“Lawrence Lanahan” EP (2004) — Lyrics

July 17, 2011 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

THE BIG MOVE

I’m moving to Paris, France, and there’s nothing you can do
To keep me living here. It’s time for something new.
I’m moving to Paris, France, and there’s nothing you can do.
Cela est que j’ai dit. Que dites-vous?

And I loved you, goodbye, goodbye.

I’m moving to New York City, and there’s nothing you can do
To keep my dream from coming true.
I’m moving to New York City, and there’s nothing you can do,
‘Cause the big city’s for me, and this small town is for you.

And I loved you, goodbye, goodbye.

I’m gonna skip this town, and there’s nothing you can do
To keep me in this house, living with you.
I’m gonna skip this town, and I mean it, too,
‘Cause there’s nothing left for me in this house or with you.

And I loved you, goodbye, goodbye.

I’m gonna move crosstown, and I don’t wanna see you
Catching a crosstown bus just to see what’s new.
I’m gonna move crosstown, that’s what I’m gonna do,
And I’ll be too busy there to mess around with you.

And I loved you, goodbye, goodbye.

I can’t believe you’re moving in with him so soon.
Won’t you stay here, babe? There’s plenty of room.
I can’t believe you’re moving in with him so soon.
Won’t you stay here, babe? There’s plenty of room.

And I…
And I…
And I…

GREAT HALL

When I worked on the farm,
I would start up a tractor, head out, and mow the wide fields.
I would shovel, sweep, and dig.

On the farm was a great hall.
A hundred fifty years old, it had a small carpeted stage.
Every week I’d clean it up.

I would take an old push broom
And sweep all the dust out of that old wooden room.
It would take me half the day.

One day I looked up
And saw a butterfly flying across the hall.
It was flying right towards me.

In the middle of its flight,
It stopped flapping its wings and fell to the ground suddenly,
Dying right at my feet
In the pile I was to sweep.

You know, I should have learned
Something from the butterfly that died in an ordinary flight.
You know, I should have learned

That death is quick,
And life is slow, slow, slow.
Life is slow, slow, slow.
I should have learned that life is slow.

TRAIN STATION

When I roll over, I see one green pillow
And a blue tapestry up on the wall.
When I throw my leg across the bed,
There’s no one to cushion its fall.

My guitar, my clock, my dresser and bed,
There’s nothing to look at in this dingy white room.
But if I could have her with me one night,
I’d look at her all the night through.

And I wish I lived in an old train station.
I’d think of my baby each time one rolled by.
And if I knew one was going her way,
I’d be gone in the blink of an eye.

So I’ll read an old book, or I’ll strum my guitar,
And I’ll wait by the phone for that long distance call.
But when she hangs up, I’m left feeling lonesome,
Lonesome like a leaf in the fall.

And I wish I lived in an old train station.
I’d think of my baby each time one rolled by.
And if I knew one was going her way,
I’d be gone in the blink of an eye.

WEDDINGS AND ENGAGEMENTS

She looked at me with exhausted eyes, like a white-coated vet
About to put the needle to the beloved family pet.

“You know we can’t keep doing this,
I stagnate and you flail.”
“Well, how come you’re the one who stopped trying,
Yet we both have failed?”
“Because you always tried so slightly,
Then sulked off on your way…
I’d always hoped you’d blow my mind,
But I’m giving up today.”

That was Monday evening, and it must be for the best.
If Clara doesn’t love me, what’s the use to be a pest?
But Tuesday morning, Tuesday morning, that’s what hurt the most.
I went to work nauseous and sullen, looking like a ghost.

The victims on my police blotter seemed to share a fairer fate
As I crapped out their tiny stories until they finally filled the page.
There’d been an opening in the local color column when Frank Lane split.
I could have become a Mencken there if I’d had the guts to ask for it.

But there I was, still just a grunt, floundering on page B-3
Of the Gold Bar daily paper, charting busts and felonies.
Clara had just done her first opening at some city hipster café.
She’ll probably find some dark-hearted sculptor to steal her heart away.

Early Tuesday morning an editor came by and offered me a song
In a patronizing voice, high and forced, like he knew something was wrong.

“We know you’ve done your time in the blotter,
And you’re ready for something new.
We’re surprised you didn’t apply for Frank’s spot,
But we kept our eye out for you.
No more for you to write of crime,
You’ll now bring this town glee.
You’ll write up weddings and engagements
In the back of Section D.”

Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch! Is that my luck or what?
Another cruel joke told to the world, and once again I’m the butt.
I’d rather have the schadenfreude of writing local crime
Than announce the sentencing of those about to do matrimonial time.

I felt like good ol’ Charlie Brown lying ass down in the dirt
Looking up at Lucy and her football and her smirk.
Now every time I’d open an envelope I’d tremble inside with the fear
That it would be the one to announce Clara’s wedding day was near.

The time passed slowly in section D as I presented the doubly doomed,
And I made up silly matches for fun to eclipse my heart’s blue moon,
Like “Divorce lawyer marries wedding planner,” “Dumm marries Smart.”
But the image of Clara at the altar constantly tried my heart.

One year later on a Tuesday morning, as the cold rain fell like lead,
I wrote my last engagement piece. This is how it read:

“Clara Finnegan, local artist and budding gallery queen,
Living in Manhattan and creating quite a scene,
To marry Frank Lane, former color columnist here in Gold Bar,
Now a Mencken in the making, the New York Times’ new star.”

BOARDS

I cut the boards down at the public works building.
I run the saw through the plywood till it fits in the door
Or in the window. I’m sure you’ve seen my craftsmanship
If you’ve ever been down to Baltimore.

You’ve seen them covered up by concert posters
Or maybe a hastily spray-painted “R.I.P.”
With broken windows staring down from above them,
You speed right past them, pretending not to see.

This board will go up on the Robinsons’ house.
They finally made it out to Owings Mills.
This one is for Shanda’s place, she’s back on Section 8.
Her mortgage was a scam, now she can’t pay her bills.
Here’s a whole pile of them, they’ll cover up the whole block
Where some speculator bought up property.
He was too busy counting all his stinking cash
To send a little off to the gas company.

I curse each board I make
I curse the saw, I curse my boss, and
Each board’s a curse upon the neighborhood it casts its blighted gaze across.
I curse my tiny house
And the last things I see before I sleep:
A picture of my wife, and a
Bottle of old whiskey.

Oh, my job’s secure because each board I make
Tempts the neighbors to leave their houses behind and skip this town.
Old Darrell Brooks just brought me a bonanza when
He burned Angela Dawson and her children down.
Yeah, he kicked their door in and he poured that gasoline.
He tossed a match, I’m sure it took no time.
The father jumped out of the second story window,
Just to land in pain and watch his wife and five children die.

They say that Angela would call the cops on Darrell
For selling drugs outside of her front door.
He’d had enough, so he burned her first floor down.
Probably too thick to think he’d burn anymore.

I curse each board I make
I curse the saw, I curse my boss, and
Each board’s a curse upon the neighborhood it casts its blighted gaze across.
I curse my tiny house
And the last things that I see before I sleep:
A picture of my wife, and a
Bottle of old whiskey.

My buddy Bill, he nails the boards up, and he nails them up again
Each time the zombies peel them off to get inside
So they can sit together in the dark among the rats and piss
Again to stick that needle through their hide.
You know they robbed my son over at Collington and Orleans?
He volunteers at Hopkins in the children’s ward.
But that don’t matter much to them as long as he’s got money.
It’s only junk that they are living for.
I don’t know why he stays, he’s got the means to leave here.
I don’t want to worry about my child now that he’s grown.
He says, “Dad, you used to say, ‘Son, you must grow where you’ve been planted.'”
Why did I plant him at home?

I curse each board I make
I curse the saw, I curse my boss, and
Each board’s a curse upon the neighborhood it casts its blighted gaze across.
I curse my tiny house
And the last things that I see before I sleep:
A picture of my wife, and a
Bottle of old whiskey.

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Entry filed under: Lyrics, Music, Recordings, Uncategorized.

Louie’s Isn’t Louie’s Anymore

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NEWS
- A much prettier website with my journalistic highlights is at lawrencelanahan.com.
- Disappearing Ink released its first album, "There Is No Time and Nothing's Been," in December 2014. It's available on iTunes.
- After almost five years at WYPR, I'm back to freelancing. Editors can reach me at llanahan@gmail.com.
- The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social Life includes my chapter "New Possibilities and Old Limitations of Political Art in The Wire."
- You can still buy my 2004 self-titled EP.

ACADEMIC EXPLOITS
_publications
_presentations
_teaching

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