Songs For Cleaning Women 


Cleaning women don’t take what you think

They don’t care ‘bout your watches or your diamond rings 

I just finger a few sleeping pills for a rainy day

Ter, I miss you like hell on the 43 to Berkley 


Just remember move everything a little to the left 

They’ll think you’re thorough and they won’t judge you after that

You can lay behind the couch read a magazine and smoke 


Don’t make friends with cats or kids 

They’ll get mad and let you go 



I put my hand to my mouth when I smile now 

And I’m tired of the bargain can someone let me out 

Feel the air from the crack in the bus window 

And I’m trying to learn 

How to cry 

Over you 


You’ll get a lot of liberated women 

Don’t bring dolls for the girls 

And take everything they give ya 


I reminded you of San Pablo Ave 

You reminded me of the Berkley dump 

There was so much beauty in our bad luck 




Cleaning women don’t work for your friends 

You’ll learn too much about them 

and they’ll never forgive you

But Bob and Linda are different 

Cum and blueberry jam on the sheets 

Cigarettes in the bathroom 

Coke and notes from their daughter Andrea 


Plus I can sit on the couch 

And stare out the window at our old house 


And The 40 Telegraph stop is alive tonight 

People lean against the window drinking green cans of Sprite

Harley’s rev their engines, cyclists fly by like a kite

Ter, I don’t want to die at all actually 

And I open my eyes and start to weep




Love’s Not a Mystery 


I forget who I am in English ‘till you call me up 

Hear your voice and our history hits me like a Mack truck  


The first time we made love when we were adulterers and young 

That time in Acapulco with the kids in the sun 


And your heroin fits when we moved to the Midwest 

When I finally told you I couldn’t take the rest 



Love’s not a mystery anymore 

Love’s not a mystery anymore 



Well the husband I left you for, he wasn’t all bad 

I just curse my brain for being so romantic 


Now I’m down here in Mexico by my sisters side 

Well you call me up I can always smile 




And I hang up the phone at a quarter to two

Here your ventilator breathing for you in the room 


Life is so messy but it doesn’t seem to matter 

Even the best of us say we could have done better 






Mama said nothing good ever comes from love 

You soak your pillow with tears and smoke two cigarettes at once 


And she’d write me all the suicide notes 

Least I knew she’d think about me before she’d go 


She disowned Laura when she moved to Mexico 

Wouldn’t even let her in when she got sick and came home 



There’s a story God wrote about us before we could even talk 

There’s a wind that blows across Texas when they buried you with the stars 

And I think about you now in the ground 


They put her on a boat when she was just 19 

Chain smoked with the captain, laughed and drank gin 


She was off then to marry Ed

All the things she could have done if she wasn’t run by men 




She hated to see us grow and do well 

Have a future and get beautiful

It’s sad to say I’m the same way to you 

Every action I take is a little jealousy of youth






Once I start there’s no end 

This booze is like a freight train going off the edge 

You wake up with the fear for what you’ve done 

Have you hurt your lover have you killed someone 


And I end up back in rehab with these guys tonight 

Gathered round the TV we’re waiting for the fight 

And I always forget how cold it is here 

Wrapped up in blankets as the crowd starts to cheer


It’s Leonard vs. Benitez it’s an easy match 

Sugar Ray will take it in two seconds flat 

Then the rounds go through one and the rounds go through ten

We start praying Benitez will stay in the ring 


And something inside me can’t root for a star 

Always cheer for the guy they say won’t go far 

It’s hard to do any kind of winning 

When everything feels like a war of attrition.


They put up the card for round 15 

And it’s so quiet the announcers can’t say a thing 

Then Sugar Ray mouths “I can’t believe he’s still standing” 


Then there’s a 1-2 and the mat meets his knee

And I can see my breath as I whisper 

“God please help me” 

And I can see my breath as I whisper 

“God please help me” 




Go along like the world means nothing then one day it means something 

All the connections I had with people I was so high I don’t know if they were real 


I fell in love with Bobby when I watched him tame these strays

Mangy and beaten from the wind he feeds him from his hand 

You can see the essence of a person in so many ways 



I don’t know if this is working 

I don’t know if I’ll ever get clean 

But it’s been nice holding you these last few nights 


When they catch us in the morning Bobby says 

“I didn’t want to be with Tina you have to understand 

I just want to go home to my wife Debbbie and my daughter Debbie Ann”


Those words cut me in two 

He made love better to me than most men do 


I was happy with him when the moon came up 

Maybe that’s why I ravage my body cause I don’t know how to love 




The dogs are gone for three days and they come back 

crying from poison and dying in pain 


Bobby puts them out of their mystery 

Then I left without thinking back to Albuquerque 




Skeletons like trees 

You meet all the heroes in emergency rooms 

Thumbtack in a hat

He falls out of a Cadillac 

And I carry him like King Kong down the hall 



Glory be to me 

I’m gonna wake up younger 

I’m gonna wake up stronger 

But my body says I might be wrong 


Broken collar bone and all 

He cries for his mother in Spanish 

And I stroke his back like a newborn colt in a stall