyhow.
Maybe it’s because we’re all fans of a different sport
Maybe it’s all the songs we wrote.

I used to come here with friends
We’d drink Irish whiskey and talk about the people we knew.
Laughing about stretching before punk rock shows
Reminiscing about playing Frisbee in graveyards.

Back to top…

My Kicks

We’re supposed to think we know everything in our twenties
And nothing in our thirties.
I knew nothing then, nothing now, and everything never.
Everyone around me is so confident above their skin.
What happens when they’re alone drawing a bath?
Burning candles, toes curled around a great book
Blood drips from the night’s paper cuts and washes down the drain.

Only the face of the moon peers in
Hidden beneath thrift store finds, browns and grays,
Blacks and blues, with name brand tennis shoes.
Hidden beneath thrift store finds, browns and grays,
Blacks and blues, with name brand tennis shoes.

Watching punk rock shows with your arms crossed
Your movement barely visible
Eyes flashing around the room.
Reading the ironic tees, falling short of loss
Don’t you, no don’t you dare move forward.
Is your head still in the game?
Liquid courage in my stomach.
But my throat’s dry and mind is awry
I’m singing this song, despite my attempt, I’m just like you.

Catty and Batty wearing browns and grays,
Blacks and blues, with name brand tennis shoes.
Catty and Batty wearing browns and grays,
Blacks and blues, with name brand tennis shoes.

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The New Year

Hey man, how ya’ been?
We heard about the accident
We knew you’d be back
(We) kept your old seat warm.

What’s that new song you sing
Flooded with scandalous flings?
Oblige us with a jingle, simple and plain.

We’re filling our cups the best we can
‘Til they overflow with our grandest plans.
We’re a jovial bunch and know the trap of the inspired.
The quickest to break the cipher, leaves you second to the writer.

Pints are full with no place to go
Just take a look out the window.
Our bellies are warm, and it looks like snow.

How ’bout Christmas imagery?
Another smash of a timpani
A carol, a toast to the new year.

To the new year! To the new year! To the new year!

There are better challenges than noise
Or blank canvases hung on white walls.
We’re a jovial bunch and know the trap of the inspired.
The quickest to break the cipher, leaves you second to the writer.

We’re filling our cups the best we can
‘Til they overflow with our grandest plans.
We’re a jovial bunch and know the trap of the inspired.
The quickest to break the cipher, leaves you second to the writer.

Back to top…

Peaking from the Brim

My head is spinning my eyes are twisting
Focusing on three drops of beer
Evaporating on the table.
Why is it that everybody talks so damned loud?
Resentful, disgusted by everyone
That walks through the door.
Closing my eyes to snatch what’s left of my pride.
Why is it they all think this is their favorite song?

In a dive bar sipping the time away
I’m no virtuoso, I’m just coming to play
With only pennies in my hat.

And now my head is still flipping
Can’t close my eyes ’cause some jerk is spinning
I think, yeah it’s that guy in the corner
Behind a martini flirting with a waitress half his age.
Fifty dollar bills dripping from his pockets
Only pennies in my hat.
Sound check tripped me up
I’ll stumble through my quick set.

In a dive bar sipping the time away
I’m no virtuoso, I’m just coming to play
With only pennies in my hat.

Sandpaper in my throat by the second song.
The jerk keeps spinning away.
The bass is too loud, the tone is all wrong
Thank God there’s only one song left.
The waitress is gone, the jerk left his drink half full
Or maybe it was half empty?
What a time for philosophy.
Last chorus, room’s half empty or half full?

In a dive bar sipping the time away
My hat is empty, and Ulysses S. Grant
Is peaking from the brim.

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Red State Soil

Stamping ground in your red state soil
Pounding stakes in your Atlanta rail
I’ve come to realize that southern man was misguided.
Even if it’s his written right to be
No one sea-to-shining-sea is free
As free, as a bird.

As free as a bird, as free as a wingless bird.
The song you heard, was more than you could ever learn.
It was the southern man who said to me,
“Boy, you’re going to be free.
As free, as a bird.”

His land is his, hers is hers
They’re land is yours if greed plays your hand.
It was made for commons.
For you, and for me
As the litter flies from your window free
As free, as a bird.

As free as a bird, as free as a wicked bird.
The sound you heard, was more than you could ever learn.
It was the southern man who said to me,
“Boy, you’re going to be free.
As free, as a bird.”

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Seize It Quick

When you were a child you spied and no one knew.
Under porches you hid while folks looked on confused.
You bled from your shins, memories and scars can prove.
And ran for your life when the coast was clear and true.

This wood, this glass, this home has stories much like your own
They’re hidden in the stone, she whispers what she knows.
When the decades had passed they laid brick upon brick of lore
With no eyes just doors, she thinks cars are waves breaking on shore.
Remember our apartment filled with smoke down in The Corridor
When Jimmy barbecued outside our window.
Jeff slept in the alley rather than knock on our door.
You said the radiator pings were ghosts under the floor.

Alright, OK. The clock will tick, the flash bulb will flick.
We’ll seize it quick, today. Let’s weather the wood.
These walls would sing if they could.

The cracks and chips and bends and warps, it’s her attitude
She’s not brand new, she sees everything through.
As loud as we could we sang Nina Simone.
Television competed with outside our window.
The neighbors above moved chairs at 3 in the morn.
And I loved you more than ever before.

Alright, OK. The slivers will prick, branches grow thick.
We’ll seize it quick, today. Let’s weather the wood.
These walls would sing if they could.

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Sorry, Didn’t Catch Your Name…

Sorry, didn’t catch your name?
Could you repeat it like you actually have a tongue the cat didn’t take?
How did you spend your day?
‘Cause I was out on the street, stamping my feet to feel warm.
It was the middle February.

But you’re no fool, and I’m just a phony
So don’t ask me to light your cigarette.

Did you see that wedding?
A bride and her marine with no face?
He lost it in the king’s flame.
You probably missed the ceremony.
While you watched TV and prayed to your king
And his perfect court.

But you’re no fool, and I’m just a phony
So don’t ask me to light your cigarette.

It’s the American way
To cheer the bombs like it’s a football game (go man, go).
“We’re going out to get ‘em, before they get us.”
I’ve heard the line a million times
It still don’t mean much.

But you’re no fool, and I’m just a phony
So don’t ask me to light your cigarette.
Yeah you’re so cool, and I’m just a phony
So don’t ask me to light your cigarette.

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Tower In Grins

All I need is to spot the dancers arc
Made from your hand to your fingertips
Then I know it’s you.
So as we wander from clique to clique
Get smothered in insignificance,
Just passing through.

In the bedlam, I search for that familiar arc to catch your wrist.

We’ll tower in grins, too far ahead for them to ever close in.

What’s secondhand to us is new to everyone else
A slow aspiration.
Enjoying our time spent snared in the dissent
A slow quiet strum.

In the bedlam, I search for that familiar arc to catch your wrist.

With bottomless brow lines, pale eyes, and thin skin
We’ll tower in grins, too far ahead for them to ever close in.

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Your Laugh

“Your laugh, your skin
Your eyes are smiling.
Your lipstick wiped, smeared, blurred, and thin.
I want to know your name
I want to speak it soft.
I want you to never be the one you’re not.”

“I want you to know,
it’s going to be me and you walking out that door
I can wait until we’re all alone. It’s fine, until you’re sure.
You can dance and drift in time.
Each and every day, each and every night.
Despite the passing lights
I’m fine, It’s alright.”

Count his pictures, collect the history
It’s not how far they rip, it’s the memory.

She waits, he sins
“Shut it off, she’s calling”
Earnestness has passed, he’s limited.
Laugh it out, the same old game
Yeah so cliche.
“I fell in love once, twice. I might today.”

“I want you to know,
it’s going to be me and you walking out that door
I can wait until we’re all alone. It’s fine, until you’re sure.
You can dance and drift in time.
Each and every day, each and every night.
Despite the passing lights
I’m fine, It’s alright.”

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