Singles

Overwintered (2019)
Pompeii (2019)
Hit & Run (2016)
Cuddlefish (2016)
Song for Santa (Jingle Your Own Damn Bells!) (2012)

 
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OVERWINTERED (2019)

Teeth chatter
Automatically
A beat clicking double-time
To the crunch of snow
An animal
Licks a beater
A Northern Flicker
Clucks a whimper
A beep goes off inside—
Is it time
— or just a timer?

Decalcomania
Ironed on our hides by the
Scarlet fever-stricken
Two-bit hypocritical
Neo-Puritans
Turning on a dime.

What are they?
A little more than kin
And less than kind
We live in the same
But we run on
Different time.

You are safe
You are sound
You are safe
You are sound

I feel your frequency
Resonate at my core
Enkindle my extremities
Echo through my bones
Hiccup out its tones
[…]

We face apocalypses every day
And fumble stricken phrases
We ball up to play:

When we feel forlorn
Just keep peeling those little oranges
They keep stealing, we keep peeling
Stuck on an uneven keeling
Every Great and Snowy Egret's
Speaking of my evening grossness
Every Evening Grosbeak's
Speaking of my great and snowy egress
Even if we deviate
Even if we deviate
The ice rink's set to counterclockwise
There's no exit till we skate

I lurch along the verge
A strawberryless frozen biscuit
My flimsy figure zero traps
A miraculous lemniscate
When the intercom comes through
I think I've lost my refound calling
Oh, Winter Tanager
You help me walk but you leave me crawling.
You are a cardinal
You are a cardinal
And I should be so lucky
As to be a part of you at all

You are safe
You are sound
You are safe
You are sound
[…]

You bring the tropics to these chilly parts
The contrast shocks my system
Chilblains swell upon my heart.

 
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POMPEII (2019)

No one can see
My bravery;
I stomp on humdrum ground,
I navigate mundane terrain.
But all the same,
An ancient flame
Ignites a fervency that
Surges into every vein.

Dash, jump, climb, crawl!
Gotta get out, gotta get out—
Dart, dive, fly, tumble!
Gotta get out, gotta get out
Gotta get you out, out, out!

In a previous life
I surely
Swept you off your feet
And carried you away
From the choking ash
And scorching heat,
To begin anew
Beyond the ruins of Pompeii
And to live
To see another sunny day.

On every list
Of things to do,
An unchecked box reminds me
That the task of saving you
Remains undone
And unbegun
And unfulfillable
Until the day we need to run
Until the day we need to run
We need to run—

Dash, jump, climb, crawl!
Gotta get out, gotta get out—
Dart, dive, fly, tumble!
Gotta get out, gotta get out
Gotta get you out, out, out!

In a previous life
I surely
Swept you off your feet
And carried you away
From the choking ash
And scorching heat,
To begin anew
Beyond the ruins of Pompeii
And to live
To see another sunny day.

From form to form,
From place to place,
From birth to birth,
From death to death,
From earth to outer space—
From Plague and flood,
From fire and blight,
From each catastrophe
That threatens to eclipse your light—

Dash, jump, climb, crawl!
Gotta get out, gotta get out—
Dart, dive, fly, tumble!
Gotta get out, gotta get out
Gotta get you out, out, out!

To begin anew
Beyond the ruins of Pompeii
And to live
To see another sunny day.

 

HIT & RUN (2016)

(written 2008, recorded 2012-13)

Too many times have I trembled with terror
Entertaining the thought that I soon would be dead
So many instances seeing a vision
Of an SUV rolling right over my head

It's not unusual nowadays
It's not a strange situation to dread
It seems inevitable that someday soon
I'm gonna find myself smashed to the road just like a soggy slice of bread

Even though I got the right-of-way
Looks like you're just gonna keep right on coming anyway

You're gonna run
You're gonna run run run
You're gonna run run run me over me over me over me over me

When I was younger, I was helplessly anxious
About crossing the road sans a comforting hand
Now I am older and I'm on medication
But my life hasn't changed in the way that I'd planned

Cause all the cars grew up with me
Hummers and Range Rovers cover the land
My future self in my head looks like a mushy pile of
Pumpkin puree that's just waiting to be canned

Even though you've seen me plain as day
Looks like you're just gonna go on and kill me anyway

You're gonna run
You're gonna run run run
You're gonna run run run me over
You're gonna run
You're gonna run run run
You're gonna run run run me over me over me over me over

I see no surefire solution; 
No possibility catches my eye; 
People don't care about death or pollution
When it's so much easier to never bother trying
And to just ignore the butterflies that are frying on their grills. 

Maybe you'd tell me I'm melodramatic
But I much prefer that to your lack of concern
Maybe if you had a lifestyle less static
And less high on the smell from the rubber you burn

You could slow down for a second, 
Sample the simple sensation of being; 
Sweep out the shadows and soak up the sun, 
And you might find yourself seeing what has been there all along

And if your sights are still set on a thrill, 
How about a bike race down the city's steepest hill? 

You're gonna run
You're gonna run run run
You're gonna run run run me over me over me over me over me
Not if I run run run
Not if I run run run you over you over you over you over you over you over you first...

 

CUDDLEFISH (2016)

(written 2009, recorded 2012-13)

All my antics and my gibberish
Put a damper on my sentences; 
I'm a [cuddlefish/cuttlefish] 
Trying to cover up my incompetence. 
Maybe your fancy just isn't ticklish— 
Maybe your heart belongs to another fish— 
But on your part that'd be foolish. 
Baby, I think you ought to think through this. 

The sea is big, big, big, 
And it's full of scary things! 
Like great white sharks, 
And colossal squid! 
And I'm worried about you... 
I don't want you to get hurt. 
I don’t want you to get hurt... 
I don’t want you to get hurt. 

If you love something
(So they say) 
You should set it free. 
But I disagree— 
'Cause I can safely say that
Catching and releasing
Isn't what I'd want for me. 

I know I know better than you do
What is best for you to do— 
Can't you see the logic there? 
It's superlogical. 
My perspective is an outside one, 
And that's really saying something
'Cause we don't have mirrors
And since we're under the water, 
There isn't a surface
For you to see your reflection in... 
Not that you don't look nice! 
(In fact, how wonderful you look
Is exactly what the problem is....) 

The sea is big, big, big, 
And it's full of scary things! 
Like great white sharks, 
And colossal squid! 
And I'm worried about you... 
I don't want you to get hurt. 
I don’t want you to get hurt... 
I don’t want you to get hurt. 

It guts me every time
I hear you're frequenting
Such sketchy dives. 
It's not like it's a crime, 
But what if you get caught by a scuba diver
Just like Nemo and I can't find you? 

Still I'd never cease my quest for you— 
What else would there be for me to do? 
Sure, there are plenty of fishes in the ocean, 
But not one of them could ever get a hook in my
devotion.
So my love for you supports recent scholarly publications
Reporting that fish have a greater capacity for memory
Than was previously believed, 
And I will miss you for the rest of my life.

 

SONG FOR SANTA (JINGLE YOUR OWN DAMN BELLS!) (2012)

Santa filled my stocking up with dust
And in my breakfast bowl
Nothing but a big chunk of pudding crust
Scraped from the bottom of Rudolph's trough
Most off-putting, gag-inducing, 
Oozing with a glowing red goo

That's not to say it's not okay to be a reindeer
Just the snot gets in the way of an already paltry meal
Reindeer themselves most elves feel to be our allies
Though there are those who fail to see
(Their sight obscured by bigotry) 
Through the lens of intersectionality
The similarity between their and our captivity. 

Well, I for one have had enough
of these power dynamics
I'm gonna cut in line to see Santa, 
shut him up and give him a piece of my mind, 
Tell him: who do you
think you are? 
who do you think I am? 
I'm not some ceramic garden gnome
I'm a living, breathing elf, man! 
Man, oh, 

Jingle bells
Jingle bells
Jingle your own damn bells, damn bells
Jingle your own bells
Tinker away at your toys
And fly your sleigh
Without exploiting the reindeer
and elves
and elves
and elves

Old Saint Nicholas stuffs his ruddy face
with jumbo gelatin-laced marshmallows as big as mugs
And he chugs hot cocoa from gigantic jugs
And he makes a crude analogy
to Mrs Claus's anatomy; 
How she puts up with his misogyny and stays kindly
is a mystery to me! 

She's an inspiration to us all
Whenever Santa's at the mall
Our labor shifts from free to fair
She pays us out our proper share
She has her hubby's chefs prepare
A wholesome feast of vegan fare
And over cupcakes we compare notes
As we plan the revolution

Nutmeg and Holly volunteer
to lead the popcorn ball volley
Hopscotch and Foxtrot and their teams
load up their slingshots
with royal riviera pears
And pairs of reindeer
line the entryway

When Santa barrels through the door
in the morning, 
caterwauling carols
reeking of the sauce and apple fritters
his weakened cognitive and motor skills
leave him at a loss
at the sight of
fruit in flight, 
confections being tossed— 
in a moment, 
he is falling, then
caught by reindeer
in midair
wrapped up
in tinsel
propped up
in his chair

Then the littlest elf hops up on his lap
and presents a big bright bow
and we're all silent
as they stare at one another— 
time stands still... 
until... 
the littlest elf
slaps the bow on Santa's mouth and says

We've all had enough
of these power dynamics
Tired of waiting in line! 
It's our turn to speak our minds: 
Who do you
think you are
to treat us like you do? 
We're not claymation figures
We're alive
and every bit as good as you! 

Jingle bells
Jingle bells
Jingle your own damn bells, damn bells
Jingle your own bells
Tinker away at your toys
And fly your sleigh
Without exploiting the reindeer
and elves
and elves
and

Reindeer with noses of color
Shouldn't have to work harder than all the others
Sleigh-guiding leaves them stressed
Get some LEDs and a GPS

Gender non-conforming elves
shouldn't be ghettoized and made to work outside
in the harsh conditions in groundskeeper positions
that you made up because you couldn't decide
which assembly line to assign: 
girls' tea party sets or boys' fighter jets? 

(It's time you) 
Move beyond the binary
Integrate your factory— 
You'll find greater diversity
makes for greater harmony. 

And you have the ability
to pay everybody equitably
and offer benefits
that extend to our families. 

Then Mrs Claus says, "Nick, 
we all deserve respect; 
you can learn to show it to us if you try. 
If you don't recognize their union
you can kiss yours and mine goodbye. 

"Jingle bells
Jingle bells
Jingle your own damn bells, damn bells
Jingle your own bells
Tinker away at your toys
And fly your sleigh
Without your wife
and the reindeer
and elves
and elves
and elves!" 

Nick acquiesced to our requests
Then in a week or so he resigned
and moved out to the guest house
And in his absence, we've been
more productive somehow... 
Maybe it's because
Mrs Claus is Santa now! 

Jingle bells...