24 October, 2009


I'm selling my latest batch of home-recorded songs on CD for $8. It's called "The Limited Power of Eternity." Let me know if you want one. Rather than use ink and paper I am posting all the lyrics here. If you buy the CD and want the lyrics just check this posting and read 'em. Thanks for listening!


Getting out of Gotham was the best thing we could do;
That town ain’t seen no sunshine since the spring of 62.
It’s hard to step on the rats once they get bigger than your shoe
And really, once they get that big they’re much too tough to chew
So we set out for the country just like Henry David T.
A flat bed Ford, a can of paint and a yearning to be free.
Mama she sat up in the front with the baby on her knee
And every time we’d hit a bump that baby’d shout with glee

CHORUS: Coming home across the fields with catfish in the creel
You call the dog and kiss the wife and make the baby squeal
And once a week without fail there’s money in the mail
That’s how it’ll be once we get daddy out of jail.

Daddy never lied to us unless it was in fun
We’d sit around the fire when the supper things was done
And he’d pull out his bag of tales and tell them one by one
Then send us laughing off to bed when all the yarn was spun.
I guess that’s how it happened on that rainy summer night
When daddy sat us down and said, I’ve had an awful fright.
Sheriff Brown is on my trail, his net is drawing tight.
We said, Daddy, tell another one, you’re really hot tonight.

Now the grown-ups say there comes a time in the life of every kid
When he starts to question everything the grown-ups ever said
But daddy, don’t you get those crazy ideas in your head
We’re with you till the bitter end, we don’t care what you did.
Now the night is warm and moonless and the old coyote’s still
And spikes of summer lightning strike the ridge behind the hill.
We’ve got our movements all worked out, we learned our signals well
Tonight’s the night we’re gonna spring old daddy from his cell.


These trees were planted by my father
Before I was even a seed
Yet through the roots of memory he brings me
Everything I will ever need
So now is it you I see before me
Approaching through the orchards in the night
The branches of your arms reaching to hold me tight.

These trees have lived such a long time
That now it’s time to cut them down
For like all else they’re locked toward the winter
And there’s no way to turn around
So sweetheart let us keep the fires glowing
Though the book of love was written long ago
With every page we turn she sings I love you so

O come and look out on the water
As she casts the reflection of the moon
The renegade who came to steal your lovelight
Is now lying on the haystack in a swoon
For to fathom the secret of the seasons
Would bring the proud man to his knees
So take my hand and let us freely wander through these trees.


See the silver highway rolling on, see the golden fields of Avalon
The green hills hiding in a veil of grey
Many colors fading into one, a radiant union like the sun
To reach before your life is over.
Look again the wheel is losing spin
Look again the ring is wearing thin
The sunset colors splash and fade away
Many kindred souls have come and gone
They plucked the highway with their song
And now they sleep beneath the clover

A wheeled world will roll away (X 8)

In the sky the swans are winging home, see the chevron shifting like a poem
The birches blazing in their autumn clothes
Every son of thunder knows his end, the place where home and highway blend
The bend that draws the homesick sinner
In the time it takes to tell the time little birds compose their closing lines
The last song fades into the afterglow
A screen door slams and a barn door swings
And a hound dog barks and a woman sings
The bell is ringing, time for dinner.

A wheeled world will roll away (X8)
I told the road to take me down the road
But the road refused to take me down the road (X2)

On the road the cars keep rolling on
In the night they wake you with their song
The life they call to mind seems far away
So you turn and seek the shadows deep
And travel lightly into sleep
And make the changes without knowing



This world is a big place and the people all gather In buildings and cities where the big rivers flow
But there’s a road that leads out into wide open spaces And it’s there that I’m fixing to go.
So I found me an acre in the Anderson Valley On a high wooded ridge with a view of the sea
And I met me this woman named Emily Carson And I asked her to live there with me.

Sweet was that summer, 1967, languid the days in the warmth of the sun
And the wind in the pines like a whisper from heaven brought no portent of the trouble to come.

Winter was hard but we met some good people,
Refugees from a commune they called the Morningstar Farm
Deep were the nights by the old Danish woodstove Burning thoughts as a way to stay warm.

Emily had a brother, he came up from El Cerrito,
He was broken and homeless and ravaged by cocaine
And he wrestled with demons seven weeks on the back porch
Until the winter finally gave in to the spring.

One morning in April we found him sitting by the woodstove,
clean shaven and lucid and squirelly-eyed
He said I’ve had a vision of a pathway untraveled, and a call that will not be denied

You see the answer is simple, it’s like a wheel in a wheel
It’s like a night in the day, like a day inside the night
It’s a gift to be given, it’s a secret to reveal, it’s a love to bring into the night.

That summer was a scorcher and the wind burned the corn
And the carrion crows locked in circling flight
Emily grew restless, distant and forlorn Like the wild fires that raged through the night

I should have known it would happen and one night it happened,
There were tears and accusations, tantrums and blows
And in the morning there was nothing but a note and a daisy
And a dust cloud hanging over the road.

Last night awakened by the first wolf of winter; in the morning the hills in a blanket of white.
Sometimes I swear that there’s no music finer than the sound of the wind in the pines.

Well, this world is a big place full of buildings and cities
And the cruelty gathers where the big rivers roll
But there’s a road that lead out into wide open spaces
And it’s there that I’m fixing to go.


Well, how could this happen? Was I not immune
To the thrust of the sun and the draw of the moon?
I’m working on Sundays. I’m getting no sleep.
I’m drinking cold coffee and I’m thinking in Greek.

I got a love buzz, I got a sweet tooth
I got a tendency for telling the whole truth.
Well, you know that burning urge they talk about
All the time?
Well, I got it bad, baby, and I got you in mind.

Well, maybe a vacation would settle my mind
Like Christmas in Mexico where the sun always shines.
Well, I’m living on oxygen, I’m traveling light
But I get mighty hungry in the still of the night.

I got a good nose for the smell of a striking match
I’m like Pinocchio baby, I got no strings attached.
Well, you know that freaky Friday feeling like a wind chime
Well, I hear it ringing baby when I get you in mind

So you don’t see the connection, you don’t follow the groove
Of the curve of your words or the way that you move.
I’m a slave to your intentions, my loss is your gain
I crave your attention like a dog on a chain.

Tender is the feeling like a freshly laid bruise
that you notice one evening while reading the news.
Well, I tried to ignore it, I tried to be cool
But it spread cross my body and it turned me into a fool

So wiggle that sweet walk, give me a sugar rush
I got me a line of talk that’s bound to make you blush
Well, I don’t know where this might go
By the time we get to the cherry wine
It’s just a feeling, baby, when I get you in mind.
Well, I don’t know where this is gonna go
By the time we get to the cherry wine
Cause I got a love buzz, and I got you in mind.


Well, I went to check out the Mystic Maze south of Kingman, Arizona
Where the People of the River lived before the Age of Petroleum
But in the changing light I saw no remnant of them there,
Just a red tail rising on the currents of the air
And I turned to Kate and I said, “Do you know what’s happening here, my friend?”
She said, “There are no roads that do not bend.
There are no roads that do not bend.”

We’ll I stepped into a time machine just to get my kicks
I went back to 1955, I was driving down route 66
And I had to pull to the side of the road just to stop and stare
All the cars were round and old and in serious disrepair.
And I turned to Kate and I said “Do you know what’s happening here, my friend?”
She said, “There are no roads that do not bend.
There are no roads that do not bend.

Why don’t we take a long drive on the highways and the byways.
Let’s visit every national park in the nation.
For the hour is slowly moving in,
The winds of change will soon begin
To leave all hobos stranded at the station.

So you’ve holed up in some river town in the Sacramento Valley,
Or maybe you’ve gone back to Mom and Dad in their sweet suburban oblivion
Or have you sunk your roots somewhere your children can’t get in?
You who used to liken yourself to pollen in the wind.

Well, I have to blow this candle out, the mosquitoes are too thick
And with each hour my passion grows like a fire on an oil slick,
Well, why do you have to be so quiet? Can’t you make a sound?
Don’t you feel that big wheel turning underneath the ground?

And I turned to Kate and I said, “Do you know what’s happening here, my friend?”
She said, “There are no roads that do not bend.”
She said, “There are no roads that do not bend.
There are no roads that do not bend.”


Now that you’ve had some time to find your way around the hexagram
In every quiet clocklike chocolate moment of the night
Seeds of new concern are germinating in the aftermath
Looking at life on one hand while on the other hand looking at how we life
I wonder how do you feel about the baby boy?

Before he was a pedestrian he was looking out through the universe
See here boy, we got a promise here
We’re gonna try to make you smile
After awhile he was dancing around as if to embrace the universe
And nothing I say can approximate the way you make me smile
I wonder how do I feel about the baby boy.

Bless my father dreaming tonight in the loving eye of the television
Bless his long term vision to be the last good man in Babylon
Bless my mother’s lovely face as she worries about the television
The nuclear family scatters under the threat of a nuclear holocaust
I wonder how do I feel about the baby boy.

The military argues the prosperity of a war
Even you liberal lovers of the good life, look how well you live
Well, these things are done on foreign shores, you need not even know
Think about all this precious freedom in which to realize yourself
Tell me how do I feel about the baby boy.

In good time a man of peace comes walking down the road
Scuffly patent leather sandals ringing out over the cobblestones
He says there are no more fires burning in the fields of heaven
Hush now, this is the hour of division, the government from the firmament
I wonder how do you feel about the baby boy?


Hail Mary, full of grace. Hear how the trees rustle in the wind
Holy Mary, mother of God, how are you?
Bless my soul this life of mine! A quivering course to the heart of love.
Truth and darkness intertwined together.

Everywhere I go the eyes of death are at my shoulder
Stand and take your orders
Deeper still my spirit sinks into the well of Maya
Ooh loo roo la da la da

In the night this pilgrim passes, remembering when he stood on the mountain of God
Take my pain, cruel whips and lashes do not mar you.

Other pilgrims hurry by to clamber up the ladder, to falter at the alter
Still this equal thirst demands its portion of the water
Ooh loo roo la da la da…

In the lake a raindrop splashes. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord
Save your skin, the neon flashes, the word confuses.

Hail Mary, full of grace. Hear how the trees rustle in the wind
Holy Mary, mother of God, how are you?
Hail Mary, full of grace. Hear how the trees rustle in the wind
Holy Mary, mother of God, how are you?


We made a stop in the city, the windshield was dirty
The mechanic, he told us the news
She was inclined then to thumb it, but I was far from it,
I hadn’t got over the blues
It was God’s holy half acre, it was Market and Jones;
I was counting the holes in my shoes

And there was a drag queen, she was buying her outfit for the ball
And there was a beggar out paying a penance for us all.

She lived a short walk from Macys, my fingers were greasy
I guess I approached her too soon.
There was a man in the lobby, he must have been crazy,
Howling like a dog at the moon
And I confess when she asked me I told her your name
O, I thought that she might change her tune.

And there was an air preacher preaching a sermon to the air
And an old Catholic barber was making a crucifix out of hair.

There was a time I was gallant, my gold was my talent
I chose to distribute my wealth.
For then my life was an ember, I can’t even remember
When I first came to mistrust myself.
O, I saved some time for the book I was reading to you
But now it just sits on the shelf

And there was a moon goddess saving her body for the moon
And there was a songwriter mourning the passing of a tune.

When morning breaks on the wheel of time
The stars will fade and the sun will climb
Immense and holy, grand design, Gloria Deo

Our daily labors we attend
Our earthly courses to defend
Unseen, our spirits must ascend in glory Deo.

How great the mystery of our lives!
In sleep we wake and in dreams we rise
To chart the secrets of the skies, Gloria Deo.

Don’t waste this moment, this gift of time
Throw out your beacon, let it shine
Let Spirit use your heart and mind
While on this earth you stand.

When darkness falls in the form of the night
The stars again through the curtain break
Infinite vision! Holy light! Gloria Deo.

How strong this yearning! How sweet it’s cease!
How deep the stirrings of release!
Take back your part of heaven’s peace
While on this earth you stand.

When darkness falls in the form of the night
From cosmic reaches the starlight breaks
Infinite vision! Holy Light! Gloria Deo

Gloria Deo, Gloria Deo, Gloria Deo

© 2006 by Jim Nail

1 comment:

  1. Jim: You are a great American singer/songwriter/musician/writer/artiste extraordinaire. You are also unique. But then again who isn't? But at least you are a great American singer/songwriter/musician/writer/artiste extraordinaire.

    And I'm not gay or anything but I love you.