Greg MacPherson

Good Times

good times coming back again
I seen them touch down on the runway
I seen that old face staring back, pressed against the glass
I heard a brass band wailing

middleman got caught out of his skin
it’s on a bus across the border
he’s got legs spread, head cracked, his hands against the wall
he says, ‘”I’m just a fucking reporter!!”

good times coming back again

I heard the girl upstairs singing
she sang all night
I turned the stereo on
I went out for the evening
I couldn’t get that song out of my mind

good times coming back
I seen them on the shoulder with their hood up
through a vaselined lens
they got their bags packed tight
the key to every city
I heard they’re bringing all of their friends

there’s something dead out in the field behind our house
the wind’s changing direction
I seen the local man dressing up in the latest style
he says,”It’s only natural selection…”

good times coming back again

The Day the Water Dried Up From the Tap

I walked beside the old train station
I looked inside the store front windows
there wasn’t anybody in there

there wasn’t anybody on the street
mid afternoon in late July
the sun was burning on the parks
the trees were silent
a thousand years of thinking hard and writing none of it down

down the street a water main break
on the roof alcohol and something hard

the day the water dried up from the taps
all the fear and aggravation
the day the water dried up from the taps
on the street a conversation

on the street a conversation
foul language and a muscle car
there wasn’t anybody in there

there wasn’t anybody on the street
flashing like teeth or flashing lights
the sun was burning on the parks
the trees were silent
a thousand years of thinking hard and writing none of it down

down the street a water main break
on the roof alcohol and something hard

the day the water dried up from the taps
all the fear and aggravation
the day the water dried up from the taps
on the street a conversation

Weak

weak
at the best of times
there’s not much else for us to be
cross country smiles cutting through time zones
like thieves in the distance holding ransom in the cold
an incision loud and mathematical

spin
every letter’s in disarray
fall over words stretched out in the way
looking for the truth

mine is the one with the rust and the chest pain
stole through the window like the wind through the back lane
can’t you here the sirens?
we’re standing right beside them

tear up the sidewalk between ambivalence and fear
ask the dead man,” why do you always sleep out here?”
“I’m not frozen, i’m only standing very still
getting old
I’m only standing very still

mine is the one with the rust and the chest pain
stole through the window like the wind through the back lane
can’t you here the sirens?
we’re standing right beside them

Numbers

we’ve got no money put aside
get it and throw it all away
another day’s another time
got nothing now to do with me
I don’t think about the future
I don’t like to deal with numbers

we like to sit outside and watch the motion
can only see so far from where we live
municipal lines half crossing out
and intersect through fields
I don’t like to deal with numbers
I don’t think about the future

I just wait here until the sun goes down
and everything is simple

we wear our father’s clothes,
can’t think alone,
spend all our time waiting for something
new to come along
get our name out in the hall
and pretend there’s someone out there who cares
I don’t think about the future
I don’t like to deal with numbers

Remote Control

you know what you’re saying
nothing’s accidental
you won’t call me later
I’m just a remote control

remote control
turn it on and i’ll be a bad dream

stranded in a wall for years
frozen in a saw dust house
outside
with the wind blows
and the money
ice cold
like steal in the ground

Slow Stroke

your mama look like carol channing
she watch the sunset on an 8″ black and white tv
she’s got a sister in Toronto
you got an old man out in “call me when you’re drunk b.c.”
he was the king of corona
dark glasses and a reason not to go back home
she fell in love with the night time
she fell in love with his fists and his cheap cologne

your mama watch through the window
she see the trouble through the eyes looking back from the street
completely out of proportion
too old, too faint, too grey, too weak
she sits somewhere over the highway on the edge of town
looking back into the noise for the slightest sound
between the leather and the artificial lights
nothing much new down here tonight

she says, “I wanna run away and wanna see the world but I probably never will…but I don’t wanna know.
some nights I can sink like a stone, look around me and completely understand…and some nights I don’t.”

your mama stood in the hallway
the cigarette smoke, slow stroke, nerves like steel
she tell you all about the old times
when everything was new more than it was real
she said, “I never had a friend that would put me down
I never knew where all the money’d go until it was gone”
between the leather and the artificial lungs
blowing smoke over the things she’d done

Windows

there’s no windows in here
they boarded them all up last year
I’m white as a fish in the sun
and hard as the butt of a gun

bent over sweating
steal all that I can and still look in the mirror
you’re nobody after you’re gone
what are you gonna do when you get off?

I’m gonna drink ’til I drown
I’m gonna spin my car tires around
I’m gonna swear and I’m gonna fight
I’m gonna fall asleep holding you tight

the foreman retired last week
paid out, speechless and frayed
morning spent waiting to sleep
wake up too tired to sleep

bent over sweating
dream all that I can and still manage to breath
you’re nobody after you’re gone
what are you gonna do when you get off?

I’m gonna drink til I drown
I’m gonna spin my car tires around
I’m gonna swear and I’m gonna fight
I’m gonna fall asleep holding you tight

Radar

step into heavy water, rose up to your knees
spit shined shoes, john phillip sousa, and domestic oil pcbs

he’s counting bank days telling her,” everything will work out right…”
watching distant early warning lights fan out across the sky

he hitch-hikes back from out west, two time zones away
he’s dreaming of a week with her hold up and gets sent back the second day

everything will work out right

she sits on her steps in a black evening dress and painted eyes
the street lights on and her father groans, “she’s been waiting out there
since five!”

watching the ukrainian men and night shift on the street
standing in the shadow of the old ways where the future used to be

saying, “Everything will work out right…”

Concrete

I don’t care no more I’ve seen the cities on the coast
I watched the seasons come and bounce right off the street
meet me down by the burned out shell of a town
and I’ll take you out for something to drink

I want to fall asleep somewhere warm and not afraid

we were thrown out running
we were all so young
we were frozen over and bent like wire
I watched the shadows break through a hole in the wall
and never made a sound until they lit the fire

pull me close with arms of steel and put me in my place
I want to fall asleep somewhere warm and not afraid

I’ll be there when the morning isn’t so concrete
and the condolences aren’t faltering in the court yard
thinking cold with your mother’s eyes opened half
i’ll be the one with the next ten years stretched on my face

pull me close with arms of steel and put me in my place
hold me close and tell me why, wear it on your sleeve
pull me close with arms of steel and put me in my place
I want to fall asleep somewhere warm and not afraid

$6 All Day

there’s someone running through the ramp parkade
spilling out over the sides like brush fire
burning the roof top concrete
and bouncing off pillars in the oil stain dark
Stabbing out holes in white walls
wrist wrapped fist
let it out! let it out!
cutting though clothes

I keep a close eye on the skyline
who’s in the paper and who sings the blues
who sits down at the back
who stands in line
who’s got nothing else left to lose
stabbing out holes in white walls
wrist wrapped fist
let it out! let it out!
cutting though clothes

seriously loud
this is a serious town
violently not making a sound

The Apartments

7 stories down from where she lives
below the floor and past the voice
that says that things are his
through carpets, talking, paint layered on the walls
and eyes that roll like dice
when she walks past them in the hall
outside her window
the sun spins with the red of summertime
and time moves so slow when she’s stuck inside

there was a night last week
she saw stars from her room
over the building next door
with the hydro line tower on the roof
she thought about airplanes
and satellites orbiting low
while aspirins and drawn curtains
avoid the urge to go away
from where the old couple out across the street
dancing like actors in their open windows
for all the world to see
shuffling like papers for all the world to read
“can’t you see my dear?
there’s someone in that window over there…”

Heatwave

every second sticks in air so thick
I’m on the stairs and I’m moving slow
feel the pressure rise under western skies
until it’s go nowhere else to go
there’s nothing left to do tonight
everybody’s either gone out or asleep
I hear an old song drift through my window
from a car parked out on the street
waiting for the lights to change

someone’s leaning out a second story window
taking one last good look around
someone’s struggling with the words
thinking of the best way to write it all down
in the house next door all the lights are off
no silhouettes behind the screens
over hardwood floors
in through the open doors
i’m trying not to sleep
waiting for the light to change

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