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1. Messes Of Men

I do not exist, but faithfully insist
Sailing in our separate ships
and from each tiny caravelle
Tiring and trying there's unnecessary dying
like the horseshoe crab in its proper seasons sheds its shell
Such distance from our friends
like a scratch across a lens,
made everything look wrong from anywhere we stood
and our paper blew away before we'd left the bay,
so half-blind we wrote these songs on sheets of salty wood

Caught me making eyes at the other boatman's wives,
and heard me laughing louder at the jokes told by their daughters
I'd set my course for land,
but you well understand
it takes a steady hand to navigate adulterous waters
The propeller's spinning blades held acquaintance with the waves
as there's mistakes I've made no rowing could outrun
The cloth blowing on the mast like to say I've got no past
but I'm nonetheless the librarian and secretary's son
with tarnish on my brass and mildew on my glass,
I'd never want someone so crass as to want someone like me
but a few leagues off the shore, I bit a flashing lure
and I assure you, it was not what I expected it to be!
I still taste its kiss, that dull hook in my lip
is a memory as useless as a rod without a reel
To an anchor ever-dropped, seasick yet still docked
Captain spotted napping with his first mate at the wheel,
floating forgetfully along, with no need to be strong
We keep our confessions long and when we pray we keep it short

I drank a thimble full of fire and I'm not ever coming back

Oh, my God!

I do not exist we faithfully insist
while watching sink the heavy ship of everything we knew
If ever you come near I'll hold up high a mirror
Lord, I could never show you anything as beautiful as You

2. The Dryness And The Rain

First came a strong wind,
rippin' off rooftops like bottlecaps
and bending lamp posts down in the ground.

then came a thunder shattering my windows
but you were not that strong wind or that might sound

You left the bar in shambles,
the rabbit hutch in ruins,
the split-rail fence splintered and the curtains torn.

all the cows out from the pastures trampling of the pumpkins
and the horses from their stable ambling in the corn

[foreign language chanting:]
Isa ruhu-lah 'alaihis-salat was-salam

I've flown unnoticed just behind you like an insect
And I've watched you like a falcon from a distance as you passed.

then swooped down to be nearer, to the traces of the footsteps
to pick the fallen grain from the dirt beneath the crooked grass.

And I'm gonna take that grain and I'm gonna crush it all together
into the flour of a bread as small and simple and sincere.

as when the dryness and the rain finally drink from one another
the gentle cup of mutually surrendered tears!

A fish swims through the sea
while the sea is in a certain sense,
contained within the fish!
Oh, what am I to think
of what the writing of a thousand lifetimes
could not explain
if all the forest trees were pens
and all the oceans - ink?

[more foreign language chants:]
nastagh-firuka ya Hokan
ya Dhal-Jalah wal-Ikram
Isa ruhu-lah 'alaihis-salat was-salam
ya Halim, ya Qahhar
ya Muntaqim, ya Ghaffar!
la Ilaha ilallahu, Allahu Akbar!

3. Wolf Am I! (And Shadow)

It's the smell of hot summertime trash
It's the city noise of a busy street
It's a train derailed and a two car head on freeway crash
Each time we meet

"And if it comes as some sort of a surprise", she said
"That I seem so composed,
I've kept this moment closer to my eyes", she said,
"Than the glasses resting on the edge of my nose"

Shadow am I!
Shadow am I!
The question of a person, no said reply
Wolf am I!
and Shadow cast on the sheep as I pass by
Shadow am I!
Shadow am I!
or like a
Wolf am I, and shadow

she was grace and green as a stem,
but I walk heavy on delicate ground

...as I go showing off again
Self-impressed by how well I can put myself down!
And there I go again
To the next further removed level
Of that same exact feigned humility!

this for me goes on and on to the point of nausea

Shadow am I!
Like suspicion that's never confirmed
But it's never denied
Wolf am I,

no, "shadow" - I think - is better
as I'm not something as the absence of something

the material world seems to me like a newspaper headline-
it explicitly demands your attention
and it may even contain some truth
and what's really going on here?

one day the water's gonna wash it away
and on that day, nothing clever to say.

4. Yellow Spider

we took the twine we used to use
to tie up tight our tattered shoes
twisted twigs and crooked cross
a necklace for the deeply lost
Builder with the broken bricks
mother to the baby chicks
you made this world to look so nice
i wonder what the next one's like?
yellow spider
yellow leaf
confirms my deepest held belief...

5. A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contain

A cat came drifting onto a porch from the outside cold
And with eyes closed, drinking warm milk from my bowl,
"Nobody hears me (nobody hears me)
I crept in so soft!
And nobody sees me (nobody sees me)
As I watched six steps off."

Like the peacocks wandering the walkways of the zoo
Who have twice the autonomy the giraffes and tigers do
"No one can stop me (no one stop me)
No one clips my claws!
now everyone watches me (everyone watches me)
Scale these outside walls!"

you took the puous and profane,
turned around the praise and blame,
said "A glass can only spill what it contains!"
To the perpetually plain and the incurably inane
A glass can only spill what it contains!

What new mystery is this?
what blessed backwardness??
the Immeasurable one is held and does not resist!
struck by wicked words and foolish fists of senseless men
the Almighty One does not defend!

I was halfway listening to what she thinks she knows
We're like children dressing in our parents clothes saying:]

"Nobody knows me (nobody knows me)
No one knows my name!
No, Nobody knows me (nobody knows me)
Nobody knows me... "

I half-heartedly explained
But gave up peacefully ashamed
as a glass can only spill what it contains!
We went from Portugal and Spain
And in her mind the entire time it rained!
A glass can only spill what it contains!

What new mystery is this?
in overflowing emptiness!
the invisible is seen among the shadows and the mist,
Before my doubting eyes,
The infinite appears this time.
The unquestionable is questioned
But makes no reply!

What new mystery is this? [x5]
"My rabbi"
my lips betray with a kiss

What new mystery is this?

6. Nice And Blue (Part 2)

You were a song I couldn't sing
Caught like a bear by the bees
With its hand in a hive
Who complains of the sting
when I'm lucky I got out alive!

A life at best left half-behind
The taste of the honey
Still sweet on my tongue
And I'd run (Lord knows I've tried)
But there's no place on Earth
I can hide from the wrong I've done

Then I saw a mountain and I saw a city
Steadily sinking but suspiciously calm
It wasn't an end, it wasn't a beginning
But a ceaseless stumbling on

there, strapped like a watch on my wrist
that's finished with gold but can't tell time!
was all or what little pleasure exists
Seductive sold and useless mine

Our horse was fast and first from the gate
with the lead of a length at the sound of the gun
ant the last of our cash laid down to fate (at 17 to 1)
but the final stretch in the rear of the pack
That nag limping bad in the back
We reluctantly gave all the money we'd saved
A fifth to the commonwealth and the rest to the track!

then I saw a forest grow in the city
And a driftwood wall of birdhouse gourds
And I'm still waiting to meet a girl like my mom
(who's closer to my age)

the true light of my eyes is a Pearl
Equally emptied to equally shine
And all or what little joy in the world
seemed suddenly simple and endlessly mine

I was once the wine and you were the wineglass,
I was once alive when you held me,
but G-d became the glass,
all things left are emptiness
but oh, you're just a little girl
if you look out and see a trace
of a dark bed that was once my face
in the clarity of such grace,
you'll forget all about me

7. The Sun And The Moon

Daniel broke the king's decree,
Peter stepped from the ship to the sea
there was hope for Job like a cut down tree,
I hope that there's such hope for me
dust be on my mind's conceptions
and anything I thought I knew
each word of my lips' description,
and on all that I compare to You
the preference of the sun was
to the south side of the farm
I planted to the north in a terra-cotta pot
blind as I'd become, I used to wonder where you are-
these days I can't find where you're not!

mine's been a yard carefully surgace level tended
foxes burrowed underground
my gardening so highly self-recommended,
what could I have done but let you down?

the sun and the moon,
I want to see both worlds as One!

mine's been a vivid story, dimly remembered
and by the hundredth time it's told, halfway true
of bad behavior well engendered
what good is each good thing we think we do?

find a friend and stay close and with a melting heart
tell them whatever you're most ashamed of-
our parents have made so many mistakes,
but may we forgive them and forgive ourselves

the sun and the moon are my Father's eyes

8. Orange Spider

a note we wrote the other day
to any mice who pass this way
on crumed and sugared countertop:

"we must insist
your traffic STOP."

in their defense, they don't refuse
but nonetheless we've come to use
snapping traps and poison beans
(far less diplomatic means)
orange spider,
orange leaf
confirms my deepest held belief

9. C-Minor

our house wrapped in disrepair,
a small mouse peeked out from a hole beneath the stairs
nearby to where my dad sat in his favorite chair,
thinking about the gov't and muttering a prayer
so I scattered some oats in hopes she'd stay
and sat still to stop from scaring her away-
but she hurried on her little way
and scurried around my mind
ever since,
every day

open wide my door, my door, my Lord
(open wide my door)
to whatever makes me love You more
(open wide my door)
while there's still light to run towards

I'm water, you're the dry wood
equal parts misguided and misunderstood
but all the neighborhood
watched a fire burn from where they stood
as the smoke said
"we're not half as bad as G-d is good"
still there's a whisper in my ear,
the voice of loneliness and fear, so I say:

"devil, disappear!
I'm still (ehh... technically...) a virgin
after 27 years-
which never bothered me before,
what's maybe 50 more?"

she came back for the oats
but she brought along a "friend"
(this never ends)
the harder the rain,
the lower the flowers in the garden bend
(this never ends)
I'd rather never talk again
than to continue to pretend
that this never ends

10. In A Market Dimly Lit

the bird that plucked the Olive Leaf
has been circling like a record 'round the spindle in my mind
where the needle's worn the grooves too deep,
and scratched the wax that's blistered from the heat besides
so from any movement in the room-
if my cat walked by the arm skipped!
but to my surprise, my interrupting cat improved
a sound already so severely compromised

the needle's worn the grooves too deep

I'm a donkey's jaw on a desert dune
beside the bush that Moses saw
that burned and yet was not consumed
she's the silver coin I lost,
I'm the sheep who slipped away
we pray the fingers crossed
but you listen patiently anyway

I wrote a little song for you
with a melody I'd borrowed put to words that didn't rhyme
to repeat what you already knew
as the stones thrown at your window tapped a syncopated time
you kept a distance out of fear you'd break
but what good's a single windchime, hanging quiet all alone?
the music our collisions would make
is a sound that turns the road-that-leads-us-back-home
into Home.

the music our collisions make!

I had a rusty spade but I'm not the fighting sort
if I was Samson I'd have found that harlot's blade
and cut my own hair short!
then in a market dimly lit I come casually to pay
you see my coins are counterfeit
but accept them anyway

so spare me your goodbyes,
your waving-handkerchief-good-byes
given my tendency to err so on the sentimental side
I'll spare you my goodbyes,
the truth belongs to G-d,
the mistakes were mine

11. O, Porcupine

without a queen the locust swarm
turned the ground to black
descending like a shadowy tower on a fish's back
and scattered the sticks who crawled
like snakes in the sand
as the red clay took the form of a lizard
who rushed like a moth to the flame of my open hand

(while, in my little world...)
a speckled bird humbly inspired
ran across the road when it could have flown
and it made me smile
at the water's edge, Babylon
we laid down and slept
as the river wept for you, O'Zion!
the stones cry out,
bells shake the sky
all creation groans...


listen to it!

messes of men in farmer poverty;
not much for monks but we pretend to be
share a silent meal and a pot of chamomile
gypsies like us should be stamped in solidarity
I hold you in my fond but distant memory
while waiting for the Mother Hen to gather me
who regretfully wrote,

"you have a decent ear for notes
but you can't yet appreciate harmony."

O' porcupine perched low in the tree
your ees to mine:

"you'd be well inclined not to mess with me."

at the garden's edge beneath a speechless sky
as his friends all slept
Jesus wept- and no wonder
and now you say you wanna be set free??
and wanna set me free???
well I'm told that can only come from
a union with the One who never dies

(while, in my little world, I patched a plaster wall
and in my little world, I was waiting (just dying!)
to take offence at something
this is all there is in my sad little world)

in darkness a light shines
on you and on me

I never gathered figs from a thorny branch,
I never picked a grapefruit off a bramble bush
and for the past five- almost six years now!-
you know you haven't once looked at me
with kindness in your eyes
you say Judas is a brother of mine?
but sister in our darkness a light shines
and all I ever want to say for the rest of my life
is how that light is G-d,
and though I've been mistaken on this or that point,
that light is nevertheless G-d.

12. Brownish Spider

every thing I thought I'd learned
ambition and illusion turned
to drawings on a loose leaf sheet
of tarts and cakes I couldn't eat

what in her do I require?
the face of gratified desire
what in me does she require?
the face of a gratified desire

brownish spider,
brownish leaf
confirms my deepest held belief.
no more spider,
no more leaf,
no more me,
no more belief.

13. In A Sweater Poorly Knit

in a sweater poorly knit and an unsuspecting smile
little moses drifts downstream in the Nile
a fumbling reply, an awkward rigid laugh
I'm carried helpless by my floating basket raft
your flavor in my mind swings back and forth between
sweet rhan any wine and bitter as mustard greens
light and dark as honeydew and pumpernickel bread
the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead!

as you plow some other field try and forget my name
see what harvest yields, and, supposing I'd do the same
I planted rows of peas but by the first week of July
they should have come up to my knees
but they were maybe ankle high
take the fingers from your flute to weave your colored yarns
and boil down your fruit to preserves in mason jars
but now the books are overdueand the goats are underfed
the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead!

you're a door-without-a-key, a field-without-a-fence
you made a holy fool of me and I've thanked you ever since.
if she comes circling back we'll end where we'd begun
like two pennies on the train track the train crushed into one
or if I'm a crown without a king, if I'm a broken open seed
if I come without a thing, then I come with all I need
no boat out in the blue, no place to rest your head,
the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead!

I do not exist only you exist

Thanks to dana_walt for sending these lyrics.
Thanks to xdeliberatex for correcting track #6 lyrics.
Thanks to fueledbyjessica for correcting track #10 lyrics.
Thanks to clintmontgomery for correcting track #11 lyrics.

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