Lyrics

Black Birds In The Branches

dead languages and forgotten songs
retreating over oceans and state issued books of psalms
the little black birds in my family tree
black birds in the branches of my family tree

hiding in rusty railroad cars
silently hunted for someone else's wrongs
the little black birds in my family tree
black birds in the branches of my family tree

Ten Thousand Ships

ten thousand ships, launched by, ten thousand mediocre quips
tangled in a beehive of our illusions, our eyes grab on to anything
losing our sense of space and time and other things like
direction, in a cave where we can only see our reflection
reaching out blindly for something tangible, that splinters into tiny shards
of all we think we know, is washed away by

ten thousand waves, fueled by the fires of ten thousand earthquakes
patiently waiting under a serene face,
biding it's time until it all comes crashing in,
erasing everything, all our names and mistakes
even the clouds fear the wrath of the fates
spinning threads, the leaves and branches overtake
our hands and hammers, cranes, bulldozers, and ax blades
the walls and notions and false prophets we create

ten thousand ships, launched by, ten thousand mediocre quips
tangled in a beehive of our illusions
our eyes grab onto anything, losing our sense
of space and time is washed away

Asking

the thousand selves of me, that dream of a single being
like a deck of cards with a missing king
that scatter the world to find again

i want dirt layered on the soles of my tired feet
from towns we can't pronounce the names
on station signs and street corners

to sail across a sea of clouds and trees
the exhaust from planes creating rings
around the world and back again

in the dust we leave, we hope we leave a trail
from the heights of all the hills we've climbed
hurl our words into valleys asking
---
have i not changed
there is a lake inside of me
that trickles down to the sea
like a black sail unfurled
---
the yellow lines recede, in the mirror next to me
they draw a line that can write my name,
if i squint my eyes i can almost read

all the sleep we've missed won't settle in our brains
the thoughts and faces swirl around
like birds circling on the horizon
---
the shifts and cracks wrought in our plans
make the core of what we are and can
like sunlight leaves only hints behind
no trail but subtle hints designed

The Dove, The Sparrow, The Raven

the dove, the sparrow, the raven
circle in search of land,
searching for branches to lean on, whatever else they can

whatever i lay my feet on, the waters will recede
deep is the darkness with no trace of light to see
the rivers return to sea

the birds will circle above us
while time will act the thief
and when i find my bearing
my feet will anchor like falling leaves

We Are All Fire

we are all fire
we are all fire
but where is the wind to fan the flames?

we are all storms
we are all storms
but where is the ocean to make the waves?
a surface to reflect us in our haste

when the silence says my name, i'll be convinced, that the stars will stay in place
circling around an anchor that yields it's weight, patiently waits, like the edge of an axe blade while the lonely sound of silence, burns like damp streetlamps

in the wake of thoughts in waves that swell and break, the oceans will expand, contract and slowly dissipate while all the sleepy continents can drift and wake like my shifting feet in a faceless crowd that echoes in a hazy early morning dream,
the kind where you wake in a cold sweat hours before the sun and realize in a sober fit the fact that we are all

---
branches of trees reach quite quietly like the hands of thieves stealing silence from my teeth
the lines are etched on my face, like my grandfather's name, acting out a play of impermanence

Nations

the birds, sky and trees don't care where the lines fall like rain doesn't care where it ends up at all
the songs from our past and the stories collect dust while our language twists, bends, and forgets
it will all look the same in the end
despite what we're taught to pretend

there will come a time when all that's left is a hint of a name
 

a sea serpent hugging faint lines some hand drew, writing an narrative of what's it's been through
to make up a story about nations past, as if they were perfect forever steadfast
we could all go back to some time
when everything was perfectly aligned

there will come a time when all that's left is a hint of a name
and a few crumpled maps marking borders where nobody's been (that no one can name)

Foamy Waves

we all slowly drift apart
like the stars and dark matter
but i am my father's hands
pushing forward some sort of plan

if everyone that came before
has a hand in what's in store
then my actions reach back far
it always gets most light before the dark

oh, what if i, was a wind tossed black sailed ship
would you wait———or jump into the foamy waves

the stars would shine because
they couldn't help the thought
that they simply had no choice
to shine dim and rejoice

we all swim towards a distant shore
through the things we must endure
without a hand to guide
or a neighbor to confide

Slow Song

a slow song that sings significantly
like treetops with arms outstretched up in the breeze
or a solitary bird with it's starburst soliloquy
singing to us about the things that she sees

the atoms in the air vibrate succinctly
to the words of a song that searches for ordinary things
like a secret hidden in the branches of my family tree
or a lonely plant sleeping by the edge of the sea

the sleep that passes by {uncertainly}
like a swarm of strings entwined {playing}
playing a sweet melody whose sincerity isn't fooling me

a slow song that sings significantly
like treetops with arms outstretched up in the breeze
or a solitary bird with it's starburst soliloquy
singing to us about the things that she sees

the sleep that passes by {uncertainly}
like a swarm of strings entwined {playing}
playing a sweet melody whose sincerity isn't fooling me

like some bird on the branches of my family free

We Are All Fire (Outro)

colors and shapes we overrate
obscure the faces of the ones we hold
and when we find the choices at hand
we find out what we are and have
a picture painted of the hills,
we've climbed to help us to fulfill
the colors paint so vividly
a picture of what we meant to be
we make meaning from nothingness
and shine a light so bright we can
see all of our eyes and know
past all the uncertainties
my handwriting becomes hard to read //the fact that we are here, intend to be
like all the things we obsolete
and even if we lose that art
we still are what, what we are

we are all fire
we are all fire
where is the wind to fan the flames

we are all storms
we are all storms
but where is the ocean to make the waves?

Abandoned City Street

within the shrink wrap of confusion an abandoned city street struggles to realize what it's doing there

flickering neon letters on a motel sign repeatedly meditate on the problem.

it can still see how the ants seem to stagger as the setting sun traps their shadows

while below canal they brought the world into being by saying the names of things that sat alone in the dark

a sooty subway station with a bare bulb burning out a novena to encircling moths

Flags

The kings are all in hiding, behind the glass parapet
Concealing dirty hands, behind all their backs

A hungry parking lot, where I'd forgotten how to work
The cracklines told me secrets, no kings had ever shared

The flags have all been flailing, their colors in disarray
Shrouding everybody in a cloud of their decay

The flags have all been failing, their colors in disarray
Shrounding everybody in a cloud of their decay

Broken Streetlamp Serenade

praise the broken sundials
strewn about our feet
on the day we realized
we had tricked mortality

praise the broken streetlamps
the shattered glass concealed
trees that confused the moonlight
removed masks our thoughts revealed

The Names Of Things And Other Such Thoughts

i imagined myself a very tall building
one without remorse or regrets
and throughout my discourse with the sky and clouds
their lucid thunderclaps told me all the names
of the sparrows that would pass me by

the shoddy blue-white plate glass simulacrum

and as i'd follow each of their paths of divergence
with their wings outstretched across the open sky
i'd watch each of their skyward embraces
with that look on my face

imagine my surprise
when my brothers all had died

The Wires From My Broken Record Player

i'm sitting listening to what my broken record player has to say to me
but the humming has no secrets to tell except the one about it's long time yearning
to become a tin can telephone thats wires creep out of second floor suburban windows
like the grass escaping the sidewalks from the cracks below

watch, as the wires fall
then again watch, as the wires fall

i'm walking listening to what the dirty power lines all have to offer me
but the broken wheel of words that they spin hold that solemn hiding place of nothings
if they had a choice maybe they'd reach forever high into the distance
like so many misplaced words and phrases on the tips of our tongues

Fake Plastic Guns

the daydreams consumed me
like a fever continuously
while running through the neighbor's yards
to the ends of the world

you remind me of all the ships i've sailed
to the farthest reaches of my head
singing chanties that refrain all the while in my brain
'don't take things so seriously'  

slow rolling waltzes through strip malls
and raining kitchen knives avoiding where they'd  fall
    
all searching for a standard gauge, trying to fill up this page
a record of what has taken place

Oh, Sweet Consequence

running backwards through our mazes
by a metronome we didn't wind
glassy eyed vacant stares towards nothing...

all the ideas we'd hoped to hide
the consequences gift wrapped in power lines
all of our fears traded round on the dollar

we all deemed ourselves responsible for
meeting the deadlines on our calendars
cursing it's name for not meeting us halfway

And All Of Us, As Well

we saw the fire that fell from the sky
and wondered what it was really all about
they sat passively watching all the bombs that dropped
and everywhere folks turned their gaze up on high

while feeding off the fear, all the little pieces, devoured from everyone
failed generals smoothed out all of the wrinkles, while singing 'this land was made for you and me'
their words cast a shadow on us all, blocking out the view
of all the folks they got on satellite
pressing buttons that dropped all of heaven onto them

smoothing out the wrinkles
dumbing it all down
while our voices rolled in their graves
while singing 'this land was made for you and me'

Painting over it did no good / Solitary Bird

sometimes when i'm walking at night
i look for sentences in the lit
windows of skyscrapers
looking for, something that isn't there

and in the gray streets i strain to see
where the people rush off to
but i simply don't see anything there

a solitary bird in a solitary sky
drums it's wings in time against the clouds
a solitary bird in a solitary sky
patient blue skies waiting for their clouds

Nursing 500 Broken Fingers

i'm afraid to look down out
the empty streets like trains that can't
convince themselves to move down tracks lined with dimes and nickels

i won't march single file
into the mouths of buildings ten miles tall
singing 'it was so beautiful'

i'm afraid to look towards all
those empty streets like trains that won't
push themselves to move down tracks lined with rows of nickels

i find more that i can't speak
just like abruptly waking from a dream
with everything seemingly lying underwater

marching along telephone wires
that reach outstretched towards the sky
singing 'it was so beautiful'

Dead Telephone

ending up looking like a dead telephone
despite all the things i'ved imagined myself as
this is the song where i swore i would say...
"i won't be intimidated by silence"
or any other sad sounding syllables
or so it seems
and how we're all waiting
for this song to crescendo

you will eventually break down
like a light opening up from the clouds