It’s not a place you can return to

That’s a fact you’ve got to face

You can’t in fact return to

What isn’t a place


Might be sitting on the nightstand

But it seems so out of reach

Might be a footprint in the sand

Down on Zuma Beach


& I know that I’ve been here before

& I’ve been here with you

& I don’t care if it’s a dream

As long as it holds true

It’s like walking down the sidewalk

In someone else’s socks & shoes

Remembering the smell of the garbage can

& every little crack in the pavement too

I’ve seen those ghostly lights before

When the morning turns to blue

I’ve seen the ashes & the dust

I’ve seen the morning dew

On the fallen leaves

On Franklin Avenue



She’s a scar

On your eyeball

She’ll itch & she’ll bleed

In the midnight hour

In the summer heat


She’ll hide in the blind spot

Of your memory

She’ll dance on the pages

Of the book you read


Tiger honey

Sweet & sour

Sour & sweet


She’s a beast in the bushes

You don’t want to feed

& when you go hungry

She’s all that you need



Devil don’t you know

You can’t just come

Like an old friend & say hello

Don’t you take my hand

I hope you understand

You got to let me go


Devil don’t you see

I really want what you got

But it’s got to be free

Go & complain

To the wind & the rain

They won’t tell on me


I can hear you whisper

When I listen to the wind blow

In the branches of the willow

Right outside my window

But you got to stay out,

Way out in the shadow

You can try & deny now,

Say it isn’t so

But I know that you know

Love’s the devil’s foe


Devil don’t you leave

We don’t mind you around

When we play Adam & Eve

Don’t want to offend you

But I know in the end

We’re gonna make you believe


I know you’re out there,

Out in the blue

I know you’re lonely & I feel for you

Things don’t work the way

They used to do

Things have changed for me & you



I can hear your bulldogs howling in the middle of the night

Sounds like they’re hungry—

Then again it sounds like a fight

Sounds like they hate one another

& they hate me & you

You can hear it in the wind;

You can hear it in the music too


Fingers snapping

& I see you sway on your dancer’s feet

Fingers snapping

& clapping hands to the Mersey beat

See you follow me

& I’ll follow you anywhere

From the killing floor

All the way to the county fair

You got blood-red shoes


I can hear your bulldogs howling everywhere I go

& I know they’re always around

But they never show

There’s a band on the bandstand

& ladies in line at the bar

I got nowhere to go

If I can’t be where you are



I got an old 4 runner

& a queen-size bed

See the big trucks rolling

When I raise my head

Sweet flower & gasoline smell

& the sound of a chapel bell

In the air tonight

At the Starlite Motel


3 shots in the dawn

They kill a man

Can’t tell by the moonlight

In the morning you can

Got to come up with a go-away spell

For the chalk lines

& the shotgun shells

In the parking lot

Of the Starlite Motel


There’s a freeway entrance

a few blocks down the street

I got no one to wait for

I got no one to meet

Throw my gun in the dumpster

& get out of here

I’m going to slip away

I’m going to disappear


All the way north to Ventura

All the way to downtown L.A.

I know the 101 freeway

Is going to take me away


The guy’s name was John Alvarado

The street goes by the same name too

Strange how things coincide

Strange that nobody knew

Got to come up with a go-away spell

For the sound of that chapel bell

& the flashing lights —   

At the Starlite Motel


When our shadows dance on the bedroom wall

In the flickering light

Kill the candle, make them fall

Into the night

Skin to skin & bone to bone

Thigh to thigh

So entwined & so alone


Sweet ally

Wherever you may be

On dry land or with the sirens of the sea

In my band or with the enemy

None of us are free

I’m not without you

& you’re not without me

None of us are free

That’s what love must be


When our shadows dance in the midday sun

Time is flying

The end of day has just begun

Close your eyes

Let your dreams replay the past

You & I

We can try & make it last





Listen now darling

Listen, it’ll soon be gone

That sweet melody

Out there in the early dawn

It’s way too delicate

For the light of day

When you open your eyes

It fades in the morning gray


You might say I’m a coward

But I think of myself as a clown

If I make people smile

Maybe they won’t let me down

If I make people dance

They’ll come to see me again

If I make them cry

They’ll stand by me in the rain


It’s a beautiful lie & a need

That you can’t quite seem to satisfy

A beautiful lie & you bleed

& you can’t quite seem to figure why

But you try & you get by


On Copper Hill

Fill in the blanks in the sky

On Copper Hill


You can see the top of the hill

From down in the hole

There’s something about the soul of a song

That you can’t control

It might want to kill you tonight

It might be your friend

& if it’s a dream

It might come true in the end





Summer’s gone without a reason

Or maybe not, I just don’t know

& maybe fall is just a season

& not some strange kind of letting go


To me the hours are just numbers

I see the minutes tick away

& the alarm is set to “slumber”

Oh but the sky is slowly turning gray


All the dead I’ve ever known

Have come & gone

By the time I see the dawn

I’ll see the sun rise

I’ll see it coming down

And I’ve only just begun

To carry on


I feel like a boat out on that river

I feel the current pull both ways

It’s cold enough to make me shiver

Here comes another brand-new day





There’s a demonstration on the TV

Riots somewhere down in Italy

Maybe Rome, maybe some other ancient city

Seems like people really have a cause to me


I can almost smell the pine trees & the diesel

See black helmets in the summer heat

Ambulance screaming down the boulevard

Fists up in the air & marching feet


The remote is out of reach,

I’m getting weary

My eyes drifting away from the screen

But then I see a pretty face in the commotion

Seems like every riot needs a queen


Sweet Angela


Think I saw you on the news today

Like an actress in some strange kind of cabaret

Waving a banner like a headline for your

I just assume you never liked your name Angela

‘cause that bitch in Berlin’s got the same,  Angela


Sweet Angela


I see the coliseum in the distance

As you disappear into the crowd

& the man with the necktie & the microphone

Tells me what the fuss is all about


Forgive me if your name’s not really Angela

It just came to me out of the blue

Maybe I just needed something to hold on to

& a title for a song to you


Sweet Angela



Here’s a song for Surfer Joe

He’s got no secrets but his palms won’t show

Only thing you really know

He’ll disappear before it snows


Give it up for Surfer Joe

You don’t ever see him come & go

He keeps you high—he can keep you low

Give it up for Surfer Joe


Honest face like a tired horse

No regrets & no remorse

You ask for credit & he’ll say of course

He’s got a sense who to endorse


Some people are not made for reincarnation

So they’re bound to slip into somebody else’s skin

Somebody else’s blood for a new sensation

He’s the man—you got to let him in





See that strange ship slowly coming up the river

See that strange ship pulling over for a spell

Though you’re pretty sure you’ve never seen that kind of ship before

The riverboat captain seems to know you well


You see all kind of baggage floating on the river

You see pretty clothes, a pair of boots & a purse

You spot your own belongings among all the others

Going downstream for some long forgotten curse


Brother if you want a free ride, give in to the water

Brother if you want a free ride, give in to the flow

Brother if you want to make a vow to the captain’s daughter

It’s gonna be your turn now, you just say yes or no


The captain too, he’s got a brother & a sister

Brother sun & sister moon, that is

They rise & shine & guide the captain’s daughter

Who to spare & who to blow a kiss


Down a long flight of stairs to a place where the big fat lights don’t shine

We’ll light a big fat candle ‘cause it’s dark like a black hole in a coal mine

Deep down in the belly of a ship that is sailing away

We can tell the mood of the ocean by the way our candle sways


Awake & asleep & always aware of the dead

& the language they use when they speak deep in your head

Sometimes it’s a whisper, sometimes it’s a storm in your soul

‘cause when they speak, they speak in a rant that you can’t control


But what a sweet thing when it dawns on you

That your love’s really your best friend

Makes you feel like you’re winning the blue ribbon

Without having to sail to world’s end


All those painted faces smiling down from the planks above

They came to reveal the secret conjunction of loss & love

& if you can’t really seem to understand what they are trying to say

It will be coming to you with the logic of the flow that brings the new day




The hills in the distance seem so near

It takes more than a lifetime to get there from here

Life here is slow – speed never pays

Not in the heart of the city anyway


Windowpanes shine in the night

All you see is trapped sunlight

You get caught in a trap when you follow the sun

There’s a trap in this city for everyone


Come come, get a grip

On the hole in your heart

Come come, try to rip it out & tear it apart

Pick up the pieces, hang them high on the flagpole

Come & get rid of that hole


Craze on the freeway – calm in the ditch

Scars on your shins they begin to itch

Blind in the sun, you’re blind as a mole

Though you need all that sun to fill up that hole




Sing for the flowers

It smells like spring

Cling to your tune

It’s a weapon that sings

Aim at the shadows ‘til they go & disappear

They’re weak & they’re weary

& they know they don’t belong here

Then sing for the gray & dreary newborn day

Sing for the deaf at last


It’s a hitman’s poem

You shoot out the lights

Then you go & put two little candles

In the window at night

Through your gunsight

You see the bag lady & the blonde sweetheart

They’re coming at you

Singing softly from across the yard

They’re enemy soldiers & they sing ‘til they fall

Two make a choir sometimes




You can’t be with the dead and the living

& make a bed in the middle of nowhere

Try & bridge that gap in your dreams

In the long long night

The city’s a permanent rumble

A subtle quake and a distant drone

The seasons have names

But they all look the same

Black pearls on a thread


I’m a good son and my father’s a firedancer

When I’m done with the fire I’ll dance the ashes away

I say who am I to deserve this but I get no answer

But I’m a firedancer too – I know anyway


I remember the frail green of spring

& it makes me cling to the future

Like a bird of passage left behind

Clings to the wind




Came across my guardian angel

On my way to the grocery store

She always comes up with some answers

That I’ve not been asking for


I know she’s always on my side

If she’s got to take sides anyway

This time I knew what’s coming

& this is what she had to say


If you’re looking for love

It comes & it goes

Claim it & crave it

It will not show

It grows in the nighttime

Makes your day

Do what you can

To make it stay


She must have been watching me struggle

She must have been watching me fail

All the sweet excuses gone sour

& the smell in the air gone stale


She says: my brother, be easy

If it takes too much to be true

I can’t reverse your sentence

But I’m not gonna tell on you


In the shine of a light bulb

In the damp of the room

In the wine & the incense

& the morning that looms

In sigh & in sadness

In flesh & in skin

In the bubble of anger

You’re living in




I need a new rabbit

To pull out of my hat

All I’ve conjured up now

Are roadkill & rats


I try to be happy

I do the best I can

But things get in my way

Every now & then


God – give me a reason

To be friends with you


You won’t hear me complain

I got to nurse my voice

But I’d reclaim my time

If I had a choice



Don’t you shut down your business

Before my bills are due

I’ll stand in line

I’ll wait for your cue



A day at the beach – salt in the air

And the sea is blank and blue

It reminds me so of you

‘cause your eyes were too

Far away

Blank and blue


How can I sit and think of you

And all the things you must have seen

When the sea

Is rolling in

And the waves

They sing

Sing and dance


Seagulls in the sky

Flying with the crows

Where is my father now

Maybe they know

Lazy breeze is blowing

High in the pine trees

Take this song and say

Hello for me


Stay with me – go with the tide

We may float and we may drown

Lay and listen

To the sound

Of the sun going down

And the sound of the sand





If you seek love

It may not find you

He’d say crap like that

Out of the blue

No ambition anymore

You’ll be calm & sober

To the core


& I wonder, would you make an effort

& I wonder, would you break the rule

The guideline of your master

Elusive king of cool

& let it show


Strive after love

It will slip away

Forget your needs

Is what he’d say

Things like that

Can spike your mind

Make you numb

& make you blind





There’s a place where I go when I’m lonely

A place where the black reeds sway

& the sunshine can’t touch my secrets

‘cause it’s shady most of the day


& if you see me sitting quietly

& still by the edge of the pool

Chances are you take me for a thinker

But then again you might think I’m a fool


But I’m just fighting the pull of temptation

Fighting the sting of remorse

& I know this frail disposition

Isn’t something that you would endorse


But hey, you could be my water lily

& hey, I could be your dragonfly

& the pond is slowly getting deeper

By & by


You’d meet my desire forever

But I can’t tell from where you respond

A reflection off the surface of the water

Or down from the bottom of the pond



Hope is a sweet little sting
It's not a plaything
It breaks like glass
& hope is a thorn in the side
Of the devil that hides

In the shadow


& a song before it’s sung
Does it hide in your lungs
Does it float in the air
Does it wait for someone who can

Grab it & then

Go out & sing

Sometimes something strange happens & you wonder

If it does because you saw it coming all the way

All the way like a dream that you don’t want to come true

Or like a prayer you’re not bold enough to say

& if you turn off the light
Where does it go
Nobody knows
This song goes out to those

Who think they can tell

I wish them well
I wish them well





It’s cold in the grave, it’s cold as ice

Life can be a drag when death must come twice

It’s blood that we get when it’s love that we crave

& it’s lonely & cold down in the grave


The tarot card girl she knows our fate

But there’s a line at her door & we just can’t wait

‘cause we do what we must do & we do it by night

& we must be back by the morning light


If you happen to be totally innocent

We can take that spell away

But if we happen to find out you’ve sinned then

You better kneel down & pray


We don’t look as good as we did before

We don’t smell that good, we’re foul to the core

Our flesh may be moldy but our spirits are free

So let this ghost ship set sail & fly oversea


It's all good if you have those seven stars at hand
One in the middle - three stars to each side
If you must share, you can spare one for the homeless
Put three in your pocket & ride away

She waves her hands over from behind the bar
Her fingers like ten little question marks
Nine to count down the better part of her secrets
So there is one left for the promise: it's all good


The lady who later became the love of your life
Back then she looked like an angel who walks the hellhound
Funny how nothing has changed now that she's your wife
She can still make you want to swim on solid ground

& she says
Shall I keep those three stars that you left behind
To remind me of the things we did & your eyes & your face
Shall I store them in case you need them to support your excuses
Or burn them like the evidence of a crime in the fireplace




Coffee tables by the shore & people talking
No echo from the wide & open sea
There's a tension building on the water
I can feel it creeping up on me

Bang bang - two more shots of liquor
The sky's black & the air is getting cold
The reckless grab their shooters & the lonely
Are fumbling for a hand to hold

Chances are time's not running backwards
Not even in this rundown beach café
Don't you turn your head
Say a prayer instead
I feel it coming from across the bay

Son of a gun – if you got a sister
Tell her you love her in the eye of the twister
Tell her you love her in the eye of the hurricane
Son of a gun - this is your moment of fame

Chances are  we'll all be pulling triggers
If we don't have someone to pull close
We may even shoot our way to freedom
If it wasn't for a hopeless cause


One last round on the house & then it's over
You have to come up with a reason to survive
No more rolling dice

You have to make a choice
If you want to make it out alive





I sit & wait - for what I do not know
I sit & wait & watch the traffic flow
I smoke a cigarette - I'm happy in a way
I sit & wait - for what I cannot say


Most of my brothers feel the way I do

Most of my sisters are a little aimless too
In dreams they move down to the south of Spain
But deep inside they know they'll sit & wait again

It doesn't pay
To line up for a role in any play
It doesn't pay
To get yourself involved in any way
Whenever love will come around
It tends to fall apart
It doesn't even pay
To break somebody's heart
One of these days - you'll see
Ft'll all fall into place
for free

This glass of wine will make the sun go down
I'm going to wake up in this same old busy town
Stuck in a plan no one remembers straight
But as for me - I'd rather sit & wait





Your dream is cold & dangerous like a mirror in the midday sun
You stand there paralyzed – deep inside you know you cannot run
It’ll creep into your veins, it’ll float in your bloodstream
It’ll attack someday out of the blue

So buddy, you better feed your dream

It'll invade & flood your brain right there underneath your hat
Hang on your windowpane like a sleeping vampire bat
It'll eat into your flesh after tearing up your skin

It’ll eat you up & it won’t let go

So buddy, you better feed your dream

& all your fears fit like a glove

You badly need to lose
& all that's dear to you - blow it off
To make your dream come true

A scary little devil right there beneath your bed
A hungry little tumor growing right there in your head
It won't be pacified, not by peaches, not by cream
You know, it's more particular

So buddy, you better feed your dream





I'm a white patch of canvas, blank & dry
I'm staring back at you, I do not lie
I'm just a blank reflection in your eyes
A message straight & cold & purified

My life in art is at its peak
I'm staring back at you, I do not speak
But it's enough to keep you occupied
So I don't mind if you just pass me by


My nature is to sink
Into your mind
Straight to the blind & secret spot
Behind your eyes
I leave no painful mark
No record on your soul
'cept for a little crack
A little hole

I'm a white patch of canvas, blank & dry
I'm staring back at you - I do not lie
& I'll be with you even after you walk by

A message straight & cold & purified





2 glasses, one ashtray, a bed & a soft yellow light

You don’t say a thing so I don’t have to reply

& we both hate the darkness as much as we love the night

There must be right in the wrong when there’s wrong in the right


I’ll sleep when I’m dead & gone & I don’t want to die

& I’ll do anything to keep me from closing my eyes

‘cause I know I can’t come in my dreams, I know ‘cause I’ve tried

& because I want to see you come by & by


& the man in the mirror

Tell him to go die

If he can & disappear

& never come back alive

Tell him: go die


Never thought I deserve you so please won’t you say that I might

Say that you love me, say I got nothing to hide

With my arms spread & tied on the bed like I’m crucified

& your face down in the blind spot between my thighs






Little flower
Can you feel me watching you
Move your petals, make a sign
If you do

Little flower
Got to go down on my knees
You may be blind my love
But I can see

I won't cut you
I won't pick you
I won't put you in my pocket & run
& I won’t mind

If you shine

For everyone

Little flower
Come & open up your face

You know you’re sweet & lovely

I know my place





Silence is a crown
You wear it with every word
A golden glimmer shining
In the eye of a songbird

Hear that flapping of wings in the air
You might think it's just a trick of the brain
But there's a birdcage abandoned
& balance regained

I see you walking down by the beach underneath the pines
& I assume you're humming a little tune
'cause  I hear your friend sing along in the branches above
& I know he tends to mistake harmony for love
& I know he tends to hide
When I'm around

So I step back, I won't interfere
With the fragile unity
Of my sweet & silent companion
& a songbird set free