fireants

by Rainstick Cowbell

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released May 1, 2009

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Rainstick Cowbell Portland, Oregon

“Rainstick Cowbell makes searing music that’s intensely personal…[from] intense, clear-eyed rants to unhinged exorcisms. It’s exhilarating to hear music this raw.”
—Portland Mercury

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Track Name: In the September of my 35th year
August fades and summer’s waning
does it make sense? Benevolence?
all the time is never-ending
could it be so disposable?
how do you do it?
I might have known
gave it a home
instead I’ve been
a Bedouin
the sun lowers, it's southward pacing
giving me sense, circumference
but the weight is ever-pending
making me so emotional
Track Name: Stabbed in a Dream
brain’s just making up shit
somewhere I’ve been
PaPa’s house on summer days
but abandoned
inside it’s all fucked mayhem
no sound, I’m scared
everything is in decay
Armageddon
I’m just passing through
I did not see you
I was in the sea
I was underwater
but I still could breathe
strange room I confront him
he’s clad in chrome
when I go to step away
he lets me have it
I can see the knife slide
going deeper
yet I cannot feel the pain
it’s going slower
I’m just passing through
on to the porch
now it’s a ledge
200 feet high but I’m still in bed
floating high above the earth
surging power from the core
I see the buildings crumbled down below
and all the people
gone, where did they go?
they went away
shocking
this hall leads to nowhere
somewhere I’ve been
my high school in Tarpon Springs
but abandoned
I’m just passing through
Track Name: Rainstick Cowbell Theme Song (I don't suck, I chug)
I feel the morning breaking open
don’t let me down
over the chorus of the clover
don’t pick me out
love me like I do
brothers sisters always
and when the rabbits come it’s bedlam
don’t let them out
although I wanted
you to tongue me like the Eucharist
and taste sounds
let the beast in
a blessing that devours all my best
and bleeds
they’re right, I’m cored
empty and void
effeminately playing
it falls out my head
practically impossible
a bovine, a bell
what’s barely legal is still legal
rain and a stick
it’s practically invisible
the voice, the hands
I ditch the rest
come away come up come on
love me like I do
brothers sisters always
Track Name: Legg-Perthes
people ask me why are you limping?
I don’t know why am I limping?
my hips they never healed
maybe the joints are slowly disintegrating again
my skin has turgor but my bones are melting
will I find myself shrimp-backed over crutches
my legs splayed and strapped down when I sleep?
haunted by the healthy
take that from me
because in my house you’d find no sympathy
pick on the crippled boy, teasing
fuck you, hit you with my crutch
there was a billboard
I don’t know why I wouldn’t look at it
on the way to the orthopedic specialist
the heavy weights on me
the nurses hiding
my skin has turgor but my bones are melting
me and my mother would see the x-rays
the news, devastating
haunted by the healthy
take that from me
because in my room you’d find my brothers’ trophies
pick on the cripple boy, teasing
fuck you, hit you with my crutch
all the dark night spent
ripping out of the velcro
my brother Brian’s spit
Jep’s got me in a choke hold
Track Name: For the Beatniks
come and be the one who sums it up
sits alone and does no harm
let’s your verses speak of wombats
metaphors are yours to toy
Bang, Bill, the bullet’s spent
Joan Burroughs is laid to rest
all at once there came the Beatniks
rising up to experience
let there be the oratator
spill your words and help us all
I miss you, Lew Welch
you should not have wandered
out through the cabin door
trees envelope
pursuing perfection
that shotgun won’t take you there
I know you
I do the drugs that you do
packed so tight it’s claustrophobic
all black ties
before tie-dyes
the poets gathered reek of whiskey
cigarettes and barbiturates
your time has come and gone
bookend at Vietnam
Track Name: Sun Tzu's The Art of War: Chapter 13 - Employing Spies
the giraffe, he comes to me
seeking opportunity
show him what he’s meant to see
they don’t know what I have
the giraffe, the enemy
unsuspected treachery
a façade, magician’s sleeve
they don’t know what I lack
treaties are broken
weaknesses made to be revealed
a lover’s token
harness the agents of deceit
enter cities unchallenged
when Yen arose I-Chih was in Hsia
they’re at the gates, wake up
when Chou arose
Lu-Yu was in Yin
they’re on the walls, wake up
when Yin awoke
the chambermaids were absent
they’re on the streets, wake up
they’re in the court, wake up
they’re with king, wake up
the giraffe I search for these
heap rewards and give glory
grant access, intimacy
they don’t know where I’m at
Track Name: mad at the megalith
I was mad at the megalith for wasting all of our time
the men who came and taught us this were brutal and they stayed here
leaving the talisman on my windowsill frustrated and neglected
as we long for the time that we were young and the city was ours
old days
stones hold too firmly for these things and for me
calculations ignoring God’s will
however brief my time may be, I will not sink to reduce
I will not succumb to this temptation to simplify
calmly holding my heart for this
feel like I could wait for this
my father, he warned me of these things before me
he said there would come a day when the foam would break from the sea
however brief your time may be, you should not sink to reduce
you will not succumb to this temptation to simplify
calmly holding my heart for this
feel like I could wait for this
it doesn’t have to be so obvious
I’m patient
stones hold too firmly for these things and for me
Track Name: Somewhere, right now... it's happening
a sign of warfare
refuse seekers burdened
with possessions
women, children, elders
seeking shelter
sleepless
ACK ACK ACK ACK BOOM
rat-a-tat in the jungle all night
flash bang, white phosphorous lights
who sticks around to see what death solves?
able bodies kill and die
shipments of medical supplies
sniper fire erupting on the hillside
near the treeline
send the napalm on them
as the mothers cling to babies
the wayward roam through lands made empty
ancestors bones disgraced on display
you should have know your sons would be slain
because you raised murderers
Track Name: What I would say to Le Corbusier
what’s the meaning of this complex here?
what’s the point of this free space?
it is true, all the people want is open fields
this is true, not to share but to possess for themselves
reinforced concrete walls don’t age well
reinforced concrete homes
impractical
you did not give in to ignorance
Unités d’Habitation
what a gesture of kindness
Chandigarh rises from the dust of India
Chandigarh cracks in the hot sun
reinforced concrete walls don’t age well
the consequences of being bold
reinforced concrete homes
pre-stressed
you would not submit to the visionless
made a scale from the human form
proportioned to the Golden
modular, liberate us from metric minds
modular, practical and beautiful
reinforced concrete walls don’t age well
reinforced concrete homes
precious
Track Name: Burt Bacharach's Hands
it bothers me to no end
the burnt back of my hands
always begs the question
how’d they get that way?
do they heal?
now I shed what’s given
my forsaken, calm friends
they just want an answer
will you come away?
play with us
a please
you know I won’t
call me on soul
I’m singing sorrys
from a shore with no moors
it troubles me without fail
choking out like cattails
the pollen floats a question
can we come this way?
conquering
now to spread across lands
selfishness, it expands
will I have an answer?
from a shore with no moors
fathoms, harbors for anchoring
follows me where I go
stagnation like mangroves
wait, I have an answer
will you come away?
play with us
appease
you know I won’t
Track Name: The Waitress at the Diner
it’s been a hard ride
my patience long
in the diner
that fucking song
I know that
you’ve had a hard life, Corin
you’ve got a lot of “sugar”
another 4-top is coming in
another bus tub is spilling over
and what they put you through
your nerves are shot
I smell the bacon and bleach water
eggs are broken and overcooked
I know that
you’ve got a hard life, Corin
you’ve had a lot of “sugar”
somebody’s mom is struggling
somebody’s mom is winking at me
and what they put you through
your nerves are shot
red eyes, steel knives, this coffee’s burnt
gratuitous smiley face drawn hastily on the check
“come and see us again” I would but I’m pressing
onward to 300 miles away
I want to but you’re not on the way to anything
but this crash
Track Name: Ye Olde Future
towards a new future
forward to new goals
what holds? what trails away?
from assessments in my personal space
onward to bright days
this rolls
bring the easy
come forth with the
acknowledgement that this is for a reason
looking down now
is that the death of me I see?
for what?
effortlessness of convenience
I must reject my common ways
and not forget this vantage point
is merely a stool where I could easily sit
or step up
or step down
and find a better way
maybe I could sit here
until I think of it
because I’m broke
I’ve tried
and I
figured out that mindset is fucked
Track Name: short, quiet spiritual
Don Cristóbal Colón, 1499
below deck, bound in chains
arrested and returning to Spain
the captain of the ship took pity
and, out of respect, offered to remove the shackles
graciously granting the Admiral
more favorable quarters
he refused
it was reported he spent the days and nights
of the long voyage
praying
incessantly
Track Name: A self-indulgent son, I know, but I want my family to hear this
so useless to you
son of someone else
you stuck around long enough
to sort that out
and you’re not used to me
and you’ve heard that song
you don’t want to sing along
so useless to you
came out broke and strange
you couldn’t help but scorn the mouth
foreign in taste
no, it’s not new to me
this look
disappointment gave callously
make it work
beholden to you
the vows were tools
lay broken with weakness
where are you?
you should’ve died
where are you?
nobody’s dead
where are you?
so useless to you
stand for shame and guilt
I was there long after
it went to hell
you’re not used to me
and you’ll hate this song
you don’t want to sing alone
because you’re tone deaf
I think all of you are tone deaf
I was born among the tone deaf