March 22, 2012

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March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall For This

River flowing under me
Better build a bridge over it
Admonitions aimed at me
Spoken from a fiery pulpit

Roads that run away from me
Are ribbons tied to absent brothers
Pull on them and you will drown
In ancient tears of crying mothers

One more night
One more chance
To burn a little less bright
And melt this candle away
Before the break of day

Everybody knows the sound
When silent dreams come crashing to the ground
But still we pick them up
And wish them back to life

And everybody goes to sleep
Remembering the vows that they won’t keep
But still we hurl them out
When we’re up against the knife

Water dripping from a tap
I should have fixed a year ago
Barren trees in my backyard
So withered that no fruit will grow

Standing by the lake
Standing by the sea
Either I cover the waterfront or it’ll cover me
I used to be a ripple
Now I’m the boat

Light three fires
Signals for a crew
Of shipwrecked liars
Trying to talk their way back to life
At the point of a knife

Every time the words recede
We promise that we won’t secede
But still we spit them out
The next time we’re aroused

And every time the pain subsides
It finds a better place to hide
Until it comes crawling back
And fools us with a kiss

And that’s the way,
The way we fall for this

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empty Stations

All aboard the last plane leaving
The fire’s rising and the sky’s receding
And there’s nothing left here that hasn’t been sold

The same old thing’s a special torture
You wanna fight but you’re no longer a soldier
It’ll take more than guns to get out of this

And ever since you were a kid
You’d never believe that your life could turn out like this
But dreams are a fickle family
Sometimes they turn away
Nobody told you about today

You used to think that the war would make you
But now you know that war can only break you
It’s not like a video or TV

Some say history will judge us kindly
Some say we’re guilty because we acted blindly
But it’s the lonely middle where we gotta live

I’ve done things that I’ve been proud of
And I’ve done things that I regret
But all these demons that I’m dragging home to you (my love)
We’ll have to get rid of them
But not yet

The television and the net distract you
From empty stations that you know you need to pull through
The blood’s on your fingers
Not on the tracks

And ever since you were a kid
You’d never believe that your life could turn out like this
But dreams are a fickle family
Sometimes they turn away
Nobody told you about today

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faithless Song

Can you recall the time you turned water into wine
And you really thought you were getting drunk?
When the stars were yours to steer by
And the heavens heard your voice
And every breath you drew held form and truth?

Now you don’t believe
And you need more than fairy tales to go to sleep
So here’s a faithless song
You know it’s not a drinking song
But if you want…

I will sing it in your ear before you lie down
I’ll sing it in your ear before you wake
I’ll sing it when you’re wishing you were static
I’ll sing it when your fingers start to shake

Baby this creation is a false one
A vain attempt to hide eternal light
The garden isn’t closed because we shook the tree
Or made a choice
The gate’s on fire because we knew the taste

And if you give up tonight
I’ll give up tonight
And we’ll both design the dogma of our choice

But I don’t believe
And I need more than rainbows to go to sleep
So here’s a faithless song
You know it’s not a drinking song
And if you want…

I will sing it in your ear before you lie down
I’ll sing it in your ear before you wake
I’ll sing it when you’re wishing you were static
I’ll sing it when your fingers start to shake

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking Song

We’re gathered here tonight
To observe an ancient rite
Earth’s equal comfort to paupers and to kings

Our voices joined in song
Our hearts can do no wrong
We lift our glasses and sing…

Some of us live in the suburbs
Some of us live downtown
None of my friends need an invitation
When Friday night rolls around
We all gather ‘round at the pool hall
And we drink until we get our fill
Nobody notices the clock
Because we’ve all got time to kill

Some of my friends drink bourbon
Some of my friends drink gin
None of my friends are too good at telling
Just what kind of shape they’re in
We’ll leave it all to our wives and our girlfriends
They can write about it all someday
Everybody wants to come back
But that’s something we just don’t say

Hey hey – You can’t be lost if you don’t want to be found
Hey hey – You can’t set sail if your ship’s already run aground
If you can’t believe this could happen to you
Then I guess you’re just a better man
There’s only two types of sinners
The losers and the winners
And I hope you never understand

Some of my friends drink whiskey
Some of my friends drink beer
But none of my friends spend too much time thinking
About why or how we’re here
Some of us think we were put here
Some of us think we just arrived
But we all agree ain’t no man free
From the red race to survive

Hey hey – You can’t be lost if you don’t want to be found
Hey hey – You can’t set sail if your ship’s already run aground
If you can’t believe this could happen to you
Then I guess you’re just a better man
There’s only two types of sinners
The losers and the winners
And I hope you never understand

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muck Tree

Prizes for the captain
And patches for the sail
Keep them pennies coming
This jug’s too big to fail

We’re sailing for a new world
Where the golden muck tree grows
And silver ladies dance all night
In a moonlight puppet show

Now we’ve been taking water
Since we left from the port
We try to save our bread
But we always come up short

Now when we beach this hell-ship
First thing that I will do
Cut down that old muck tree
And sail it home to you

Now some folks pray to Jesus
Some folks don’t pray at all
Most folks bend to Mammon
When they hear the fiddler’s call

Dancing ‘round the fire
In this exotic bay
The wine is flowing freely
And the women start to sway

Yonder comes the captain
From somewhere in the pines
Carrying a carving spear
Cut from some sweet vine

I start getting nervous
And climb this evergreen
Those silver ladies are getting drunk
And starting to look mean

I gather up my courage
And steal into the grove
I chop down that old muck tree
And drag it to the cove

I can hear the ladies shrieking
I can hear the captain cry:
“To the shore my daughters!
The thief shall surely die!”

My hands are quick and nimble
My soul I must save
I hoist up all the rigging
And I catch the first big wave

I dance across the water
I dance across the sea
And the captain and his daughters
They can’t catch me

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary and the Wheel

Where I go when I’m under
Where you go when you’re down
Someone whispers, someone cries
Someone turns their head the way you always do
Your eyes turn from brown to blue

And I know the force of blows
And you know why a ring won’t make a rose
When those sailing ships go down
Then we’ll mend your wedding gown
Oh Mary turn your shoulder to the sea

The wheel and I steer for circles
The wheel I am steers a line
Crooked pictures, crooked palms
Crooked angels breathe the air the way I do
Your veins still run blue

And I’ll always be alone
Despite this shallow harbor we call home
When those sailing ships go down
Then we’ll mend your wedding gown
Oh Mary turn your shoulder to the sea

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Went Wrong

I’ve been underwhelmed
By blue suburban skies
And red reports that rock the night

But if I had to choose
I’d break this pilgrim stone
Ricochet and roam alone

All my life I struggled and I worried and I saved but for what?
I don’t know
All my life I tried to find a place where I could stand but where?
It don’t show

It’s a dignified lament
And though my money’s all spent
I’ve still got my soul
They can’t take my soul

On my right’s the slings and arrows of a bunch of phony Pharoahs from the trickle down
And the left ain’t any better – they’ve all got blood on their hands
This used to be a country I knew
Maybe you remember it too
End’s a-comin’ won’t take long
What went wrong?

Twelve flags take the stage
A TV screen appears
The crowd erupts in hands and cheers

Tell you what I see
Shadows not the face
Symbols of the cheapest grace

All my life I struggled and I worried and I saved but for what?
I don’t know
All my life I tried to find a place where I could stand but where?
It don’t show

I tried to make it through
But they always get to you
When something goes wrong
And something always goes wrong

On my right’s the slings and arrows of a bunch of phony Pharaohs from the trickle down
And the left ain’t any better – they’ve all got blood on their hands
This used to be a country I knew
Maybe you remember it too
End’s a-comin’ won’t take long
What went wrong?

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boys From Sparta

Someone selling Shakespeare
To a rich man on the phone
I saw it all on cable
Sitting all alone

But something inside me came alive
That I hadn’t felt in years
And I chose to defend it
And ignore my deeper fears

When I left home for Babylon
I told my wife not to cry
Said I had to do this
Even if I had to die

The Tigris and Euphrates
Make a crescent in this land
And the call to prayer rings high and clear
As we march across the sand

I saw no hanging gardens
No bulls with great stone wings
We were weighed in the balance
Just like an ancient king

I could see a finger writing
Strange words upon the wall
And I knew our days were numbered
And I knew we had to fall

Back home the women are driving ‘round
With stickers on their cars
And the men are wearing bracelets
Just to prove how strong they are

While their children all play video games
And they always shoot to kill
They get such a shot of pleasure
From the way the blood does spill

And all the boys from Sparta
Know things that you don’t know
They do what you won’t do
They go where you won’t go

Somewhere in the country
A grizzly looks for food
She looks down by the river
She can sense that there is blood

A caribou tries to limp away
Then turns around to fight
She makes a noble effort
But she will not win this night

And somewhere in the city
A man goes for a walk
He’s looking for some action
He don’t like to talk

He searches for the weak ones
The crippled and the lame
Their stories do not matter
To him they’re all the same

And further on the first mate
The captain and his crew
Gather ‘round the TV
To see what them Spartans do

And the people start to gather
Cheering in the streets
Revenge will have its measure
Vengeance never retreats

Now some people don’t like fighting
And they turn the other cheek
Say God confounds the mighty
Jesus rewards the meek

And others try to walk away
From any sign of strife
They will not risk their comfort
They will not risk their life

And out there in the Evening Land
The fiddler begins to dance
His feet are light and nimble
He never sleeps and he will never die

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

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No Appeal

Pale blue eyes
Linger on the window
Looking for a place we used to be

Somewhere beyond
Good and evil
Is something I’m tired enough to be

The rockets’ red glare
Bombs bursting in air
A mother with a dead child in her arms

Saw all my friends
Meet their end
For what I still can’t say

Damn these eyes
For all that they’ve seen
Blacken my lips and never speak

The roads that we take
The choices we make
Are mapped out for heaven or for hell

But I remember all the good times
My first home run
My first kiss
My wife
But all the demons
Have dragged me down

Doesn’t matter what I’ve done
A list of sins
Pick one
My life is nothing you can steal
No appeal

© Christopher McNeely, 2012

March 22, 2012

10


 

 

 

 

 

Ladder Blues

No ladder left to climb
I’m giving up this time
It’s a sad, sad day
Don’t feel that way
Feels alright

Sweet Jesus, where you been?
I’m tired, sick with sin
It’s a dark, dark day
Don’t look that way
Looks too bright

Everyone believes it, must be true
Nobody believes it, that’s true too

Try, fail, try again
Fail better, never win
It’s a heavy day
Don’t feel that way
Feels too light

Gonna build a fire with the broken rungs
Gonna stop listening to the men with cloven tongues

No ladder left to climb
I’m giving up this time

© Christopher McNeely, 2012