lyrics to the reaper's strut

All words and music by Istvan Csicsery-Ronay

1. THE REAPER'S STRUT

Ha ha ha ha ha gonna get you
Ha ha ha you can't escape
Ha ha ha ha ha you can run
But I'll be the last step that you take

 

Blah blah blah blah blah you can talk talk
Blah blah you can philosophize
Blah blah blah blah I can't hear you
I’m the first thing you see when you close your eyes


I don't care if you're rich or poor
I don't care if you lock the door
I don't care if you're a fool or wise
Don't care if you won the Nobel prize

 

Na na na na na you should worry
Na na na better live in fear
Na na na na  better hurry
Time's winged chariot is drawing near

 

I don't care about your color
Don't care about your child or mother
I don't care if you believe in Jesus
Jesus can pick up the pieces.

Boo hoo hoo hoo all your achievements
Boo hoo hoo hoo all your agreements
Boo hoo hoo hoo they’re all bereavements
When I start to do the Reaper's Strut.

I don't care if you're a refugee
Or if you built an island in the China Sea
I don't care if you're a man of means
I only care about your smithereens.

 

Boo hoo hoo to all your achievements
Boo hoo hoo to all your agreements
Boo hoo hoo hoo they’re all bereavements
When I do the Reaper's Strut.

2. I NEVER REMEMBERED TO THINK ABOUT YOU

I poured the Jamie back in the bottle,

Crossed the corazon from the verse,

I eased way up on the throttle,

Last night was sure a first,

 

I made myself a little salad,

And watched whatever was on the tube,

I threw away that Tex-Mex ballad,

And never remembered to think about you.

 

I'm going to change all my addresses,

Buy me a new pair of shoes,

I’m gonna cut off all these tresses,

And never remember to think about you.

 

I’m gonna make a new start,

Gonna clean up my yard,

I’m tired of being sad and sloppy,

I’m gonna trim back my hedge,

Step back from the ledge,

And haul away that old broken-down jalopy –

I’m gonna change my whiskey for fine wine,

And cook myself a nice ragout,

Find some sand and draw a long line,

And never remember to think about you.

 

I’m gonna make a new start,

Gonna clean up my yard,

I’m gonna wash my dog, and the kitchen floor,

I’ll take the phone off the hook,

Maybe even read a big book,

And not get around much anymore.

 

change my whiskey for fine wine,

And cook myself a fine ragout,

Find some sand and draw a fine line,

And never remember to think about,

Never remember to think about,

Never remember to think about you – who?

3. ROAD RUNNER

When I walk I feel like I’m walking on air.

My feet don’t even seem to make a sound.

I can walk on water, I can walk through fire,

I can turn somersaults on a live high wire,

And I’m a road runner, whenever I hit the ground.

 

I’m a fast mover, got a mind as quick as light,

You can’t catch me, unless I want to slow down,

I may wait for you if you catch a flight,

But I’m not gonna stand here and wait all night,

Cause I’m a road runner, as soon as I hit the ground.

 

I’m a road runner, hey beep beep,

When I’m dead I may catch some sleep,

I don’t know steep, and I don’t know deep,

And I can jump to Jupiter in one leap.

 

I’m a spinning ball, and I won’t stop spinning around,

‘Cause in outer space there is no up or down,

I can take you baby on a photon spree,

But I can’t guarantee you’ll keep up with me,

I’m a road runner, as soon as I hit the ground.

4. ROMANCE IS NOT A SWEET THING

Cathy and Heathcliff sitting in a tree,

K-I-L-L-I-N-G

first comes love and then comes hate,

then comes death and then comes fate.

 

Oh baby, romance is not a sweet thing,

it’ll give you just a little and take away everything.

 

Dante and Beatrice on the street,

he looked and she looked, their gazes meet,

Poor Dante had to live his life in a whirl,

he had to go heaven just to see his girl

 

O romance, etc.

 

Napoleon he loved Josephine

the history books say it was a pretty scene

But Jo said no, no, Bonopo,

don’t you treat me like the one’s befo’

 

Anna and Vronsky at the ball,

one mazurka and a tragic fall,

all those Russians in their private hells,

and I’m not feeling too good myself

5. POSSESSION

I know you want me back again,

My new love smiles at me… and then

Possession – takes control,

You want me to say I’m yours

 

When I was down you wouldn’t cry with me,

When I was up you wouldn’t fly with me,

Possession – nothing more,

You want me to say I’m yours

 

When I was out, you’d follow me around

When I was in, you could not be found

You wore me like a little gold chain

You even wanted me to take your name

 

You never tried to keep me from harm

You just tried to keep me from someone else’s arms

Just like Columbus on the Hispañola shore

You want me to say I’m yours

 

You paraded me before your friends

When the game came on you sent me home again

You wore me like a little gold chain

You even wanted me to take your name.

 

This ain’t no sentimental thing,

I have found a truth deep within,

Possession – it’s the original sin,

I’m never going to say I’m yours.

I never ever ever never want to hear I’m yours.

6. THE RAVEN AND THE CARIBOU GIRL (For Rick Hillis and Emily Doak)

The ice is failing on the Arctic Circle,

It won’t be back for another age,

They’ve sucked the water from the Alberta prairie,

And all they left us was a short-term wage

All they left us was a short term wage,

Short term wage, short term wage,

All they left us was this short term wage.

 

Big tooth walrus by the 35,000,

All massed together on the Point Lay shore,

Every face looking out at the Chukchi,

Not one body can swim no more,

swim no more, swim no more,

Not one body can swim no more.

 

When I die I’ll be back soon

I’m not done with the light of noon

I’m not done with this wide wide world

I’m not done with my caribou girl

 

When I come back I won’t be a walrus,

Won’t be a bear or a caribou,

I’ll come back as a coal-black raven,

Flying through the forests to get back to you,

Get to you, get to you,

Flying through the forest just to get to you.

 

7. I THOUGHT I KNEW MY BIBLE

I thought I knew my Bible

Went to church and heard it read

Now I’m hearing all these money Christians saying

Words that Jesus never said.

 

They say that money makes you holy

They forgot the way is straight

They think the angels check your folio

Before they let you in through the gate

 

Well, I’d rather stand in line with the suffering poor

Than ride in a limo with the filthy rich

Rather listen to the dogs howling at the moon

Than hear one more hypocrite preacher’s pitch ---

I’d rather drink dirty water from a muddy stream

Than sip champagne with the filthy rich

I’d rather dream revolution’s troubled dream

Than be some wall street banker’s bitch

 

All these open-carry pilgrims

Toting guns against the state,

They think that God gave them dominion

and Jesus died to save their hate.

 

And these cold-hearted losers

Who disdain all those who learn

Are always voting for the jokers

Who just want to see them burn

 

And all these happy bougie Buddhists

Who think enlightenment’s a win,

The extent of their compassion

Is to forgive themselves their sins.

 

And these bling slinging bangers,

Little princes of the glam,

Think that selling rocks and women

Is their revenge against the man.

8. THE SPARROW

Every time you tell me that you want a little more,

I hear you saying that you want me out your door,

I know you mean to say a little, not a lot,

But my heart hears you saying, you want everything I’ve got.

 

When I was little child, my people’s words were rough,

I never heard encouraging words of uplifting love,

They thought that every word should make a young heart tough,

But when all was said and done, mine was never tough enough.

 

So if you want to love me darling, keep these words in mind,

If you want some changes made, please make your words be kind,

Oh the eagle will not leave his nest, his heart is strong and sure,

But the sparrow will take wing and fly away at every stir.

 

Now that I am grown, I hear voices all around,

Say a woman should stand tall, and she never should back down,

But in the hurricane of memories, there is no solid ground,

And I’d rather risk the loss of love than watch myself fall down.

 

9. THIS THING (CAN'T END SOON ENOUGH)

 It’s too late, Tonight

To say that it’s over

Too wrong. For too long

To start acting sober

Who knows which came first

The pain or the thirst?

The shame or the curse?

This thing can’t end soon enough.

 

One night. High flight

As high as wings could take us

Each day, We pay

The memory remade us.

Which was the first to go

The flame or the glow?

The truth or the show?

This thing can’t end soon enough.

You say,  You pray

every now and then

Daybreak, we wake

The demon’s back again

When can we finally start

To take these two stone hearts

And finally break them apart

This thing can’t end soon enough.

10. SOME MEN (A CAPELLA)

Some men just like the rough and the tumble,

They like to push around the poor and the humble,

Conquistadors looking for their conquistas,

Big brothers looking out for little sisters,

But listen here fellas, you know that just won’t do,

Cause you’ve got to do right if you want to be done right to.

 

Well some men think that understanding’s hard to come by,

That woman just demands and men just supply,

And some say yes, and some say no,

That women run men like a puppet show,

But listen here fellas, this is a talking to,

You’ve got to do right if you want to be done right to.

 

Well some men think that women and smarter,

But they don’t mind, they still have to work harder,

Some men think that by talking the talk,

They’ve got an exemption from walking the walk

Excuses, excuses, I’ve heard a few,

Well, you’ve got to do right if you want to be done right to.

11. ROUTE 2-4-6

I take the back roads, where I won’t be found,

Headlights blind, a worried mind, I travel underground,                             

Sometimes it seems my troubles not even God can fix,

So I haunt this dark road, Route 2-4-6.

 

I had a gang of Jack-Mormons down in Mexico,

I ferried all our messages from Juarez to Sinalo’,

One moonlit night they spotted me out on an open road,

Conversing with the Federales.  I knew I had to go.

 

Then I worked a while in Telluride, before I came back East,

I had the road to Oregon, muling for the Beast,

I ran a biker off the road up on Highway 1,

All his filthy little tribalists knew I was the one.

 

Caught between the demons of the law and crime,

Waiting for an angel who would stop my mind,

Waiting for an angel who would set me free,

Dead or alive, much the same to me.

 

I saw you at a festival, talking to your kind,

You turned around and met my eye, and never looked behind,

I thought you were the angel who would free me from my toll,

One last straw to hold onto for my restless soul --

 

You say that you won’t wait for me, you say that we’re all done,

You say a man who drives all night is a spirit on the run,

I could take a hundred roads, I could play a hundred tricks,

But I always drive this back road, your route 2-4-6.

 

The new moon’s back, the sky is black, the peasants are asleep,

Just one light breaks through the night on your silent street,

Why do you never ever turn your lamplight off,

Your lighted window haunts me like the firelight haunts the moth.

 

 Caught between the demons of the law and crime,

Waiting for an angel who will pay my fine,

Waiting for an angel who won’t count the cost,

Waiting for an angel who’s not just as lost.

 

There are no lights from Salem all the way to Bainbridge Town,

Some nights the hinds will converge, like some white-tail camping ground,

I’ll idle, then I’ll shut it down, and I’ll join their hush,

Then watch their white-tails flicker as they vanish in the brush.

 

Caught between the demons of the law and crime,

Waiting for an angel who will stop my time,

Caught between the Acheron and the River Styx,

I ride your dark road, Route 2-4-6.

12. LAST ONE LEFT ALIVE

I know everybody in this town,

From school and work, and hanging round,

Every mother, every mother’s child,

From baby’s first dreaming to running wild,

But now not one can meet my eye,

They see me coming and they pass me by,

I don’t know what I’ve done to survive,

But I’m the last one in this town left alive.

 

Screens flicker and light the ruins,

Babies crying in empty rooms,

Kids sleeping off their daily binges,

The riverbank glitters with old syringes,

And all these men who once stood so proud,

If they shook my hand now they’d vanish like a cloud,

I don’t know what it takes to survive,

But I’m the last one in this town left alive.

 

I stayed around to see it through,

To see if the gods might make them all come to,

I can no longer count the cost,

Of good friends gone and lovers lost,

I guess I’m loyal to a fault,

But now big men plow our earth with salt,

Turn the key and shift to drive,

And there won’t be anyone in this town left alive.

13. ALWAYS AND NEVER

Why don’t you ever say you love me?

Why must I always be the one to say the word?

Why don’t you ever tell me that you’re proud of me?

That you’re glad you chose to be with me in this wide wicked world?

 

I know your days are filled with toil and persistence.

I know it’s hard to see another’s point of view.

You’re tired, and in your pride all that’s left’s resistance.

But darling can’t you see that I am toiling, too.

 

Just one tender word would lighten all my burdens,

One tender touch to pull me to your side,

Would let me know that you still want me here around you,

Let me know your love is stronger than your pride.

 

They say, don’t say always and never,

But each day without a kiss is lost in the abyss –

We never talked about a love that lasts forever

But every day a word of love, on this I must insist.

 

So come here darling won’t you twine your arms around me,

And let me hold you like the circles hold the sun,

Let me know that you still want me here beside you,

Let me know you love me before our circuit’s done.

Let me know that you love me, before our circuits done.

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