The Knock

8:45 AM
the dream just
escaped me again
Could hear you all the way out
in the garage
building insects
I know that knock
I just put on the coffee
I know that knock
they wanna come inside
And speak with me

At the door came the knock of

The witness just wants to talk to you.

But you should’ve seen the look on the face of his
fourteen year-old kid
I never once seen a teenager
look so radiant
You said, “Why did you get so
sentimental over them?”
I wasn’t it’s just it’s been a long time since
I was moved
to crying

At the door came the knock of

The witness just wants to talk to you.
The witness just wants to talk to you.
In the car you said, “Everyone is suffering.”
At the door came the knock of
the witness just wants to talk to you.


Buddy in the Parade

I heard you were a king
You didn’t leave behind a goddamn thing

Why did I look into
the dim eye of the mole?
There was no silence there
Many voices spoke.
Thinking I died
I tried to listen
I saw one hundred
saddles without horses

Get out of here, go home.
That’s what you used to play at shows.

Sister sister sister watches
The furniture go
She just didn’t have the scratch
To keep you in that sorry hole
Money Money money don’t
Let you sleep
Switching graves in the cemetery
They buried you so many times
can’t find your body

Get outta here, go home.
That’s what you used to play at the ends of shows
In the middle of the parade you
were frothing at the mouth
Didn’t he ramble ‘til the Butcher cut him down?

Fool, all you touch on this
turning dream
is either gonna be
burned or buried
All your jewelry goes around from town to town
All your pretty ones, I’m not gonna say
where they are now

Get outta here, go home.
That’s what you used to say at the ends of shows
In the middle of the parade, you were
frothing at the mouth
Children, turn on your radio and
Don’t go out.

Horseshoe Crabs

Hey, did you hear me Mom?
Baby’s headed home
Against your wishes I went
into the woods

Just look at my face
A vegetable
beet red
I know you gave me
money for the motel
But I came here instead
I came here instead.

What I wanted when I left you
brushed by
so close
With the money I got pretty gone
and bloodied some
poor actor’s nose

One night in the park
the pellet gun
took out an eye
I came undone

One college kid
came to see me.
He passed me that nylon string
asked me to play him something.
So I tried my hand at “Blues Run the Game”
I barely made it through it
Then he had to go back to his parents’ house

Woke from the dream and I was old
staring at the asscrack of dawn.
Walked these streets up and down
looking for Paul Simon

All I found was myself, lost in time
I tried singing my songs but I lost my mind

What have they done
with my jealous one?
Who is gonna talk trash long after
I’m gone?
When I was young
they used to find me
pitching horseshoe crabs
back into the sun.



Realized I knew you from
his photo when you walked
into the restaurant
And my heart just sunk
Your friend looked over from the bar, she must’ve known
who I was
the worst possible version of what I’d done
As, seating couples
I tried to listen

By the time it’s old
a face will have been seen
one and a half
million times
One million times!
I don’t know why I worry, I mean
(Maybe she didn’t recognize me)

I call you enemy
because I’m afraid
of what you could call me
The world’s gotten so small
and embarrassing.

By the time it’s old
my face will have been seen
and I’ll share a very
common poverty.
It’s a very common kind.
It’s not that I am worried
I just wish you and your friends would leave.

We’ve long since closed now
Still you and some others
stick around
You and some others stick around.


Happy to See Me

Trying to change my mind about
how everything went
when the historian
on the radio said
there is nothing in the world more dangerous than
a defeated army headed home
(stay inside, civilian)

All I can tell from this old rock is
Someone is buried here
The joggers are the only ones
comin in, and they just
keep on going

At night I think I had trouble telling
bats from birds
Now I see
Like cut up bits of paper
Like little pairs of scissors

They tumble from the bridge
Up and into the dark
Thought up by a mind that must have been
Some kind of sinister
question mark

Father gets up at
4 a.m.
to post a motivational video
on Youtube again–
“People of the world, nobody loves you
half as much as I
am trying to.”

On the train home
I am hoping
that I get to be very old
And when I’m old I’ll only see people from my past
And they all will be happy to see me

(we all will
remember things the same)


Texas Funeral

My son is waiting on me
and he ain’t a patient man
Go and get the sheriff
Tell him anything you can
(Just get him here!)

Burned myself on this
cast iron panhandle
long before you came
Love was never the subject
(Couldn’t talk about my mother
to him)

Seeing Shirley in the oil fountain?
What a woman, dancing
I just wanted a happy ending
(for your little sister
wherever she is)

Don’t be so sore just cause you lost
to your old man
Because none of this is gonna
happen to me within
my lifetime

Aren’t you sick to death of
The word inheritance?
It’s with your great grandparents!
You’ve inherited the wind, fool
I hope you enjoy it.

But I’m going out flipping the bird to California
Keep your melting stars!
I followed all the rules
I wasn’t the one who turned the screw so hard

We have a great wanting in common
But none of this is gonna
happen to me within
my lifetime


Powerful man

Sun’s setting on the street
Your dad told you not
to look at me
Down came the fists
hard upon your head.
I was the only other adult around
I was the only other adult around
I was 18
You were 8,maybe
You were 10.

He said, “She’s not gonna help you”
He said She’s not-

I just thought he looked like
a powerful man

My good friend convinced me to
turn around
My good friend said
“I think I saw a light on”
We walked through the dead halls
looking for teachers and
we found one
but she didn’t look too happy to see us
She didn’t look too happy to see us
“How should I know” she said
“The man you just described
Could be anyone.”

He said, “She’s not gonna help you”
He said She’s not-

I just thought he looked like
A powerful man.


I Saw my Twin

I saw my twin
working in a Waffle House
The first birds of morning
cackled from the graveyard
In walked the entourage
big silver bus in the mountain
Her full hands leapt
like fleas on a dog
belonging without alternative

The waitress jumped over the table,
and begged “Can I take your picture?”

West Virginia, this is how it’s done
You take the money, and you just run.

Try not to look at the look on the nun
in the corner booth
It invites nobody in
It’s a great black hole of Providence.
Please take pity upon the heart that lives in me!
I have to turn away now, I can’t stand
watching old ladies eat

The waitress gazes over our table-
Big Silver Bus is long gone

West Virginia, this is how it’s done
(Sir, could you be a little more gentle?!)
Unprofitable servant!
Pennsylvania, this 6 A.M. cold sun
leaves me waiting on
the threat of Someone



Well-dressed, but
Walking in the wrong
My disordered road always led straight back
into you

Ha ha ha, goes the train
I wanted to leave but here I am again
I don’t remember shaking hands with

When I was alive
I lived despite the law
the law has buried me many times
It’s built a freeway all around my bed
I saw it once open its great mouth wide, but
it was so full of afflicted houses and buildings
I couldn’t make out what it
was saying

Well-dressed well,
Some of us are, that is
The ones who know how, that is.
Some of us are, that is.

I read about you, and came home
To find my mother
staring deep into
The dark dark web
She started begging me not to give my
Social security number to
anybody else
There goes the sound of the freeway
Hahaha goes the train!


Sister Cities

See the old man on the bridge, he’s
hauling up a sagging net
it’s full of eels twisting through
the eyesockets of a horse’s head
and this fiend has no family
So he will outlive you and me

In the hospital you talked about thumbing down that
truck ride for the first time
And the false friend
kept his back turned,
that’s when you learned
The fierceness of man
How long it took to reach the sister cities
And then somehow make it back
Just to tell me
“Yeah, I guess I’m still
pretty mad”

Every other day
The same long road to the old man down the street
And neither one of you knows
What the flowers in your hand
Are supposed to mean
Red flowers against your
painted shut window

My uncle’s gone insane
In his room he sits
shaking a geranium
the old dog, resigned
leaves heavy tracks for the
father dragging the rifle to find

Every other day
The same long road to
the old man down the street
Do you think someday
Through all the flowers your eyes finally will meet?
Where he’ll tell you Honey you know I had to shoot that dog you loved so much
You know I had to do it
Yeah I know you had to shoot that dog
I loved so much
I know you had to do it.