52 Week Club Songs

by Ryan Lawson

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Songs for the 52 Week Club. One song a week. 52 songs.

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released January 6, 2012

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Ryan Lawson Choctaw, Oklahoma

Oklahoma born.

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Track Name: You Were First
You were first, or so you said,
when you snuck out of my bed
and put on your clothes.
To see me at the barroom in the back
near the exit
drowning in my woes.

You were first, or so you say,
you say it all the time,
telling me you love me.
You were first to hang my moon,
and, baby, I'll gladly be the first
to drown in your seas.

You were first to break my heart
you know you were doing it all the time
saying that you can't stand me.
Now you're gone out my door,
and I'm desperate down in hell
where you got me on my knees.
Track Name: Lost Claim
Daddy read the flyer over breakfast
I remember the story
Plots of land, cheaper than fleas out
in the Indian territory
And, he was gone
sale out to find a new home

He disappeared one morning
told Sissy take care of me
Ma had died right before my eyes
last February, and still he left
Cheap land out west, the kids alone

Daddy lost his claim to a Sooner
somewhere way out west
I could tell when I looked into his eyes
that he'd been best and left to hang
with nothing for to show

I was too little to remember
exactly where he'd went
A couple days, a few more nights
coming home looking spent
And, still, I was happy
to have him back either way

I was happy
that daddy lost his claim
Track Name: Little Man
When the dog falls asleep
the cat begins to prowl.
All the mice start to creep
in the little man's house.
It was a cold night
in mid September.
All the cars passing by
on the street sounding like
a ghost whispering, "Remember."

Still the dark
presses on.
And, the little man
shuts his eyes
unaware of what might be
going on throughout the night.
With the owls and the musk rats
the opossums and the skunks
the graveyards that aren't haunted
the police and the drunks
the mothers with their babies
the spiders and the flies
all happening beyond
the little man's eyes.

When the sun wakes up
dragging the dawn
melting bits of ice
that have formed on the pond
warming the fields and
making them bright
all for when the little man
opens his eyes.
Track Name: Wandering Northerner
I was the first of
all the northerners
to get going past
the gravel roads

To befriend the Blackfeet
and live in the wilderness
trading my furs
with the Crows

And, I came upon
an expedition
making a map of
the Ohio

They did extend to me
their great permission
to go past the Rockies
and live by the skin of my nose


I've walked for miles
many of them circles
I've slept amongst
the coyotes and the deer

Many long winters
even hot summers
those were some of my
most trying years

To walk through the Rockies
blisters and no goals
but to conquer
all of my fears

Spent some time in Yellowstone
that was so long ago
before the Pacific
went and filled my ears

When a northerner
gets to going
on past the gravel roads

There's no telling
if he will be back again
ask everybody, nobody knows
Track Name: St. Paul Let It Go
Remember the man
who they called Saint Paul
reluctant and quiet
cowboy skinny and tall.
He never hung around
the funerals of all
the people dying.
He couldn't stand the sound
of all the mothers
with their babies crying.

Don't you know?
Saint Paul let it go...

Saint Paul went to prison
back in 1984
for being a stranger
bursting through another
stranger's door.
His cell became
his quiet tomb
warm and cozy
much like his mother's womb.

Don't you know?
Saint Paul let it go...

Saint Paul was released
in 1995.
Saint Paul had finally seen
the golden light.
He found a house
way deep in the hills
with overgrown rose bushes
and wild daffodils.

Don't you know?
Saint Paul let it go...

Saint Paul was only 55
when a noose came and found
a way around his neck
and it tied.
So, he swung
like a lonely metronome.

Saint Paul was happy
that he had found a home.
Track Name: (Rainbows and) Rugburns
You can't say I never tried
living through our every moment.
Or, I was not satisfied
with your feelings of atonement.
Friendsville cannot be my home
nowhere else in Tennessee.
Because, Oklahoma is where I've grown.
It's some place that I ought to be.

Even with your Smokey Mountains
and the mist of Abrams Falls.
Oliver's cabin in the Cade's Cove valley
floating down the little river
all the way to the Chimney Tops.
Your home ain't like mine.
They can never be the same.
But, I'm thankful for the night
that we laid down on the rug
and you tried to take my name.
Track Name: Crush of Mud and Light
"Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by
a single sweetness."*
I don't see the use
in all of your worrying.
I know you by now
and where you are going.

I will forget
to patch all the leaks
while you clean
the cobwebs
and flush them
down the sink.

I got that red mud
crushed into my boots
from working since moonlight
pulling this tree up
by the roots.
You'll watch the dust collect
on my vacant shelves.
And, I'll watch you pace the floor
in anger as I give myself
hell.

For the broken mower
that might cut the grass
if only I could get the spark plug
to ignite all the gas.
You will hang around
and witness from the window
as we both ask ourselves
just where did the time go?
Track Name: Check One Two
*Audio from the film production of Catch-22
Track Name: Perfect Game
Will our memories
chase each other
in a perfect game
of cat and mouse?
I will follow you
up that ladder
to look at the stars above
on the roof of the house.

Something went wrong.
All the pictures are gone.
And, the grandfather clock
don't chime
not once
not twice.

Some broken crackers
spread out on the lawn
brings the robins by dozens
flying around singing
their pretty songs.
And, this home broken trailer
that I call my house
filled beer-can-ashtrays
and my dead lover's
one only blouse.

Oh, but something went wrong.
All the pictures are gone.
And, the grandfather clock
won't chime
not once
not twice.

Under my front porch
I found two snakes,
those venomous lovers
wrapped around each other
in a figure eight.
It happened at sunset.
They were both gone by dawn,
making a trail in the sand
that took me way far beyond.

Still, something went wrong.
All the pictures are gone.
And, the grandfather clock
can't chime
not once
not twice.
Track Name: Men Without Women
Make me know silence
like the sound of snow
falling dizzy through the air.
Make me know beauty
as the flakes catch and melt
in the locks of your long hair.

I caught you looking through
my bookshelves filled with copies
of old magazines
and hardback editions of
Catch-22, Typee, and Men Without Women

How I know
not to read
between the lines.
As if the words
on the pages
weren't enough
to lose my mind.

Let this house be haunted
to the brim with all of your
worrisome ghosts.
Let me recognize the
power of love, so I can be
their heavenly host.

Still, the scariest sound
that I know is your footsteps
as they walk through
the hallway in the dark.
And, I watch your black
silhouette lay next to me
in the bed whispering,
"Love is an art..."

How I know
not to read
between the lines.
As if the words on
the pages
weren't enough
to read my mind.