The Replacements

Listening to the Replacements

Catching the bus

On blue winter evenings.

I wander if there’s a fire burning

Beyond the horizon,

And if it’s worth breaking away

With no plan

Lost in the vain determination

Of youth.

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Lost in New York

Wandering around cold New York

Lost between the towers

Rising high through the clouds

And the cars pass me by on their way

To the highway

And men are breaking down in the doorways

Where they had sheltered their girls from the rain.

 

And everywhere there are parties

In the glittering night

Filled with stars who felt they shone the brightest

Off Broadway

And their connections are as endless as the river running

Away with the diamonds to the sea.

 

And me? I’m confused in leather shoes

Looking for road signs;

I’m new here, got the blues here for the first time

Riding the city bus

Counting out my change

Figuring it’ll go my way pretty soon.

 

And underneath my feet the street is roaring

Like the tide

Rumbling in the subway tunnels

People hanging on for life and happiness

Wanting to be home again.

 

I’m reaching for the electric moonlight

At a quarter past midnight

And I’m stumbling drunk with joy

And taxis speed by me in their lanes

While high above like steel doves

The sky is crowded with tired and lonely planes

Bringing families home.

Conflicted

I’m waiting for fate to hand me what I want

Because to go out and grab it shakes me to grey

And I retreat. I want to wake early, before the world;

Get the bus, work. I want to write the feeling

Of changing seasons, that which excites

And fills the air with sweet leaves falling.

I want to know the names of streets

And follow them like a natural dance

Not having to look forward in a white shirt and tie.

And I want to rock and roll – but to write is to

Be safe. And that’s easier.

Belle and Sebastian

Thank god Belle and Sebastian came along

To save Smiths fans in English classes in the 90’s

With sexual confusion and Nick Drake jangle

Pop fusion. What is it about wispy words and

Shambolic melodies of silvery pop, like carp

In a pond, that makes the heart start like

Kerouac’s car in a book not yet read?

 

It’s like the rain in Cambridge, or sun in Oxford

Where Wilde is king of the homesick

And the music pours like a quick gold fix of Shakespeare.

Plaid skirts and small cars on muddy lanes

And coffee dates under grey skies with scattered planes,

She’s got hair like Tina Weymouth, she writes in French,

Her eyes are a deep brown. She speaks like jazz,

Or a Mancunian in the slums. Her mother’s a nurse.

Goddamn, I’m in love. Time to Tipp-Ex those lines of

Cynicism that flow like waves in my notebook.

Biography

I want to be lazy, like an old string

On a rusted guitar or a prophet

Lounging in the Spanish sun. It would be nice

To have a clear mind, like a cat on the street –

But Coffee and inspiration makes me shake

And I can feel the weeping in my chest,

Like a Robin on the washing line.

Never mind existentialism – that doesn’t cut it,

My body is whole and wild and I imagine excess

And decadent days in which to waste away.

And then I write about them.

Sunday Afternoon

On this afternoon the city exhaled and

Allowed the blue to linger far beyond the

Usual yellowing of the deep night. There were

Streams of people all passing me by, going

In the opposite direction like the pale wisps

Of clouds that swam above me. I walked like a

Dance, haphazard and unbound and people

Had already started getting drunk. Some complained,

Some were Dickensian in cold hotel doorways –

Women like swans with their heads bowed

Trying to get from A to B. All this in artifice

And I hear the unrestrained hum of evening life

Being lived perfectly by so many.

Morning

Your morning soul is drenched in caffeine

And stained red with wine. Solemn cold and the grey sky –

A canvas for the motorised symphony of the streets.

And you sigh, turn on your phone, and watch the news on the TV

While you count the coins in your hand. You are sure that this

Will be a good day.