I Walked The Streets at Midnight

https://open.spotify.com/embed-podcast/episode/6D6dDkoyCvPdyqYihPhSZD

I walked the streets at midnight
I knew that you were near
I can walk these streets till I die of thirst
I know you will never appear
Everyone tells me to settle down
But I know I must persevere
I will walk this endless road forever
As a lonesome pioneer

So when it’s Saturday night in the city
And you sit there all alone
And the tears stream down your lovely face
I pray you don’t pick up the phone
To try and reach me in your hunger
From your opulent penthouse throne
In the center of 5th and Broadway
Never again will I hear you moan

Now all the noise in the world
Could never take me away
From my purpose and vital passion
Where to succeed is to be led astray
I stay true to the work of wandering
And my torn shoes are my resume
I submit them to the proper authorities
Who send me on my way

But loneliness comes around again
And some nights it will not leave
The morning will come but in too long
On these nights I cannot believe
In God or Man or in myself
All I’ve lost I will never retrieve
The lonely heart is a hunter of yearning
It does not need permission to grieve

I get up and walk the streets at midnight
And there’s nowhere I need to go
Nowhere is as good a place as any
I’ve been there before, I would know
I will not stop; no, I will not rest
‘Till Truth rests deep in my marrow
With an empty wallet and an empty heart
I walk on the way rivers flow

“Evangelists Keep Knockin’ On My Door”

Evangelists keep knockin’ on my door
Askin’ me what I am living for
I say, ‘for the money and the fame
I’ve tried to live for love, but love’s a game’

There’s something here I still don’t understand
I’m not at sea, but there’s still no sight of land
Seems to me the moon knows when to weep
Where’s the savior here who’ll lead these sheep?

Melancholy crashes like a storm
I’m too alone to pretend to heed the norm
Sky’s about to crack open and explode
The tears and planes will fall, and every hand will fold

Heart’s so weary and the soul’s age-old
Ev’ry time I stay here it all gets cold
I hear how sorrow makes room to grow
But there’s no room for me here, so it’s time to go

She held me under water in a bay
Said she never knew no other way
I gasped for air, then asked her out again
She said one day she’ll change, I guess I’ll leave her then

Come and take these shadows off my wall
Come and catch me from my next great fall
World outside looks like it won’t improve
I’m lookin’ for an insecure beauty to ask me if I approve

Sky’s so dark, the mind is so damn full
This time in the city’s already taking its toll
Can I please have a second away from noise?
Can I for once forget to pretend that I have poise?

Why in hell do these words never stop?
Why don’t I just pick up broom and mop?
I know I’d dust off every window sill
The emptier I feel, the more these words don’t fill

Well, even the trees, you know they stand alone
And even the asphalt here, you can hear it groan
This place was never meant for the likes of me
The echo I must heed, it calls me back to sea

“Before Dawn I Tremble”

Face feels hollow, chest collapsed in
Lines appearing through my sallow skin
Who’d want to pass these traits to their next of kin?
Before dawn I tremble

Terror returns like wind with a shiver
Let it be or flee, float down the river
Each man carries a message to deliver
Mid-morning I crumble

A race paced for impending fall
Heard the breeze in the trees, heard the call
As a chill ran up my crooked spine
I asked her how she was, she just said, ‘fine.’

The sounds of sirens remote and aligned
With the ghostly whimpers I’ve left behind
What is the thing I was born to find?
At high noon I question

In times mindlessly mundane
Callous jesters feebly entertain
Thoughts of weeping to the falling rain
After noon I envision

The thunder rumbles on inside
No one can see, there’s nowhere to hide
The emptiness remains, within and around
Hidden weight takes you to the ground

Neither soft nor easy, often I writhe
Faces around me look unworried and blithe
The women are graceful, lovely and lithe
In the evening I envy

The one I thought was The One she knocked
On the door to tell me I wasn’t, I locked
The door to ease my heart, it balked
At midnight I cry out

“Below Her, Another Self”

Below her, there is another self, the self she searches for,
But will she ever learn to receive, to let the other open the door?
She searches for one to save the self she wishes she could leave
How long in her loveliness must she search ‘till soul and body cleave?

She and I, we once were one, but split apart like conjugal twins
Racked with the pain of Catholic guilt, she asked pardon for her sins
“Pardon me,” she spoke in French, “je pense you’ve lost your sense,
Forgive my greater intelligence, I’m sorry you are so dense.”

So that was that, the thing was done, I wept and laughed by turns
Though many years have come and gone, the sting of loss still burns
A friend told me he met her in Japan, working as a geisha
If he had the choice—Cat’s Claw or her—he said he’d choose the Acacia

Below her, there was another self, and that self eluded my reach
Like silence in the city, like a distant island from the rocky beach
She was like Nietzsche: she hated to follow, and she hated to lead
She could live with very little, for to be herself was her only need

If I cannot be with her, at least let me find her likeness
I’m nowhere near midlife, so why am I always in crisis?
By the cypress trees, I feel the breeze touch me, like a long-lost soul
Touches a lover, desperate to feel the sensation of being whole

In a time of silence and waiting, I waited for a moment too long
Since my body lacked clear weakness, I was praised for being strong
In the darkest moment of the shortest day, I awoke to the nature of light
By the bark of the oak tree in the shade, I decided to rest for the night

I long to be at ease with another, the way I used to be with her
Alone together, we remained ourselves, neither needing to defer
Below her, there was another self, and such beauty is far above words
I hope she is free, free and unfettered, that her spirit soars with the birds

“Hard Hot Summer Blues”

Well, I’ve been walkin’ down the city street
July heat’s been makin’ me sweat
I’ve been walkin’ down the city street
July heat’s been makin’ me sweat
Tryin’ not to look at a single face
Every glance bears the hint of a threat

The hard heat of the sidewalk
It burns the soles of your shoes
Yeah, the hard heat of the city
It burns the soles of your shoes
And the hole in my soul man it’s burnin’
From these hard hot summer blues

Well, I’m walkin’ down the city street
Lookin’ for a place to dance
Well, I’m walkin’ in the merciless city
Just lookin’ for a place to dance
Longing for a mystic gypsy woman
To put me in a walking trance

The nights are torrid and lonesome
And the passion is never real
Nights so torrid and lonesome
And the passion never real
I’ve got a need to dance my way
Through these feelings as strong as steel

Walkin’ down the city street
Burnin’ the soles of my shoes
I’m walkin’ down the city street
Holes in the soles of my shoes
My soul is hungry, a hungry ghost
With these hard hot summer blues

“Take From Me This Need to Flee”

When she looks away from me, my heart’s encased in ice
The moment her gaze returns to me, I’d take her worst advice
This dependence forms a bed of coals, it walls me off from her
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

The fire within, it needs a way out, and so I write these words
To find the way, I need to be led, at least that’s what I’ve heard
I’ve got no new solution, all my problems, they always recur
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

I always see her from across the street, walking the other way
She always pretends I don’t exist, to my undying dismay
Today I swore I would enjoy my time, the entire day was a blur
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

Far I traveled to a lonely isle, to leave all my troubles behind
All I found was a mermaid lover to caress me then rob me blind
My friends they tell me to take it easy, and man I wish that could occur
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

She’s never so alone, she told me, as when she’s out in a crowd
Her soul is pure, she rarely speaks; to be true she cannot be loud
I think of her from time to time, and can feel my heartstrings stir
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

The thirst for liquor is a thirst for spirit, this I know deep in my blood
On thorn-filled trails I’ve tripped and stumbled till my face was caked with mud
I’ve drank away my share of days, like Kerouac at Big Sur
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

Other people: that’s hell, wrote a man skilled at expressing his own
On many days I agree with him, and wish I were miles from a phone
But I know I’m slipping when I start thinking that others can only deter
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

Well, the snare was set, and I walked in, thinking the trap a boon
The one I love she loves another, though in my arms she once did swoon
I’ve walked the sands, I’ve been to sea, every shore falls short of her
Take from me this need to flee, take me back to how we were

“Down The Road of Struggle and Desire”

I walk down the road of struggle and desire
Each morning I strain to rekindle the fire
I want too much; I want nothing at all
I want to climb and then watch myself fall

What could I give you that I can call my own?
The scientists make theories, nothing is known
I know I feel too much, that’s abundantly clear
Will I ever recover? Will I ever be here?

My mind and my love, they’re ten thousand miles away
My rucksack is packed, you and I know I can’t stay
Got nowhere to go, that’s never stopped me before
My soul is on fire, blazing the path to the door

Now the door is open, time to sing Whitman’s song
Afoot and light-hearted, no journey is too long
For these rugged feet and this restless heart
That seeks to go beyond what tears it apart

Everyone’s got their own life to live
Some people take, some people give
Taken me years to know I don’t know my own name
Life’s just fear and loathing when you’re possessed of no aim

So much stays in utero, hidden and indistinct
On the day when it surfaces you begin to go extinct
Your real self exists in the unfathomable deep
The truth rests in the unseen; the seen rests asleep

I weep on the surface, in the depths I rejoice
In speech I am silent, so my soul finds its voice
One day I’ll be old and decrepit, on the sands lost and alone
Seeking solace in the sea’s power, my hand gripping a stone

No matter my age, my yearning will not leave me
Lovers will leave, and friends will deceive me
This yearning will remain with me ‘till the end
If everyone else abandons me, on her I can depend

On the gentle sands of relentless time
I stand stranded, in what I’m told is my prime
Youth is unkind when you don’t know your own name
And life is suffering when you are possessed of no aim

As dusk collapses into starless night
Everyone goes out, seeking some light
I’m already gone, don’t look for me there
To go backward is sinful, to move on is my prayer

There’s an angel and a devil in every soul on earth
To discover the former requires rebirth
The devil may be strong, but the angel is always stronger
The devil’s at the fingertips, to find the other takes longer

Am I more alone, or do I feel my aloneness more acutely?
I will endure what I must, and I will endure it resolutely
I will find what eludes me in the cities and the towns
I will keep firm on the trail, my ears alert for all sounds

As I walk down the road of struggle and desire
This town is pitch-black, this house is on fire
I go out into the night, to remember my own name
I go out, never to return, I will blow this ember into flame

“Heartsick”: A Rap

Chewing on a toothpick,
I knew I’d end up heartsick,
the final death of the candle wick,
The light that burned out long ago,
The night I said I had to go,
I was mad as hell, you were high on blow,
How was I s’posed to show you my love
When you couldn’t catch my heat with a major league glove,
You stood above, on your throne, wooden and golden,
In your regal zone while I sat there foldin’
In on myself, like a gin-soaked elf,
Wishing I had another fifth o’ whiskey from the top shelf,
If I did this for my health, I would’ve quit before I began.
Step up to the stand and I’ll declare your rights,
You have a right to clam up, a right to dance all night,
You know I’ll choose the latter cuz it restores my sight
That you took from me, like a blind man at sea,
Like a runner without knees
I stumble off the trail, mumble to these trees,
Seekin’ to seize some sense
From their staunch presence,
Launch myself from myself and into descent,
But the deeper I go the more that I moan,
Moan for you to be near, and this lostness of soul.

Looking into the eyes of no one,
Cuz your eyes are nowhere to be seen,
Blinding my eyes with the distant sun,
Not knowing what anything means;
Now I look into the eyes of no one,
Cuz your eyes are nowhere to be seen,
Now I blind my eyes with the distant sun,
I don’t know what anything means.

Sitting here with eyes closed,
Thinking ’bout what I chose,
And back to all the shows we performed together,
Back to all the storms we endured and weathered,
You shed me then, like a bird her feathers,
And now I can’t soar, like I’m trapped and tethered,
I sit below on the ground, hopelessly lonely
Now I sink and I drown, before you controlled me
You still do from afar, and nothing consoles me,
Friends try hard to cajole me, to restore the soul of me
But nothing they can do could fill this hole, you see,
You left me; nothing can change that fact
It ends finally in rejection, in the final act
Best to reject first, before gettin’ stabbed in the back
If I tracked you now, I’d find you scheming your next attack,
Getting your mask ready, putting on a happy face,
Doin’ the tasks necessary, to give the new man a taste
Of what you are capable of, you’re like a treasure encased
And your grip is inescapable, your lust for power insatiable.
Once under your thumb, chance of escape is negligible
I was born susceptible to Beauty and Passion
And I’ve searched for them both, in my personal fashion
What I thought I found in you turned to entrapment
Now I wander the shores, and the sea is my master,
Ripped asunder by ‘the more’, closing in on disaster,
I’ve lost the ‘before’, and I don’t know what comes after,
Except for this war, remorseless, and my mind my captor.

Looking into the eyes of no one,
Cuz your eyes are nowhere to be seen,
Blinding my eyes with the distant sun,
Not knowing what anything means;
Now I look into the eyes of no one,
Cuz your eyes are nowhere to be seen,
Now I blind my eyes with the distant sun,
I don’t know what anything means.

Well, so that’s the sad view
It don’t negate the glad view
I look up at the blue sky above the canyon wild
I want to explore it all with the instinct of a child
Lost in the roadless miles, i recall your angelic smile,
But I came here to forget that, and I’ve come to resent that
I so seldom saw that smile towards the end,
Ed Abbey’s Seldom Seen could be around this next bend,
Right around where Ruess disappeared and why pretend
I connect more with these two solitaires of the desert
Than I ever did with you and the torn sweatshirt
Of our love, how much more could I get hurt
And still find some meaning before the hearse,
Hope your purse is full, and you’ve found a way to pull
Your own onerous weight, great is the wool
You’d need to pull over your own eyes not to see
Just how much suffering you’ve inflicted upon me
But I’ll let it be, it’s in the past, no need to flee
What’s already behind me, now I’m back on the grind,
And work will be my new love, I’m only at the rind,
And who knows the sweetness I could well find?
No need to remind me of what I never forgot,
My mind is taut, and I’ll teach myself, reach
For what all that can’t be touched by hand,
You understand? I stand alone under the bridge
That separates ridge from river, and yes I shiver
You were the giver, and I received too much
I perceive too much, and it pains the brain
What do I gain by a mirror stained by time?
Is it not plain that I must do more than rhyme?
Fine, clear enough, but here’s where it gets tough,
For I want–I want–I want, but what I want I cannot say,
I wanted you, and look where that’s got me today,
Getting too old to play these games, seek this fame
That doesn’t mean anything anyways. It’s all the same
Only the names are changed, and I’d gladly exchange
This lust I feel now for the love I felt then,
But without that love’s end I wouldn’t be holding this pen,
If it weren’t for that den of lions, I know I’d still be dyin’,
But now I’m living, now I’m getting out on the road,
The world I thought you held, now I get to see it unfold.

Now I look into the eye of the storm,
And I listen for what cannot be seen;
Now I look for the formless in form,
I will listen to the silence to discover what it means

“Mystery wraps me in her infinite embrace”

I sit and I wait for the music to enter
I listen to the water; my eyes are closed, and the sun is on me
I search in the day for the unnamable center
And the night comes like the dawn, singing

The song never ends, but few are the ears that hear it
I came upon a blind beggar, and saw that he was rich
The path ahead is unclear, but why should I fear it?
I climbed out of the hole and found the world my niche

Mystery wraps me in her infinite embrace
While what I can’t see traps me, and I search for an escape
I’ve been discovered by Beauty
I’ve been loved by the sea
Those who talk to me of my duty
I see they are far from free

The pond glints and sparkles in the morning sun
In its daily dance with the clouds where neither wins out
I will write till the last, I will never be done
I will write with my longing, I will write with my doubt

Mystery wraps me in her infinite embrace
While what is in me traps me, as I search for some place
To be discovered by Beauty
To love the ever-restless sea
To find what is my unique duty
To sing and dance till I am free

Let the current take me home, wherever that may be
Let the Light rising over the mountains rise also from in me
Let the road remain open; let the words stay unspoken
Let the souls that seek to be whole admit that they are broken

I prayed without words; in my rhythmic waiting I prayed
I waited like a deep pond waits, reflecting the world above
Below me was the unseen, what in me I had not made
I looked to the pond and my gaze fell upon a rising dove

And I felt Mystery wrap me in her infinite embrace
As I remembered a strange young woman with an ancient face
Who had not discovered her own Beauty
But yet she found it in the sea
Who felt that to fall was her duty
But only by rising could she be set free

The stillness disintegrated, rose away like the mist
I saw the reflection but the Truth itself was evasive
She disappeared like a gypsy with a brief, fleeting kiss
My heart moaned to the moon, its sorrow pervasive

And I let mystery wrap me in her infinite embrace
And I felt floods of compassion for the human race
Whose cruel ugly acts conceal a deeper Beauty
Yet ugly or beautiful, it all returns to the sea
A race loving to talk of patriotism and duty
Talking so much of freedom, so never breaking free

Time plays its symphony on the timelessly still waters
And like an athlete I strengthen myself, determined not to be destroyed
But Time is ruthless, it has seen fall many martyrs
Fall like pebbles, like raindrops, made vague by fog, into the void

The vogue now is to ignore rather than face the implacable
But I must face it, I must taste for myself what kills and what gives life
With my pen and my restless feet, I will track the intractable
I will cut through to the eternal with this finite ink knife

And I will love Mystery as she wraps me in her infinite embrace
I will let her trap me, if only to see her face
I will walk with purpose towards Beauty
I will ebb and flow with the sea
To discern the true from the false will be my duty
To see through Time’s unending march, and so from it break free