Jen Cass
Jen Cass


He walks a building ledge

Like other people walk on land

He says he’s gonna change the world

He says he holds it in his hands

He’s in the spotlight now

He will not let them down

He has become the main attraction

In this god-forsaken town


And the people gather in the street

With the Do Not Cross line at their feet

Waiting for the main attraction’s

Leap to fame


And now the police negotiator

Grabs the horn and tries to make a deal

He says, “ We’ll get you down,

We’ll get you help,

We know just how you feel.”

But high above the world

The main attraction smiles

He says, “I thank you

For your kind words,

But I’d like to stay a while.”


And the people gathered point and stare

And they place their bets on if he’ll dare

To take one small step and feel the air

As he falls


Amazing grace how sweet the sound

It trickles down in baritone he sings

He turns to face the crowd

Unfurls his giant iridescent wings

He hears the people gasp

And leaps into the sky

And he floats above their watching heads

‘Til down the street he flies


And the people gathered slap high-fives

With the angel soaring through the sky

They say, “I cannot believe my eyes!”

When he’s gone


The cops disperse the crowd

They tell themselves

They’ve seen enough tonight

They flash their badges

Walk their beats

And break up all the usual fights

They hit the drive-thrus

And they order coffee black

And they drive around the city

With an angel on their backs


And the people gathered wander home

And for once they do not feel alone

They leave everything

They’ve ever known behind


And the angel glides and laughs out loud

And he’s off to find another crowd

In another blind and faithless town

In another bind and faithless town

In another blind and faithless town

That he knows

Jen Cass
Jen Cass


So you spent your summer

Down near Mexico

Wishing that the rain would come

And wipe your conscience clean

Then you drove your memories

Down that long deserted road

If you didn’t see a soul

You would not think of him

But at night he called you in your dreams

And he was everything he seemed

’Til the morning came


There were times in Canada

He’d watch you while you drove

Like he could feel your heart

In the rhythm of the road

But for all his prophecy

There was so much he didn’t know

Like how to heal the pain

That was such a heavy load

Couldn’t help but carry it around

It was the only solid ground

That he ever had


And now I watch you

And you push each love away

Would it be so bad if someone

Stayed and loved you back?


And when his anger came

You thought that it would fade

That you could leave it

By the highway lines and go

But his demons followed you

‘Cross county lines and years

You can’t escape the fears

That live inside your heart

And you knew your love it wasn’t wise

It was a kind of compromise

Between your heart and your head


And still I watch you

And you push each love away

Would it be so bad if someone

Stayed and loved you back?


So you spent your summer

Down near Mexico

Wishing that the rain would come

And wipe your conscience clean


Jen Cass
Jen Cass


Came out of dusk

With a swashbuckler’s grin

A taste of the ocean’s original sin

Followed the sextants to uncharted land

Set out to conquer

What you never could understand

You wondered what you would find

Safe in my dangerous mind

Treasure and pieces of eight

You saw the warnings too late


In the last light of evening

I shimmer like gold

But horrors you’d find

If these waters you trolled

I’m no safe harbor, no port in the storm

My arms draw you in, hold you tight

But they can’t keep you warm

I’ve got an ice-water heart

I have torn steel ships apart

Pity the man who is brave

He’ll find a watery grave



You be the pirate and I’ll be the sea

I’ll roll and I’ll reel as you sail over me

And I may look calm but I’m raging inside

The others before you have died


It’s five in the morning

The sky’s burning red

Sailors take warning

Rough waters ahead

Still you stand by the bow

With a bottle to break

To christen the journey, this love

And the chances we take

You let the wind fill your sails

I summon doldrums and gales

You cut through me like a knife

But I’ll make you pay

With your life…life…life




It’s just before midnight

The fog rolling in

I put on my robe

And I dance in the wind

And I’m down by the ocean

With salt on my skin

To wait for the weather to change

Or the tide to come in

We built our love on this sand

Carried our hearts in our hands

Carelessly waded too deep

Swept off to sea in our sleep




Jen Cass
Jen Cass


When I told you I would marry him

You said, “Dear God no, not again.”

And then you mustered up your strength

To wish me luck

You stood proud on my wedding day

The mom who gave the bride away

‘Cause dad was much too tired

Much too drunk


I was pretty in a rented gown

Already worn by half the town

And you were sitting

In the palest shaft of light

I saw your face and finally knew

That everything you said was true

But it was much too late

To tell you, you were right



Tell me why I live my life this way

God I know better, but it seems I always stay

Trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea

Where trouble always finds its way to me

Or I find trouble again


Two babies before twenty-one

You learn to smile instead of run

You tell so many lies they become true

I married young, grew up too fast

Left home too soon, thought love would last

And I’ve made all the same mistakes as you




If I asked you could I come back home

Just pack the kids, set off alone

I’d find the pieces that I lost while losing track

I spent fifteen years with a double-edged sword

I thought I’d get some great reward

Well, nothing comes from nothing…that’s a fact



Jen Cass
Jen Cass


As I write this song

It’s your wedding day miles away

Some little Mexican town

You’ll walk down the aisle

With your heartbreaking smile

And you’ll tell her “I do.”

But you won’t


You’re half a world away

Wishing chances were free

That time could spin backwards

And bring you to me

But the window you opened

I boarded up tight

The last time you gave up my love

With no fight and were gone


But there was a time

I believed I would, wanted to

Prayed I would die in your arms

You shared my soul

As the poets write, overnight

You changed your heart and were gone


So I’ve heard your promises spoken

Broken in fear

The beat of your heart

Like a drum in my ears

And the sound of your voice

In a long-distance plea

You’ll never love her

The way you loved me



And your heart knows

What you tried to forget

You’re alone

You are not over me yet

And the love that you’ve lost

Is the deepest regret that you’ve known

You’ll carry that home


I’ve seen your face

In a thousand dreams

In-between sunset and dawn

You are mine

You hear my voice

And it leaves you no choice

But to cross through the oceans of time


You return windblown and weary

From places unknown

To drink of the wine

Of the one you disowned

And I welcome you fully

Each time you return

A moth to the flame of the

Bridges you burn




Years they go by

Still your memory calls to me

You with your vagabond heart

Gave away love like a calling card

Falling hard, finally falling apart


You drank down love like elixir

To pleasure the pain

A treasure of moments

Connected by chains

That you wove into armor

And wore on your sleeve

‘Til you could make good

On your promise to leave



Jen Cass
Jen Cass


You were born a writer’s son

On South Tacoma Way

And you rode your daddy’s shoulders

Under winter skies so gray

By the time the seasons changed

Your tiny life was rearranged

Your daddy packed his pretty words

And drove your world away

Hey Ah…


Momma planted tulip bulbs

A year after that day

To keep her mind on something else

To chase his ghost away

And you drew pictures on the walk

A little man with colored chalk 

You signed your name on everything

With giant, purple “J’s”


And who could tell that you’d go wrong

Her little boy her would be man

For you she tried to get along

She worked two jobs to pay the rent

And she was too tired

When she came back home

To ask you where you went


So you carved yourself a family

From the boys who weren’t in school

Learned to follow orders

Learned a different set of rules

And you said you would never change

You’d live and die inside this gang

You’d earn respect by any means

So proud to play the fool


When you’ve never heard of Malcolm X

And Martin Luther King is just a street

That runs through Hilltop

With its pawn shops, and rival gangs

And every window wears its bars

Broken glass, gravel yards

And you think this is all life has to give


You say…

“You don’t know what’s right or wrong

I’m not a boy now I’m a man

And all my innocence is gone

And you might think that I am free

But I’m a prisoner in this life

There’s only one way out for me”

Hey Ah…


The cops they draw a chalk line

‘Round the boy who would be man

On the cracked and crumbing sidewalk

That he colored with his tiny hands

And momma cannot be consoled

Her little boy, his heart of gold

Lay broken in the street

He thought he owned


She says…

“I don’t know where I went wrong

I raised a boy to be a man

I watched him grow

And now he’s gone

And every day I’ll see his face

In every boy who walks these streets

Where such potential goes to waste”

Hey Ah…

Jen Cass
Jen Cass


For Zhenya


He said love is what you make of it

Oh, will you stand by me?

Ever since you left the coast

I’m just a ghost of what I used to be

I see your face in every stranger

Cross the line and court the danger

Take the risk and dare to take the fall

But it’s never quite the same

And your memory remains

With the difference between love

And what we are


I said everybody knows

I’d sell my soul to have you back

But we did everything we could

And it don’t make up for

The things we lack

I prayed to God please guide my path

Make this love the one that lasts

I swear, I’ll never call on you again

But Honey, God had different plans

And he doesn’t take demands

And there’s a difference between love

And what we are


All this time...


I will hold you in my heart

While we’re apart

Until the day

I can hold you in my arms

And do no harm

Although I cannot stay

I wish that I could take my pen

Rewrite our song and change the end

But time repeats what history forgets

And there’s nothing we can do

It’s the difference between me and you

The difference between love

And what we are


All this time…

Jen Cass
Jim Roll


Well, he thought he’d tell her something

Boyfriends never say

Thought he’d steal away her heart

While his words rattled ‘round her head

Saw her as a smooth black stone

With eyes wet and deep

Told her, “I don’t want anyone flirting with me.”


Well, she maintained her composure

Knowing full well inside she was a kid

Said, “Well, at least we’re starting out honest, boy,

That’s something my parents never did.”

They walked home tense and excited

Both next to someone they couldn’t see

And the night rumbled and it quaked

And the traffic lights turned from red to green


She told him once, “Don’t trust me.”

But she wasn’t the tramp

That she wanted so badly to be

And he was too naïve to see

That she was just trying to break free

From some other boy that she once loved

Trying to bring her father to his knees


Well, they made love two weeks later

To the humming of a bedroom fan

And the candlelight jumped

And he traced to palm of her hand

Well, she jumped up from the bed

And ripped a calendar from the wall

It was one that her father drew with his own hands

But that was long before the fall


Well, he thought he’d tell her something

Boyfriends never say



Jen Cass
Jen Cass


Madeleine’s got a balloon in her hand

Which she got from a clown near the lemonade stand

Mom’s got her left wrist and Dad’s got her right

She swings through the air as the carnival lights fill the sky

She says, “Look I can fly!”


Madeleine’s dancing with her daddy Joe

She stands on his feet so she knows where to go

Mom’s taking pictures so they can recall

When she’s off to the prom that she once was this small

And she says, “Daddy spin me again!”



Madeleine you’ll find there’s so much to know

In a world full of wonderful things you will grow

You’ve got a heart that is sent from above

Like your dad’s endless patience

Your mom’s endless love


Madeleine’s fishing with Grandma at dawn

And she’s waving to Grandpa he’s mowing the lawn

She stole their hearts like a thief in the night

But she loves them right back loves with all of her might

And she’s strong

This is where she belongs


I can remember when I was that small

Not a care in the world so in love with it all

I think it’s a gift that we get from our kids

When we look in their eyes

We know just how to live

And we try to remember to fly




Madeleine fly…

Jen Cass
Jen Cass



A man came knockin' on the front door yesterday

He said we’d have to pack our things and move away

It seems some big old five-lane highway’s coming through

That ain’t nothing like the distance growing between me and you


When I first met you, boy I thought you were the answer

The mind of Socrates, the body of a dancer

You held me in those arms I thought I’d found a home

I never knew you were the kind that liked to roam

Until you did



But I guess…

Even angels lose their wings

We lose precious things

The hard way, I suppose

I can’t calculate the cost

Can’t measure what was lost

Can’t change the things we chose

If I could, I surely would

‘Cause this broken heart ain’t doing me much good

If I could, I’d change your mind

But I think I’d have to sell my soul this time

My soul this time


I packed our memories into boxes, sealed them tight

The house is empty and I’m miles away tonight

So if you come back home there’s nothing left to see

A five-lane highway where your house, your wife

Your whole life used to be



Jen Cass
Jen Cass


Jimmy’s got a suitcase in the back seat of his car

A fifty-seven Chevrolet

Any time some woman tries to steal away his heart

He makes a hasty getaway

He’s got atlases and road maps and an extra set of plates

So he can run from love in every single state


Na na yeah…na na na na yeah…


Jimmy gives his heart away like spare change on the street

Takes it back without regret

Then he wonders why he feels so incomplete

Why he isn’t married yet

But the women that he thinks he loves are very seldom free

And the ones who are available he doesn’t want to see


Na na yeah…na na na na yeah…



And so he’s…

Off to chase that straight white line

The ones with curves

They give him trouble every time


Na na yeah…na na na na yeah…


Jimmy says he’s lonely but he’d like to be alone

And that’s a tragic epithet

Someday he’d like to settle down and buy a home

But he ain’t that lonely yet

And he’s still paying off the Chevy and the single engine plane

And the yacht down in Miami is a constant resource drain


Na na yeah…na na na na yeah…