The Hinterhaus

Complete lyrics to the new album:

  • Marrow
  • The Canonization of Margot Price
  • The Hinterhaus
  • Back to Your Flat
  • The Mark
  • Dust and Wax
  • Sweet Manhattan
  • Borrowed or Begged
  • Summer
  • August

  • Marrow

    How can a body prove its worth?
    what if I gave the wind a curl
    hoping some industrious bird
    might weave it into something warm and good

    ’cause there’s nothing hard at all about the center of a bone
    it’s sweet to suck the soft marrow
    keep on working at me ’till I’m all hollow
    and lighter than a dove-tailed swallow

    Oh to be made to rise above
    and build nests out of straw and mud
    on so many tiny beating hearts
    I’d lose track of my own dull throb


    But I was made to stand upright
    on earth that’s cracked like elbow skin
    and worry about Frost at night
    and feel the weight I’m carrying

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    The Canonization of Margot Price

    That night I climbed the stairs
    As though I were making a pilgrimage
    As though when I had reached the top
    I might become illuminated and wise

    But I saw her there
    Crouched at the kitchen table
    Lost to the world
    In the ritual consumption

    Of spoon to bowl to maw
    Bone rubbing bone noisily
    in rhythmic mastication
    Until the box was gone
    I saw, I saw

    I saw her there
    Through the bathroom door
    Purging herself
    Of the shame that rotted in her gut
    Until she was no more than a relic

    I thought of the woman
    who’d been made a saint
    for lying on a plank in her basement
    until she starved to death
    and of the one who cut off her breasts

    I thought of lighting votives
    On her clavicle
    Like the ones burning
    In the catacombs of Paris
    And praying for her resurrection
    Saying, “come back to me, oh please,
    Come back to me.”

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    The Hinterhaus

    There is a house behind your house
    a floor beneath the floorboards
    with planks of spruce sanded smooth
    and cut to fit the corners
    and no one would have noticed
    no one could have guessed
    that every time they’d come around
    they’d been your courtyard guests

    when was it that you forgot?
    who you were and were not
    how to feel as you looked out
    at all man’s suffering and pain,
    so exquisite, so mundane
    saw the trigger of a gun
    curled like a question mark

    I know what it is
    to be half transformed
    still burdened with the evidence
    of what you were before
    but all of this forgetting –
    tell me how it’s done
    tell me where you keep the memory
    of somebody you’ve loved

    there is a house behind this house
    curtains upon curtains
    oh but you can come anytime you like
    my door is always open

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    Back to Your Flat

    Your scent is still on my dress
    and my hairs are on your sweater
    the ink is still wet
    on how this will be remembered
    I never knew, no I never knew
    and I never could have guessed

    that when we laughed our way back to your flat
    I might never come back the same
    oh and we laughed our way back to your flat
    I may never come back the same

    we’re propped up on our elbows
    belly-down upon your bed
    the dictionary is open
    to the word “earnest”
    yeah, your English it was pretty good
    but you didn’t understand

    Oh and we laughed our way back to your flat
    I may never come back the same…

    Oh and I hope that Serendipity,
    the traveler’s patron saint,
    is smiling sweetly on you now
    as you bike home in the rain

    your scent is still on my dress
    and my hairs are on your sweater
    tiny souvenirs of a night to be remembered
    ’cause I can’t be sure that our paths will ever
    chance to cross again

    like when we laughed our way back to your flat
    I may never come back the same…

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    The Mark

    There was a moment where I had really lost my style
    I’d keep flashing my teeth at people and calling it a smile
    I thought I’d fooled everyone but you took me aside
    said be kind, oh be kind, oh be kind, won’t you be kind
    oh be kind, oh be kind, oh be kind, won’t you be kind

    so we went buzzing around like two drunken honeybees
    mix-tapes and double takes and letters overseas
    you say the corniest things, I can’t even believe
    but it’s sweet, yeah it’s sweet, yeah it’s sweet, oh you’re so sweet
    yeah it’s sweet, oh it’s sweet, oh it’s sweet, oh you’re so sweet

    time stretches like taffy
    melts quicker than salt
    I just want to be happy
    for however long we’ve got

    You took a felt-tip pen, drew a circle ’round my heart
    I said, “so what’s this then, some kind of modern art?”
    you said, “no, it’s just so I can better learn my mark
    if I fall, if I fall, if I fall, oh if I fall,”
    if you fall, if you fall, if you fall, oh, I will follow

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    Dust and Wax

    Oh we had a spark so brilliant
    my love and I
    and we wrote a pact and sealed it
    vowed to keep it bright

    so we found ourselves a lantern
    and thought that we were safe
    not seeing how the light was bending
    not seeing how the warmth escaped

    while we were packing
    I found soft, hand-rolled candles
    buried in a drawer
    and I cried to see the pair like that
    dust clinging to the wax

    I think everyone’s smoking now
    just to prove they can breathe
    see this cloud above my head?
    well, that air was in me


    so scorch me love, but do it quick
    pass our fingers near the wick
    pour a pool onto the paper
    and press our thumbs into it


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    Sweet Manhattan

    I know a place down in Chelsea
    where my friend works as the hotel barkeep
    and he’ll fix me a drink
    if I sit down to think
    and the thoughts that I think get too heavy

    take two parts of your favorite bourbon
    and one part of tremontis mirto
    the brandy-soaked cherries
    bring out the myrtle berry
    and a dash of those old orange bitters

    Oh silk and satin, oh sweet Manhattan
    and summer so far away
    you’re looking blue bird, go find a new bird
    to keep the winter at bay

    Je préfère les romans
    Je veux habiter dedans
    parce qu’ils ont plus de sens
    que toutes mes vraies romances

    j’ai cherché entre tous les mots
    ceux muets et ceux très forts
    mais si tu demandes une réponse
    je peux seulement dire, « euh, bon, ça dépend… »

    Alors quelle genre cette histoire ?
    je ne comprends jamais les fins
    si je commençais à rire
    est-il vraiment un comédie ou quoi ?
    Je sais pas, et donc je boire

    Oh silk and satin, oh sweet Manhattan
    and summer so far away
    so clink your glasses
    toss down the hatches
    a warmth that is here to stay

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    Borrowed or Begged

    Oh I’ve got these blackened traveler’s feet
    and I’ve got this broken train-stop sleep
    I got miles unfurled in front of me
    before I reach my own country

    I can’t count the places I laid my head
    seems most of them were borrowed or begged
    and it may have cost half of all I own
    but I know the difference between a house and a home

    I dreamed that I was fast asleep
    with a pup on either side of me
    and a grey cat stretched out at my feet
    in a lover’s bed in North Philly


    So I’m riding in this foreign car
    sucking fruit I don’t know the name of
    and this I would give you my love:
    something sweet and strange upon your tongue


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    I saw a man singing here on the street
    he had holes in his shoes, you could see his bare feet
    he wore a smile on his face, there was pep in his step
    I thought, man, what’s he know that I don’t get yet?

    You know I feel such a misfit when I look at the sky
    ’cause I’m so down and lowly and it’s so divine
    you don’t have to be crazy to feel you’ve lost your mind
    you don’t have to be happy to be doing just fine

    take a ride, windows down, sharing songs with the town
    they all mix with the sound of cicadas
    coming back from the beach we got sand in the seats
    and some salt water taffy for later
    when we return with our memories and our songs

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    You sleep like a child
    So trusting and deep
    While I lean back into
    A late night symphony

    My ball-point scratching in the dark
    With the noises of mice in the kitchen drawers
    I can hear them from all the way down the hall
    But I don’t mean them any harm

    Oh and it occurs to me
    There are several sorts of peace
    Yours is wrapped up in your dreams
    And mine is solitary

    Lying next to you
    In the soft space of this room
    I’ll whisper a tune
    Of yellows, pinks, and blues

    Of climbing the hills with oil pastels
    And a box full of old newspapers
    With people I love and the moon coming up
    Our hunger fully sated


    See, even the power lines
    Cannot mar or hide
    The beauty of the skyline
    In this brilliant fading light

    There in the gloaming the cattle are lowing
    The grasses are blowing gently
    Bowing their heads with reverence
    For the majesty of the heavens


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