Heaven in a Box

No keys no openings only order
food is first come first serve
the birds must live with the baboons
in a zoo run by certain animals.

Across the state line a footbridge
farmers not allowed in the city
in a bottle factory nothing sharp
in a valley no jagged peaks disturb.

The sculptor fashioned familiar figures
the eyes saw what the feet provided
the grammar of art danced to the beat
in the heart of his sleeping ancestors.

In a good school they know your name
the teachers have been dead for centuries
the books in the library are yours to keep
once you learn what they really mean.

The tiger who used to pace endlessly
stopped and submitted to the soul
in the teeth of the cogs of wheels
and went to heaven in a box.

 

 

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Unforgettable

I dug into that place where memories go
when they die, the grave of yes and no
there I found so many old moments
defying every how every why
of she and me.

I talked to somebody who had been there
there and then dredged up again
and all that stress burned up my hair
muted my mouth and I became
someone else.

Unforgettable. That’s what she is.
There is no forgetting what she was.

The forgotten is not killed by denial
yes it will return after a while
she of the migraines she of the mood swings
putting my worst decisions on trial
and my best.

Unforgettable. That’s what she is.
There is no forgetting what she was.

Sometimes a hippie sometimes bored
serrated heart and sharp mind
for more manipulation than I could afford
to run was the only answer I could find
still echoing.

Unforgettable. That’s what she is.
There is no forgetting what she was.

Nat King and Natalie Cole sang
of love as endless as sweet longing
but I sing the opposite ghostly song
of chains in the cellar and bad dreams –
over but not gone.

Unforgettable. That’s what she is.
There is no forgetting what she was.

 

[verse]
C /// C#m7 G#7 G7 /
C /// G7 / C#7 / F#m7 / F7 /
C6 /// //// F9 ///
G7 /// Bb / Bbm7 /
Am7 /// F9 ///

[instrumental buffer]
B75 /// D9 /// Ab6 / F6 / C ///

[chorus]
Em7 / F9 Am7 //// Ab6 / Am7 / E7 ///
F7 /// C /// Ab6 / G6 / C ///

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The Direction of Causation

[verse]
When death appears to comfort
mourners at a wake
soldiers in a war
makes us wonder
if we see straight or upside down.

When time puts children in charge
like when parents grow
too fragile to know
what’s right and what’s not
we start to doubt the way the wind blows.

[chorus]
Fall slow creamy weight
has no power to negate
anxiously waiting flow
of birth
here on the surface of earth.

[verse]
Tale told from fate to failure
just like we remember
like we want to live
turn around gradually
and see the rainbow
as it actually is.

[verse with pattern melody]
How could you be sure if everything
caught up with itself
lost in a nutshell
could you tell if a cause and its effect
put on each other’s hat
each other’s crown?

[bridge]
In the only language that’ll open our doors
both ways say more.
Nature tells us nothing unless we are prepared
to stare for years.

[chorus]
Fall slow creamy weight
has no power to negate
anxiously waiting flow
of birth
here on the surface of earth.

 

 

[verse]
A /// Em/F# ///
A6 ///
Em/F# ///
A /// Em/F# ///
A6 ///
Em/F# ///

[chorus]
G6 /// Am / Bm /
G6 /// Am / Bm /
C7 /// Gdim7 / B7 /
G6 /
G6 / F#m7 ///

[bridge]
D /// Am ///
Bm9 /// C7 ///

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Broken With Stars

 

Morning sky filled or
rather scattered with pink
loose ready inches
cold and sinewy grams
streaks of measurement
tints of skewed view
not felt but surmised.

By mid-day comes haze
less than particulate mess
obfuscation of refusal
low sitting gray vague
unwillingness to allow
an otherwise clarity.
It is an exhausting swim.

We spread out and eat
dinner under dazzling
cookies of dappled cloud
centers dark with trouble
golden edges reaching west
peach and apricot highlights
so unconcerned with us
shivering from distance.

After dark descends but
before the imps of doubt
wake and run rampaging
we step out to study
our seen through opacity
the black broken with stars
we know so well but don’t.

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Bother

Don’t tell me how to
how to live and breathe
how to get beyond bother
don’t tell me there is
no bother in this rather
lean and bossy world.

In a winter running later
morning less mild than kind
on a street without a sense
of neighborhood a tall child
wondered where the family went.

Cap pulled down hands insiide
pockets thin but out of the wind
this is a hometown but where
did your mother and father go
when their jobs disappeared?

To get away from the too visible
middle of the street she huddled
around a corner and pulled out
her still green magic marker
and drew her sign on the plywood.

Don’t tell me how to
how to live and breathe
how to get beyond bother
don’t tell me there is
no bother in this rather
lean and bossy world.

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Are We There Yet

 

[A]
Are we moving?
Have we left behind our history?
Can it be a new day free of
trying not to feel anything?

Are we there yet?
Is this somehwere we can relax?
Are the old gray places gone?
Can I get out and run?

Here we are now
in a different town and decade.
How did we come to live here
and how come we stay?

[B]
Get in the car with a bag full of unhealthy snacks.
Go as far and fast as possible and leave no tracks.
Just you, me and us – no maps and no regrets.

Splintering building up in the hard-working bones.
Expectations turning under your bare feet like stones.
Crossing the stream you dream of somewhere you belong.

[A]
Are we there yet?
Is this somewhere we can relax?
Are the old gray places gone?
Can I get out and run?

 

 

[A]
Am / Gm7 /
D13 G7 Bb7 F9 Am /
Em7 / Am7 / Em /
Am7 Bm7 C GMa9 /// Bm7 C ///

[B]
[6/8] C // /// D // /// C // Bb // /// ///
D6 // /// Gm11 // /// Dm // Em7 // F9 // CMa9 //
[4/4] G /// CMa7 /// G /// C ///

 

 

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Shed

 

what day is it
matters like rain
stopping after a weekend
stuck in the shed

instead of spreading
bread with butter
mouth mind and door
open up the shed

done with precision
decision be damned
without hand or head
we did it in the shed

rather than uniting
strangers and friends
all the hashing out
was left in the shed

city abandoned
tracks in blackberries
ponds without ripples
old age in the shed

rivers like lakes
simultaneously attached
and detached houseboats
sleep like sheds

birds in flocks some
circle in twos one
puts his feet up hiding
from the weather in the shed

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