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National Ransom Running pell-mell and harum-scarum Running as hot as they do or dare Stick out your tongue And drink down all the venom From Cut-Throat Cuthbert And Millicent St. Cyr From the real old Macau To the new False Americas In the liberated territories Unusual suspects shake down, shake down, shake down various dubious characters Mother’s in the kitchen picking bones for breakfast Boiling them down by the bushel and the score Pull out your thumb and count what’s left of your fist There’s a wolf at the window with ravening maw Did you find how to lie? Did you find out just how to cheat? The elite bleat, their obsolete But are your prospects? Exact, perfect object Now, if you’d only genuflect They’re running wild Just like some childish tantrum Meanwhile we’re working every day Paying off the National Ransom Woe betide all this hocus-pocus They’re running us ragged at their first attempt Around the time the killing stopped on Wall St. You couldn’t hold me, baby with anything but contempt Letters peal slowly from our speech The claxton attempts to preach Stretching for stars still out of reach Drowning Flailing Outside someone’s wailing They’re running wild Just like some childish tantrum Meanwhile we’re working every day Paying off the National Ransom 1929 to the Present Day Jimmie Standing In The Rain Third-Class ticket in his pocket Punching out the shadows underneath the sockets Tweed coat turned up against the fog Slow coaches rolling o'er the moor Between the very memory And approaches of war Stale bread curling on a luncheon counter Loose change lonely, not the right amount Forgotten Man of an indifferent nation Waiting on a platform at a Lancashire station Somebody's calling you again The sky is falling Jimmie's standing in the rain Nobody wants to buy a counterfeited prairie lullaby in a colliery town A hip flask and fumbled skein with some stagedoor Josephine is all he'll get now Eyes going in and out of focus Mild and bitter from tuberculosis Forgotten Man Indifferent nation Waiting on a platform at a Lancashire station Somebody's calling you again The sky is falling Jimmie's standing in the rain Her soft breath was gentle on his neck If he could choose the time to die Then he would come and go like this Underneath a painted sky She woke up and called him "Charlie" by mistake And then in shame began to cry Tarnished silver band peals off a phrase And then warms their hands around the brazier Forgotten Man Indifferent nation Waiting on a platform at a Lancashire station Somebody's calling you again It's finally dawning Jimmie's standing in the rain Brilliantine glistening Your soft plaintive whistling And your wan wandering smile Died down at The Hippodrome Now you're walking off to jeers, the lonely sound of jingling spurs, the "toodle-oos" and "Oh, my dears" down at "The Argyle" Vile vaudevillians applaud sobriety There's no place for a half-cut cowboy in polite society Forgotten Man Indifferent nation Waiting on a platform at a Lancashire station Somebody's calling you again It's finally dawning Jimmie's standing in the rain Accrington - 1937 Stations Of The Cross The tempest blows up from a squall Past the Cape of Bad Conscience Into the Gulf of the Cauldron Roars over the coastline to batter and flatten Exposing the roots like the dyed hair of slattern Scrapper and mauler in a rope ring this small Outside the wind is punching There's no one left to hear it No one hears the bell ring Except the one who comes to fear it And they continue to brawl He's buying his way into heaven I suppose He weeps at the blows But down in a location that we cannot disclose He turns the dial slowly Through the Stations of the Cross Crowd done up dandy In diamonds and finery Baying and howling All bloodlusty calling Fists like pistons Faces like meat spoiling Haul, boys, haul, bully-boys haul Later that evening Molly and her gunman Go down the stairs to a dive like a dungeon Meanwhile in the backroom there's a girl like a sponge Saying, "Bring him in long as a constable's truncheon" The gunman wants Molly to kingdom come Then blows them all to the hereafter Who's scuttling away now and hidden from our view? Who tightened the tourniquet, turning her blue? They're hurling themselves into heaven I suppose Before the gates are closed But down in a location that we cannot disclose They'll turn the dial slowly through the Stations of the Cross The gale of hale laughter Scales up the ivory The black keys of her fine whine descend into the minor Die away breathless Diminishing behind her Haul boys haul, bully-boys haul The water came up to the eaves You'd think someone had opened a valve
 It's too soon to stay now and too late to leave So spare your remorse all the way up to Calvary They're hurling themselves into heaven I suppose Before the gates are closed But down in a location that we cannot disclose I'm turning the dial slowly through the Stations of the Cross In An Undisclosed Location, Possibly New Orleans, 2005 A Slow Drag With Josephine The snitch, the snoop, the tattletale Lead a threadbare up stairs Adieu, my little ballyhoo You broke my heart in two And now I haunt the bars and scent those trite affairs She went home to gather her comb And caught him unawares And there was her man enjoying the lay of the land He took a walk in the dark with a dish from the stand Girls and their creations Tight in the brightest grenadine But I'd take all that I've seen For a Slow Drag with Josephine Josephine, Josephine But I'd trade all that I've seen for a Slow Drag with Josephine Gavotte, garrotes, Cotillions and slow Arabesques Drum-rolls and Farandoles were all made in jest But when you make that move I can't resist When will you declare your armistice? Josephine, Josephine But I'd trade all that I've seen for a Slow Drag with Josephine In another time and place a different fate was cast He tried to skeddle-daddle-do She might have slapped him Just for saying "Grant one more chance before you pass" "Then curse the nurse that named me the first or bury me at last" And in three-quarter time The true and the false Dancing the "Hesitation Waltz" Then comes the "Flirtation" And temptation Hip, hip hooray Listen to what I say Then you can take it away… Under The Napoleonic Code – 1921 Five Small Words Maybe you'll recognize in time Maybe one day you will discover All the pain that lies behind You and your unfortunate love Somebody might be more Unsuitable and strange With eyes that offer everything And are capable of danger My mind turns over lies you told Things said to your other lover Sweet as they had been to me You lay there telling them to each other Now I stand outside the door My head is filled phrases Inside someone's calling out Their voices rise with praises Five Small Words "I don't want you anymore" Five Small Words "I don't need you anymore" Five Small Words Coward that you are, you would faithlessly implore "Baby please don't leave me" "Why don't you believe me?" "Why did you deceive me?" It didn't take some shiny dagger The tattooed fingers grip and hone I walked under some dark ladder Heard your final loving moan All your indiscretions are So merciful and brief Genteel poison sprinkled on your Spanish handkerchief Five Small Words "Don't you love me anymore?" Five Small Words But then who is keeping score? Coward that you are, you would so faithlessly implore "Baby please don't leave me" "Why don't you believe me?" "Why did you deceive me?" Maybe in time you'll want me more Accidentally like this ‘45 This ‘44 Tucson, Arizona, 1978

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