The Small Cities

The Small Cities - With Fire (album art)

With Fire

1. Abraham

words by Osborn

In my father’s house, I knew my north from my south.
All the crumbling bones, all the crossing sevens and throwing stones.
But who was I to understand what makes a wreck or makes a man?

Interesting scenes of a child reading bible stories.
With father looking on, smiling at his youngest son.
At Abraham raising knives and cities full of trembling wives.
Made me think that just maybe a lightning bolt was meant for me.

Sparrows won’t be flying any higher
if the rapture rains down with fire. With fire.

All the wasted days praying the lord would change my ways.
What a way to go, pulling sleds through miles of snow.
And who was I to understand what makes a wreck or makes a man?
And over time I’ve learned to see that lightning bolts aren’t meant for me.

Sparrows won’t be flying any higher.
If the rapture rains down with fire. With fire. With fire.

2. Home is Where the Start is

words by Bjornson

Moon lit up like a smile, we were lying in the snow.
With our legs and arms all flailing, not feeling the cold.
Cause the same warm blood was rushing through our veins.
And we knew it.

When our grandfather died, quit raking all his leaves.
And we ran across the meadow to the brilliant maple tree.
The branches were grandfather’s arms.
And we knew it.

As children, we knew, in the end.
Our memories were clearer than all those photographs (yeah).

As children, we knew in the end,
Our memories were clearer than all those photographs (yeah).
Alright!

3. Wise Blood

words by Osborn

You used to not speak unless spoken to.
Like your mother the housewife and her living rooms.
But now you’re grown, you cut her hair.
And still you feel she isn’t there.
Spilled the blood of Christ on your Easter dress.
Turned from the priest before receiving it.
The stain-glassed sun, unnatural green.
The dark red stain above your knee.

Always waking up slowly.
Clouds are colored dust, covering.

Was the first time that year you saw a robin.
You were clearing the rocks from the garden.
Your dusty jeans, your calloused hands.
The good lord knows just where you stand.

Always waking up slowly.
Cloud are colored dust, covering.

4. Laughter Song

words by Osborn

It wasn’t quite a complete disaster.
We rang it up with fits of laughter.
That isn’t how you start a fire,
With magazines and a coil of wire.

It never was a big decision,
To marry you and make a living.
When I call your name from the kitchen window,
Know the ground can’t hold what it cannot swallow.

Solveigh, why you laughin?

5. Hospitals

words by Osborn

My boy’s in the hospital, and I’m running out of time.
If the nurse don’t bring me some good news, I’m gonna lose my mind.
I’ll tear these fucking pastel paintings off the wall.
Set a fire in the waiting room and down the hall.
Cause my boy’s in the hospital, I can’t drink from the well.
When he’s lying there with needles in his arms, I’m in hell.

My baby died ten years ago. Nothing turned out right.
Moved south of town to a smaller place, drifted out of sight.
Every day I think of him, every time I see a child.
And I lose track of myself sometimes, my mind goes running wild.
So I pray to God above, please help me get some rest.
But it’s whiskey and a sleeping pill that seem to work the best.

Jesus if you love me, how would I know,
Or is heaven as cold a place as Ohio?
Do you walk the streets at night, on your own,
Thinking of all those dear souls you might have known?
And the pictures of my long gone son, that I don’t show to anyone,
Do you know where I keep them?

6. Last Winter

words by Bjornson

Remember last winter,
When I fell asleep?
You were there through it all.
And you saw everything.

I was alarmed by my age,
And I’d grown my grandfather’s beard.
Found a fire in the words,
That I stumbled on yesterday.

Spring came in with the seeds,
And winter was nothing but a sad song.

Spring came in with the seeds,
And winter was nothing but a sad song.
I’m waiting here with the leaves,
For my next winter.

7. Wonder Years

words by Osborn

I picked you up at your father’s place.
He smiled but he would never wave.
The county roads and dubbed cassettes,
And dry unfiltered cigarettes.

Is it any wonder now? Is it any wonder now?
Pumpkins turned up way too loud.
Is it any wonder now?

All the time we spent upstairs.
Your mother was not quite aware.
All we kissed and all we said,
On the blankets of that single bed.

Is it any wonder now? Is it any wonder now?
Fingertips upon my mouth.
Is it any wonder now?

Your step dad met me at the door.
Asking who the flowers were for.
But I forgot, I must confess,
When I saw you in that cotton dress.
And your mother was a total mess.
But we were young, and we would find,
To lose our hearts was to lose our minds.
And our parents fell so far behind.

8. You Get Yours

words by Osborn

What’s left?
You’re holding all you can.
The words, the songs.
And all the ways you got us wrong.

Your bible’s closing.
Your lonesome hands are blue and broken.

Why stay when you family’s moved away.
Wisconsin winter nights. The darkening skies.

I had a daughter.
You wouldn’t know, you never saw her.
It was always wrong.
But when you get yours, I’ll have to move on.

9. Sunday After Sunday

words by Osborn

The ice was heavy glass, and we nearly broke our thumbs.
Aching hands in pockets made it difficult to run.

When we finally got inside, you ate an apple by the stove.
Through frozen lips you said, “we maybe shoulda drove.”

What we waited for never came.
Just an unrelenting song with a loud refrain.

There was something in your voice, and you turned to me and stared.
Then you said the one thing and I was completely unprepared.
So you can’t go home again, though it took awhile to know.
There’s a burning apple core, a cardinal in the snow.

What we waited for never came.
Just an unrelenting song with a loud refrain.

Cold sun, car runs.
January.
Dressed up, so what.
Sunday morning.

10.Icebergs

words by Osborn

Don’t lose the handle.
Come back down.
The blood draws, the snow thaws.
Come back down.

Shake you at the shoulders.

Don’t lose the handle.
Come back down.
The bottle’s empty.
Come back down.

Shake you at the shoulders.
You fell asleep and never fully woke.
Took apart the pieces with other pieces.

You couldn’t quite say for sure.
As the iceberg blew apart your bedroom door.
Your wild eyes, it just can’t be.
As the frozen island melts into the sea.