David Thomas Lyrics
Live Free Or Die
(2017)



Last Of The Mohicans

I am the Last of the Americans
Which is like the Last of the Mohicans
I knew the Golden Age
I saw how the sun used to shine off its polished surfaces.

I saw the dimness come
Still I cross the great continent searching
Riding radio waves through the night
I too am a free citizen of the Lost Nation.

I follow any radio signal
Until it ebbs into background noise
That babel
Proto-life electronic soup.

Straining to hear
Adrift only moments
I coax a new carrier wave into amplitude
Off I go again into the night.

Alive.

Thus I cross the great continent
Into the Unmapped Dark
As an ancient mariner who journeys hand over hand
From one sighting of land to the next.

In the rear view I see my face
Lit by beatific dashboard glow
I am tuned in
And I am home.

After us come barbarians.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Stacker Three

Stacker Three the highway and me
We're all pals on account of you dear
Every home that we see reminds us of thee
Stacker Three the highway and me.

Stacker Three the highway and me
We will pass through a town called Infamy
You will know when I cry I will cry out your name
If you love me darling don't reply.

Stacker Three the highway and me
We will dream of the day that's to be
We look at the world through rose-colored glass
We sure do like what we see.

Stacker Three the highway and me.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Fish Shack

On I-71 between Columbus and Cincinnati
North of Orient is a fish shack
A fried fish shack.

The fish shack is the white unmarked trailer
At the gas station
Open past midnight.

Two black ladies inside make a fish sandwich
With slices of soft white bread
Also barbecue.

A selection of off-brand sodas
Is available at the gas station
Which is next to the fish shack
The fried fish shack
Which is next to the fish shack
The fried fish shack.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Letter Home

I hadn't heard anything
Except he left a note
It said he'd gone to work a deal in heaven.

That's all it said
Which got me worried
As you can imagine.

But then next thing
I get a phone call
And I say Where are you?

He says he's calling from a phone booth
Out in the desert
Somewhere.

And how there's halos
Appearing over the lamp posts
And a holy water mist
Rising from the orange groves
It was all crazy talk like that
I said Cut the poetry crap.

He says the bus is leaving
He's gotta go
And he hangs up just like that.

The next morning
Even before the postman arrives
There's a postcard.

A picture of Soda Mountain In The Moonlight
On the back he's written
Yeah Yeah Yeah.

What do you think?

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Thelma's In Houston

Wild flowers gravel pit towers
Pecan-smoke two meat barbecue
Shotgun shack by the roadside
Blacktop Texas is everything that it will be.

Loop road tornados hand grown tomatos
Post Office Lady Flatonia Next Right
Two horses nodding at a leafless tree
Waiting in vain to be taken from the rain.

Black Sky crow walking on the road
Pine Forest Cablevision Apartment Now Leasing
Pop-a-Top Beverage And Bait Barn
Fireworks! Buy One Get Five Free.

Texas is the land of the free.

Kreuz's is the king on the Lockhart rail line
Hall full of trestle tables
Fat soaked butcher paper
beans sauerkraut soda pop beer.

Rough paper hand towels
In a roll on a stick
Sitting upright
On every table in the joint.

Water fountain
Bags of chips
German tata salad
jalapenos in a brown bowl.

Fires in the pit have never been put out
Old Texas lady slicing beef brisket
Faded floral print dress
Covered by an apron.

Is that enough? she says
She knows
No I say
More please.

Butcher paper
One knife no fork
White bread
Vegetarians Exit Now Please.

Texas is the land of the free.

No Teeth Barbecue
Rockdale Texas
Man in the window watching crop dusters next door
If I lived in Hutto I'd nearly be home now.

Out among the farm roads
Heading for the county line
Looking for the water towers
Bringing in the sheaves.

Texas is the land of the free.

Thelma's in Houston
Closed on Sundays
Best catfish
In all the state of Texas.

Meat's pulled from the pit
At the stroke of noon
Line grows long at a shack in an urban field
Sitting in the shadows of the chrome.

Man in a big hat
Born into a black suit
Says Pass a menu
If you would please.

One slab of ribs
One pound any Meat
Whole chicken half chicken
Ham ribs links beef.

Green beans pinto beans
Tata salad cole slaw
Okra dirty rice or yams
Two slices white bread sealed into a ziplock.

Peach sweet potato
Apple Lemon chocolate
Butter pie
Cheese peppers soda or tea.

Texas is the land of the free.

Salt Lick in Driftwood No Beer Family Style
Three meat platter
Bowl of beans slaw tata salad
Onions pickles two slices white bread Texas-style.

Order in order out order online
Order by mail fax toll free anytime
Waitress is a middle age ex-hippie chick
Found her a life in a hill country family schtick.

Honey you will not leave eating only that much
Bottomless refills
More meat more beans
Whole lotta slaw please.

Texas is the land of the Free.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Will The Deer Blink?

It was chance that we stopped
Where we stopped
When we stopped.

People last night
Said it was fate
But I know it was an accident.

Like driving down a back road
Going through a ghost town
You think to yourself
This is the way it used to be
It's so clear here that I can see myself
Like I was in a stream and all I've gotta do now is...

You never forget that place
It's a perfectly shaped moment in time and space
A vision of a future that will never be
You know it even as you dream it
We can renovate one of these store fronts
And move out here.

Of course you know you never will
The vision has power because it answers a need
Some people find what they need in the darkness
Some people are transfixed by lights
We checked in and we'll check out
All the deer has to do is blink.

Just once.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


The Orange Show

I had a permit to build a Beauty Salon
At 2401 Munger Street
Beauty Salons went out of style
Many closed down
I had a better idea
Which came to me in words
The Orange Show.

I will build a concrete house
In the Land of Opportunity
Bringing ideas from Florida.

Clockman knows how to live a Hundred Years
And still be spry.

To build this Show
You'd have to be born in the Steam Age
On some river like the Chattahoochee
Near Fort Gaines Georgia
like I was.

You'd have to know about the Control of Steam
Few men have such Knowledge
All of them that do are dead.

As I ran into things I just bought it
I bought bought bought
I bought it on the spot
If you don't it's gone
You have to buy it and store it up
You can't wait until the last minute
On this kind of a thing.

Wise Owl says
Eat Oranges And Live.

I worked worked and worked
I sweated enough to float a canoe
For two years I was completely lost
I knew I had a good idea
I began to make a pattern
It grew and grew.

Now
Without fear or hesitation
I can say
It is the Most Beautiful Show On Earth
The Most Colorful Show On Earth
The Most Unique Show On Earth.

There'll be miniature bales of cotton
On the River Boat
And a Colored Man
Sitting on the bales of cotton
Dolls y'understand?
They'll fire the cannon at the Indians.

I've got a Monkey that runs by batteries
He'll clap his hands
I've got some Frogs that run by batteries
We'll stop the boat
Let folks watch the Frogs perform
They're not real
People will think they are
They won't be able to tell the difference.

As new as the Moon
As new as the Dome Stadium
Admission only a Dollar
Please bring exact change.

Come To The Orange Show and Vote
Can you say the Orange Show
Is the Most Beautiful Show On Earth?
Is the Most Unique Show On Earth?
Is the Most Colorful In Harmony Show
On Earth?
Is the 9th Wonder Of The World?
That Jeff D. McKissack
Who built the Orange Show
All by himself
Over a period of many years
Is a CREATIVE, ARTISTIC BUILDING GENIUS?

Come To The Orange Show
It's new
It's great
You'll love it!

If I'd have quit building this Show
Anytime one of the neighbors didn't want it
I wouldn't have had no courage
If I didn't have any more courage
Than that
I'd shoot myself.

It takes courage to build a Show like this
I was 65 years old
Didn't have any money
I saved it out of my salary
Very few men 65 years old spend all that money
On a Show.

I can't understand them myself
Why they have to hate me like that.

The Orange Show is built like a fort
Extra strong It's got to be that way
Weak construction would make the orange look weak
As a nutrient
Strong construction makes it look strong.

I expect to take in a couple hundred thousand dollars a year
Everybody in Houston's gonna want to see it
Everybody in the United States is gonna want to see it
Lots of Saturdays and Sundays I'll have a thousand people
That cafeteria over there handles 3000 people a day
I can handle that.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


McKissack's Blues

I built a concrete house
On a stick of sand
I had ideas of how it might grow
Into a perfect land.

All I know
There's a pattern there
I can see how it would be
All I know's
A pattern's there
I can see how it might grow.

I brought ideas from Florida
Ideas I trust
When you won't stay young at heart
Ideas will start to rust
If you don't stay young at heart
Your ideas will go to bust.

When I die who will mourn me?
Who will say I was his friend?
When I die who will come to say
We will not see his like again?

Heaven knows I meant only good
Heaven knows I tried
Heaven knows I live by my dreams
I must live free or die.

Tough like a living piece of jerky
That I am
I'm gonna be the oldest man to live in Houston
That is my plan
I can't understand why they hate me
How they hate me so.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Ghost Line Diaries

I.
They lied about the parallax view
They said parallel lines don't intersect
But they do
Now the road is running out on me.

I ride the highway
I know I'm a ghost
The things I see are seen by everyone else
The only difference is I can't let go
I don't let go.

There's no trick to living like a ghost
It's a calculation of simple geometry
The base of the triangle is the Ghost Life Offset
The difference between where you are
And where you need to be.

The angle of the hypotenuse
That tells you how much trouble you're in
The greater the angle the harder it is
To buy from a shop that no longer exists
In the real world.

Give them enough time
They'll take everything
Do I sound bitter? Disillusioned by age?
That this body this shell this prison
Won't work anymore?

What if the answer to the question is No?
That there's no explanation for this rage
I feel
What if the explanation is just
That given enough time they will take everything?

Who is They?
That's the better question
They
Is everyone who is not a ghost.


II.
Out there something calls to me
I can't say what it is
I'm lost
In the dark
Or in the daylight doesn't matter.

I've seen the sign
Route 88
Double Infinity
Double Mobius
I've heard the voice of the Ghost of the Neon Land

Drive
That's all you've got to do.

Somewhere deeper in me I heard her say...

We've been trailing our dreams
Behind us for days
Scraps of paper we've torn away
When the dreams fade
Where will we find our way home?

We'll roll upon the ribbon of desire into memory
An endless ribbon made of dream
We can only go home
Drive he said
Ride that shining black snake highway.

Suddenly I see myself so clearly
I'll drive and just not stop.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Bay City

On the other side of every desert is Bay City
Which sits at the end of the road
At the farthest reach
Of the last straining lunge forward
Of an exhausted dream
At the end of the line
For every Free Citizen
Of the Future Passive Conditional
Where the irresistible westward urge
Collides with the immovable Pacific object
And loses
We take our place at the end of that long checkout line
As we wait for time to catch up.

Geography cannot lie
We face the mirror
We cross the desert
The buzz of neon on the horizon
Draws us through parched heat
As if it were Reno Nevada itself
Sucking on the long straight straw
Of that great lost highway
US 50.

After the test
After the epiphany
After the vision the revelation and the satori
The end of the road is
And always has been
Bay City
Where all travelers must come to a Separate Peace
Or be swallowed up.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music


Lost Highway

A lost highway
A tin can in the sand
Salt
On my lips
On the window
A line
Straight
It disappears.

The blink of an eye
The sea is gone
It's the salt
That lingers on
Up one ridge
Down the other side
The road is a line
Wait!

Half buried
On the side of the lonely highway
Tin can
In the sand
Salt
On my lips
On the window
The blink of an eye.

Did you hear that?
Did you hear?
The sound of the sea
The sea is gone
Tin can
Hold it to your ear
Sound lingers on
Salt!

I turn to her
Do you hear?
Neon buzzing
It's sound in a can
Half buried in the sand
A lost highway
A tin can
Sand!

The sea is gone
It's salt that lingers on
Do you hear the neon?
Buzzing
Buzzing
Buzzing
Buzzing
Buzzing.

Writers: Thomas - Jørgens
© Hearpen Music