She laughs. / The fun is never over / and never fully sober / and  everything’s a blur.
She cries. / She used to be a Christian. / She wants to find a boyfriend. / She wants to find a cure.
No poetic wording, / no alliteration, / no well-written ballad, / no intoxication, / no destructive pattern,
/ a fashionable outfit, / the popular opinion / can save you from yourself.


Be open-eyed and broken wide. / It’s painful letting go. / You have to  change to grow.
If you don’t change, you become a living fossil, / an ancient ecosystem, a tiny pond, preserved. /
Evolve. Headed for perfection / while natural selection is thinning out the herd.


Now everybody move! / Everybody move to this new drum beat. / Everybody move to this new city. /
Anything to keep from being still. / Anything to keep it all in motion. / Trying to forget that painful person. /
Anything to keep the rhythm flowing. / Everybody move! Everybody move! Everybody!
 

 

Thoughts on Open Eyed/Broken Wide

Open-Eyed is a song about awareness: about listening, or not, about finding truth, or not, about responding, or not. While thinking about how we try to grow and change in our own lives, I began to draw parallels from Darwin’s Origin of Species, which is why the second verse is so heavy on evolution rhetoric. It is about meaningful change, real change; the bridge is about the illusion of false change, about doing whatever it takes to stay distracted.
 

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these are great times we're living in/ they have a very sacred smell/
gathering to save the innocent/ the rapidly dividing cell

i will be your shepherd singing/ echoing millennia to come

we are the stars of the new New Testament/ the hell-bent innocent trying to survive/
we bear the scars of the ancient accident/ dying to live and living just to die

i am not a prophesier/ carrying a prophecy/ pariah messiah/ you should never, ever believe me

let us sing hallelujah/ then we'll all say amen/ what do these words mean to you?/
over and over and over and over again

holy, holy, holy, holy!/ the world, the soul, the skin and nose!/ holy, holy, holy, holy!/ Hallucinations, miracles!/
holy, holy, holy, holy!/ everything and everybody!/ everywhere, everyday, eternity and everyman!

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The ring of fire where it all goes down / The full moon aligning with a deafening sound /
If you’ve been waiting for a day to begin / If you’ve been waiting for an out or an in /

If you’ve been waiting for a sign, well, / if you want it, this is it.
When you say no before you know the question / When you say no without making a sound /

When you say no / I don’t know how to help you /
I don’t know what to do / I don’t know what to say / when you say no

Will you please stop running for a moment and listen? /
Will you please pretend what I’m singing might be worth more than just under a dollar? /

If you’ve been waiting for a day to begin / If you’ve been waiting for an out
or an in / If you’ve been waiting for a sign, well, / if you want it, this is it.

Yes you are! Yes I am! / Yes we will! Yes we can!
Say yes, say maybe, say I’ll think about it, say yes.

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Well it doesn’t really matter how I say it/ you will hear what you want/
or maybe nothing at all/ Songs for the world, for boys, for girls,/
for cars and bars, elevators, and looking at stars,/ for catching you when you fall

Well, music is a whore, and anyone can make her come at their beck and call/
oh, you can turn her down when she gets too loud

This is only a whisper, a selfish release,/ intended for no ears but my own/
Haven’t I been devoted? Haven’t I shown you love/ in a language that very few have known?

Well, music is a whore, and anyone can make her come at their beck and call/
oh, you can turn her down when she sings too loud/
See, I want it all now: a baby grand, a cover band in the palm of my hand/
when you’re in love, when you’re in pain, when you aren’t even really listening

A monopoly on beauty, the economy of art/ with one hand in your pocket, the other in your heart

Well, music is a whore, and anyone can make me come at their beck and call/
oh, you can turn me down when I sing too loud/
See, I want it all now: a baby grand, a cover band in the palm of my hand/
when you’re in love,/ when you’re not listening.

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How will we get from A to B/ will all of our –anities, vanities and casualties?/
How will we get across a sea/ of all of our –ologies/
like Tupperware and bonsai trees/ that dance around like similes
and how should I presume?

Take your troubles down to the river and run./ Lay your troubles down in the water and mud./
See, you don’t have to worry./ Feet should be a little dirty,/ so you don’t have to worry.

How will we ever learn to love/ with all of our finger pointing, oil anointing country clubs?/
I feel the rain. I feel the sun/ of our soon-converging theories/
and summits shaped like prairies/ and nos and maybes and how should I presume?

Take your troubles down to the river and run./ Lay your troubles down in the water and mud./
See, you don’t have to worry,/ feet should be a little dirty,/ so you don’t have to worry.

You stop to smell a rose but jot it down in prose./
We’re growing them in rows but only God knows./ how should I presume.
 

Thoughts on Dirty Feet

Dirty feet is a melting pot, a mutt of many muses. The verses were inspired by a book by Brian McLaren called A Generous Orthodoxy. In it, he stresses the similarities and connections between our various philosophies and religions. I stole the pre-chorus lyric, “And how should I presume,” from my favorite poem, T.S. Eliot’s The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. My response to this analysis paralysis is to take your troubles down to the river, and run. Get out of your head, get outside, connect with nature, get some exercise. Let your toes dig into the mud. Get a little dirty.

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Reading between these tandem, pivotal hearts/
trying to be where you are/ trying to leave before the release/ the water

try to write down all the things I repeat all the time/ trying to force it to rhyme/
but letting it lead, letting it breathe/ the oxygen a tongue on teeth, the soul beneath

science and warmth/ go forward, go forth/ to the East to the North/ this is love/ to the question, to the shore/
to the cancer, to the cure/ this is what we’re living for/ this is love

Meet me in the back room in the heat of the day/ we don’t need a reason to stay/
coffee and flame, it became/ the fire

Oh, you know it’s a rare thing/ and I don’t mean to stare/ but you’re there, breathing in/ the oxygen

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It’s a beautiful day in America./ Not a cloud up in the sky, not a question in my mind./
We build our high rises high and put them in a line/ and light them up at night with neon signs.

It’s a beautiful day in America./ All the players take the stage. We work hard for a decent wage./
I get paid more for overtime. I know just what to buy;/ I see it advertised with neon signs.

I never will survive these American lies/ shouting more, more, more in my mind./
Give me the remedy for being alive./It’s a beautiful day in America./
The land of the free and brave where everyone’s afraid./
We’ve got to keep everything in place and keep our safety safe./ We do it for the sake of our neon signs.

I never will survive these American lies/ shouting more, more, more in my mind./ Give me the remedy for being alive.

I’ll go along with you if you lead the way.

I never will survive these American lies/ shouting more, more, more in my mind./
Give me the remedy for being alive./ I refuse to change my ways and I refuse to die./
Give me the remedy for being alive.

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I did that before I did this / Too busy with tomorrow to ever reminisce /
Woke up before I even got to bed / I’ve got so many voices inside of my head

The top story in the paper today / predicted what the president’s expected to say /
We know the paths of the planets, the moon and the sun / I’m against the next war before it’s begun

I love ya tomorrow, you’re always a day away / But I want you right now, tomorrow, today.

So we’re killing time while it kills us / marching along to the beat of
progress / it’s the next big thing, didn’t you hear? /It’s not new unless it comes from next year

I can see my life in a far away time / I went to a website and entered
my sign / It was revealed to me only when the stars will align / The Present is the Water, the Future, the Wine.

I love ya tomorrow, you’re always a day away / But I want it all now, tomorrow, today.

So we’re killing time while it kills us / marching along to the beat of
progress / it’s the next big thing, didn’t you hear? /
It’s not new unless it comes from next year

I did that before I did this / Too busy with tomorrow to ever reminisce /
Woke up before I even got to bed / I’ve got so many voices inside of my head

So we’re living now but we aren’t here, / Checking off the boxes of a calendar year /
It’s the next big fear, didn’t you hear? / It’s not new unless it comes from next year.

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So many songs about something happening: a bad day, a break-up, a war,/
a beautiful sunset, a call to feed the poor/ Monday to Friday, a job 9 to 5 may seem like a hassle, a chore,/ so you drink you coffee and you watch your tele and you long for something more/ but for what, you’re really not sure

I am doing nothing and that’s perfectly okay/ I’m gonna live to try to fight another day/
I am going nowhere in particular tonight/
I’m just wasting my time/ Well, it’s only my life, but my life is perfectly fine

Bad magazines and public radio fighting for anything hot/ and whatever that is, is whatever your life is not/ Jump for the carrot, talk like a parrot, follow the thickening plot/ follow what gleams and swallow your dreams and teach what you’ve been taught:/ to buy (but it’s you that’s bought)

You may have lost the battle, but you have not lost the war/ You think this is all there is, but there is more

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The lion’s den, a beer in my hand/ devoid of a plan,/ like Leonard said, “the trenches.”/
I’ll leave behind a perfect song, a perfect life,/like somewhere over the rainbow or Jesus.

How much is enough? It’s never enough.

The front lines, wherever I am,/ it’s all an exam,/ a trial, a final./ I’ll pay my way with word and deed and charity,/
the tangible, the taxable, perpetual unreachable.

I feed on the fire, my feet on the wire./ Try as you might to follow the light/ you can’t get it right. Believe.

There should be a warning label placed/ on education that reads:/ “Caution: knowledge in excess kills belief.”/
I’ve been looking for a cure./ But there is no book that can teach this. No mp3./
You can’t believe everything you read.

Everything else passes away./ It’s all been done before it’s just more of the same./
A rose by any other name.

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this is the longest drive you could ever make/ giving the good advice that
I’ll try to take/ in a diesel van on the interstate

so I check the mileage, I check the time/ to try to estimate just when
we’ll arrive/ and you check my math and I’m always right

the Mississippi blue

in the name of all you’ll never meet/ in the name of all the faceless/ for the sake of all your enemies/
drive across America for Me

now in a tiny town where they mine for coal/ and hate rock’n’roll, gun and birth control/ even the radio wants to save your soul

ah, but you waitress there, her name is Ann/ she’s gonna steal your heart and take your hand/
and you’ll never ever be the same again

the Pennsylvania blue

you could’ve been born There…/ but you weren’t, no you weren’t!/ you weren’t born There/ …’cause you’re Here!/
and you could’ve been like Them…/ but you’re not, no you’re not!/ you’re not like Them/ …you’re like This!

and everybody’s water is a different shade of blue/ and we all take pride in some kind of food/
and everyone’s a Me, but mostly/ everyone’s a You

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It only now occurred to me how powerful a history can be/ No amount
of time or space or interstates erases our debris

Will I ever leave this all behind me?/ Will I ever even try?

I close my eyes to justify and I try to feed myself these lies/ I say, “You’re too far away from me anyway,”/ but in the end I always say, “Maybe someday.”/ I always seem to come back to you, no one’s ever loved me like you do/
I say, “You’re too far away from me anyway,”/ but in the end I always say, “Maybe someday.”

I know that everyone is made the same/ but how I feel about you just doesn’t seem to support that claim/ You see I guess I’m getting to an age where I feel like I get this game/
I’ve tried some others and realized that I miss your laugh, I miss your eyes

Maybe I’ll move to where you are/ and we’ll meet for coffee and heal
these scars/ and the past will be just like a far away star:/ a pretty little point of light

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If you allow me my transgressions/ and I avoid these broken keys/
could we ignore the blood on the floor, please?

With my back against this mirror/ so your reflection is me/
My lips were locked up tight but your smile is the key

It’s a beautiful night/ but that won’t make it right

I could try to be your savior/ but I know I never could/ yeah, well no one’s perfect…
but imperfection has never looked so good

A bottle broken, and she’s wide open/ an incorrigible flirt/ she drinks an elixir and I know that it won’t fix her,/
but at this point, it probably can’t hurt

 

Comments on A Beautiful Night

Desire catalyzing a drunken, beautiful chaos. It's just...so musical…in that it is ordered chaos, and so much of each...so much order, so much chaos. Gypsy loose and uptight classical, an everybody's-allowed instrumental party, carefully orchestrated. This is a circular progression. No beginning, no end. Every tension melts into every release into every tension. Unified paradox.

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The summer sun sets on the horizon/ you can feel the Earth right through the screen door/
layer up for the chill mesmerizing/ every heart, every leaf falls to the floor

For the last few weeks the night falls a little earlier than yesterday/
something about the way the cold can command you/ to find a warmer way

Save your love for the unknown/ I know you’re lonely but you’re not alone/
you are more than your flesh and bone/ Save your love for the unknown

You never know.

You’re all so beautiful and you have no idea./ If you knew…if only you knew./
But I settle, and you settle./ If you knew…if only you knew.

Hold me ‘til another comes along/ pour me a drink, sing me a song/
lead me into the warm and wrong/ pour me a drink, sing me a song

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She laughs./ The fun is never over/
and never fully sober/ and everything’s a blur.

She cries./ She used to be a Christian./ She wants to find a boyfriend./
She wants to find a cure.

No poetic wording,/ no alliteration,/ no well-written ballad,/ no intoxication,/ no destructive pattern,/
a fashionable outfit,/ the popular opinion/ can save you from yourself.

Be open-eyed and broken wide./ It’s painful letting go./
You have to change to grow.

If you don’t change, you become a living fossil,/
an ancient ecosystem, a tiny pond, preserved./ Evolve. Headed for perfection/
while natural selection is thinning out the herd.

Now everybody move!/ Everybody move to this new drum beat./ Everybody move to this new city./
Anything to keep from being still./ Anything to keep it all in motion./ Trying to forget that painful person./
Anything to keep the rhythm flowing./ Everybody move! Everybody move! Everybody!

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Reading between these tandem, pivotal hearts/ trying to be where you are/
trying to leave before the release/ the water

try to write down all the things I repeat all the time/ trying to force
it to rhyme/ but letting it lead, letting it breathe/ the oxygen

a tongue on teeth, the soul beneath

science and warmth/ go forward, go forth/ to the East to the North/ this is love/
to the question, to the shore/ to the cancer, to the cure/ this is what we’re living for/ this is love

Meet me in the back room in the heat of the day/ we don’t need a reason to stay/
coffee and flame, it became/ the fire

Oh, you know it’s a rare thing/ and I don’t mean to stare/ but you’re there, breathing in/ the oxygen

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everything you’ve been through/ everything in your past/ no matter how it hurts or heals/
this will surely last/ better to acknowledge/ better to admit/ every shining trophy/ and every piece of –

it’s not about where you’ve been/ it’s not about where you are/
it’s not about where you’re going/ or how you’re gonna get there/ Aware.

be with me in this moment/ be with me in this time/ this is your one and only life/
this is your body, this is mine/ be with me in this moment/ be here, be now/ don’t fear the sound/ be here, be now

now no one knows the future/ and very few the truth/ of every one who’s ever lived/
it probably isn’t you/ but you don’t have to worry/
if everything is right/ just be aware, awake, alive/ and listen for the light

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She was a beauty,/ she was comfortable and smiled like you wouldn’t
believe me/ and made it look easy, and I like that in a girl./ This is my guitar,/born in California, and come so far,/
She makes all the money, her name is McKinley and we’re gonna change the world.

One of my muses, music or lovers, loses.

Well I don’t even know her name,/ so I tried to guess it:/
“Is it Anna?” “No.” “It is Sarah?” “No.” “Is it Elizabeth?” “No, It’s Jane.”/

She said she’s got a boyfriend anyway./ “Anyway, Jane I got a show later on/ if you can go, you can come./
I don’t know if you want to…/ you can even bring your boyfriend along with you./ I’ll put you on the list, plus one.”

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If you allow me my transgressions/ and I avoid these broken keys/
could we ignore the blood on the floor, please?

With my back against this mirror/ so your reflection is me/ My lips were locked up tight but your smile is the key

It’s a beautiful night/ but that won’t make it right

I could try to be your savior/ but I know I never could/
yeah, well no one’s perfect…but imperfection has never looked so good

A bottle broken, and she’s wide open/ an incorrigible flirt/
she drinks an elixir and I know that it won’t fix her,/ but at this point, it probably can’t hurt

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Well I read it on the cover of a magazine/ that I could get anybody that I ever did see/
I flipped to pages eighty-one, -two and -three/ and it was a full-page ad for Maybelline/
I put it down, got up and went out and got down/
to a rock/funk/soul sound downtown/ it was like 20,000 people just standing around

They’re all looking for love in all the right places/
Swimming through this sea of faces

I did not try to like you, I did not mean to care/ I did not try to notice all of the different ways you wear your hair/
I did not try to please you, I did not mean to stare/ It seems so good, and I didn’t even try…that’s probably why.

Well the god of the day is celebrity/ through whom we can live vicariously/
so safely sheltered in our homes/ it’s too frightening to risk anything of our own/
so let’s drown our fears with alcohol/
(it’s never been quite the same since The Fall)/ We got a big black hole in us all/
We try to fill it up with whiskey, gin, women and men

We’re all looking for love in all the right places/
Swimming through this sea of faces

I could freak out and lose my cool/ and put you next to 9/11 and heaven
up on a pedestal/ freak out and make it into a fight/ and send you sneaky ninja messages late into the night/
but I won’t, no, no, no./ I’ve got a beer and a piano even though I’m alone/
any day of the week I’d take a funky little ditty/ over 20,000 people all down in the city

all just looking for love in all the right places/ Running these human races

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these are great times we're living in/ they have a very sacred smell/
gathering to save the innocent/ the rapidly dividing cell

i will be your shepherd singing/ echoing millennia to come

we are the stars of the new New Testament/ the hell-bent innocent trying to survive/
we bear the scars of the ancient accident/ dying to live and living just to die

i am not a prophesier/ carrying a prophecy/ pariah messiah/ you should never, ever believe me

let us sing hallelujah/ then we'll all say amen/ what do these words mean to you?/
over and over and over and over again

holy, holy, holy, holy!/ the world, the soul, the skin and nose!/ holy, holy, holy, holy!/ Hallucinations, miracles!/
holy, holy, holy, holy!/ everything and everybody!/ everywhere, everyday, eternity and everyman!

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40 miles an hour/ and a hundred in my head/
these roads aren’t crowned and it’s coming down/
a headlight silhouette

I could really use a Noah/ a need a savior right about now/
and as I started to pray I was swept away/ and I very nearly drowned

Rain falls on everyone and lightning on some/ What cannot be changed is best forgotten/
God made the world and saw that it was good/
Not fair, not happy, not perfect, but good/ And little understood, like rain.

The downpour has retreated/ and we salvage what we can/
In the new debris I find a piece of me/ I never knew I had

This too shall pass and leave greener grass/ Alas, we were never meant to be a noble gas/
we were never meant to have life without pain/ laughs without tears, sun without rain

 

Thoughts on Rain

Rain began in a car, on a highway, in a torrential downpour. It was late at night, maybe 2am, I had just finished playing a gig and was on my way home. Cars littered the shoulders, some crashed, some terrified of crashing. In a torrential downpour, you slow down, but everything seems to speed up. 40 mph felt like 100. It struck me how this powerful force was completely indifferent to the lives it was creating, to the lives it was destroying. It was just there, it was meant to be there, it was good.

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The ring of fire where it all goes down / The full moon aligning with a deafening sound /
If you’ve been waiting for a day to begin / If you’ve been waiting for an out or an in /

If you’ve been waiting for a sign, well, / if you want it, this is it.

When you say no before you know the question / When you say no without making a sound /
When you say no / I don’t know how to help you / I don’t know what to do /
I don’t know what to say / when you say no
Will you please stop running for a moment and listen? /

Will you please pretend what I’m singing might be worth more than just under a dollar? /
If you’ve been waiting for a day to begin / If you’ve been waiting for an out
or an in / If you’ve been waiting for a sign, well, / if you want it, this is it.

Yes you are! Yes I am! / Yes we will! Yes we can!
Say yes, say maybe, say I’ll think about it, say yes.

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How will we get from A to B/ will all of our –anities, vanities and casualties?/
How will we get across a sea/ of all of our –ologies/ like Tupperware and bonsai trees/ that dance around like similes

and how should I presume?

Take your troubles down to the river and run./ Lay your troubles down in the water and mud./
See, you don’t have to worry./ Feet should be a little dirty,/ so you don’t have to worry.

How will we ever learn to love/ with all of our finger pointing, oil anointing country clubs?/
I feel the rain. I feel the sun/ of our soon-converging theories/ and summits shaped like prairies/
and nos and maybes

and how should I presume?

Take your troubles down to the river and run./ Lay your troubles down in the water and mud./
See, you don’t have to worry,/ feet should be a little dirty,/ so you don’t have to worry.

You stop to smell a rose but jot it down in prose./ We’re growing them in rows but only God knows.

how should I presume.

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