1) Human Noose
’Cause I’m still the kid who’s got his head stuck in the clouds. ’Cause I’m the one who always feels much more alone in the crowd. So that sometimes it seems like maybe I might be the only one who even sees what’s going on here in this dark age where everybody’s dead but no one’s thought to tell us yet. Well, some to do the swinging and some to tie that noose. But most, we do ‘em both, on casual Fridays, on Mega Mondays, on honeymoons. Fuck yeah, I’m still the kid who’s got his head stuck in the clouds. Yeah, kicking the ground like one way or another, you either sing the blues or wear blue collars. We each got a rope around our neck. Just cross our fingers for a little slack.
2) Those Sad Plebes Down Below
When we’re starving and the only food is snagged between teeth filled with gold. When they’re feasting, their guts churning, and we’re crawling for scraps on the floor. What will we do? Who will we blame, if not ourselves, for having faith in all they’ve promised, in all that they have feigned? For swallowing every single word of those two-face Shepards of change. But you can’t eat hope. And we are starving for change. And the starving, we won’t stay starving for long. We will die. ’Cause you can’t eat hope. And we are starving for change. Because you can’t eat hope. And we are starving for change.
3) Darkest Arts
Rock and roll nigger. Half-breed mulatto faux pas. Bleach out my darkness. Blend me into the bourgeoisie. The darkest arts, the blackest magic. A sleight of hands to blot-out all of my savage. I’m not the skin that I’m stuck crawling within. I’m just a bad magic trick. I’m not the skin that I’m stuck crawling within. I’m both the lynched and the mob. I’m just a bad magic trick. Miscegenated. Cross-pollinated. The misdirection. The self-deception. Self-loathing. Self-hatred. The darkest arts, the blackest magic. The alchemy of twisted acid. The darkest arts, the blackest magic. The odd man out, the family secret. Brand me a liar, brand me a thief. Some see the skin, some see what’s trapped underneath. Where do you run when you’re running from yourself? From your cells, from the sickle, chop down the tree of your kin. I’m not the skin that I’m stuck crawling within. No. I’m just a bad magic trick.
4) The Bend in the Break
We’re from a place where the sidewalk ends. Where the black hole kids are swapping blood with their friends. But the mermaids rot, and our bodies ache, and we’re putting bends deep inside the break. They’re catching sharks off the pier tonight. Great white fear on a full moon night when you call me up, tell me a joke about the lump they have to cut from your throat. Trouble is on the rise. That bad moon looks like it wanna die. When does it bend? How does it break? If the world’s just a lover that takes and takes? Well, where’s the line between the young and whatever else that we become? They’re catching sharks right off the pier. You call me up and tell me things I don’t want to hear. “If you could do it again, yeah, would you do it again? Yeah, Would you do it the same?” Well, I never asked for this life. Kicking and screaming and angry but now I don’t want to die. So if you want me, go ahead and try me. Try me. Try me. You and what army? It circles ’round. It pulls us down. No, I ain’t gonna drown. Go ahead and try me. Try me. We are not afraid. Not every bend—no—becomes a break. We’re treading water. We’re feeling lucky. We’re feeling fine.
5) Kiss With Spit
It’s in the bloom of a bruise. It’s in the way she wears cold steak on an eye that’s swollen shut. In that hairline split between love and ache. Kiss with spit. It’s in a fist full of hair. It’s in a gasping for air. It’s in the imprint of teeth into flesh, into scalp, into the hum-, into the drums. Kiss with spit. What we hide behind locked doors. What we sweep under floorboards. All the filth that gets us by. It’s the violence that keeps us alive. Young, numb, and dumb. I want the scar. I want split lips. I want the gag, I want the choke, I want the spit. Kiss with spit. I feel the pain. I kiss with spit.
Black lung. Black life. The black hole stuck inside my half-black, heavy heart. As if these stupid words might play some part in status quos, in sleeper holds, in middle passage or tobacco roads. Just like four-hundred years of loaded guns might somehow be undone by singing songs like they were bricks when we’re, we’re trading lives for loose cigarettes, and blackened eyes, and blackened lungs, and free TVs, and capsicum clouds. And if there is a god, well, she don’t care at all if we, we sing the songs, we throw the bricks. We’re trying to breathe but we’re choking on words like pig. And I’m just trying, I’m trying to breathe again. It changes nothing but I...I guess I need to pretend. And I’m just trying, I’m trying to breathe again. It changes nothing but sometimes it helps to pretend.
7) The Great American Songbook...
So where are the songs that we used to sing? The wind in our hair, that cramped backseat? And where did they go? And what did they mean? All of that static, and our lives in between all those bars, and humming sour notes... No one is dancing now ’cause no one remembers how to. We all forget about the beauty of that awful sound. So where are the songs that we used to sing?
8) Softer Science
Best case, this plane goes down. Our bodies never found. And people come and go talking of the things they’ll never know. Just like the beauty of the impending ground, and just how deep we laughed the whole way down. With luck, we’ll synchronize. Nosedived and intertwined. And people come and go talking of the things they’ll never know. Just like the beauty of the impending ground, and just how deep we laughed the whole way down.
Blissfully, (she) sings to me: "It’s the devil that I love.” Three A.M.’s back again and the girls are fast asleep, tucked into their beds up above. Down below, I have nowhere else left to go. Six grey hairs and the fangs of another night playing uncle in this home. What I fear—what I know—is that these girls will never know. All their prayers on their knees won’t stop men just like me from preying, male gazing, drink-lacing—from turning coddled lives to living hell. Oh, young American girls in young American rooms with young American dreams in young American wombs. No matter how much you pray, no matter how much you hide, there’s a dorm, there’s a church full of American boys drunk on American thighs singing: If it’s the devil that’s in me, then it's the devil I love. Cross my heart and hope to die. If it’s the devil in me, then it's the devil I love. One below, and nothing up above. Three A.M.’s back again. I’m dialing digits on my phone. ’Cause it’s true: even men just like me, raised properly, respectfully, have something hiding, something fighting to drag us all below. It’s the devil I love. Devil that I love.
What I did to your daughter last night...The things that she begged for when I turned off the light... If I told you, what would you do, that I knew that you’d done all those things that I did, too? I’m alive in the straight world. This is life in the straight world. Light of my light, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul, the tip of my tongue. It’s not just this mattress we have to share. It’s the gag, the guilt, the lust that you buried in her. I’m alive in the straight world. This is life in the straight, straight, straight world. There’s no lovers. There’s not even friends. Everybody’s just a body in the end. We’re not family. No, we’re not even friends. We’re just bodies to bruise, to bend, to break, to borrow and lend. It’s the twist of the sheets. The smell of cheap cologne. It’s the daughters we father so we’re not sleeping alone. In the straight world. In the straight, straight world. I’m alive. This is life. In the straight, straight, straight, straight world.
I drive this desert road. Alone. Just my black Accent and me. Looking for an unmolested view. Some grand Felicity beyond the reach of man. And to think... I used to want a filthy kid. I used to want a fucking wife. But what I think I need now is some sound advice. I think I need a vice. Some rot for gorgeous brains. Thirty-two years old. And still so afraid. Don’t talk to me. Leave me alone with this Earth I get to call my home. No power lines. No telephone. Leave me alone. I used to want a kid. I did. And sometimes I still do. It’s true. It’s that selfish part of me that wants to share this road with eyes a lot like mine, but with the magic left inside—my shotgun loaded with dropping jaw. As the earth quakes in 5/4 time. And if you listen close, you just might hear it whisper, hear the earth call out your name. Nudge you to the edge. Let you peek inside. And pull you back again. It’s whispering your name. It's whispering your name. You’re not alone. No, you’re not alone. It’s whispering your name.
12) ...In Sharp Decline
13) To Finn, With Our Regrets
To Finn, with our regrets. Don’t look now. No, don’t look back. A little fester, a little rot, and a grim souvenir post-dated from future haunts. Because we did. We once swam in the sea. It’s tough, I know, to believe. To conceive. But there were days we dove headfirst into waves. Days we let the sun melt the skin right from our face. Oh! But now we’re dancing on graves. We’re dancing straight to hell. We’re singing the songs that belong to a minor scale. Days it seemed we were a bit more free to kiss with spit, to kiss goodbye what remained of bees. When the edge between our winter and spring didn’t always slip right by so seamlessly. But now we’re dancing on graves. We’re dancing straight to hell. We’re singing the songs that belong to a minor scale. But now we’re dancing on graves. We’re dancing straight to hell. We’re singing the songs that belong to regretful keys and minor scales. I remember the rain, and I remember the smell of the dirt, of the pavement, whenever it once fell. Yeah, we once dove straight into the sea. Headfirst and headstrong and hopefully. Choking on oil. Awash in the sun. With ultraviolet skin and particulate lungs. Those were the days we lived in bliss. When the places we loved weren’t yet the places we missed. And we never cried. We felt no pain. And we danced all night under acid rain. And we never cried. We felt no pain. We doused your parents in that cheap champagne. And we went dancing on graves. We danced straight to hell. We went dancing on graves, for days, ’til we had danced ourselves into that soil. And the songs we all sang... And the toasts we raised... As the sun set that day on our naiveté. As if the damage wasn’t already done. Like all that mattered was the truest love.