week seventythree: the end of fables

a relevant poem

the end of fables

charlie what do you think
you outlasted frostbite and followed every beast
bring it all back and be kind
tell a story say how foxes ate the caraway seeds

the last great rhinoceros
died alone and maybe that’s as good as dying gets
bring it all back and be kind
you’re here so am i that’s all it is

honey we’ve been trying
honey we’ve been trying
honey we’ve been trying like a barn swallow tries
piling sticks up so high

the shepherd shot the sheep
fell to his knees and he cried they looked like wolves to me
bring it all back and be kind and be gentle
say the ever wild sentimental geese

your old horse in photographs
smiling with her crooked teeth which always made us laugh
bring it all back and be kind
she died outside with her head in your lap

honey we’ve been trying
honey we’ve been trying
honey we’ve been trying like a barn swallow tries
piling sticks up so high

charlie what do you think
you outlasted frostbite and followed every beast
can you sing
can you love
cause charlie if you can’t by now it don’t look good for us

but i swear we’ve been trying
i swear we’ve been trying
i swear we’ve been trying like a barn swallow tries
piling sticks up so high
 

week seventytwo: rich man

rich man

my father said redemption is a slow revolving door
that jesus was a poor man but he’s not poor anymore
and like he used to say to the first apostle paul
if you’re stealing from a rich man you’re not stealing at all

i don’t come from money but i’ve been around it some
my friend went to a college that was like a country club
where a hockey player left her lying naked in a hall
if you’re stealing from a rich man you’re not stealing at all

ah na na na na na na
here we are lost again
ah some headline bird’s eye bad guys win
sit on back and take it in

i don’t hate the rich kid or the russian car he rode in
but every puerto rican knows you can’t steal what’s stolen
hotels so high he knows they’re gonna fall
if you’re stealing from a rich man you’re not stealing at all

you could call me robin hood but sonny you’d be wrong
i don’t take it i don’t give it i just write it in a song
i’m a hypocrite i admit a little bit a coward
i get jealous of the boys who exercise their will to power
so go ahead and get rich and play some fucking golf
but if they start stealing from you i won’t blame them at all

ah na na na na na na
here we are lost again
ah some headline fish fry good guys win

it’s endless netflix deathwish racket
it’s lawyers it’s hoarders it’s bankers it’s batshit
it’s one and done bubblegum capital clatter
it’s folk singers secretly want to be rappers
i know that you know this i’m not talking at you
i don’t want to trick you or try to distract you
i don’t want a trophy i don’t think i’m clever
i don’t want to win i want something better
i want you to tell me that you feel it too
the gun in your chest when you’re stuck in your room
the hope and the dread and the trembling hands
the song in your head that you can’t understand
the hate in your heart that could maybe be love
the hate in your heart that could maybe be love
the hate in your heart that could maybe be love
there’s nobody coming it’s always been us

week seventyone: home pt. 2

home pt. 2

ohio
i wanted to stay
she was asking me how i had nothing to say

i know now
she needed me then
and my silence was violent and her smile was bent

show me the shattercane weeds
the cabin with kerosene heat
summer storms that would rock us to sleep
that have rocked us to sleep
show me something i can see

we were twenty  
watching movies in bed
we were chasing our ghosts every time we undressed

i remember
when a song saved our lives
we unmade the mattress and dragged it outside

and the night sky was all we could see
and the stars were like rosemary leaves
where’d you go when you said you got free
where were you
where were we
show me something i can see

ohio
i needed her too
when trust was a door i could never walk through

i know now
to love something else
you have to believe you can be loved yourself

so show me some towering oak
with branches that start way down low
i asked if she ever went home
do you ever go home
my love she said you’re alright
you’re a sleepwalker so am i  
and we’re almost where we dreamt we’d be
show me

week sixtyeight: one good morning

one good morning

we felt like fish in the throat of a bird
holding each other expecting the worst

we had all kinds of debt and the cost of a kid
and the ocean between what we thought and we did 

so you called up to me
and i came stumbling down
and we lit out winter’s thaw on the golden ground

some days we were changed
some days we were free
one good morning
one true thing

take it to bed it’s gonna get in your dreams
you’re gonna know what to say
you’re gonna know what to sing
you’re gonna roll
you’re gonna rise

all of your songs are contradictions
you’ve got constant doubt
you’ve got holy visions
i know
so do i

but some days we were saved from our seriousness
and we’ll lit out like cormorants diving in the kennebec

some days we were changed
some days we were free
one good morning following the dog through the river weeds
stopping when the water overtook the need

sometimes i have this dream
we fall into the ditch on washington street
we can’t get out because the snow is too deep
but under the snow there’s a summer night
where the grass is gold and your eyes are bright 

and i wake up and i know i’m not free
but i recognize you and you recognize me
we’ll be the fish in the throat of this bird
we’ll be holding each other expecting the worst

somewhere in the house
i’ll be calling up to you
we’ll light out winter’s thaw on the sparkling roof

someday we’ll be changed
someday we’ll be free
one good morning
one true thing
 

week sixtyseven: streetlights

streetlights

i could crash this car
on this empty road
in the film grain rain
of the streetlight glow

holy water
runaway
leave your body
levitate
distant thunder
driving rain
turn to nothing
hydroplane

i get to her house and this is what i remember

roll me over
revelator
dolly parton flea market record player
the wet clothes
across the bed
white drape silhouettes
broken window
smoke and ash
creatures calling up from the rivergrass
i know i’ve failed and i know i’ve tried
raining in the streetlights
raining in the streetlights
raining in the streetlights

way down in her belly
she carries the story she’s telling
she left home when she was seventeen

she dyed her hair in a cvs sink
cocaine blonde with streaks of bubblegum pink
she caught the father lying with a stranger in bed
eyes wide open covered in sweat

traffic stop
changing lanes
flood the wreckage
ticker tape
jaws of life
flashing red
eighteen wheeler
seven dead

when i got to her house she came out and sat in the car
and i remember feeling like the car was a time machine
and all i had to do was say the right thing
and we’d go back

don’t you know why people sing
  
revelations
sunday night
grandma’s porch covered in candlelight
the autumn birds
the heron call
river fog aerosol
love’s the doctrine
love relentless
carcinoma all of the shit she left us
i know i’ve failed and i know i’ve tried
i know you want it so bad so do i
’97
halloween
everybody dancing to billie jean
i looked at my mom i looked at my dad
superman with the tight pants can’t dance
dying laughing
staggering
featherlight starbright everything
i know i’ve failed and i know i’ve tried
raining in the streetlights
raining in the streetlights
raining in the streetlights

week sixtysix: we'll be friends

we’ll be friends

this is after christmas
while her family watches television
she and i go out and clean the kitchen
and we’re happy we’re happy we’re happy we’re happy we’re happy

this is bravery
this is the romance of the century
this is music right in front of me
hearts racing i reach out she’s shaking and i’m shaking and we’re shaking

this is how to love

this is our final night
this is the summer of 2005
all our friends in the firelight
and they’re dancing they’re laughing they’re rolling they’re laughing they’re dancing

this is heartbreak
this is knowing what she’s gonna say
we’ll be friends alright ok ok  
but what happened what happened what happened what happened what happened

this is how to love

sing it out sing it out sing it out sing it out

i’m driving through our hometown remembering the thunder
the lake water raging our heads going under

and i wonder what she’d say if i stopped by to see her
i’ve never been mean but i’ve never been very brave either

i think she’d say
play that song we used to play

this is how to love

you keep singing out of your body
you keep singing out of your mouth
you keep singing out of your bones
sing it out sing it out

week sixtyfive: fox hymn

fox hymn

i wanted more from the songs i write
and that just made them less
i wanted more from my whole life
and that just made it less

it dawns on me that i’m starving for
joyful loving sounds
i’m out in the woods lost and alone
show me the door to your house

show me the door to your house

singing out won’t pay the bills anymore
singing out won’t pay the bills anymore
but i’ve got you
least i used to
show me the door
show me the door and i’ll walk through

sweet eyed fox in the corduroy weeds
with a big old fish in his mouth
i still want a little more than i need
show me the door to your house

look at us tangled in the morning mist
far from the talkers of town
every day could reveal like this
if i knew the way to your house

show me the door to your house

singing out won’t pay the bills anymore
singing out won’t pay the bills anymore
but i’ve got you
least i used to
show me the door
show me the door
i had you
you had me too
show me the door
show me the door and i’ll walk through

week sixtyfour: wolf hymn

wolf hymn

honey i know the ways
the other boys have let you down
i have all those things in me
i have tried to shut them out

crystal sky farm road
wild turkeys at the fence
all the wolves they have outrun
come back again and again and again

my grandma’s book of hymns
lying on the closet floor
didn’t she love her god
didn’t she please her lord

how sweet she was to me
though i saw her be unkind
and i saw her body fade
and i saw her lose her mind

honey i hear your voice
waver when you start to sing
honey i know the sadness
on the other side of everything 

and if you wander into town
i won’t think any less of you
there are wolves all around
i know you see them too
 

week sixtythree: creatures pt.2

creatures pt. 2

traveling to meet someone
you take the wrong ferry run
you end up going way out on the sea
the boat shakes and something cries
you lean your head over the side
but what it was is hiding in the weeds

when you land in nova scotia
no one’s got a a ticket for you
tourist season all the boats are packed
you go walking out of town
drawn to that orchestral sound
but what it was is hiding in the grass

when everyone you love is gone
and you’re still singing the same song

how long will you wander
how long will you need
how long will you search for
creatures that cannot be seen

queen anne’s lace yellow rose
killing birds keeping low
she’s asking when you’re coming home again
you see that ferry come across
you tell her but the call is lost
and what it was is hiding in the wind

you take that 945
standing room overnight
you fall asleep leaning on a screen
then something brings you back to shore
and feeds you what you’re hungry for
but what it was is hiding in your dreams

when everyone you love is gone
and you’re still singing the same song

how long will you wander
how long will you need
how long will you search for
creatures that cannot be seen

how long will you witness
how long will you care
how long can you live with
the creature that’s always there

week sixtytwo: rainstorm

rainstorm

we don’t have any more to prove
we’ve got a hunger for each other
bobcat in the woods
crying out like a lover

and the van won’t start
so we leave it where it is
at the edge of the yard
in the pollen mist

and we both go down
and we fade to gray
and the bugs come out
and the waters rage

ah mama it’s a rainstorm
on the scatter light lawn
ah mama it’s a rainstorm
we’ve been waiting on
i can see it it’s a rainstorm
on the kennebec shore
i can see it it’s a rainstorm
we’ve been waiting for

i run the lines of your back
take the straps from your shoulders
undertow in the river
alpenglow on the roses
  
and i ask you now
where is it you want to go
you say a long way down
you say that’s all you know

so we both go down
and we fade to gray
and we know it now
we can be this way

ah mama it’s a rainstorm
on the scatter light lawn
i can see it it’s a rainstorm
we’ve been waiting on
ah mama it’s a rainstorm
on the kennebec shore
on mama it’s a rainstorm
we’ve been waiting for
 

week sixty: execution night in texas

execution night in texas

execution night in texas
i’m at a motel 6 in memphis
in a faded room on the cable news
execution night in texas

i swear to god i’ve known him
like we played as kids or something
i sit and watch his body drop
i swear to god i’ve known him

i’ve heard harris county horses
gather where the river turns to morning
go out walking borderlines
we were born in a killing time

i’ve been doing this in secret
i’ve been shaking when i need it
i’m the movement of the curtain the smoke still emerging
i’ve been doing this in secret

i thought you might come find me
lean to kiss me and untie me
room thirty-five execution night
i thought you might come find me

i’ve heard harris county horses
gather where the river turns to morning
go out walking borderlines
we were born in a killing time

oh mama don’t you wait
they’re coming for to steal your mind
oh mama don’t you wait
you were violent
so was i

i’ve heard harris county horses
gather where the river turns to morning
go out walking borderlines
we were born in a killing time
 

week fiftynine: amapolas pt. 2

amapolas pt. 2

adelaida
adelade
you’ve got oceans inside you
i’ve got dead weight
i will keep you here
as long as you’ll stay
i want you here
don’t go away

the water’s cold
summer’s gone
the carnival went all night long
i drank so much i couldn’t stand
i sat alone
and watched you dance

you don’t have no kind of sinking ship as good as mine

so hold me now
while you can
i’m part revolution
part comedian
say i’ll run for money
and lie to whoever
i won’t be back for weeks
maybe never

adeleeda
adelide
nothing’s ever come easy to me in my life
i wish i was better
i wish i was true
adelaida
adeloo

you don’t have no kind of sinking ship as good as mine

if you wanted a husband
if you were looking for a friend
if all you needed was a good man
i ain’t none of them

i’m the lawyer’s son emancipated
the colonial prince expatriated
when i left that island
you had oceans inside you
bringing flowers to cowards
adelaida

i remember my old man’s dirty jokes
how he used all of us
and my mother the most
i don’t want to be my father
so bring me your flowers
and stay for the weekend
and sweeten the hours

you don’t have no kind of sinking ship as good as mine
 

week fiftyeight: united pt. 1

united pt. 1
by max garcía conover

neighbor boys
running in the river noise
searching through the soil sands
jumping at the cold high call of the crows

the headline reads
april 2017
10 tons of tnt
proof of something everybody already knows

here i am a dreaming man
a joke inside a room
oh my country tis of thee
oh it’s of me too

you and me the foreign powers
you and me the robot planes
you and me the murder hours
you and me the slaughter days
you and me the colonizers
you and me the sovereign states
you and me the freedom riders
you and me the poison rain
we’re united babe

number 45
waste as a way of life
whistle at whatever shines
chariot of fire is a motorcade 

and the neighbor boys
turning at their mother’s voice
going in to supper now
winters thaw and the waters rage

here i am a dreaming man
a joke inside a room
oh my country tis of thee
oh it’s of me too

you and me the fortune hoarders
you and me the torture kings
you and me the hatchet borders
you and me the vulture priests
you and me the lord’s redemption
you and me the deport dogs
you and me the long detention
you and me the hidden cost
you and me the market forces
you and me the thirst for more
you and me the water shortage
you and me the profit war
you and me the finance rodents
you and me the human hides
you and me the secret motives
you and me the tv lies
you and me the revelators
you and me the normal hate
you and me the wealthy jailers
you and me the legal slaves
you and me the mighty country
you and me the modern shame
you and me the heaps of money
you and me the killing stain
we’re united babe
 

week fiftyseven: painter

painter

i’ve got shadow in my body
i’ve got breath that leaves me read
by the time you’re my age honey
i’ll be dead

if you don’t believe the bible
if you won’t explain your faith
if you’re bored by your survival
i relate

honey this whole world is a sad man’s highway
keys in your pocket won’t be long before you go
when they start asking if your soul’s in need of saving
tell them no

i took canvas for my living
i stretched the fabric over frames
i have seen you stop in awe son
i’m the same

honey this whole world is a sad man’s highway
keys in your pocket won’t be long before you go
when they start asking if your soul’s in need of saving
tell them no

week fiftyfive: her sadness

her sadness

she cannot say for certain so she won’t say so at all
but i can see that she’s been hurting and i’m sure that it’s my fault
i’ve been shaky every morning and i run to stay the cold
and i need more adoration than anyone i know

i heard about her sadness
i heard about her fear

the river never freezes and the blood flow doesn’t sleep
i am typing like a hailstorm my boots still on my feet
and the furnace now is knocking spitting sulfur smelling dust
i don’t feel the tumors growing i don’t think anybody does

i heard about her sadness
i heard about her fear

there is fog along the window as we’re getting into bed
she rolls her body onto mine and looks me in the eye and says
i don’t mean this as a warning but i think that it’s the truth
if you’re lying to yourself you’re gonna be lying to me too
you’re gonna bang on every window and be burdened by the work
and when the money doesn’t come you’re gonna wonder what it’s worth
you’re gonna smile for your dinner you’re gonna bow and pass a hat
you’re gonna find somebody beautiful make her love you back

then sometimes you’ll turn your mind from what you want to where you are
and you’ll feel a revelator sink her teeth into your heart
you’ll be staring at a darkness somewhere deep inside the woods
when some rabid little creature comes out singing something good

i heard about her sadness
i heard about her fear
i said i’m never leaving
she said you’re never here

week fiftyfour: on the day of the dead

(a relevant poem)

on the day of the dead

skulls painted
in a dozen shades of red
sit by a crucified jesus christ figure at the side of her bed

scotch with her meds
playing penny slots again
she says when i meet the lord i’ll be wearing this long black dress

then she says oh my
i don’t want to die
on the day of the dead

the sun’s going down
and the kids are all out
i pass a pirate and a princess and a devil on the way into town

the pharmacist
at the cvs
says boy i can’t believe your mama is the woman in the dress

i ask him why
he says you look so white
i pay and i leave and i know it’s gonna be a cold night

i help her into bed
she says sorry i’m a mess
and tomorrow i don’t know if i can wake up but i swear i’ll do my best

then she says oh my
i don’t want to die
on the day of the dead