Year of the Bird (Volume 1)

by Pale Bird

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released April 8, 2019

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Pale Bird Austwick, UK

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Track Name: Rusty Horse Bones
It wasn’t the end of the world - but I wouldn’t be lying if I said
“It started with an earthquake”
The status bar was at 0.85%
January 4th at 2.39am, 1.6 miles from my bed, as the crow flies
A man came, gently held my shoulders, shook me firmly a few times into wakefulness, and was gone

You’re on record as saying, or at least implying
(Heavily implying)
That 2017 was the Worst. Year. Ever.
(Worst. Year. Ever.)
You kept talking about dying
(You kept talking about dying)
And you’re not a goth, so why would you do that?

Well thanks for asking! I spent my 2017 avoiding talking about anything real
Because everything real was organic and disgusting
I was living in a city gradually being inundated by a shallow puddle of muddy water
As uninviting as as it was drab, as annoying as it was terrifying
As huge as it was un-awe-inspiring
As stupid as it was painful

No. No, it was poison.
And poison was leaching the colour from all the buildings
One by one, each of the buildings was turning the colour of rusty horse bones

Now I’m not stupid, I know horse bones don’t rust - but there it was:
Rusty Horse Bones
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
I’m tired of thinking about “Rusty Horse Bones”, and writing the words “Rusty Horse Bones”
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
In my Daily Schedule of Things To See
I’m tired of saying the words “Rusty Horse Bones”
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
I wanted to tell people about the delicate cloud I saw, or the life passing by my window
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
And it still existed - so did waves, and sunsets, and domestic parakeets gone wild in the urban parks of the world
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
So did people, human beings, they existed too - but it didn’t feel right when there were Rusty Horse Bones
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
Everywhere right in my face
So I didn’t say much in 2017
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
Which was very out of character and didn’t come naturally

“Rusty Horse Bones” lost its meaning through repetition
Like calling someone a fascist
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
Eventually its syllables faded, mulched and gave fertile soil
To “Rusty Horse Bones” - the names of a wrestler
The name of a Country and Western Singer
A hipster nose to tail diner
We were fighting a war - some of us thought -
The war on the war on saying the same sentence twice and it having the same approximate meaning
The war on the war on saying the same thing twice and its meaning being roughly the same the second time you said it

And the enemy took “Rusty Horse Bones”
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
And it became a mascot, a meme
So when they came, they came dressed as Rusty Horse Bones
And it was a Rusty Horse Bones Novelty mask
That protected a dude’s face
(Rusty Horse Bones, Rusty Horse Bones)
From a downpour of rage
Track Name: Footnote
In a footnote to the article, it noted - I don’t know how they got this information - my final act on earth was to create a lurid illustration (of somebody’s pride and joy emanating a bright and glorious rainbow right across the nation, carrying a dear friend wishes for his birthday), sketchbook on my knees, beside a shallow bay where the sweaty ocean hugs the shore, where the fire rained down like dirty water from a leaking gutter on a clapboard house caught within the final glow of sunset on a sea.

It might not seem a noble way to go, but to go in love and laughter, that’s wonderful to me.
Track Name: Lighthouse
I don’t ask for what I want
I don’t want to be denied
So I take what I can gather
When it’s washed up by/on/with the tide

But the water’s pulling back
And those rocks that you can see
They were there below the surface
And that mess is due to me

Slick with mermaid’s purses
And strings of seaweed pearls
And some minor possessions
From all those shipwrecked girls

I could have to tried to help them
I could hear their shallow sobs
I am the lighthouse keeper
It’s literally my job

And I hate that they’re exposed
Not because of all the gore
But when were those rocks were just submerged
I could pretend I didn’t know that they were there at all

They trusted me to guide them
A North Star, bold and bright
So how were they to know
That I’d snuffed out my light

I am the lighthouse keeper
I’ll never be denied
I help myself to anything
Washed up on the tide
Track Name: Obliterate, Annihilate
And on the night she died
My shadow came to me
They somehow seemed surprised
By my hostility

I’d just come back from space
It is the thrill that fuels me
I’m Dan Dare in a universe
Painted red with garish cruelty

They watched my every step
A stab of fear between each breath
Darkness spilling down the hillside
Clouds above the colour of bone
An arm slowly reaching forward
Life withering right in front me
Facing this faded forever
They came at night into my home

They wrapped their wings around me
They spoke so kindly, tenderly
Showed me hundreds of branching paths
I’d set on and not come back

“You see a wrong and you obliterate, annihilate
Swing your silver sword of justice
Break a mountain down, absorb it
Take off, nuke the site from orbit
Throw the ring into the fire
Drive a tank right through the stables
You and I, we have our problems
I don’t think this is going to solve them”
Track Name: Hawaiian Oulipo Hell
I will pop up
Make a leap
Wake up Pele
Own a peak

I’m a lion
In a loop
Pinkie on a plank
Holla, whoop

Name a weapon
Pale Olimpian
Wipe, pull, pummel
Pile on, pinion

Knee on nape
In a poke
Low, unwoken
Pie hole open

Weep in willow
Peep in oak
Nap in pine, now
Wipe all hope

Moan in pillow
A.M. Peal
I’m in Hell now
I will heal

I awaken
Pen a woe
In a poem
Oulipo
Track Name: Hey, Veronica
Hey, Veronica
Didn’t you hear? He just told you he’s lying to you
It was an innocent idea
Get out of your skin and
Scare them out of theirs too

Do you have a thing for rebellious bad boys?
Do you just wish you were brighter and bolder?
I had a crush on - I wanted to be - you
Those don’t look different as you get older

Now, every year,
The town offers 17 tributes in silence
They saw how far you’d go
To break somebody’s monopoly on violence

You were so perfect when you were a square
Of second-hand fabric the size of my hand
Camera zooms out, and now it’s a patchwork
Of uneven Westerbergs covering the land

Salted and soiled
We just want to escape the ones who don’t want to
Your story’s in the oil
That keeps it all going, but that isn’t on you

Don’t trust the nice boys, they’re not much better
Women have noticed they’re just nicer-seeming
They get upset when the don’t get what they want
And the pattern repeats ‘till it loses all meaning
The pattern repeats ‘till it loses all meaning
If I say it once more it loses its meaning
If I say it once, or until it has meaning
I’ll try again until it has meaning
Track Name: The Year of The Dog
Twelve years ago I was sat on my sofa
High on the fumes of unemployment
Even spent a week doing a sudoku
You looked at me like I was having a breakdown
Even though I know that change is hard
All the things that have happened to me since then
Remind me it’s not impossible
Only a terrible ballache
Failure is an option too
That might not be right for you?
Hate the players, game and rules
Even-handed to the last
Dozen years is not so long
On the scale of an aeon
Geological time moves on
Ever more reasons to celebrate!

(Find a friend, call him “Al”
Thick and thin, so loyal
He’s a very really pal
Easily your favourite person

To deal with existential pangs
He’s a friend with several fangs
Endless fun and infinite play
You and he can run away)
Track Name: Snow Day
Now I’m running down like a mechanical toy
That story was tired even when I was a boy
Maybe they’ll bring them back with their clockwork and springs
People love their nostalgia - we need comforting things

I’m taking a snow day
But those aren’t snowflakes, they’re sunbeams instead
Two metres high on the pavements and streets
Coming in through my window, piling up at the end of my bed

Popeye stepped on the island and declared Swee’ Pea Prince
He declared himself president, and has been ever since
Now I can be reticent on the important things
But I don’t believe in the divine right of kings

And if that’s dispensed with, what is there left?
A beaut with a bullhorn in a tiara and dress
“Hey that’s my tiara!” We said, at the same time
You know we’re not wrong, and that’s the right that’s divine

I’m taking a snow day
Leaving the world to take care of its dead
Two metres high on the pavements and streets
Coming in through my windows piling up at the end of my bed

I am a diver desperate for air
And each stroke is weaker, I doubt I’ll get there
I can almost feel the sun on my hands
My body might wash up on Swee’ Pea’s island
Track Name: Tiny Lungs
Again, I’m scared to open my mouth - afraid of what will come out
Every song is bad poetry
With tunes to distract you from the fact it’s a transparent act
To get all the girls, to get all boys, to get all the others to like you

You say “every action is an opportunity for creativity”
And I know that you believe that
I’ve missed that lazy idealist
And now that they’ve come back, I hope I make the grade
I really hope I do that

Because every song is sad, the tap is stuck on cold
To distract you from the fact we’re stealing other people’s pain
The ones who swallow death
Hoping it will numb the feelings

Giving love to another person should be as natural as breathing
Maybe someone told you “your lungs are not enough”
And they mocked your tiny lungs, called them “little walnuts”
Maybe someone told you “your lungs are far too much”
Can you cut that breathing out, and that breathing in, and such

Sometimes I worry if I didn’t see you every day
I’d evaporate, I’m mostly water anyway, not such a big change
I’d rise up and float past the window-sill
Lifted by the heat of a roadside grill
Of a thousand scooter tailpipes
Past the tops of trees, expensive balconies
Rooftop swimming-pools, into the clouds
Down I’d come as rain, water once again
In a river, same-old, same-old
And maybe one day you’d see me again
Coming out a tap that’s stuck on cold
Track Name: Theme Song
Someone needs a theme song - someone who is someone
When I walk into the room, I want to see people’s heads turn
“Why’s that music playing? Where’s it coming from?”

There’s a jukebox in the corner
An assistant has configured
Everywhere I go, they go ahead with my jukebox
(They go ahead with his jukebox)
Set it up, wait for me to arrive
I won’t go anywhere without my jukebox
(Anywhere without his jukebox)
It is so debilitating

I can’t lie, my star is waning
I used to have two or three jukebox roadies
An overlapping team travelling ahead of me
Just when I need a theme
(To play him in)
To gee me up
(To egg him on)
To pour some petrol on the flames
(Of his damp ego)
I have one lonely jukebox roadie, only
And he’s part-time
(He doesn’t leave the house, it’s sad)
But I have to remind them
(The others who)
The others who don’t have a theme
That I still have my own theme song

It seems like every goddamn person
Has some kind of bluetooth speaker
And they can play a Justin Bieber song,
(Why’s that music playing?)
Or something they’ve whistled tunelessly into their phone,
Wherever they go
(It’s so debilitating)
And it’s all competing
Why can’t they just tell that this sounds wrong?

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