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Unwoman Lyrics Alphabetically
Always Radical
Atypical Girl
As You Wish
Bad Man
Be So
Beauty Over Industry
Before the Flood
Before the King
Black Flowers
Black Magic
Breathe Out
Bred for the Bounty
Buried Alive
The Bridge
Caught Her
The City
Cursing You
Death of Diplomacy
The Fires I Started
Flowering Vines
For the Killers
Freedom From Religion
Fugue Fugue
The Future, The Boot
Girl In Black
The Heroine
His, Yours, or Mine
The High Priestess
I Could Have Killed the King
If I Woke Up In Temescal
If You Know You Know
In Bluebeard's Castle
In Gilead
In Love with Us
In Pinks and Golds
Is She Secretly on My Side
The Keys
Knowledge Scars
Lament For Peter Pan
The Little Mermaid
Long Long Shadows
Loud and Clear
The Next Flower
Oblivion and Creation
The Ones Who Walk Away
Peter Pan Waltz
Pillar of Salt
Pink Shoes
A Poison Tree
Running After Darkness
The Same Stream
Silently Conjure
Siren Ship
The Sirens of Titan
The Snowstorm
A Song Is Just a Song
The Surrender
The Treacherous Sea
Under the Sand
Vacant Skies
War Stories
The Waves
Waxing Gibbous
We Love Longest
When I Touch Myself
When We Were Young
With All of My Intelligence
Written in Red

I learned the truth at 27
That love is really meant for no one
Still I tried to be a beauty queen
I have fit myself into smaller spaces
Tried on a thousand faces
In some vague attempt to be seen

It's the almost, almost that tears me wide open
Almost good enough
Almost whole and I've almost been broken
Unlearning how to stay unloved

Do you remember when you told me
You'd do anything to keep me
And how quickly you forgot
Did I ask the impossible
When I needed tenderness
Did I ask you to be someone you're not

It's the almost, almost that kills me
Thinking I am a just little better than anyone else sees
I'm eighty cents looking for a dollar
A rescued kitten too good for her collar

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Always Radical

You alone shared my tears
As we watched such injustice unfold
I alone looked into your eyes
As rationale was retold

Most people argue
Pandering to the middle
You are always radical
When others would follow their rules
You would be nobody's fool

Focused so strongly
As we shared those afternoons
Could you, so tranquil, understand my longing
To be so much more than friend to you

Most people argue
Toeing the party line
You won't be so easily defined
When others say turn the other cheek
You will never risk appearing weak

I'll never say I disagree
But I had different priorities
I wanted to have someone beside me
Who wanted revolution as unblindly

And when I asked you
If I could give you just one kiss
I've never seen such indifference
While I would have changed myself for you
You would always remain true

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As You Wish

You would always answer "as you wish"
And I didn't see it as a precious gift
Until I understood how rare true love is

My life was simple
Till seeing you through another's wanting eyes
Made me realize what I'd been missing
Every moment my love grew a thousand times

No room in my body for anything but you
My knees shake with blind affection
I yearn for a chance to prove it
Just whisper that I might win your love

Anything you ask of me
I already want it too
Anything I don't know now
I will learn for you, for you

You would always answer "as you wish"
And I didn't see it as a precious gift
Until I understood how rare true love is

There were "strong wills" before "agency"
My beauty all my own though unknown to me
Until it caught the eye of the future king
Who saw me as yet another prey-thing

And it would have been so easy
To refuse if you still lived
But I'd stopped eating, stopped trying
And lost every care I could give

To exalt is to dehumanize
To turn a woman into nothing but a prize
So my beauty was a double-edged knife

And I still recalled those words you said
But nothing ever would be as I wished again
So I might as well reign as the living dead

But I should have known death couldn't keep true love away
I'll never make that mistake again

Anything you ask of me
I already want it too
Anything I don't know now
I will gladly learn for you

And now you always answer "as you wish"
I cherish it as the most precious gift
I understand how rare true love is

Now you always answer "as you wish"
I cherish it as the most precious gift
We understand how rare true love is

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Atypical Girl

We walk hooded
Blinkered by mirrors
In separate voids
Convinced we are lone sorcerers
[And that knowledge is power]

Old tongues cluck remonstrance
We're such bad bitches
Yet it's permitted
So we are toothless

Yes we bite the hand that plans to be bitten
A rising demographic of nasty little women

So don't give me that line that I'm somehow better
I am a typical girl -- we're all in this together

Atypical girls create, rebel
Take no shit and give 'em hell
Lean in, fearlessly
Their bodies offer no apology
The male gaze can't touch
They've overcome so much
Atypical girls wear their damage
Like Girl Scout badges

Atypical girls are typical girls now
A rising demographic of nasty little women
[Feeding the system]

So don't give me that line that I'm somehow better
I am a typical girl we're all in this together
I don't deserve more because I seem to demand it
Take your reluctant respect and shove it

Maybe it's OK to be fragile
Maybe it's OK to be helpless
Maybe we don't each need to be the strongest
Maybe we're all just basic witches
(And maybe that's OK)

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We recline on the ground in the orchard at dusk
Fruit falls, already fermented
We are drunk and sated
We share with the fat worms who will eat us -- later

We need never work again
There is pleasure and song now
And this intoxicating harvest
And winter so long we'll never see Spring again
—Soon Winter so long we will never see Spring again

Wrap me in deep velvet
Let me smell the decay on your breath
As we consummate this futureless lust
As we sink slowly into the earth

Do we desire a sturdy coffin for two
Or to let scavengers clean our bones?
Any way we decompose will be so beautiful
Nothing is ugly, in the Fall

Flowers faded long ago and we still love them
Let others remember us
With all our sorrows and decadence
As shamelessly and without regret
We dissolve

(We need never work again
There is pleasure and song now

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Bad Man

I am not a bad man
Wouldn't you love to learn how to love me?
You are all I dream of
Angelic sweetness, faith and mercy

I am not a bad man
Compared to injustice you've survived
I tell you you're my equal
Rare and unearthly, pure light

I know they taught you to be a good woman
To stomach the worst of men like me
Tend to my wounds as if you could heal them
Let me prey on your sympathy

I am not a bad man
You've always admired the anti-hero
Brooding and misunderstood
Because his mind is superior

Ignore the screaming — my wife in in the attic
I just pretend she does not exist
And I insist that you are not like the others
You will always be innocent
When the house burns down and she's dead you'll come back
You'll love me despite my deformity
And maybe once I'm blind I'll see how I've erred and
I will learn some humility

I am not a bad man
(As I prey on)
Wouldn't you love to learn how to love me?
(The saint in you)
I am not a bad man
(I swear it will)
If only someone would learn how to love me
(Fulfill you)

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Be So (words by Michael Barnstijn)

Time is running all too slow
I always stop when I must go.
When I race I fall behind
And curse the shadows in my mind.

(too slow, must go, too slow, must go)

Walk the street with empty hands
Can't keep up with life's demands.
Tried it fast and tried it slow
Just can't see where next to go.

(must go, too slow, must go, too slow)

Now I find where I must be
Here with you and you with me.
Noise and fear have blinded me
I stand still and now I see.

(don't go, be so, don't go, be so)

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Beauty Over Industry

We hear beauty
Over the sounds of industry
All this technology
Can't supplant humanity

Abandoned factories our
Fallow fields what will we sow
They may have cities but
We have something they can't control

And there is no hope without hope

We write past wrongs not to repent
That is what we want to prevent
We dream better worlds not to escape
This is what want to create

We have we have the power
We have a responsibility
We are the ones who see the
Past and future brightly

This is the tomorrow they warned us about
But our eyes are open
A vast network of roots and
We are growing

There is no hope without hoping

[This was inspired by Parliament & Wake's essay "Why Steampunk (Still) Matters."]

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Before the Flood

This city sucks the blood of the young
To feed the rich and greedy
Then the young learn to look down in disgust
At the bodies of the needy

I did not ask to be born a citizen of your land
I did not ask to need to be fed by your charitable hand

One last rain before the flood
(rising up all around us)
One last flood before the water pulls us all under
And there's no Atlantis to escape to
No future to create, now
But now we see your wars
For what they are

I am not a lone oracle
We all know the ship's going down
But for all I know you've got a lifeboat
It's just your poor soldiers who'll drown

I did not ask to fight for the rights of the rulers of this land
I did not ask to die by your enemy's hand

One last rain (etc.)
And if there is a life boat on board
You'd better believe we will take it
We will seize everything
As you look on in the wake
Your money won't buy back lives
From the ones you tried to take

One last rain (etc)
And if there is a life boat on board
You'd better believe we will take it
We will seize everything
As you look on in the wake
Your money won't buy the lives
From the spirits you tried to break

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Before the King

I have appeared at last before the king
And while I still can, I must sing
I sing through smiling lips and pretend
I don't know it's the end

I can't stop this gift of vision
I can't help but see what's coming
And I've never been given
A faustian bargain
'Cause no one wants what I'm selling
(Souls are a dime a dozen)

Everything happens
Not for a reason
But it has to happen to someone
I used to have a potion
To quiet the visions
But now even our poison is poisoned

And I was never aspirational
Only living as a cautionary tale
Having to dance and beg on my knees
My only chance at dignity
And to pretend these scraps are enough
To appease the lords above

But of my own space and time I am queen
And while I still can, I must sing
I sing the truth: Death comes for us all
And now she stands in your great hall!

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Black Flowers

Black flowers in my hair
(As I walk the streets of memory)
I replay two figures moving through winter's air
(The sweetest place I'll ever be)
We drink in the back room of the bar across the street
(Now I walk the streets of memory)
Like I don't know it's the last time we will meet here
(The only place I want to be)

I did not think I'd find it in dive bars or swingsets
But now it's gone, maybe that's where I left it

[I didn't think I found what I was looking for in dive bars or swingsets after dark
But now they're gone I know I'm missing something — is it just the seeking of a chance to seek a spark?]

I had always hoped love would be the answer
Where is my contentment ever after?

Black flowers, black flowers on the ground
(As I walk the streets of memory)
I cherish them much more now: the lost and found
(The sweetest place I'll ever be)
Boards cover up the windows of that old dive
(Now I walk the streets of memory)
Timelessly in my mind we all survive
(The only place I want to be)

I pound my boots over the little hill we once stepped
So I never lose this place in my head

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Black Magic

If I could save you
I would kiss you
I would run to you
I would fix you

If I could stitch their hearts
I'd collect another
All the lonely boys
I could be their mother

If it was more than the lure
Of a possible fall
I would consider
Breaking it all

But it is merely polar
Opposites attracting
My perfect order
To meet chaos again

Still something pulls me
And I don't want the blame
This is black magic
I can only lose this game

You ask for what seems simple
And god I love to give
But it's impossible
You are not mine to save

(February 2012)

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Breathe Out

The songs of two battle-bloodied birds
The last green leaf of a blighted bay
The love that grows inside me now
The new love it pulls in its wake

Breathe out dullness and hopes neglected
Breathe in fullness and nerves electric

The best spells are made of letting go
Not reaching or climbing, but saying no
There's no room in any heart for both something new and something broken

Only wish for luck and more wishes
Let go of desires selfish

They warn you about the emptiness
Where fools rush in — but you're a fool too
Or they tell you it will come when you stop looking
So you stop
Still your hope blocks the door
And you can't clear your mind
Of the pictures they planted
Of happiness as commodity
Or the life you planned
In the love you planned

Still your hope blocks the door
Until you learn to say no
Until you let go

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Bred for the Bounty

Am I making up a breakdown
For the art that is a symptom

Breeding problems like rats
For the bounty their tails fetch
Parading my damage -- a perfectly cultivated wreck

And all the voices begging
"Let us have our beauty
Sing no more of tragedy!
Or your crises

There is real danger in this
Because I can't gain without risk

I am queen of such fertile ground
I can't keep all the weeds out
There is no way to keep it safe but I will harvest anyway

And all the voices begging
"Let us have our beauty
Sing no more of tragedy!
Or your crises"
And all the gods are saying
"We don't require an offering
We just want you to sing
We've had enough of martyrdom
You can keep your head on
Now we need you to be strong"

(Now we need you to be strong)

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Buried Alive

The song claws at my throat
Buried alive
They need me to be weak
That's how they thrive

Even now they took my time, they take my time

My fingers twist in pain
Feeling their way
With just a fool's hope
For the escape

What I know is my own strength, is my own strength

You know I will resist
Though it may be in silence
I'll see my own rewards
In solitary triumph

What I know is my own strength
I kept it locked away
And so it will remain
Until I'm free someday

The song claws at my throat
Buried alive
And though I scream inside
It will survive

(January 2005)

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The Bridge

I pulled myself out of the rubble
With no expectations or hope
Vaguely curious what lies beyond
I emerged to cross the bridge alone

I did not expect to find a new dealer for desire
A new leader into the era where we'll thrive
It was you, holding the power of light and death
As I walked West

The resonance of our minds, our sympathetic vibrations
Excite the bridge we're on in catastrophic undulations

Your hand tight in mine
I know I will fall in deep
You'll show me your Atlantis
And teach me how to breathe

In the depths lie all the bad decisions I make when I fall in love
But I don't want to chase the red flags any more
I just want a piece of your flawed utopia

(September 2011)

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I learned to love from songs
I know I do it wrong
I fall fast and not very well
Try to dissemble, but you can tell
I can't play by the rules
Too impatient to be pursued

But you got under my skin
Your skin under my nails
Your smell on my hair
Your marks on my arms

If we can choose our bruises I've made my choice
Now I sing my own song in my own voice
Though my tongue may still be tied
In the end I will be undenied
Oh, I learned to love from songs
I know I do it wrong

If I could have what I wanted
You would be part of it
To grasp me firmly's not an option
But I want you
Even now I've had you, still -- I want you
Tempted to give all this a name
As our dance moves always one step out of frame
(October 2008)

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"That's one of the unfortunate by-products of a married woman falling in love. There are almost always casualties, Eve."

In retrospect it seems I've lost
I could have won, but at what cost?
Is it too late now to be brave?
When there's no love left I can save
Feeling guilt's my one regret
I let you take all you could get

I'm coming back to take what's mine
I'm not afraid to cross the line
(December 2009)

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Caught Her

When we were girls
We were our own little world
It seemed that we were unbreakable
So we pushed the limits

Unbearable poverty makes you think
anything's better than what you have
Unspeakable acts seems exciting
You'll sacrifice everything for the chance

But if I could, if I could, if I could have caught her
Would she now be free?
If I could, if I could, if I could have caught her
Would she ever forgive me?

I was all she had, I still
Feel I somehow failed her
I know I was not to blame it was
Only our silence that betrayed her

When they came to take her
She went without a fight
I watched from inside the closet
Protecting myself in the black of night

But if I could...

I could pretend I don't care
Wherever she is, what they do to her
In that moment we were severed (Her submission)
But we were girls together

We were girls together...
Once upon a time

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If only we could live on hunger
If only we could be sustained by being desired
It wouldn't be such a tragedy
That you're so goddamned civilized
You haven't used those eyes on me in years
But I remember when you were wild

So I am making peace with the emptiness, the hollowness, oh
Because I refuse to fill it with lies

Do I wish for the young rogue back --
I used to hope you would grow up
I always knew you sort-of loved me
But it would never be enough

All the threads pulling on my heart, leading nowhere
(Cut them) I don't need their ties
All the torches my hands strain to carry
Drop them -- I don't need their light

So I am making peace with the emptiness, the hollowness, oh
Because I refuse to fill it with lies

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Despite all my protests
Its simplicity
Calls me to its breast
The comfort of normality
What I want is to be a commodity
From here it's just too easy

Oh to be typical
Just as selfish as
To be pandered to like the middle class

'Cause there's too many stars
Not enough sky
Why should I even try?

At the end of the day
My eyes dry and red
It's a simple balm
To soothe my troubled head
Media somewhat true
I enjoy it because I'm told to

Placated and satisfied
By mass entertainment
They grovel for me as I won't do for them again

Living vicariously
Through celebrity
That is how we can be happy

Oh to be typical
Just as selfish as
To be pandered to like the middle class

'Cause there's too many stars
Not enough sky
There's so much beauty, too few eyes

What I want is to be a commodity
Only then I will be free

Placated and satisfied
By mass entertainment
They grovel for me as I won't do for them again

'Cause there's too many stars
Not enough sky
Why should I even try?

What I want is to be a commodity
Fron here it's just so easy
(August 2004)

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The City

I walked all around the city
All the places you and I went
This is not bittersweet
It is thoroughly tainted

I could try to reclaim it
For me and future loves
But my mechanism's broken
I'll never clean enough

I am a firecracker disguised as a girl
I am self-hating predator
Yet for every song of Trouble that I sing
There are more prey waiting in the wings

You know I'd choose death if it weren't so permanent
I've never been good at commitment
I could run away but I'd never escape
My id, my need, this waste

I walk all around the city
To survey the damage I have done
Broken hearts on every street corner
And yours is the loudest one

Still I'll stay here in the city
If just to assert my right
I won't give up these willing victims
Not without a fight

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If only I could be
Docile and compliant
If only I could fit her shoes

If only I could be
The doll that you imagine
I'd proudly shape myself into your muse

If only she knew
The future she was after
She would never choose
eternity with you

It's not her place
It's not her style I'm afraid

If only it would prove
Subservience to you
I'd gladly cut myself just as she would

But right in front of you
That I could not do
A lady never lets a man see her blood

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I ride over rivers and mountains
Trees are covered in blossoms and mosses
To deliver my wilted body to your door
I'm weighing my gains and losses

You welcome me with the look of a madman
I lose myself in your pandemonium

The bed next to the railroad shakes all night
I am systematically giving up the fight

The one who's gone beyond and back
Has taught me to let go
Caught up in your violent thunderstorm
A branch in your stream, pulled to and fro

Black birds line the path
I ride home through rain and snow
It's always the crows who watch
Each lover come and go

The bed next to the railroad shook all night
For those moments I'd given up the fight

You are sweet, with the look of a madman
I love myself when I can't chase equilibrium
Still the crows watch as I run and run away
I will return when the storm pulls me in again

(March 2011)

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Each girl thinks she will be the one
To love you despite all you do wrong
Each time you make the same mistakes
But so does she

You think that to be a good person
Means merely causing no one harm
But since we're all responsible for ourselves
It's impossible to fail

My heart is wide open and I'll never give up hoping
Not for your love, just for you to grow up

Now there's one more thing you need to know
Before the final curtains close
It is cruel to look into a girl's eyes that way you looked in mine
Unless you want her to fall in love with you
It is cruel to want her to fall in love
If you can't love her too
(I know you can't love me too)

Each girl I've told has been unsurprised
They learned as I to avoid your eyes
Now only knowing I can never win
Would I fall in them again

It is cruel to look into a girl's eyes that way you looked in mine
Unless you want her to fall in love with you.
It is cruel to want her to fall in love
If you can't love her too
(I know you can't love any of us too)
(January 2009)

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Cursing You

For so long you, you were the one
The standard against which
All others were compared
And I thought since my feelings never changed
You were the one for me

Now I'm cursing you for letting me hope
Cursing your push and pull
Hating you for ever letting me go
And making me feel responsible

When you told me you would be with
It seemed too good to be true
When you changed your mind (and you changed it so fast)
I knew we were through

Now I'm cursing you for letting me hope
Cursing your push and pull
Hating you for ever letting me go
And making me feel responsible

Now that you're all alone I'm with someone new
Suddenly your fears are gone you believe I loved you

Now I'm cursing you for hoping for me again
Cursing your push and pull
Hating that you changed your mind back
And I was not responsible

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I want to dance to the beat
Of someone else's mind
This body's too alive
To be kept confined

Am I not allowed to want what I want?
Now I've run out of the shame that I was taught
Telling me to settle for just enough
But it's infinite when I make my own love

And cultivate some beauty
Where there was none but dust and guns
To leave a trail of petals where I've gone
To reach beyond what we've been shown
To touch the dark but feel the spark
To bring the acolytes of life along

This may be a warning or a treasure map
But it's not the territory or the fact
Songs are just like candy if you don't dig deep
Tarantella looking just like ecstasy

(but we can dig deep, we can sing in the dark and still breathe)

So cultivate some beauty
Where there was none but dust and guns
And leave a trail of petals where you've gone
And reach beyond what you've been shown
To touch the dark to feel the spark
To bring the acolytes of life along

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Death of Diplomacy

When the buildings fell I was not afraid of terrorism
I was afraid of my own nation's call to repression and pre-emptive aggression
Now I see my fears were justified
And our fearless leaders -- once again they lied

Why will he never tell us the real reasons?
Propaganda wins over real information
Redistribution of wealth justifies murder
Enforcing one mandate by breaking another

While you pretend it's business as usual
The American way of life is not negotiable
Oh you pretend it's business as usual
The American dream is possible (even if only for you)

I want to trust my government, I don't need to be further radicalized
But what choice do I have when there's no way to rationalize
His power has corrupted him, like those he fights, absolutely
And I was not scared of terrorism until he killed diplomacy

While you pretend it's business as usual
The American way of life is not negotiable
Oh you pretend it's business as usual
The American dream is possible (even if only in his speeches)
(March 2003)

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Half a world away I waited, silent
You'd kept me hanging on while I knew I needed distance
You finally threw me down, no promise anymore
Our words of love, delusions fell apart, copulating on the floor

And summer came and destroyed any other words
Now I can never call that lust by any other name
And you could tell those lies only while spring's blossoms grew
So I left my door open wide for something new

Now I fly through summer's air solely dispossessed
I feel the wind between my legs where once your hand caressed
How could I have been so blind to your fallacies?
Now thanks to slowly severed bonds I've risen to my knees and summer --

Summer came, days grew long
Everything you told me was wrong
For you knew all along
What you'd do to me
And in the spring you said those words
You said them, how you cried them
You said those words -- for ever -- you said them but you lied them

How can I stand at the crossroads without doubt?
How can I move forward, trusting now, without desire?
How will autumn fall between, inside our jaded hearts?
How can I touch without igniting fatal fire?

And she said "Stop looking to the heavens for omens, for love:
The answer lies within and it's always 'NO'
No more lies, no more hope"

(Summer burnt our reason)
But you were so, so full of promise
Or was that just promiscuity?
And summer fades.
(September 1997)

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When it comes time to confess this duplicity
Will I say that that is not the real me?
The seduced and romantic girl is
Not the opposing nature I hide
You should be afraid of this un-needing side

Right now I don't need you at all
And I am planning to take complete control
Never fearing solitude
I see her future leading armies
Conquering the world easily

This self knows you are the biggest threat
To subsume my passions, to subtly dominate
To call out the part of me that needs completion
To make me her-as-object
Part of a pair, inextricably linked

If I didn't have someone like you
Would I spend all my time wanting it?
Because this honesty compels me to say
I don't quite want it now that it's mine

I will fight for my rights to her body
To her time and her ability to speak
I don't want to say what we had was deception --
She believed every minute
As I stood by, waiting for my chance to end it
(December 2005)

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Who is this girl?
Mysterious and silent, invading my world

She's been on both sides of envy now
Patience has paid off at last
Knowing not what she now enjoys
Only that her time with you ends too fast

Ooh if only she could see herself
Through your admiring eyes
Ooh if only she understood
How I despise this loss, this competition

She's been on both sides of envy now
Hard work has paid off at last
Knowing not what she now destroys
Only that her time with you ends too fast

Ooh if only I could just ignore
This feeling of rejection, this sorrow
Ooh if only I could see myself
In your arms tomorrow

I've been on both sides of envy now
But I'll win in the end
When your night with her is done
I know you'll be all mine again
(December 2002)

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The Fires I Started

I could stand here in the dark
Until they bring me a glass jar
To catch the things I want to catch
To keep a spider as a pet

I could howl up at the moon
Until the ending comes too soon
For things I used to beg to fetch
Things like you, my pet

And they would all see my unserious desperation
As my arms unfurl to retrieve words already spilled
All the fires I ever started can't begin to warm me
They all got away -- not one left a trace

I will end here listening
To the sound of my own breathing
To my many accomplishments
Though you never heard what I meant

I will leave your memory
To those who see you clearly
I will not carve you into song
I tell everyone's story wrong

This is the song you forget in a day
This is the love I threw away
This is the choice you forget in a day
This is the hope we threw away

(June 2011)

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There was a time before the winged creatures spoke to each other
A bad reputation was the scent of sticky honey
Attracting flies and bears alike
Calling the birds out of the sky to alight with aspiration
Oh, to touch your dangerous beauty
To know terrestrial pleasures as you, an expert in knowing them, do
The promise to teach wildness to the politely restrained

We argue about the right way to say things
Call out an insensitive metaphor
In black and white everyone can see our failings
And we can never be sorry enough
Yet there are real monsters in our midst
Whose demons burn them from within
Hollow corpses walking hungry
And we let you — afraid to speak your names
To lose the honor of your celebrity

Don't you know flies love shit too
Soon that's all you'll have surrounding you
A thick cloud of insects your exile
Goodbye bears and birds and pretty girls

Remember when I assured you
No one will believe me when I tell them what you've done
So you don't need to silence me
I may as well speak and let them think I just want the attention

But picturing public opinion: shocked at my brashness
Or full of saccharine sympathy
I recoiled, hushed
But the birds I told believed me
The ones I got to before you could poison them against me
Those immune to the slick ooze of your charm

The honey smells like shit

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Flowering Vines

We take another turn
On piss-stained marble floors
Outside the world burns
The empire runs its course

Yet here we are safe
In long-abandoned halls
We only have to wait
Until the morning calls

But will dawn come?
Will we see it?
Has the Earth stopped turning
Or is the air just full of soot?

There are flowering vines
Winding their way around our hearts
If we stand still
Have we run out of time?
Time is the one thing we can't make
But we can kill

Dancing our only revolution
Drinking our best solution

Yes we have killed the cops in our heads, but what's next?
We're free or we're trapped, what does it matter if we're dead?

There is dust here and danger and fear of discovery
Trust among strangers protecting some mystery
If we are are the saviors please tell me what we're saving
Lost in the labors of simply misbehaving

Flowering vines, winding their way around our hearts
We'll run out out of time, if we continue to play our parts

Yes we have killed the cops in our heads, but what's next?
We're perfectly free, but what have we left our children?

[This is, in part, my response to Hakim Bey's The Temporary Autonomous Zone.]

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For the Killers

I am all raccoon eyes, I am peacock-colored flesh
I am supple parchment, my skin a palimpsest

In red filigree the madmen carve their illustrious names
And with clumsy blue marks in quick succession stake their claims

No no nobody can own me
This is my only authority
My my my body is mine to poison
It is my gift for the killers to cut open

I am drying eyes, I am fading green-yellow flesh
I am brittle parchment, a bleached palimpsest

Living each wound again as a first kiss
Clasping tightly memories of myriad fists

This sovereignty is all that's sacred to me
This is the key to kicking tyranny

(April 2011)

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Freedom From Religion

All we want is freedom from lies
Freedom to create our own lives
To be human, simply; to live without your fucked up morality

You can't legislate reverence
Our cultures are our own
There is no god for us
We can't believe what we know is false

Stop prostheletizing
We are all laughing at your blind faith
We have no fear of hell: life is for the living

Freedom from religion
This is what democracy sounds like
(December 2000)

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Fugue Fugue

With an empty heart and all my hope wrapped tight around me
Fled into lonely night, I'm still here you never found me
Running past fantasies (in anonymity) of your Utopian daylight
Pretend I'm someone else (one of many) memories don't seem to fit right

Those bells I thought would never toll for me
When they did, hollow the sound, hollow the meaning

But recall all the time (now far behind me) spent in a warm embrace
And why I exited (please don't remind me) knowing it couldn't be replaced
Love, once I thought you were (it's so easy to fall) the cure for everything that ailed me
After I tried so hard (or did I try at all) was it that you simply failed me?

Those bells I thought would never toll for me
When they did, hollow the sound, hollow the meaning

Love, when I care to look I see you as smoke and mirrors
Naked, I face myself when your illusion disappears
(February 2009)
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The Future, The Boot

We all worked in a factory
Where only Faustian bargains were made
When the circuses and bread ran out
Our subversive plans were laid
Now you ask us what did we do
For the revolution today?
We learned when life throws you sarin
To sing a sweet serenade

Suddenly everything depends upon us
We'll determine whether
Our future is a big boot
Stomping on a human face forever
And if we win will we win
Just the right to our new chosen leader
Or is there something bigger
To believe in to unite us under

It's inevitable these methods
Decide how our world goes
As falls the king so we know
As we seize the crown so we grow

You know entropy always wins
But what rises from the ruins?
Read these coded instructions
Sewn into your skirt hems

Love love and love again
They that hate you, love them
Love love and love again
They that hate you, love them

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Girl In Black

What can you do when there's no one left to turn from
When you're alone in your artificial world
What can you do when there's no one left to frown at
What can you say when there's no one left to scorn

Sit and drown your sorrows in a cup of jealousy
Tell them all of your superior sadness, blacker than the sea
Speak of all you hate, all that's fake
All the pretense of the ones who look like you
Who copied whom?

This girl in black is her own frozen ocean
Afraid of baring her skin to the sun

You've found a way to disguise your emptiness
By accusing other children of that very same sin
And some are amused, most see through your facade
While you remain blind to hypocrisy within
(August 1997)

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I've got that teenage feeling
A whole lot of good it does me
Part of the allure was I didn't know
What I was getting into

But I can't break the habit of you
Though I say I want to
Oh I need one more rendezvous -- then I'll quit
This nasty habit of you

You still haunt my mind with everything you said
All the things you liked about me went to my head
As we walked down the street eating ice cream
With every bite it got harder to stop
Oh, now I can't stop, I can't stop

And now I can't break the habit of you
I need one more rendezvous
Then I'll quit this habit of you
I still need something to sink my teeth into
I can't break the habit of you
Oh I might say how much I want to
(September 2008)

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This must be the worst part of missing you
I cry at a picture of me kissing you
And I've forgotten just how you smell
I only remember I loved it so well
Oooh it's heavy
Deep in my belly
I picture your touch
And know that you miss me this much

I don't want to tell you that I am in love
Because I'm still haunted
But you're all I have to chase away my ghosts
So you need to know, you're so wanted
Oooh (etc)

I can't play a note without those bitter times
Entering unwelcome into my mind
Time hasn't fixed it but there's hope yet
When we make love I always forget
Schadenfreude or sympathy?
Coincidence or destiny?

When we're together, you distract me
Kisses and laughter attack completely
But your image and voice are poor substitutes
When all six senses of mine need you

(April 2009)

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[Words by Nikki Stein]

Women on the walls,
women in novels—freeze me
kissing fabric, freeze me among flowers
that are not in season.
You trace my spine and tell me
that this is what it would be like
to have the Nile running through my blood;
you look me in the eye and say
that my veins are the remnants
of great civilizations
flooded by angry gods.

My collarbone is at odds with your lips, and I've
had total war raged on my hips, and I've
read plenty of books about love,
but none of them ended like this:
the hollow of my throat pillaged and bruised,
a hundred thousand skin cells lost
to the greater good, a city of romantics subdued
in their little homes of shattered bone,
and crescent moon scars that wax and wane
in hot water—

Women who drink hot water
to feel the weight of warmth
on the first morning of the third winter;
sometimes I play a game from the window seat:
how many passerby
show signs of having cried,
and bowing their heads
try not to take the storm personally.
The East Coast
is no permanent address
for lovers craving boiling blood.

Think of all the things that have hearts
but don't cry;
think of all the things that have hearts
that yield to knives;
think of all the things
that don't attribute worlds
to their hearts.
Think of all the things that have hearts
and go their whole lives
without even knowing it.

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The Heroine

The city is war-torn
And nearly impassable
I act the lovelorn
Dramatically laughable

You said you'd come see me
Here underground
Now it's closing night
You can't be found

I go through the motions again and again
But you are not here to see them
I go through the emotions again and again
And this time I actually feel them

I play the heroine
I play to their sympathies
I say the sweetest things
To command their empathy

I asked just one thing of you, to be here
Did I not let it slip that I was sincere?
That was my best poker face, trying not to care
I watch and I wait while you never appear

And though I've been spoiled by pretty privilege
I am no child throwing a fit
I could write the book on disappointment
And you'd be the final chapter of it

So you're a coward or
Could never love me
Or you have fallen
To the enemy

All these people came all this way
Faces stained with loss but smiling as they're crying
I would rather see you laugh at my tragedy
Than choke on these tears while I'm curtsying

(June 2011)

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The High Priestess

The High Priestess or the Beast in me
I am sworn to secrecy

We could just decide to insist upon happiness
But the farther we are from it the harder to chase
It is now time to put down the master's tools of loss
Walk with me and stoke our flames or just observe the chaos

The High Priestess or the Beast in me
Responds to tragedy
The High Priestess or the Beast in me
In rising clarity

If this life causes you to doubt what you should believe
Ride with me to find the secrets now millennia buried
We ride till we piss ourselves and then we ride some more
When our horses tire we sleep on the forest floor

The High Priestess or the Beast in me
I once swore secrecy
The High Priestess or the Beast in me
In each hand a different key

(So we dig softly through the worms
Creation takes many forms)


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His, Yours, or Mine

I think a lot about all the things that I have broken
I look around at what remains, hoping
If I turn away will I be submerged in regretting
Or will I succeed in forgetting

For too long I've wanted a forbidden kiss to force me to decision
Chaos of lust is unstoppable and I am made of pure destruction
All epiphanies are false and my sweet words might never mean a thing
But I vacillate between two choices and a third could break the swing

I will win either way I choose
But either way I also lose
I am adrift, I can't decide
Whose desire to satisfy: his, yours or mine

Those who don't fear me want me
In this city full of men
Can I say no to them for you?
Can I say no to you for them?
(August 2008)

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In my youth I preferred love that fed on distance
I was connoisseur of such bad boy kisses
Whenever four walls stood around me it felt like a cage
And I would bite my own leg off to escape

And kill every jailer — I didn't need a savior but I fought to free myself

And now I run run run into your arms
Oh how I wish these walls will become our home
I could never have one until
I had someone with which to build
Who would set me freer than I ever did

I was careless who I pretended to be
And every change I made betrayed some past version of me
But if each self I choose is some kind of charlatan
I may as well pick the kind worthy of your devotion

We're far from perfection
But yes we can rest with
Constant companions
And all of their blessings
And I needn't run away anymore

Now I just run run run into your arms
Oh how I know these walls have become our home
I could never have one until
I had someone with which to build
Who would set me freer than I ever did

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I could warn you of my hunger
Scare you further away
But all I want is to circle your feet
Listen, and obey

How can we meet as equals
When I am full of such destruction
And you have mastered stillness and peace
And claim no desire for disruption

Must I dress as a lamb to get close to you?
Will the creature I am ever know you?

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I Could Have Killed the King

I awake in strong arms and soft sheets
I lay in bed with the king
I don't know how I got here
My head on his left shoulder, he's still asleep

When palace guards enter:
"I'm a lover now, not an assassin," I say
They laugh, roll their eyes and walk away
As if I were never a threat
As if I couldn't have done anything
As if I couldn't have killed the king

I could've done something
I could've killed the king

My only hope was to seduce
Poison hidden in my tooth, and I immune
Then I would play at helpless, and never confess
And I'd be rescued the damsel in distress

But our hope that this kingdom
Could've been all of ours seems a delusion
And to be a royal concubine may be my best option
He covers me with kisses, tells me what a lucky girl I am

To use my only power to destroy
Or to be power's toy

If I stay and pretend to love him
Everything is tinged with disappointment
Whether or not love is ever real
I could've done something
I could've killed the king

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If I Woke Up In Temescal

If I woke up in Temescal more than once
I would have fallen in love
Not with you, but with your neighborhood
Which had already carved itself into memory in realtime
Burned with luminous skin in the late morning sun
And the perilously foreign-yet-familiar feel of someone's hand in mine
The treacherous ways I was at your command
Gave in completely because I'd found peace, at long last

Is each successive rejection a Russian doll
A little smaller, but really just the same, mocking me
And even though so few of my stars were hung on your tree
I will mourn every loss
I want to tear out your heart in response
But you would have to see what you are missing
And we know you are blind to the charms
I tell myself I still wield
You've tacitly declared them invisible

So I punish myself with an overdose of my beloved solitude
I will never know how much pleasure I negate
By setting my body off-limits
It could all just be a delusion
I might truly be as worthless as you clearly found me
At best a lovely and damaged illusion
To those who can't touch me

If I woke up in Temescal again
I would have written another song about you
And no -- I've finally cut you off from the honors you never deserved

If I woke up
If I woke up in your arms again
Nostalgia is the worst drug I've ever tried to kick
How close did we ever come?

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If You Know You Know

Did you you come to me
To hear songs of peace
Or do you want to know the truth about this world?
It's bleak sometimes, it's cold
But there's one thing I can assure you of:

I'm in the gutter with you!
And we can open our eyes and look at the stars
I'm reaching out my hand to you
Whoever you are!

If you know you know
Life is one big joke
And we laugh at it from the palaces and slums
And we live through it until we don't

You already know
Life is one big joke
But your nonchalance is just for show
And you're desperate for any kind of hope

If you know you know
Life is one big joke
And our children stand upon our backs
And we wish they'll have everything we lack

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In Bluebeard's Castle

You don't ask what happened
His history is a private matter
You wouldn't like what you find
Just pray to never ask for
The violence he keeps confined

Oh all the women before you
He didn't deserve us, we were cruel
You dear you are different, you are so innocent
He watches you like a hawk
And your body given to him, he owns it

In daily life he is solicitous
Wants to know your desires so he can fill them
You tell him omitting only one thing:
Your curiosity

But with your subtle charms you have seduced the guard
Now he walks beside you with a ring of keys
You do not see the sadistic gleam in his eyes
As he opens the forbidden chamber
He will enjoy murder vicariously
Your false step unleashes the fury
Belied by your prince's calm demeanor
What is behind that door?

In Bluebeard's castle
What is behind that door?
(November 2008)

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In Gilead

(Nolite te bastardes carborundorum)

Will I buckle under?
Will I become just what they want me to be?

(Here in terror indentity crises are so petty)
How can we submit to this?
Separated in red

Our identities
Split three ways
(Will I submit)
You have reduced us to our fertility
(Or will I be martyred, uselessly?)

What of OUR sacrifice?

A womb
a cunt
a dried-out shell

Your ("His") future
Your present
Your obligation

How can we submit?

I want to be defiant.
I want to tell them off.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum...
Will I believe that?
Will I believe that hope?

(Don't let the bastards grind you down.)
(February, 2001)

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In Love with Us

He rushed us straight on, sweep feet out under
Me, melt for blush, now felt naked say "ah"

So simply be loved and
Only error still frees us
Happy error here frees up
Speak still sweet the more he saw
Sell the leave more where he's too fond you see

He'd have helped the veiled ones
Tell someday why
Harsh, the end of near-strength
Sundials, snatch more we are
Here as we sat on that shelf easily
In love with us he ropes sad animals

So wracked, know when is ended
Hopes I don't know exit warrior:
Her song lapses, deserts, see the path?
So all is neat, sin's ceremonial, for hope it's only a hand

There's no more need in real
Assumption on that stops
Says certainly lose it; a young girl would
There's no need left, yes no need being left in our loop
And now these methods need forensics

He's the very gear but
Hopes it all pushed me -- let go!
So be soothed you so often, one in/out my eyes
He rushed this enamored enough, so still it's early
In love with us
Hope the curtains are up
(December, 2008)

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In Pinks and Golds

My many admirers bring me flowers
But I spend my nights alone
They promise me diamond rings
I prefer to wear rhinestones

It's your light on my face
Your carefully chosen hues
You know the stories behind my words
You know me far beyond my cues

But the loneliest place is on this pedestal
All these eyes upon me, and I just want you

Limn me in pinks and golds and reds
The colors of the flowers they send
Bathe me in the softest warmth
In this secret duet we perform

Are you just a beacon, or are you home?
If you only asked me, I would go and come

I don't need any more roses or rings
But I need the stage like I air
I lament the distance
But you and I both need me here

All the wants and shoulds and maybes
Of my idiot heart are not what you want to hear
Can you bear it one more time?
Illuminate the longing I feel

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The echoes fade each season and return
I am haunted by "We have all the time in the world"
Because you, my young older man, won't deceive me with permanence
You will never lie or let me hope

In these electric daydreams I search for you
Here are the empty streets, the forest, the dancefloor of tacit desires
Here is the night you slept on the floor,
Here is the night of rain which I will always remember

But I have seen cascades of tears running away from me
At the end of these years -- growing up's not all it should be
You're so fixed in your ideals: you'll be victorious
(Refuse to try these appeals) against your own happiness.

This electricity never faded, now memory holds me secure.
By morning pain will be dried, brine round our eyes.
And I am always warm, always satisfied

Because we are infinitesimal. We are too small, too small to wonder.

Now is the trial, the test of faith.
I remain faithful in my quest for understanding
You, the greatest mystery of all
I am only a wasp slayer; I am both hunter and prey,
And I remember in devoted solitude

Oh, I have seen cascades of tears....

We are infinitesimal. We are too small, too small to doubt
When happiness rests at our feet
We are infinitesimal. We are....
(June 1998)

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Last night we slept with our fingers intertwined
I'm in love in a city that will never be mine
All our moves are impetuous
But your spell was cast before we were us

In the moment I'm head-over-heels with this
And I promise I won't mind missing it
And I could hurry back, or try to stay
Or I could trust nothing good ever gets away

We walk on a warm night down your block
Always with eyes or arms or lips locked
We are the worst at hello and goodbye
That heavy feeling -- tomorrow I fly

And how can we sentimentalize
The wind whips the tears out of our eyes

[The line "nothing good ever gets away" is from a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son.]

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Is She Secretly on My Side

Is she secretly on my side
Does she know all the reasons I've cried
And secretly still sing along
The soundtrack of her life my songs
(She always got the meanings wrong)

She's my sororal doppelganger
Following close like a phantom
Loving my discards just to confuse me:
Which of us holds the hand-me-downs?
(Which of us wears the wedding gowns?)

Now she wears my old life, the life I think she made
On my competitive side she preyed
Did she always picture herself in my place
Now the darling's won the race
(I wish that she could see my face)

Does she remember the day we tried on white dresses
The day she was my sister, before I was her confessor
Now does she revel in victory
Or is she plagued by the ghost of me?
(Haunted by what she can not see)

(January 2010)

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The Keys

With a promise to set me free
From the cage I'd locked myself into
He appeared with many keys
How could I refuse?

These golden bars they hold perfection
But were chosen by mistake (mistake)
Comfort would be my tomb
I had to run away (he led me away)

Waking in the morning, my head upon his chest
The paradox abundantly clear
This love attacked so fierce: it will decay like all the rest
There is nothing to be gained here

As lust turns to need all the promise is destroyed
Need turns to possession
Each little victory only noise

So I have returned to my cage
But now I hold the keys
And I will use them
Anytime I please
(July 2008)

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Knowledge Scars

Such a lovely fall from grace
Such a pretty tearful face
Silence rules falsely empty hearts
In this fevered, cold embrace

Intuition's wrong, though dreams implore so strongly
Upon these wings of fire no other has desired so
Could my hope be killed within another sin, oh
I'd touch your soul again but pretense wears so thin, within

If only I could wait; if only I could have faith
In love -- in love -- like yesterday
Then along you come, so cool, emotionless
And I can only open my arms, close my eyes, and wait

Knowledge scars with twisted limbs
Always given, given in
Torn by vapid lust
Deny our broken trust.
(July 1997, November 1998)

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Lament For Peter Pan

Sweet unrest grows sour -- striving, excruciating
yet wanting so badly to atone...
"Go, then and scorn fidelity. Guilt will follow."

This tightrope I walk slices through my feet as the are clay
As if I were meant to fall into both sides of sorrows (so grave, so deep)
To be forced by guile and guilt which so manipulate
For I have paid in insincerity for my small mistakes

I fear the imminent gravity of aborted wishes
I have seen before through eyes like his
I know the pain separation gives
And he hasn't yet learned
Forever never means forever....anymore, anymore, anymore...did it ever?

This is for washing the sorrows away
From these feet like clay...

The rope now gives way, and I know where I stand
He's within, without, and so very over
Like a sweet, sweet dream into which I'll never step again, anymore...
(But there are other dreams, oh yes)

* Well in the night I dream about you
In the day I find no rest
Just the thought of you, my darling
Sends aching pains all through my chest

Days grow longer and enamored with the spring
Longer now I watch your face, blue in the silent dusk
But how long will hopes remain inside, entombed, beseeching us
And how long till your faraway eyes will reach for me
Will they ever reach again?
Do I hold no mystery? (anymore...)
And how can we romanticize
Once those burning eyes
Have wrapped around my flesh, so consuming my enigma
Is there nothing left?
anymore, anymore, anymore...

This remorse will never disappear
While he refuses to dry his tears
Our guilty hands never rinse clear
So we remain blind in fear -- and never love

* Well, when I'm dead and in my coffin
With my feet turned toward the sun
Come and sit beside me, darling,
Come and think on the way you've done

* from folk song, "East Virginia," not included in Knowledge Scars version

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Peter Pan Waltz (originally part of "Lament for Peter Pan")

Oh never again to be swept off my feet, nevermore nevermore nevermore
And never again know the hope so sweet, nevermore...

But "nevermore?" I've said it before, nevermore...
And always the same find the lies, all the blame lies within, evermore, evermore

But you taught me to hate this slow loss of emotion, this motion toward death, toward stillness,
The oceans of blood from your lips as you let out the pain
I feel mine in your words till we've both been drained

Though ever I grow colder, my hope never wanes to leave me so alone
Alone in my dreams forgetful of these, my first silver idols

But electric as daydreams are still, I fear I'll watch you grow ever duller
If you ever let me touch you, if my mind gets any fuller with time
If I see through your words to a heart frail as mine, delicate as ice in April

For only the truly unreachable can still hold fascination for such as we
Only the truly unreachable can still fascinate me
anymore, anymore, anymore, anymore....
(January-February 1998)

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The Little Mermaid

"Are you not fonder of me than of all the rest?" cried her eyes
"Yes, you are dearest of all to me -- you, the silent one; if not no one, then you."

But then he speaks of her -- the unknown, a false angel.
The mermaid chokes in fear, but still she hopes...

How can you want something more than me? I give my life for yours, sacrifice my voice
Only in hope, a thousand knives each step, that I may share your soul
Oh, if only I could sing, or if this heart had wings, I would be your angel.

Word travels fast, soon despair comes crashing, crashing down
Only blood and sisters' love can save her life now.
A thousand knives. She dances into death that night.
The sea so cold, black, unyielding.
A promise to fall. So only murder can save her now, but what's the use
Her love is gone either way, so why fight?

How can you want more than me? I rewrote my future in foam for you
I gave my life to see this through and am betrayed. And disintegrate. Oooh...

Oh -- Why must true illusion, not love, conquer all?
(April 1998)

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Long, Long Shadows

I'm in the land of sunlight
And long, long shadows
And I am listening
To slow, sad echoes

Pay no attention to lover death
She has come to seduce you again
Let us distract you with sex and violence
They are your best friends

She comes to you with promise of sunsets
So sweetly she promises, but all she leaves are regrets
It won't be a wake but a tidal wave of grief
You don't think about that; you only want relief

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Loud and Clear

I only wanted to make something better than myself
I never resisted being criticized
No I listened to everything anyone has said
But some things are not meant to be analyzed

It's all over now
I've grown so tired of listening to all the doubt
The fear so consuming that I'll never get out
I still have the choice
To ignore that voice inside my head that says
Whatever I do, it's not a success --
I've had enough of this

With every glance new cracks, new flaws are exposed
We all carry a thousand mistakes
But you know someday this Pandora's box will be closed
Until then, I'll do whatever it takes

I look to the past, to the future to come
Relying on daydreams that I might have won
One day...

I'm too soft, I'm too hard
I'm too brave, I'm too scared
I'm trivial, I'm serious
Is anyone even hearing this?

I hear the absence of your cheers
Loud and clear, loud and clear...
(February 2008)

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I can hear your voice whenever I want to
But it's not the same as when we were alone
That night in the second bed they bought you
Because you were the star and I was the girl backstage

And you would sing to me
The song that would have been a lullaby, a lullaby
Till fingers to my mouth
They reach in and pulled out such a sigh!

I can see your face whenever I want to, on glossy paper
But once I really saw your eyes
Through the windows of the windows of your soul
Then all the oracles, they told me not to prophesize

So I went on a simple quest
And there was no where I wanted yes
But it was such a joy to know I have known you

Better better better than they do

Yes once you sang to me
The song that would have been a lullaby, a lullaby
But when it's at your fingertips
You don't have to try

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Magnanimous (For J.D.M)

This house is now barren and cold
Where once it was scented, overgrown
So glad to be leaving this misery
Silence, eternal sterility

Someone said, "You want to think you are good"
No: I don't care what I think

When most people would rather hate than communicate
You are different, you have something to say, now

But now you're so far away
In word and body, what can I say?
Could you understand my desperation
Magnanimous you, understand my attention
Unwanted as it was

Hope is necessary, just like trust
In every situation I find myself
Grasping for some connection, anything, something like community
But most people would rather hate than communicate
You are different; you care what I have to say

But now you're so far away
In word and body, what can I say
Could you understand my anger at them
Magnanimous you, understand my reaction
Irrational as it was

Now you're so far away
In word and body, what can I say
What can I say that will sound the same
On the other side of the electronic divide
(July 2000)

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You sleaze in everything you do. Once you sodomized a child, and never even
knew her name. That night I lay and wished for none of what you tried to
give me. "You're like two sirens" you said. But I never called you.

Still I always wanted my name in lights
What I thought I could do for fame, back in those nights

But now I will not submit to mediocrity
"Angel named Mercy," who could that be?
Any fool could see through you
Ephemeral bullshit is not for me

I was a 25 dollar whore for you
I wasted my talent on your worthless crap
I was no one, trying to make you look good
The worst job I've ever had to give

(I'll never submit again)
Nevermore will I submit to mediocrity
Your self-serving ignorance, hypocrisy
I was ashamed by our name and your pretension
I know this life of whoredom is not for me

In all your decadence I will not lie
(an inside joke, July 1999)

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I love what's new so much
I can't tell what's best
I'll never have what I want
I want what I can't get

I won't control myself, I won't hide
The blackness draws you in, my pupils are so wide
It scares you when I look into your eyes
But this is the kind of fear you like

You've never met a girl like me before
You'll never meet one again
It's cruel for me to leave you wanting more
But these affairs are meant to end

I love what's new so much
I can't tell what's best
I'll never have what I want
I want what I can't get

Because you are strange
Because you are new
Because nothing not now
Can ever be true

We walk to your place from the center of the city
I love your accent but I can't stand the rain
One-night-stands have become a part of me
You say you never do this kind of thing but -

If our bodies were always touching
Then of course we would be feeling nothing
At least this spark is something

My skin is wrapped
In red warning labels
But I've nothing to conceal
My inner truths are on the table

(March 2011)

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The Next Flower

(Words by Kat Mulkey)

You look so intriguing
In that old-fashioned clothing
Your eyes so alluring
So young, yet so knowing

In black fishnet stockings
And dark velvet gown
You visit the nightclubs
All over town

You meet a young man there
You know the type
In exchange for a slow dance
You're his for the night

But boys don't love girls like that
Past the promiscuous hour
They leave your cherished blossom
And fly to the next flower

You let him caress you
In the back of an old car
For proclaiming your beauty
You let him go so far

You're searching for love you say
But that's not how you'll find it
Beneath the flesh you're still alone
And you pretend you don't mind it

But boys don't love girls like that
Past the promiscuous hour
They leave your cherished blossom
And fly to the next flower

Boys don't love girls like that
They don't take them home
To meet mother, make breakfast, or write to you
But this you've always known

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All I wanted was to be
Heard over the crowd
But I did not recognize
My voice that loud

Wishes come true with lies

How can I rest when I must keep spinning
To stay upright
And is the best I can hope for
Nightmares to fill my mind?

I embody powerlessness: surprise, it saps my confidence
Putting hopeless faith in the divine in the mundane

Listen to everything at once -- you will know why I am going mad
Crossed by my imagination -- my future darkly envisioned

How can I rest when I must keep climbing
To stay upright
And is the best I can hope for
Nightmares to fill my mind?

Wishes come true with lies

Now I am a cold and lonely queen
Ruler of all I see
Tired of my looking glass
I climb the highest tree

But I can't take my eyes off the moon, still above me, distant
Maybe she can teach how to balance madness and strength

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Oblivion and Creation

There are no good and evil
But on my shoulders sit two angels
Oblivion and creation
Someone will approve
Either way I choose
Oblivion or creation
And I flatter myself
This brinksmanship
Is a way to touch the infinite
A delightful delusion
Though meaningless
We still have our aesthetics

I trace the labyrinth
To find my own voice
And it rings out: hollow

Could I just disappear?
Once I thought I'd have it all
Now I stand outside this person's work
And weep at its insignificance

When will I meet that timeless self again
Wise and uncaring in Oblivion?

The pull or the drive
The war in my mind
Oblivion and creation
Is the divine right
To shape the rubble mine
Indulge myself in creation
I don't want to write another verse
There was never any truth in words
So I peel back the layers
To find my center — it was never there

Should I just disappear?
Once I thought I'd have it all
Now I stand outside that person's work
And weep at its insignificance

When will I be egoless at last
Undriven by creation?
…Careless in oblivion

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The Ones Who Walk Away

Bright-towered by the sea
Can you see the city now?
Horses and children in procession
Laughter and music fill the air
No king or knights, no guns or bombs
And no guilt, only joy

There are some who walk away alone
Into the unknown

If you accept this city, this bliss
That's the end, don't read any further
But if you are one of those
Who thinks happiness dull or impossible
Then they torture a child for you
And because they torture that child
Some must walk away alone
Into the unknown

I was one of them
I gave up security and sunlight
The comforting knowledge that
My child will never be the one sacrificed
I walked away to build something unimaginable
Into the unknown

There are some who walk away alone
Into the unknown

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Do you ever wonder, wonder who
Silently came, quickly left, left a flower for you?
He said "be wary of symbols" and I see them so clear
But I have dreams -- one of them is you -- they eclipse all my fear

Can you tell me why I dream of you?
Hungry and male, and her, long-lashed and beautiful-sad
Was the electricity only the sparks behind my eyes
In the redness of parched, scorched earth
Thirsty your eyes, or my blood

But its your smile in those moments that lets in hope
I subsist on this, I desist as you resist
But how twisted my desires grow
And when will I feel your eyes, your dark eyes
On my flesh, on my breast
Where I fear my displayed heart lies?

...and oh, the paresthesia when I pretend you want me
When my subconcious taunts me with this impossible dream....
(November 1999)

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Pillar of Salt

The damage was done preemptively
Blame the force of these memories
Abstain all you want you can't shake your hold on me

Though you won't call me -- you play it right
Still my mind lingers in those nights
And you don't have to try to twist that knife

But if I look back I'll turn into a pillar of
If I look back I'll turn into a pillar of
If I look back I'll turn into a pillar of

Not since the days of boys' tyranny
Over my heart was I so weak
Yet you see I would love to beg at your feet

But if I look back I'll turn into a pillar of
If I look back I'll turn into a pillar of
If I look back I'll turn into a pillar of

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Pink Shoes

Pink shoes never touch the ground
Walk of shame back from your house
My town like I've never seen
On your side the grass is green

Mission boys nod as I pass
In Spanish compliment my dress
Makeup's smeared but I don't care
Now at last I'm so aware

Your scent lingers on my skin
Iceberg-tip of what's within
Endless possibilities
Who I am allowed to be

Always think of you when I wear pink shoes

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A Poison Tree - Words by William Blake

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

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Some people use words, gasps of air
Some use flesh, objects of desire seeking power
Either way, from either side, the desire is the same:

Love, whatever that means, whatever it brings, I'll do what I can, to find it
Some follow, others seek
Are we what we feel or what we think?

What can I do to touch you?
When we are only red lights in a grey haze
And I can hardly see you

Why when I close my eyes
I feel your body
Why do I put so much faith in someone I hardly know?
Is it my need to hope?

What do I seek in you?
What's at the core of me
Do I really long for autonomy?

Do I want to be the object of your fantasies
Or are you my dream
Or my icon, so reduced
Or my innocence, so long dismissed?

Love, whatever that means, whatever that brings, I'll do what I can, to find it
Some follow, other seek
You are what you feel

What's at the core of me: do I really seek autonomy?
Or are you a center of power
Or are you who I want to be?

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The guilt anchored me
But your face could launch a thousand ships
And the sky on those nights would steal any heart
And now the remorse is yours
I hung her on your wall for a reason -- bloody hands, roses
I would have done anything to be rid of her
Except give up hope of touching you, so I succumbed

I have always been blind
I will never learn to let go
(For now I purge the lies)
You failed, you failed like all the rest,
At least I though you'd try
But my dreams of true love disappeared in half a week

I touched you, I found your heart
I found it frail but unkind
I'll never lay a hand on your soul again.

But God how I long to have those nights back
The time before bitterness took hold
Innocence was painted black and violet
In the violence of floods, in the oceans of memories
Cascading from this punctured heart
That still cries for new wounds...

The sorrows couldn't wash away as quickly as love did
No time passed before silence and proverbial illusion conquered all
And no tears fell after that night, the fall, but nostalgia burns
And I am always warm
This is my new tightrope
I can't see beneath my feet -- I could fall into space
This loss of hope is eternal
You never believed we were infinitesimal; I still see it --

On nights like this when the sky falls
I can still resist hoping
I have no more dreams of love
I only dream of telling my story
(Still I wait for someone to sweep me away, to awaken me to illusory bliss)
There is only this song
You are absolved
Will I ever be possessed by another?
(Never wish for the impossible)
There is only this song
(November 1998) )

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Running After Darkness (for W.H.)

Those nights of chasing your ghost
Following the sound of your voice, echoing through my head
Running after Darkness, running after the rain
Have finally come to an end

After all my hope has died
Obsession the brightest fire
Burned in me so long how could I
Give up all me dreams without a fight

Night after night I'd lay alone in bed
Watching your pictures dance on my wall
Listening to a childish heart
Beating hope through it all

Day after day I went searching for people like you
Trying so hard to become someone you could love
Finding that without you in my mind
I am all I ever wanted to be

And if I could break my love for you
How could I ever trust again
You caused those rainbows to fall
Condemned me to walk

Alone through streets which yearn for my love
Naked but for this jaded smile
Could I only be innocent again
Just to watch my heart -- as it's broken

Now those nights of chasing your ghost
Following the sound of your voice, echoing through my head
Running after Darkness, running after the rain
Have finally come to an end
...an end...an end....

Shall I cry one last time for the death of these tears?
(July 1996)

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The Same Stream

At times time itself is uncertain
Not knowing your place in history
You draw back the curtain
Older self the crux of the mystery

You can dip your foot in the same stream
If you break the ice
The foot is no longer the same
Yet you've been there twice

You found a body use the body
You broke the body lose the body
You lost your body choose a body

If inspiration is truly divine
What should the earthly vessel matter
As long as someone is there to receive it —
You quickly write all the words you merely remember
(They fascinated you so)

If you believe in fate rather than chaos
The cycle repeats and repeats and —

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I take the dress down from the attic
I slip her on and tie her lace
Tonight she might be stained and battered
In your dangerous embrace

I am satin, fretted and frayed
By life's jagged edges
When I let myself out to play
Despite consequences

Intensity is muted by pretending
It's not in reverence for your spark
Just for the severance of strings
That bound me, kept me from my heart

Yet everything I make and do
In this labyrinth of doubt
Is a misguided lovesong to you
Wouldn't mean anything without
(oh let it out let it out!)

I take the dress down from the attic
I slip her on and lace her ties
Tonight she might be torn and tattered
Just because we are alive
(November 2008)

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You saw me on a vast unconquerable frontier
You heard my voice in desperation drawing you near
Might this be your chance to meet your destiny?
To save someone deep in the throes of need

But my song was never directed at you
I know these myths are never true

I'm through with saviors who are mistaken
That I am helpless and I need saving
Neither am I a lovely siren
My only purpose your temptation

Still it was easy to lure me to your land
I love the promise of a future unplanned
When fog no longer shrouded me you realized
Your reflection never shone in my eyes

The stars had never twinkled so bright
But I was still whole and wholly alone that night

I am not a diversion from your hero's journey
I have my own monsters to slay
Not a pretty toy to add to your collection
I have my own princess to save

I am home again
No need to be rescued
That's never what I would yes to

What I tried to say
Was walk beside me or walk away

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I drive by your mother's house
Though she's asleep, and you are out
Two thousand, eight hundred and ninety eight miles away
To be precise

Just to smell that air again
To feel nostalgia mixed with pain
For the days when you were here
And I would come when you called

In a parallel world
I am a much more lovable girl
You're reading me new pages from your great novel
You're holding my hand as if you need it
But here, I only ever fell in love
So I could play the game of
Long-dead poets called genius
As only men and suicides can be called

So that when our bodies are
Dust specks in the beams of unnamed stars
The words I've assembled for you
Will still exist

I write songs for you but you don't listen
Worse than judgment, silence means indifference
But someone will hear them
So they will live forever
Though you and I will never be young again

I keep driving
I keep writing
I am circling
I may never land

[The lines about bodies being dust and words living forever refer to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.]

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Silently Conjure

Without any moon to guide us
One impulse from what's denied us
You gave me this potent mix
As if you don't know your strength

To possess beauty wild as this
Silently conjures every wish
I could pretend I don't know
You're paralyzed yet it shows

All the beasts of the forest
Watch and wait or else ignore us
Human needs will continue
A growing scream that's within you

Come to me in your sleep
Lie next to me breathe me deep
Fingertips crushing fear
On your lips as I draw near

I enter in to your mind
Your pupils have opened wide
I hypnotize you are mine
All my fingers count the signs

Come to me
I hypnotize
Free from yourself
Now you are mine

(February 2012)

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Siren Ship

You're fearless and lawless, you follow no captain
But you're ruled by desire approaching obsession
I am a shapely vessel full of riches to plunder
I've been breached before, but I've never gone under

You cannon blasts split me, resolutely defiled
I am humbled and broken by a boyish smile
You enter violently, but this was my plan
You think it all your choice, you arrogant man!

Your type can never resist my call
I have been so many sailors' downfall
Your type can never resist my call
I have been so many conquerors' downfall

Racing the hourglass to escape with my treasure
But my humiliation promises such pleasure
This is the glorious destruction you've wrought
You can't deny yourself the wounded beast you caught

I'm losing my grip on the horizon
You clutch at me tightly as the water is rising
I am a shattered vessel, full of riches, going down
But you're the one begging as I watch you drown

(June 2011)

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The Sirens of Titan

It's not that you loved too much
It's that love alone is not enough
I didn't set out to break your heart
I wonder, why did I follow this far?

We ate and drank the very finest
Walked in gardens and sunned by the sea
Scaled walls, danced till covered with sweat.
Found rapture in each other's bodies and yet
I can't wait to be far away
I can't wait to drop this façade
The joke that I would want to tend to another lost boy

Was I simply doing as I was told
Loving you because you were around
Once I'd been lured by the promise
Your eyes across the distance
Still photographs of statues

You cry of the sky falling
And the wolves at your heels
You beg for comfort I can't give
I myself am desperate to be loved
I can't wait to be held, but not like this

I asked you to tell me
When you said you were reading it
What you thought of the ending
But you never did
What's the point of even talking
If we never dive in deep
Why have I entered your orbit
If I cannot land safely

Was I simply doing as I was told
Loving you because you were around
Once I was lured by the promise
Your eyes across the distance
Still photographs of statues

[This refers to Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan, but only in two tiny ways, both of which are spoilers.]

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The Snowstorm

We tear love out by its roots
Replant it in a hundred distant gardens
"The love is dead, long live the love"
And we have no gods, no partners

The leaves grow pale and weak
The flowers bloom too soon

I let them fall all around me, falling for me
I blush unseen and see them falling remotely

We live the myth, self-sufficient, brave and confident
Mock-courage is our favorite currency
Demanding all the signifiers, calling happiness to us
But without tenderness all this power is meaningless

The roots had rotted
Before they could spread

I let them fall all around me, falling for me
I blush unseen and watch them falling remotely
In this snowstorm I don't know which arms I miss around me
With only words to tie us, intangible and tenuous

(June 2012)

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A Song Is Just a Song

This world is filthy and full of shit
Yet I've been told to stay clean
This world is dangerous and wants me dead
Though I was promised safety

When I was young I was taught my job was
To make this world a beautiful place
But what can one person do besides
Planting flowers on top of heaps of toxic waste?

A song is just a song, it won't help to turn the soil
Unless it's sung while digging

And these bards and I are still
Singing on behalf of The Revolution
Because it's something we can sell you on
Without sullying our delicate hands

[Resistance will always be sexy, that part is easy
And it's our bread and butter
In this, the golden age of circuses]

Yes this world is dangerous and wants to kill you
But you should survive anyway, live to fight another day
Because it's your job to make this a beautiful place
To spread the lie that we can be safe

A song is just a song, and it doesn't bring upheaval
Unless it's the gravedigger's hymn

A story about utopia is still just a story
Unless we write it in blood

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I am ripe, full, swollen
You examine my body where it has fallen
You have a habit to feed -- and this fruit seems
Like the sweetest poison

I am supine, passive, silent
I long to be used used in the way I was meant
Obscene fertility in casual beauty
My blood spilled, my seeds spread

This is the natural way
I exist for you to evaluate
Shat out or systematically bred
Or carefully preserved but dead

"My God!" I hear your voice, "such an unusual specimen"
I am gutted, taxidermy-stuffed, mended, gutted again

I am supine, passive silent
I've earned my place among men of science
My likeness described by poets and painters
The jewel of your collection

Such an unusual specimen
Gutted, stuffed, mended and gutted again
To those of independent taste
The height of fashion -- perfection!

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I play the odds for any coins the gods might toss us
You are content just gazing at the stars that cross us

They keep throwing things to wish upon
But it's never enough to loose our bonds
They keep taunting us with fantasies
Compromises for improbabilities

Oh please, please ask me to fight
Don't ask me to sacrifice
Oh please let us have ground to stand
Don't ask me to fold my hand

I keep my cards close to my chest but feel it thumping
For you I try but fail at concealing one thing

I am a hack artist of truths left unsaid
You have a way of getting into my head
Desperation is our biggest threat
When outside forces force us into their debt

(February 2012)

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The Surrender

I seared my fingertips
To cleanse my identity
I burned off my palms
To erase my destiny
I tore out all the pages
To clear my history
I'm naked as you are
With nothing but clarity

I thought I knew the colors of love
Long before I knew what love meant oh
Bowed before gods and sex and drugs
But I have just now learned to surrender

I have forgot the words
Will you learn them with me
As slowly we emerge
From a world without memory
I've had only one wish
Since you appeared to me
To watch over you
Growing and happy

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For too long I paid lipservice to liberation
Let my young self be subsumed in our relations
Don't think for a moment I don't take responsibility
But you have to agree it was time I set myself free

Is it wrong to distill what we had for so many years
Down to the worst of us both, all of our violence and tears
Tell me what hurts and hate me for wanting it anyway
Love has driven me from you and fear won't make me stay
I have stared down the face of death
Burned my idols till nothing was left
If you tried to see through my eyes
You would know this is how I'll survive, the only way I can survive

You think I sacrificed happiness for pleasures trivial
I repeat my mantra no regrets so someday it will feel real
I am alone, there is no freedom from
I begged borrowed and stole, escaped your rubber room

Blame me for what you can
You are a shell of a man
Tell all my friends I've gone mad
Everything I could've wanted, I had
But survival isn't just for the body
It's for what will be left of me
All the ways you say I'm crazy
They form my legacy

You think I sacrificed happiness for pleasures trivial
I repeat my mantra no regrets so someday it will feel real
I am alone with my freedom to
I lied cheated and stole to get away from you
I am alone, wide skies above me
This city's all mine, and no one to love me
I am alone unprotected from my worst self
No freedom from but I have no regrets
I am alone, wide skies above,
This city's all mine, and no one to love

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All around the castle the queen once sent men
To dig up the vines that choke and starve the garden
But the prickliest hedges yield the sweetest scent
So she decreed the roses were her protection

"I have every right to be here
And this place is mine alone
If you leave me the gods will keep and feed me:
I will stay on my throne"

Cold and forgotten she remains with just one
Pity or loyalty, or a twisted kind of love
Impassable hedges enclose mossy stone
And rise over towers and block out the sun

Now she declares all the roses were made just for this:
Pick them and strip them, adorn her for worship

Let the thorns grow for the promise of a rose
But roses grew thorns so we wouldn't disturb the flowers
Command all you want, your beasts men and gods
Green growing things obey only their own laws!

And the pretty ones get to keep their thorns
But the prickly ones have beauty all their own

"I have every right to be here
And this place is mine alone
If you leave me the gods will keep and feed me:
I will stay on my throne"

"Oh curse this broken ground
bones and thorns and dust
who will dig them out —
the histories of us?"

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(Words by Elizabeth Powers)
Don't crush her fairy's wings
Hold her gently in your hand
Help her to feel tall again
None of this was planned

She's too small for the pen
Can't write her story down
Too small for the pen
Can't bring her mind around

She's wilting in the corner
No one to help her stand
Help her to feel tall again
None of this was planned

Her silver shell is cracking
Naive beyond belief
She's not as lithesome as she'd like
Keeps glimpses of herself brief

(Thumbelina, Thumbelina-ah)

No junebugs can reach her here
To sweep her into an unknown land
And spirit her away to a lonely bloom
No, none of this was planned

She can question why she was born this small
But of course there is no one to answer her call

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The Treacherous Sea

I can wash you off of me
But I still smell of the treacherous sea
Which threatens to transform me
Into a creature I don't want to be

All wetness and slime, the color of a bruise
All darkness and regret, the things that sailors lose
The only one of my kind, alone on this island
My only contact the desperate and violent

I still have this: If I can speak, someone will listen
If I don't lose my voice, I will find power again

I can cut you out from inside
But I could never regain my pride
It was sunk in a deep dark cavern
Only ancient reptiles can find

I don't recognize myself in the mirror
But I am not lost: I am getting clearer
I ask powers beyond me and all that they say is:
You have control. Use it. Keep it.

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I wasn't looking for -- Trouble found me
It rests with eyes and words, for now my treachery
Does the young planet know the force with which she pulls
Who can blame two bodies for obeying gravity?

Yes there are things that can't be undone
But neither can they be unsaid; you can't be unwanted
Knowing well that this could be the crisis
Despite admonishments I remain undaunted

Now I'm poised to fall the final distance into your arms
The path of least resistance and the most harm
I always get what I ask for
But never know what I want

So when I asked for it Trouble found me
It lives in flesh and bone, our treachery
I won't ask the lioness to change her nature
However merciless, however bloody

This is not the first secret, it won't be the last
I see all the future tears as if they've already passed
As if it's already known
For now, we keep it close

I ask again, my friend -- Trouble find me
Remind me how it feels, my treachery
(July 2008)

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Under The Sand

Within, without and over, you are to me
Under the sky, under the sand buried your face beneath
Only for our comet somewhere far away
Denying the pain we cause ourselves you should stay
The truth will come; I can't go on
Let it wash into the sea

Why don't you stay if it feels so good inside me?
Condemn my words
Within, without.

Now is the time when silver ties have come undone
Broken promises, mistrust, never the only one
I could wish all I can on the heavens above
But never restore the faith we had, in what you called Love
(June 1997)

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Vacant Skies

(Oh pretty boy, how can I feel sad for you?
I don't even know your words are true
And this light is a dying star)

Never more will I wish for vacant skies to pull me in
All my memories are nightmares
I'll sleep alone all of my life
For no one wants to touch me
When I expected you
To show me some sympathy
But no one who has ever hurt can feel for me
The child of a happy home and of the sea
When any minute I could be destroyed
(By just one word from you)
(August 1999)

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War Stories

Bringer of death of destruction of vengeance
Mother of nothing but war
Liars will tell you it's to end the violence
Somehow they always make more

You have a thousand ways to tell war stories
Yet say all births are the same
This is your only way to speak to angels:
A trophy kill in your name

Bombs for peace
Work to be free

Your bomb is no one's mother
A thousand war stories
Will never give mass murder
One word of birth's glory

You're seeking other worlds
Because you've consumed yours
Why should you tend to growing things
When you could just conquer?

We'll fight for peace till we're bloody and bruised and
Still find time to build a world
Push back against how we're taught to be used and
Never forget who we were

So we'll fight for peace
And keep on loving
Never for one second buy
The lies you are selling

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The Waves

These days are gonna leave a mark
Just to survive is a heavy task
It's a big big thing, this change
We can't see where it's gonna lead

Wake me up
Every ugly day

Oooh I lie in the sand
And the waves pour over me
Oooh I don't leave a trace
All my words have washed away

I'm learning to resist longing
Just to touch a friendly hand
To sit on the grass with somebody else near
To dance close to a stranger

To sit at the bar and hear a tale of adventure
(we used to — remember?)
To plan my own like I have a future

Dream for me
(I'm going nowhere — now and here)
Of a better time

Oooh I lie in the sand
Let the pain wash over me
Oooh it's a sacred thing
To be scarred by history

I swear I am OK
I only mean I don't want sympathy
I won't ask you if I'm still enough when I'm useless
Hitting bottom yet again

I'm still here and now
There was a better time someday

Oooh I lie in the sand
And the waves pour over me
Oooh I don't leave a trace
All my words have washed away
Oooh I lie in the sand
Let the pain wash over me
Oooh it's a sacred thing
To be scarred by history

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Waxing Gibbous

The moon is waxing gibbous
And the night is young
Let's hang a ladder on the stars
And kiss on every rung
As if the song is endless
Until it's all been sung
The most delightful turn of phrase
Might end as it's begun

Dresses and high heels
Burlesque and bourbon
And stumbling through the quarter
Tipsy and laughing
Riding the streetcar
And happy in your arms

I don't need you fall to your knees
And tell me you want me
Do as you please
Just tell me if you want me
I don't need to hear
You tell you love me
Don't disappear
Once you have told me you that love me

Had I forgotten
Once we were home again
You would forget me
Did I read too much
Into the intimacy
We shared when it was easy

The moon is waning gibbous
And the dawn is near
We climb down from the stars
And watch our silhouettes grow clear
And if the song is ending
The decent thing you know
Is say goodbye and tell me why
And let me let you go

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We Love Longest

My family and friends couldn't believe I loved a sailor
Under their sway I suppose I couldn't either
Eight years have passed and never once did I forget you
Nor all the love you would have given had I let you

You've returned and you must have seen
How regret has weighed heavy upon me

We love longest after all hope is gone
I'm still longing, loving you all along

Men can replace the loves they have left with constant action
A baronet's daughter does not dare pursue a profession
Each day for you felt like a year to me
Safe at home while won your fortune at sea

Oh I'd rather be overturned by you
Than driven to safety by someone else
One look, one word may be enough
But I want to drown you in all my love

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When I Touch Myself

Don't call me tonight
It would make it impossible

What I realized today is that in loving you I forgot to love myself
Then I was nothing, you lost interest
More importantly, I lost interest in myself

This is what has happened every time
I finally saw the error of obsessive altruism

So now I dance to remind myself that I still have a body
Even when I am alone
And that I don't think about you
When I touch myself
(November 21, 2000)

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When We Were Young

When we were young
Every chord, every phrase was precious
We didn't know when the next one would come
When we were young
Every kiss every touch was sacred
We didn't know whom the next would be from

But we sang the night away
We sang right into the day
We sang all our hopes out though
We had nothing new to say
We thought we made it up
Believed we invented love
We tried to capture it in rhyme
Like every poet has done
When they were young

When we were young
We kept notes on each other's potential
Anticipating such music to come
When we were young
There was nothing we couldn't accomplish
Once all the promise of our song was sung

What are we learning
What is our place in the world
Will we be children forever
Singing forever?

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With All of My Intelligence

"I choose to love this time for once
With all of my intelligence

I wasted so many years
Seeing myself as no more than a prize
Hoping someone could win me, lift me up
Until I decided to climb

Now it's so been lonely here
Feeling so superior
Thought I'd seen it all
No one would induce me to fall

"I choose to love this time for once
With all of my intelligence

Those eyes, that smile, the signs
All flashing yes, yes, yes
Illuminate how much I was missing
When I was mired in indifference

Now this time, at least, my self-sabotage
Is excessive hope I might get what I want
If you return all the breaths you've stolen
It won't be for nothing that my heart was broken

[The entire chorus of this song is a quote from Adrienne Rich's "Splittings."]

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Written in Red - Words by Voltairine de Cleyre

Written in red their protest stands,
For the Gods of the World to see;
On the dooming wall their bodiless hands
have blazoned "Upharsin," and flaring brands
Illumine the message: "Seize the lands!
Open the prisons and make men free!"
Flame out the living words of the dead

Gods of the World! Their mouths are dumb!
Your guns have spoken and they are dust.
But the shrouded Living, whose hearts were numb,
have felt the beat of a wakening drum
Within them sounding -- the Dead men's tongue --
Calling: "Smite off the ancient rust!"
Have beheld "Resurrexit," the word of the Dead,

Bear it aloft, O roaring flame!
Skyward aloft, where all may see.
Slaves of the World! Our cause is the same;
One is the immemorial shame;
One is the struggle, and in One name --
Manhood -- we battle to set men free.
"Uncurse us the Land!" burn the words of the Dead,

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I won that fight
The pain was mine
I sunk to martyrdom

So... you'll never see how you betrayed me
Soon there will be no more -- you'll no longer plague me
How could you think to take away my home
How could I have thought to sacrifice myself for you again?
Will we never speak again? Now it's a war of self-concern
And I have no more sympathy for you who so deserted me...

But you were once someone to hold on to
You were all I had to put my faith into
And throughout all of my blackest days
You were the one I thought I knew would stay (out of compassion)

And now the only thing that gives me pleasure is knowing
You betrayed him too, and oh what will he do to you, when he finds out
You fucked his enemy
You fucked his devil-counterpart, and he's such an angel, oh your violent angel
will he -- what will he do to you -- will he wish you luck in nonexistence too?
I love knowing, all of those nights you deserted me. you betrayed him, too, oh ...
And I know I fought for myself for once, and I love it.

And hope, oh you finally killed
Let him break the vessel I had filled
With trust, with perfect trust
And I thank you for forcing me to learn
To never hope, never more
Now, I say, you are nothing to me
I say you are nothing to me now

Then why, every time I close my eyes you're there
And I relive it all
The pain of loss, the fear
But I, I've already been there once, why every night again, again...
And the last dream that I had, we laughed together one last time
About our mutual hatred
(October 1995, April 1999)

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