Dine and Dash
It’s not a nice place.
But you took your hat off, and you got a nice face. I’ll get you what you want, and make sure it’s hot when it arrives. Do you want the special tonight? I’ll give you a minute to decide. Because it’s not a nice place, but everything tastes good.
And you got a nice face, just like a nice boy should. So don’t worry about being demanding. You and me got an understanding. I know that if I take care of you, you’re gonna take good care of me too. It’s not a nice place. I mean, you don’t gotta wear a tie. But how could a nice face not be on a nice guy? And you look like such a nice guy.
But you’re nothing finer than a dash-and-diner, and I turn around to your empty plate. I’ve been giving you everything that you need. I’ve been cleaning up your crumbs and filling up your drinks, but I don’t get a dime for my wait.
You got to have your fill. I get to foot the bill, for trusting you to not walk out on me. You got to sit back and relax, watching me bust my ass. It’s hard not to take it real personally…because ain’t it how it always goes: I work my fingers to the bone, but it still always ends up being my treat. And it’s not fair.
I thought you’d care.
But you’re nothing finer than a dash-and-diner, and I turn around to your empty plate. I run to your booth with my tray in my hand, searching your table for traces of cash. You seemed like the kind to compensate, but you’re nothing finer than a dash-and-diner. You ain’t paid for what you ate. I’ve been giving you everything that you need. I’ve been cleaning up your crumbs and filling up your drinks, but I don’t get a dime for my wait. And you seemed like the kind to compensate, but no, no, no.
So that’s what’s behind this: I’m killing you with kindness. Believe me when I say, “You have my deepest sympathy. It’s all a bit beyond me, but it leaves me with a quandary. Do I shape up or I ship out upon my dignity?
“Because every man I’ve met has changed a bit of me irrevocably, and what you call my flaws are what I want to keep. It seems strange that I should change to keep your affection the same as it was when you wanted who I was.”
You say you would have bought more, but I always go dutch. You say you’d care a lot more, if I didn’t care so much. And that’s what’s behind this: I’m killing you with kindness. Believe me when I say, “I meant the opposite effect. It’s all a bit confusing. I just know if I keep losing pieces of me, there ain’t gonna be no pieces left.
“And I’m feeling like a sinner when I want to cook you dinner, and I’m feeling like a saint when I’m spitting in your face.”
I’ve never met one so adept at keeping lines and leads unsourceable. You keep me at a distance that limits of language stay enforceable. I’ve never had my hopes as dashed or as drawn out as they’ve been lately. But now my i’s got dots, my t’s are crossed. All I need is you to punctuate me, but you just let me run on. You just let me run on, run on, run on, run on, without no commas and no pauses. I keep chalking up my losses. I keep crowding up my clauses, ‘til the empty space is gone. And a conclusion’s all I want, but you just let me run on. With both pipes lit, we stroke our chins and keep our phrasing hypothetical. If we break type—recklessly spend the night—it’s only as a parenthetical. While it sure is safe to stay lowercase, we could capitalize on what it is that we’re feeling. My heading’s set. My spelling’s checked. All I need is you to come proofread me, but you just let me run on. So I best be regaining senses and start employing present tenses, because it’s not what you DID, it’s what you DO. I best be regaining senses and start employing second tenses, because it’s not about ME, it’s about YOU.
Bed and Breakfast
I sing in small pictures because I can’t see any bigger. My horizons never get any farther away, and it wouldn’t make any difference if they did or they didn’t. I know the boundaries—the territories—ain’t gonna change.
The only message he took from those takes was how to be a better actor. The only lesson I learn from my mistakes is how to make them faster. The morning after is a holy kind of time. With our limbs and lexicons intertwined, we do just fine. We get along real well between bed and breakfast, and, sure, the rest of the day goes to hell…but at least we’re getting our rest, which I think is the best we can hope for. I don’t want to fight anymore.
He thinks it’s so clever how he rearranged the letters of his compass so it keeps us turned around, and now I don’t know north or south from him. I don’t know how to get along without him. I should have known, but I hate to navigate on my own. We only travel by night if we need to get anywhere, because the details we see in broad daylight are the ones that we wish weren’t there.
I know it’s not fair to stop lives for an affair that only settles down at night when we’re both too tired to fight, but we get along so well between bed and breakfast. And, sure, the rest of the day goes to hell…but at least we’re getting our rest, and I think that’s the best we can hope for. I don’t want to fight anymore, and it’s just between the hotels and the bed-and-breakfasts that the rest of the day goes to hell. But that’s just in the daylight…the rest of the time we do just fine.
at our prime then. (I thought that meant we couldn’t be divided.)
You [added up some small lies]
[which would have been alright]…if you hadn’t multiplied them.
Honey, let’s get down to the root of it –?if you had to be through with it, there was a simple solution: you could have squared away some fare-thee-wells and eliminated variables.
It would have saved some confusion, because you had me believing in you and me even in spite of some odd behavior. But if I had known that you were just penciling in my figure I would have bought an eraser. I know that you think the rules of logic don’t apply to you, and that’s precisely the problem. You keep making complications in the most basic human equations until there’s no way to solve them.
The formula don’t matter when you’re making up your answers.
It’s the reasoning of –?a reasonable doubt. Let’s do us both a favor and we won’t carry no remainders. Please, can we just cancel each other out?
Because my being [nice] is your [taking advantage] and my being [mean] is barely making your average. And my being [average] is your being a [hero]
And my positives and your negatives keep coming up zero. With numbers and shit, I’m not that clever. Every time I put two and two together they keep coming up zero.
I’m the top of your field. I’m the head of your class. Every night I reveal another part of your past. I never like the information I get, but I keep searching despite the defamation at risk. I know I should be content with what I’ve already found. All the energy spent learning you inside and out…what’s the goddamn use of being an expert on how I can produce or self-direct the most hurt? It’s absurd.
I don’t want to be your historian. I just want to ignore all the shit you’ve done, but I keep dissecting texts you’ve left behind. I don’t want to be your biographer, organizing accounts of what you saw in her. I don’t want to have the photographs to cite.
The plot’s getting thicker every page that I turn, and I’m getting sicker every face that I learn to have looked up at you though all the ages and the movements..the stages of improvements…the days of revolution…the era of one love, the battle of another…I don’t think there’s an end of what I could discover. I know more of your timeline then you could remember. I know who was laying beside you on the 8th of November, and whose bed you were in on March 23rd. I saw the documents. I know the exact words that you said, and she said. And your best friend? He said he could hear you through the walls. My dear, I know it all. I’ve done my research, and I’m the expert at making me hurt. It’s fucking absurd, but for what it’s worth…
I never meant to be your historian. I just meant to ignore all the shit you’ve done, but I keep unearthing dirt to analyze (even though I know it isn’t wise). I never meant to be your biographer, organizing accounts of what you saw in her. I just meant to let events be summarized (and I can’t forget anything I find).
Why did I ask? I don’t want to know that. Why did I dig? It’s making me sick.
Sometimes They Come Back
(Don’t you worry about no ghosties)
(he’s long dead and gone.)
There’s thunder and lightning. It raises the gooseflesh on my skin. It’s scary. It’s frightening. I pull the covers to my chin. You left me so cowardly I need a light beside my bed. You don’t want me, but you haunt me. You rattle chains inside my head, and slam open all my cabinets. Your ghost keeps leaving messages.
(There’s no ghosties.)
When a proper girl loves a primitive man, she can try to be primitive as hard as she can and he can try to be proper, but trying is all that it is. Because a primitive man belongs in the dark banging his rocks together to ignite a spark, but he’s not much concerned with the fire once it’s been lit. So, proper girl is shivering all alone, stoking embers and circling stones until there’s no flames left to fan.
With a primitive man she’s never gonna win, because he thinks “settling down” is simply “settling.” There’s so many caves that he’s still got to explore, and once he’s been in one there’s no need to revisit even if the inside of it is rather exquisite. It just isn’t interesting if he’s been in there before, because it’s about the chase, not what is caught. It’s about the getting, not what’s got (bird in the bush, not the hand).
It’s a shame that instead of her love, he would rather go out on the hunt while she stays home to gather her wits about her. It’s a shame that instead of her bed, he desire to wallow around in the muck, and the mire, and pits without her. And it’s a shame that instead of his head, he would choose to rely on a tool with such a limited use…but, girlie, a shame is all it is, and a shame is all you’ll get with a primitive man.
But when a proper girl loves a primitive man, she will misread the red on his primitive flags, cuz it feels so damn good when he dangles his hands by her feet. And he can try to be proper but he’ll never evolve. He’ll just leave her with a riddle she’ll never solve: How can togetherness make him feel more incomplete? She might know better, but her instincts say to try. Man, we’ve been trying to get things eye to eye way back since primitive man.
We met on the midway at one of those games nobody can win, throwing bean bags at bottles weighted at the bottom so they’ll never tip. So, we fell instead. You pulled me into your tent. You knew that’s all it would take. And now the lights drop down! And the drums roll in! And the curtain pulls up! And the show begins! And I’m gasping at the spectacle we make.
Like a contortionist that doesn’t have the hang of it, I’m always sticking a foot in my mouth but never figure how to get it out. And like a man on the trapeze convinced of immortality, you never look before you leap.
We’re so stuck at the hip, we could be freak-show twins. But you’re gonna have to split, one way or the other. Because…the way that I feel about you is…starting to get incestuous, and I don’t want to wake up in bed with my brother.
But who’s going to make us? Separate us? Who’s going to stop the show? I don’t think it could be me, cuz I got such a damn good seat, and I’ve suspended disbelief, you know.
I know it’s crazy, but I just want you, baby, cuz you just entertain me. And I know it’s craycray, but I just want you, baby. C’mon and entertain me.
Like a lion tamer that’s never felt the bite of failure, I stick my head into each mouth but I don’t think this time I will get it out. And, like a ringmaster, you shout the threat of disaster you never believe the fates would actually allow occur.
I know all these good times are only lasting tonight. Tomorrow you will be an empty lot. But I’m having too much fun here to think I could be done here. I don’t want to leave before the cannon’s shot.
We’re so obedient. We’re each other’s hypnotists. But you’re going to have to resist and clap your hands. Clap. Clap your hands. Because…the way that you’ve got me acting now…it’s like I forget I’m in front of a crowd…and you got me…I don’t even know how…at your command.
So please say the words to set me free. Don’t leave it up to me, I’ll just keep staring in your eyes. All of our good times are crammed into a tiny car we never learned how to drive.
We met at the midway, throwing our spare change at games we would lose. And now, I think I’ll have thrown everything that I own to keep losing with you.
I’m always biting on the metal in the middle of your nickels. I’m always sliding my fingers up your spine to find the zipper. I don’t do it on purpose. It’s not my philosophy. But liking you makes me nervous, and I’m just seeking relief.
With clumsy fingers fumbling the string behind my neck, I can’t seem to stop myself from trying to find the catch. I always think I find it because that’s what I expect. I’m murdering my darlings so I have them to dissect.
I’m always keeping one ear open in case you talk in your sleep, and every night you’re red-handed in the black comfort of my dreams. I’m not feeling bad on purpose. It’s not intentionally. But feeling good makes me nervous, and I’m just seeking relief.
And even if I have to wait in fields way far out left, I’m completely certain that I’m going to make the catch: a scrap of evidence confirming all that I suspect. I’m murdering my darlings trying to get them to confess, because I can count up every dot, but never once connect that it’s my own lonely ownsome wherein lies the catch.
Right Hand Man
Baby…you’re my right hand man. I just can’t look at your left hand, and I can be your back-up plan. If I don’t get up front with no demands, and if nobody on the outside knows, we can laugh at all our inside jokes. And if every time that I back down I don’t step on your toes, you will be my right hand man. I just can’t hold on to your left hand, cuz if I overanalyze what I don’t understand, that’d mean I’d hafta try to figure out how I got in this jam. And that’s a sticky situation I don’t want to spread too thin. I prefer the complications laying in the thick of it. Who would you be without a back-up plan? Where would I be without my right hand man?
And the longer it takes, the more it’s over too soon. She’s your cake, and I’m your “eat it too.” She’s your “night and day.” I get your afternoons, and years to reminisce. The longer it lasts the shorter my rope becomes, and I’ve played down in the past how much my future’s hung up. My ignorance = your bliss.
But, baby…you’re my right hand man. I’ll just overlook that damn left hand. I’ll just undercook my half-baked plans, and you’ll overbook the promised land. And I’ll underwrite your guarantees, and you’ll overnight apologies. And I’ll underplay my sentiments, and you’ll overpay your compliments. I know there’s not enough to go around, but I can get by underground, with my feet in the air and my head in the sand, holding on by a hair to my right hand man.
Each bit of luck that we press is feeling more like a curse. It’s so unfortunate how much this pleasuring hurts, and if she gets your “better or for worse,” what are you giving me? I want to send you a final invite. I want you to attend my beck and call every night, but I can’t pretend that I don’t know (deep inside) how you’d RSVP.
You’d say how you really wish you could make it, but you’ve got a prior engagement. And I knew from the start—why don’t I understand? I only get a part of my right hand man. Who would you be without a back-up plan? Where would I be without my right hand man?
You’ve got your reservations. You’re not gonna go. You’ve got your reservations. You’re not gonna show. You’re always worrying what you might be forfeiting, so you never give your real name for anything. You’ve got your reservations, you’re not gonna go. A crowd of people is sitting and waiting, but you’re not gonna show. You’re planning to call ahead, say, “I might be a little late. Boys, save me a plate. I might be there a little late.”
But you already know you won’t…you’ll just be staying home, with your reservations.
You’ve got your reservations. You’re not gonna go. Your driver is parked at the curb and he’s waiting. Cigarette hanging out of the window. You tell him to wait a while. “Just let the engine idle.” And he’ll drive you right out of town if you ever decide to come down, but he already knows you won’t.
And you already know you won’t…you’ll just be staying home, with your reservations.
You’ve got your reservations. I know them all by heart. I’m always sitting at tables and waiting for the sound of your car. And I haven’t quite given up. I’m packing everything up, and I’ll get my bags all lined up if you ever come pick me up…but already know you won’t.
And you already know you won’t…you’ll just be staying home, with your reservations.