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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke
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Editor, writer, journalist, student of history. Chicago native, long-time resident of Berkeley, California.

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Salon.com
APRIL 22, 2012 3:18PM

Where Nobody Lives

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house041412.jpg
"There's a house on myblock that's abandoned and cold,
The folks moved out of it a long time ago,
And the took all their things and they never came back,
It looks like it's haunted with the windows all black,
Everybody calls it the house, the house where nobody lives.

"Once it held laughter,
Once it held dreams.
Did they throw them away,
Did they know what it means?
Did someone's heart break,
Or did someone do somebody wrong?

"The paint is all cracked, it was peeled off of the wood.
The papers were stacked on the porch where I stood.
The weeds had grown up just as high as the door.
There were birds in the chimney, an old chest of drawers.
It looks like no one will ever come back
To the house where nobody lives.

"Once it held laughter,
Once it held dreams.
Did they throw them away,
Did they know what it means?
Did someone's heart break,
Or did someone do somebody wrong?

"So if you find someone, someone to have, someone to hold,
Don't trade it for silver, oh don't trade it for gold.
Because I have all of life's treasures, and they're fine and they're good
They remind me that houses are just made of wood.
What makes a house grand oh it ain't the roof or the doors,
If there's love in a house, it's a palace for sure.
Without love it ain't nothin' but a house, a house where nobody lives."

—Tom Waits, "House Where Nobody Lives" (from "The Mule Variations")

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