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Conor Oberst May 2014
It was in the March of the winter I turned seventeen
that I bought those pills I thought I would need.
And I wrote a letter to my family.
Said, "It's not your fault and you've been good to me.
Just lately I've been feeling like I don't belong;
like the ground's not mine to walk upon."

And I've heard that music echo through the house
where my grandmother drank by herself.
And I sat watching a flower as it was withering.
I was embarrassed by its honesty.
So I'd prefer to be remembered as a smiling face,
not this ******* wreck that's taken its place.

So please forgive what I have done.
No, you can't stay mad at the setting sun,
because we all get tired, I mean eventually.
There is nothing left to do but sleep.

But spring came bearing sunlight;
those persuasive rays.
So I gave myself a few more days.
My salvation, it came quite suddenly
when Justin spoke very plainly.

He said, "Of course, its your decision,
but just so you know,
if you decide to leave, I soon will follow."

I wrote this for a baby that has yet to be born.
My brother's first child.
I hope that womb's not too warm,
because it's cold out here
and it'll be quite a shock
to breathe this air,
to discover loss.

So I'd like to make some changes
before you arrive,
so when your new eyes meet mine
they'll see no lies.
Just love.

I will be pure.
I know I will be pure.
Like snow.
Like gold.
Conor Oberst Apr 2013
Well morning came and it dressed the sky
in a lovely yellow gown.
Now the shops, they are all opening
in that narrow hallway of downtown;
filled with people who are shopping for
their lovers and their friends
so they won't ever be lonely again.

Well, a forrest bench becomes backyards,
like songs are born from sound.
And the apple fell and it taught us all
that we are chained here to the ground.
So here we go, but there ain't no escape.
Yeah, these streets are just dead ends
so I will never be happy again.

Well it seems you too see a painful blue
when you stare at the sky.
You could never understand
the motion of a hand waving you goodbye.
"Bye bye."
But as the story goes, or it is often told,
a new day will arise and all the dance halls
will be full of skeletons.
They are coming back to life and on a grassy hill.
The lion will lay down with the lamb
and I won't ever be lonely again.

But until that time I think had better find
some disbelief to suspend,
because I don't want to feel like this again.
Conor Oberst Jan 2013
I met you through a common friend
in the attic of my parents' house,
and though I didn't know it then,
I soon was finding out;
oh, you are the roots that sleep beneath my feet
and hold the earth in place.

Each time a faucet opens
words are spoken.
The water runs away
and I hear your name.
No, nothing has changed.

There was a book I read and loved;
the story of a ship
who sailed around the world and found
that nothing else exists
beyond his own two sails and wooden shell
and what is held within.

All else is sure to pass.
We clutch and grasp
and debate what's truly permanent.
But when the wind starts to shift,
well, there's no argument.
Now I sing and drink and sleep on floors
and try hard not to be annoyed
by all these people worrying about me.

So when I'm suffocating through some awful drive,
you occasionally cross my mind.
It's my hidden hope that you are still among them.
Well are you?

Oh, you are the roots that sleep beneath my feet
and hold the earth in place.
Each time a curtain opens,
sunlight pours in.
A lifetime melts away
and we share a name
on some picturesque grave.
Conor Oberst Sep 2012
There's a voice on the phone
telling what had happened.
Some kind of confusion,
more like a disaster.
And it wondered how you were left unaffected,
but you had no knowledge.
No, the chemicals covered you.
So a jury was formed
as more liquor was poured.
No need for conviction;
they're not thirsty for justice.
But I slept with the lies I keep inside my head.
I found out I was guilty.
I found out I was guilty.
But I won't be around for the sentencing
'cause I'm leaving on the next airplane.
And though I know that my actions are impossible to justify,
they seem adequate to fill up my time.
But if I could talk to myself like I was someone else,
well then maybe I could take your advice
and I wouldn't act like such an ******* all the time.

There's a film on the wall
that makes the people look small
who are sitting beside it,
all consumed in the drama.
They must return to their lives once the hero has died.
They will drive to the office,
stopping somewhere for coffee;
where the folk singers, poets, and playwrights convene
dispensing their wisdom;
Oh dear amateur orators.
They will detail their pain in some standard refrain.
They will recite their sadness
like it's some kind of contest.
Well if it is I think i'm winning it, all beaming with confidence
as I make my final lap.
The gold metal gleams,
so hang it around my neck.
'Cause I am deserving it: the champion of idiots.

But a kid carries his Walkman
on that long bus ride to Omaha.
I know a girl who cries when she practices violin,
'cause each note stands so pure
it just cuts into her,
and then the melody comes pouring out her eyes.
Now to me, everything else,
it just sounds like a lie.
Conor Oberst Sep 2012
Why do you lay in the grass?
Why do you lay there?
Don't you want to be found?
Why do you lay in the grass?
Why do you lay there?
Don't you want to be found?
Why do you lay in the grass?
Why do you lay in the grass?
Don't you want that?
Don't you want that?
Don't you want that?
Isn't the sun even going to try to find a hole in the clouds?
Isn't the sun even going to try to find a hold in the clouds?
Isn't it even gonna try?
Isn't it even gonna try
to find a hole in the clouds?
Isn't it even gonna try?
Why won't it try, then?
Why do you lay in the grass?
Why do you lay there?
Don't you want to be found?
Why do you lay so low in the grass?
Why do you lay there?
Don't you want to be found?
Why do you lay in the grass?
Why do you lay in the grass?
Don't you want to be found?
Don't you want to be found?
I thought that you wanted that.
Conor Oberst Sep 2012
My brother finds comfort in calculators.
He assigns every number a name.
He believes that they add up to certainty and he is upset with fractions that remain.
So I examine these maps with my eyes, and at best I can trace with my finger
all the way to that town where she went in an attempt to forget the cracks and the lines of my face.

So Jetsabel cleaned out the closets for me and she piled up the boxes in the hall.
Tomorrow when she wakes she'll come take them away and they'll never haunt me again;
but it is still hard to sleep with the moon's heavy beams.
I run barefoot to the backyard, just to freeze in my place by the rod iron gate;
too afraid and ashamed to advance.

Today I walked through the snow and found a field of headstones.
They were in rows like the weeks in calendars where each box is a day you can never escape
without pills or the poison of sleep.
These memories leak from these faucets that weep.
Hot tears splash against the shower floor and I stand in the steam as if inside a dream--
I can see her again by the sink.
From behind the bathroom mirror she pulls a thermometer and places it under my tongue.

She said, "You're as pale as a sheet. You look awful, my sweet. Lay down and wait for the sun."
So I stayed in that bed. She brought me water and read each night from a volume out loud.
She whispered soft poetry. Her favorite was Anabel Lee.
And those words, like these drugs, comforted me.
But the clocks kept waving their hands
and she couldn't understand why temperature would never drop.
And though she promised with tears that she would always be here,
I heard truth like the sounding sea.

I said, "My Arienette, how soon you forget this house will never be your home,
and you will leave in the fall when the trees become graves and their colors lie dead in the grass."
Gold and green torture me like the lies I believe too easily.

Oh my Jetsabel, look at this hell that I have made.
If you want, maybe drop by sometime-- put some flowers on my grave
so that I will look beautiful in my silent sepulchre.
Yeah, that's fine. Throw some dresses away. I don't want anything of hers.
For the moon never shines and the stars never rise without bringing me dreams,
haunted by the ghosts of those bright eyes.
Conor Oberst Sep 2012
There's a middle aged woman; she's dragging her feet.
She carries baskets of clothes to the laundromat
while the Mexican children kick rocks into the street;
and they laugh in a language I don't understand,
but I love them.
Why do I love them?
So the neighborhood is dimming as I smoke on the porch
and watch the people as they pass, enclosed by their cars;
on their faces just anger or disappointment.
I start wishing there was something I could offer them.
A consolation, what could I offer them?
And they are sad in their suburbs; robots water their lawn
and everything they touch gets dusted spotless,
and so they start to believe they've not touched anything at all
and the cars in the driveway only multiply.
They are lost in their houses.
I have heard them sing in the shower,
making speeches to their sister on the telephone
saying, "You come home.
Woman, you come here."
Don't stay so far away from me.
This weather has me wanting love more tangible.
Something I can hold 'cause it's getting cold.
I say, "Hold up our fists to the flame in the sky.
to block out the light that's reaching for our eyes."
'Cause it... 'cause it would blind us. Yeah, it will blind us.
Well, I've locked my actions in the grooves of routine.
So I may never be free of this apathy,
but I wait for a letter that is coming for me.
She sends me pictures of the ocean in an envelope
so there is still hope.
Yes, I can be healed.
There is someone looking for what I've concealed
in my secret drawer, in my pockets deep.
You will find the reasons I can't sleep and you will still want me.
But will you still want me? Will you still want...?
Well, I say come for the week.
You can sleep in my bed,
and pass through my life like a dream in my head.
It will... it will be easy. I will make it easy.
But all I have for the moment is a song to pass the time;
a melody to keep me from worrying.
Oh, some simple progression to keep my fingers busy,
and words that are sure to come back to me
and they'll be laughing, and they'll be laughing.
My mediocrity.
My mediocrity.
(and they'll be laughing.)
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