RECORD OF LOVE: What Remains is Love/Ashes/The Kind of Artist/My Mother’s Voice/Life’s Symphony/Changed by Love

RECORD OF LOSS: Nothing to Lose/Never Come Back/Charlie and Roger/Sarah and Julie/Eric and Gina/For the Loss

RECORD OF LIFE: Dog and Cat/Gray/My Friends/Three Ghosts/As Old as I am Now/Something to Love

GOOD NEWS FOR LOVE: Why We Work/Sing It Out/What Changed/Wrap Your Arms Around/The Counting Song/Close

DAYS OF GETTING BY: Tell the Kids/Light Out/Love Goes On/Only One/Days of Getting By/Just Another Man

IN THE MORNING: Lonesome Sound/Yesterday’s Light/Smoke and Ash/Fading Days/Dry/Still Got You/Resurrection/Echo in Disguise/Dirty Engine/Near

THINGS WE WOULD RATHER LOSE: More/Things We Would Rather Lose/One More Quiet Song/Til I Couldn’t Cry/Crystal/Skyscraper Hearts/How the Heart Moves On/Almost Gone/Explosions Below

LOOK ALIVE: Look Alive/Travesty in Blue/Turn/Again and Again/Come Home/Why I Had to Fall/Skeletonskinandsky/Fight/December Static/When You Left


RECORD OF LOVE

What Remains is Love
someone sang “what comes after the blues”
i’ve played the game and i think i know the truth
that after the blues comes love

i’ll never be a star in a conventional way
but what good is convention if it turns your blues to grays 
‘cause after the blues comes love

i’ll never be a father to a daughter or son
But i wouldn’t trade this life for anything or anyone
Because this life gave me the blues to find love

i’ll never be the guy who sang what comes after the blues
but every time i sing i’ll always sing this truth:
all these songs about loss and pain
burn away the blues and love is what remains
what remains is love
what remains is love

Ashes
on a mountain top in eastern tennessee
watching the sun set in the mist
mom and dad, wife, sister, brother-in-law and niece
flesh and blood and love all together mixed

local moonshine and the smell of rain in the air
our laughter echoed through the trees
we gathered there in the middle summer heat
with three sets of ashes to release

this is how we say goodbye
this is how we say goodbye
this is how we say goodbye to those we love

seventy years ago after the second world war
my grandparents honeymooned in this place
then my mom was born and four years later came
her brother, my uncle curt

all three of them left us in the blink of an eye
one after another, after another they were gone
i felt helpless to do anything so i did what i could
and remembered them in song

now i put my hands in their earthly remains
and toss the gray grit into the breeze
i’m not a religious man but i say a prayer anyway
may their ghosts be together and free

this is how we say goodbye
this is how we say goodbye
this is how we say goodbye to those we love

The Kind of Artist
when i was four we took a drive
on the highway, my dad and i
along the train tracks we used to ride
past the churches and the billboard signs

to the hospital to see my mom
don’t worry there wasn’t anything wrong
she had my sister so i got a new friend
i don’t remember meeting her but i remember when

we’d spend the summers up in wisconsin
play in the street until our mom called us in
family vacations and ice cream cones
whatever we did we were never alone

i went to college we kept in touch
and after got apartments that were close enough
to walk between so we could stop by
to laugh or drink or even just to say hi

now we live in different states and talk on the phone
we’re all grown up and she’s got a kid of her own
she’s a poet with a master’s degree
the kind of artist i hope i can be

whatever challenges we find in the end
i know i’ll face them with a sister and friend
who’s full of love, light, and empathy
the kind of person i hope i can be

My Mother’s Voice
i got my father’s height and my grandpa’s hair
i took these gray-blue eyes off our family tree somewhere
of all the things our parents give my magic and by choice
the one without which i couldn’t live is my mother’s voice

beneath the piano i listen to her sing
in our starter bungalow as the winters turn to springs
greensleeves for a lullaby to welcome in the night
as my sister and i are tucked in bed so tight

now the generations turn and we’ve moved up a place
all along i’ve tried to learn how to be less afraid
of saying what i mean and singing what i feel
of living what i dream and making my hopes real

every time life’s music overwhelms my faith
every time its static drowns me in its waves
one thing’s always been around to silence all the noise
it’s the sound, the simple sound, of my mother’s voice

Life’s Symphony
black and white keys, notes on lines
i turn the page, his foot keeps time
a five-page letter, single-spaced and neat
about mozart and chopin, schubert and liszt
a cello concerto, a blues club at night
a bon jovi concert in 1989
counting the rhythms, marking the beats
of life’s symphony, bitter and sweet

training wheels off, he ran along
he saw every show and heard every song
taught me to drive in a parking lot
made every game, cheered every shot
took me to college to make a new start
took me to dinner when my life fell apart
he counted the rhythms, he marked the beats
of my life’s symphony, bitter and sweet

i will embrace the ordinary grace
of a father who listens and gives more than he takes
who thinks with his heart and loves with his head
who knows what to say and what’s best left unsaid
if i think of that page i turned as he played
i can still hear the music as if it was yesterday
every chord is a tribute, every note, every beat
is life’s symphony, bitter and sweet
life’s symphony, bitter and sweet
life’s symphony, bitter and sweet

Changed By Love
i was a failed man
i was a lost man
working in a skyscraper on the lake
with long hair like the naz
and a beard to match
holding life together day by day
then like a lightening strike
out of the dead of night
our eyes met in the hallway
a couple of broken souls
with a couple of hearts full of holes
our lives forever changed
by love
changed by love
changed by love

in the years between
through waking life and dream
we worked to keep that day alive
though eventually we’ll fly
into a gray-blue sky
know that forever you’ll be my fire
burning like the day we met
we can never forget
we were given the grace to be changed by love
to be changed by love
to be changed by love
what remains is love
and we’re changed by love

(back to album list)

RECORD OF LOSS

Nothing to Lose
another morning, another day break, the coffee maker groans
i’m stumbling around my kitchen as if i live alone
back from the west coast, back from the east coast, soon to leave again
under the pressure of my big dreams, love’s begun to bend

this is what you wrote
this is what you made
this is what you hoped
this is why you sang
this is how the cards fell
this is the blues
this is really living with nothing to lose

remind yourself of who has passed in the time since we last spoke
our sweet dog black and gray has left us on our own
as he slipped away we filled his ears with joy
and felt his final breath and sat on the floor among his toys

two days after father’s day i held my grandma’s hand
in a darkened room his body lay, seventy years her man
the pastor said a quiet prayer and his suffering came to an end

in a carolina super 8 i couldn’t get to sleep
a thousand miles away my grandma’s heart was growing weak
and by the time that i got home i found she’d disappeared
they all just disappeared
we all just disappear

Never Come Back
a lifetime ago when new orleans drowned
in my parents’ backyard, on a warm summer night, we sat around
and i told a story i’d read in the news
about a man who left everything behind to go south and work on the rescue crews

and my dad spoke up
with an edge in his voice
he said “you never know when someone might walk out of your life
and never come back”
never come back

so i thought of that day in 1963
when my dad’s dad said goodnight to kids and went out to go to party
a knock at the door, tears all around
and 40 years later those tears still hadn’t hit the ground

and i wish i’d spoken up
and said i love you all
because you never know when someone might walk out of your life
and never come back
never come back
no, you never know when someone might walk out of your life
and never come back
never come back

Charlie and Roger
my uncle and charlie moved west so charlie could die
in a house on a lake with a cat on his lap he slowly said goodbye
and though he's been gone for awhile the pieces remain\
in pictures and books and all the things they always meant to change

i wish i knew him better than i did
the memories i have are mostly of after he got sick
i was too young to understand that loss is a wheel
that keeps turning and turning long after you heal

my uncle and roger lived in chicago on the north side of town
for thirty years they were together through life's ups and downs
then in a matter of days one winter roger was gone
he made it through surgery and slipped away in the january dawn

i hope he knew we loved him for his grace
and the conversations about buildings and music and faith
how he sat with my grandpa after my grandpa went blind
taking the time to illuminate a failing man's mind

Sarah and Julie
my friend sarah is living her death
i guess all of us are but most days we forget
several years ago she started falling down
got a three letter diagnosis that turned her head around
with her words she's shining a light
on what it's like to look the end in the eye
she might not see her daughter turn nine
but she's going to make the most of her time

don't say she lost, don't say it when
everyone loses the fight in the end
say that she won for the way that she lived
let us be judged by the love the give

my wife's sister julie is doing okay
i guess a lot of us are but most days we complain
many years ago she started falling down
got a two letter diagnosis that turned her head around
when her legs are strong she still goes running
each step a reminder that life's a fragile thing
she got to see her children grow up
each year's a gift, a mix of work and luck

don't say she lost, don't say it when
everyone loses the fight in the end
say that she won for the way that she lived
let us be judged by the love the give

don't say we're gone, don't say it when
we leave behind songs that outlive our ends
sing them until our voice goes to rust
sing them until our days turn to dust
our days turn to dust
we all turn to dust
we all turn to dust

Eric and Gina
my wife was waiting by the phone
for a call that never came
that he was safe and coming home
and everything would be okay
instead she learned he took a leap
off of a bridge into the air
and fell two hundred-forty feet
with the wind in his hair

she couldn’t say the words “he died”
for several years after we met
i finally brought it up one time
that she would use the phrase “he left”
and though it tore her heart in half
she was secretly relieved
to be out from his collapse
and the endless tragedy

i was waiting by the phone
for a call that never came
that she was safe and coming home
and everything would be the same
instead i learned that she met someone
and wasn’t out late with the girls
and so a lifetime’s worth of plans
became a year of paperwork

i couldn’t say the words ”i love you”
for several years after she left
even if they were the truth
they’d get caught up in my chest
and though it tore my heart a hole
i have come to understand
it gave my grief somewhere to go
and start again a better man

For the Loss
i have been trying to write this song for almost fifteen years
i scattered pieces all around in places far and near
but i’m no ben folds or connor oberst
i’m not even sure that it was mine which somehow makes it worse

i took her to the clinic and paid the money
drove her home in tears so she could get some sleep
maybe it was the only thing that made us give a go
at staying close for all those years so we’d have something to show

for the loss
for the pain
for the loss
for the pain
for the loss

there’s no more to say about that winter day
there is no judgement coming down and things turned out okay
i made the best choice that i could and from what i can tell
when a life has disappeared we must forgive ourselves

for the loss
for the pain
for the loss
for the pain
for the loss

(back to album list)

RECORD OF LIFE

Dog and Cat
i’ve got a long list of regrets that i keep in my head
i think that most people do the same
some are big, some are small, some are louder than a train
and i spend my days trying to drown them out

should i have gone out on the road at the first sign of success
quit my job and burned my savings for the dream
said “i love you” to my wife as i walked out the door
to a life of little towns and in between

did i hide behind a ghost? did i stop instead of go?
was i too goddamn afraid to risk it all?
well i’ve got another chance and i’ll say it so you know
it’s on me and me alone to rise or fall

if i’m asking for it all, i need to give it to you straight
i need to stop wrapping my words up in a code
i’m pretty good at making noise and singing things that sound profound
i take it right up to the edge and pull the punch

like my song about divorce, it isn’t really about kids
it’s about our dog and cat and how we split them up
maybe it doesn’t matter much, maybe i shouldn’t bring it up
and there’s regret again just when i thought i’d won

i’m going to pour everything into this record of my life
every pain and every fear and every loss
all the things that i held back and all the things that i left out
and maybe that will finally, finally quell the doubt
maybe that will finally, finally quell the doubt
maybe that will finally, finally quell the doubt
maybe...

Gray
up and down the stairs we went
in the gray of a winter that wouldn’t end
an old black dog with bad hips and a cough
some days we’d have to carry him the last flight up
flashback to april of ’01
i got him from the pound when he was young
my ex-wife was there as i put him in the car
but he was always mine right from the start
through the years he kept me in line
when things we tough he was there all the time
now he’s gray and he can’t hear a thing
but i’ll carry him up those stairs again and again

how do we say goodbye
when we have the chance to write
the last words of a precious life
how do we know to say goodbye

my grandpa’s 92 or 93
he’s been in a home a couple years at least
my grandma’s there too but just since the fall
i visit once a week, my sister tries to call
lately he’s been having trouble with his food
can’t see the plate and can barely chew
so they blend it up and give him a straw
and he does his best, i guess, like he’s done for so long
he loved opera and books and pulled for the sox
now he can’t really think and can barely talk
and i sit with him every thursday
in his little room and we listen to the radio play

how do we say goodbye
when we have the chance to write
the last words of a precious life
how do we know to say goodbye

my grandma’s down the hall in a different place
she got sick last year but she’s okay
she saves me cans of lemon-lime pop
i don’t really drink them but i won’t tell her to stop
we look out her window and she remembers the times
growing up in the city when her mom died
she was only six and it was just the start
she talks about chicago with so much love in her heart
riding the streetcars and walking to school
dancing at the aragon and swimming in pools
we sort through her pictures, she tells me who’s who
i’ve seen them all before but each time i learn something new

how do we say goodbye
when we have the chance to write
the last words of a precious life
how do we know to say goodbye

i met my wife in a skyscraper
i looked like jesus and i smiled at her
i was separated two months at the time
still wearing a ring and writing look alive
i sat by her at drinks that night
and something wrapped my heart up tight
cut to 2010, the 10th of july
in front of friends and family she became my wife
we live a good life and work real hard
been through some shit and come really far
i love her like nothing i’ve known in my heart
and i’d do anything to keep her from the dark
i’m younger than her, it never mattered much
maybe once in awhile with the usual stuff
we’re planning our future and think of a time
when one of us might leave the other behind
she’s pretty sure she’ll go before me
but my other grandpa didn’t even make 50
and nothing is promised not even today
so i pray for the grace to grow old and gray

how do we say goodbye
when we have the chance to write
the last words of a precious life
how do we know to say goodbye

My Friends
me and my best friends met in high school
we did the things that every kid’s supposed to do
like chasing girls and getting high
we saw the grateful dead’s last (real) show in ’95

my friends, have we changed?
somewhere inside these three hearts aren’t we just the same
three kids who took our parents’ cars and drove around til dawn
i can’t believe those times are over 20 years gone

one friend moved east, he disappears for months
i call and call and call until he’s had enough
he quit his job, got really dark
it wasn’t anything new but each time hits him so hard
he had a kid who gave him light
i see him once a year and worry he’ll lose his fight

my friend, are you okay?
can you pull yourself up to meet the light of day
i meant it every time i called and said “i’m here”
i hope you know how much i hold you dear

one friend moved west to make a life
he got a job and it was through that that he met his wife
they had four kids, two sets of twins
he ran for state office and he went on to win
when we met up in vegas last year
we drank and laughed and drank til we were both in tears

my friend, a song still plays
when i think of thumbing 1-0-1 from seattle to the bay
i meant it every time i said “i love you, man”
i’m always here, just call me when you can
just call, call me when you can

Three Ghosts
three ghosts came to me on the night i wrote this song
in my sleep i picked up my guitar and i could play nothing wrong
the first ghost was a friend from high school who took her life at 16
she and a classmate made a pact and sat in the garage with the car running
the day we heard my dad and i were driving back from downstate
we stopped so he could check in with my mom and he came back to car with a look as heavy as the rain
we sat in silence for the rest of the ride back and i thought about the loss
she and i had worked together in a club and i’d even asked her to prom
the following days we filled up the churches as fathers remembered their girls
we cried and we hugged and we walked and we talked how we all felt alone in the world
now it’s decades ago i don’t think of her much but every once in awhile by chance
i remember the smile on her face in the hallway when she turned me down for the dance

the second ghost was my wife’s ex who jumped off the golden gate bridge
left two kids behind, a note on a napkin and a list of deceptions long and rich
they were a thing for four years in all, one good, one less and two tough
they bought a house and moved in together, she tried to save him but it wasn’t enough
she remembers the phone calls, the questions, the shock, when they found his car on the bridge
the search for a body, a shoe or a shirt but nothing was ever recovered and so it was
just a year later when she and i met and she told me of that first night alone
awash in a loss no one can imagine and waiting and waiting... and he’s not coming home

the third ghost was my uncle curt who passed away christmas week
he used a gun to finish a job he’d been working on decades with drink
he lived in seattle was estranged from us here in chicago for most of my life
what i was told was a typical story that no one got along with his wife
then in a turn of incredible fate not eight months after he died
my wife and i were the airport in seattle waiting in one of those interminable lines
and an airline employee came up to us there to help with changing our flight
she looked at our tickets, i looked at her badge and realized it was my uncle’s wife
“nancy” i said “it’s joe...”
and my words hung in the air
she took a step back and then she embraced me as if she wasn’t sure i was there
and i told her i read the words that she wrote in the paper, so honest, so beautiful, so stark
and she that near the end though they’d gotten divorced she’d stayed with him in her heart
and after ten or so minutes we said our goodbyes i’m pretty sure that all of us wept
and the whole flight home i wondered at life and i held my wife as she slept

As Old As I am Now
when i was four or five on a morning in july
i road the train downtown with my dad
we did it every week, our saturday routine
we’d take it to the end of the line
along the i-290 rush i couldn’t get enough
of the city passing by stop by stop
my dad would read a magazine, watch me watch the scenery
he was in his 30’s at the time
he must have been as old as i am now

i remember going through a book of the pictures that we took
of all our family trips and birthday cakes
there was one shot of my mom with sister as a tot
taken in the living room of our first place
my sis can barely stand so my mom gives her a hand
with a look upon her face i can’t describe
at this leaning little child with her crooked baby smile
my mom was in her 30’s at the time
she must have been as old as i am now

i was lucky growing up, i didn’t want for much
my loved ones always stayed and never left
sure my heart was broken once and i lost some friends too young
but compared to others’ pain i feel blessed
now i’m getting to the age where people start to go away
lost my bubbie on two twenty-two thirteen
she was ninety-seven years of more laughter than tears
she took her second husband’s name which was green
for her last days on the earth she had a nigerian nurse
who bathed her and held her and sang to her at night
and when she finally passed in her easy chair she sat
and her nurse was there waiting by her side
we gathered in her flat, aunt, uncles, mom and dad
to eat and drink and talk about her light
and i looked at all the smiles of the people who shaped my life
and i knew someday they’d all be gone
and once they were as old as i am now
and once they were as old as i am now

Something to Love
i am in sky above the bay flying back to chicago on good friday night
i’m drinking alone and i’m trying to write one more song for this record of my life
i was in california playing music i wrote based on homer’s odyssey
sometimes i forget how lucky i am to be living something out of a dream
sure it’s different than i imagined when i learned appetite for destruction in fifth grade
but the same feeling i got from slash’s guitar i still feel in my fingers every time i play 

i get to sing for people who care and go to places near and far
and whether it’s rock and roll songs or epic poetry it comes right from my heart
now the sun is aflame out the windows behind cause the earth is spinning ‘round
and the plane is dipping towards my city of light and soon i’ll be on the ground
no matter what’s happened to me on this crooked race that i’ve run
i’m here in the air and i’m going home to the woman that i love
coming back from doing something that i love
how lucky to have something and someone to love

(back to album list)

GOOD NEWS FOR LOVE (Paper Arrows)

Why We Work
now the dust has settled and the light is in the western sky
and time is slowly creeping 'round the corners of our quiet eyes
and faintly in the distance someone's calling out in hopeful song
that all will be forgiven when the shadows fade into the dawn

this ship won't right itself
this ship won't right itself
this ship won't right itself
that's why we work

and the winter's coming to the city by the lonely lake
to cover up our autumn fears and wrap us in a silver haze
the streets are quiet as we walk into an empty room
that used to hold our secrets when all that I could breathe was you

this ship won't right itself
this ship won't right itself
this ship won't right itself
that's why we work

don't you be afraid of following the broken way
get back to a place love is waiting

this ship won't right itself
this ship won't right itself
this ship won't right itself
that's why we work

Sing It Out
words beneath the skin like buckshot
sinking deeper in 'cause they're not
ready to being, ready to come out in the light
"this is for me and you and him and her"
all the voices whisper
shout into the dark from every mouth on every face
of everybody without grace

(chorus)
sing it out sing it out
sing it loud sing it loud
if you fail if you fall sing it out
sing it out for love

i'm not scared to sing this song 
to close my eyes and soldier on
until all of this sh*t is gone except the pale bones
and if i go before my time
in simple chords and simpler rhymes
i'll leave an open code behind to tell you who i was

(chorus)

the waters rise in empty streets
the buildings fall we can't believe
how silence fills an empty heart until it cannot beat
i will light a light for you
and pull you close and see you through
and fight until i'm black and blue

(chorus)

What Changed
laugh in the night and out the front door
sing in your sleep and let the song soar
in the name of love and faith and all the things you couldn't see
but sang before
in the hope that they'd appear

(chorus)
anything you do
i won't fade into the blue
i'm going back to the start with the same words
and some old melodies so what changed?
it must be me and you

dream in the day and let the dream stay
love in the light and let the love fight
until it bleeds and fades and then you lift it up again
and make it right
and live your life for something more

(chorus)

Wrap Your Arms Around
he was working on a novel and sleeping in the days
with a cigarette companion, going page by page
but somewhere in the years he got out of the game

she was dreaming of a painting and working in the days
looking out the window and bleeding blues for grays
but somewhere in the years she got out of the game

(chorus)
what are you going to wrap your arms around?
who is going to hold you safe and sound?
who is going to keep your heart from sinking in the dark?
you're not alone

he was grieving in the morning and leaving in the days
singing 'til he whispered and nothing was the same
and somehow it was clear so he got out of the game

(chorus)

he was hoping for a daughter and praying for a son
but love is not an answer or a battle to be won
and somehow in the tears he got back in the game

(chorus)

good news for love
good news for love
good news for love

The Counting Song
there's a candle i light
and hold as the flame burns bright
and pray that it lasts through the night and on and on
and wonder what has been saved
what survives and what fades
all the songs left to be played and on and on

(chorus)
i'm still counting...
one for sorrow
two for tomorrow
three for the show
darling leave the light on for me i promise i'll be home

as the days drift away
and the blues become grays
regret is a cage that goes on and on
so look for the sun and know that i'm the one
who will fight 'til it's done and on and on

(chorus)

Close
go into the darkness and burn your little light
the children need a flame to get them through the night
someone to bring the ice when fever dreams ignite
and voice to sing to them 'til morning birds alight

(chorus)
the time will come when it is done
the time will come to let go
and love will shine on your worried eyes
and in the end i'll be close

go and get a hammer and build a little room
the children need a place to hide them from the moon
four walls to shelter them when midnight monsters boom
a noise to comfort them when love is out of tune

(chorus)

(back to album list)

DAYS OF GETTING BY (Paper Arrows)

Tell the Kids
i
n the end
everyone loses everyone
our castles come undone
my dear friend
before our glass returns to sand
let's get out while we can

(chorus)
so go and tell the kids
explain it all to the kids
he'll stay with me
she'll be with you
just go and tell the kids

when you're done
kill the lights and lock the door
this palace is no more
my sweetest one
we didn't go without a fight
we tried to make it right

(chorus)

after all
a song still needs a voice to sing
a kingdom needs a king
in the fall
remember me for who i was
when you believed in love

(chorus)

Light Out
maybe love is just as strong as we let ourselves believe
and in the days it fades away and leaves us on our knees
so upon the setting sun we lay our hopes to keep
that in the silence we'll be healed while we sleep

turn the light out on me now

in the dark we built an ark to carry us to land
we gathered all our things around and made one final plan
and in this dream i let you go, the end was drawing near
i was left knee deep in the water and i was trying to catch your tears

turn the light out on me now

go to the river
maybe you can save yourself
if you go to the river
maybe i’ll see you there
’cause if love is faith then i’m all out of prayers

turn the light out on me now

Love Goes On
walking the same road
in these worn down shoes
singing these worn down blues
again and again

waiting for sunlight
in a darkened place
with a belly full of broken grace
and remedy spent

lines are drawn
from night to dawn
and in between
love goes on

digging the same hole
with a heavy heart
trying no to fall apart
in front of the kids

leaving the light on
as the darkness crawls
from the window to the pale walls
of the heartache we hid

lines are drawn
from night to dawn
and in between
love goes on and on

Only One
she's out on the water
wondering where he went
and if he's coming back again
and why she never left

but i am not a drinker
and you are not the one
who walked away from what was made
who turned your back on love

i am the only one
i am the only one for you

he's out on the wire
wondering when he fell
and how he wasted what you gave
if he knew he'll never tell

and i am just a dreamer
but you are not a dream
skin and bone and sky and sun
and everything in between

i am the only one
i am the only one for you

Days of Getting By
the ice is leaving
and what remains behind
this winter armor wrapped around a heartbeat
a pair of lowered eyes

the price of grieving
is what remains ahead
this summer shame is thick as smoke
and hangs about our heads

take me

love is seeing
what stays in the dark
is autumn's breath and midnight's blood
a sea of silent hearts

love is needing
to stay in the light
and wait for spring like we used to sing
in the days of getting by

take me

Just Another Man
i want it to work
i want it to last
i want to find out what happens next
but i don't want to go too fast

i want to hear your voice
i want to touch your skin
i want to hold you heart in my hands
but i don't want to let love in

(chorus)

because i found
staying underground
is easier than facing the day
i hope you understand
i'm just another man
just another man

i want to feel the prayers
i want to see the light
i want to know where we go in the dark
but i don't want to put in the fight

(chorus)

i want to fill up the sky
sing into the blue
i want silver and gold in my soul
but i don't want to tell the truth

(chorus)

(back to album list)

IN THE MORNING (Paper Arrows)

Lonesome Sound
time's a box of rescued days
so cut the tape and show me what you saved
in our hearts, in these rooms
beneath our skin it's not too soon
to throw it out and start again

(chorus)
as the light goes down
on this lonesome sound
as the light goes down
on this lonesome sound

we all prayed for a flood
to come down and wash away the blood
that spells our names in the snow
we spent the winter making ghosts
now kick them out and let me in

(chorus)

i'm watching the wave break in your eyes
i'm leaving the broken nights behind
i'm breathing out until i can't
And breathing in

(chorus)

Yesterday's Light
up in the sky and falling fast
the breathing in is easy, the breathing out goes first
and in our blue electric dreams our wings they turn to dust
they burn into the dawn
we tumble to the ground

(chorus)
silence, heartbeats
waiting on empty street with
echoes of yesterday's light

across a wire in the air
we come and go within the tiny hours of night
silently i kiss your cheek and promise you that
soon we won't be
living in the middle of these rooms

(chorus)

Smoke and Ash
is this any way to live?
filling the silences with words poured through a sieve
into your heart
until it pulls apart

is this any way to die?
falling into days until we close our eyes
and moving on
and moving on

(chorus)
no it's not okay if you
go and go fading away into
smoke and ash from
fires we'll always regret

is this any way to be?
sorting through photographs and dreaming of the sea
and who we were
so unsure

is this any way to try?
we pack up boxes and we stack them to the sky 
and build a wall
'til they all fall 

(chorus)

the light from your eyes
falls on the lines on my face
as you try to replace 
what can only be taken away

(chorus)

Fading Days
if i could take your scars i'd lay them in a line
and stitch the sky with needle and thread
like the thread that runs from your life to mine
and pulled us in until our damage met

if i could take your days i'd put them in the ground
and work the dirt until the colors bloomed
like the red that runs in rivers in these rooms
within my heart as it beats for you

(chorus)
do the echoes ever keep you up at night?
why did someone have to leave for us to get it right?
it's okay to still have fading days
i know you do

if i could catch your tears i'd drop them in the sea
where they would mix and finally disappear
when they were gone you know our lives would be as clear
as the lights on the lines that lead us here

(chorus)

where there is none
don't look for pain
you can call it love
'cause all love's not the same
if we can stay
then we'll both be saved

Dry
i'll take away all your sorrow
i'll take all your pain
before today becomes tomorrow
i'll say the things i couldn't say
'cause time won't wait for us
the sky might open up
but i will keep you dry until we're gone

i will try to change the season
as summer fades and embers smoke 
if the fight destroys the reason
i'll write the song i never wrote
'cause time won't wait for us
the sky might open up
but I will keep you dry until we're gone

i will cry when you are grieving
and i will smile when you are true
when the time has come for leaving
i'll fly with you into the blue
'cause time won't wait for us
the sky might open up
and i will keep you dry until we're gone
i will keep you dry until we're gone

Still Got You
can you tell that i've been down and out?
my heart's a bell and it's ringing, ringing loud
been up all night and sleeping on the couch
in the blue light, just waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting now

(chorus)
things change, that's okay
we're still here when the heartache fades
still got you, still got you
and nothing's gonna take it away

now we dream of when it fell apart
how they beat these skyscraper hearts
see the dawn following the dark
feel the sun swallowing the stars

(chorus)

where the streets mark memories and goodbyes
we planted seeds which are growing to the sky
from the cracks in the pavement in our eyes
coming back as proof that we survived

(chorus)

Resurrection
take this blood for it's not mine
take this sea and make it wine
take this mark, it's yours to wear
take this cross, it's yours to bear

i'm on your side

take this sand, it's yours to cross
take this door, it's yours to lock
take this air, it's yours to breathe
take this heart, it's yours to leave

i'm on your side

Echo in Disguise
you're never alone if you've got me
so let's fly to the coast and sleep on the sea
i opened my eyes and saw you were there
reading the news and breathing the air

(chorus)
but i am paralyzed
an echo in disguise
but that's alright
what you say, i say
you say, i say
word by word by 
day by day by day

did you know a push is the same as win
and fighting the dark is just letting light in
and the bigger the heart, the harder it breaks
and you can't beat the game if you don't know the stakes

(chorus)

Dirty Engine
and in the morning this dirty engine's turning over
breaking the silence, the hardest part is letting go
is giving in

(chorus)
hey this room is full of noise
and voices hanging in the air
but if you listen now
you just might hear the sound of moving on

and in the falling light there must be something more to see
the days of easy love are gone, we're gonna have to dig a little deeper
and deeper

(chorus)

Near
restless dreams are taking flight
along the darkness of a quiet night
on the heights of the avenue
we build our lives within these rooms

(chorus)
close your eyes
i'll dry your tears
and when you wake
i'll be near

in the sky, beneath the planes
you breathe in time, i try to do the same
we rise at dawn, we ride the trains
and dream of growing old, of trembling again

(chorus)

(back to album list)

THINGS WE WOULD RATHER LOSE (Paper Arrows)

More
can you leave the ghost behind
breathe the kindness
that echoes to tomorrow
beneath the easy sorrow
that's bleeding into blame
it feels all like someone
gave more than is good
gave more than one should
more and more i'm starting to believe

would you say your skin
covers up an ocean of waiting
of falling without end
would you say your sky
has broken into pieces and pieces
of unrelenting blue

can you leave the ghost behind
breathe the kindness
that echoes to tomorrow
beneath the easy sorrow
that's bleeding into shame
it feels all like someone
gave more than is good
gave more than one should
more and more i'm starting to believe

would you say you dream
of embers in the ashes 
exploding into someone's perfect flame
would you say you pray
that into every loss
some light and some love are going to come

can you leave the ghost behind
breathe the kindness
that echoes to tomorrow
beneath the easy sorrow
that's bleeding into gray
it feels all like someone
gave more than is good
gave more than one should
more and more i'm starting to believe
more and more i'm starting to believe
more and more i'm starting to believe

Things We Would Rather Lose 

we dreamt of birds, all blue and loud
that fly through the night and hang from the clouds
and come to us here in these moments of fear
as the skyline appears and the road falls away

out in the darkness, i'm spinning in place
with my eyes to the sky and my hands to my face
somewhere between all the dead and the dreams
you're waiting for me in the static

(chorus)
oh, everything dear disappears
into the blue
oh, we're left holding on to 
the things we'd rather lose

the highways are burning, the night's at an end
but we're still sleeping and dreaming of when
the skyscrapers fell, the smoke and the smell
of the dark devouring light and love

(chorus)

One More Quiet Song
i'm holding on to the first time she looked up and smiled
breakfast in the kitchen and phone calls across the miles
i'm holding on to the last time she looked down and cried
dinner on the table, tears and last goodbyes

(chorus)
the same moon 
in the same rooms
and one more quiet song
the same heart
we're falling apart
and trying to move on
trying to survive 
and build it to the sky

i'm letting go of the good times that haunt me in my dreams
island skies and hold on tight are fading memories
i'm letting go of the bad times that bleed me til i'm dry
unpaid debts and when you left and two sets of bloodshot eyes

(chorus)

Til I Couldn't Cry
i missed your opening and lit the lights
as crosses faded into the night
on top of copper needles raised
into the sky, and for the saved

(chorus)
i'm reminded how i
sat with you and cried and cried
until i couldn't cry
til i couldn't cry no more

the smoke it rose into my room
as down below the fires bloomed
in tiny breaths the life was passed
from lips to lips, from first to last

(chorus) 

Crystal
emptiness abounds
the growing summer light
i'm sinking into sounds of
the city's rush to life

crystal dreams tend to break
crystal hearts, they can't be shaped
i walked alone along the lake
until my tears had dried

forgetting all our sins
as the blood is washed away
beneath we find new skin
that comes back day by day by day

crystal dreams tend to break
crystal hearts, they can't be shaped
i walked alone along the lake
until my tears had dried

crystal dreams tend to break
crystal hearts, they can't be shaped
i walked alone along the lake
beneath the crystal stars we made
and crystal nights and crystal days
are all that's left of what we gave
are all that's left, are all we saved
and now my tears have dried
now my tears have dried 

Skyscraper Hearts
your eyes, they fall, upon the ground
your tears, they crawl, upon my cheek
we rise at night and breathe the starlight
we rise at night as big as the sky

and time is never there
and time is never fair

we dream of empty rooms and moving trucks
we wake to find that it's all gone
they beat in cages filled with silence
they beat these skyscraper hearts of ours

and time is never there
and time is never fair

the light
it comes when we are falling into dust
the light
it shines from where the buildings fall into a sea
of love
it tries
to drown us in our waking lives
when in our hearts we're running out of

time is never fair
and time is never there
and time is never fair
and time is never there

How the Heart Moves On
slowly, with hesitation, pulling away
trying in silent spaces, what can be saved?

(chorus)
and while we're sleeping
someone is leaving
someone is breathing
in and out and in and out

sinking into the hollow that swallows us in the dark
fighting with desperation to hold on, hold on to the spark

(chorus)

Almost Gone
words mean nothing to the sea
love means nothing if you leave
i'm falling fast and sinking slow
i'm leaning in and letting go

(chorus)
it's almost gone
the life we lived
it's almost gone from here

climbed the stairs and sang to walls
dreamt of tape and cotton balls
while under winter-painted skies
the noise was keeping me alive

(chorus)

mary rose up from the salt
beneath the highways and the chalk
flowers lay around her feet
from all the people who believed

(chorus)

Explosions Below
explosions below and still lingering dreams
of funerals and arguments and trying to breathe
as water runs in from impossible seas
saying goodbye never leads where it seems to lead

burning my skin til it peels away
and hoping the coast gives me something to say
in the end it turned out i was borrowing days
and i opened my eyes just a little too late

it's drifting away
it's fading to grey

and i'm watching her go
and i'm checking the phone

and i'm waiting for love
but it's not enough

and i'm drying her eyes
like it means we'll survive

like it makes it okay 
that she's leaving today
and taking her things
but leaving her rings

and i'm missing her laugh
it's echoing out
in the hollowed out rooms
it's echoing loud

and i'm sick of the ghosts
and i'm tired of hope
and i'm tired of tears
so tired of tears

i'm forgetting the days
they're slipping away
i'm letting them fade
into shadows and graves
and thunder and rain
and sunshine and planes
and explosions below

i'm hiding my face
i'm trying to breathe
i'm catching my breath
i'm ready to leave
i'm burning her name
with my hand in the flame

i'm turning the page of the last piece of love
that she gave me
the last thing that she gave me
the last thing that she gave me
the last thing that she gave me

(back to album list)

LOOK ALIVE (Paper Arrows)

Look Alive
look alive
the lights are shining in your eyes
and the way is clear
for you to see
that love can cure this misery
and wipe away your tears

but it all comes down to you
but it all comes down to you

look alive
and count the days since summer died
spring is almost here
and certainly
the rains will come and quietly
wash away our fears

but it all comes down to you
but it all comes down to you

Travesty in Blue
the picture where we moved you looked like me
and somehow the light arranged itself in a "t"
they always take at the start what matters the most
they always shoot first and ask questions once you're a ghost

it's raining glass on the lake tonight
as clouds divide the nightmare sky
and lightning strikes the tower's heights
it echoes...

i saw him hanging on western avenue
his eyes were born in a travesty of blue
and the empty car lots gave way to something else
and the pavement cracks grew up as winter fell

it's raining glass on the lake tonight
as clouds divide the nightmare sky
and lightening strikes the tower's heights
it echoes...

it's raining stars on the lake tonight
as clouds divide the nightmare sky
and lightening strikes the tower's spikes
it echoes...

Turn
whispers in the dark
the night is calling out
to all the lonesome hearts
flickering in starts
the big star's burning low
and soon it will be gone
when love is overcome
when love is on the ropes
don't turn your back on love

i won't turn my back on love
i won't turn my back on love

under purple skies
chicago's crying out
it echoes through the streets
and settles in the dust
along the silent lake
beneath the silver moon

i won't turn my back on love
i won't turn my back on love

Again and Again
meet me beneath the moon
we'll hang our worries on the powerlines
and forget about the days when we lost our way
and start over again
and again
and again
and again

meet me beside the lake
we'll wash our faces in the waters
and dry our swollen eyes in the golden sun
and start over again
and again
and again
and again

meet me in the bed
we'll burn our fears with a midnight flame
and scatter the remains with trembling lips
and start over again
and again
and again
and again

Come Home
it's been barely a week
since you left me to fight alone
so i face down the nights and then
watch the sun rise again

and i sing myself sick
lose my voice to the swollen sky
when the rain hits an open wound
the pain let's you know you're alive

i know that you're coming home
i know that you're coming home
i hope you're coming home
come home...
come home...

Why I Had to Fall
and so the waiting begins
and outside the winter settles in
i'm still waiting on my wings
and outside the twilight starts to sing

it's why i had to fall
it's why i had to fall

we've all got something to make it okay
but it seems like it works less and less every day
so go to sleep and wait for dawn
or pack your bags and just move on

it's why i had to fall
it's why i had to fall

they say "sometimes you fly"
they say "hey, you're still alive"
but while they're singing "hallelujah"
they'll put the nails right through you

SkeletonSkinandSky
one night i had a dream
that i walked out onto the sea
and into the sun as the waters, they swallowed it whole

and when the flames burned to black
i woke from the stinging ashes
and open my eyes and felt the hope spark in my bones

(chorus)
skeleton skin and sky
most days I just get by
why does it have to go away?

and when the morning fades
we drown in the wide open spaces
though the night may be sure, it's the daylight that makes our hearts hurt

(chorus)

so i keep writing these songs
these songs about time and the sea
and angels and dawns and singing them while i sleep

(chorus)

Fight
when the time is running down
and what's lost can't be found
be it you by my side

and the tears of the night
are revealed by the light
as silent prayers falling on deaf ears

anything you do
i will fight for you

silence comes like a knife
cuts you up before your eyes
the pieces fall down and down and down

empty hearts, broken strings
and empty songs for us to sing
so go our days until our story ends

anything you do
i will fight for you

December Static
december static streaks the sky
the streetlights blinked as we walked by
i didn't mean to let you down
but darkness came without a sound

you took the train, it made you cry
i let the how destroy the why
i didn't mean to leave you there
to taste the salt hanging in the air

the winter left us black and blue
and the drugs don't work like they used to
i didn't mean to let you go
to walk alone into the snow

When You Left
looked across the water blue
and saw a sea of tears
as darkness fell i thought of you and
when you left

couldn't tell where the city ended
and where the night began
the buildings sang their silent songs like
when you left

i can't believe you're gone

(back to album list)