LYRICS FROM THE OUTLAW
(the words of the character of the outlaw are in plain text; words of other characters are italicized)
wake from this sophomoric sleep. pick up those rhinoceros feet. embark, embark young soldier. you brim with the bright lights of life. we shield our eyes when yours are open. you are one but you are one with youth. there is nothing you can’t do, you god of the wide-eyed. you will leave your peers worthless in your wake. so create, indulge and conquer and love, for your future shines like california gold and texas oil. but you must not travel west. just sign your name. they will tell you what to learn. i can’t just say i’ve been deceived. you’ve tried to give me your disease of common sense and fear of frontiers. to consume me is the threat, from the boots on my feet to the guns on my hips to the longing in my eyes. god save me. but they must educate me. just sign my name. they will tell me what to learn. you seemed such a smart boy, but you’re such a disappointing man. you made me who i am.
SIGNS OF FIRE
all my life has been teaching me this: i can’t depend on anyone. try to recognize the signs of fire. breathing the smoke as i’m screaming, “i will deny you what you’re needing. just wallow in your self-destruction.” feeling the last living cell in my body with no incentive for survival. just retching and scratching and blindness. it will be as i am now. try to recognize the signs of fire. try to recognize the signs of fire. to recognize the signs of fire. to recognize the signs of fire.
these bloody feet, these sunburned cheeks, won’t stop till dark, when this land will drink what’s left of me from this bloodless heart. yet in your sleep you’ll dream of me the moment i expire. your memory is my victory and i will rise. and something deeper than my sins will bind me to the world’s first man. i’ll rise new life from desert dust. i’ve spent life cut off from your world, but i will call myself a man when i am remembered. whole towns will be weaker than me. they’ll fear this beast inside. and when i speak, no man will breathe. that’s why i ride. and in their sleep they’ll dream of me. they’ll fear this beast inside. and when i speak, no man will breathe. that’s why i ride.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST LIARS
passion and beauty don’t exist in my surrogate family of the whores and the dogs and the dirt streets and the guns and the bartenders and me. where did the days go when my life had a promise? i don’t know why this sickness is buried in my bones. all i know is i can’t ever go home. this hole of a home we’ve dug for ourselves is deep underground. this hole of a home, this forgotten hell, is far from the sounds of humanity. so our sadness knows no bounds. so let’s revel in our misery. we’ll reject this love. for it’s much too bright. so we’ll stay inside. it’s what we prefer. tell these lies with our eyes. it’s easy to forget the life and love that you’ve had and never call yourself a man and only know yourself as sad. and when the sting of loneliness resides in our bones, we’ll sleep the heavy slumber of the bitterly alone. and we’ll hide until we die.
i carry this pistol. this pistol carries me. protection from this crippling fear. i need it. and with this red right hand i’ll make myself a man. gun you down on this tavern floor. the cleansing barrel smoke fills my lungs. i don’t need anyone. the fool that gave me hope is swinging from a rope in the street. and i put him there. now i am alone.
FOR A LOVE UNKNOWN
send me a bracelet from your wrist. i need to know that you exist. and though i may not have a right to this, i still have so much love to give. baby i need to see your face. maybe a touch or an embrace. i’d find you at midday when the sun is high. but girl, i can’t move time and space. i think it’s as cold as it could get. but you keep my blankets soaked with sweat. when i’m underneath this starry desert sky, your love invades my sleeping head. just send me a bracelet from your wrist. i need to know that you exist. and though i may not have a right to this, i still have so much love to give. a travelin’ man is just a clown. and though i love that midwestern town, there’s something inside me i just can’t beat down. i’ll understand if you don’t wait around.
you’ll be the first for that firing squad. a flash of light as the crowd applauds. the law will find you, raining fire upon you. now no hope for the damned. you’ll pay for the bloodshed. i’m gonna watch you hang. i’m gonna see you choke till your snakeskin boots and your neck are swinging from a rope. and in their sleep they’ll dream of me. they’ll fear this beast inside. and when i speak, no man will breathe. i will be satisfied. you’ve been slinging guns for far too long, your time has come. i’m gonna watch you die. i, i, i, i, i, i, i won’t, i won’t, i won’t, i won’t die in a prison cell. and in their sleep they’ll dream of me. they’ll fear this beast inside. and when i speak, no man will breathe. i will be satisfied.
the devil’s got a hold on me so i can barely breathe. the filth of blood and ghost town dust. trigger finger pistol rust. sink my blade into your scalp. sick of death, i need your help. i need to wash away these years with your blood and with my tears. i want to bathe away this guilt. but only one man’s blood has ever been known to cleanse. the devil made me kill again. sink my blade into your scalp. sick of death, i need your help. i need to wash away these years with your blood and with my tears.
a coward shoots a man in his blankets. the only fields you’re brave enough to take are isolation, loneliness and lust. in the time since i have tasted a tender mouth, i have turned to decayed lips of perverted substitution until i am sick with sorrow. until the day that i am new. take me from this valley, lord, in this midnight of my soul. i have come to confess my crimes. i beg for mercy. spare my life. until i am dragged out of the gaps in the rotting teeth of the mouth of hell. i am clean.
AS THE VULTURES
i’m blood-soaked and i’m short of breath. there’s a tin star gonna lead me to my death. a worn rope cuts into my neck. in the midst of all the death i’ve known, i somehow always knew that i’d die alone. but even as the vultures hungrily tear flesh from my bones, i feel my face pointing home. the beatings have broken my legs and i deserve them. the blood drips from my mouth. i can’t pay for my sins, can’t erase the violence in my soul. in the midst of all the death i’ve known, i somehow always knew that i’d die alone. but even as the vultures hungrily tear flesh from my bones, i feel my face pointing home. die with a noose around my neck. die with a bullet in my chest. with my name in your book. die with a seal upon my heart. you won’t die in a prison cell. we are just men and our justice serves us well. we won’t rest till your spirit burns in hell. and now this life is at its end. a chance to see real life begin. and so despite the kind of man i’ve been, i won’t have to be alone again.