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The Free Soil Party Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories, arguing that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery. ... more

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Track Name: Highway Hypnosis
Try to avoid the interstate
The glass and metal, it just doubles back
It makes it meaningless
And the stations all close at midnight
And the highway hypnosis is doomed to kick in

You don't know where you're going
You've long since lost where you've been
That's when I light out again down 129

Well, Madison's majestic
But Eatonton's laden under decades of blood
Walker killed Uncle Remus
But it's only because he told her she should

And this museum of tombstones
Of hollowed-out sound
The walls spell out where it fell down on 129

When I hit Macon, it was deserted
I pulled off and lit one up
The streets were pock-marked with graffiti
It was a side of town I'd never seen before
And the lights were timed like waves crashed on the shore
I kept left and let the next breeze take me out of town

So if the deer make you weary
You can stay middle when the road veers off right
Sweet Kathleen is waiting
In the shadow of the factory's petulant light

You can drive her to Florida
Where the towns are half-dead
But don't you forget what I said about 129
Track Name: I've Been to Micanopy
I've been to Micanopy
It was sometime in the spring
Before the heat kicked up and swallowed everything
Well, I pulled into a truck stop and smoked a cigarette
I watched you through the windshield
I tried to hold my breath

I've never seen the sun so bright
As when it bounced off my dashboard
You lit up like an angel
And I knew what I'd been looking for so long

I wrote your name on that truck-stop men's room wall
In ball-point pen
The plaster was peeling off, so I'll have to try again
Well, we lost the hours out on old 129
It took a little longer, but I've got nothing but time

And Adel was a wasteland of beer and barbecue
Construction and three-way stops
But I was glad just to be there with you

We could light the highway up from coast to shining coast
'Cos of all the reasons that we're here
I love you the most

The wheels became the asphalt in physics I can't understand
As the sun sank on the driver's side
I held onto your hand
And we beat the highway north toward the blinding wind and rain
I've been to Micanopy
I guess it got stuck in my brain

There's half a million towns like that just waiting to be found
And half a million highways to carry us around from one to one
Track Name: One Danaïd
After the wedding, every single room went silent--but for one
You could hear the lives click off like faucets in the darkness--but for one
Every carpet soaked up the blood from every bridegroom--but for one
And every daughter slept the deepest sleep of the righteous--but for one

In the morning, the king went out, and he gathered every body--but for one
The chambermaids changed every set of sheets and blankets--but for one
The grooms were buried in an unmarked hole behind the castle--but for one
The daughters rose to sunshine and a hearty, healthy breakfast--but for one

It's amazing, in a world so topsy-turvy
That anything is not up for debate
She told him it wasn't that she loved him:
"It's just there's some things so crooked you can never make them straight!"

That night, a ceremony honored every daughter--but for one
The widows all put laurel on their heads and on their mantles--but for one
And every groom grew flowers and became a meal for maggots--but for one
The king was very happy with the way these stories ended--but for one

Now every lonely cell in the castle dungeon's empty--but for one
And every widow's lying on her back out in the sunshine--but for one
The king crossed every item off his busy calendar--but for one
But every daughter's jug will spill its water like a sieve
Except the one
Track Name: Flower on a Tether (For Robinson Jeffers)
It ain't good to forget the narrow cliff we walk
Like a flower on a tether
With the ocean wind on high and the sea-salt in your eyes
Who do you think you're getting?
Yeah, but when Flaubert comes back
You'll have to say, "C'est moi
Je suis Madame Bovary"
Mais savoir tout le monde est de pardonner tout le monde
At least that's what I'm hoping

And when the grid goes down
You'll probably never even know
That we look at you all
As freezing persons recollect the snow
Well, for every light that's on
You're turning fifty off
I just pray it ain't enough

You drive toward the capital, afraid you're gonna fall
The wheel's come off your Expedition
When St. Adam Smith clenched the invisible fist
Now we all wait for self-correction
The power lines are down, the telephone's gone out
And Carlin's laughing from a distance

This is the desert land, and we're the hollow men
The shadow tells us what we're made of
And last year's wunderkind grows old and insolent
You're wondering why you ever paid him
Track Name: Strictly Speaking
The Atlantic's gray and formless
I am standing on the south end of the pier
In front of rows and rows of houses
Painted pink like some white-trash chandelier
And seagulls overstuffed by taxidermists
Who ain't got the time to do it well
For six or seven hours
This old island must have seemed a lot like hell

My friend's down by the water
Wearing dress pants and some worn-out tennis shoes
The grin he's got is big enough
To turn a billion gray skies back to blue
But I'm chain-smoking Turkish Golds
And waiting for my own ship to come in
With an eye cocked on the shoreline
So I can see the service begin

When the time speeds up
You get left behind
But if the time slows down...
Well, no one knows

So I drove back to Athens
Where the hipsters all cite Walter Benjamin
And put Lacan in automatic writing
Like anybody knows what they mean
And the tanorexic whores
All drive Toyotas to the local GNC
Where they live off of Aderall and laxatives
And Long Island Ice Tea

The frat boys buy Rohypnol in bulk
With kegs of cheap domestic beer
They all vote Republican
Then make their girlfriends' fetii disappear
The Classic City's high on marijuana
Acid and SSRIs
Yeah, but I'm genuinely glad to be here
Genuinely glad to be alive

My students ask me why I'm here
All I can do is mumble something about some kind of pull
But strictly speaking, there's nowhere else to be
And no other time to be there
That's metaphysical!

So I laid down the cigarettes
I'm coughing up quarts of Escargot
Victoria says, "Baby
There are things that even I don't wanna know"
I wanna tell her everything
But man, there's just way too much to tell
For six or seven years back there
My brain felt an awful lot like hell
Track Name: Suzanne Pleshette
The blood on the saddle got ground in the dirt
You're wondering how you're gonna say it to her
The flesh is willing--it's the spirit that's weak
You're passed out cold on the dark end of the street

And you don't know what'll happen yet
But it comes and goes like Suzanne Pleshette

The wires go everywhere except where you want them to
You lose touch with everyone you thought you knew
And others will come along, but it's never the same
And you are the only one who doesn't change

It's raining in Chicago, in your sunken living room
Her incandescence cuts you through the gloom
And she grabs you by the shoulders, and she kicks you through the glass
And she kills off the metaphors and turns the future into past

And who you are, you can't say yet
But you fall apart like Suzanne Pleshette
Track Name: Although I Dropped 100,000 (I Found a Million Dollars in Your Smile)
Stocks are dropping every day
Banks are failing, too
Who cares if the skies are gray
As long as I got you?

I used to be a millionaire--on margin
Now I'm singing in the bread line all the while
Although I dropped 100,000 on the market, baby
I found a million dollars in your smile

There I was, atop my lonesome flagpole
Thinking 'bout the money I had lost
The factory was closed 'cos everybody knows
Running boards ain't worth the running costs

How could I let a smile be my umbrella
When it was stormy weather all the while?
Although I dropped 100,000 on the market, baby
I found a million dollars in your smile

I saw you selling apples on the corner
As I looked down on you from up above
Deflation makes the staples that much cheaper
But it was really not the time to fall in love

But then I saw those gray skies turn to blue
Guess it was there beneath them all the awhile
Although I dropped 100,000 on the market, baby
I found a million dollars in your smile
Track Name: She Sings Like a Canary
Well, hey there, Pretty Polly
If you don't need your name no more
I'll be glad to take that from you
I'll write it on the wall in blood
In a language they don't speak
For the next girl who becomes you

Well, I guess your guess was right
I guess you never know when the axe is gonna fall
We all rot in shallow graves
Bleed like open sores that spill pus on them all

Hey there, Lilli Schull
You took the fire for us all
And you never said a word, no matter what that bastard said
And when the roll was called up yonder
And his name was on the list
I hope that you cracked in his head

Well, I know you been set free
And I know I never will--but that's okay
'Cos if heaven's for the pure
I was never going anyway

He emptied out the cage
Snow was pressing on the walls
He was begging for reply
I put the noose around his neck
He never even woke
To hear me say goodbye

When your parakeet won't sing
You gotta find another way to get along
There's so much evil in the world
And who is gonna miss another one?
Track Name: Goleta
I hit every bar from here to Santa Barbara
I blacked out in the cop car that came to take me home
Woke up at four a.m. on the side of US-101
All dried blood and tangled hair and grime and broken bones

Come hell or highwater, I know I gotta get out of Goleta
It's sand and strip malls and people who can't read
A beacon for everyone washed up in Southern California
Home for all lost souls--all lost souls but for me

I spent Friday night in my 300-foot apartment
Three-quarters of my salary and not that much to see
Looked out that window at a palm tree that just won't bear fruit
It hung down like a turkey neck and looked back in and interrogated me

I could double my salary and move down to Ventura
Where the beaches are clean and white as cocaine
Or else buy a dog and camp out in some parking lot
Set free from everything but weed and hurricanes

At night, the ocean speaks a language we ain't yet conceived
The Pacific's just a parking lot for things we can't afford
They're gonna drain it one day. It'll look just like northeast Kern County
I've convinced myself to stay again, God only knows what for
Track Name: Like a Chain
I got the letter that you wrote me yesterday or the day before
I just haven't known what to say
You told me Rachel's turning two, but I can read the subtext:
"No thanks to you"
But I was at the moment of conception
The thought occurred to us all
But I'm the one who wrote the names down
I'm the one who made the call

I'm sure you think of me as a middleman
An in-betweener who could never be bothered with your pain
But virtue's such a funny thing
You try it on for size
And it wraps around your body like a chain

There was that day in Iowa City
The phone was ringing off the wall
When everybody's lost out there
It's never who you want to call
I slept with her all through the winter
But I couldn't follow through
That spring, I kept my eyes glued to the blotter just to see what she would do
But I paid her bills and bought her groceries
And I called from time to time
Lost like a drunk and angry hawkeye in the corn maze of her mind

In Chicago, at that store downtown
The Christmas lights were bright enough to almost melt the snow
Three weeks later, it's like the other shoe had dropped
And you were the only one who was sensitive or smart enough to know

But that awful night in Gary
The explanations fell like ashes from my limp left hand
But trust me
I owe no apologies
I did the right thing
And even then I knew there was no way you could ever understand

So Libby, here's to you and Rachel
Here's to Paul
I wish you nothing but the very, very best
But I can't write back
And I think you knew that
You didn't even bother to include your return address
Track Name: Privileged Readings
The indie kids are glassy-eyed down at the Goofy Foot
Trying to keep the buzz up long enough to not go home alone
The moon gets gummed up in those coke bottle windowpanes
You hear the scratches and the scrapes from the PO loading zone

I just wanna know right now where the time is going
Before it gets too late to get any of it back

St. Patrick's Day is every day at the frat boy boys
Easy pickups, easy letdowns, and not that much to see
But I guess it's better than hanging out at the bus depot
Keeping downtown awake with your semi-human screams

But the city takes ahold, and it just keeps going
And before you know it, all the sweetest days are gone

Yeah, and all these privileged readings
Never hold the way you want them to
And you just keep changing faces
'Til you don't have one

So I've been praying for the 415 to close
And all the bodies in motion will finally find somewhere to go
But as for me, I keep moving, I keep rolling on
And those 1100 miles couldn't kill the space inside
Track Name: Privileged Readings (Fleshed-Out)
The indie kids are glassy-eyed down at the Goofy Foot
Trying to keep the buzz up long enough to not go home alone
The moon gets gummed up in those coke bottle windowpanes
You hear the scratches and the scrapes from the PO loading zone

I just wanna know right now where the time is going
Before it gets too late to get any of it back

St. Patrick's Day is every day at the frat boy boys
Easy pickups, easy letdowns, and not that much to see
But I guess it's better than hanging out at the bus depot
Keeping downtown awake with your semi-human screams

But the city takes ahold, and it just keeps rolling
And before you know it, all the sweetest days are gone

Yeah, and all these privileged readings
Never hold the way you want them to
And you just keep changing faces
'Til you don't have one

I've been praying for the 415 to close
And all the bodies in motion will finally find somewhere to go
But as for me, I keep rolling, I keep moving on
And those 1100 miles couldn't kill the space inside
Track Name: Secrets Everybody's Onto
Once I had this silver tongue
Laced with poison straight from God
I never used it wrong, I swear
But I don't feel like talking now
It all seems so...unnecessary

I used to wear this sandwich board
It said "THE END IS NEAR"
Had half the city taking off their shoes
I guess it's in a closet somewhere
'Cos I could never follow through

If you would tell me where you're going just this once
I'd never have the guts to ask again
'Cos you know I don't really wanna know
But I'm cursed to always know where you've been

I met her in a porno store
I guess I should have known right then
But she smiled her "Sister Carrie" smile
And Dreiser's magnet drew me in

Had Pavlov's bells our wedding day
She spiked the punch and wedding cake
You know it's never been the same
In the pictures she's all looking left
Blue eyes sparkling like some mocking, pawned-off, fake glass diamond

She used to make these gin martinis with orange peel
I'd fall asleep by 8 p.m.
And sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night
And find her body gone

And when I'd take my business trips
I'd call her from the Motel 6 three or four times a week
I'd hear laughter on the other line
She'd say, "Kid...that's just the TV"

And every time I go out
I see the same old gas-mask prophets with nothing to say to my life
I know I'll be saving you again before too long
But you'll never know
Or you'll never care, at any rate

Once I had this vision
You were crouching over the earth
Your mascara running
But the thought was just too terrible
So I woke myself up and knew the end was never coming

Then You spoke to me
"I could never let you go
You understand"
So I bought a billboard
And I wrote "GOD IS LOVE - IT NEVER ENDS"