Quartered: Songs of Palimpsest

by S. J. Tucker

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1.
We raise and raze our city like the strangest house of cards, a ghost-breath mist of snow; A ghost-breath mist of snow where no snow falls, For we are Atlantis, and the town of Prester John. Three weeks apart from never, we dance and do not fall. We are Shangri-La. History has dreamed of us. History has dreamed of this. Those who know the way, many times return. History has dreamed of us, building up our city just to watch it burn. We are Shangri-La. BURN IT DOWN We carry Goddess-dust upon our skin, wherever we go, rising with bright feathers in the Desert. Blessed by the wind, we dance, we thrive, we shimmer in the never-was. We are Shangri-La. Burn it down. Relieving saddened sleep and fitful visions, we return. We raise our city high, we watch our city burn. We raise our city high to watch it burn. Burn it down. We are the mirage for those who dare to come and see. The burning in our blood will set us free. We are free. We are Shangri-La. BURN IT DOWN We are Shangri-La. LET IT GO Words and music copyright S. J. Tucker 2007-2009; all rights reserved. Spread it like the pretty plague it is, folks. Dance and enjoy.
2.
05:06
Things which are gone in the morning: confidence, women, true stories, kisses Things which I was not expecting: maps which appear on the skin maps which appear on my skin. Glories as yet unpredicted: gone for the list falls away from me now (my dress, my sail) stranger things surely have happened to women I will not become (this story will surely destroy me) The city's heart sings a song for November as she walks down to the shore (a dim welcome hum, the thrum of a heartbeat) Wrapped in blue, hideous heartbreak surrounds her Will she come home after all? Stranger things surely have happened: turning my rings around, drifting on breezes Home's close as dreaming but I can't remember how I can't remember The city's heart sings a song for November as she walks down to the shore (a dim welcome hum, the thrum of a heartbeat) Prophecies, honeybees swirling around her treading her careful way home. Choices are made and casualties counted (air can make me meaningless) Falling like pages when a book hits the wall (shut my lips upon the list) Turning my rings around, drifting on breezes waking or sleeping, which way do I go? (before the morning ruins this) An old-fashioned underground lurking nearby (patiently waiting) in a dream not a dream are we open? (you have been quartered) Turn the world upside down (I am no good) Turning my rings around (at expanding, contracting) Nobody knows the way home I know the way home! ooh, my dress, my sail ooh, wonderful kisses and maps which appear on the skin Maps which appear on my skin Oh, The city's heart sings a song for November as she walks down to the shore (a dim welcome hum, the thrum of a heartbeat) Prophecies, honey bees swirling around her Nobody knows the way home I know the way home! ah, (Confidence, women, true stories, kisses) Glories as yet unpredicted in maps which appear on the skin maps which appear on my skin...hm. Words and music copyright S. J. Tucker 2008, 2009; all rights reserved, all wrongs dissolved.
3.
04:15
I am your green wind know me well Every secret in this place is mine to tell I can send you to heaven leave you lost in hell you're all so very much alike it's just as well I will tell you all my secrets softly in your ear be careful what you wish for you may not wish to hear My name is Casimira as was every name before I watch your wretched progress from afar. Come here, darling I have kept a room for you (do not question do not fight) I have kept a room for you (I'll make this city long for you) I have kept a room for you (you'll give it all away, for a few scattered nights) You all go hunting secrets 'til there's nothing left You ask it of the heavens and the beggars in one breath I sit back with the spiders and I laugh myself sick I watch you give it all away You're all so much alike I will help you see the way of things and still your fall from grace You'll have no more need for goddesses unless you make me wait When you find I've come to love you do not question, do not fight We have to cause a little pain to shed a little light I have kept a room for you (do not question, do not fight) (you're going to love it here) (don't make me wait again) how far will you go how hard will you try how much will you give will you fall to desperation I will give you the names of those you must find to let you stay Take the secret from my hand I have kept a room for you. Casimira dressed in green won a war at age 13 They'll tell you that i wanted it enough (will you give it all away?) Do not make me wait again. Dream yourself to death Cry yourself to sleep F*ck perchance to dream I have kept a room for you.
4.
Love has come to my call by my hand love will fall evil silence my song on the field of war Love will be your guide until you cannot hear it sing Behind the lines they took him down upon the field of war With the face of a frog she is singing alone as her enemies fall on the field of war With his wolf's paws for hands ever he follows her song Ever he comes to her side on the field of war Any tool of battle may be turned against its master and music is a ready tool of war If your own betray you for the song of what you are be brave child though you sing no more Song may rage Streets may burn Lovers cry and never learn A glorious song of war reduced to a ghostly cry He'll nevermore be at her side oh, why! No sound but the falling of tears no way for him back to her now in silence as fierce as the tide oh why? No sound but the cries of ghosts: o my love why did you fight? In the ringing silence you can never tell me now No sound but the falling of tears: o my love why did you go? in the deadly silence you can never tell me now In the days when the battlefields sang In the days when the boulevards burned Lovers then as now may cry and never will they learn Love will be your guide until you cannot hear it sing Behind the lines they took him down upon the field of war Love has come to my call by my hand love will fall evil silence my song--
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Don't look for home in me between the lines of this, our fairytale Man cannot follow the monsters. It's simple for you love but never for me Nothing can be as it once was. Call me a beast as you've always done but one which can no longer love you Look for me not, lover, I am long gone how can you hope to follow? You're meant to crawl upon your knees not steal my soul or talk to me nor beg me to come home with you the last thing I would ever do I am the place where air meets ice escaping from your paradise the girl with the lion's tail I don't want to be the girl you tame an oddity locked away somewhere safe your one-heart menagerie, lonely Give me back the girl I was, the beast I used to be shedding the skin of this creature You were never cage enough to keep the light inside deny me the sky and I'm running. A lion must keep something back for her own if she's been let to live I'd sooner run than waste away at home You already have all that I had to Give me back my broken heart, the dress I wore in Ostia, everything you took away and soul-self replaced Take away your holiness your pleading and your crying eyes and bring me back the girl I was, untamed Go cry your ave maria my love cry me a river to hell Hell or home its all much the same your script your saint your cell I don't want to be the girl you tame an oddity, locked away somewhere safe your one-heart menagerie, lonely (ave maria, gratia plena) ave maria, gratia plena, dona nobis pacem, amen (If you don't feed what you have tamed how can you ask it to love you?) (give me this!) (I don't want to be the girl you tame) Your one-heart menagerie Words and music by S. J. Tucker, 2009; all rights reserved, all wrongs undone.

about

What if there was a place beyond terror, beyond passion, where your obsessions come to life? Where your secrets walk the streets? Where the only law is desire? What would you do to get there? Past the edge of the world lies a city of the mind and of the flesh: Palimpsest
Let the music be your guide.

Palimpsest is the newest novel from Catherynne M. Valente, in stores 2/24/09. Quartered is its official companion album, and it will evolve and grow, a work in progress available via download only, as author and composer tour the United States together, across the season of Lent and beyond, from February 25 through summer 2009. Check back for new songs each week.

SONGWRITER'S NOTE JUNE 1ST 2009: "Lucia's song, 'Girl with the Lion's Tail,' is now available. Soon to come are 'The Train Suite II: Marginalia' and more. Keep checking back!"

credits

released February 24, 2009

All songs and these recordings written and performed by S. J. Tucker, with guest appearances by Catherynne M. Valente, Michelle Dockrey, and Betsy Tinney; all rights reserved. Special thanks to Catherynne M. Valente, Kevin Wiley, Tony Fabris, Michelle Dockrey, Betsy Tinney, and Ginger Doss.

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all rights reserved

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