Coming up roses

My darling, I just can't believe it's true, but I have to let you go because you wouldn't let me go. I can't believe that it's lasted this long, with the way that I treat you (or at least how you say I do). When I dug you up, you didn't look so good, but I cleaned you up like I said I would, and everything was coming up roses.

My darling, you wear so much makeup, but it doesn't cover you, or the scars I gave to you. But you hurt me too. You hurt me so bad. My friends told me so, and that's how I know. When I painted you, you were looking faint, so I touched you up with some crimson paint, and everything was coming up roses.

And now you're gone. I don't know what I'll do. I'll always miss your touch (and some of that other stuff). But I'll get by, I'll get through. It was only my heart you took. You left my little black book. When I buried you, you looked your best, and now my flowers are blooming and you're getting your rest. And everything was coming up roses.

Before the beating starts

I dropped a bomb after the war was over. I sold my stocks three days after the crash. I fell in love but my heart was already broken. I got an appetite when my lunch was in the trash. I found God deep down in the inferno. Joined the race when my tank was out of gas. Lord knows I should pull myself together, but the devil knows that time's already passed.

And in a cruel twist of fate I met my true love three days late. She'd found another tender lover, so much like me he could be my brother. So I'm buckling down, trying to make her come around. A few choice words or perhaps a murder, and I'll break their hearts before the beating even starts.

I split the tides but the ship was already sailing. I raised the dead after the rot set in. I split the loaves but they'd all brought their own lunches, and I gave my life after they set me free.

Don't they look so happy? I want to take a little for myself. And you know I hate to spout these cliches, but I can't cook her breakfast without breaking some legs.

Fletcher christian

It seems I spend my time either tripping over my tongue or choking on yours, my love. And I don't think that glass shoes look good on anyone, my love. Time to leave, I think.

Fletcher Christian, spending time in the sun. His captain drifts away. He's miles away from home. So long, Marianne, I'm going on holiday. Don't drink from the sea. It'll dry you more than it'll wet you.

And I can't stop hearing about this place I heard about. This beach with bright pink shells.

Wendy darling ties me down. My winged feet, both flat on the ground. She sews my shadow to my soles. The lost boys have all been found.

If this is the only way, I'll try to let it be. I trust you when you say that you know what's best for me. A boat made from polished glass, with sky blue sails flown from the mast, began to drift away from the place I called my home. As all the children waved goodbye, I didn't feel the need to cry, but I have to say I've never felt so old.

Wendy darling drags me home, followed by a ticking crocodile, with a winding sheet to keep me warm, and pennies to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Wendy Darling

When she smiles, I think of you. When I lay her down I try to do all of those things that you loved. When she moans, it takes me back to all the times I told you that there'd be nobody but you. I've always been faithful to you, in my own way.

Of all the girls I've loved and tossed, you're the only one that I think of on those rare nights that I sleep alone. If that strikes you as a tad unclean, you'll be glad to know that when I dream, I don't think of you much at all. I've always been faithful to you, in my own way.

And every week I put a little note and a big check in an envelope. There's a mailbox right outside my door. I lick the seal so tenderly. I put on more stamps than it really needs. I'd still do it if it wasn't the law. I've always been faithful to you, in my own way.

I've Always Been Faithful

My! I saw you dressing. My oh my. I saw you bare. I froze like water, water to ice, and I tried to lower my eyes. And then you saw me! My oh my. And you smiled. And I melted as the temperature rose. You pulled me in, and slammed the door closed.

I am overwhelmed, and I'm overdressed. I keep thinking that you just haven't thought this through, and you're throwing your love all over me like so much confetti.

Why has your mood changed? Why, oh why? What's wrong? You say you've got a question, and my heart just sinks. Can this be what I think? And then you say to me:

"I'm overwhelmed and I'm underdressed. I keep thinking that you just haven't thought this through, and you're throwing your love all over me like so much confetti."

And so we made this strange parade.

So Much Confetti

When the city fell, we were lying in a country meadow. We were halfway home before we knew. When we reached the walls, we saw roses in the rocky ruins. Bird's nests in the hood of dead cars. And inside our home, all our things were in their places, our letters stacked in wooden cases. Your rings were left untouched. These things that seemed to small to notice held strong while the world fell away.

So let us speak of all the wreckage, and the love that grows in the strangest places. If the world is too hard to plant our roots in, I'll grow out of you and you can grow out of me.

Sometimes it crushes me when my vision's blocked by preacher's towers; their words turning the air sour. Or when I'm in a room, surrounded by these dead, dead faces, just trying to catch a glimpse of you. And then I see your face, and I hear the thoughts behind what's spoken. I find a use for all the broken. When our eyes meet, I walk through walls like they're paper, and move to a rhythm separate from the drum.

Strangest Places

And, after the flood, I woke to the wind. I emptied my room, I packed all my things, and I left without locking the door. I walked from my house, watching my feet as they splashed in the puddles still filling the streets, and I smiled, and I didn't look back

And morning comes now. The water's shallow. And colours are filling the sky.

I walked through the streets full of broken glass, and the larks made a nest in the hole in my hat, and the ants made home in my shoes. My legs felt like stones, and looked like stilts. My teeth crunched like I'd eaten a mouthful of sand, maybe from savage lands, maybe from an English beach.

I remember paddling. I wish you did too. I am sorry that you fell, but I suppose that's the way it goes.

And on the outside of town, I found an empty house. I slowly walked in, I sat on the couch, and I cried at a couple dancing on the TV.


After The Flood

The girls are holding hands in a circle, laughing and sneezing and then falling down. The boys are building traps in the chimney, while their parents are buying Christmas presents in town.

You walk to the Volcano dressed in grey. I thought I might follow you.

Delilah is treating her new friend Rapunzel to a makeover at her beauty salon. And St. George is out slaying dragons, but children still sleep with their night lights.

There are poppies growing through the cracks in the pavement, and flower shops on every avenue. And the ladies are out buying red roses for their husbands with their beards of blue.

The Volcano Song

I stood by the sea, waiting for the ship to take me, on the bone white sand, holding out my hands. The ivory sky bleeds into the sea. My eyes went blind, but I can still see. I can see.

And the wind ceased to blow, the emerald sea no longer flowed, and the angels shook the land, but I managed to stand. The ivory sky bleeds into the sea. My eyes went blind, but I can still see. I can see.

When I woke up, the sky was burned, and through the smoke the ship returned, and behind the sky, as trumpets blew, I saw another sky, and another sky, and another sky.

Another Sky

Razors in the soap

I walked into the cathedral, and saw the minister's machine. I heard the gears ringing in my ears, but what was made, I could not see. I buried my possessions and I marked the spot with stones, and I waited for what my teachers saw when they emptied out their homes. I lit a match beneath me to burn off what I don't need. I had to quench the pyre when my eyes caught fire. I guess I'll try again.

My dreams are all like razors, hidden in the soap. When I bleed, all my cuts are cleaned, and in the stinging is the hope. The piano is an oak tree, and the strings are garden vines. Perhaps some day I'll learn how to play, but for now I'll just keep time. Perhaps when I am ancient and my old bones start to bend, I'll find the words for what I have heard, and it'll be my end.

St. Louise

It's not beauty that's a curse. It's finding out that you can't sell it. That's the moral of your tale, girl, at least the way I tell it.

With your smoker's cough, and your stockings off, your black helmet on, and your husband gone, here in old Berlin, turning blue with sin, as you held your breath in the dance of death. 

You know, sex ain't a crime, a way to pass the time, waiting for a call from the upper halls. You say you learned to dance from watching the tramp, but the tramp don't move on those cloven hooves.

They said whenever you appeared, they raged like in a menagerie when meat appeared before the cage. But you were not afraid.

I got a backstage pass from some drunken ass who made a filthy leer, and grabbed my arm and sneered. 'Behind each actor's door is a washed out whore. This one's the same,' he said, 'She's just better read.'

We met after the show, you dressed as a pierrot, with ten black fingerprints on your snow-white wrists. You said, 'Don't stare, my love, as you pulled on your gloves. When I apologized, you took my hand and sighed, you said:

'Every contract that I've signed comes with ropes that tie and chains that bind. From this I'm sure I can't be saved, but they'll get in back in spades.'

I was at your bedside on the day you died. I'd watched you die before, late night on channel four. Old Jack took your life with a kitchen knife, but this was harder still and I wept until you said:

'I've done my best to do my bit, but trouble came like flies to shit. Behind every lover's eyes, there were wood blocks full of sharpened knives. It's the same for all pretty girls, it's true, but worse for me, because I knew. But I'll take that knowledge any day over that sick and grinning naivete.'


Don't blink an eye. I look a mess, but there's nothing wrong. I was just strangely struck by a stupid line in a stupid song.

Don't cut me down to count my rings. These ladybird spots.

I've sewn patches on all the clothes I've ever owned. I've darned by socks and put new holes on my old belt.

This afternoon, I found some coins I must have dropped. It's funny what you find when you spend all day on yours hands and kness.

When your tank's on empty, I"m that extra mile. I'm the light that quits flashing every time you flick that dial. I gave the lord himself a lift when he was just a child. I'm bridges and I'm highways, I'm motorbikes and I'm trains. I'm the first glimpse of the Rockies after the Alberta plains. I'm dark glasses in the sun, I'm windscreen wipers in the rain.

I used to be a saint, man, but I got tossed. I carried the Lord before he carried that cross. I used to be a saint, man, but I got tossed. Who are you going to pray to when you get lost?

If your eyes are feeling heavy, I'm that dirty motel six. If there ain't no time for sleeping, I'm that late night caffeine fix. I do it for the Lord, man, I ain't in it for kicks. I'm the mix tapes in the glove box when the conversation wanes. I'm the drumming on the steering wheel, the hook in the refrain. I'm 'Back in Black,' I'm 'Radar Love,' I'm 'Like A Hurricane.'

I'm the breath inside your airbag, I'm the belt across your chest. I'm that little voice that tells you when it's time to take a rest. But I ain't no speed camera, sure ain't no breathalyzer test. I used to be a saint, but they said they made a mistake. Those boys in Rome said their ain't no giants in no lakes. But they're sure going to miss me when there ain't no fluid in their brakes.

St. Christopher's Traveling Blues

I see you walking, girl, on that path by the river. A big black garbage bag held in those skinny fists. It's such a heavy load for such a little lady. We love your kind down here, my love, we love your kind down here.

You're kicking off your shoes and you're pulling off your dress now. One step into the lake and your gooseflesh starts to show. And then, in a flash, you and that bag go under. We love your kind down here, my love, we love your kind down here.

I've never known someone to hold their breath by half an hour. Just us bottom feeders know exactly what you did down there. And then, like a toad, you spring out of the water. We love your kind down here, my love, we love your kind down here.

You look so much happier now that your load is lifted. A big grin on your face, and a new swing in your step. But wasn't it your husband's turn to take out the garbage? We love your kind down here, my love, we love your kind down here.

The Bottom feeders

I caught your eye across a crowded dance floor, or at least I thought I did. I can't be sure. I couldn't say hello, I needed to be certain. So I double-checked, a dozen times or more. 

And it's not how I planned it. I've never done this before. And you saw I went quietly as your husband showed me the door. Love, oh love, makes creeps of us all.

I went to your house to make myself feel better, and because I knew there was no one home. Your door was unlocked, so I thought I'd leave my letter on your kitchen table, and then I'd turn and go.

And it's not how I planned it. I've never done this before. But you came home to find me sleeping on your bathroom floor. Love, oh love, makes creeps of us all.

Oh my lord. Take me out of my thoughts. Help me believe in the better parts of me. And let me love move in one direction, for I become more trapped the more I struggle to be free.

Love Makes creeps of us all

One, when I saw you, and I could see nothing else, and I spoke before there was time to act more like myself. They say this won't count, but I'm counting on this.

Two, when I kissed you, and the dark room disappeared, and the breath that you gave me was the first I took in years. They say this won't count, but I'm counting on this.

Three, when you left me, and you left me in one piece. I was shocked to find I could stand, and it brought me to your knees. They say this won't count, but I'm counting on this.

Oh, my love, these are miracles to me, and three makes a saint of you, and a believer out of me. They say this won't count, but I'm counting on this.

Three Miracles

They say that you're holy. I say, yeah, like a sieve. Who are you trying to kid? You can't find God where you live. I've read all his books. I've been to see him in Rome. The place sure had nice ceilings, but there was nobody home. I'm sure that if he was to reveal himself, it'd be to someone like me, with Augustine on his shelf.

It seems like you're jealous that he's talking to me. I sent no invitations, but he came anyway. I was down at the office, compiling errata, I looked down at my hands, and I had the stigmata. Ever since that day, I've seen God everywhere. In each leaf that trembles, and when I'm washing my hair.

I just can't believe it. It doesn't seem fair. I'm the one with all the relics, and the shirt made of hair.

I don't know what to tell you. It isn't that grand. How can I lie in the beach when he's in each grain of sand? I keep having visions, and I can't get to sleep. Seeing the blood of the lamb makes it hard to count sheep. I know that I'm fickle. It's from my mother's side. Here's what she told me on the day that she died. She said, 'There's this world and that one, and this one's more fun. Eternity's lovely, but it tends to run on. So if you see an angel, or a burning bush, put your nose in your book, dear, and try not to look.'

Visions of jehovah

There are people frozen here. A busy day sometimes ends this way. These empty veins, these tunnels, and these trains. As for me, I'll stay inside. I'll push my voice through all this blue-white noise. These black-white keys, they've been so good to me. 

Did you know I sank back when I was small. I ate before I swam. I came to life here on the grand. As the sea turned red, music filled my head, and white birds began to fall from the sky.

And I kept my grip on your thin neck. I beat my sticks against your skin. I was selfish, dear, but I let you listen in.

So, I sing this broken hymn. I spilt my voice and it broke like bone. Mary cries when she hears this burnt prayer made of black sand, string, and sea. So I offer it to St. Jude who's not too holy to help me.

On The grand

When St. Kevin was praying, an egg fell into his hands, and he knew that if he flinched an inch, it'd be dashed into the sand. So he stayed in that position for twenty days and nights, until the little egg broke open, and the little bird took flight. 

Some folks pray to fill their own cup, asking for a favour, wishing for some luck. Some folks pray to fill their own cup, but the best ones pray to keep someone else up.

St. Nick knew a lady, beautiful and sweet, who couldn't feed her kids and was forced to work the streets. So Nick cleaned out his savings, took a stroll down to her place, dropped the money in the chimney, and left without a trace.

St. Kathy loved her Lord so much that, when she was killed, from the hole where her head once was, she bled a stream of milk. Uncumber loved her Lord too, but her fiance she feared, so, to turn him off, she prayed to God, and proudly grew a beard. Dunstan took his pliers, and pinched the Devil's nose, and flung him down to hell where the ground promptly froze. Ronnie wipes the Lord's tears, he left an imprint of her face, which is hanging in her living room, above the fireplace.

Something's off in this city, something's dying in this town. There are too many dark faces in these tunnels underground. We're losing our best people, a dozen every day, and all our days are numbered if the saints go on their way.

WHen The Saints Go

I've shouted twice today already, and my throat's raw and red. But only now do your legions of perfection march my way.

So lights out, Mayfly, because I'm going home.

My infection from the scratching at the inch that wasn't there has left me doubting on my blond hair, and on your blue eyes.

And it's an act of such bravery, or so I've been told, to just give up the house you built for one you built just down the road.


Four Leaf clover

Nothing really changes but your moods. The only really ugly thing about you. You love me because I never get blue. I've not felt a thing since the day that I met you. 

You say I'm good enough to get you started off, to be your well-laid path while you're starting over. I must confide that if I had some pride I wouldn't be at your side, your four leaf clover.

You pulled me out from my roots to be around anytime it suits you. You say I'm your lucky charm. When you're all wound up, only I can make you calm.

And it's just like you said to me, "Life it comes and goes. Love ebbs and flows. So close your eyes and try to think of prettier things."

And I know I can't complain. I could leave anytime and just face the pain. But I'm a sucker for a pretty face. Mother always said I had good taste.

I'm Out of here

I stayed too long. I got my mind made up. I've got my friends. Give me my shoes, and hand over my keys. I'm gonna burst that door.

It took a while but now I understand there are no walls on a home, and nothing sticks unless I let it stick, except the flesh on my bones. I haven't been clear. I'm out of here.

She said, "Love ain't easy at all. You have to work every day," but it's a fool who keeps on punching that clock if he doesn't get paid.

We put down roots and just got covered in moss. It's a crying shame. We should have been like two rolling stones, rolling the same way.

The road to anhedonia

On the road to Anhedonia. Thanks for packing up my things. It's a lousy town, but it's like I told you, it's a wonder I can walk at all.

And you wrote, "Babe, ever since you went away, I can't believe what I'm getting done. I'm just so happy we're both so happy now."

On the road to Anhedonia. Don't know what I'll do when I arrive. Unpack my things. Do some laundry. Lucky to be alive.

And you wrote, "Babe, every since you went away, I feel just like a little girl. I'm just so happy we're both so happy now."

And I know I should write, but for the pang in my heart and the tear in my eye, I reply, "Oh my love, my own true love, oh no...."

I'd not noticed the moon over the garden at night. There's a fox near the gate, half out of the light. It's been a while since my mind met a thought with a thought. It's not something I learned. It's not something she taught. I guess I felt at home, eager to please, and able to mark out the edges of everything, but now those edges are gone.

I said fence me in, not that I'd try to leave, but there are things past that hill that I don't want to see. So I got into bed to awake when I am old. To stay out of the heat. To stay out of the cold. Guess I felt at home, down on my knees, and able to mark out the edges of everything, but now those edges are gone.

But it's good to see the moon. It's brighter than I recall, but then everything is, now that I'm seeing it all.

The fox in the garden

I guess it's something new, and a little clearer now you're out of view. But trying to see past you is something that I never thought I'd do.

I guess it's one more time around. We wound up right back where we started from. Though I miss you, I know we can't go back. So, I miss you, and let's just leave it at that.

We've been going around in rings, never really learning anything. Just one more ring on that dying tree on every anniversary.

I don't know why we both just played along. The only thing that mattered was to keep things ticking on. We passed the time by talking about how good it was going to get. I've got to say, it wasn't bad, but not much better than okay.

I wonder who'll be next? Someone I know? Someone I haven't met? Will she do things you'd never do? Will she just remind me of you?


I used to jest that if you left I'd finally write that book, play piano, go to night school, maybe learn to cook, trade in my t-shirts for some dress shirts for a brand new look, paint my masterpiece sublime. But so far the other thing I've done is get sleepy drinking whisky with the TV on. It's more like bedlam than a bedroom, but I can't clean it drunk, and there's no-one here who minds.

Guess I'll wait for the time when my mind's on stonier ground.

Sometimes I feel like it's all running down, like I'd have to fall headfirst to turn my frown around, but falling's just like flying until you hit the ground, and the ground is nowhere near. So while I sit here with my cigarettes, partly choking from the smoking, partly from regret, just respect that I'm not a wreck yet, I'm just a mess, and messes get cleaned up.

I'm happy here in bed right now, but soon I'll want more because I'm getting sore. One thing that I know for sure: I'm strong enough to sleep this off.

After years of knowing what comes next, I've got absolutely no idea what to expect. But just relax, man. Take a bath, and count my one success: the time I'm wasting, it's all mine. 

Stonier ground

I know you won't believe me when I say this is brand new. You'll say I wasn't born this morning, but that's not exactly true. The past's been preparation for what we're about to do. So if it's alright with you, love, I'll try to muddle through, love. I hope that that'll do. It's all I ask.

I have never slept so well, or had such lovely dreams. This morning there were colours such as I've never seen. If you're as shocked as I am, take all the time you need. Because it's alright with me, love. Be just how you'll be, love. Just make some time for me, that's all I ask.

I'm not saying that you saved me. Let's leave the saving up to God. I learned the things I needed long before you came along. But I'm glad I'm holding your hand as life keeps rolling on. Because it's alright with me, love. Be just how you'll be, love. Just make some time for me, that's all I ask. And if it's alright with you, love, I'll try to muddle through, love. I hope that that'll do. It's all I ask.

All I ask

The road is long, but I know a shortcut, but you might have to dirty your shoes. I know you'd prefer your way, but that route'll take all day, and we've both got better things to do. 

And you always wear the whitest shoes. Well, it's one of the nicest things about you, but it's time to take your eyes off the street, and get a little mud upon your feet.

You're such a good girl, and if I could girl, I'd carry you all of the way. But the path you're afraid of really ain't that rough, and you'd look just as pretty in grey.

THe whitest shoes

Downtown epilogue

Because I knew I couldn't stay, I burst that door and walked away, now lighter and on my way. The sun, gold as a coronet. The taxi hum, a string quartet. The music, no sorrow or regret. Then I saw you downtown that night.

Among the endless market stalls. The busy, winding streets of Montreal. So much noise, much like no noise at all. An open sky. And then I saw you downtown that night.