Copyright Heather Styka 2018

Cities of the North

I thought I'd find you in the cities of the north / Where summer brings amnesia to our weathered bones / You don't have to love a place for you to call it home, but I think I did / Well, I went to the Grand Canyon this spring / This whole year was built on bucket lists and reckonings / I ate in Paris, drank in New Orleans, cried in Wyoming // CHORUS: Sure, I miss someone but it’s unclear / Which particular someone is worth my tears / Either way I’m headed back to the cities of the north // Where we end up is one third intent / One third whether or not all our money’s all spent / One third falling in love or trying to begin again, depending on the season / I could end up on a front porch on a swing / Trade in my grand lonely adventures for a house and a ring / And I might be happy if the crickets liked the songs I sing // CHORUS // If I could quit asking why / The how and where and when might finally align // I’m not so sure about pursuing happiness / I’d rather chase down those moments that I’m at my best / Cause no matter how low I get, they can’t take that from me // CHORUS //


How is it going / I’m doing okay / Well, let's put it this way / If life is a study between / Breaking even and breaking apart / I’ve collected all of the data I need / And now I'm looking for the correlation / Measure my days in parking violations / I just pay and pay and pay // CHORUS: We wanna make it better / But we're not sure how / We take one step forward / There's no looking back now // I played the tourist, I went to find / The place where the Declaration of Independence was signed / Oh, what a beautiful thing that we have the right to get it wrong half of the time / And we overcompensate the course correction / Can't agree upon a general direction / But time moves forward anyway // CHORUS // I’ve seen California, I got there by car / In motels at night I dreamed of snakebites and oxen and carts / Now I just fill up the tank, oh it's the easiest thing to run away / The consequence of leaving home is we find new ones / Spread so thin we're everywhere and nowhere at once / Until our atoms drift away // CHORUS // What a time to be alive / We got baggage; now we know what's inside / And we gotta carry it, we gotta carry it / We can't carry it alone // CHORUS //

Michigan or Minnesota

I still think about that night / Something ‘bout the neon light / And those jeans that fit you right / And your eyes clear as gin / The plaid couch in that Ohio bar / Leaning on your van to look at the stars / Crossed state lines but we never went too far / When we had the chance to sin // CHORUS: That tattoo on your shoulder / Was it Michigan or Minnesota / Oh, you wanted to run away / Yeah, you wanted to run away // You spoke of science and of art / No quicker way right to my heart / You caught my ear right from the start / Singing that Greg Brown tune / As if black holes and Van Gogh were a sign / You were destined to be mine / I fall for that trick every time / And folk songs make me swoon // CHORUS // Will I ever be by your side long enough to know you / You’re a holiday of heartbreak that comes once a year / And babe it’s clear there is something going on here / There is something going on here / Are you gonna run away // Meet me after the crowds clear out / We’ll drink enough to end this drought / And wash away the wall of doubt / That’s keeping me from you


Driving down the highway past O'Hare / Planes stretch across the sky like half a dozen stars of Bethlehem / Hard to pinpoint why I'm feeling like the world's about to end / Some folks wanna build a wall, some folks are gunning men down / There's no sense to it all but sure that's obvious by now / While the ghosts of our worst selves hang around / Haunting corridors of binary code // CHORUS: If I could hear that song one more time (x3) / This would all make sense to me // All the neon storefront psychics are being replaced / By artisan tacos and yoga studios / Same difference I guess / Never got my fortune read there anyhow / We slipped under the fence, cemetery in the snow / Kissed on a stone bench, souls resting in peace below / Still haven't learned the difference between love and letting go / So I'm just casting new actors for the part of my new hope // CHORUS // Some days I'm left speechless by beauty of the world / Some days I'm left speechless by the cruelty of the world / And in often between I don't know what to say / So I drove from Lake Shore to the runway at midnight / Mumbling prayers to no one in particular / Keep singing the same song / Till we finally get the notes right / I look to you to lead me home / O holding pattern plane lights // CHORUS //

Please Be Kind

I know the story, I know the score / I have heard this melody a dozen times before / I’ve been taken by the hand and I have danced this very floor / Please be kind ‘cause you’re the kind that I fall for // Every pair of blue eyes that I can’t ignore / Every charming gentleman who holds open the door / Every clown who makes me laugh till I can’t laugh anymore / Please be kind ‘cause you’re the kind that I fall for // If I made a list of everything I can’t resist / You might think I was describing you / If I can’t have your kisses and I’ve been wasting all my wishes / I don’t know what I would do // I know the story, God help me I once swore / I wouldn’t let my heart again swim this far from the shore / Now I’m treading water in the deep, I don’t care what’s in store / Please be kind cause you’re the kind that I fall for //

Chelsea Motor Inn

I'm still putting miles on / Keep saying I will slow down / But if the engines running there's no reason to stay / Went to meet him at the Wild Rose / No surprise he didn't show / Good riddance, babe I was already headed on my way // CHORUS: I’ve never been to the Chelsea Motor Inn / But I've got a postcard stamped, addressed to you with nothing to say / I’m not quitting yet, I'm still in love with the sunset / I don't want tomorrow to look just like yesterday // There's no rhyme or reason in the lonely season / And man it seems like this one's gonna stick around all year / The fortune teller told me / there's someone who's gonna hold me / But wherever he is now, he better get it in gear // CHORUS // I'm watching old movies, technicolor dances / Improbable romances / I wouldn't believe in love at first sight / If I hadn't met you that night / And I'd be better off // Good Lord I'm sick of dating / with everybody waiting / for someone to call 'em back and then they just disappear / Take me or leave me, honey it ain't gonna grieve me / But give me the courtesy of making it clear // CHORUS // 

Ordinary Blues

Flooding in the valley, frost is on the ground / Droplets on the window, cold is moving back to town / Been a long year since I saw you / Guess you and I are much the same / Wishful thinking that we’ve cleaned up / While we still play the poet game // CHORUS: There was a time when I would have done anything / Anything to make you want me / I’m not crying because we never did anything / I’m crying cause that’s all behind me now // And how I worshipped at the altar / of hurt and heartbreak for so long / Made saints out of wanderers / And hymns out of their songs / How I wanted to be like you, tough and reckless and strong / Watching you taught me both sides / Living right and living wrong // CHORUS // Guess this is how it feels to have made it / Disillusioned with illusions I was chasing / No trophies or parades, just the quiet realization / I’m free of the old enchantments on my heart // I really was no different than any kid with a guitar / Trying to make someone love me by trading songs and scars / You really were no different than any hero I could choose / Beneath all the wisdom, there’s only ordinary blues / Beneath all the wisdom, there’s only ordinary blues // CHORUS // 

Platform Shoes

I was riding my bike round in platform shoes / Hanging out in basements and breaking curfews / Planning to move overseas soon as I turned 18 / Like new dresses we tried on dreams / Maggie was gonna work for the magazines / Me, I picked up guitar and cut holes in my jeans // CHORUS: We wanted answers fast as the future but the future comes on it's own time / We wanted songs to make us feel like all our loneliness was there for a reason // I’d run off and take the train downtown / Or drive to the state line with the windows down / I’m good when I’m gone, guess I’ve always been that way / Now I keep expecting to run out of road / Find the kind of love to make me want to stay at home / But I’ll always be moving if I’m waiting to be asked to stay // CHORUS // Everything has changed but nothing has changed at all / I still ride my bike but without platform shoes / After half a dozen loves of my life / I’m still learning how to choose / I’m still learning how to lose // Subdivisions sprung up like clover / Every year when the summer was over / We believed we could start with a blank slate / Maybe these stories are written in our cells / And we cling to the illusion we can change ourselves/ Maybe I loved you since I met you and I’ll continue to wait // CHORUS // 


Annie and Joe met operating roller coasters / It was a decent summer job for two kids with big dreams / Joe would say on the loud speaker, buckle up and hold on tight / It's gonna be a wild ride, and the passengers would scream / They were sneaking glances until their shifts were over / Each word was a love poem from across the coaster track / Well, no amount of logic can give summer love a limit / And the neon lights shone bright while they kissed in the back // CHORUS: My heart is as wild as yours / And I don't wanna tame you / You can ride that roller coaster as many times as you please / But you’re tired and you're not well and you just do it all over / I wanna be wild but I wanna be well, and I want your days to go easy // They both finished school, Joe headed off to California / When drinking didn't cut it, he moved on to harder things / Annie visited him a few times, but he was barely there to know it / She didn't have the heart to tell him she still wore his cheap engraved ring / When Joe called her from the hospital Annie flew in from Cleveland / She was standing by his bedside, he'd overdosed again / She'd have done most anything to take his burden from him / But you can't erase the pain of a very young man // CHORUS // Annie moved to Portland, got a studio apartment / Joe sent letters saying he was really on the mend / Annie wove a blanket from all those promises Joe gave her / And she boxed up all the pictures and she didn't visit him again // CHORUS // She loved those ups and downs, loved the Ferris wheel turning / She was addicted to the thrill of rolling fast by his side / When that track doesn't change, you gotta learn the hard way / Someday there comes a time when you gotta get off the ride

Mockingbird Song

I spend my days driving which is something like sailing / In that weather’s just something ahead to pass through / Some horizons are golden, some are lightning and thunder / Either forecast delivers me farther from you / I fill at a gas station where they sell machetes / And various switchblades, if you’ve got a need / Have I only made it far as Indiana / Counting bible verse billboards until Tennessee // CHORUS: I’m moving on, I’m moving / Start it again, that mockingbird song / All morning long, she’s got a new tune // I bought begonias from somewhere in Nashville / To make up for those potted plants that I’ve killed / Daisies in vases give so much less heartache / We don’t cry when they die, we expect that they will / You don’t expect much of me, I follow through / I’ve learned to expect even less out of you / Forgiveness, the one noble thing that we do / And I suppose that counts for something // CHORUS // I’m staying at Ben’s house with a screen door and porch light / I’ve often wondered what else could I need / With the wind blowing through open windows and curtains / With the ceiling fan turning and good books to read / How easy it is to love something we can’t have / Or something we only can keep for so long / Foxhole pin-up, photo in a locket / I’ve worn of the edges of our favorite songs // CHORUS // 

Sideways Glance

I remember feeling so hopeful about him / We were gonna take on the whole world / Every night was torture without him / But it was worth it cause I'd always be his girl / Then I left him or he left me / A parade of interchangeable he's / Healed my scars so they could give me fresh ones / Each time there's a little less to hurt / Build tolerance to the dust and dirt / Till I'm immune to every flirt in the kingdom // CHORUS: My heart still jumps at a sideways glance, a hand upon my waist / I’ve been starved for love so long that when I get a taste / Feels just like the first time, except I don't believe / In the stories my heart tells me // A decade now since we were first together / Ran off to Seattle in the spring / I was just a schoolgirl chasing after / The quickest way to forever and a ring / We played house and he would fix the toilet / I baked pies and I'd make the bed / We both hated doing dishes and the laundry / And he'd make me cry until my eyes were red // CHORUS // Now I'm not hardened yet, maybe I should be / Lord knows I've had enough pressure and heat / I still love as easy now as when you knew me / Wide eyes and wallet open to the thieves / I’m not jaded yet, still blood and bone / There's no good way to turn a heart to stone / But I’ve put in my time trying to change / The difference is subtle, I still love causing trouble / But those sweet words of love just come out strange // CHORUS //

Love Harder

New York in November, we were all a little fragile / Arming ourselves against the apocalypse with Leonard Cohen songs / I went down to Coney Island trying to chase down Woody Guthrie / Ask if this land's still my land too // CHORUS: Every shot, every word that is fired / There's no way to make it okay / Oh let me love harder, love harder / Love harder than the hate // The more I awake the more it feels like a dream / Playing guitar in a hotel bed / Weather channel and the news, any channel that you choose / It's more storms, more storms ahead // CHORUS // Now I love this country, I've been through every state / Blue and red we all wanna make it great / But in the whole expanse of history / What good ever came from hate // I saw a choir of refugees singing this little light of mine / I know there's work to do, we can't just sing the dark away / But it's a place to start, and I need a place to start / To love harder than the hate // CHORUS //

The Bittersweet Tapes

Copyright Heather Styka 2016

Singing 500 Miles

I am tearing it down / Your pictures from the wall / I’m burning it all / Whatever I can’t pawn / And I am throwing it out / The letters and the books / If you ever try to look back / You’ll find that I am gone // CHORUS: Five hundred miles / My mother sang that song / Singing five hundred miles / You’ll know that I am gone // I am packing it up / A suitcase full of dresses / All my plans and messes / I’m headed out by dawn / And I am clearing it out / The cobwebs from the corners / The curtains frayed and worn / And you will find that I am gone // CHORUS // Lord I’m one, Lord I’m two / Lord I’m three, Lord I’m four / Lord I’m five hundred miles / from the one I tried to love / And there’s no amount of miles / That can get him off my mind / Lord, we’re one, two, three / forever entwined // Five hundred miles / My mother sang that song / Singing five hundred miles / You’ll know that I am gone / Singing five hundred miles / Lullaby and so long / Singing five hundred miles / You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles


You said a lot of things / and we made a lot of plans / and when the bottom fell out / I landed on my feet / ‘Cause I come from a long line / of women who are kind / Who’d do anything to help / another soul in need // CHORUS: Tell me what you’re thinking / Tell me what you’re really feeling / I will listen and I will always be on the line / You don’t need to sugarcoat it / Bring me all your pain and hope / And when the world turns upside down / We will still get by // I’ve been called a lunch pail poet / ‘cause everyday I go to work / But when you’re singing for your supper / some nights you go hungry / As for love, I’ve known lots of it / Not often the kind you keep / I’m well-versed in letting go / when they let go of me // CHORUS // Who can compare the weight of two hearts / I have watched my friends weather unimaginable storms / These blizzards with no two snowflakes alike / Piling up in new patterns against our doors // It’s a hospital visit / It’s another totaled car / It’s out of your control / And it’s right where you are / The crucible of each morning / makes you stronger than you know / You will bend, but you won’t break / ‘cause you are made of gold // CHORUS


Tonight I’m remembering how you took off your hat / And blushed when you first asked me to dinner / I was a professional at loving and losing / Babe, you make me a beginner / They might say I should know better / Everyone always knows better / If you let that stop you, you’ll never know love / You and I are reckless dancers / searching everywhere for answers / You’re the question I most often think of // CHORUS: Oklahoma, I’m pushing through / But I’m still betting on you / Oklahoma, we’re a gamble, it’s true / But I’m still betting on you // Now I’m listening to songs covered in your fingerprints / In every single note I hear your voice / And of course the rain is pouring and whispering old letters / you sent me from Rock Island, Illinois / You mailed me treasures and buttons / that you picked up off the street / and photographs of our incandescent faces / Bursting with the promise of vanquished lonely days / We came so close we had to back away ten paces // CHORUS // We’ve got our own highways to run / but there are only so many roads / and they’re bound to cross sometime / I know we’ve only begun / Oklahoma, I hope someday you’ll come find me // And you’ll take off your hat / And you’ll ask me to dinner / And we’ll try it all again / Babe, you make me a beginner / Lord, you make me a beginner

Blue Vintage Dress

I kept that stone that you gave me / on the night we danced together / Polished flat and smooth / in some Yukon river / And it was good to dance / above the bar, out of the weather / before sunrise, in a small room // CHORUS: / I know the kind of lonely man you are / Playing lovers like you play guitar / But I confess / I knew what I was doing / in that blue vintage dress / Before sunrise, in a small room // Now I rarely trust a man / in a fedora or a vest / but every man wore one / and it seemed you wore it best / It was good to drink cheap wine / and put our limits to the test Before sunrise, in a small room // CHORUS // He falls for a song / She falls for his arms / They have a taste for whiskey in common / I’ve heard this one before / Been danced ‘round this floor / Sometimes a girl wants a love that feels common // You thanked me half a dozen times / as I headed to leave / You didn’t say you’d call / Didn’t bother to deceive / Well, it was good to hold you / And it was good to leave / before sunrise, in a small room // CHORUS

Not Your Rose

I am not your rose / though I unfold sweetly / You don’t have one good reason to love me / I’m just a passing song / And you don’t know the melody / You don’t have one good reason to love me // Who I am in your eager imagination / is all that you want to see // Sing me the shortest song / I don’t have long before I leave / And you don’t have one good reason to love me / You don’t have one good reason to love me


Twilight makes me fall in love / with every ordinary thing / The peeling painted shed / The oak trees overhead / The sky cools into darkness / I’m seventeen again / I’m seven / I’m counting down to before I began / This tree stretching over me / first fell down as an acorn / no bigger than my eye / in 1765 / The little girl across the street / will strain to remember me / when she has children of her own / In a blink she’ll watch them grow // CHORUS: Oh my dear / It’s now, we’re here / Isn’t that a good enough reason / Singing songs of summers gone / Please keep holding on / Dance me ’til the last star’s disappearing / Disappearing // I went to the mountain / to ask so many questions / but the mystic, he replied / Put your questions aside / Somewhere deep inside / I keep asking myself / Without my questions who am I / What’s left when I’m satisfied // CHORUS // You are not the answer, my love / You are not the question / You are not a cherry tree / You are one who once loved me / A moment come and gone / Only a fool would still hang on / CHORUS

Prodigal Child

It’s been half a year now / What do I have to show / Six days turned to six months / Spring rain turned to summer turned to snow / When new friends become old news / And pass like strangers in the street / And I can’t buy the next round / When I’m barely managing to make ends meet // CHORUS: I had to go / But who could bear coming home the prodigal child / I swear I’m learning something out of all of this / But I’m not quite through with running wild / I’ll get it right this time / But I’m not done running wild // Long ago I took for granted / A bed to rest, a roof over my head / These days I long to make plans / But I just work to make rent instead / Once I talked a big game / And every path was open as the sky / They told me I had what it takes / But lately I’ve been wondering if they lied // CHORUS // I know I’m not the only one on fire / With a feeling I can’t even describe / Everyday we try to tame it / but we can’t even name it / We wonder if there’s more to our lives / We go to work, we drive home / Spend time together and alone / Most days we act like everything is alright / That restless flame burning like a girl in love / Pure and eager and bright / I’ll be glad to see them / The childhood friends and the folks back home / I’ll tell stories of my new life / But I'll omit the parts where I'm lost and alone / We put on the brave face / It's some part of the truth / And we focus on the good days / Cause that's the only way to make it through // CHORUS

Great Plains

You were headlights in the distance / I could see you come my way / The closer you approached in the night / you were all I could see / We are bodies in motion / We always knew someday / You'd go the opposite direction of me // CHORUS: Do I hold on ’til your train leaves the station / Do I buy a ticket too / Some people say they'd do anything for love / But I've got a feeling that's not me and you // I’m driving across the Great Plains / Through deserts, and oceans of wheat / In each town I pass through / I wonder if someday that’s where you’ll be / Our intersecting long roads / have only this point where they meet / I’ve seen the end of your line / and it’s not in my trajectory // CHORUS // In my daydreams / we hold tight and tethered / Find common ground / Grow common roots / But even in dreams / I can’t keep us together / Got dream places to go / Dream things to do // Now I’m crossing all the mountains / Every river to be by your side / But when I get home / How will I know you’ll be waiting for me / You’re my safe house in a dark field / The place I go to hide / But soon the foundation will turn into wheels / As you turn to leave // CHORUS

Spilling Poetry

I’ve got this heart that wants to be taken / but when it is held, it wants to be free / I’ve got these feet that wanna keep walking / But it don't take long before they grow weary / I’ve got these hands that wanna keep busy / they mostly do nothing, cause there’s too much to do / I’ve got this smile covering me like a blanket / so I won’t notice I’m still thinking of you // CHORUS // I’ve got these arms so strong and so able / to carry these burdens but I’m letting go / I’ve got these shoulders that once were slumped over / Now I’m standing tall though I’m feeling low / I’ve got this gut that fills up with stones / when I hear your name and when you call / I’ve got these ears that hear you in the pine trees / hear you in the raindrops, hear you in it all // CHORUS // I’ve got these eyes searching for beauty / but they only find it when they are closed / I’ve got this mind that wants to be quiet / but it keeps repeating all it thinks it knows / I’ve got this throat so parched and so thirsty / but when I start drinking, I'm likely to drown / I’ve got these lips, they were spilling poetry / But everything’s small talk, now you’re not around // CHORUS

Sweet Weakness

You rolled into town selling snake oil and love / Oh, I bought it and I drank it by the spoonful, mm hmm  / I hung my hope upon your words and on that crooked smile / Believing you could cure my heart of every ill // CHORUS: My sweet weakness / I don't think I'll ever be immune / How tenderly you break my heart again / Without ever meaning to // You read me poems about a riverbed and you read me a story / about a man who asked a girl to marry and she said yes / The man fell asleep in some orchard, and she watched him / Knowing she'd never love another again // CHORUS // It's not that I just need someone, oh I can be alone and happy / I can be alone and happy, I can be alone / You're in my blood, you're in my skin / It's you alone that I am missing, you alone that I am missing / I’m missing you alone // So if I am your weakness, if you still think of me each night / It's not too late for us to take a walk together sometime / And if you asked me to take you back, if you asked me anything / I don't think I'd hold out too long to answer //CHORUS

What’ll It Be

On a good day you just laugh at every road block in your way / You just shrug it off and turn the car around on a good day / On a bad day you stay in bed and think up excuses why / You blame the weather or your childhood or the stars up in the sky // CHORUS: What’ll it be, what'll it be / You gonna take this day and hold it, or let it bring you to your knees // On a good day you walk down the block, you always find something new / Every turn is an adventure when you're in your good day mood / On a bad day you watch movies, wishing you were anyone but you / Living any life but this life, and you can't see, it's yours to choose // CHORUS // It doesn't have to be this way, rattling the cage of every day / You could break these bars with just one breath you're breathing / So breathe out and break it down, no one's standing by to bail you out / But you've got all you need and you always will // CHORUS


I'm an afterthought, I'm a memory / I’m that time you drove all night just cause you could / I’m every summer day spent listening for the train / I’m that pothole town you planned to leave for good / I’m that first New York show you played and no one came / And I'm that single soul listening to every note with kind eyes / I’m that long road home, with new stories to be told  / All those passages you thought could make you wise  // I’m the old carousel, that old wishing well / I’m those old songs that your grandmother would hum  / Those crisp autumn days / change was something you could taste  / Cold and sweet and eager on your tongue  / Every wild desire seemed within your grasp / Before you learned what it means to choose / I’m that movie star you posted on your wall / I’m that small town girl you knew always knew you'd lose // You're an after thought, you're a memory / You're the journal that I kept beneath my bed / I guess you loved me well / From here it's hard to tell / Sifting through the sweet nothings you said / Once you thought that I would stay right by your side / We'd be waltzing till our weary bones gave way / I thought the same of you / Now you're a memory too / The sort of dream we all outgrow someday // I wanted only you / Now you're a memory too / The sort of dream we all outgrow someday

While This Planet Spins Beneath Our Feet

Copyright Heather Styka 2014

Long Spring

It was the longest of springs and the latest of summers / Lilac and honeysuckle clinging to the branch fragrant through the rain / Until late roses came / Airplanes in the sky were small white birds gliding steadily / I watched the paint peel from the front porch / I thought of you momentarily, somewhat warily // CHORUS: I live on the north side of the West End these days / I am so sorry my heart is happy while you are one thousand miles away / You said you hoped the ocean would fill me with all of the joy you couldn’t bring / and I’m sorry you’re right, I’m sorry I’m gone / It’s been a long spring // I was a series of tempests when I lived beside you / You held on tight while I raged and rained and finally blew away / Oh I couldn’t have stayed / Now I hear the train rumble past in the early morning / I leave my window open, a breeze smells of the storm / from the night before, soft and settled once more // CHORUS // How many years did I believe / There had to be something wrong with me / Pulling away from all that I thought I’d ever need / You came too soon, love wasn’t enough / To fill in the cracks, to smooth out the rough / That much is on me, it’s my puzzle to solve / I had to leave you to find me // I have the fullest of hearts, always brimming over / I watch the tides, I let my thoughts wash over me like waves upon stone when I am alone / For all that you could give me, you couldn’t give this: / The feeling I can stand out in the storm all on my own / and still feel I’m home

Careful With My Heart

I'm a brave aviator in the stories that I write / A fearless lion tamer, daring it all every night / And there's nothing I won't tell, when I'm behind my guitar / But when I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart // I have driven through the storm with my hands firm on the wheel / I’ve not been too proud to knock on doors or beg for a meal / I’m a whole hearted chance taker, not afraid to fall apart / But when I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart // You can call me brave with the risks I take / You can me honest with the music I make / You can call me a fool, but there's one way I am smart / When I'm standing beside you, I am careful with my heart // I have slain dragons, but none wearing your clothes / With all your good intentions, all your disarming prose / So I grasp these chords like a talisman to protect me from love's start / When I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart // You can call me a fool, but there's one way I am smart / When I'm standing beside you, I am careful with my heart


Emily, I do believe you're doing everything right / Take as long as you like / Call me if you need to walk by someone's side tonight / We’re all just walking each other home / While this planet spins beneath our feet // Emily, sometimes it seems the horizon's so far / But its never more / Than a handful of miles from wherever we are / We’re all just walking each other home / While this planet spins beneath our feet // Emily, don't hitch your wagon to an undeserving star / You’ve waited so long, saving your secrets inside a mason jar / I know that you know you are more than enough but if you ever need a reminder / Let this song repeat until you believe / We’re all just walking each other home / While this planet spins beneath our feet 

Caspian Sea

These days we are imaginary beings / The only ghosts who exist are ourselves / Pinching our skin to feel the flesh that reminds us / We are solid and alive and well / I wonder if each generation invents a new emotion / As previous emotions melt away / Our minds adapting to the contours of a changing coastline / New words for new ideas that we say // I’ve seen a photograph taken in Russia in 1904 / The grass was crisp and green as if I saw it from my window / A girl wore a blue dress to the floor / Surely she had never known how it feels to want / So much that we don’t need / And I have never known how it feels to live / A whole life beside the Caspian Sea // The steeple on the hill, the crackle in the pan / They reassure though we don’t quite know why / I look into the window, back at your reflection / Hoping to meet your eyes / All who are beautiful are only so because / They remind us of someone or something that we know / Your hand in your pocket, irises and oceans / A tree illuminated from below // And I am just a shadow / Of a shadow of something you could love / A country you once knew / These days we are imaginary beings / And we all have something to prove / These days we are imaginary beings / Stumbling through the tangible, without a clue

Like It's 1945

I want you to love me like it’s 1945 / Stars are mirrorball reflections on a satin curtain sky / And we’ll wind up the phonograph and waltz all through the night / Oh I want you to love me like it’s 1945 // I want you to love me like we just won the war / Like we’ve both been to hell and back to here on our home shores / Now we’ll never be apart, we had enough of that before / Oh I want you to love me like we just won the war // I want you to love me like I never have doubt / Like I knew you were the one for me since you asked me out / It’d be a matter of time until we take that vow / Oh I want you to love me like I never have doubt // I want you to love me like love will never end / Like we knew it at first sight, like we never pretend / Like when Fred and Ginger danced on air and every rift would mend / Oh I want you to love me like love will never end // I want you to love me like it’s 1945 / To keep willful naiveté, if only for a night / And we will play the part, we’ll believe it if we try / Oh I want you to love me like it’s 1945 / I want you to love me like it’s 1945

Birch Log

Days are getting shorter / Cicadas getting loud / Apples getting riper / Hanging heavy on the bough / Nights are getting colder / Gather wood left from the storm / Stack it tall and tidy / One day it'll keep me warm // CHORUS: Put on the birch log, put on the pine / I’m saving the ash and the oak for another fire / that will burn slow through the night // Morning’s getting darker / Feed the coals till they ignite / Give them air and timber / Pine gold, birch white / You won't be here to tend it / And neither will I / So let’s burn it hot and quick now / For the thrill of the light // CHORUS // One of these days, lord, I will keep a steady burn / Keep a steady burn // My boots are getting restless / Stove is getting cold / I’ll make it back this way / After the leaves turn gold / If you're not ready to hold me / By the first snowfall / You won't get another chance / To hold me at all // CHORUS //


On my birthday the air smelled like it does each year / Breeze crisp as an apple, acorns crunching under tires / And even when it rains it smells dry like dust and leaves / Oh I am leaving now / And every year I feel more bittersweet than I can bear / And no amount of songs or coffee, books or tea can remedy / That everything that once was mine / No longer belongs to me / On the park bench an old man sits / With round-toed shoes like that Paul Simon song / His eyes a mirror of my own / Questioning where did the time go // There’s a picture of me propped up on a chair in the yard / When I was no more then four and dressed in dress-up clothes / Pretending to be a ballerina / Not all that much has changed / Cause I’m still trying to be someone other than I am / The sailor or the farmer or the poet with the tweed slacks / The avant garde artist with the apartment / On the wrong side of the the tracks / 19 wasn’t long ago, drunk with love, coming home / Restless and alone / And everyone I looked up to when / I hoped to grow up like my friends / I’m older now than they were then // Everyone my age seems about as lost as me / My generation from the land of make believe / Convinced we’re all unique and we'll find / Our own way but we’re all moving back home / Or trying to feed children of our own / Oh I was born in a cradle sitting on dead leaves / Red and brown unveiled from beneath the fading green / What if when we wither too / Our real form is uncovered, our colors become true / If that's the case, bake me a cake / So I can blow the candles out / And wish away my doubts and carve away / Each coming year, remove the restlessness and fear / Until all that remains in my bare limbs is change

Diversey Harbor

I’m sitting by the lights of Diversey Harbor / Red and green they’re glowing, helping guide ships in / But I have fixed my sights on the ones that are leaving / Dreaming of the places my new life could begin // CHORUS: Chicago, you’ve made a liar out of me / Always saying that I’m leaving, but here I am walking your streets / There’s a million places I could be, and I might like them better / But sometimes I think this city’s all that’s holding me together // Winter ends and ran comes down / Soon the days are hot as ever / John is headed to New York, Sarah’s moving south / We are going to the East Coast and the West Coast and Australia / You are calling us back home, you are calling us now // CHORUS // I hear siren songs of somewhere, where the grass is greener / And if I steer my ship onto the rocky shore / Your towers, like a lighthouse, will beckon me home / The City of Big Shoulders’ open arms will guide my oars // CHORUS //

Love in the Multiverse

I am capable of patience but I don’t waste time on it / Cause if all space and time is happening this moment, I’d admit / That I’m already leaving, or I’ve already left, or I’m already home again // CHORUS: The future you is having dinner somewhere with the future me / And we laugh about the suckers who say things are meant to be / There was a multitude of outcomes and there always had been / I had always loved you somewhere or somewhen // The versions where I never met you, sometimes I wonder about those / If that outcome makes you happier than this one, I suppose / Or if I’d left at any other point in our timeline / Would you be my phantom limb, with memories that are not mine // CHORUS // What happens from here, which version we’re in I can’t say / But this is not the ending where I decide to stay / Cause my future self is sending a message back to me / Her happiness depending on me to leave // Maybe I come back and find you, maybe we love for many years // Maybe you meet another woman and I’m left alone in tears / Each hypothetical story is good as any that I know / And the only path to take is to bravely go // There were a multitude of outcomes and there always had been / I had always loved you somewhere or somewhen // I am capable of patience but I don’t waste time on it / Cause if all space and time is happening this moment, I’d admit / That I’m already leaving, or I’ve already left, or I’m already home again 


Birds brought in a morning, it was humming with the breeze / A Utopian day, all hot and cold at once / My friend’s in the kitchen making coffee for me / And through the blinds shine horizontal lines of sun / Now the pleasure of a morning with coffee in my hand / Is nothing compared to the company of friends / All those friends were strangers once, although not for long / They took me in like family and told me I belonged // CHORUS: Let the morning rise over Brooklyn / Oh how the sunrise changes everywhere I go / But the kindness of strangers knows no one location / It follows my footsteps and follows me home // A passing stranger told me that I was made of beauty / He spoke without expectation or pretenses or plans / And after he had gone I kept the smile that he left with me / Now I’m passing it onward as often as I can / It’s nothing short of astounding how many I have met / From Edmonton, Alberta all down to Lafayette / Who feel like I have known them for a lifetime or more / They fill me up with hope each time that I pass through their door // CHORUS // Oh as long as these seeds of love / Are scattered on my fertile heart / I guess I’ll expand the garden / But cultivation is an art / It’s not hard to grow forget-me-nots / To hold and to fade / But I’m growing an orchard / To bear fruit and shelter and shade // So walk along beside me, tell the secrets that you keep / And I will also give you a glimpse inside of me / ‘Cause the mission of my soul and why I ramble as I do / Is to shine this beacon into the heart of you // CHORUS //

With the Moon

I saw that you were looking for a little light / So I shone my warmth on you / Oh I tried to be your sunshine / But all along you were in love with the moon // She comes and she goes, when she returns, she’s still cold / But none of that matters to you / Oh I tried to be your sunshine / But all along you were in love with the moon // The anxious sun burns too hot / Tries too hard, moves too fast / My burning heart glows so bright / You can see it shine right through my chest / There’s no mystery shrouding me / Could you love what you see and what you get // Was every laugh and every smile / Misplaced, wasted on you / Cause I tried to be your sunshine / But all along you were in love with the moon / Yes I tried to be your sunshine / But all along you were in love with the moon

These Northern Skies

Here among the thistle and Queen Anne’s Lace / Here among the sun setting through the apple tree / You are pine boughs and cotton and iron / You are an oil wick burning steadily / I came here for a change / Hoping these northern skies would align for me / I’m waiting for a change / Until these northern skies align // Here among the lupine and chicory / Here among the sugar maples starting to turn / You asked me how long I intended to stay / There is so much yet that I need to learn / I came here for a change / Hoping these northern skies would align for me / I’m waiting for a change / Until these northern skies align // I ask myself is it enough to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin / After all my best laid plans, I just want to learn to breathe out and breathe in // Here among the spruce trees pointing into the sky / Here among the Milky Way spread across the night / I’m driving down the gravel till I am out of sight / To the darkest field where the constellations shine clear and bright // I came here for a change / Hoping these northern skies would align for me / I’m waiting for a change / Until these northern skies align 

Lifeboats for Atlantis

Copyright Heather Styka 2011

My Father's Daughter

My father took long walks down the streets at night / every time that we drove to a new town / He wanted to understand what was in each town's heart / after the lights were out // I am my father's daughter / wandering too far / and promising that I will be home soon / Soon is two different words to me and to you // Now patience is a virtue that I have rarely known / and never when I'm waiting to get back on the road / My greatest sin is lust for somewhere new to go / My restless heart would turn its back on everything it knows // Cause I am the road's lover / yearning for distant lands / and promising that I will be home soon / Soon is two different words to me and to you // I'm trying to stop wanting, chasing impermanent things / Stop seeking answers in the clouds / 'cause I've flown through clouds before and they are just a foggy haze / It's the light that turns them colors at the eve of the day // But I am my own tempter / all caught up with desire / and promising that I will be home soon / Soon is two different words to me and to you // I am my father's daughter / wandering too far / and promising that I will be home soon / but soon is two different words to me and to you


I am weary of this city / I am longing for the ocean / These trains, they sound like crashing waves from distant shores a-calling / And if I put my trust in my own two feet / and walked until I found the sea / Would I know that I am home and be contented? // I am weary of this city / I am longing for the forest / These tall buildings give me shade but they do not bend in the wind / and if I put my trust in my own two feet / and took my rest beneath the trees / would I know that I am home and be contented? // I am weary of this city/ and I long for where I came from / The crickets’ song, it sounds the same / an end of summer lullaby / and if I put my trust in my own two feet / and walked back to my family / Would I know that I am home and be contented? / Will I ever truly be contented?

Tightrope Walker

I wanna be a tightrope walker / Take everything in my stride / Wanna show myself what I can do if I really try / Wanna overcome the sickness / that makes us all think that we can’t / Wanna overcome the weakness that makes me think I can’t balance without holding your hand // CHORUS: There’s no reason to be afraid / It’s not a long fall down / and falling’s not so bad once you learn how / Everyone will think I’m walking with such grace and ease / If they walked behind me they’d see / the wobble in my knees, my shaking hands // I wanna be a tightrope walker / until every step is sure / Practice till I’m walking in my dreams and I don’t believe in worry anymore / I believe in the moon / I believe in the stars / They’re made of the same things that we are / so balance can’t be all that hard // CHORUS // I wanna be a tightrope walker / though it’s been done before /and the world has seen enough circuses / and doesn’t need any more / and even if the big top folds / I’ll do it in my own backyard / with all my neighbors sitting on the patio / wondering if tightrope walking is hard // CHORUS

Lucy and Sarah

Lucy had the farm next door, she lived there with her husband / I was her closest friend although she was the quiet type / Her kids had all moved out, she spent mornings in her garden / And though her roses bloomed so rarely, Lord knows that she tried // One day I drove past Lucy's farm, she was standing in the doorway / Facing the fields, but her gaze was far beyond / There was something lost from that stubborn face that looked like hope receding / and though I wanted to pull over, I kept believing she was fine / Her eyes said // CHORUS: Pray for me, Sarah / I don't know what to do / It's getting hard to wake up in the morning / No one's really noticed / except for maybe you / But something's changed in a bad way in me / Pray for me // This year her garden was smaller, weeds grew up around the house / I called Lucy and asked if she was feeling well / She said she was fine as ever but there was a message in her voice / What it was I didn't know, seemed too hard to tell // One day Lucy came over as I was fixing dinner / saying she had something she'd been meaning to give me / It was her mother's crystal vase, where Lucy always kept her roses / I didn't feel right about this kind of charity / Her hands said // CHORUS // After she left I called her house and her husband answered / I asked if Lucy came home yet and told him to look around / He checked the bathroom cabinet and the sleeping pills were missing / So I got in my car to see if she was somewhere on the farm // I found her in the farthest field with a bag of pills beside her / But she was sitting there unharmed, I thanked the Lord for that / I brought her in my car, we drove together to the doctor / I held her hand the whole way there / How quietly she said // CHORUS // Seems like despair is never over, Lucy's working at it every day / but if she can see the hope in her roses once again / I'll know we're getting somewhere and the seeds of joy will grow / and as she walks this lonesome valley, I'll walk beside her as her friend / She said // CHORUS: Pray for me, Sarah / I'm trying to get through / It's oh so hard to wake up in the morning / Few have really noticed / but I'm grateful to you / And something's changing for the better in me / Pray for me

Dragon Kite

Mother, remember that dragon kite we had? / With tails all red and silver / and a face so fierce and wild / We’d run around in circles trying to make that dragon fly / and when we set it down the wind would pick it up and take it to the sky // Father, remember when we drove through that town? / With a cliff at every corner / we couldn’t find our way down / On the map every road seemed like it went on and on / but they were dead ends into nothing, so we turned right around // Brother, remember when you gave me that tree / I could not make it bear fruit so I just let it be / and after the spring rains were come and had gone / it was covered in flowers that smelled sweet in the sun // There’s no way of knowing where the wind will blow / You can’t tell it where to take you / or ask it to make you float / but a dandelion will sooner learn to fly before the stone / You gotta let go of the ground to find the place you need to grow


Jones is selling the hotel / Gas station’s been closed for years now / and Mary’s sick of running the cafe / There’s no money and the kids that are smart enough to get out / are moving out running away // Those kids once asked why did they close down the toy store / Old timers just say things are quieter now / We drive into the city to get what we need / and the young ones drive into the city and stay // CHORUS: Now this towns’s a ghost town / store fronts all empty / Atlantis, the rise and the fall / Everything’s closing and everyone’s hoping / that one of these days something will fill up these walls // We came here by the dozens / family and friends at the turn of the century / We built a movie theatre / later hotels and drive-ins / Built a small town but it sure had dreams // Now the band shell is empty / Besides who would come out to listen / if that old stage was filled wtih song / But years ago big bands and marching bands played / and everyone came out and sang along // But it’s sinking now / Yeah, it’s going under / like Atlantis under the waves / There’ll be nothing left but photos and memories / ‘cause no one is left to save it now / We’ve all moved away // CHORUS

Coldwater River

Coldwater River, I never would have known / that you would leave me so hungry to return / Coldwater River, you have washed me clean / of everything before you, I can’t ignore your memory // Those who seek wisdom, they go to the mountains / Those who seek forgetting, they travel to the sea / Those who love the river, we want to remember / ‘Cause the river’s always winding through the banks of memory // Now I once tied a ribbon around the old oak tree / Tied a string around my finger, wrapped strings around the string / Now I’m bound up in twine like a butterfly forming / Wings beating at the walls and trying to burst free // Coldwater River, I never would have known / that you would leave me so hungry to return / Coldwater River, you have washed me clean / of everything before you, I can’t ignore your memory // With everything before me, still I turn to memory

Glory Hallelu

These days you've come to expect it / Broken glasses, broken bowls / I'm just clumsy I suppose / Let them slip right through my fingers / My hands are cut upon the shards / and I'm left shaking, shocked, and scarred / Like when I was a girl and I broke the lamp in the parlor // You and me, we've done so much / Tried so hard to get it right / and when we get it burning bright / We knock it over // CHORUS: Glory, glory hallelu / This must be what lovers do / Glory, hallelujah / Breaking what we've mended // Just like my mother and her mother before / I repair those jeans that tore / sew the buttons on your sweater / And though I try to stitch in time / watching for wear and signs / The strain on these threads that bind / is always pulling // You and me, we've done so much / Tried so hard to get it right / and when we get it patched up tight / The edges start fraying // CHORUS // I'm not trying to say that it's all in vain / With all this pain we're like gold in fire / And we've come so far with these hearts so hard / Will they be enough to make it 'til the end? // I'm not giving up just yet / I'm not ready to forget / but love and pain, they're hanging on a scale / And who's to say what will weigh more? / Which of us is keeping score? / There's something to be said for good intentions // You and me, we've done so much / Tried so hard to get it right / Shot in the dark, without sight / but we keep on trying // CHORUS


When I was very young, my parents bought a lake / It was more of a marshy pond in the middle of nowhere / But it was our pond; each year we returned in summer / When Tyler's ice cream shop reopened in town // Now Tyler's closed his doors and retired to Florida / I'm at the water's edge at the end of October / It seems wilder now, with the trees all barren branching out /like dark nets into a cold blue sky // The water is so calm, everything's reflected / Reflecting all the years that have passed by / I used to sit on this pier and look into the depths / Like it was a crystal ball that could show me destiny // Our rowboat was a raft, all patched and filled with air / I preferred to stay back on the shore / Each sunken log meant danger and it always made me nervous / to let anyone else control the oars // At night the pier was where I learned my first constellation / Andromeda was the galaxy closest to our own / Perseus' prize, Cassiopeia's daughter / She must have wondered, too, what her fate was on her own // I've never seen the lake this calm, so settled / Comparing it to glass couldn't begin to describe / But a knowledge in me waits and reminds me that those depths / Are murky as ever, churning deep inside
Everywhere the Longing
We came to the mountain / to understand the silence / See the patterns of hills and walls below / But still my questions outnumber what I know // CHORUS: What did we think we'd find / on the other side of the world / Traveling to great heights / but the stones whisper the same thing / Everywhere the sunrise, everywhere the longing // We came seeking answers / The nameless stones stood silent / Cedar trees and moss all whispered nothing, nothing, nothing / Ashes that were buried, they told many stories / Each one with the same ending // CHORUS

Wind Oh Wind

CHORUS: Wind, oh wind, won't you take me with you / I see you shaking up the trees / I feel you moving the seas / Wind, oh wind, can't I come along / Wherever you blow, I will bring my song // Last night I heard the wind cry out to the moon / Follow me, follow me and I'll write you a tune / I'll play it on the leaves of the poplars you kiss with your light / Shimmering white // CHORUS // Yesterday I heard the wind whisper out to the sun / Leave that old daily path and I'll find you a new one / 'Cause I go where I will and I blow where I please / You are tied to your rhythms, I am tied to the breeze // CHORUS // Wherever you blow, I will sing this song

Last Train Home

I know, in the better part of me, it's time to go / I don't wanna leave 'cause I keep it close / These memories I keep close to me / Most days I think of how it was when we first met / When I first came to this city running from regret / and riding the bus over the river // CHORUS: Maybe it started so well the present pales in comparison / We were a tough act to follow / We were the last train home / But now last call is over and it's time to go // I can't resurrect the past from what we are now / We tried to get it back but it's gone somehow / You don't know it yet, but I do / Our love floated out the window down the fire escape / And we make-believe it's still here in an invisible cape / Maybe it is, how would we know // CHORUS // We can't drag this out forever like a re-run show / I'm sick of riding into the sunset when I know / I've gone as far west as I can go / So in the morning I think I'll try and head into the sunrise / I won't leave with excuses, I won't leave with lies / It'll just be better this way // CHORUS


Somedays at the cafe, when I clear away the coffee cups / I touch the spoon that someone used to stir sugar in their tea / Makes me feel closer to them / as though I might cross the great divide / between these strangers and me / I am bringing them toast with a smile on my face / I am watching them laugh, I watch old friends embrace / I am watching them stir the cream in their coffee / They stir clockwise like me // CHORUS: How did I end up so removed from everything? / I'm the girl behind the counter, I'm the spectator at the cafe / I want to close the difference between them and me / These strangers doing crosswords / drinking coffee and tea // In the afternoon the shadows stretch long and thin / from the tables and chairs / A little boy in a striped shirt frowns beside a mother / who doesn't seem much to care / I catch his eye with a smile on my face / His mother turns to him and wipes off a trace / of jelly that he smudged across his right cheek / She tells him to be more careful / and stares out at the street in silence // CHORUS // Sometimes when I look at all their faces / I'm struck with some kind of holy truth / that we are all single waves within an ocean / ebbing and flowing, made of the same endless blue / Someone reaches out and asks me how I'm doing / and I suddenly feel like the might really care / and I answer back to them past layers of armor / and the seeds of compassion are planted somewhere // CHORUS

Sparrow Can Learn

Driving east from Memphis on a February night / Windows down and the heat turned up, sky spilling with starlight / Someone gave me fifty bucks 'cause he liked the songs I write // CHORUS: Oh, I know a sparrow can learn to sing // Someday I'll learn to be funny and to solo on guitar / and everyone will love me, and I'll drive the fastest car / So I can outrun that empty pain that trails me as I go // CHORUS // Right now someone's talking 'bout Jesus, right now someone's fighting a war / Right now I'm still trying to understand just what I'm singing for / 'Cause there's nothing I could tell you / that in your heart, you don't already know // CHORUS // Oh, I know the sparrow can learn to sing

Travel and Teacups

Copyright Heather Styka 2009

Every Chord

In the morning maybe I'll write a song about you Not like I haven't tried before These notebooks of unfinished lines are laughing at me behind scratch outs And I don't know why you're still on my mind
(Chorus) Every chord that claims to know you doesn't know any more than I do Every key I try to sing in Every tune I can't ignore Every time I play it over Every chord that claims to know you Leads me farther from you than before
I'm the type who always knows just what to say Give up if it takes more than a day to sort out my thoughts into a song But I'm singing words that I don't understand These strings feel strange beneath my hands As I wait for you to sing along
These uncertain and these laughing rhythms Sleepless chorus, endless verse Humming through the early morning Melodies that cause something to stir
Every chord that claims to know you Only makes me see that I want to know more


He's occupied my thoughts On and off for over a year now He doesn't pay any rent and I don't pay any mind He's gonna find me out Gonna find me in the library with the candlestick Gonna find out I've been waiting all this time
(Chorus) Clementine, I'm hatching a plan You're the first to laugh and the last to leave What do you say we ride our bikes down to Germany Clementine, I know you're like me You fall in love with everyone you meet We fall in love with everyone we meet
So here I go again Running into him on strange street corners It's going on my list of things I like to do He combs his hair and heads out west I love them all but I love him the best I love them all but I love him the best

Sailors, Prophets &

The day I tried to paint myself in your heart I was so close to succeeding You could see my eyes dark as the ocean at night The day I tried to paint myself in your heart The distance between us receding I wanted you closer than I'd ever known
When I lifted my paintbrush the walls were erased And I painted thoughts that were too soon to say And the water that night was brighter than day as it hit the shore
(Chorus) I wait for signs like sailors and prophets and kings Reading into your eyes like reading the wind I wait to see in
The day I tried to find the place where you are wherever you go in the quiet I listen for your breath even when you are miles away The day I tried to find the place where you are I dreamed that you'd come back to me I wanted you to see me like you did before
We stretch and retract and we come and we go Measuring actions and leaving alone But my measure of truth is that I wander restless until you are close
The day I tried to write you into my heart I wrote such beautiful stories And you could hear my words true as the silence of stars The day I tried to write you into my heart I dreamed that you'd come and stay there Stay until the story ends
Each day is different but I love you the same Whether you stay or go Or the plot starts to change I will write you and paint you and find you when you pull away

Prairie Song

I lived my whole life in these fields Raised a family, best as we could do In prairie fires when the smoke clears All the earth starts anew
We came here from Nebraska Had to leave when the farming got bad and you children needed shoes I haven't left this town since Sometimes I think about the world out there China and Chicago, California, foreign shores to me and you
(Chorus) Go, go, go from this house we call home, from the prairies that you know Go, go, go, my only daughter, go You were made for more than what's in store for you Go
I know you've got your eyes on the Williams boy Hard worker with nice strong arms and not too much to say He reminds me of your father Now, I love your father and we've stuck together through hope and hell But remember well, if you marry that Williams boy This town is where you'll stay
There's a dream that sits inside your heart I only know that because the same dream was in my own Dreams of rootless trees and falling leaves and flying geese making their way far from home Real oceans, not made of tall grass Real mountains, instead of silos And tall, tall buildings that scrape the sky


Once I stole a book from my library in high school It hadn't been checked out since 1982 So I thought no one would miss it and I wanted to keep it It had color pictures of statues from India So now its on my bookshelf And a sudden urge has hit me to take up stone-carving And carve my own wheel of samsara Someday we're gonna travel past the farthest mountains And when I'm very old I'll write my memoirs
These sudden inspirations take hold of me like rainstorms And I'm left without reason and drenched with lack of time That's how you affect me like words that must be written I can't turn away from you or put you aside I know that when you hear this You'll mark it down and counting all the songs that you have inspired in me And when we walk down the sidewalk We'll hum this very softly With my heart bursting with these notes inside of me
This weekend you were driving some hours from Chicago And when I think about you I start smiling I know that makes you happy 'cause you like when I smile And I like thinking 'bout you more than I'd like to admit I was wrong when I thought we were like a movie I'd rather live inside the songs that we both love They could be our houseboat and we'll have notes for rafters And in the evenings guitar strings will be our lights


I like your stories Leaving red paths of shells and following them home And these secret laughs and tricks and smiles Keep me from feeling alone
It's nice to know When I need to go and I'm restless as boats without ropes in the bay You'll bring the maps and the old photographs and we'll go somewhere far away
Tonight the lights are on in Reykjavik and we're dancing in the rain 'Cause we like when rain falls on our faces And the fragrance when it's gone away Your hand's on my back as we're passing through harbors And fields and mountains and towns Tonight the lights are on in Reykjavik And we're gone without leaving the ground
We're stranger than most here with strangers and ghosts The air mixing with the sea If it hides me from sight, the pathways you left might lead you back to me
Sometimes the pressure is too much to handle Feels like everyone's bringing you down But tonight the lights are on in Reykjavik And we're gone without leaving the ground

Wild Mountain Thyme

Oh the summertime has come and the trees are sweetly blooming and the wild mountain thyme grows among the purple heather
(Chorus) Will you go, lassie, go and we'll all go together To pluck wild mountain thyme all among the blooming heather Will you go, lassie go
I will build my love a bower By yon crystal flowing fountain and on it I shall pile all the flowers of the mountain
If my true love will not go Then I'll surely find another Where the wild mountain thyme grows among the purple heather
I will build my love a shelter By yon clear mountain stream and my love shall be the fairest That the summer sun has seen

What We Have

She came before me She came to the city from an Iowa town She looked just like I do now Lasso the moon so she could pull it down
She met him on the railroads A James Dean type who always came around They were married in January 20 years old and 20 below and a wedding gown
(Chorus) And we don't even comprehend We don't even comprehend What we have, what we have, what we have All these years before us Recklessness and beauty and youth And youth is wasted on the young And we're always pushing on Hey, maybe with some age I'll find wisdom too
She never feared anything Standing on the precipice, toes curled over the edge And she didn't wear sensible shoes Made dresses in the latest fashion Lady in red She doesn't listen to directions When the signs say don't, she thinks they say do She's been known to lie a little If the lie is better than what's exactly true
It's not hard to believe that we will never die But while we dream of immortality this cancer burns inside Wisdom keeps me silent, oh I am but a fool And I don't know what to say to you So silent tears will do And I fear... (Chorus)

The Ocean

I saw you standing on the street corner today I was wearing sunglasses You didn't recognize me And I wanted to keep it that way But I am not ashamed to admit I've been looking for you every day Somehow hoping we would randomly meet
And you would say How have you been And I would say Never been better And would you like to stay and talk for a little while And you would take me down to the river We'd follow it till it hit the sea But the truth is I was walking and you didn't recognize me
(Chorus) I can't stay away from the ocean (x3) Can't stay away
I sat by the water writing letters to my past They fell into the ocean Ink dripping and bleeding My words were lost so fast So I walked away I wandered on home But the next day I was back Looking out on the waves Looking for a way to be alone
If we meet again It will be by the ocean I'll dive in and I'll retrieve all of my letters Find my words again I'll speak the truth I'll go sailing with you We'll float on till you understand That people like us were never meant To live on dry land
Yeah we can't stay away from the ocean... If we meet again it will be by the ocean... I can't stay away from the ocean, etc.


You don't know that you're lonely I won't admit I'm lonely too We're quite the pair, lonely together 'Cause lonely's what we like to do And I guess if we wanted, we could join forces After all, one and one make two But I'd have to admit that I'm feeling lonely And that's something I'll never do
You see it's quite the paradox really All the lonely people are never alone I won't bother asking where they all come from And I've seen all the places that they go And I guess if we wanted, we'd make it all better Make sure the wounds of division are through But we'd have to admit that we're feeling lonely and that's something we'll never do
You don't know that you're lonely I won't admit I'm lonely too We hide in our work and our beds and our houses And we hide in the books and the bars and the news And I guess if we wanted, we'd find a solution I guess if I wanted, I'd stop hiding from you But I'd have to admit that I'm feeling lonely and that's something I'll never do Yes, I'd have to admit that I'm feeling lonely and that's something I'll never do

Fortune Tellers

She said Don't listen to the fortune tellers They're only peddling lies After all, they told me I was done feeling lonely and things were gonna go right But it doesn't get more alone then this Crying out in the desert like no one's around Playing cassette tapes of Tom Waits She's waking up with her feet on the ground
She's waiting for something or someone to make her feel again My huckleberry friend We're two drifters, shape-shifters, breaking hearts and taking names And all the while, all we want is to feel again
She said don't listen to the fortune tellers They're only peddling lies But as for me, I treat each brick and stone as if it's love in disguise We build homes out of Lincoln Logs so we can tear them all down Playing cassette tapes of Tom Waits Even when we fall, we've got our feet on the ground
We're waiting for something or someone to make us feel again My huckleberry friend We're two drifters, shape-shifters, breaking hearts and taking names And all the while, all we want is to feel again

Golden Light

You don't want to be the shadow on the wall Cast by the elm tree so narrow and tall But you go round and around like the seagulls above They're beautiful from a distance The fears that you have, the problems that you hide Multiply like rabbits and tear you up inside You stop eating and your heart stops beating And you don't know how to survive Just want to get out of this alive
(Chorus) Where did you go, my golden light You can't control this on your own Now I don't know much about living But you don't have to do it alone You don't have to do it alone
You want to run away, live out by the lake But no matter where you run, you're still just as fake You've got your eyes on the sky at the seagulls above While you're digging your own grave I don't know how to help, no one really could We're breathing the same breaths and doing what we should And we're trying to get by and we're waving our flags And we're covering what's inside Just want to get out of this alive
My golden light refused to shine You're beautiful from a distance Seagulls and a sunset Guess I'll see you in the morning

The Sun Also Rises

We could have such a nice time together Isn't it pretty to think so You and I, we sure know how to have a lovely evening Then I go
(Chorus) Who do I turn to when everything feels like everyone's leaving me cold If it's any consolation, the sun also rises At least, it's pretty to think so
We live our lives separately I'll send you a wire I'll send you a letter When I get oh-so-lonely And I'll feel temporarily better
We'll spend our nights trying to remember Our days, trying to forget Write it down, all these conversations There's no hope but we'll hope yet Don't think about it all, don't talk about it all Don't stir up pangs of regret If it's any consolation, I think that I loved you, I loved you the moment we met