Box Elder

by Larry Hirshberg

/
1.
Won’t you come home now This house is shutting down Domestic darkness abounds So won’t you come home now All the websites have gone dark. And how many times can I walk the dog around the park? I’ve watched all the episodes of BSG And trust me baby that the sink is dishes-free. Won’t you come home now This house is shutting down Domestic darkness abounds So won’t you come home now Even my pen is getting light. There are no more metaphors to fill the wordless night. The poem that was a puzzle to everyone but me Is in a barrel on some sinking ship way out at sea. There was a boy one time Who had a song like mine His lover, she was gone And he cried on and on: My pillow indicates the way. I fall through years of dreams and science fiction getaways A glass of water doesn’t neutralize or wash away This overbearing sense of missing you and so I say: Won’t you come home now This house is shutting down Domestic darkness abounds So won’t you come home now
2.
04:16
Faded are the stains You and you, you radiate, your love remains I’m looking out a different face How the days have changed How the days have changed Skinny Santa Fe In Eugene under the rain 85 Flathead mistakes Atlantic stones inside the waves What we did down at the lake Brighton paranoia shakes Driving west we weren’t afraid Drinking drinking while we played Remembering the mess I made And now it all begins to fade… Faded are the stains You and you, you radiate, your love remains I’m looking out a different face How the days have changed
3.
04:28
Charlie never learned to swim The water whispered “don’t come in” She never could ride a bike Two wheels less than she would like… Through the years there was one thing That horned her honk and belled her ring Behind the wheel she’d feel so strong Gassing up her driver on Driver on… Charlie is now 89 Hard to say what’s in her mind She’s still sure there’s nothing wrong When she gets her driver on… Childhood then childbirth Cigarettes and groceries Turn the key, the engine roars Opening her one good door. Smiling in a parking lot All the other cars are gone Son and mother sitting there Slowly get their driver on…
4.
Everything that ever meant a thing to me Was nothing to her for a half a century When the moon was rising – a slow butterfly She complained that there was something in her eye And if a record played like the true gospel lie She would talk about some thousand-dollar high Everything that ever meant a thing to me Was nothing to her for a half a century If my heart was like the moon in ‘69 Landed on and not alone for the first time She might light a cigarette and make the bed And if I shared she never heard the things I said Everything that ever meant a thing to me Was nothing to her for a half a century
5.
On the other side of the mountain Where I came to rest On the other side of the mountain What I left is to the west On the other side of the mountain Where I can’t get no sleep On the other side of the mountain Despite the funk it’s still not cheap On the other side of the mountain It still rains and it still snows On the other side of the mountain It’s a bitter wind that blows On the other side of the mountain I’ve lost a little something here On the other side of the mountain The roof will leak, that much is clear On the other side of the mountain There’s a dog and there’s a fox On the other side of the mountain There’s a chicken and there’s a hawk On the other side of the mountain The trucks they rumble all night long On the other side of the mountain Within the dark there’s still a song On the other side of the mountain You’ve either lived there or you will On the other side of the mountain On the other side of the hill
6.
04:07
Orange Lion, I can never see your face Orange Lion, swingin’ in the baby’s space Green and blue plastic pachyderms Your four faces kinda make me squirm Made in China, couldn’t be less wild Who designed ya, knows how to make a baby smile In the middle of the burning veldt Wildebeest runs like hell Behind her, the jaws of death Giant feline, bloody breath By a cradle in Johannesburg There’s a window through which sings a bird. On a table in the USA There’s a baby sheltered from the day. Orange Lion, I can never see your face Orange Lion, swingin’ in the baby’s space Green and blue plastic pachyderms Your four faces kinda make me squirm Made in China, couldn’t be less wild Who designed ya, knows how to make a baby smile From the trees where there used to be more trees 40 jumbos rage onto the streets Orissa’s dangerous today Screaming people run away Cradle rocking just outside Mumbai India is breathing – hear her sigh In America a baby grows Sleeps with what she doesn’t know Orange Lion, I can never see your face Orange Lion, swingin’ in the baby’s space Green and blue plastic pachyderms Your four faces kinda make me squirm Made in China, couldn’t be less wild Who designed ya, knows how to make a baby smile
7.
No amount of soap’s gonna get it clean down where it hurts 2X Below the blues, just a handful of dirt. When you go down like that, I know exactly what it’s worth 2X Below the blues, just a handful of dirt. I got a dark heart diggin’ like a worm down under my shirt 2X Below the blues, just a handful of dirt. It’s a grave situation if you’re smart you're gonna try to avert 2X Below the blues, just a handful of dirt.
8.
Did he get out of bed, distracted by what she said? No, chances are it was the bank: his statement said his money stank. At the sink, the water hot, he thought about what he was not. And then that razor slipped, and he lost that chunk of lip. The untimely death. He saved his money, lost his blood. He spent his heart like it was under arrest A trickle killed him, not a flood. “Big shaving accident,” was what he said and what he meant. He scared us all on day one, when we saw his lip was undone. On day two the blood still flowed, I think it was Modesto. Though he was insured and he was rich, he wouldn’t pay to get it stitched. The untimely death. He saved his money, lost his blood. He spent his love like it was under arrest A trickle killed him, not a flood.
9.
When nature takes its course She might reproduce on you Probably get some juice on you The seasons will come out in force When nature takes its course When the world becomes itself You might walk with burning feet On the sand of no retreat The spider’s hiding on the shelf When the world becomes itself When the fuel begins to light Balance wavers in the fumes Children cry in bluish rooms Centuries and seconds fight When the fuel begins to light Unexpected, un-elected Your lips, tulips, how we wreck it. Toxic shadows, we’re not mad, though… Then we go again. Echoes in a paper mine Billy Pilgrim’s epitaph Vonnegut sleeps on that path Everything’s unstuck in time Echoes in a paper mine When nature takes its course She might reproduce on you Probably get some juice on you The seasons will come out in force When nature takes its course
10.
Childhood at the end of time All the things that were so small Now are giant sized All the holes dug in the ground Stadia for flies Shining water won’t come down All the skies are dry… Childhood at the end of time Childhood at the end of mine Baby steps, then big shoes We speak and then we write All the things I did not do Didn’t even try All that time I thought I knew But now I’ve won the prize… Childhood at the end of mine Childhood, pretending on the rise Pennies in the piggy bank Nickels turn to dimes Games we play at home today Such fun ‘til someone cries Hours born with useless wings Now go flying by… Childhood, pretending on the rise Childhood at the end of mine Childhood at the end of time
11.
Most of you will not remember The rest you never knew Sergeant Saunders’ character And what that man could do In ’44 and ’45 On TV, colors bright He showed a boy, who’s now a man The hero’s way to love and fight And now I’m watching combat Of a different timeless kind No Germans with their Lugers It’s the invasion of my mind D-Day in my mind From the beach-head of my teens Where parts of me were killed Into the France of starting out With my brothers in the hills And now I’m watching combat Who made me dig this hole? Not Germans with their mortars Was the Stukas of my soul Dive-bombers of my soul I need to be like Sergeant Saunders But with a Tommy gun of peace Unwavering cartoon solution But in my head, not on TV Because now I’m watching combat This episode’s the one No creepy SS psychopaths Just my mother’s son I am my mother’s son And I need to be like Sergeant Saunders But with a Tommy gun of peace Unwavering cartoon solution But in my head, not on TV Just her memory and me Fighting inland from the sea Berlin will soon be free I’m a sniper shooting healing bullets from the family tree.
12.
04:21
It was music, it was music That made him try It was music, it was music Just passing by Was the words, the way they spoke Descriptions of the ground below The boxcar wheel, the curving track The melody that bent his back It was music, it was music That made him try It was music, it was music That made him sigh The rhythm slow, almost not there The line about her yellow hair And the drums and the bass And the emptiness about the place The two AM, The rainy street Reflections of, echoes repeat And on a hill, an owl hides Eventually downhill he glides It was music, it was music That made him try It was music, it was music That made him fly Was the night, when he was small The way the summer gave way to fall He slept the woods, he walked the sky Uncomfortable, not knowing why… It was music, it was music That made him try It was music, it was music That made him lie It was music, it was music That made him try It was music, it was music That made him try

credits

released January 1, 2009

All songs written, performed and recorded by Larry Hirshberg, with help from Travis Yost, Brandon Zimmer and Greg Grossi on drums, Ricky Drake on background vocals, and Bill McDavid on electric guitar on Handful of Dirt.

Skeptical Records 006

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Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

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Larry Hirshberg Missoula, montana

The years reveal what the moments are made to conceal.

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