Song A Week, Volume 1

by James Tristan Redding

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1.
A little closer to tomorrow The city sidewalk starts to show A clearer picture of the reasons The broader purpose of the road I once was in the shoes you’re wearing With all the promises ahead These days will weave into a lifetime Before you even see the threads This is it now, this is cheers You just arrived, you’re on the other side of five Come Monday morning you can start a brand new year With your ears and eyes alive, keep your ears and eyes alive To find the square root of a number When you’d rather play outside Or draw a map of Indonesia When your brain is feeling fried You face an age uniquely challenged A youth of new and changing times I gotta’ tell you, I’m excited To see your spirit define This is it now, this is cheers You just arrived, you made it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Come Monday morning you can start a brand new year With your ears and eyes alive, just keep your ears and eyes alive So happy birthday, Phoenix And another brilliant year To the dreams you will discover To your own untamed frontiers From your father and your brother From your mom and all your friends For a life that’s full of wonder From the start right to the end This is it now, this is cheers You just arrived, you’ll do much more than just survive Come Monday morning you can start a brand new year With your ears and eyes alive, your ears and eyes alive
2.
Still as steam above the dash High as phone lines off the ground Did I forget the desperate days When all I wanted was the sound That even on a bad day the next train is home Even when the January sky is grey it still looks like gold to me A pocket full of daydreams and loose change But never is it too late or too strange Just put one foot in front of the other Trembling hands release their grip Green printed promises fall free Four hundred ways to save a life A prayer is answered on the street One by one the taxis leave We are the same when we believe That on a dime it all can turn You’re never too far to return Lift your voice up make it heard After all you know the words Give it everything you’ve got It’s just enough
3.
North Dakota, where they always know your name North Dakota, it’s the cornhole hall of fame North Dakota, home of all the kindest folks North Dakota, and they’ll trade you redneck jokes North Dakota, where the air is crystal clear North Dakota, and there’s always room for beer North Dakota, where they greet you with a smile North Dakota, pack a bag a stay awhile Grand Forks, Washburn, Devil’s Lake Lisbon, Lincoln, Ellendale Tattoo sleeves and fireworks I-29! North Dakota, where the pickups cut their springs North Dakota, ‘cuz the simple life is king North Dakota, pass the beans and baked potates North Dakota, boy you better clean your plate Bismarck, Fargo, Dickenson Minot, Jamestown, Williston Trucks and booze, guitars and guns I-94! Sure it’s cold as Scott Walker’s heart Just get yourself a hot beverage Soon you will find it’s just a jumpstart And frostbite gives you leverage North Dakota, buy a house for 30 large North Dakota, we can park in my front yard North Dakota, where the winter starts in June North Dakota, but you’ll want to come back soon North Dakota, they would ski except it’s flat North Dakota, need a real good thermostat North Dakota, N-O-R-T-H-D-A North Dakota, K-O-T-A-hey-hey-hey!
4.
The garbage man was kind enough to take Aboard his diesel chugging steed My best regrets to someplace I will never find Buried deep, satisfaction guaranteed If I were reading from a brilliant movie script There is no way I’d ever make the cut Our leading man must know exactly where he stands No hesitation in his gut Everyone from here to Bowling Green Can feel the pressure coming down But we all know it’s Opposite Day And I sure don’t miss you now From time to time I replay a scene or two It’s black and white, and pretty faint A word I wish I’d said, and many I wish I had not These little cracks pervade the paint Before and after I could taste you bittersweet For nothing else could I have asked My forward steps are slow, my building blocks are small Westbound I will be free at last Just because the sun came up That don’t change my grand design It’s a brisk and brittle Opposite Day And you’re not on my mind We can dance around the feelings But it don’t erase the facts Now the lights are low on Opposite Day And I don’t want you back Never mind the heavy silence Ignore the reasons and the rhyme I miss you least of all on Opposite Day Well I guess that’s all the time
5.
I got a real specific itch that only you can scratch ‘Cuz there’s a real specific way you turn the tune And it’s a real specific moment when you pop the hatch Before the real specific flowers start to bloom Unslide this real specific knife out from my play-doh ribs Remove this real specific rope from where it binds Replay the real specific reel, reveal the tongues and the lips Return the real specific pieces right on time From Atlantic to Pacific BE REAL SPECIFIC You only wanna’ be prolific IF YOU’RE REAL SPECIFIC A couple verses are terrific WHEN THEY’RE REAL SPECIFIC Or did it get too scientific? WELL IT’S REAL SPECIFIC I want your real specific soul between my mental paws Give me the real specific key to swing the door Disclose the real specific facts and do it just because You had this real specific feeling once before A couple real specific words come quickly to my aid To show you real specific why you got no time Until my real specific love either inches or invades Beneath the real specific rules we left behind From Atlantic to Pacific BE REAL SPECIFIC You only wanna’ be prolific IF YOU’RE REAL SPECIFIC A couple verses are terrific WHEN THEY’RE REAL SPECIFIC Or did it get too scientific? WELL IT’S REAL SPECIFIC
6.
I thought I read the label, imagine my surprise When two or three ingredients not listed were inside A bottle is to beauty as a river is to land Your inspiration rises with the tide Her body is the ocean, so salty on my lips The current casts my compass down below the wayward ship Adrift without an anchor or captain at the helm The wood, the rope, the iron in my grip So it’s 30 knots to starboard, then open up your sails Through caution to the wind and let the elements prevail I know just how to find it but can’t quite get across But I steer the stormy water good and lost Dry land was not much drier 3,000 Miles away The bottle still was after this coastal castaway My feet were on the pavement, my heart was underground Her lashes drew my silhouette in gray The jury would convict me of pride and lust and greed If only they weren’t fooled by all the tears my eyes could bleed But study well the landscape I did with map in hand And knew exactly where the road would lead So it’s a left from where you exit, you’ll see Museum Mile Turn clockwise at the corner, then cruise a little while I know just how to find it but can’t quite get across Then I hit the dead end highway good and lost Now if you feel directed, compelled to do the same First reach up to your temple and try to find your brain One visit would be plenty, and most make two or three Tomorrow just the memory will remain The question isn’t simply why would a man so choose A steamer trunk of heartache, a stomach full of booze But knowing where it takes him and how hard to return Can one day at a time this man refuse So it’s a ticket to the concert, and a pair of brand new socks The way the sunlight fills the morning and your courage is unlocked Yeah I thought I knew the answers and it wasn’t worth the cost How surprising is the comfort now when I get good and lost
7.
s p e l l i t o u t t o m e e x p o u n d y o u r p o v i f o r g o t m y s m i l e h e r e a n d l a y n u m b a l l o f m e p l a n n e d t o d r i f t o u t o f o z s o m e o n e l i f t o u t t h i s o d d f e e l i n g f o r o n c e m y h e a r t s t o p p e d b e a t i n g c l a s s i c y o u s a n g t h e p l o t d e s c e n d g e t t i n g t o o l a t e b o t h d i d o u r b e s t t o s l i n g o n e l a s t p l a s t i c m a c h e t e
8.
Let all the clouds roll by Forever after free Don’t need to give our names Can’t even see our feet You wanna’ meet me there Just behind the beat If I were with her now Apologia me I got my new best friend sittin’ next to me We’re gonna’ get so high above the olive trees Up on the strangest wings sweet as a honey bee Don’t wanna’ come back down beneath the deep blue sea Mix the eggs and flour together Baby take your time The crescent wrench is all important And the lift will save our lives On the up and up Give Danny five, no not your hand He needs the dough, ha ha! Maybe he’ll take a scone Where oh where did my glass eye go Where oh where have you seen it though
9.
“What new altitude of sin” cry my scales and tail and fins And though formerly submerged my lens is now absurd To my paraphyletic friends with their notochords to bend Inverse bliss paralysis and my words remain unheard I’m learning how to walk To fuck and fight and talk A shark without his brine Exhausted on the rocks Against my tetrapodic foes pumps my ectothermic flow With all the ferver of an eel this operculum to seal Too early and too often must a chimera bellow thus Even I could not conceal that the landlocked blues are real I’m learning how to walk To fuck and fight and talk A shark without his brine Exhausted on the rocks What are these made up things like zip code, taxi, shoes Such elevation for an ichthys unprepared Typewriter ribbons tangled up in nylon lines Out of the flood again and right back into black Given saline to inhale and a reef not far below Like a submarine in flames and her hazy afterglow Maybe north is just a hook that I read once in a poem Nevermind the rising tide and eschew the undertow
10.
On a wave of wind A soul floats East then west, back again In no hurry she ambles Like a silver moth or Crimson canary Slow and care free toward Her very own meadow. Unannounced And unafraid Bright winter branches stretch Tomorrow’s fresh canvas Over the ideas once vibrant Which expired today. She is like the feather On the water’s surface Being carried by the river To what needs not Any explanation.
11.
Troubled I left Memphis, forgot to pack my ears Really thought I’d need ‘em but not the last few years You see I left there with a hunger and a brand new way to hear The tiny sacred moments when our details disappear At the old West Prairie Palace pretty sure I lost my mind But I found I didn’t need it so I let it all unwind To my great surprise it was not a loss that I sustained My thoughts are with the outlaws now, wild horses on the plains For all this time I’ve been so confused I’d lie and cheat and steal to win but I would lose But if I open up and give it all away Sweet sunlight shines upon my path today To a girl in Veracruz I gave my broken heart She’s free to try n’ fix it, or sell it off for parts I still find I can feel it when I’m barefoot in the mud Like a djembe to the rhythm of the ocean in my blood On a beach in Frisco my eyes just walked away They had enough midwest I guess, they were ready for C-A An urchin gave me his to use so he held onto mine My world’s a little brighter but we’ll trade back down the line For all this time I’ve been so confused I’d lie and cheat and steal to win but I would lose But if I open up and give it all away Sweet sunlight shines upon my path today What do I have left you ask? And that’s the funny part Each ounce of me I gave, not only did it leave no scar But I received the same in turn exactly piece by piece This patchwork man complete I stand, a reverse amputee So when they ask me for my hands I’ll give both left and right And feet they’ll say, those too I’ll offer up without a fight Knees and elbows, legs and arms, yes they can have it all My maker will replace it, make me strong, not let me fall I may be multi-colored with stitch marks everywhere And limbs of different sizes, a real Frankenstein affair But each piece of the puzzle in which my soul resides Was traded with another creator in disguise
12.
Hey cowboy won’t you let me in I’m nothing if I’m not your friend And if our dreams catch fire we can start again Hey cowboy, hey hey hey cowboy Flannel and leather, iron and ash Circuits and starships, blasters and cash Bullets and powder, granite and slate History and future, horse hair and faith Reach for forever wring out the reins Pull not your punches speak not your name Spin only clockwise let out the sound Fall never silent shut never down Hey cowboy won’t you let me in I’m nothing if I’m not your friend And if the wheels catch fire and the roof descends Hey cowboy, hey hey hey cowboy Stranded expanded hands in the sand Landed in tandem branded and planned Offhand understanding demanded the cans Commanded a band and manned it firsthand I have a lump of lead in my sock And boots in the water slick as a fox Give me the hatchet bury the keys Take off your handcuffs light the marquee Hey cowboy won’t you let me in I’m nothing if I’m not your friend And if the wheels catch fire and the roof descends Now, cowboy I can see the world but the world cannot see me
13.
You never know until its hits you that the golden age is now Whatever after may be stellar but it ain’t real anyhow Better make it here try it out today and forget about what it cost All the cards are on the table and the wise ones cut the loss I have a day job that I love except the days I don’t And every time I think I will leave it turns out that I won’t When the well dressed boys downtown tried sell whole thing short The other shoe just came untied slipped off and hit the floor It could be better could be worse Could be blessed could be cursed But it’s sweet as pie not to be in charge Living medium beats the hell out of living large My apartment is the size of a Taco Bell Express And the suit that’s on my shoulders well it couldn’t cost much less Some girls like a man with fame, some prefer he just look great I am unknown, cheap, and free, let the record clearly state It could be better could be worse Could be chorus could be verse Real glad the smallest fees are charged To guys like me living medium instead of large Some kid in Tulsa will be moving here next week And when I pass him on the early morning street Hope I remember to show a little love Toward the large in charge medium above It could be better could be worse Could be his or could be hers Good luck to anyone in charge From guys like me living medium, by and large It could be better could be worse Could be last could be first As April takes the place of March Living medium is my kinda’ living large
14.
So less is more (more or less) That’s the basic deal I guess Can’t make a snowball without snow Can’t see the roof from down below Went out to pick the hollyhocks Slid down the hallway in my socks Gave everything I owned away Got me the moxy just to say That I don’t feel right without you love So let’s take all night to dispose of Anything that gets in our way Anyone who don’t like what we say We can trade the halos for the pesos if we say so This is Valparaiso Pretty please with cherry bombs on top Let me hold your hand in the coffee shop Everyone is speaking on the sly Every whisper we both occupy What if there were purpose in my knees And a diamond begging to say please Show your heart and soul on your cotton sleeve Show me how to dance honey I believe That I don’t feel right without you love So let’s take all night to dispose of Anything that gets in our way Anyone who don’t like what we say We can trade the halos for the pesos if we say so This is Valparaiso This city almost lived the day you took me home Our fingers to our lips tonight we’ll both be gone Small wonder we should find your Honda safely holds Four thumbs three maps two hearts one circle made of gold
15.
My favorite kind of pie in the world isn’t sweet We make it in December and we both overheat Salty on my tongue when we’re cookin’ it up Every saucy moment with a measuring cup Cracked like a couple Grade A eggs You whisk me away, sweep me right off my legs First you add the custard then butter and flour Hard to believe that it’s under an hour Baking up the batter slowly getting better letting all the bitterness go Put it on a platter to savor it together the hazy glazy glittering gold So good I wanna’ talk about the taste and the smell But baby I been taught pretty well not to quiche and tell She’s the cheesiest the please and thank you easiest dish Add the broccoli and spinach ham it up if you wish Now it’s bacon and we’re milking it for all that we can Turn it up and watch the dreamy steamy cream in the pan Quiche me quick, quiche me right on the lips Thyme to taste test all the fillings we whipped One last quiche make it sloppy and wet Watch it cool on the rack as the porcelain sweats Baking up the batter slowly getting better letting all the bitterness go Put it on a platter to savor it together hazy glazy glittering gold So good I wanna’ talk about the taste and the smell But baby I been taught pretty well not to quiche and tell A quiche in the hand is worth two in the bouche Mon coeur est Français et mon cerveau est faux, oh oh oh Something this delicious could never be wrong C’mon baby quiche me all night long
16.
A lotta’ people talk about the many metaphors What a stellar way of marketing a couple story boards Get a couple colored pencils an eraser or two Then before you even notice you’re a big cartoon Well it happened all around me and before I was hip They put some crazy ass computer graphic microchips With a dude in isolation and the comic reel So the audience believes the way they think they feel, wait Thought I was Aladdin but maybe I’m Jafar How did this shit happen to a movie star Wasn’t I Mufasa, what the fuck I’m Scar Check out the grand finale it’s my au revoir Now I kind of always thought I was the belle of the ball And someone else was the beast but baby now I recall My magic carpet is sunk, the talking teapots have quit My luck is just about out I guess I gotta’ admit So if it’s all about perspective and the narrative voice Could I get another chance to be the popular choice Or has the illustrator spoken with her circles and lines And have the viewers seen it all and all but made up their minds Thought I was Aladdin but maybe I’m Jafar How did this shit happen to a movie star Wasn’t I Mufasa, what the fuck I’m Scar Check out the grand finale it’s my au revoir And my mama told me it will all be alright in the end But baby it’s not alright so we just have to pretend Eat the red pill and the blue pill and the red pill and then Watch your nose it’s gonna’ grow until you’re honest again OK I’m talking to the mirror and the map on the wall And if I’m getting any answers are they lucid at all I’m not the fairest nor the cleanest, better try to get smart Never mind all the dalmatians I got fleas in my heart
17.
Tal vez yo debo decir amenos Darme tu mano y cambiamos bueno Eres la única de mis sueños Por mis venas eres oxigeno No sé como revertir tu dolor Borrar su triste otro señor Para compartir nuevo sabor Vamos adelante por favor Si sólo puedes tomar, te siente tan peor Y otra vez fumar, con un alma de calor Pero su voz llamar, anoche mi amor Me invitas a cantar, y hacerlo mejor Sus ojos ya veo cuando tratando Fuerte muchas horas trabajando Para armonía ya buscando La vida juntos quiero disfrutando A mí los días pasé tan bendita Porque la casa tuyó es bonita Nuestra valor dulce como la gatita Que se besa tu cara señorita Si sólo puedes tomar, te siente tan peor Y otra vez fumar, con un alma de calor Pero su voz llamar, anoche mi amor Me invitas a cantar, y hacerlo mejor Ojala que nos días son suaves nunca feo Sus aventuras todos sigan lo que tu deseo La misma por las noches y las cositas que veo Ahora necesito baja y orar yo creo Quizás luego más después la próxima perdón Si nociones más claro alumbra este rincón Las aves la camino conocen en canción Para siempre estoy tuyo precioso corazón
18.
The first five steps would From below the sea begin Like magnesium Soundless on impact Glitching grasping error punch Drenched under wonder And take them I have Patient dutiful and raw Iron from my skin Heresy at home Bandaid on a butcher block Cheers to ecdysis If you see the Buddha kill the Buddha
19.
The heart wants what it wants says the spine of desire But just behind the title page my ego is the supplier Of yearn and churn and burn for more or greener grass After the rooster’s curtain call waxing in the glowing gas Give it all you got, not for naught Stand up and reach out for beauty and truth and not an ounce less Give it all you got, we cannot Hold out for hope if we will not concede the heart does not want And it’s awkward and it’s strange like another mother tongue Neither better than nor worse the air in someone else’s lungs Forever is too long so let’s focus here and now Just surrender your defenses they were useless anyhow Give it all you got without a thought Stand up and reach out for beauty and truth and not an ounce less Give it all you got, we cannot Hold out for hope if we will not concede the heart does not want No, it sounded just as strange to me Yes, I hear you loud and clear Let go, when everything else has failed Come on, you don’t need your bullets here Give it all you got and that’s a lot
20.
Across the city line to anywhere but here Beyond the ivy walls my dear to disappear With diamonds in her eyes and a key around her neck Yours truly left behind to recreate the wreck Full speed ahead at any cost don’t spare the bridges now And cut the deadweight let it crash and burn Nothing stands between these tires and endless open road Ride further faster never to return Keep the lights back home ablaze carry onward come what may Lift your voice up unafraid you’re exactly where you should be Make a joyful noise today like a Boxing Day Parade Throw all your cares away where you’re headed it’s all gonna’ be okay Forget our debt and tread a wealth of miles beneath Could not our driven stride be ever more complete The taste is on our tongues of freedom and of change Whence bore a silent scorn release and rise again Full speed ahead at any cost don’t spare the bridges now And cut the deadweight let it crash and burn Nothing stands between these tires and endless open road Ride further faster never to return Keep the lights back home ablaze carry onward come what may Lift your voice up unafraid you’re exactly where you should be Make a joyful noise today like a Boxing Day Parade Throw all your cares away where you’re headed it’s all gonna’ be OK An only child from Indiana when she moved out to the coast With two thousand and a record, black and blue from head to toe Built a start to something better wrote her thoughts down in a letter To a mother in the gutter uttered tears in stereo Set aside the tidal water of her bootstrap kingdom come Takes a pauper to be grateful for the offshore setting sun Drop the needle like an anchor hit the surface wild and blue No regrets and don’t forget the roots run deep You can’t runaway from you
21.
Smooth as silk and iron tough Lucky, smart, earns more than enough Five miles tall with at least thirteen arms No one alive can resist his charm Where is this heart breaker, why you would not believe How he got so many secrets up that sleeve You know he’d have the nation eating out of his hand If only we could track him down Have you seen this man Style like it’s going outta’ style, muscles for days Faster than a speeding ticket the train that he’s on is never delayed Perfect height, perfect weight, perfect SATs, a dream come true Every day his socks match and never does he find anything unwanted on his shoes Wherefore art thou Romeo the people wanna’ see The brightness of your smile c’mon you gorgeous absentee Our ever-loving world would bend to his every command But no one has a clue where he is Have you seen this man Two left feet and an old tuxedo t-shirt Who’d have thought to ask this complete introvert Stumbling down the stairs like a busted string of pearls Hiding Mr. Wonderful from the rest of the world How could we have found him in such a subtle hiding place Never did his splendor appear upon his face Far and wide surely anyone would be his biggest fan Too bad we couldn’t spot him in the crowd Have you seen this man
22.
Hey be honest with me for a moment When we go see your favorite band Or take the Bowery with our boots on Did you think it would be like this Talk to me about midnight slices And a rich tobacco dawn Could you wake up feeling any better South of Houston west of Wall You will always be my something Full of what I can’t remember Such a stunning never mind A thousand words you may have heard From the moment we began to Just a gorgeous I forgot A pretty excellent whatever Truly beautiful I guess
23.
The day the old man died a couple subtle things changed A shifting of the tide and gallows down below No one likes to find a crack in their foundation Funny how the time wears away the stone Marty had a knack for playing folks like fiddles And folks want to be played each one like the last Before his lips were cold Cole Younger dropped his pistol No sooner did the notes shatter like a glass As the second hand continues round the circle I’m cashing in my chips for something universal But even if I tried I couldn’t say the reason Why I seem to stop a little short of freedom Just this side of the line I never got to ask Maureen a single question Now tell me that ain’t proof, not a doubt remains Someone higher up is guiding our intentions And I am not a pilot, and this is not a plane One day I’ll see Joseph out beyond the river I’ll lay down my burden and he will wash it clean Finally the answers all will be delivered Bless the broken promises and borrowed nicotine
24.
When the sun tags out and the moon tags in You won’t find my feet on the street again All that is the yin cannot abide the yang From a stately smile losing all its fangs How do you know on which side you belong Partly it’s the sidewalk that you stand upon Also it’s the apple that claims the careless tooth The bloodline back before you the jeans within your boots Somewhere in America there’s a real live scare A bat from Transylvania second shift beware Lucky me to linger and elude the midnight curse One lost incisor and a coin in my purse I’m a vampire in reverse A long way from Wisconsin the last weekend in May Two parents and a brother and a sister one sunny Saturday Hopped a silver bullet to a modest pizza joint On the corner of Mott St & Spring but that’s not the point With a greasy paper napkin and some pepperoni breath I found proof the Tooth Fairy’s real but I bet you’d never guess Turns out her name is Larry she’s been there for 20 years She spends 40 hours a week serving kids cold root beer At the hotel back in Jersey, as the daylight faded slow We all watched the evening kiss the Hackensack below Talked about the Statue, Ellis Island and the Mets Vampires don’t do anything like this and I’ll never forget
25.
With the flip of a switch the scratch of an itch Bring the candles colitas and corridors Overthrown underwhelmed antihero Vermin everywhere Ay but it’s not so bad Warm blankets and dull needles Shamrocks pushing through the concrete Into exile from the mainstream trail of smoke Heaven is now lift your veil We could implode with desire Another way to say forgive In a descent from yourself Below ground below zero Push the salt into orange eyes Glory be unto nothing forever and ever Once and for all erased Axel grease in my fingers Buckshot peppered through silk Fireworks strafing a sapien circumspect Watch my pathetic mélange Heaven is now lift your veil We could implode with desire Another way to preserve this In a descent from yourself Jason are you listening Hell is a closed circuit loop Interrupt the voltage reverse the current Before the filament fuses to the frame
26.
Hey baby hold out your hand I been picking blackberries all afternoon Maybe it’s time that we jam So gimme’ five and I’ll give you a spoon Without the sun and the rain and the soil Sunflowers can’t make their sunflower oil And just like flowers we need nourishing too I went looking for the best and that led me to you You’re better than baseball on the 4th of July Cooler than iced cream and hotter than apple pie A million and one things I still wanna’ try But nothing on earth could ever beat this high Just like a laser arcade With your initials at the top of the screen Your heart is like a grenade Launched off a Cliff if you know what I mean Here come the fireworks and the pink confetti rain Funny I can feel it but I still can’t explain Where you got the spark for my gunpowder heart If I ask you real nice will you blow it all apart In another life when our bodies had wings You and I were plovers on the first day of spring Everybody knows when the pendulum swings Some of us are silent while others start to sing
27.
Captive or free born to believe A sweet paradox intercepts Never complete we pay our dues Still a supple heart is beset Once at the shore twice on the tide Paradise belongs in the hands Holding out for the dawn asking only for time With the facts and the hint of a chance We were made for joy Made to embrace in the fullness of time And a grateful poise Strapped to the stars with a flicker sublime It’s a perfect mess Black on the inside in a silver disguise Can the best be blessed To receive it all as a sacred surprise When they pull the shells out of all the guns And the empty shelves can be filled with fun Then and only then will the children dance In the empty streets if our best laid plans Say the clock ran out and the people shout Give it up run away crash and burn no doubt But we have ourselves and we have our dreams And the future stars orbiting upstream Not the only way to change the course There’s like a million different buttons on an iron horse Somehow we gotta open up a new discussion to ask For all the superheroes hiding in the Welfare Class To lend their voices to the choices of the governing few And open up a new horizon for the red white and blue I never seen a real democracy but heaven is now Maybe the music leads the way so can you show me how
28.
Heavy as a tidal wave washing up on shore Easy honey we got saved so many times before Altogether let it breathe Ready we can stand beneath Trouble with a T on the double with a D in the rubble of a jubilee And maybe it was Jacksonville could be twenty years Smoking on a picnic bench naked in the pines Underneath a half pint moon swimming in the summer air Neon ether motel crush gasoline and wine Devil in a paper bag like the southern tide rolling up in rags Early in a morning dive lift another drag let the feeling rise Risky letting out the words to escape a tongue let alone who heard Angel with a blackened lung to a hummingbird beautiful and stunned Nowhere near the finish line this is not the end Gracefully a last goodbye or funeral for a friend Elevator tumble dry sixty second drop Lemonade and stumble by take it from the top
29.
Where are you now If only the barber salon in Plainfield Atomic Dog on the water horse Straight outta’ the speaker Real time dollar holler Pick up sticks to your shoe Now a ballot always a ballot Give ‘em what they want
30.
Alright let me cut to the chase The meat and potatoes will only take a second Look here between the verse and the inverse Right in the middle of the smoking section An ice carving begins with a big frozen block Like a sculpture the negative space is enormous So this is the part where I peel off the bark From everything that doesn’t look like a chorus Sometimes the sun don’t shine never quite hit the perfect crime Penny ain’t heads every toss you know how these things unfold Toss another log on the fire dig a little deeper this time Any luck it leads to a couple gems through all the coal Fuck it Billy let’s do it live Between hits let a few strikes cross the plate Dealer can’t hit twenty one every time Just don’t sit with your back to the gate Find your furnace and fill it to the top With whatever you got lying around Color of the smoke may vary But the fire will burn all night Somewhere on a bar stool at the end of the world He is carving out a future with a shovel and a pipe Downright heartland mainstay for the South Dakota girls They flicker like a lightning bug tricky to describe
31.
White plywood cross Wilshire and Western Took what it took to teach me a lesson Big chunk of stone soaked up the sunshine Do you daydream of starting all over? Yeah, maybe sometimes All that you want four walls and a box fan So why not right here with palm trees and minivans Life’s like a beach wealth just conjecture Peace means release the metal detector Raise up your hands and bow like a deacon Hope’s all you have practically speaking Cast iron bench in the shade fresh cup of coffee One more lead weight on my mind please lift it off me Nothing but time and fresh out of options I was holding some strange expectations I decided to drop them Earth tones and carbon monoxide rising above you Koreatown open your heart I came here to love you
32.
Stuck like nails In soggy asphalt Try fail repeat 14 minutes early Fifteen seconds late Not what you want it to be Make no more melt Rather to thaw Guess I got something to say The where to the when to The got to the how And yet not the want
33.
Such a heavyweight such a champ in love and war Faster than ignition while I fumble for the door When your shadow shows I’m way out of my league In the dark I can’t define it let’s just say that I’m intrigued Me and this old switchblade yeah I guess we better not Try to compete with all that ammo you got You know I should have known my old Swiss Army smile Ain’t no kind of match for your Smith and Wesson style Goodness knows how many men went to the grave How many times another sinner wasn’t saved Just because he wanted to know you for a night Kiss a killer queen like a knife to a gun fight Barreling toward me molten lead in rapid motion Empty shells escape the chamber of a beautiful explosion Like a Band-Aid for a freshly broken heart Didn’t even see it coming from your buckshot bodyguard Once upon a time I thought my steel was pretty sharp Charm good luck and timing had my enemies disarmed Unbeknownst to me I found temptation in the sights Violent anti-hero perfect aim just cut the light
34.
Not your average summer almost stole the show You got to just recover remember Mexico Never was it better falling out of time If we had been together would remain pantomime Stillness anyway keeps my secrets Don’t know how to say that you’re my weakness Kiss me right if you’re gonna’ kiss me at all Put up a fight like a burning cannonball Out of sight outta’ mind and off the wall Kill the lights get a grip and start to fall Only leaves are leaving branches overhead Every robin robbing singing the unsaid Along the rainy river silent as the dawn You were like a zephyr blackest of the swans Darkest just before striking thunder Harmless pinafore but filled with wonder
35.
White as snow holy hollow hands Vexes and sighs dive down deep Upper apex supple run for red Tarot atlas shining via vida Slice and hook notches broken Rhythmic reason fallen spoken Qourse qorrecting qarthorse qarving Pistol perfect pitch preserving Orthopedic autotuner North by western rotten rumors Milk and honey napalm necktie Lets go steady burn the bonsai Klezmer sweetheart pigtail earthworm Jumping jackknife light up lead mine Into action out of exile
36.
Looking through the listings Of a twenty five cent paper In a pretty town a long way from home The fishing boats are cheap As are the carpeted apartments And the singles who don’t want to die alone I been searching since the get go Maybe now it’s time to let go Of the make believe world that’s all my own So when I saw the want ad I thought that’s not so bad And decided to pick up the phone Now hiring someone just like you Responsibilities include all the things you do Opportunity of a lifetime to use Stuff you learned everywhere you’ve been You’re really perfect for the part Inquire within So I called up to the top floor Where my agent works to chat some more About my chances to audition for the skit I said they might like what I’m doin’ And it sounds like I’m a shoe-in How come you never send me out for gigs like this Well he put down his sudoku Asked me “guess how well I know you?” Turns out not only did they pick me for the play From the posting I deduced that He executive produced it After writing it on the day that I was made Don’t worry about the salary The benefits or perks You match the job description So come on in and get to work Of the many who were called There’s only one who fits the bill No sense in unemployment If there’s a roll you’re born to fill
37.
No wonder everything changed it’s a miracle for the latter day aints Unhooked from whatever cart was in front of the horse Always and everywhere still to feel the wind in the daffodils Presenting nothing but rich and enduring remorse It took me 222 years to sort the truth from the lies my dear Two plus two plus two does not equal one We just got 222 more 12th of Septembers on the bathroom floor You plus me plus you and I’m back on the run Dusty fingers rusty ringers lusting lingers in the sand Lying broken flying choking try and open up your hands Ever after will the waterfalls be free ‘til we’re long gone you and me Could not help but to ignite the Christmas tree dance in the burning wonderland 4 more fragile seasons 21 years old ‘67 Chevy 8 million hands to hold 50 shades of empty 120 bucks .38 revolver 0 givafux
38.
The one I care for, the one I want The one whose memory my head will haunt Sure makes an entrance so nonchalant Anytime at all My special someone to have and hold Almost eighty five hundred years old Locked my heart up without parole Drove me up the wall Cuz I got the hots for an ice cold bombshell When we get it on it’s wild as all hell And I feel so lucky since the day we met My zombie lover didn’t eat me yet So I been talkin’ about introducing Her to my parents but they’re refusing To entertain how it could be amusing If I bring her home Bless her heart she don’t like the opera Doesn’t care for dancing salsa Maybe it’s best we skip the drama And use the telephone
39.
In the ice and the snow when there ain’t no place warm to go Ask me just how I know she’ll be here Six or seven below blurry eyes and a runny nose Just when I feel exposed she appears One by one these icicles melt and I unfreeze finally compelled For the first time only by grace am I able Two by two we wake to the sight of a new world thawed overnight So I’ll stand here lovingly patiently grateful waiting for April Like an ember beneath blackened timber with jagged teeth Smoke surrenders the leaves which ascend Minutes ticking away not persuading my faith to fade Holding out for the days just ahead And since New Years Day I’ve been setting the table Because flowers in May need the showers of April March comes like a lion goes out like a lamb The one that I dream of will soon take my hand So on March 31 she is hailing a ride Headed straight to the airport she’s glowing inside And she gets on a redeye to visit the city Where the frost turns to fog and the air’s not so chilly
40.
It’s no one’s fault but mine And there’s no more alibis Yeah I just ran out of time Out of reasons and resigned Won’t try to shake the blame To unbreak the window panes Nothing good is gone to stay It’ll all come round again Sorry that I missed your birthday That you might never hear these words Better if I send a letter I wonder what would you prefer Never want to miss the sunset Or to tell a friend goodbye Maybe next year I’ll surprise you With my eyes and ears alive Imagine with a flutter A mockingbird in flight Unwind the sunny summer It was October overnight The changing of the chapter As the leaves begin to glow Carry with you all the laughter If it’s heavy let it go
41.
He’s the kid in the cargo van He’s the guy with the gun He’s the man on the rooftop and He’s the one on the run He’s the best hope the good guys got He’s the last one to doubt He’s the knot in the twisted plot He’s the only way out And he’s coming back for me She’s the devil with bright red lips She’s the worst of it all She’s the bitch with a bag of tricks She’s the crack in the wall She’s the flames of eternal mire She’s the basket of worms She’s the lights of a ship on fire She’s the shriek of alarms And she’s coming back for me She’s the deadest of everyone He’s the bravest for real She’s the scorned when the story’s done He’s the prayers when you kneel
42.
Fairy tales on East Eighty Eighth Who’s the big bad wolf A trail of crumbs leading straight down the drain Goldilocks herself Be the change that I wanna’ see Lift my chin to the rain Slide down the railing and blow my house down Climb in my window again I got a ten ton crush I need a heavy touch And we were trying say we just got carried away we had to feel that rush You made me break my stare I was unaware Oh baby try to abuse me honey how can we lose what never meant that much Like a detective with a hook for hand Or seven dwarves in a cell Crosseyed crazy pigtails and grin And I couldn’t even tell Try to compare you try try and then Big big laugh open wide Which one is crazy which has a chance And which is rotten inside
43.
It’s a story for the ages no beginning and no end Soft and gentle but courageous the blessed bond between best friends Over trials and tribulations to each other always true Never saw such grace and patience as the story of these two Now we all know Eve and Adam burned their bridges with desire We saw Romeo and Juliet set both their souls on fire Just like Jerry and Theresa there’s a glow we’re dreaming of But not another can be said to hold a candle to their love Oh so many take for granted what so few of us can find But to really understand it gotta’ leave our fears behind To a brave new world we’re walking bated breath and open hands With our fingers interlocking asking just to understand How it felt for June and Johnny and just how a blaze begins Or when Tristan and Isolde tried to hide the spark within Neither Jerry nor Theresa was the first heart to ignite But none before nor any since can hold a candle to their light Well then one fine day in autumn surrounded by a faith That can never be forgotten and will always captivate It was history in the making from the moment it began Tender feeling overtaking both this woman and this man So like Liz and Mr. Darcy lit the fuse on their constraints And Sid and Nancy torched it all you know not everyone’s a saint Maybe Jerry and Theresa are just two of many names But of all the others no two lovers hold a candle to their flame
44.
I thought I was a dreamer without a dream A blazing fast propeller fresh out of steam But I’ve begun to wonder just what it means To know the fortune teller ain’t all she seems I heard it’s always darkest before the dawn So what about the darkness within my bones Come with me to the pasture outside of town Tonight I meet my master but not alone So ring the bells by morning how we always planned Let this be a warning a circle in the sand For thirty years I wondered what lies behind the door I’m ready to go under take me where I’ve never been before I hastened from a vision to no repose A horse without a ribbon beyond exposed My orders have been given these eyes are closed The worse is my condition it’s overload So mitigate my fever empty all the doubt Lead me to believe you with witness or without Deliver me from shipwreck a beacon on the shore I’m headed for the apex take me where I’ve never been before In searching for the answers I found the blues There are no second chances to win or lose But what about damnation desire or deja vu A prayer for our salvation on Seventh Avenue So pull the trigger slowly or fast it’s all the same I’m begging you to show me no mercy in your name Just push me to the limit and shake me to the core Rewrite all the lyrics take me where I’ve never been before
45.
My oh my we’re fucked We’re so very fucked Great balls of fire we’re fucked Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck Yes indeed we’re fucked All day long we’re fucked The next four years we’re totally fucked Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck It’s no lie we’re fucked No joke that’s right we’re fucked Holy hand grenades are we ever fucked Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck What the fucking fuck Shit for real we’re actually fucked Like sideways, upside-down, and backwards Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck
46.
You got a certain way about you babe A sight and sound a color and a shape The birds are singing a song about your hair Each word is ringing to lovers everywhere Will you sing again? Asking for a friend Everyone you meet wonders what to say How to stop the sidewalk from walking you away The callous concrete cannot quite convince A silly someone he may not be your prince What do you recommend? Asking for a friend How in the world after learning that you exist Can you expect a man will be able to resist Singing at your window every night ‘til you’re convinced Just help me comprehend asking for a friend Tea for two but you only got the one And every waiter between your finger and your thumb First thing in the morning ‘til evening’s coming down Don’t it wear you out always running all around The minds of men Asking for a friend How in the world after learning that you exist Can you expect a man will be able to resist Singing at your window every night ‘til you’re convinced Well help me comprehend asking for a friend Pour a little sugar and some milk into a cup Cinnamon or chocolate and a spoon to stir it up Sometimes you’re the dark roast other times the light Anyway you mix it every time it turns out right So baby tell me when Asking for a friend
47.
Can the tide itself decide when to ebb and when to flow Or does someone high and holy hold the rolling undertow When the water wants your body and the clouds have cut a deal Make a circle on the ceiling really none of this is real At the end of every story there’s a door that we can open With a key we’ve always carried but we thought that it was broken On a bird comprised of metal moving faster than a prayer Something happened in an instant to awake the unaware Even if the crew had shown a swift reaction to the rumble It was too late to elude the taste of trouble JFK > DUB There was ice across the aisle and a whisper in the wings Someone asked about the exit as our hopes began to sink First the wheels were not responding to the buttons at the helm Then the luggage started dancing and the crew was overwhelmed Like a tidal wave toward me came a thousand words a minute And I tried to offer solace but my heart just wasn’t in it What’s the answer to the riddle or does asking change the game If we reach our destination we may never be the same If the captain had been warned the shift might not have been so sudden But what’s done is done and no one saw it coming JFK > DUB To bear witness is to honor what another hand has carved After giving up the concept of the outcome we deserve Should our plans be all but shattered and we barely wash ashore Drop the rock and listen closely this ain’t Kansas anymore In the morning we are taller than ourselves when evening falls When we still don’t see the reason and the mirror can’t recall I’d be lying if I told you that I never told a lie But I know it never saved me from the way I felt inside Thank the heavens all the engines simultaneously stumbled Opened fire on our pride and made us humble JFK > DUB
48.
For the girl with the long dark hair Who can light up a midnight anywhere For the one with the deep brown eyes And a smile that’ll give me butterflies To the woman who’s on my mind Even if I cannot explain sometimes You will always be in my heart Not a chance they can keep our hands apart This one’s for you So I’m letting the sunshine in Yeah I’m looking to let our lives begin And it’s you when I sing these words You are holding the notes my soul has heard This one’s for you And I can’t believe it’s true No I can’t believe it’s true Well I can’t believe it’s true But this one’s for you To the ears that can always hear With a wish and a hope beyond compare But the truth isn’t where we are Our future is filled with shooting stars
49.
From a state shaped like a glove more of less Me and him we headed east hoping for the best Left behind my Louisville slugger and I’m sometimes way off base Never mind the home team leave it somewhere back out west So I got this empty table From the last turn of the century to 1939 Everything looks different now and that’s just mighty fine Tomorrow cannot answer all of yesterday’s appeals Only in this moment can we see the storyline So I got this empty table From pizza to pastrami, from asleep to wide awake It went from complicated to as simple as we can make it On a yellow piece of paper “get your package at the counter” And I knew just what it was yeah there was no mistaking So I got this empty table To an office blue and white off Eerie’s southern banks And a town that’s bright all night from the Mets to the Yanks Well you know that you’re my brother but flowers are for suckers Now my table ain’t so empty this is just me saying thanks
50.
Out behind the stables with All the best intentions in mind But half blind Hiding in the hay loft and Tying up the ends which unwind By design None were any wiser when One by one the rancheros fell To the spell All the pretty horses on Each and every last carousel Said farewell No one gets hurt just walk away Victimless crime like a ballet Dance for December skates on the lake Crisp is the crack swift is the break Driving at a point with no Gasoline or oil in the tank Please no thanks Saddle up the best one but Better not invest let’s be frank We’re outflanked Maybe all the rules and the Regulation tools have your grin Paper thin Never mind the hay bales or Legalese delays underpinned Just break in No one gets hurt just walk away Victimless crime like a ballet Dance for December skates on the lake Crisp is the crack swift is the break Hand on the shifter Eyes on the prize Hard as a pillar Fast as goodbye Beautiful freedom Just like machines Dangerous heathens Long live the dream
51.
Jazz on the short wave bare feet on the rug Hot orange pekoe in a busted mug Four dollar haircut Chinatown style Jeans and t-shirt six strings and a smile Clothes to the corner detergent, petty cash Fill up my window with sandalwood ash Boxes and wishes sent overnight Long distance kisses and oh so many lights On Sunday morning I’m coming down East sixty eighth street that’s where I’m bound No reservations just lips that want a taste Xmas breakfast got no time to waste So this 51 out of 52 Who would have thought that baby me and you Could keep on keeping the lights from burning out And walk the walk by now we’re learning how Our times are changing but certain things will not True love and beauty will never be forgot We have each other December 24th For all religions it’s time for peace on earth Tomorrow morning I’m coming down East sixty eighth street that’s where I’m bound No reservations just lips that want a taste Xmas breakfast got no time to waste It’s been a big one - losses, wins, and draws But now it’s over so let’s stop keeping score No need to fight it just give in to the grace Xmas breakfast got no time to waste
52.
Unlike anyone Underneath the sun Unresisted rush Undercover lush And I’m unbecoming The tears are running Above the drumming The sound is stunning The notes are numbing An endless strumming The curse is cunning And all but sudden Unannounced are we Unbeknownst to me Unforgiven and Undone understand

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Entire collection of original songs written and recorded week by week for Song A Week 2016, an international songwriting group.

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released February 12, 2017

Written, performed, engineered and mixed by James Tristan Redding. Words and music copyright 2016 by James Tristan Redding. Registered with BMI. All rights reserved.

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James Tristan Redding Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Godin Guitars Official Artist and Founder of www.songaweek.org.

His catalog of 400+ titles includes collaborations with hit writers Mark Narmore, Steve Dean, Elliott Park and Pete and Pat Luboff, among others both stateside and worldwide.

Redding has landed cuts by recording artists Eli Alger, Dan Whitehouse, Emma Gale, and David Easterling.
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