lyrics from Long Way to Wander

fish jumpin

Earth around and air above
what a lovely place to be in love
fish jumpin, pollywogs wogglin
insects getting it on and minds boggling
well, smoke dragons, happy hounds waggin
flies and butterflies ziggin and zaggin
we could dance in the mud or just do whatever
you and I could put our heads together
and talk solutions or just talk silly
sounding senses and sensibilities
we could get high to complement the weather
you and I could scatter our atoms together
and see what different songs ring
in the mingled spaces in between

sunny sister, your shady eyes
your dewy morning thoughts, your smooth tattooed sides
we could kick the hack and dig the sunny weather
you and I could wander down the winding road together
and pick berries, explore and spelunk
and wonder and gape and who woulda thunk it?
why, fish jumpin, pollywogs wogglin
insects getting it on and minds boggling
well, smoke dragons, happy hounds waggin
flies and butterflies ziggin and zaggin
Earth around and air above
what a lovely place to be in love
we could raise a glass of wine and toast the weather
you and I could scatter our atoms together
and see what different songs ring
in the mingled spaces in between

we could make Chinese lamps and float em down the river
hold each other with our bodies all a-quiver
close the tent fly against the rainy weather
you and I could zip our sleeping bags together

my grandma

my grandma's from Alabama, there
after the letter 'v' comes 'dubya'
and every time we play rummy, she says,
"chile, I'm a-fixin' to whup ya" (and she usually does)
going to the city school
I was embarassed of my roots
yet I never had enough
to pull off the chaps or cowboy boots
but the levels are all shifting now,
it ain't about what's below and above ya

working in the oil camps up north,
it was cold and boring but the silences were big
country boys and maritimers
busted me up laughing but man, they were pigs
two roughnecks got drunk one night
and met some girls in town
the road was iced and the truck
went in the ditch when they came back around
but they hotwired a Bobcat
and drove drunk five miles an hour back to the rig

some of my friends are out planting trees
and other folks keep busy cutting them down
and we all have our sympathies,
the world mocks expectations all around
but we can't carry old grudges,
even if most of them are true
by the same measure that you judge
will it be measured against you
the levels are all shifting now
love the lost until they're found

back home it was beautiful
and effortless in the company of old friends
we wiled away the weeks that way
and got wilder on the weekends
but I split from all that English
and I turned from brown to green
remembering the world
outside of words and what they mean
the story's getting wider now, let's
take a look around here, not toward the end

look back on the road,
how is it that we've come this far?
and how is it that we're so blessed
to be exactly where we are?

guanyin

when I get down off of this mountain
I donít wanna lash out anymore from the anger in me
and though itís a hard road, harder than either of us know
I wonít let myself be paralyzed by all of the paralysis I see

pretty white Guanyin on a thick green mountain
looking down at the world with the eyes of mercy
and when I get down off of this mountain,
I wonít let myself be stupefied by all of the stupidity I see

when I get back home to see you
I hope youíll recognize a different man than before
cause Iíve made choices, listened to quiet voices,
and I know I canít run all the same games anymore
livin hard and loud, sometimes too proud
trying to write our names across the sky
seeing losers, and sickening people
trying to remind myself, there but for the grace of God go I

if I make it for September
maybe I can get my shit together and go back to school
but if I donít, Iíll see you in Argentina
we can head to the beaches when the summer dies down,
leave the misty mountains when the weather gets cool

keep rollin

some days I have much to say
and lots to think about in the evenings
but itís hard when it rains all day
and old loves and my old mind are grieving me
itís inconstant and elusive
even if youíve found it once
sifting water through your fingers
getting back to the weeks and months
when God got crazier every day
and life kept widening and deepening
each day to the next day, my
hair grows longer and
the days do too,
shaking this feeling that I
get from you

just got to roll with the punches and the bad words
roll, keep rollin, each day to the next day
and sometimes Sunday morning
still awake in a public park
you get around to thinking like you couldnít
while it was still dark
life before you unfolds naked,
hazy as it is
and you taste a fragile sweetness
past the reckless bitter end
and you get to feeling like a brand new person,
staggering and wide-eyed as you are

just got to roll with the punches and the bad words
roll, keep rollin, each day to the next day

worried blues

Iíve got the worried blues
Iíve got the worried blues
Iíve got those old deep-down worried blues
going where Iíve never been before

going where Iíve never been before, and
going where Iíve never been before
going out further than Iíve ever been before, and
hope the suníll keep shining on my mornings

going where the chilly winds donít blow, boys
going where the chilly winds donít blow
going down south where those chilly winds donít blow, and
going where the climate suits my clothes

somewhere I can hear the birds sing
somewhere I can hear the birds sing
somewhere I can hear those little birds sing
poor old heart hanging on a string

honey, babe I hope you understand
honey, babe I hope you understand
honey, babe I hope at least you understand
if I was simple, then I wouldnít be your man

listen to that old engine roar
listen to that old engine roar
listen to that old, cold steel engine roar
going where Iíve never been before

when the lights go down

been trying to put it down in rhyme since I donít know when
since Kerouac told me to speak up and Walt Whitman handed me the pen
still never unscrewed it all, though
plenty of things weíre better off to never ever know
but I still wanna hear that secret something
couldnít really say what it is
but itís taken me all around the world
and it keeps bringing me back to this
bringing me back to this

here I am after all
just like any place it gets to feeling small
so when the lights go down
I slip out of the house and wander around

I tried to chat up a lady last weekend
but she apparently wasnít you
she wasnít nearly so initially mystified by
all the crazy things I do
she didnít call me a pervert
she didnít call me ďbabyĒ
she didnít call me,
she just didnít call me (and isnít that life?)
but I got a good dog named Rosco
with light shiny fur
he takes my mind off my lost lady
though he could never replace her
he could never replace her

and here I am after all
just like any place it gets to feeling small
so when the lights go down
I slip out of the house and wander around

the bus song

I dreamed I crossed the continent with poetry and speed
robust and mythological on my chrome and black steed
I woke up cramped in a tiny seat by a port-a-john that stunk
with six or seven Southern sisters crying, ďMercy, you smell that funk?Ē
I saw the rolling moonlit prairie and I knew I was glory-bound
itís just a shame weíve gotta ride in on this flea-bitten Hound

I got awakened by the singing of a drunk old nappy-head
someone said ďshut upĒ and that pissed off that sketchy dread
he voiced his indignation to anyone whoíd hear
ďnone but the righteous shall survive,Ē he said, as he cracked another beer
and stumbled off the bus in Windsor, thinking he was in Detroit
the driveríd be as unforgiving as the border patrol boys

well, I got off the bus in Michigan and that so-and-so left me behind
similar high-school incidents flashed back across my mind
Ďcept only then, I didnít have to sleep on the sidewalk in Traverse City
as we all know, faceless corporations have no pity
they left me luggage-less and sweatshirt-less but I was still doing alright
at least until the sprinklers came on in the middle of the night

soaked and battered but unbeaten, I got back on the bus
and what I saw there made me wonder whatíll come of all of us
theyíd sifted through the human barrel and gathered such strange pickins
the scene would only be complete with bleating sheep and chickens
I saw the jobless and the vision-less, the pursuing and pursued
the whole shuddering scene all about to come unglued

dirty bathrooms and babies, I thought Iíd seen it all
there was an eighteen-year-old mother going through withdrawal
there were Bible-belters arguing their doctrinal schisms
there were also rednecks advocating vigilante-ism
we were just outside of ludicrous and headed for profound
on that armpit-smelling, leg-cramping, smoke-colored Hound

we were kinda like a family cause we couldnít choose each other
there was a pretty former stripper who was kinda like our mother
she started sharing food and stories, made us all get along
and for a while even the size of my seat didnít seem so wrong
I could take all kinds of people, bad parenting aside
at least until we took our shoes off, you could say I enjoyed the ride

she managed to hold on to my faith come whatever
the sane and honest few of us have to stick together
but then the driver left our mom behind and showed himself to be
another inconsiderate so-and-so like the one who left me
for a while I forgot everything I thought Iíd learned
I wished there was a Day of Judgment so we could laugh as he burned

by the time we reached Vancouver it was all that I could do
not to jump up and start singing songs to that oceanic blue
I wandered down the street and bought a bag of that kind leaf
had a smoke and donned my backpack with an exhale of relief
Iím not saying Iím regretting, just the next time around
Iím gonna ride that old Green Tortoise cause at least you can lay down

moonlight avenue

well Iím movin, down to moonlight avenue
yeah, Iím movin, down to moonlight avenue
droppin all oí my worries down in a well so deep
you can say what you will about the company I keep
cause Iím movin, down to moonlight avenue

when I was livin back on that lamp-lit boulevard
when I was livin back on that lamp-lit boulevard
sharing close quarters with the sheep and the goats
feeling the tightening of the noose around my throat
when I was livin back on that lamp-lit boulevard

well Iím leavin, pawn off my silver watch and chain
yeah, Iím leavin, gonna pawn my silver watch and chain
I've just gotten so tired of tightening my belt
tryin at feelin the way I thought I should've felt
Iím leavin, pawn off my silver watch and chain

so lonesome

all day on blacktop roads, ballcap for want of shade
sleeping out nights alone, curled up in forest glades
so lonesome sometimes I could almost quit
wonder where my lady is, to talk to as we walk through it
and I can hear heavenly music, comin out amplified
cumulous clouds and canola fields stretch out gold and wide
and that strange dislocation, waiting on rides and in laundromats
gets easier to take when you remember that
old curious feeling you used to get
staring off down highways, and watching vapor trails from jets
and looking up a moonlit creek I was feeling like my younger self
itching to go and yearning to be understood by someone else
I took love so seriously, even though I was just a kid
nobody set out to hurt me, it just wound up that a few girls did
but keep in mind you came in alone, and youíll go out alone
you canít hold people to your plans, or measure yourself by their standards
it gets easier and less to say, leaving lovers and friends
the same thing that fills your heart today may break it in the end
so lonesome sometimes, feeling beat-up and looking like hell
wonder where my lady is, wonder if sheíd mind my smell now

so lonesome sometimes, that old feeling echoes back a sweet reminder
wonder where my lady is, wonder if Iíll ever find her
so long, so long, so long soloÖ

long way to wander

back when I was younger, and even goofier
me and some friends of mine went off to the woods to have ourselves a camping trip
and in addition to the tents and sleeping bags and tarps and lawnchairs and firewood,
a potentially-dangerous cookstove and Frisbees and hacky-sacks and Trix cereal and beer,
we took along a little one-inch-by-two-inch rectangle of paper
and found we didnít need so much beer

that night we laughed ourselves breathless
and got scared, and staggered in the woods, eyes all lit up
and when we had no other choice but to lie down
we saw our bodies join with the Earth, and saw the trees dance

in the morning these people came by and gave us the bumís rush
left us to wander down the road, and through the woods
and contemplate the tiny mosses and lichens and mushrooms and flowers and dewdrops
and the tall bearded trees, and wonder just how it all came to be
and just how it was that somebody could own land

one of these days Iíll go rollin back
to all the things I forgot to write down
for now Iíll keep on wandering along
itching in my shoes, donít know where Iím bound

and this walking rhythm reminds me of my buddy Raoul
heís forty-something, from Venice
heís got a handlebar moustache even wider than his smile
heíd walked across who knows how many countries,
and the locals everywhere thought he was hilarious
no shoes, only a small bag and a guitar across his back

well, fortunately I had a guitar too
this little cardboard three-quarter-size with a Nike swoosh on it
that I picked up in Chiang Mai for fifteen bucks
ended up giving it away to a kid in Bangkok who wanted to learn
but in the meantime it sure came in handy on that boat ride

and you had to listen real carefully to hear them
over the roar of the old diesel engine
that the boatman had to keep bailing out as it flooded with river-water
and we rolled down that muddy Mekong
and sang all the English songs he knew
and couldnít think of anybody in the world weíd rather be
although I did consider being the boatman

and offhand I asked him, ďhey man, you own a boat?Ē
he says ďIím a Venetian, I have five boats!Ē
and later on in that Indian restaurant in Luang Phabang he was on fire,
making toast after toast, yelling out for ďmore Beer Lao! More chapattis!Ē
and the shine in his eye made me wonder
whether heíd spent the night with that Israeli girl
or whether heíd somehow temporarily unlocked that great unspeakable mystery
or whether he was just drunk, or all three

and the last time I saw him I was rushing to catch a bus
the two of us crammed painfully into one of those little
cage-like, sidecar-like contraptions that rides alongside a motorbike
and I was aching to be leaving so soon,
with so much left to see and do,
and I turned around to the road behind me
and took the picture on the cover of this record
and I hugged my brother goodbye and ran for the bus
forgetting that this was Laos, and after all a schedule is just paper,
and in any case you canít be going anywhere without the tunes!
so I had a half-hour to cool my heels while the boys got the tape deck half-working
and wowing and fluttering we discoíd off into that great, vine-tangled thatch-hut night

and every now and then I get to thinking about him
and wonder where he is, and what heís doing
him and all the other folks weíve split paths from back along the way
Tom Uduoj, where are ya?
and how about Craig Smart?
and that Danish punk Christian Plaschke?
and Heather Kehe and Isaac Marquez?
one of these days, Iím gonna roll on down to Eugene,
and ask around, and find you

out on a curving road itís a different situation
white lines count the seconds of your life rolling by
peeling back the gears and stripping away the years
and like a fresh young thing you still know how to cry

one of these days Iíll go rollin back
to all the things I left lying around
for now Iíll keep on wandering along
long way to go, donít know where Iím bound

wayside

my friend, wait by the wayside
linger awhile by the wayside and see
Iíll come wandering by there in no time
wait by the wayside for me

when we walk along singing
when we walk along singing weíll see
voices are stronger and sweeter in harmony
wait by the wayside for me

sometimes things can get dangerous
sometimes it can be so hard to see
but the roadís not so dark when we walk it together
wait by the wayside for me