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Open Window Blues

This song is by Simon Joyner and appears on the album The Skeleton Blues (2006).

"There's no pilot light" the singer said,
"But nights like these still burn." I laid
Across newspapers ripped and spread
And stabbed like signposts through my bed
Until a symphony of laughter sped
Up to sound like violins
Lured me to the open window.

I stared through buildings painted blue
And bathed in buttermilk. The moon
Hovered like an empty room
I could have spent a lifetime in.
But even stronger was the cobblestone
Chorus, like a siren's moan
Crying "give the street your skin, kid."

But my smokestack eyes withholding rain, oppose
Another burning wheatfield full of crows.

The magnifying glass is lost or misplaced,
So take this portrait from outer space.
See how the monument swallows the speck of dust
While the weathervane powders the roof with rust,
Until the whole junkyard's riddled ruin
And the story of the heart's communion
Is like the leaf of dew that tried to drink the typhoon?

A bullet backed out of a gun
A ray of light pierces the sun.
Rewind the film and see the frightened run
Straight into the den of the crouching lion,
Holding hands and smiling. Once
You're there you pray for lightning.
Lazarus, you are free now to die again.

And cassocks flowing from head to toe, conceal
The bruises and the burns from where we kneel.

A match scratching a wall devours
The darkness for a moment and tires
Or so many past flickering futures
And has the decency to disappear,
While thieves and aimless gypsy bands
Keep and polish the queen's silver hands
Saying "the life we cannot touch, we choose to feel."

"War is the horror Peace anesthetized,"
The oracle's iron lungs decried.
"The slings and stones we keep asleep inside."
Meanwhile headless corpses take no sides,
Spastic banners carve up the skies,
And the translator's gifted tongue decides
Just where the difference between two opposites lies.
Is it in the pocket mirror where every tear is rehearsed
Or in the soaring bird's eye view of the scorched earth?

I thought if I could curl into a ball and roll
Out of my skin I'd discover a soul
Instead of a scaffold around an impulse.
I looked for a target but found a scarecrow
Which swallowed anything I fet it whole
Until I had nothing left but vestigal
Memories, redolent and rainsoaked.

And that's when I finally reached the egg
Where I couldn't think or feel or beg
To be reformed or reborn. Instead
I pecked, lurched, cracked, clawed, and bled
And emerged blind and raw to feed once more
On a mystery unfulfilled
Where every answer waves within a sea of riddles.

And the cicadas forever throb on the fringes of the lens
While I dance upon this shifting pile of skeletons.

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