Hiding, everybody’s hiding that they’re not dead inside.
Laughing, everybody’s laughing, because it’s not funny anymore.
Running, everybody’s running from the killing fear all around us.
Lying, everybody’s lying because the truth can’t hide forever
Dying, everybody’s dying to keep from living just one more lie.

Help my sister, she’s crying so silently, so silently.
Help her, she’s me inside
The outside never shows the blood that seeps from all those wounds
Getting better every day
Keep telling yourself, tell it every day.

The grip gets tighter, the days get logner
the nights never end
All I want is sleep, a dream I can remember.

In days of wine and thunder
She doesn’t want your pity, man.

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All our lives go in circles
Nothing is ever straight and just plain true
There’s always angles and different takes
That go along with all that you give.

Sometimes that’s a great gift – a real surprise
Coming back to the same place again and again
I like that kind of ice cream just the way  it is
There is no need to change it for me.

But life isn’t about ice  cream or gifts or surprises
There’s so much pain and death and horror to endure
Just one blessed day at a fucking time after another
Give me strength again and again.

Why was I so stupid – again? and again?
Am I uniquely incapable of learning from my own mistakes
There’s no consequence more inescapable than the
Natural consequence of being me.

In more than fifty years you’d think I’d improve
I’ve been alive of more than one hundredth of all recorded human history
They told me that mistakes were the essential ingredient to learning.
My own perversity tears me up.

Oh to be a character in a really good book !
In books people learn, they grow and they improve
They understand things and profit by them
Things resolve and the story ends

But my real life doesn’t imitate art, not hardly at all
I gave up long ago hoping for a happy fairy tale ending
But I just stay here turning on my heels
Like some deus ex machina ballerina.

Or perhaps an old war horse carved from aged wood
Doomed to traipse around and around the same old circle
Seeing the same sad old merry-go-round
Until my tired old ride breaks down.

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It makes me so angry, the horrible things people say
That can’t be answered, that need to be addressed
But it ain’t no use because their minds are so fast shut
Nothing I say can ever light their darkness.

Anything I say will just make them mad, like me.
Anything I can do will fail to have the effect I want.
Closed minds do not open with reason, they only scoff
Allegiances and prejudices are bedfellows, enemies of reason.

And frankly, I can’t be bothered, though it bothers me.
My anger gets in my way and keeps me from enjoyment.
And that makes some of these jokers happy
Their goal is my anger and frustration.

Seems a shame to give them the satisfaction
So I sit quiet in my turmoil on a gentle quiet simmer.
Or I get up and leave the cause of my disquiet behind
Wondering if I should really have made the fruitless effort.

And however utterly useless and inefficient
My heart screams out that there must be some magic discourse
That will convince the unconvincable and cure them of error
Realigning their world view to be consistent with my own.

What is my responsibility to speak up and call out error?
Am I remiss and faulty to my beliefs if I stay silent?
It is a terrible conundrum as old as time
And I am no closer to finding its solution.

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Going Away

Don’t know why anymore than where
No, not really, if you have to ask
But time’s a wasting and you can’t go back
Gotta go onward, ain’t no use.

Some folks talk about like its a train ride
It’s a journey they chose to take from
a long time ago into what comes next
Always made me kind of jealous
Like they have some kind of choice I never got.

And I never considered I ever really had an end
No, not really, it wasn’t a real thing to me
Not like what I wanted in the moment
Not like what my senses saw
Not like things that struck my fancy
Or moved my emotions.

Those things all came and went
They went their way and I went mine
For a while we went along together
And I was fine with that
But I never put myself in the same pot
In that same crucible of time.

She held me when she thought I might be leaving
Like she hadn’t done in a long, long time
And I held her the same way
Afraid of losing what I never knew I had
Not really, not like all those shiny things
I tried so hard to keep hold of.

Now I’m clearly not long for this world
Not by my choice, but it was my choice
Not because it is what I wanted
It is the result of what I wanted to do
And I don’t really mind, not really
It’s my own fault

But I can’t help disbelieving in anything else
Having had such a hard time believing
Don’t suppose it’ll make any difference when I die
I’ll miss her or she’ll miss me, as it happens
Time comes for us all
And finds all of us wanting.

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“No” seems like such a simple concept.
It’s kind of like “mine.”
It doesn’t have a half life.
It is terrifically influenced by context,
It is something everyone controls or no one does.
You’re supposed to know it when you’re five.
Some people don’t seem to learn it before they’re 75.
There is no bravery in it.
There is no stupidity in it.
It bounds the definition of things.
Like “you” and “me.”

Deep down we know when we lie about it.
But we don’t admit why we lie about it.
You’re not a slut because you don’t use it.
You’re not a prude because you do.
It happens between consenting adults.
It matches my expectations more often than not
Because more often than not I deserve it.
It’s a complicated thing that is so simple.

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Boy in a Mason Jar

What a crazy quilt collection
Just a kid, they say, he’ll get better.
Just give him time they say.
Daddy does not approve
Doesn’t understand or believe in what Al wants
He tries to be such a good father
Al would like to please him, but not like that
Or is it just more points he wants
Another comparison he can hold up
This crazy kid ain’t gonnna be your trophy Pops
Is his approval worth the cost?

He sets a fine example, he’d like to be him, someday
He has hurt a lot and it didn’t come easy
Can’t you just taste the prize
But it’s hard to cope and it should be
So damn simple – easy to understand
Why can’t it be easy? Isn’t it his job to make it easy?
Why does love slide into hate like a handshake
Made always to feel like a boy in a dress
Not any way for Al to be

Al is a dead cool dude really
Not that anybody’ll let him be
To be himself – makes you want to puke
In a closet of other people’s dreams
hurling pretty like an insult – daddy’s little something
Somedays it would be so much easier
Give up, give in, give over
So many people – the applause sign is ready to light
To hell with them or to hell with me?
Not ready to make that choice
To stealth or not to stealth, that is the question

Grow up? Into what exactly?

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So many ways ways to fuck up, Jesus.
Did I miss a single trick? Nope, not in this life.
No one trick pony here, that’s fer sure.
I know all the tricks, every last one, damn it.
Not that any of them work, not even a single one.

And you know what I know?  Not much.
I know a lot of things I don’t know, so many things
I know a lot of things I can’t do, so many more things
I know all kinds of things that will never be, like that’s a surprise
And I know that it’s all my own damn fault.

So what good does any of this do? Really.
She won’t believe me if I try, not again
She won’t believe me if I don’t, like she can tell the difference
There’s no great mystery here, just the odd lie
Can’t ask her for any more, not no more no how.

Mother, you should have loved me with a more critical love
You could have prepared me to understand what I didn’t get right
Yeah, it was all your fault when I was 10, maybe
But that was a long, long time ago – more than a generation ago
In the last millennium, before I wanted to die.

It would just be a lot easier for everybody
To take the burden of me off the universe, a real bargain
I have no great excuse really, just about everybody else does better
I do worse, same as always, nothing to see here.
It’s no surprise she’s given up on me.

Maybe she forgave me too much and too often.
But I can’t fault her for that, or anything really
She stood by me past any kind of common sense
And now when she’s come to her senses
I have nothing, hell, I don’t even have a reason to complain.

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Each moment follows    without mercy
Challenging the resolve to cling to life
It doesn’t really matter, not really,
Nobody cares, no one notices
Smile, smile, smile and pretend
Pretend you don’t care
Pretend things will be OK
Pretend to look forward to what’s next
Pretend to pretend

The pain is not new
It is self-inflicted anyway
So there’s no one to blame
No one to hind behind
You’re not even deserving of pity
Someday you’ll get to die
Someday it will be over
Something to look forward to
After all.

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When everything you say is disbelieved
When nothing you say is right
When nothing you can do make things better
When nowhere you can go gives comfort
What’s left to say?
What’s left to do?

Every day the road gets steeper and my back hurts more
By the day, by the week, by the month it doesn’t matter
What a pointless waste of time to sit and wait
Unable to do better than to welcome mediocrity
As better than total failure

I’ve done wrong and harm to everyone I have loved
In that I am not unique, just another ordinary moron
Too afraid to die is not a very good reason to be living
Perhaps I’ve lived long enough.
Maybe the world would be a better place without me.

Who am I kidding?
Who I am isn’t worth living
Who I want to be isn’t possible to be
Who I want to share my life with doesn’t want me
Who is it left for me to be?

Desolation is an old friend who doesn’t give a damn
Regret is a dry meal that satisfies no hunger
Self-pity and self-loathing share the same bed
I gave you every thing you asked for
I kept nothing for myself
It should not really surprise me
The nothing I have left.

All I want is Us
And you tell me time and time again there is no us
It’s just the latest fantasy I have seized upon, you tell me.
You’re the only hope that keeps me alive
I will always believe in you
There’s nothing else.

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The keys to her soul
Stroked ivories played
To sync her whole
To heal What’s frayed
Should be a role
For which he’d trade
His own soul

His eccentric heart
Taut stretched harp string
Hold tensions apart
Cause his heart to sing
should be her art
To his soul bring
Her own heart

Together they play
Rhythm, melody and rhyme
Sung fresh each day
In perfect time
This is their way
In love, sublime
Hearts, souls, at play

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