Lyrics

Archives of the Natural World

Deer Perspectives

hang up your burning lights
hang up your miles of wire
hang up your hopes
like arms, or ropes around me

this sequence of streets
revolving doors
always wanting more

hang up your burning lights
hang up your miles of wire
hang up your hopes
like arms or ropes around me

where we move
they surround us
with their dark machinery and guns
will we fall
as the others fell?
with nowhere left to run

as we are driven, driven
into the woods, the woods
into the woods
as we are driven, driven
into the woods, the woods
into the woods
as we are driven, driven
to what remains of the woods
to what remains of the woods

hang up the sterling stars
hang up the miles of pines
hang up the night
with no arms, or roads around me

The Wild Parakeets of the Carolinas

romance is dead
mystery we’ve killed her
thus devalued, she’s that much easier to claim

gild all gods and angels
forget from where you came
thus elevated, we aren’t animals at all

instead of flying
and with no defenses
instead of flying they did not leave
the tethered sun
unwilling witness

the wild parakeets of the carolinas
shot down, every one
we don’t even know they’re missing

instead of flying
and with no defenses
instead of flying they did not leave
the tethered sun
unwilling witness
witness
witness
witness

Horses are Knowing (don’t wake the dawn)

don’t wake the dawn
I am yours and wish to sleep
cradled at the base of your throat

at the quiet intersection of those fragile bones
at the quiet intersection of those fragile bones

don’t wake the dawn
she breaks, easy as the rib cage of a bird
the quiet intersection of those fragile bones
at the quiet intersection of those fragile bones

in remembering
all our archived dreams break free
a stable of bright white horses
horses pure and right
I’m remembering a wonder pure and right

the day will come
but for now, for now this page
one corner folded down
its crease is like a scar
its crease stays like a scar
at the quiet intersection
of those fragile bones

First a Wolf, Now the Wind

the binding knots
dismantling clocks whose arms
hold where the time went

you are the flanks of horses
as they run, as they run…

for there is no, there is no deeper
there is no, there is no deeper
than what we are

we are a pair
thread and needle
I hear you whisper
in handfuls of dirt

you move so easily
from form to form
first a wolf
and now the wind

for there is no, there is no deeper
there is no, there is no deeper
than what we are

you are the plain, you are the sky
I am the ax, and the pine
first a wolf
then the wind, oh!
first a wolf
then the wind, the wind…the wind

Lesser Creatures

like you, I had plans, my intentions
so nothing could go wrong

it’s too easy to fall apart
at the sight of crushed birds and doe
on the sides of the highway

I free fall
while the others fall
into the hands of the lord
to reach a place so far removed
that I’m not bothered by it anymore

we sleep deep
and have no dreams
rest our heads upon the backs of geese
and other lesser creatures

maybe we never made it home…
instead, lay back silently as leaves
upon the glistening lawns
so alike, so symmetrical
like eggs that never wake
or like graves

the sky is a wishing well
scattered coins
I’m wishing now, now, now
when I close my eyes I see
clockwise arches and blizzard wings
when I close my eyes I see geese,
lesser creatures
flying

Oh, Atlantis!

oh! oh! summer birds are flown
and the fields are burning
hear them heed the call
of our season’s ending

oh no, no, no, Atlantis, oh no, no
oh! oh!

summer rains don’t fall
where the lamb are kneeling
the places where they crossed
unrecognizable or gone
no no, no, no

and we did not stop
and we did not stop
until the sea
until the sea
gathered in it’s fold
all the edges of our world

oh no, no, no, Atlantis
oh no, no, no, Atlantis
oh, no no no

The Mercy of Sound

the clouds taken down
the mercy of sound again
return of the birds

and in the air
a subtle shifting like sand
warmth rising like bread

the holding patterns of dusk
retrieves my heart
sunk like a stone inside me

the soft beating of moths
meeting with milk white bulbs
when all the voices, when all the voices
when all the voices, when all the voices
when all the voices, when all the voices
stop.

Cinders

the sparks come down
arms flung out and falling

embers and other beauties we see
afar distances, oh
that can’t be touched or known
and therefore can’t be at all

It started out with wanting
and wishing on the moon
or other beauties we see

afar distances, oh
that can’t be touched or known
and therefore can’t be ruined
oh….

cinders that strike our minds
so bright the whole place burns right down
all that’s left is me
all that’s left is you
and memories of light and sound
were do we go from here…California?
Arizona’s gone
it all seems like a defeat of sorts
or what comes after
and I’m too young
I’m too young for salvation
I’m too young for salvation, I’m too young

Archives of the Natural World

oh, oh…what could be contained in a box
held in place with pins, a paragraph
a single photograph, a single photograph
silent, laid silent

oh, oh…what will remain then
an exquisitely cataloged cul-de-sac
a single photograph, a single photograph
when after all, what could I have done

 

The Ballad of Paper Ships

KILL THE LIGHTS

it’s bright white
won’t you kill the lights
retrace steps
moving right then left

blown the leaves
see the swingset swings
everyday pulled down like paper shades

damn the day
how it hurts to leave a trace
miles conspire to erase
but i still see your face

majesty, threadbare beauty
no where town
clotheslines blown down

oh!
backways by the trains
the sky spills the last grim light
shadows roll from my feet
like bolts of fine black silk

pale birds
there where the heart was
come close and they fly

MADE UP MY MIND

i watch it turn darker
and green grass
bent over in prayer
another’s kiss
feels heavy handed
another’s kiss, is wasted on me

i’ve made up my mind
made up my mind
darlin’, there’s no one can save us
the lord hasn’t made us, after all

the wind’s violence
labors against it’s will and weight
and though it can blow
it can’t change

i’ve made up my mind
made up my mind
darlin’, there’s no one can save us
the lord hasn’t made us, after all

HARM

i just wanted
the curve of your shoulder
pressed between the pages of a book
i just wanted
to sleep beneath the surface of the water
just once

i just wanted
to drink a cupful of your tears
i just wanted
to sleep beneath the surface of the water
just once

and that’s all
i swear that’s all
i didn’t mean you any harm

(for R. Tachoires)

THE WEIGHT

all night running
caught between stations
i’ve found sometimes a shimmer of love

like a locket with us inside it will we ever leave this town?
you are my north star
my shimmer of love
found between the pulled triggers and the sirens

the film of light on your shoulder
the weight of your body in the bed
simple as stone

you are my north star
my shimmer of love
found between the pulled triggers and the sirens

SMALL BIRDS

sleep, oh
sleep, don’t make another sound
winter flashes on the fields like home movies

sleep, oh
sleep, bright in the sky you are
small birds thrown towards the naked moon like stones

there in the cold
there in the fields
there is a bright light shining
can you see it?

there in the cold
there in the fields
there is black bell ringing
can you hear it?
can you hear it?

bom bom bom!
bom bom bom!

THE BALLAD OF PAPER SHIPS

on this night
parting like oyster shells, the clouds

on this night
I see us riding through the cornfields
cradled in your arms

on this night
i lay my burden down
to sink or to sail
wishing boats farewell

on this night
memories like bits of paper
blown around the streets at night
ghosts casting nets until the morning light

so, so close
so close, we rocked like boats anchored
to go, to sail with abandon
on this night

on this night
I’ve played my last good song
so turn the record player on

AVE MARIA

ghost light
and the street lights turn on
and the moon
reads this days last rights
and it’s you that i think of
when the girls sing

hallelujah, maria, maria

all the blame
drives the doves away
and i saw it coming

hallelujah, maria, maria

and the clouds turn dark
outside your kitchen window
and the clouds sail by in the shapes of ships
to carry you away

hallelujah, maria, maria

(for Elliott Smith)

THE 4TH OF JULY

let’s not be caught up inwards
let’s not be anything but free

ocean city on the 4th of july
to call your name with the sky raining down

 

One Room Palace

FOR A SONG

your problem is
you can’t turn the t.v. on again
dial for assistance
you’re not virtual enough and you can’t fake it

will you be the one who fails to fail ?

death wish charms
they buy it up for a song
a photo overexposed
just made more negative and more remote
give away these failures
choreographed for centuries
give them away as gifts to your enemies

will you be the one who fails to fail?

everyone loves you far away
an arms length is all it takes

ONE HIT

baby, count down the days,
they’re thieves blow them away
are you in need of a cure?
someone or something to fall
on your knees before

baby, overhear, fireflies trapped in jars
go on and shed false splendor
i want to see beyond the glare
tires through water
things folded and tucked away
not unlike the many things we don’t discuss

you’re a one hit wondering why
a star consciously falling out of the sky
a one hit wondering why

baby, you do it to yourself
tie yourself to the train tracks
then scream to me for help

WHERE HEAVEN SHOULD BE

in the dream it’s as it always was
we speak like a body speaks to itself
without words
in the dream the trees gather by the roadside
as still as you heart

i am here to mend what can’t be
when will you come?
your lips will be what wake me from this world

in the dream it’s as if no time has passed
as it was after all your friends had gone
and the blood in your pounding veins had calmed
in the dream i reach
and you are there to touch
kisses move like whispers
or wind through an empty church
time rolls back
like storm clouds in reverse
and somewhere in the place
where heaven should be
side by side we sleep

SIDE BY SIDE

to have what everyone wants
a glimpse, one true word
and not be blind to it

still i didn’t know
you can travel side by side a great distance
hold him close for many years
his pulse so near
that it seems from your own no different
and then one day
on a day like any other it stops

i’ve done the best i can with what’s been given
i’ve seen with my own eyes
a night sky that could wreak you with it’s beauty
felt the rhythmn of infinity
in the placement of the stars
i’ve gazed into favorite eyes
seen them close for the last time
all that we all know and hold onto
are our bridges of water
leading us to song

FRINGE

oh, mistakes
a fall under the guise of grace
there is awe
caused by the would be
there is a fractured sky
a split second blind spot to me
there in the version,
the wrong side down
certain synapses keep firing
breathe breathe no one can displace
(by odessa chen)

i remember the day we met
and the site was some surprise
you feed your anger
you torch your skies
some part says i know
there could be any reason
you ought to know
don’t leave the sidewalk and fly on high
your heart is sold again
you’ve preached your lies
can this be? or will it not be?
i shouldn’t know
i remember the day we met how you looked when you
said your name
running only on batteries
(by charles dennison)

DEFAULT

comitted different kinds of indifference
this is the lie for the treaty
we both signed resigned to the glory
of bus stops at nightfall
i don’t need anything more

further, by default
and circumstantial interest
not close, but far resemblence

not enough compassion
for your damage
not enough to last us
bad thoughts show like stitches
you’re a fill in the blank to me
you could be anyone

 

further, by default
and circumstantial interest
not close, but far resemblence

SNOW ANGELS

picking up all frequencies at once
ones you only hear perfectly still
i recall the snow falling
soft as geese
white as the throat of that flower

let me ly in your arms,
let me ly in your snow angels

looking for signs in the sky
following ghosts, following visions
i hear your breath
sliding like a wing past my ear
and see your footsteps
scar the surface of the snow

let me ly in your arms,
let me ly in your snow angels

no longer hoping, no longer waiting
no longer hurting
no longer waiting, no longer losing
no longer searching
no longer lost

SLEEP MUSIC FOR JEFF

(instrumental)

Copyright © Odessa Chen 2015