Burning Out

from by Jam Jars

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He covers his face with his hand, waits to smell stale cigarette breath
Slips out the back door and tells them he's taking another step closer to death
Some of them laugh, and some of them just drop their heads down
Some of them play at disgust, and roll up their lips to frown

But the door never stops swinging and the matches burn silent
No amount of his shuddered breaths in stop his heart beating violent
One day the alleys, they bring him a girl with a bent shield
She falls to his laugh like a sword, sways in arms like a wheat field

The days drag themselves into nights and he tells her he's quite sure
She looses her hands to the sky, and he tells her he loves her
But the door never stops swinging shut, and the matches burn silent
And she's never quite sure what to say, because his heart's beating violent

One day she makes him a promise that for every inhale
She's going to swallow one too, till he stops or she goes stale
He bleeds as he watches her smoke, but he just can't help himself
It goes on for weeks until one day she goes back to the shelf

She wails little tunes to her pillows, says he doesn't love me
More than the tar in his lungs, all I want is him healthy

It doesn't take long after that, one broke-down day he leaves her
Drives himself down to the west coast and tells her he's quite sure
He grows up and plants little seeds in the yard while his children are young
On her twenty sixth birthday the doctor says ma'am, we might have to do tests on your lungs

He grows up and thanks every sunset he can
That he put down the pack for his wife
While she burns out in bed with a spark in her eye
For the man who she's given her life


from Grey Skies, Green Grass, released September 8, 2014



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