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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


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