Business Unfinished (J. Purvis)

We tried a couple of versions of this tune, sometimes Dolores singing lead, sometimes me.  We finally decided to go with my lead, despite its somewhat ďstrainedĒ quality: it just seems to capture the desperation I wanted.

 Itís a mistake to assume a writer or composer is always betraying autobiographical information; sometimesómost of the time, probablyóthe informational content of a lyric or story is simple fantasy.  One of the more endearing traits we humans have is our ability to maintain two entirely contradictory emotions and hate, as an example.  This song is a travelogue of one such emotional landscape.

There are things left to be settled

Things left to be said

Things to do to get you from living rent-free in my head

Matters so complicated

Matters to be addressed

Matters to be completely purged from the agenda we once pressed

But Iím finding myself crippled

My affectionís been short-changed

Iím paralyzed by this sheer contempt filling up my brain


There was a time I loved you

And all that you held dear

But all thatís been flipped around like an image in a mirror

Now Iím always on the dark side of the world

Where the shadows suck the light

Right from the air and pure despair fills every square inch with night


And I hate that place you live in     

And I hate all your friends

I hate the way your nose turns up right at the end

I hate the clothes youíre wearing

And that football team you love

And that painting you once saw in Mexico that youíre always speaking of

I hate the car youíre driviní

And the food that you eat

But most of all I hate the fact that youíre not still with me


So now I hate those shoes youíre weariní

And that Sumatran coffee you drink

And I hate the way you always left dishes in the sink

How you always left the bathroom door just a couple inches ajar

And the radio on and blasting whenever I would start the car

Your socks on the staircase

The gold hanging from your ear

And that perfect kissiní spot on the back of your neck

God, how I wish you were hereÖ



Pole Dancer (J. Purvis)

We originally did a more electric version of this, but ultimately decided to go with an acoustic version.

Again, this is a treatise on the tension the soul often maintains attempting to keep balance in the constantly shifting terrain of the real world.  A Catholic convert of some thirty years, my relationship with Holy Mother Church has been anything but placid.  Iím presently wagering mightily that God has a keen sense of humor.

Stuck in the parking lot of the Tavern of Love

Dadís been slaving a couple thousand years on that dish heís so proud of

Thereíre still seats available for this most ancient of cuisines

But I keep bounciní from one to the other extreme


Now, thereís up-close Mary and her twin sister Martha too

Theyíve been starving themselves for almost a week and only the best table will do

Dad gives them a nod of approval as their chin-spit starts to gleam

And I keep bounciní from one to the other extreme


I keep bounciní from one to the other extreme

I want to sit and I want to run, fascinated by this scene

Iím just one more pole dancer in the Son of Manís wet dream

And I keep bounciní from one to the other extreme


Well, itís Thanksgiving every day of the year and I canít wait to get home

Then I canít wait to get out again Ďcause I really donít belong

Iím the goat at the sheepís watering-hole just pissiní in their stream     

And I keep bounciní from one to the other extreme



State of Crazy (J. Purvis)

When the kids were little my wife Peg and I used to sing to them each night as we put them to bed, silly little made-up tunes.  It became a part of every nightís routine. 

When we found out our daughter Randi had cancer and we slogged through what seemed like endless days and nights waiting for lab results and diagnoses, Peg remarked that she felt like we were living in a constant ďstate of crazyĒ.  I got to thinking about the fact that all we ever have is now and whether you live to be eight or eighty the key to living the best life you can is making the most of this momentÖthe whole ďconsider the lilies of the fieldĒ thing, and Pegís phrase got coupled in my head to one of those melodies I sang to the kids when they were little and this is what came out.

 A parentís first and final instinct is to protect his or her child at all costs; but sometimes, when the night is closing in at far too great a speed to outrun, all you can do is sing.

It ainít you, it ainít me

Itís just the way life seems to be

Still, we shouldnít live too cautiously in a state of crazy

The world tastes good, so take a bite

Stay up dancing naked all night

Itís never been about wrong or right in this state of crazy


You say it sucks to be you

Thatís funny, Ďcause I always thought it sucked to be me, too

Maybe we need a new strategy

Iíll take care of you and you watch out for me

Weíll begin by pretending weíre both friends

BFFís until the end

Weíll make it by fakiní it until it fits

Isnít that about as good as it can get?


You say youíd like to see Burning Man

Iíd like to see all those films they show at Cannes

But somehow I never seem to get there

Itís all so terribly unfair

Letís take a trip around the world

Iíll be your boy, you can be my girl

Weíll meet the newborn sun on Salisburyís plain

Fly the bullroarers high, make love in the rain



Bandsaw (J. Purvis)

I originally wrote this as part of a collection of tunes I was going to outsource to a female singer.  When that plan was abandoned I decided to record it myself.  I donít really want to kiss a Hawaiian boy, although I do like poiÖ 

The song speaks for itself: sometimes you just want to stick your fingers in the bandsaw.  But that doesnít mean you should.

Sometimes I wanna stick my fingers in the bandsaw

Wanna stick my fingers in the bandsaw

Wanna stick my fingers in the bandsaw

But I know it wouldnít do no good


Thereís so many times that I wanna blow it all to hell

But Iím pretty sure it wouldnít work out all that well


All those little brains obscuring my view

I get so deranged, thereís no telling what I might do


Now I think Iíll find some bronze Hawaiian boy

To ease my mind with soft wet kisses that taste like poi 



I Wonít Say A Thing (J. Purvis)

Our first version of this was heavily orchestrated with lots of instruments; but somehow it just didnít reflect the sadness I wanted to hear.  I finally decided to go with a more spare version.

To never be tempted is no remarkable thing; but to turn away from temptation can initiate whole new possibilities of self-understanding and serenity. 

They all say we should be happy

Why shouldnít that be true?

Iím just a fool for admitting

I wonít know peace Ďtil Iím with you

The word will get back to the ones that love us most

Bringing all the fury hell can bring

But if you lay here beside me tonight

Darling, I wonít say a thing


I wear my heart out on my sleeve, dear

For one and all to see

And to be so reckless with my passions

Will surely be the death of me

But dying doesnít seem so bad you know

Itís certainly not the worst Iíve endured

And if you lay here beside me tonight

Darling, I wonít say a word


It would be o so sweet

To share the very air you breathe

My lips pressed to your soft skin

Swallowed up in perfect sin


But for now letís keep the secret

Smile and pretend we just donít know

About this cruel distant longing

Iím so scared will start to show

Iíll hide the truth and reserve the rest

For my deepest saddest dreams

Where you lay beside me each and every night

But, darling, I wonít say a thing



Itís Not So Hard (J. Purvis)

Yeah; true love may be work, but itís really great work.

Someone told me long ago you were born to break my heart

But after all this time we canít seem to keep apart

Itís not to hard to be in love


Iíve been wondering all these years when the other shoe would fall

The straw to break the camelís back, making a wreck of it all

Itís not to hard to be in love


They say the wetter the better

Like scars in the finest leather

We could tell war stories all night

But when the morning comes Iíll still be here

Laughing at the worst of my fears

Burning up in the dawnís first light


You say that Iím your best friend

Been that way since way back when

We were so young and dumb and in love and just fools

Still, when that final night comes calliní

The longest shadows of all will be falliní

One last kiss and off we go


Someone told me long ago you were meant to heal my heart

I promise you even now the gates of hell will never keep us apart

Itís not to hard to be in love



Meditation #17 (J. Purvis)

I was sitting in my office one Sunday morning with Peg in our sun room reading the paper.  Itís true: itís all been said; but that wonít stop me from saying it once more.

Sunday morning, not much happening

Not much happening at all

Second cup of coffee and itís no great revelation

Itís just something that Iíve know all along

I love you and thatís all Iím saying


One plus one equals four somehow

Creation smiled we smiled back

Now my days are filled with Godís own music

I hear it every time I kiss your lips



A Little More Time (J. Purvis)

There is nothing more seductive than the sharing of secrets.

I lined up my ducks for the woman to see

Precise little groupings of two or three

Then I invited her in for a look

My life in bold print, an open book


But she said she needed a little more time

She just said she needed a little more time

But time is the one thing I canít seem to find

She said she needed a little more time


If time is a jet plane then mineís run outta fuel

The truth is ugly and the facts are cruel

But Iíve laid all down here, so what will be?

Does the future involve your legs wrapped around me?


I canít get the smell of her off my skin

Where does she stop and where do I begin?

The lines have faded and I need to believe

Someoneís given me permission for all these lies I weave 



Salto Morale (J. Purvis)

This is the story of a man who spends his entire life seeking to know God more fully only to finally realize that everything heíd ever come to hold as ultimately true was utterly wrong.  After struggling for decades to ascend the mountain of God, he reaches the summit only to find the divine throne empty (sede vacante).  The question: What to do now?

 The answer for this individual is make a complete leap of faith (salto morale, a play on salto mortale, the death-defying somersault done in the air by trapeze artists) and live his life as if the throne had been occupied all along.  As my brother John, the scripture scholar and theologian once observed, ďGod is never done with his loved ones, but maneuvers us to stay in a position where faith is the only real option.Ē   Simply, we are all condemned to perpetual agnosticism: we can never know; we can only choose.

All those dream-filled nights

Waiting for the light

That only shines on the mountain

No sense of self-control

I bared my ravaged soul

Seeking healing on the mountain

I begged with humble heart

And you ripped it apart

Sacrificed on the mountain

A slurry of blood and flesh

Bones snapped apart and crushed

Offered to you on the mountain


How dare you, carnelian on your throne,

Mock me on your mountain?

All that I asked was that I come to you

And bow down on this mountain:

Sede vacante


Never a dusk so grim

As I came down again

Betrayed on the mountain

My head spun with shock

Couldnít think, couldnít talk

Struck dumb on the mountain

How shall I spend my days?

What homage can I pay

To the silence on the mountain?

How shall we then live?

With nothing to forgive?

There are no sins on the mountain


Itís such a curious thing

The peace betrayal brings

Such freedom on the mountain

Now itís all up to me

And what will my choice be?

Iíll build my home on your mountain



I Am the One  (J. Purvis)

This is the story of how I met the love of my least as I recall it.

I came into this world alone and a stranger

A heart full of pain, a heart full of fear

Humming a song given me by the angels

A song they said only one other could hear


I sang in the deepest dark of the midnight

I sang in the brightest noonday sun

I sang in the hills and I sang in the desert

I sang to each and every one


O darling donít you see I am the one you were waiting for?


Not a one heard, not a one listened

None batted an eye or turned a head

All pushed past me, all pushed through me

Singing all their own melodies instead


I sat exhausted beneath a great oak tree

Silence my song and despair my friend

Resigned in my heart to be alone forever

When I heard my very own song on the wind


Down the lane rode a young maiden

Danger dancing in her fiery green eyes

She was singing the song I knew from my first day

She dropped from her pony and fell to my side


Her hair was the color of the fairest autumn

It tickled my nose as she offered a kiss

Her voice lilted and laughed and made me feel giddy

As she took my hands we sang together like this 



Foolish Pride (J. Purvis)

Iím a big proponent of Freudian psychology, primarily because Iíve experienced its explanatory power in my own life multiple times.  My dreams are often textbook caricatures of Freudian symbolism...rivers, tunnels, strangers.  One night I woke up dreaming that I was attempting to live in two different locations with two different families that knew nothing of each other.  This was probably around 2:00 in the morning, and I got up and wrote this song before going back to bed.   It proved to be a kind of crossroads for me, artistically and spiritually.

 Love like a thief will come

Breaking into the unguarded home

It steals your heart if you look away

Defenses down, hell to pay

Once I could see, but now Iím blind with foolish pride


Temptation is all around

Tickling your ear with lovely sounds

A smile, a nod, a glance, a touch

A slyly stolen kiss- never enough

A wounded heart is never satisfied and neither is foolish pride


We all promise never to go

And no man can dwell in two homes

Heíll want to cling to one, but heíll be hated in both

But whatís done is done, and it only goes to show

There is a Truth that will not abide foolish pride 



This Old Refrain (J. Purvis)

One day at a time.  Progress, not perfection.  Rigorous honesty.  Rule 62.  The Twelve-Step Recovery Culture has provided me with more practical life strategies than any other single source.  I canít recommend its wisdom too strongly.  Each of us is addicted to something: twelve-stepping has real tools for dealing with it.

Iím gonna pop these pills tonight

Force out the light and ease my pain, ease my pain

My doctorís my best friend

He knows just how to end this old refrain, this old refrain

And when the new day comes

Iíll pick myself up and start again, start again


Iím wicked all the time

The ideas in my mind could get me hung, get me hung

Iíve lost the forest for the trees

To set me twistiní in the breeze would be a good deed done,

  good deed done

Even Jesus steers clear of me

The only soul heís promised to abandon, abandon


Iíve stolen the sinnersí bread

Fed it to the dogs outside my door, outside my door

Iíve shaved my head

Taken a vow thatíll haunt me for evermore, evermore

Itís true itís all been said

But that wonít stop me from sayiní it once more, once more



Really (This Time) (J. Purvis)

Again, another song about our ability to love and hate at the same time.  I wrote this from the perspective of a friend whose marriage had just blown up.  Lots of venom. 

I only took a couple of things when I left your shack

My hand was on the plow, I wasnít looking back

The sky looked troubled and it felt like snow

Which direction do you head when youíve got nowhere to go?


But you say youíre in love this time

Really in love this time

I wanna be there when you find out

What the pain is all about

Cause you say youíre in love this time

Really, really in love this time

Youíre gonna learn a thing or two

About the misery Iíve been through


(Youíre gonna learn a thing or three

About the shit you pulled on me)


(Youíre gonna learn a thing or nine

When your new love leaves you behind)


(Youíre gonna learn a thing or twelve

Abandon all hope: welcome to hell!)


I swear to god weíve been here before-

My lifeís possessions piled outside your door

It all looks so familiar, was this what you had in mind

When you tossed your tail at me and caught my eye?


I canít believe you want to see me gone

Leaving me with fresh fodder for a dozen done-wrong songs

Theyíll be clanging in my head when I wake up at 2:00

God, Iíd claw my way through concrete walls for just one smell of you



The Words Come Slowly (J. Purvis)

Despite the fact that my image of God has changed radically over the course of my lifetime, one thing that has never changed is the degree to which the very notion of God can move me.  Itís nothing short of astonishing to me how much the tragic and triumphant story of a 1st century rabbi, Yeshua bin Yosif, can still be such a source of both alienation and redemption in our world some two thousand years after his death.

 One Easter morning I had a dream in which I was standing in the courtyard outside the high priestís house after Jesusí arrest; I was with the group gathered around the fire, overhearing Peterís denial.  Looking through the gates into the interior of the home, I could see Jesus as he stood before Caiaphas and I saw the look of complete human brokenness and abandonment forged on his face.  I had never seen such pure agony.  I awoke in tears, awestruck by how much this one manís life, lived two centuriesí before my birth, could fill my heart with such overwhelming joy and sadness all at the same time.  This song was condensing and precipitating from my dream before my feet touched the floor.

 "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" 



The words come slowly to me some of the time

My verses seem to stumble, lines refuse to rhyme

I become all tongue-tied, mute and dumb

The words come slowly to me


The words come slowly to me some days

Their meaning escapes me, I canít find the phrase

Nothing seems to work to express what I feel

The words come slowly some days


And other times they flow like a stream

Flashing like thunder, dropping from my dreams

And other times they have a life of their own

But the words come slowly today


Last night I watched as you took a lonesome stand

Inquisitors cruel and mocking, a solitary man

Betrayed and abandoned, forsaken beyond hope

Yeah, the words are coming slowly right now


So long ago, yet haunting me today

Trapped in my silence, unable to say

What it means to me that you laid it all down

The words are coming slowly today

The words are coming slowly to me

The words are coming slowly