When it comes my time
To fade into the light
To finish being stuck in between
You can find a home
To bury all my bones
Underneath an old pine tree
And when winter comes
And the wind blows cold
I will rest my head
Beneath the frozen snow

And I will be evergreen
I will never lose my leaves
I will never die complete

Well this love we share
It's not new novel or rare
But it sure is yours and mine
And if we treat it right
And we hold each other tight
We can keep it burning bright
And when we find ourselves
Running short on breath
We can trust our love
To be stronger still than death

And we will be evergreen
We will never lose our leaves
We will never die complete

My Father's Favorite Hymn

I dug my father up in Michigan
And if it's a sin
I would do it again
I drove his body over four state lines
And if it's a crime
I would gladly do the time

It is well with my soul
Now he's buried in the Minnesota snow
And it is well with my soul

When they laid him in the ground
Six hundred miles down
From my hometown
I shook my fist and cursed the lord of hosts
The one he loved the most
And I swore to do right by his ghost

It is well with my soul
Though my spirit's wandered deep into the cold
It is well with my soul

In the madness of this world
Is it too much to ask
For a small patch of grass
Close to home for the ones that we love?

I took my son to see his grave
Out by Well Lake
Off the interstate
And though my faith has grown dim
I taught him then
My father's favorite hymn

Lord, haste the day
When the faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound
And the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul


Don't be a fool
Love is not all just simple and cool
It's hammer and nails
Cement and shale
Lightning and hail
So we prepare
To fight it clean and tough and fair
We put up our fists
Tape up our wrists
And we swing and we hit

Aren't we savages?
Starving and ravaged?
Hungry to be held close
And never let go

And we are bound
To fight it toe to toe and round for round
We fight and we fend
Come lose or come win
We fight to the end
And we go down
And bust our faces on the ground
We huff and we puff
We bleed and we scuff
But it's never enough

shoot the lights out

When the sun goes down
Over this old town
We'll shoot the lights out
And sit beneath the stars
And though our time is short
And our years are long
We will shake our fists
At the fear of the dark

And I don't know what comes after this, old friend
But I know it's not the end
of our time
I can't tell you how I know
I don't have a lick of proof
But I know it
In my heart
I do
I do

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I want to be a ghost

So I can haunt your house forever

And you’ll never ever ever be alone


I want to be a bird

Living just outside your window

Tucked away beneath the shadow of your home


I want to be a tree

Stretching shade over your backyard

Reaching roots down deep and so far into the ground


I want to be a mouse

Living just beneath the floorboards

So content with being ignored and never known


I want be a ghost


I want to be alive

To see my breath against the moonlight

In the January midnight

While my hands begin to frostbite

And my knuckles turn to pale white

With our freezing fingers squeezed tight

And I’m standing there by your side

And it feels like all is just right

And I promise you with all my might

You’ll never spend another night



I want to be alive

Sky Full of Birds

Darling, cut off your hair

And I will bleed the marrow

from my bones

And we’ll use it like glue

To build a nest for me and you

Darling, let out your lungs

And take in the winter sunshine

And keep in mind

That the spring will return

And with it a sky full of birds

Aren’t we more than just our lonely old hearts?

Darling, hold out your hand

And take this heart I’ve handsewn

All my own

You can loosen the thread

And stitch it to yours instead

Aren’t we more than just our lonely old hearts?

Black and Achromatic

You’ve got this elephant heart

Beating slow and sound

And I’ve got all these broken parts

And I’m wondering if I could stick around

For a while

Me and my hummingbird head

Buzzing to beat the band

We sleep the sleep of the dead

When you quiet the clamor with your hands

And your hum

And I know how I float away, my dear

And leave you here


But I am coming back to you

Through the black and achromatic hues

To the color and the sound of you

I am coming back to you



All these pretty little birds

Hatching from their pretty little eggs

Ought to jump right back inside

and pull the shards of shell

back over their pretty little heads


All these itty bitty worms

Crawling from their itty bitty holes

Ought to duck back down

inside the earth and shovel dirt

back over their pretty little souls


I know how I'm always shouting about

the end of the world

and the sky falling down

But you would be too

if you would only pick up your head and look around


All these pretty little words

Falling from our pretty little tongues

Ought to think before they

Slip between our lips and teeth and 


All these itty bitty smiles

Hiding in our itty bitty lies

Ought to do their best

to bait and switch

and pull the wool back over our itty bitty eyes


And when everything around me gets so bad

I can only ever manage to get so sad

Before I hear you and your favorite line:

Honey, it'll be just fine 



Lord knows I try

To drown my sorrows out

Two hands real tight

On the neck and hold them down


But I just can’t win

My sorrows swim

They got great big fins

And I just can’t win


You know I try

To set my teeth and smile

But I just can’t quite

So please just stay awhile


I just can’t win

My sorrows swim

They got great big fins

And I just can’t win


So hold me close to your feathered breast

And wrap me in your wings

And sing to me a lullaby

Maybe then I’ll get to sleep


Close your eyes

It’ll be alright

Close them good and tight

It’ll be alright 


Secret Secret


If I told you that I need you

If I said I want you always near

If I whispered how I love you

Sweet and sibilant into your ear


Would you keep it like a secret?


If I told you just what haunts me

Of the fears that keep me up at night

Would you stay awake beside me

Wrap me in your arms and hold me tight


And would keep it like a secret?

Would you keep it like a secret secret?


Keep it in your heart

Keep it in your head

Keep it til the world goes dark and dead


If I told you of the darkness

Of the blight that hides inside my heart

Would you open up your ribcage

And let me look at all your broken parts


And would keep it like a secret?

Would you keep it like a secret secret? 


I’m boned tired

And my one desire

Is to hold you in my arms

Before the sun comes up

I’m road sick

So I’m coming home as quick

As the wheels beneath my seat

Will carry me across the ground

Oh Braveface

I’m on my way

I’m worn down

So I’m coming back to town

And I’m hoping that you’re up

And you’ll meet me at the door

I’m world weak

And the only thing I seek

Is the soft touch of your hand

Against the skin of my cheek

Oh Braveface

I’m on my way

I can’t say

Just what sends me on my way

Floating off above the trees

To where no one is around

But I’m home now

And I’m wondering just how

I could ever have believed

I’d survive without you

Oh Braveface

We’ll be okay

Newborn skin

You and I are much the same

Slippery in our newborn skin

You and I will split this name

Until the end, until the end

And you can have it all from me

My careless heart and calloused hands

You and you and me and we

And this screwloose plan, this screwloose plan

We’ve got bats in the belfry

Remember when the world was born

Underneath a pale blue sky?

You and I were bound and sworn

In the heat of high July

And now the earth is growing cold

The leaves are falling all around

Climb inside this heart of mine

I’ll keep you safe, I’ll keep you sound

Til the blackbirds come home

Now the sky is black and bone

Just the stars and sliver moon

And I am sleeping all alone

Sweating out this summer swoon

And dreaming of the bed we share

And how the light breaks through the blinds

And washes over all we have

That heart of yours, that home of mine

A Thousand Pines


Give me a thousand pines

Give me a tank of gas

Give me a pink swept sky

Give me a lake of glass


Give me the break of dawn

Give me a calling loon

Give me frozen pond

Give me a harvest moon


Give me an old guitar

Give me a pair of shoes

Give me the northern star

Give me a lot to lose


Give me baseball game

Give me the evening news

Give me a stolen name

Give me a good excuse

Give me a car to drive

Give me a foot of snow

Give me a reason why

Give me an open road


And I will give you all of me

At least all I know how to give

Which probably isn’t all that much

But maybe it is just enough


Cause I got this empty seat

And I got an open door

I got this map to read

I got heart of yours


I got a lonesome ride

That sun is sinking low

So why don’t you climb inside

And just tell me where to go?

Kid Memory 

Ride our bikes down to the lake

Coast the hills and pump the brake


Baseball on the radio

Summer days and nights roll slow


Skinny boys with scuffed up knees

Jars of grasshoppers and bees


Bottle rockets in the dark

Tire swings at Charlie park


Empty pockets grass stained jeans

Roller skates and trampolines


Sunlight glinting through the trees

Your hair blowing in the breeze


Turn your head and call my name

I am never since the same


Will you keep me in your kid memory?



Dear God

It's complicated

All these ventricles and veins

Pumping blood up to our brains

From our wild and woolly hearts

Oh Christ

The incarnated

Is this what you could see

In the garden on your knees

Begging for another way?

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing right.


Oh my

Aren't we frustrated

Taking sides and making stands

Drawing lines deep in the sand

For the wind to blow away

Dear me

The implicated

Always thinking I can tell

What is good and right and well

Without seeing the other side

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing right.


It's hard as hell to love your neighbor

It might be just as hard to love yourself

But it if you want to get along

Then you've got to get along

Cause it's not like we've got anybody else.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?

You do the right thing right.



I knew a man

Spent all his life

Selling insurance in case of fire

Or some act of God

Come crashing down

Burning all his things into the ground

But when death came through

It did care

No insurance could save him from those stairs

Your bones get old before you know

That man’s wife

She asked me how

Was she supposed to know what to do now

But I could not say

I had not thought

Of what the living do when the dead is all they got

But I’d tell her now

Do what you want

I know ghosts don’t choose where they get to haunt

Your bones get old before you know

I spend my days

Picking up the dead

Most of them dying in their beds

But no not me

I will not go

Lying on my back waiting for death to show

I’ll stretch my legs

And split this town

And death can do his best to track me down

Your bones get old before you know

Favorite Season

She says fall’s her favorite season

Even though it smells like death

But it’s worth it just to watch the colors turn

And she know all good things

Eventually see their end

Like when you set the leaves out to burn

She’s got it tattooed on her hip

So she never will forget

That a part of her has left this world for good

I’d like to write her on my skin

Let her know when this all ends

I’d hold her in my arms if I could

Ain’t it the truth

That we trade in our youth

For gray hair and wrinkled skin

But ain’t it a lie

That when good things do die

They never do live again

I am thinking if she’d let me

I would tell her about forever

And how some things simply turn to gold

And when you think that they will fail you

Instead they stand beside you

And hang around until the world explodes

Ain’t it the truth

That we trade in our youth

For gray hair and wrinkled skin

But ain’t it a lie

That when good things do die

They never do live again

So give me the spring

Give me trees turning green

Give me birds heading home from the south

This is redemption:

The chance to try again

The chance to choose faith over doubt

Little bird

Oh little bird

How you carry all those heavy things

With just your will and wings

I’ll never know

Oh little bird

You’ve got the strength of an army

Marching out to certain death

You survey the scene

And take the wind into your chest

And try, try again

But oh why, why

And oh when, oh when

Does the trouble end?

And as for me

I’ve mostly been a quitter

As long as I have been alive

It’s just been easier

But little bird

Watching you makes me want to

Finish something before I die

Before I leave this world and say goodbye

I’ll try, try again

But oh why, why

And oh when, oh when

Does the trouble end?

And you don’t have to be strong here

You can let down your guard here

I know it’s been a long year

But you don’t have to be strong here

Oh little bird

How flying south must feel like a marathon

But you can finish strong

I know you and I know you can