Down With Despair Lyrics

Album Cover oil painting of a magpie in purple and orange
Magpie Album Cover

1. Yellow Bird (3:40)

I saw Goody Proctor with the devil
and the devil she was with, looked a lot like me
Forest dancing in the buff, she got caught and things got rough
The whirls, and swirls of lies, and zealotry

I have been bewitched by your cold, cold wind
The in-vi-sible nature of attraction strikes again
Dancing in the graveyard with the devil was a start
But now the spell is cast, yellow bird has got my heart

Tituba made her drink a bloody mary
And women folk had read, suspicious books
Full of knowledge and such smut, a voodoo needle in the gut
Words and thoughts, like sharpened button hooks

The villagers downstairs started singing
Betty bolts up-right, and starts to scream
They were singing psalm 11 ‘bout that wicked god in heaven
Ring around the rosy, death is but a dream

The bloody preacher went and told John Proctor
He wouldn’t hang if he’d betray his friends
With that judgment on his head, John Proctor said, that god is dead
With hempen rope John Proctor’s story ends

2. Trailer in Vegas (3:26)

I’m in a trailer in Vegas
On a lengthy hiatus
From the vagaries of humanity
The inside ain’t spacious
But outside is mesas
As far as these old eyes can see

I had everything a civilized man’s supposed to want
The gimcracks and gewgaws, the trinkets and trappings and such
I lived high on the hog, now it’s just me and my dog
It was always a matter of time before I fucked it up

Because crazy’s contagious
In the bars and bodegas
The widows, the grifters and me
I’ll await what awaits us
Let’s hope they forgave us
In a trailer in Vegas I’ll be

I got drunk in Burque
Woke up bruised in Raton
I sobered up in Taos
But it really ain’t my kinda town
I’m too small, for Dallas
And don’t even mention Portales
The depots and repos and trucks
Bring me home again

Momentum, and faith
I lost on the road, somewhere
Just a pinch of perdition, I lost all ambition
And I honestly only half care

3. My Father’s Son (3:09)

My father rode motorcycles
Back before he lost his legs
Sometimes when I ride, I pretend, that’s he’s with me
I put down the other foot pegs

He wasn’t a very good husband
But he was a pretty good dad
Except that he wasn’t around much
I sure love the time that we had

We’d sit around the campfire and smoke his bad weed
Play House of the Rising Sun
Made me feel like I wasn’t, a throwaway kid
It felt good to be my father’s son

He played bass in bars, and he ice raced fast cars
On the frozen lakes, of the north
They said he’d go young, so he lived for fun
He drove it, for all it was worth

His granddad traveled, with a medicine show
His father, prospected for gold
Dad lived in school busses and bread trucks
But he never got to get old

He’d put snow in a tin cup, pour on Yukon Jack
He loved drinking, beneath northern lights
The nights that far north are so black
He left, and never came back
‘til his body was broken, he’d lost both his vision and sight

4. Magpie (5:19)

I know, just where the sun lives
In a pink house up in the sky
On the way home from the station
I heard her sing Sweet By and By

She’s coming up over the mountain
Dressed up in her Sunday best
Silver buttons up and down her back
And a real gone leopard vest

Won’t you fly with me, Magpie
I wanna see what the winter’s gonna bring
Won’t you fly with me, Magpie
Tomorrow’ll find you and me singing

I know who the moon’s been keeping with
That old girl gets around
Many sad sorry lovers been seen with her
Laying all their trouble down

She’s coming up over the mountain
Like a brand new dollar bill
If the full moon, don’t get you
The empty one will

5. Pig Sty (2:47)

6. Pig Boat (4:46)

The preacher and the banker, gonna break black bread
I need trepanation like a hole in the head
Like a shotgun blast through an old screen door
The heaven of the rich, is hell on the poor

Like a wind-up monkey, been beat black and blue
Or a scared man’s mouth full of coroner’s glue
Never give a dollar to a raconteur
The heaven of the rich, is hell on the poor

Up to the neck, we getting buried alive
Cancer and religion gotta grow to survive
Spread my ashes at the liquor store
Rich folks’ heaven is hell on the poor

Somebody left a baby in the chicken yard
Guns let us throw rocks real hard
Fighting and a dying in somebody’s war
The heaven of the rich, is hell on the poor

Pig boat pilot is an old blind drunk
Papa made a low golden throne out of junk
A dollar on the dresser and a .44
The heaven of the rich, is hell on the poor

7. Jesus’ Excuses (4:05)

You can’t love your god and still love me
You can’t let a little bit of sunshine be
Can’t love your god and still love me
Can’t let a little sunshine be

The ones you cast out are the best ones
I’ll sit here in the dust outside the gates
With your savage daughters and your fallen sons
I’ll congregate with all the ones you hate

I guess, this song is a love song
For everybody, you say your god scorns
For those don’t look right, or those who love wrong
You can keep your goddamn crown of thorns

He who chooses, uses, reduces, confuses, causes bruises
She who chooses, loses, reproduces to feed institutions
He who introduces effuses, enthuses, and seduces
Jesus’ excuses, systemic abuses, then vamooses

8. Volcano (3:57)

You make me laugh
‘til I cry like Llorona
You got a smile
More contagious than corona

They smile at us
‘cuz it’s something that they know
I change your climate
Like a sexy volcano         

Like a sexy volcano
Like a sexy volcano

Smooth and strong
Like sedimentary clay
You giggle and wiggle
Like a little earthquake

Tectonic shifts
As the pressure it grows
I heat your crust
With my pyroclastic flows

Like a sexy volcano
Like a sexy volcano
Like a sexy volcano
Like a sexy volcano

9. Lucinda (3:32)

I saw Lucinda Williams
In a parking lot at South by Southwest
She smiled and said what’s up, she called me Johnny jump-up
In her ostrich boots and leopard print vest

Actually, that’s not how it happened
Truth is, it didn’t work like that at all
It might of happened to my friend Bronson, or my good ol’ uncle Don
But cool stuff never happens to me at all

Neat, random crap
Weird stuff, like that
Gets on your map
A needle is the whole haystack
For a simple man like me
With 38 years of non-sobriety
I love all seven sins
Sometimes it’s hard to fit them all in

Some people say I drink to drown my sorrows
But now the sons-of-guns have learned how to swim
I shot my memory full of holes, and sunk tomorrows
The holes are where the light gets in

Unfortunately, that’s not how it happens
Truth is, it doesn’t work like that at all
It might have happened for my friend Kerouac, or my good old Hemingway
But being a good drunk never happened to me at all

I saw Lucinda Williams
We were playing Borracho’s and folks were singing along
She was sitting way back in the back, she was dressed in faded black
She come up to me, said kid I like your song

Even though, that’s not how it happened
Truth is, it didn’t happen to me at all
My little fantasy, story, fabrication, auditory visual hallucination
Makes me happy, and that’s all

10. Gumption (4:10)

The train pulled up to the station
Or maybe the station pulled up to me
No looking back, at bric-a-brac, no money back
‘cause crooked track is all we’ll see

Sneaking cigarettes in the vestry
Playing dodgeball with nuns
Call it rust or rosary, life’s a string of shiny beads
Ready or not, here it comes

Can we muster the gumption
When we’re sad like a monkey in the rain
Sit and listen to the dripping springs
Inside your brain

Sitting on the floor of my kitchen
A tête-à-tête with my life
A Frigidaire’s not what it seems, a crisper full of wilted dreams
Such is life

My love is in her garden, come sunshine or rain
Life is shit and sassafras, Some jewels are made of broken glass
It’s all the same

The old men sit together, watch the birds
Sometimes there is no need for words
They say when they were young they flew alone
Finally found their way back home
Their beards are full of feathers, their face made of green glass
The sun shines through, makes them brand new

11. Smokey Bones (4:31)

Smokey Bones, Smokey Bones, what do you need
Built a life around fishing & smoking weed
In for a quarter, in for a pound
Smoke that reefer, just lay around

Hey there Smokey Bones, what do you say
What I do, I’ll do all day
I’ll lay here waiting til my ship comes in
While we wait, let’s hit it again

I love you, Smokey Bones
I love you, Smokey Bones

Smokey Bones, Smokey Bones what’s that sound
That’s just my bones, laying around
Smokey Bones, Smokey Bones, big old yawn
Smoke that dope, like it’s almost gone

Promises are easy, promises are free
Just lie back, and eat all the peaches from the tree
Don’t worry ‘bout nothing let it all slide
Other people fret, I’m just along for the ride

Smokey Bones, Smokey Bones, what’s that sound there
That’s just the creaking, of my rocking chair
I could get a job, but there ain’t no need
Built a life around fishing and smoking weed

12. Cow Shaped Rock (3:31)

The other day I was hiking, on the mesa with my pal
Looking through binoculars for fun
When I saw something far away, but it looked close
Because of the binoculars

I thought it was a cow, a big brown cow
Laying down and taking a nap
But when I focused better, I looked and I could see
It wasn’t really what I thought it was

It was not a cow
It was a cow-shaped rock
It was not a cow
It was a cow-shaped rock

But there’s more to the story, it gets better still
Hold on to your hatty hat hat hat
Out there on the mesa, I saw something more
Something special, I swear that it’s true

To the left of the first thing, I saw another thing
I was pretty sure it was a great big bull
It was black and muscley, I almost saw the horns
Until I focused in and then I saw

It was not a cow
It was a cow-shaped rock
It was not a cow
It was a cow-shaped rock

In the hot sunshine, the cow-shaped rocks are there
In the clear desert night, the cow-shaped rocks are there
When the snow is piled deep, the cow-shaped rocks are there
While we all live and die, and live and die, and live and die
The cow-shaped rocks are there

It was not 2 cows
It was a cow-shaped rock
It was not 2 cows
It was a cow-shaped rock

13. Come Undone (3:49) 

I’m a smarty pants, an asthmatic
Radically uncharismatic
Sitting in an airport lounge
With a cross-eyed nun

I’m feeling high, so I’m laying low
Ma, they done killed old Rando
Things come together, then they always, come undone

The ad says, “for sale: false hope”
And since she’s a human, gyroscope
She takes the high road, does a hit and run
Happy is, as happy does
Purgatory’s all abuzz
We come together, then we always, come undone

Life lives us, ‘til we’re dead,
I got bed bugs in my head
I learned a thing from my friend Jane
She said never pass gas again, on an airplane

But you can build the plane up in the sky
The cross-eyed nun, looked me in the eye
I think she did anyway, it was kind of hard to tell
She said ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny
And I said, well duh


14. Truth or Consequences (3:25)

We’ve set our course, we make arrangements
We’ve got our maps, the road is smooth
And then one day, there’s no more pavement
Our lives become a bitter truth 

In Truth or Consequences
We build, again, on the shifting sands
Mended hearts, and broken fences
That little town, on the Rio Grande

The world is fine, I hate to leave it
A life’s remains, on thrift shop shelves
Give me a cool, glass of water
To soothe, the pains, we cause ourselves