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Sky Like A Broken Clock







Taylor John  


Taylor had a wife, she was married to the mirror
She could make her glass-eyed lover buy a drink
And then another round
'Round the kitchen table lined with cigarettes from years ago
Last night one fell clean to the floor

Taylor used to marvel at the way the music sounded
As she drifted down the carpet-bag
To put another lamp shade on
There she was so young and pretty, holding out her hand
To the last five years that living took away

It's a scavenger hunt in the best of times
A one-armed man with a box of dimes
Throw the stick and let the bulldog roll

Taylor's 37 yesterday, she'll be 21
An asphalt rhododendron where she fell across the car
Pocketbook exploding with the money of delusion
Winks her smoking yellowed eyes
And rolls snakes along the floor

It's a scavenger hunt in the best of times
A one-armed man with a box of dimes
Throw the stick and let the bulldog roll

Parting like tomorrow is a vestibule of commerce
"No regret, says I" says she waltzing to the ice machine
Where another hotel key has left a scar upon the soul
But her feet are nimble still
when she wants she can go

It's a scavenger hunt in the best of times
A one-armed man with a box of dimes
Throw the stick and let the bulldog roll

"Come all you little sailors with a penchant for the sea
Look way down below for Taylor John he wants to be like me
Drowning in the water with his collar turned up cool
Tries to breathe, now, a wretched stain
Floats like a fool."






Clementine top


She is inside there, behind the wall
Sexing a bottle of brandy... she will sex it all
Finger light like a lover should
Lips drawn tight as though she could
Suffer all those men with eyes that bleed inside their head
Who murder souls in every bed

She is asleep there, upon the floor
Troubled by visions of strangers that stand in her door
Holding flags of another land
Language she can't understand
All she wants for christmas is another glass of wine
My little darling Clementine

She is awake in another day
Hoping that everyone has gone away
Sunlight screams at the curtain drawn
6 A.M. and the day looks long
Will she make it in a world that suffocates its fools
And leaves a word not of its rules

There she is stumbling beside the lane
Dress is in tatters as though she's lost again
Worries not of the sideways eye
Muttering "you all can die"
"Please just let me climb the stairs and slip inside my room"
The darkness folding none too soon

She holds a letter tight in her hand
Above a candle sent from a man who promised
He would always live in the shadow of the greatest gift
From god above
Why did he then float away like embers from a fire
The letter burns and she retires.

She is inside there, behind the wall
Sexing a bottle of gin, now, she will take it all
Easier is the money for giving in like an aging whore
Watching her own body turn into a lump of clay
Than fighting for someone to stay






Sally Ruby top


Sally...what you doing here?
Sally...what you doing here?

Left a jug among the reeds and corn
Big Jim bible with its pages torn
Tourniquet tight 'round my throwing arm
Jump in the briar
Ruby lays across the bed
You're coming home

Break a fire with a paper match
Burn a tatoo on a guy with an eye patch
Cut your name off my wooden leg
Drop it in the coal
Ruby lays across the bed
You're coming home

Stroke the bottom of a sterno cup
Plywood hand-out going 'cross and up
Jack your coat against a backroom wall
Hand on a sleeve
Ruby lays across the bed
You're coming home

A bag of crows on the frontyard fence
Chicken-head walking stick paint no pretence
Cat knocked-out teeth can't chew on a bone
Gimp down the hole
Ruby lays across the bed
You're coming home

Hopped a mule with a rail-tie sack
"No, brother," Jimmy says,
"She ain't coming back"
Strawman the piney trading gum for wire
I waited a long time
Ruby lays across the bed
You're coming home
Sally...what you doing here?






Beggar's Oil top


A mustard seed is (has been said)
All that men will need
A filthy boy in a bowery lane
Under the times in a drowning rain
Stealing bits of sleep again
Has heard this comon creed

Grows into the tallest tree
To cool down the sinner's heat
I know this man, he's much like I
A doubter's cusp, a braggart's pyre
Sweltering in brandy-mire
And selling bitter meat

Exemplary of faith I guess
Starts with naught but soil
Upon the shoes of wayward men
Ministers will not befriend
Smite the temple yet again
Spill their precious oil

I've thrown my seed out the window
Down in the dirt below
I'll water it with my distrust
My blatant well-worn rough-hewn crust
I'll mojo it with voodoo dust
And pray that it will grow






Flash Cards top


Bouncing across the lake of ten years
Like a stone tossed from the burglar's hand
Holding my breath, then I'm sinking
Waves in circle like a memory
Slowly fade away

Remember me, when you look across the lake
When a fish caught hard on the line
Fights for his own life
When a boat breaks free of the tether
And floats away in the wind

The throw was aimed at a distant pine
Winning the war by landing down on the other side
So another playing boy might find it there
And skip it back not knowing his part
In this messed up game

Juggled in the hands of ten long years
Like colorful wands of fire in the arms of a red-eyed wino
Life held tight in purple lips and tongue
That mumble and spit house curses

The young boy's line was "I'll show you"
The twenties was "Watch me burn this fire"
The thirties was "Jesus, God... where did I go wrong?"
The fourties was "Good Lord, how much more?"

Halfway into the end of the chapter
And no ink left in the well
No happy ending to tell
Bandages cover my body
No desire to swing the bell






Gold Tooth top


The air is turning cold outside
It's a rabbi in a brothel for the third time
The gold tooth of a broken man
A white glove in a purse down at the bottom of the sea

The day is turning dark outside
All aspiration face down in the street
A pro' in the alley with a red-moon sky
The last drag of patience on a celibate cigar

The light is getting hot inside
It's a butcher in the slaughterhouse smiling
A mule with a razor and a swagger in his step
Ratboy in the corner taking a leak against the wall

My heart is turning black inside
Stealing from the army shaking bells at the door
A hand in a bucket of creosote
Rusty junkyard nails sticking straight up through the floor

The breath has gone away from this house
It's a dog in the car in the winter
A hotel window in a hurricane
A furnace exploding down in the cellar, by the jars

My dream will come back to this house
It's a kid who refuses to shut up
A sheep dog playing with 84 bones
A fast, red Ferrari in a sixteen-car garage

Let me keep my gold tooth
Let me keep my gold tooth






Tommy top


Tommy had a watch, a good kind of watch
It wouldn't tell time if you asked it
Didn't have a face, just an ear and an eye
To see him with

Tommy stole candy from the cornerstore
And gave it to the mice he built a home for
By the side of the heater, next to his guitar
That he could neither play nor destroy

Tommy wrote a letter to the office of iniquity
Demanding a history of his actions
But the letter was returned just 2 days gone
There was no office of iniquity

Tommy couldn't see so well and he didn't have a radio
He'd talk to himself in different voices
Or sing to himself in a Russian dialect
Invented on a Sunday afternoon

Tommy stole a limp and he borrowed a demeanor
So he'd scare anybody who'd want to talk away
'Cause they frightened him so bad that he'd pee down his legs
As he tried, very hard, to find the words

Tommy wore the helmet of a frustrated miner
Digging for words as though gold
Standing in the mud in his dark gray fedora
Wearing his knee-patched dungarees

Tommy was alone when the fire started
High behind the wheel of a colt 45
With a clip full of ether and a bucket full of gas
And a belly full of turpentine

Tommy made sure there was no one in danger
By knocking on each door like a madman
Then he locked himself in and did the whirling dervish
Tipped the candle over on the floor

Tommy fell asleep before the diremen came
Which was good because they scared him anyway
All that they found were the mice inside the fridge
In a box, with some cheese
And a handwarmer, run on batteries

Tommy was a good man. Nobody Knew
Tommy was a good man. Nobody Knew






Fleashine top


A fleashine shoeshine man of fifteen
Brings the house in with a smile
All twelve teeth tell myriad stories
One upon one and one

The breath in his handwaving
Drives the gypsy woman mad
She loves him anyway
Has told him so a thousand times or more

She refuses to believe that
At 42 years old
She's not still a butterfly
Ready for the net

Bobby the fifteen
Is turning strong and growing soft
As can be seen by his patience with the animals
He used to hate 'em... now lays down beside them

To keep all from feeling sad
As animals sometimes do
He thinks of being old enough
To marry the girl with two heads

Their name is Gladys
And they don't yet know
Of the young man's fascination
They're too busy drawing circles in their arms

A fleashine shoeshine man of fifteen
Floating into the next town
Puts a straw in a Jim Beam bottle
And lays his head down






Mr. My Go top


Hip-pocket flask at the ready
Step-light downed by the glass
What's that nail doing in my head?
One minute ago I was shooting from the saddle

Knee-deep in salt and shoe grease
Whipping the leather with a fire toothed crack
Words are candy, they rot out my brain
With the nail twisting hot front up to back
With the nail twisting hot front up to back

No, this triumph is nothing like waste,
The smell of my youth in a brown paper sack
Shake it and throw it in the oven
Warm it up soft like it wasn't day old
Or stale and hard as a coroner's wife

Look through the rearview mirror
At the headlights, up from behind
Melt into war-eyes and candy cigarettes
Vampire teeth and black-eyed snowmen

It's a hundred degrees my boots are soaked to the tongue
Covered in misty aberration
Souls are soles are holes in the frame of a
Picture of a madman hanging on a dusty wall

Down the hall on the right, all night,
Paces reverently Mr. My Go
Are you ready? let's hit, then man...
Let's visit the neighbors that never come home
From a costume-ball no one goes to alone






Worn Out top


Wonder flood the valley
Tunnel feed the soil
Free advice with constant wit
Never to recoil
Bums rush o'er the high grass field
With shoes of plastic lace
That untie at the first step
Not the last that wins the race
Herein lies my sure demise
Or 'haps my one bright seed
This or then the other tact
Falls right and starts to bleed
Can you hear a toneless rhyme
Between my bones and sunken eyes?
No... I think not-
It's as if my thought has worn
The clown's disguise
Oh, my little life worn out
On this goddamn road
I live to breath more than believe
A reason for this load

Is it my own version
Of a terrifying leap across
An unforgiving landscape
When all I want is sleep?
Unfolding here before me
Is an ugly naked truth
I know no more than a drunkard
In a circus dunk-tank booth
The balls come flying one-two-three
In and down I go
The people retch in laughter
While I scream out for more
Now i'm dry electric shock
I watch the sky like a broken clock
I tie my plastic lace and then I
Go back to my walk
Stuttering for coffee
Or a comforting brush
Across the backs of both my knees
Mother sings to hush

Make a castle to the sky
In honnor of a man like sand,
Who'll wass away in time and he will
Ne'er be here again
Oh, my little life worn out
On this goddamn road
I live to breath more than believe
A reason for this load
 

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