Motor Works

by Ryan Doyle

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shiftynj Beautiful, melancholy stories from characters we rarely hear from. Favorite track: The Motor Works in an Empty Room.


Cover drawing of Venus Xtravaganza by Maria Braga.


released August 5, 2009

All songs by Ryan Doyle.


tags: folk


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Ryan Doyle

Hi. Sometimes I write songs.

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Track Name: The Motor Works in an Empty Room
The motor works in an empty room
The trigger works a bit too soon

There’s an ocean floor on the Acela Express
Between Boston and D.C.

I been to the 92nd Street Y
I been to the Ritz Carlton Hotel

What’s it to you
If you catch me crying
Or I wear your shirt
Or I look through your briefcase
I could do much worse

And you call me Son
And I call you Daddy
And I pay my rent for June

You won’t hold my head but you made me breakfast
There, a piece of toast with blackcurrant jam

And I trim my privates just the way you like
So you can see your boy so new

Oh, my bride
Baby, you deserve such a fine guitar
Ain’t gonna hold my breath like one of them city boys
I’m gonna blow it right out
Track Name: Homeless Summer '96
I kept a journal for the first part of the summer
I wasn't hanging around no more
And that was the year that our semen turned watery and clear
And you took to wearing your father's clothes
And abandoned me for The Poconos

Oh, how I, untogether
Wanted to lie in your field
And stray wherever you chose to stray

Four days into football some kid swiped my cleats
I walked home past the Reich’s Estate
And it'd been two years since the conclusion came to you
And beyond the gazebo where the boys liked to fight
They’d laugh through their teeth and through the night

Oh, how I, untogether
Wanted to lie in your field
Then an airplane exploded in the sky

I stopped writing down all my dirty thoughts
And vowed to keep my suicides to myself
And I renewed my subscription to the wayward magazine
And I kissed the wood of my sister's armoire
Then I nailed that journal to a tree

Oh, how I, untogether
Wanted to lie in your field
And how we were born a different kind of lamb

I started school with a sore on my lip
And the white of my eyes burned red
And I felt your struggle and the way it past by my feet
And I wished I’d confessed you were the drum of my life
Fast to water, fast to light

Oh, how I, untogether
Wanted to lie in your field
And when we undressed, we undressed for good
Track Name: Three Quarter Day Blues
Well, I spend my time with the old muscle mag
Wishing I shared a smile with the man on the cliff

I know my name isn’t Jeremy Sams
And I know my body don’t move that a way
But I’m waking in the morning all I see is myself again
So what are you gonna do?
Gonna rub my beard
What was I thinking?

So on my nights off I like to dance on my own
Some nights I go for a walk, some nights I stay home

If there’s one thing I learned from living in the city
It’s you shouldn’t plan your trip to the moon so soon
You better take that hotel job and you can live when your shift is through
So what are you gonna do?
Gonna bury myself in what I been drinking

So I end up in Staten Island in some stranger’s tub
He just got laid off from Merrill Lynch so I guess I was feeling sorry for the guy
He says, I got Babel on DVD
Some porn I got in Amsterdam that’ll blow you away
And he’s washing my back but I know I’ll never get it clean again
So what are you gonna do?
Gonna ruin myself
Then I’ll really be sinking

So I’m back at my post at The Gentleman’s Club
And I’m feeling less tired than I did at the top of the stairs
I got my cot and my running shoes
My fishing rod, three quarter day blues
Anything I want I can fit in my hand
When the going gets tough
Track Name: For Jim
Oh Jim, just say we’re the same
I changed my shirt
I changed my name
Still it’s kind of you to address me still

I must admit I’ve grown attached
It’s no big deal most of the time
But tonight I just can’t hide it

Walking on stilts in the rain
We got human eyes now resting sweet

I had a tutor once
I dream of her but once a year
On the anniversary her mother died
Now she’s got her city and I got mine

Oh, my, you’re looking thin
And I’m shut in the room I been sinning in, all right

Judas fingers, coast to coast
I know you
Where the boys swing, I swing

There was a fire at The Hartt School
A piano major got trapped in the practice room
He didn’t call or cause a fuss
He just closed the door and went on back
To that “Golliwog’s Cakewalk”

Walking on stilts in the rain
We got human eyes now resting sweet

I had a lover once
He went wild, wild, wild and crazy kids

Once you leave you can’t get shit back
Like the night I left my watch in the cul-de-sac
And it’s getting cold

Dropping names with your crooked truth
I know you
Where the boys swing, I swing
Track Name: Flamingo & Pines
So I’ve read “Everything that Rises Must Converge”
And “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
But now that I’ve left the university
There’s no more books for me to read
Just that empty hand

So now I gotta get somewhere
And I wanna comb my hair
The way it used to be when I was free

Yeah, and it’s hard when all your love is for just one boy

So now I was in love once, sure
And I had a granddad too
And he told me all about my Gram

But now I gotta pack my things
And I gotta wear these rings
But they’re not who I am

Yeah, so I’ve fallen but I never meant to fall this low
Track Name: Campaign to Kill the Sparrows
I fell out with my friend
At the time it didn’t much bother me

I fell out with my baby
Now he’s drinking out of some other faggot’s bottle

You always felt safe
Beneath the awning of your early days
And the grandiose mazurkas
But beyond all those dolphins
Like, swimming through your bloodstream
You loved dancing to the music, didn’t you

Now kicking in this gray shaped room
Past the airport, Wood Island
The broken and the heavy and the blue

There's an end to the roughhousing
There's an end to the debauchery
The campaign to kill the sparrows

There's a word for loneliness
And there’s a word for dizziness
And the freedom of throwing bottles in the street

And I swore then and out the door
I’m gonna take you to the marketplace
Gonna walk along the tracks till it gets dark

And how I'll scream I hate this train
On the gown that my mother made
Wasn’t born to hold that babe in my arms

All that I could’ve offered him leaning on them shelter doors
Track Name: A Jet for a Day
I’ll be a jet for a day
And at the top
I can see the city from the top of the hill
I ain’t got my elbows on the windowsill

And at the top
I wish I was Kimber Shoop from Broadcast News
I still got the Lord
I got them baby blues

And at the top
How come my baby just like the slow song?

Schule, schule I-rue
Schule I rack-a-shack
Schule I barbeque
When I sell that salla babba eel*
And fa-fa-fa means sad song

I’ll be a jet for a day
And at the top
Track Name: More Light on the Bear Suit
All you need’s a summer sun
All you need’s a toothy smile
And away you go

And on the clearest dawn to rub up against
I pissed your bed

Oh, how high we came in the weeds
Seven bridges above us
The braille of your skin

The nail’s in the wood
But not a single frame
The nail’s in the wood

Lazy by the pond
With gnats in our ears
We were sticky sweet

Oh, how I wanted to stay right by your side
All the time
Till we expired

More light on the bear suit
On the deer meat
On the maps of the world

More light on the government
On the conduit
On the soaking wet

More light on the blind girl
On the day girl
On the baby girl
Track Name: After My Convalescent Leave
After my convalescent leave
And I’m back to the north
And I’m the loneliest cloud left after the storm

And I’m tired
You say I’m always tired

When I was a boy I used to ride to the beach
I had my Discman
I had my CDs

And I was dying
At least I thought I was

Without my hands I thought I’d forget how to love
And I brought all my things out to the garage
And I brought all my things out to the garage

But it was just you and me then
Yeah, it was just you and me then

I wasn’t built for the spotlight
I was built for the wings
But I tried
Yeah, I tried