Luck & Courage

by Franz Nicolay

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credits

released 12 October 2010

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Track Name: Felix & Adelita
She called him Felix
Which meant "lucky" to her
He was a middle-distance runner
She didn't take him seriously
But shifted in her seat when he walked by

He thought her plain
But sensual in some way
She licked the corner of her mouth thoughtfully
Wore her skirts above the knee

He told her a story about a pair of green and gold yarn gloves
That he'd been given
It was with a sting of recognition
She realized he'd given those gloves to her
When he left it had the feel of a little tradition

Lash solitude to the wind
But when you leave again
Leave something of you with them
Tie your fishing lines to the fence posts
And do your best to reel them in

The candle flickers
You measure morals by unsturdy things
Tear leaves off of the sycamore
Pin down the butterfly's wings

"I never knew it got this cold in August
Here in Tuscon"
"Only in the evening
There's nothing here to hold the heat
The sun goes down
It floats off and is lost

Anyway, you've got a jacket
Tell me where you got that necklace."
He looked across the parking lot
At the path under the highway
At the mouth of it a man slung bags of cans across his back
He coughed, and he turned back to the table

She told him a story of a hand-embroidered pillow
She'd been given
It was with a sting of recognition
He realized she'd given him that pillow
When she left it had the feel of a little tradition

So lash solitude to the wind
But when you leave again
Leave something of you with the
Tie your fishing lines to fence posts
And do your best to reel them in

The candle flickers
You measure morals by unsturdy things
Tear leaves off of the sycamore
And pin down the butterfly's wings
Track Name: Have Mercy
I was the shadow of a waxwing slain
I was the moonlight on a moving train
I was the center of a circle of light
I was my father's heart on a youthful night

I was a broken batwing strewn
On a broken street, in a sunken moon
I was the sound of a hunting tune
I am the sound of a hunter's tune

I was the red king in moonlit flight
I was the danger in a drunken night
I was a ragged dog spoiling for a fight
Saw the death ship sailing when I was five

It's the devil I love, and the devil must die
Have mercy
I was a leveller, you were a thief
Cry mercy
I was transparent, your motives were murky
Cry mercy, mercy.

Left an Econoline carcass in a desert grave
Front right wheel splayed like a gull's wing on a tidal wave
It's who you leave behind, it's not who you save
That you'll be judged by
That you are judged by.
Track Name: This Is Not A Pipe
This is not a chair
That is not a table
This is not a cup
That is not a kettle
It is not raining
My shoe is not untied
I have not been unhappy my whole life.

This is not a wall
That is not a ceiling
This is not a scrape
And I don't know that feeling
Not a spoon
Not dirty dishes, not a knife
I have not been unhappy my whole life.

All the lies I've ever told will come back to me one day
But if this rain keeps coming we can wash the world away.

This is not your hand.
That is not my rib.
This is not your farewell kiss
And those are not your lips.
I became a writer
And you became my wife
And I was not unhappy my whole life.

All the lies I've ever told will come back to me one day
But if this rain keeps coming we can wash the world away.
All the lies I've ever told will come back to me one day
But if this rain keeps coming it'll wash the world away.
If it keeps coming it'll wash the world away.
If it keeps coming it'll wash the world away.
Track Name: My Criminal Uncle
My criminal uncle crashes the garden party on a four-day drunk
Clears the nephews, he clears the cousins, and he
He's got visions, he's grabbing for lifelines
Livid and lunatic with laughing gas
He parked his grandmother's pickup truck lengthwise
Loaded with a half-cord of wood

But it's too late for him
It's too late for me
It's too late for us
We've run out of things to be.

My criminal uncle lived in a cabin on a mountain notch road
Hunting license and a buck strung up by the heels in the yard
He's got a gripe with his neighbor, a bad knee to favor
Bass amp, he's a backroom bard

My criminal uncle smashed his car on a six-week bender
Flecks of white paint, dried animal on the right rear fender
Don't you remember?

He says, "Why have you forsaken me?
Ask anyone I know, isn't this what a man's supposed to be?"
I got fooled by philosophers
He was led astray by country songs
He's oopy and lonely, driving circles 'round his front yard

Cork and bottle, cock and bull
Hook and bullet business meetings
Downstairs rumble, rattle and roll
Upstairs greetings

It's too late for him
It's too late for me
It's too late for us
We've run out of things to be

It's too late for us
I don't know where we are
Spinning across the heavens
Drowning like some falling star.
Track Name: Z For Zachariah [feat. Emily Hope Price]
You are mine tonight
Despite the world and all its ills tonight
You’re mine tonight.

I touched her skin
Hot oil burned
She breathed me in
Stroked her face
Rearranged her hair
Put every strand in place

Yesterday it was your sister
Tomorrow, your mother
Tonight, you’re mine

You are mine tonight
Despite the world and all its ills tonight

I go door to door
Like a salesman giving of myself but taking much more
I bless the first-born and the next
Take them wholly and give them rest
I’ll pass by, I’ll find you; Z for Zachariah
I’ll pluck out your eyes

You are mine tonight
Despite the world and all its ills tonight
You’re mine tonight.
Tonight you’re mine.
Track Name: Job 35:10
We dressed her all in white
So that God would pass her over
Thinking she already was an angel
So let this sickness pass like sorrow
Let these blasphemies protect
Let our children never know the danger

God giveth songs in the night
Let us wait upon him for the music
But let us not remain songless
When affliction is upon us
Let us remember how to use it

When you dream about our world too long
You dream about our world too long
Dream someone else's.

Bloated and white we rise, corpses to the surface
Shocked, still and senseless by the horror
Even if the best among us still must die
Please, God, protect my daughter

When you dream about our world too long
You dream about our world too long
Dream someone else's.
Track Name: James Ensor Redeemed
They came down for a reckoning
They came down for the feast
They came in the first, full flush of youth
To the cold and mordant east
They came down for a reckoning
They came in from the heat
They came down in the flush of youth

Most days we get more or less what we desire
Skeletons try to warm themselves by the fire
Around a simple spark, masses gather
Troy, redeemed, in straw, silk and leather

They came up from the coastline
Devoured by their host
Knelt down in the oil sands
Lashed themselves to a post

Poets should neither be given money, nor money take from
An interest in the baser things never does become them
A song is a pencil sketch
A story is an ikon in chrome
A novel is a moral carved into a grave
Myth is stone in silicon.

These days are not more nor less than we desire.
Skeletons try to warm themselves by the fire
It's such a simple spark, but masses gather
For Troy, redeemed, in straw, silk and leather.

Most days we're not more nor less than we desire
Skeletons try to warm themselves by the fire
Around a simple spark, masses gather
Troy, redeemed, in straw, silk and leather.
Track Name: Anchorage (New Moon Baby)
Sandpipers prick the grey mudflats of Anchorage
That extend their filth a quarter mile into the sea
An overloaded Piper Cub hops rabbitlike into a cloud
Smoke trails high above, sediment below me

I sat and watched the diving birds
Fish the placid bay in Charleston
Asked a young guy in the street
Where you drink if you look like me
There's not too many on the street
With five days' beard in Charleston
But you can buy a vodka that tastes just like sweet tea

From the one room with no windows
To the other with no bed
One messed with my pocket
The other with my head
One man can live on bread alone
I should know, 'cause I've tried
But if you live on bread alone
You'll probably die

Yellow propellor biplane pulling circles overhead
Take me back to Brooklyn, back to our four-post iron bed
I can't be away from you, no, I can't be alone
I know I've been away too long, I'm coming home.
Yellow propellor biplane pulling circles overhead
Take me back to Brooklyn, back to our four-post iron bed
One man can live on bread alone
I should know, I've tried
But if you live on bread alone
Then you die

New moon baby, your voice is steady on the phone
I'm coming home
Each day was one long road
It made sense to be alone
Each days' trip was one long road
As long as I kept moving, it made sense to be alone
I can't be away from you, no, I can't be alone
'Cause with you I've found a home.
Track Name: The Last Words Of Gene Autry
(lyrics by Franz Nicolay & Emilyn Brodsky)

Set your clock ten minutes late
Close your eyes and concentrate
On me. On you. Can't we? Won't you?

Set your clock two hours late
Just to make our children wait
For us...Won't you? Can't we?
Please...

Please, world, give us what we need
We plead for the world to give us what we need
We will the world to lend us what we need
But it ends, we concede, learn joy
And extend...

...Our small worlds and sympathies
Made our loves, our friends,
We skinned our knees, didn't we?
Don't we? Won't we?

Please, world, give us what we need
We plead for the world to give us what we need
We will the world to lend us all we need
But it ends, we concede, learn joy
And ascend.
Track Name: Luck & Courage
(lyrics by Franz Nicolay & Maria Sonevytsky)

Her name Adelita, it meant "courage" to him
She came with a purpose, left on a whim
Aang a song about the ways in which man is wolf to man
Takes what he wants, eats when he can
Runs from the daylight and sleeps in the sand
Sings songs for cigarettes and spits up in the garbage can

"When i sleep in strange beds my tattoo swells up like a bad reaction
My body rebels and demands satisfaction."
He didn't sleep for three days, ridges and itches
His Chalino record skipped when she fell in the kitchen

Go on you jack of diamonds
Go on you queen of spades
Your love lies in the highlands
Playing knave off knave

Go on you jack of diamonds
Go on you queen of spades
Go beyond the highlands
Out beyond the glades

Anyone can be a God-fearing man on a mountain
it's easy to be a good boy at the circus
She passed her right hand idly through the fountain
He called her worthless
She managed a bar for a while in Manila
He spent some time in the service
It's easy to be kind when your heart has some purchase

Go on you jack of diamonds
Go on you queen of spades
Your love lies in the highlands
Playing knave off knave

Come you jack of diamonds
Cast your bets, reel in your dreams
Queen of hearts played knave off knave
Nothing's as it seems

Go on you jack of diamonds
Go on you queen of spades
Go beyond the highlands
Out beyond the glades

Poor Felix & Adelita
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
He was a star that fell on Alabama
She was a seafarer
He was a station of the Paris Metro
She was a Mexican soldier
The town in Almeria, five popes and sixteen saints
The German plan to take Gibraltar, his entreaties and her feints
His insistence
And her absence at the altar

Go on you jack of diamonds
Go on you queen of spades
Your love lies in the highlands
Playing knave off knave

Come you jack of diamonds
Cast your bets, reel in your dreams
Queen of hearts played knave off knave
Nothing's as it seems

Go on you jack of diamonds
Go on you queen of spades
Go beyond the highlands
Out beyond the glades
Track Name: Rock, Rinse, Repeat (Bonus Track)
I stole the bottles and I smashed them on the wall
One by one, glassine transparent rockets
Gathered them up in my arms after the show
Some in suit coats’ inside pockets
Austin to Tucson, trouble in the van
Red wine against the tall-boy cans
I still believe in the perfect kind of band
God help me, in the perfect kind of man

And that someday we’ll make it, baby
Someday we’ll get paid back for it
Someday we’ll get payback for the things we put in
Then we can forget about it forever

An apple in one hand, cheese in the other
Bottle of wine next to the seat
Rock, rinse, repeat, rock, rinse, repeat
Biting off bits, calling it dinner
A rank of chilled and vagrant cynics, lined up for the swill, some sinners
Left an Econoline carcass in a desert grave
Front right wheel splayed like a gull’s wing on a tidal wave
All the roadside cafes sell turquoise and fudge
It’s easy to get lost if you want it too much

But someday we’ll make it, baby
Someday we’ll get paid back for it
Someday we’ll get payback for the things we put in
Then we can forget about it forever

My perfect band has matching suits and matching boots
And days of wine and roses
And we stay up most nights holding courts and practicing our poses
On a street called hope in a town named freedom
Where each clock is pointed to the hour of love
We celebrate the days we have, yeah, we celebrate our love

I will phrase my regrets in the form of a song
How we couldn’t survive, how we couldn’t get along
Put down the guitars
There’s nothing new to play with them
Put down the microphones
Nothing new to say with them
Just celebrate the days we had, just celebrate our love
Celebrate the days we have, and celebrate our love