Ten Things Which Aren't Love

by Pale Bird

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1.
Aviation Maraschino Martini glass I catch the eye of some young power couple Upper class A cocktail bar in the Antarctic Icebergs gliding past I thought that I'd found friends But they only want to know about the people I killed The glow from your infernal summer is going nowhere fast The lights are fading down This isn't my first time around The serious man, the frivolous woman They just want to chat Every ear in the land Is popcorn-flavoured ash I thought I'd find a friend But they only want to talk about the people I killed They only want to know how many people I killed They only want to count how many people I killed They only want to talk about the people I killed
2.
Superviolent 03:29
Do you really want to hurt these men? There's so much I can't tell from your expression And everybody's monologuing Like we're at a supervillain convention Do you need a costume change? Well I could cover that with a distraction Can you hear the sound of male tears falling I know that’s your call to action She’d throw a man out of a window Looking out of the 15th floor And in the blinking of an eye He wouldn’t be winking anymore Your nights are full of solitude Your days are spent in bitter contemplation Waiting for your enemies to be degraded and fall into the ocean Saying “I don’t care at all” is just my way of saying that I’m frightened I hope you never find your quarry You won’t need a sidekick if that happens She’d throw a man onto a bonfire Push a man into a busy street If she didn’t like his tone And men are men, they never ever moderate their tone She’d throw a man into a lift shaft Push a man down a flight of stairs If he didn’t show respect And men are men, they never ever show respect
3.
Every single bird in the wood was taking something from me Every day So I knew that I was on the right track when those feathery fuckers took my breadcrumbs away To spell out a message up ahead on the path That said "Dead Men Tell No Tales - ha ha ha ha" I'd taken myself for a walk hoping that there would be Some kinds of animals to see But all of the interesting ones - All the bats and the bears - They were still asleep All the ones that were left had personality flaws Full of bitterness and malice to the tips of their claws If these creatures knew hope, long ago they forgot Won't you listen to me, I've become Apologist laureate I suppose I should have sat them all down, told them how terrible they are, they'd have believed every word But instead I said to each "you are loved" because that seemed a kinder thing to tell to a bird Yes you're the reason that I lost my way But that's not the biggest thing I've lost, no Not even today And I'm not in it to win it so losing things is ok
4.
When I think of you, I don’t think of your eyes I think of your lips and I think of your smile Because you’ve got a lot of teeth When I built my kingdom, I filled it with vegetables Because even in fantasy you have to be sensible And you’ll need something to eat Or you’ll find something to eat But there’s nothing to fear Unless you’re afraid of all the things that terrify me Like people goodbye-ing, or turning aside Or smiling so wide with a mouthful of teeth If I have a tittle, I want a hat And a crustacean army With a chitinous clatter And something to help me to breath A servile companion to help me remember And a trusted companion to help me forget The ivory flash of your teeth But there’s nothing to fear Unless you’re afraid of all the things that terrify me Two letterbox eyes, each one hungry for news And a skull full of teeth Each one hungry for you I am a frog who’s been kissed more than once At least Once more than once And maybe that’s not enough To transform something like me But when I think of you I think of your style And I think of your laughter And I think of your smile Because you’ve got a lot of teeth
5.
I don’t think that you are boring Even when you’re doing nothing Please try harder to be boring I’m a fan of you
6.
Courage, oh courage What will you make me do when you finally come to me? I can’t stop imagining All those young, handsome, well-tailored men Dead in a ditch Cold hands grasping a compatriot’s sleeve My life’s dressed up so nicely That I can’t look it in the eye My fear has taken the form Of a vaudeville street gang Clinging to dry land Promising a hand To the thousand Thrusting hands Well I’m glad that you’re happy But it’s not as if you’ve won some fucking competition “We can deliver your prizes direct to your grave - Your fridge is on its way” My world’s grown to a size Where I can’t look it in the eyes Without standing precariously On the shoulders of a Shabby folk band Holding my hands Out either side Like a gormless Gormley
7.
I was quiet To an uncomfortable degree Staring at the water You wondered what was wrong with me But I was trying to see To the bottom of the lake And everything I saw It just went on and on A chasm full of stars Far beneath the feet Of those lazy trees - lazying around Why will no one tell them Don’t you know one day you’re going to get struck down? But no one said a word And this was just a little thing Probably shouldn’t mean that much to me But there’s going to be Rain on my window tonight And I’m such a great magician I conjured a void of meaning And all kinds of thoughts and feelings Were drawn towards its centre And I’m such a great inventor I invented a device To read all the thoughts and feelings You had and never voiced And that is how I heard About all the things which aren’t love But they have the same shape and taste And they have the same sting Because love’s a word you use So you don’t have to choose Love’s a word you throw around Over everyone and over everything Both minuscule and huge And this was just a little thing Probably didn’t mean that much to you But there’s going to be Rain on my window tonight
8.
I want you to listen carefully I’ve met someone who’s just like me He has my face, and hair, and teeth But he doesn’t have a soul Now, I know you don’t believe In this vague spirituality But I’ve observed him closely And he doesn’t have a soul He doesn’t have a soul He’s every bit as handsome But he doesn’t have a soul His buddies call him “Marty” He’s lots of fun at parties He doesn’t like “Love, Actually” And that’s proof enough for me Because no-one is that perfect We all love awful things Of this fact I’m certain Or I wouldn’t have the friends Who sometimes call me “Marty” And tolerate my thinking Not going to a party is a way to spend an evening But he doesn’t have a soul He’s very kind and thoughtful But he doesn’t have a soul He doesn’t have a soul He’s full of joy and merriment But he doesn’t have a soul He doesn’t have a soul I’m singing you this song Cos one day he will come for me And I want you to notice when I’m gone
9.
Hourglass 02:26
She's an hourglass with a wide, wide waste I don't think you understand that you're the same Smirked, scrabbler, sandsifter You took in her inspiration and statistics And then you took her name and gave it back defaced Ridiculed and twisted You took her inspiration and her spirit You gave her Dot Cotton poise Pitiful and twisted An underwritten life But she was the silence once the noise had passed The swirling at the bottom of the glass The words after your voice had died You made the world a really awful place You mocked and bullied people who were frightened Too scared to go outside I think that you need more opportunities For imaginative play Do you think an hour a day Is something you could set aside?
10.
You’re used to taking the things I only look at A charcoal drawing of my sanity I think you’ve known the shape of sorrow in your mouth What do you think of when you don’t think of me? If you stopped smoking, you might live forever Japanese woman with a cigarette in her teeth Skinny slice of street sadness gone electric What do you think of when you don’t think of me? You’re no bigger Than your sister sphere of sadness That you push away from your chest Elbows braced and fingers Fingers laced Your hands are big enough to hold it You’ll never give yourself to being romantic Because what is romance but suspension of disbelief? Apart from all the world and everyone within it What do you think of when you don’t think of me?
11.
We walked together through a landscape of improbable ideas Made tangible by fear You held on with a strange reluctance to my trembling hand When the dust had settled And the shape of this abysmal place was clear If a cloud crosses the road Passing through an empty desert That’s just too much company for me A single lonely footprint Planted in a distant corner of a long-abandoned city That’s more people than I ever want to see Why would you say these words out loud Your lips lingering at my ear? Maybe it was just because We were walking through this landscape of improbable ideas? You helped me figure out the mechanisms of this terrible machine We’d all suffered at its hand And, yes, it operated on a constant flow of salty human tears But, given what we had expected This didn’t seem so bad And maybe if we stayed Your resolve would melt You’d reach out your hand Just glad to have me near Because after all We are in a landscape of improbable ideas Made possible by fear
12.
You asked if we could meet At an impossible location Somewhere that’s between A desert and a street You talked through your affairs with me in a derelict hotel Counting each one out One the fingers of your hands ‘Till complicated feelings fell To the thrill of trespass To knowing what it means To recount these things again Now that I’m not in love with you You found a frozen eyeball Lying in the snow And you put in the finger of a glove and took it home You should feel stretched and swollen You feel bright and hopeful Now the sun isn’t my friend Nor the mountains or the sea Or the man-made places where the sight-lines lead to me Now that I’m not in love with you

credits

released November 3, 2017

Written, performed and produced by Martin Austwick, with additional production by Andy Goddard and tuba by Sam Pay. "Hourglass" is based on an original idea by Jim Footner.

"You've Got A Lot of Teeth" inspired by drawings by Daley Walton/Consumer Revolt

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Pale Bird Austwick, UK

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