SHIMMER AND THRUM
Complete Lyrics

 

1. MIRACLE
© Jon Albrink

She waits for a miracle
But she can't say what it might be

Any old ordinary miracle, anything
To take her out of this misery

She stays up late
Fills up her nights
With blue note jazz and tv

The sound of the vibes
Most nearly describes
How she wants life to be

She waits for a miracle
And she's hoping that it's cheap or it's free

        Should she just stay cool
        Or go back to school
        For some kind of degree

        The three a.m. dogs
        Are loose in the cogs
        Of her memory

She waits for the sun to rise
So finally she can get some sleep

She waits for a miracle
But the future is so hard to see
And she can't say what it might be

2. NOWHERE FAST
© Jon Albrink

All the years I thought that I was out of gas
Stuck in the breakdown lane
with the busted tires and glass
Skimming off the cream
From someone else's dream
On the super-scenic road to nowhere fast

Cards and letters come from friends and family
Offering advice on fiscal insecurity
They say the money's great
In rugs and real estate
Take a left to leave the road to nowhere fast

        May the fates protect you
        As they measure out the rope
        What's that, my friend?
        You want it when?
        Abandon ye all hope

La la la another cheek is gamely kissed
Another name and number for the mailing list
A dollar bill was found
But it couldn't stick around It blew across the dusty road to nowhere fast

La la la (etc.)
I'll take this show out on the road to nowhere fast

        May the fates respect you
        As they measure out the dope
        The secret hex
        For love and sex
        Is in the envelope

La la la another sunset in the west
Another chance to show the world my very best
But best is relative
The longer that you live
Out along the county road to nowhere fast

3. IF I EVER LEARN TO SPEAK
© Jon Albrink

If I ever learn to speak
you better watch your hide
it's much too late for letting go
too late to let it slide
I'm sliding all my life
my sliding days are done
if I ever learn to speak
there'll be nowhere for you to run

If I ever learn to speak
you better watch your ass
cause the truth I hear is sharp and clear
and it cuts the flesh like glass
cuts the flesh like glass
and it burns the soul like flame
if I ever learn to speak
my first two words will be your name

        Go ahead and run
        I'd be running too
        Run the way that I was never able to

Mercy comes from God
who might be on your side
but mercy has no meaning
if it's carelessly applied
so go ahead and talk
I'll see that you're heard
if I ever learn to speak
you know I'll have the final word

        You should speak your mind
        the way I never did
        I took the arrows
        felt the sting and
        kept my wound well hid

For all you quiet ones
who never made a sound
protecting your tormentor
on his self-appointed rounds
I may never learn to speak
but if I learn to sing
I'll stand on every corner
And I'll let your story ring
I'll stand on every corner
And I'll let your story ring

4. THE MEASURE OF THE MAN
© Jon Albrink

I'm dreaming of your face
and your steely blue-grey eyes
the people and the things you loved
you would not recognize

I'm wearing out the patches
of your favorite checkered coat
you wondered all my life
if I would sink or I would float

Well I've had some practice
since you've been gone
and I've learned to float
without hanging on

        Took a little patience
        took a little anger
        taken with a grain of sand
        It's taken all this time
        to take the measure of the man

The pouring of the liquor
And the cracking of the ice
a constant daily ritual
with a constant daily price

There's no way to measure
what a father gives his son
an ounce of strength, a pound of pride
and phantoms to outrun

Well I'm running hard
and I'm running fast
and I think I'm gonna win at last

        Took a little patience
        Took a little anger
        taken with a grain of sand
        It's taken all this time
        to take the measure of the man

On and on the years slip by
this one way time machine
and all the things you said to me
come back to me in dreams
and I aim to understand them soon
when the light flows down
from your harvest moon

        Took a little patience
        took a little anger
        taken with a grain of sand
        It's taken all this time
        It's taken half my life
        to take the measure of the man

5. BROTHER AND SISTER
© Jon Albrink and Billy Ward

You took a drag on whatever it is
you're smoking this week
Looked out across the dirty bay
then you refused to speak
You still got a little red eyes left over
from what's his name
Still trying to stop his words from rolling and tumbling around your brain

Well I'm trying to find the words too
Cause I know we're more than
brother and sister

Out there there's a light
trying to fight it's way through the fog
Just like I'm trying to fight my way
through the fog inside
All the times we thought that we were on
the verge of a big breakthrough
all the times I should have cried but I only tried
Only tried to be touching you

The trying time is through
Cause you know we're more than
brother and sister
brother and sister

Now the chill comes in across the water
blows up little ghosts in the mist
back in the car you stare at the radio
looking like a girl who's never been kissed (right)

This is the time to show you what I feel
cause you know we've never really been
brother and sister
brother and sister

A little fog on the windshield
never hurt no one
never hurt no one before

6. ALL THAT GLITTERS
© Jon Albrink

all that glitters is not gold
all that's easy is not free
standing out here in the cold
I can't touch what I can't see
I forgot to ask directions
from someone who wished me well
on the road of good intentions you can never really tell

shiny buttons to distract me
silver paper to remind me
velvet gloves against the cold
all that glitters is not gold

your voice is so familiar
you could make the hours bleed
I want only to believe you in the hour of my need

in the hour of my need
will you offer up a word
but not everything that's spoken
is worthy to be heard

shiny buttons to distract me
silver paper to remind me
velvet gloves against the cold
all that glitters is not gold

shiny buttons to distract me
silver paper to remind me
velvet gloves against the cold all that glitters is not gold

7. ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER
© Jon Albrink

A little golden angel
she picked up in a shop somewhere
she pins it on my shoulder
she says "Please give my love protection"

now I'm kissing her goodbye
three months worth of tenderness
and then I'm off in the night of strangers

        My only friend tonight
        is the angel on my shoulder
        suddenly it's colder than I had planned

I wish I'd taken time
to get her her own angel
to offer her protection
from what? I don't know,
whatever's out there

There's so much in the world
so much masquerading
I know she'll be waiting there for me

        My only friend tonight
        is the angel on my shoulder
        suddenly it's colder than I had planned

        I'm going far tonight
        with an angel on my shoulder
        suddenly it's colder than I can stand

And when I return
I'll bring her a golden angel
and I'll say please, oh please
protect her, and keep her

        My only friend tonight
        is the angel on my shoulder
        suddenly it's colder than I had planned

        I'm going far tonight
        with the angel on my shoulder
        saying things that I don't have to understand

8. DISSATISFIED
© Jon Albrink

A certain friend of mine
Was speaking from her heart and from her mind
We were standing on a corner at the time
Heading off in two directions

She'd grown accustomed to her fate
But disgusted with the prospects on her plate
Mamas’ boys and married men
with all the freight
And a yen for indiscretion

"If I weren’t married baby,
but you know my hands are tied"
And who can really blame them
for all the times they've tried
At least it's understood, we're all dissatisfied

We stood and talked awhile
In a sea of faces mile on hungry mile
She tossed her hair with devastating style
And she talked about her lovers

She said their needs are all the same
Sex and comfort and the famous love and fame
And some mystery behind a stranger's name
That we're driven to uncover

She offered me her cheek
but before we said goodbye
I couldn’t help but think
that we're more than qualified
To be soldiers in the army
Of the great dissatisfied

The great dissatisfied
Standing at the Great Divide
Opening and closing every door
Shuffling our feet
To the end of Lonely Street
Holding out our hope for just a little more

There's a sadness in the land
For a time that's slipped forever from the hand
Time itself is overused and overplanned
So efficient is our grieving

And I think that's what she said
Though the traffic may have put words in my head
Love accounts are overdrawn and in the red
And the best are always leaving

So I kissed her on the cheek
And I bundled up my pride
And I walked alone and wondered
At the emptiness inside
That fills itself to bursting
And is still dissatisfied

        So dissatisfied
        Before the ink has dried
        Before we get to where we were before

        Shuffling our feet
        To the end of Lonely Street
        Holding out our hopes for just a little more

9. THE WAY I LOOK AT YOU
© Jon Albrink

When your dreams are broken
and your blood is shed
no one wants to take you into his bed

When your bridge is smokin'
river's running red
all of your friends
have left you for dead

Nothing's gonna change
nothing's gonna change
The way I look at you

When your feet are tired
and the earth is scorched
someone's got to carry your heavy torch

all these years I've waited
high up on this hill
if you want me to be there
baby I will

Nothing's gonna change
nothing's gonna change
The way I look at you

I know I sound like a fool
when I go on this way
and give it all away to you
somewhere it's written in the book
that every fool
must have his day

Everybody's out there
circling the sun
sending radiation to everyone

I can read your signals
through a year of sighs
through the light that's shining
deep in your eyes

Nothing's gonna change
nothing's gonna change
The way I look at you

10. HOW LONG
© Jon Albrink and Billy Ward

raging and crazy
dramatic and lazy
why the hell does she look that way to me

driving over the freeways
in a beat up car
bungalow just a walk from the sea

how long can you take it
how much is it worth
bang your own drum
dig your own earth

distant and angry
at the stacks of magazines
look between the lines
for the secret of your life

all through the afternoons
too many afternoons
whatcha gonna do with the rest of your life

how long can you do this
bang your own drum
hang your own moon
follow the sun

        how many lifetimes
        how many plays
        walking the thin line
        day after day
        day after day

11. The Christmas Roses
© Jon Albrink

The Christmas roses on the table
drop their petals with no trouble
and the new year holds its breath
so new and scared to death
while the old man takes a tumble

This winter feeling just gets stronger
even as the days are getting longer
we hang on by our teeth
and hide ourselves beneath
the blanket of our hunger

        and the Christmas roses
        are looking pretty sad
        they're looking pretty sad and old
        we were temporarily consoled
        by the Christmas roses

The pile of mail is getting deeper
I guess someday I'll have to answer
recite the party line
say yeah, we're doing fine hope no one's the wiser

And I would give my only dollar
for the music of your laughter
the blessing of your touch
the love we miss so much
and the lazy morning after

        and the Christmas roses
        they did the best they could
        their charm was slightly oversold
        don't throw my love out in the cold
        with the Christmas roses

Wrap 'em up, take 'em out
lay them gently in the snow
but when I get back from the corner
I look around
where did they go?

        And the Christmas roses
        will have another chance
        to spread a little warmth and cheer
        come be with me tonight my dear
        for the Christmas roses

 

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