The Long Goodbye (2019)

What I Heard On The Pop Radio
Save the emotional garbage
for someone who's gonna pretend
much better than I do.
Gut up, shut up, take it like a man.

A baby voice gangster dream boat
a bearded toff who sings like a girl -
they got something they're gonna wanna sell you.
Gut up, shut up, take it like a man.

You got delusions.
You have intentions.
You think that this is real.
Gut up, shut up, take it like a man.

You want real?
No, you don't.
Real is in my eye.
Look!
Gut up, shut up, take it like a man.

You see.
I see.
I see you.
This eye
Gut up, shut up, take it like a man.

Save the emotional garbage for someone
who's gonna pretend better than I do.
Almost anyone will.
Gut up, shut up, take it like a man.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


Marlowe

You're not human tonight, Marlowe
not human at all.

Your eye is strange.
Your hand trembles in the rain.
You're not human tonight, Marlowe
not human at all.

You're a shadow on a wall
waiting for the penny to drop.
You're a shadow on a wall
waiting on a penny that's never gonna fall.

You're not human tonight, Marlowe
not human at all.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


Flicking Cigarettes At The Sun

In the jet fuel dawn of the runway town
the sun is a spectacular orb perched upon the ground.

Yesterday haunts all your tomorrows.

Flicking cigarettes at the sun
one more spark oughta see it done.
Eucalyptus flames flickering through the street car names
block after block.

The coffee's in the pot.
The clock on the wall's about to drop.

Fare thee well, Los Angeles
your shuddering breath
your ever-lingering death.

Awkward and cruel
I wish you Gotterdammerung, Los Angeles.
I wish you Gotterdammerung, Los Angeles.
Here it is! Your flaming Dead Pool.

And in Bay City
waves pull away the sands grain by grain.

Fare thee well, Los Angeles.
Fare thee well, Los Angeles.
Fare thee well.
Fare thee well.
Fare thee well, Los Angeles.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


Road Is A Preacher

The land is a teacher.
The road is a preacher.
The wind is a psalm.
The tires sound like rain.

And I always pray that we might get along.
Bye-bye. baby, it's time that I am gone.
Can I get a witness?

I'm out here again.
The sky is my friend.
It's open.
Yeah, honey, it's open for business.
Can I get a witness?

And the wind is a psalm.
And the tires sound like rain

Bye-bye, baby, time that I'm gone.
Bye-bye, baby, time that I'm gone.
Bye-bye, baby, time that I'm gone.
Can I get a witness?
Can I get a witness?

Road is a preacher
and the wind is a psalm.
The tires sound like rain
and I'm out here again.
The sky is my friend.
It's open.
Honey, it's open for business.
Can I get a witness?

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex



Who Stole The Signpost?

I came out here to find Harry Partch.

I drive the back roads
mile markers ticking by
all the way from Barstow to Big Rock Candy Mountain.
Cigarettes grow on trees.
Whiskey and soda bubble from rocks.
But I drove in vain.

I look to see the shadow of Harry's face
in the open doors
of the one graffiti-free box car
in a mile long freight train
parked in the Mojave.
I looked in vain.

South of San Clemente
I search the coast road
for the remains of a one pump diner
where the honking horn sounds like a Zymo-Xyl
and Harry's ghost is summoned to serve 5 cent gasoline.
I searched in vain.

On a scrub hill
I study the thump-thump-thumping
of the last lost oil rig in Los Angeles.
I listen for the trace of a Chromelodeon
but in the tinnitus of LAX
it must be drowned.

Folks out here
grind the parochial underfoot
and salt the ground.
Where Artifice is King
the Abstract is the Thing

Who stole the signpost from everywhere?

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


The World (As We Can Know It)

There's ghosts in windows
voices muffled through the walls.

The more I know the less I see.

Ghosts in windows.

The less I know the more I see.

I'm howling.
Progress is a funny thing.

I can hear you
and I see you
like you're not there.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


Fortunate Son

Yeah, I hear voices in my head.
That's me.
My voice.
Now, the problem with crazy people is they don't recognize that voice as their own.
The one person you don't want to be alienated from is yourself.
That's gotta cause problems.

My favorite voice speaks from under the lamplight
of a roadside diner in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles
sometime in the 40s
something like a Jim Thompson novel.

I like to speak from other places that don't exist -
waiting in line at a Dairy Freeze Whip stand on a bayou outside Houston
inside the ghost ruins of the cities of my Martian ancestors
at the end counter table of the Waffle House with the view of Walden Pond

I was just there.
A man about my age comes in for lunch with his granddaughter.
He punches in 'Fortunate Son' and 'Layla' on the jukebox.
I'm looking out the window and thinking about America and I start to cry.
So I pay the waitress for his meal and tell her not to say who it was
but she does and he comes out to thank me.

Thanks for playing the songs, I answer.
You like Eric Clapton? he asks.
I think about what to say/
It takes a moment.
It's a good song, I say.

Places that don't exist have something in common.
They're real.
Places that do exist aren't so real after awhile.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


The Road Ahead

I.
The air itself is black.
The susurration of the Interstate is become the breathing of an unnameable organism.
The parking lot outside the diner is almost empty.
Light hangs in a column from a lamppost.
I see the silhouette of a hat, a face, a cigarette.
Fluid smoke expands into the columnated light, laser'd.
I hear a voice.

Yeah
I am the Last of the Americans.
I knew the Golden Age.
I saw sunlight shine off its polished surfaces.
I saw the dimness come.
Even so, I do not regret.

I cross the great continent
searching, riding radio waves.
Oh, my brothers, I too am a Free Citizen of the Lost Nation.
I follow any signal until it ebbs away
fated background noise.
Inside the babel of 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
the Unmapped Dark
like an ancient mariner would
journeying one sighting of land to the next.
In the rearview my face is lit
beatific dashboard glow.
Free, white and twenty-one!
Honey, you can say you love me but I'm a son of a gun.

Tuned in, I am home
the Last of the Americans.
After us come barbarians.


II.
There's a river that flows through the heart of darkness twisting
turning back on itself like a headless serpent in its death throes.

Along its banks
deep into the night
natives are singing a strange song.
Ore boats are coaxed upstream
through impossible geometries.
Eruptions of steam
the clang of heavy metals
and the throb of pink noise pulse
as life's blood flowing through mills and factories
linked by random spans of gravel roads
and ancient cantilevered bridges.
Flames rise from the ground in rail yards.
The air is dense and granular.
Exaggerated Cyclopian tube works are woven
across roads that are on no maps
through ballast dumps at the water's edge
and around hills that are glass shards of grouped colors.
The confluence of fire and earth
births Steel where the sound of the sun itself
is trapped inside rust-faced monolithic structures.
Shamans who work the molten metals through the night
are standing outside
waiting for the bar to open.
Their eyes, outlined by the paler flesh of goggle-protection
track our pilgrim's progress.

Imagine a journey up that river
no end in sight
the memory of there ever having been a starting point
faded and lost.
Imagine time frozen
leaving no way up and no way out.
That was what it was like.


III.
The machine
magnificent and graceful
bounced sunlight from its chromium surfaces.
I had to see what it could do.
I got it out on the Interstate
that runs through the Pennsylvania wilderness
and opened it up.
Wildlife scattered in my wake.
It was satisfying.

After awhile
a sign hove into view
  Satisfied City
  Exit 1 Mile
Satisfied City is a good place to stop,
I thought to myself.
But I saw the road stretch ahead
in order to disappear over the next hill
And I had to know
I drove on

Across the flats of Indiana
through the Indian megalopolis
of what would become East St Louis
crossing the Mississippi
eventually
I came to another sign.
  Satisfied City
  Exit 1 Mile
Now, that's odd,
I thought to myself.
But I looked ahead.
I saw the road parallax to the horizon
and I had to know.
I drove on.

After another while
another sign.
You know the story.
Thus I crossed the Great Continent.

Now, many miles later
the road is running out on me.
I can see the end ahead.
I'll drive my once magnificent vehicle
onto the beach in Bay City
muffler dragging
engine steaming
doors hanging off.
I'll walk to the water's edge
Standing before the waves
of the Immovable Pacific Object
I'll hope the end comes quickly
before I can recall every Exit
I passed to get here.


IV.
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
and 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
and we take our place
at the end of that long checkout line
while we wait for time to catch up.
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 that long straight straw
of that great lost highway, US50.

So, 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.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


Skidrow-On-Sea

This town is rotten to the core
and the lady upstairs snores.
There's a fire in the port.
No one knows what water's for.
This town is rotten to the core.
This town is rotten.

She has a dog.
She has two dogs.
And the lady upstairs snores.

This town is rotten to the core.
What's that smell?
This town is rotten to the core.
It's downwind from Hell.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


Lovely Day

It's a lovely day by the sea.
Mr Potato Head is strumming at guitar.
The beggar on the bench is acting lewd and crude.
The Weekend Father has got his kid out for a stroll.
The wind turbine offshore is shredding the seagulls once more.
So that's good
and it is as it should be
on a lovely day by the sea.

Onions are frying.
Chip wrappers are flying.
Wind surfers are out pestering the fishing boats.
The Bongo Dread-ster is playing it just as good as white folks.

New Age banners are slapping in the breeze.
There's a new flavor on the board at the Dairy Freeze.
Mungo Jerry is nursing a cup of tea
watching the joggers and unwed mothers promenade.

Somebody must be lonely
but not that I can see.
Somebody must be angry
but not that I can see.
Something must be wrong.
So that's good
and it is as it should be
on a lovely day by the sea.

Writer: Thomas
© 2019 Cherry Red Songs Songs, under license from Ubu Projex


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