Kevin Devine - Split The Country, Split The Street CD


Release-Date: 04.10.2005


01 "Cotton Crush"

The bricks get laid, and they get torn up, and laid

again, but the bricks always get torn up again.

Your friends won’t wait, so don’t believe that shit,

when they say they’ll wait. Trust me; your friends

will not wait for you. Then, you’ll be stoned in

some park, just nodding your head and pinching

your arms, when a girl walks along. She’s

humming your song, with your t-shirt on. That’s

when you’re done. There’s a cotton crush down in

the southern states. But back up here, man, we’ve

got so much thread and space to waste. There’s a

microphone picking every word up and it shuts

itself off when it’s sure that it’s heard enough. The

quiet can scrape all the calm from your bones, but

maybe it should. Maybe we need to be hollowed

to get up and grow, and stop fucking around; to

kick off our braces and start straightening out. Let’s

sift through the static to find a simpler sound than

the shit that’s clouding our heads now.

02 "Afterparty"

The afterparty’s rockin’, girl, and everybody’s

dancing for you, but you’re just drinking all my

Ballantine and laughing while your lips turn blue.

Your friends are all uptight and everybody’s in an

awkward mood, so you keep drinking all my

Ballantine and laughing while your lips turn blue.

I’m not really planning on coming back; I thought I

told you that. I guess I dreamt I told you that. The

streets are slow and silent and the backyard is a

beat parade. So, I’m just sweeping up the

garbage while I listen to the songs you play, where

everybody’s trying but they just can’t get it straight.

So, I’m just sweeping up the garbage while I

whistle all the songs you play. I keep changing my

mind all the time; I hope you think that that’s

alright. Yeah, I hope you tell me that that’s all right.

I’m just slurring in the shade when the daylight

breaks, and you and me have got it made. Yeah, I

think you and me have got it made.

03 "No Time Flat"

Your skin’s in my mouth, but I’m thinking about

thousands of things that don’t got your name. So,

I’m distant and weird; we stop and you’re all ears.

But how can I say, “I’ve just been thinking that it’s

harder every year to find excuses that’ll keep me in

the clear; the arbitrary lines I impress in the sand,

the proof that piles in my trash can while the skin

on my hands is looking older every day. The lies

I’ve told have turned to leather on my face. The

love I’ve lost has turned to needles in my heart. But

I’m to blame for all the bad parts. They’re the

choices I’ve made, hey hey.” That’s when I turn my

face away, and I watch the debates. Now, I can’t

see straight. Take abortion away, and both sides

are just the same, so I’m not sure why I vote, ‘cuz I

just don’t know what difference it makes. It seems

to me we get the same shit from them both. Reform

don’t work; I think it’s time we tried revolt, but I

don’t got the guts to jump up and go first, so I just

shout until my throat hurts, and I curse and I curse

at what they fucked up in Iraq. You say support the

troops; I do. I want them all brought back, and

every building that you bombed raised from the

ground. And pull your contractors the fuck out. If

you really go and reinstate the draft, you’ll straight

away just split the country straight in half, so try

arresting everyone who sends their draft cards

back. I’ll be returning mine in no time flat. In a

sense we’re the same, struggling to save face. It’s

a question of scope: how far you’re willing to go to

make rights of your wrongs, despite the risk

involved. It’s a question of faith, ‘cuz if we wait

until we’ve all been burned to ash to tell the truth

about the shit buried in our pasts, we’ll split a taxi

to that firepit way down south. So, let’s rise up and

open our mouths.

04 "Keep Ringing Your Bell"

I’m counting out dollars while I limp to your

brownstone. I can just barely cover what I need to

get back home. I know we’re allowed indiscretions

in our lives, but I’ve been making mine count every

night for a while. I keep deleting your number and

name from my cell phone, but I call every day;

that’s as far as my act goes. What you have helps

me turn down the noise that I make, but when it

stops it just pokes me and keeps me awake. My

friends always warned about living clichés, but my

friends aren’t there when I meet you these days. I

count people and street signs from the back of your

car and then skip back excited to wherever they

are. I take risks in the stall while they talk by the

bar. I won’t go back outside ‘til my memory starts

erasing itself into something less brutal, some

beautiful bullshit I pretend to belong to. So, as long

as the truth tucks itself into bed, and the beat of my

heart and the heat of my breath keep me hopeful

and distant and proud of myself, I’ll keep ringing

your bell every night around twelve.

05 "No One Else’s Problem"

I was consumed with proving you were a liar. But

what good would that do? We both know the

truth; we were there and we lived it. But then we

kept rewriting and revising it. Rehashing and

repeating it was bad for us both. I was passive

aggressive – I’m sorry; I was anxious to let it all go.

You’re no one else’s problem, but you sure are

mine. So many words and they all burn like blood

on my tongue; so many songs and I hate singing

every one. I worry that I may never be satisfied. I

try and try and try, but it’s there in the front of my

mind: bodies rotting in water into mixtures of color

that blur all the time.

06 "Buried By The Buzz"

I got a sweet tooth sunk in a soft spot that busts my

jaw loose and makes my mouth rot. I caught a bad

break, the same one you caught, that turned your

hair white and choked your breath off. I’m buried

by the buzz of a year gone numb. I found gossip

in the ivy that’s been swallowing my house, and I

found bones in the foundation that I’m just picking

out now. So, I’m buried by the buzz of a year

gone numb. I got a fistful of shattered seashells

that scream like soldiers stuck down an oil well. I

saw a bad sign lit up like Broadway, and I watched

my head spin, and I heard my voice shake, “I’m

buried by the buzz of a year gone numb.” I found

trouble in the ghost town that I’ve been building

with my hands, but I found comfort in the

snowstorm that I’ve been piling on my past. So,

I’m buried by the buzz of a year gone numb. I see

symptoms of a sickness in every stranger on the

street, and I see danger in the distance speeding

straight for you and me. So, I’m buried by the

buzz of a year gone numb.

07 "Haircut"

I saw your haircut in a storefront: the choppy sides

and perfect bangs. I loved the way it framed the

model’s cheekbones and the blank expression on

her face. So I went inside and tried to buy it, but I

got told, “It’s not for sale.” I got embarrassed and I

decked the sales clerk. I stole the wig and ran like

hell. I figured I would come and show you, sco I

kept running towards your house. Then, I

remembered I don’t know your address, at least not

the place you sleep at now. So I hurried home to

get collected, to let the red flush from my face. I

took out my notebook and I sketched you smiling; I

like to look at you that way. Then, I put your

haircut in my closet, next to the t-shirts and those

cards you sent. I turned my lights out and I sunk in

slowly, counting sheep and breathing hard again.

When it comes, it’s way too quickly, and it busts

apart the faith I’ve grown. See, I can’t stop myself

from hurting you, so I guess I won’t.

08 "Probably"

You probably can’t stand your glasses, but you

probably need them to read. You probably waste

all your down time, and you probably don’t get

much sleep. You probably don’t like the movies,

but you probably go anyway. You probably fight

with your mother a lot when it feels like there’s

nothing to say. You probably don’t care for punk

rock, but you probably love “Crooked Rain.” And

you probably don’t talk to strangers like me, but

you wish we’d talk to you just the same. So I

should probably say something to you, but I’d

probably ruin it then. It’s best for us both if I keep

my mouth shut and just stay on my side of the train.

09 "Alabama Acres"

So there’s hundreds of auburn Alabama acres, with

rows of red roofs over warm farmer’s daughters

who’ve got no intention of inviting me in. Space

shines all above me so I settle myself under it.

When I wake up, I’m back in my crowded city

apartment, with some random men doing work off

in the kitchen. They’re stacking mattresses up now

from the ceiling down to the floor. My father’s sick

in the hallway. I hear him whistling under door. I

rush to lift him, but you all know I’m weak, and you

know that he’s heavy. There’s no blood in his

cheeks, but he’s smiling straight at me. I ask the

thickest of the workers, “Would you please come

and help me out?” He comes ambling over and

says, “Sir, I love how your whistling sounds.” So

now we drag him through the kitchen to the living

room and down on the carpet. He says, “Son, I’m

embarrassed, but the sides of my head hurt. I just

know that I’m tired and I could surely use some rest.”

I tear a mattress down for him and I say, “Here Dad.

Sleep some on this.” I wake for real, and it’s over.

I’m alone in the acres, and my dad is still dead. So

if you’re underneath one of those rooftops, look out

your window and invite me on in, ‘cuz it’s cold and

I’m lonely, and I could sure use a friend.

10 "Yr Damned Ol’ Dad"

We’re going out tonight my son, so bring your flask

and bring your cross and bring your gun. I’ve

been borrowin’ lots of cash, so you won’t be

needing none. Just wear your good shoes, ‘cuz

we’re going out, my son. I got a car loaded up

with gas and parked right outside. I got a city map

and a mission in my mind. I just need someone

riding with me, a brother to my right to keep me

company in that big old car outside. ‘Cuz I don’t

wanna think about the world right now. I wanna

drive from bar to bar and wash the taste clean out.

I wanna feel the way I felt when we were kids

messin’ around before I thought about the world

like I do now. But don’t go feelin’ all stuck and

shamed for your damned ol’ dad, ‘cuz I’ve seen

troubles that could kill ten stronger men. It’s just

that all this weight from la-la-livin’s been catchin’

fire in my hands. Well, fuck this town, son. I

wanna make ‘em crawl again. Tell your lady not to

leave on that light. Tell her not to sit up worryin’ all

goddamn night. But if she’s awake when you

crawl home, you just shut your mouth and smile

nice. Tell her, “Baby, I’m tired. Can’t we please

turn off those lights?” You say, “Baby I’m tired and

I just wanna shut off all those lights.”

11 "The Shift Change Splits The Streets"

I’m pushing pins through the pavement. I’m adding

days to the week. I feel the city sidewalk shake

beneath me while everyone sleeps. I’m spiking

Punch & Judy sendoffs with silver dollars I stole from

Michael’s dresser somewhere back in Brooklyn

while he was out digging holes. I wrote the horse

you rode in on a letter to keep the focus off me, and

make it stay there, to keep you guessing while the

shift change splits the streets, but I still can’t sleep.

12 "You Are The Daybreak"

It’s going straight to my head: I think I’m falling in

love again. Such simple miracles have happened

since your steady hands have come and stopped

my unraveling. Your fingers, built for the piano,

work out the knots that line my back. The stress

I’ve stored since last December; now, it doesn’t

matter. I’ve learned to leave it in my past. I feel

good about the future, and this clarity I’ve never

had. You are the bounce in my step, the burst of

blood in my chest, the prayer I’ve kept in my

head. You are the knock of my knees, the swollen

sound of each song I scribble down and tear up,

because they never match up. You are the words I

fumble for. In the morning, you are the daybreak,

and I am glad. At night, you are the dream I fall

asleep to have.

13 "Lord, I Know We Don’t Talk"

In a motel room, with the Bible out, combing

scripture for answers about what’s happening now.

I can’t believe my eyes, and I just can’t trust my

ears, but I’ve heard a man can always come find

some solace here. Lord, I know that we don’t talk

often at all anymore, but desperate folks do

desperate things, so I’m stapling this note to your

door. Please: turn the ship around, and lock the

course in place, and keep the train tracks nailed to

the ground, but pull the emergency brake. I’ve lost

my faith in man just like I once lost faith in you, and

I’ve been covering all kinds of ground thinkin’ hard

‘bout what else I could lose. And I know how I

look, to come crawling back, acting like you owe

me proof, but this is bigger than me, and I think it’s

bigger than you too. So if this gets to you, if you

ever come home, just know I won’t be awaiting the

postman. I will not be glued to my phone. I’ll

know a change has come, I’ll know that you exist,

when all our bombs stop exploding and when all of

our landmines are stripped. When we stop

blowing up strangers’ houses and making orphans

of innocent kids, and people stop thinking the

world’s theirs for the taking ‘cuz your will once told

them it is. ‘Til then, I’m gonna shake my head, I’m

gonna bite my tongue when people tell me, “Have

faith and be patient. We’re waiting for God to

show up.” ‘Til then, it’s one more skeptical song.

But I’ll be glad as hell if you come prove me wrong.