Listener - Train Song
(from the album Whispermoon)
© copyright 2003
I was alone, and my train was late that night.
I saw a crumpled man blinded by the life that he treated himself to
Crippled from the nights receiving endless beatings that even a house couldn't endure.
Palm raised skyward, his meager belongings collected on the floor.
Singing songs to no one about nothing, but crying because they mean so much.
It's these babblings that keep his life going, keep the nickels flowing deep into his cup.
There we both were framed in awkward silence, and I was in his living room invading his trust.
He finally said to me that he had one last cigarette to smoke and it was time to give it up.
But he laughed and added he wasn't sure which to give up his life or the habit.
He said it's my habits that made my fingers weak, when my chances came I couldn't grab it.
But it's my life that made it hard and when my opportunities were there for free I chose my habits.
I half smiled and offered the most empathetic nod that I could conjure up,
and said I hear you brother I've got problems too, but words won't fill your cup.
I've got responsibilities to face and they're woven tight to my dreams.
I've got more bills to pay than I have time and I'm starting to rip at the seems.
I've got a plan and I know that if I stick to it I can accomplish happiness.
I've got goals that beat my will and lately it's been hard to accept the challenge.
And he said: Man, that's God talking to you , and I don't know why you can't see.
You're so blind that you can't spare to make change because all your focus is on "M-E".
All wrapped up in your own skin that you can't help set an old man free.
I've been in your shoes before it feels like it was yesterday if not at all.
My existence has been a blink and for the life of me I can't remember what I saw.
That made so much sense to me, even though I convinced myself that he was totally insane.
I bent over and lit his cigarette and told him to mind his own business.
Because I was just waiting for my train.
He said I've been waiting here forever just dying in my skin,
and the only reason your living life is because your curious what'll happen in the end.
That might be true but why should I pay my hard earned attention to vagabond doctrine.
If you've got so much knowledge to give why not treat yourself to what you're offering.
You probably have lived a hard life, and I apologize,
but I have my own problems, that you couldn't understand just like a lot of guys.
Now, here's a couple bucks go buy yourself whatever makes you happy.
Even though I've promised myself to never pay for you to make my city look trashy.
He refused the money and sat there singing songs of love and hate.
I crammed the change in my pocket, called him a lunatic and went on with my wait.
As I stood there hovering near his tiny frame I could feel his eyes judging me sadly.
It's as if he had to convince me that my life was on the wrong track, and I needed it badly.
I said hey old man your cigarettes all smoked up it's time for you to leave.
He looked at the trail of ash on his shirt and smiled as if it gave him some sort of relief.
He propped himself up, collected his life and got prepared to become one with the night.
He turned around and wished me luck with all my plans,
and said something about learning to walk before I ran.
Before I knew it he was out of my sight, and I had already forgotten his reasonings.
I could hear my train coming and home was on my mind not his cryptic meanings.
Another traveler was on the platform and for some reason he was running towards me.
All I could see was his eyes, but it's his words that will always stick with me.
Through his heavy breaths he asked if I had just spent time with the old man.
I nodded in affirmation and tried to calm him, so he could tell me why he ran.
And he said: Man, that was God talking to you, how could you not see.
That was God talking right to your face trying to hand you the keys.
He was right here and I can't understand why you chose to make him leave.
He just died in my arms right outside the station and said you were his only friend.
He begged me to tell you about his life, make you see the light, give you your chance again.
I cringed at the reality that was facing me.
I told the man I had no time for this and on my way I had to be.
Right about that time my train pulled up and I made my escape.
I sat in the empty plastic seat, and held tight to my fate.
That was decades ago, and now I sit singing on my own platform.
My belongings stowed tightly in my bags handing out my sad sad songs.
And I say it's my habits that make my fingers weak, when my chances come I can't grab them.
But it's my life that makes it hard and when my opportunities are there for free I choose my habits.
I have no responsibilities and as a result I no longer need my dreams.
I don't have any bills to pay, it's like I'm free but I'm really in captivity.
I don't have any plans except to just sit here and try and weather the storm.
I wish I had goals but if I had those then I wouldn't be here warning you on my platform.
Singing train songs.