California

by Paul Curreri

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03:54
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01:55
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04:39
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credits

released October 6, 2009

Thank you Devon. Always, & over & over.
Also, so much to Richard Guy, Sarah Morgan, Maria Curreri, Keith & Jen Morris, BJ Kocen, Jeff Romano, Matt Curreri, Bill Baldwin, Oliver Betts, G. Vaughn, Billy Hunt, Steve Keene, Michael Hurley, Brady Earnhart, & especially Andy Friedman, who encouraged this one like crazy.

Produced by Paul Curreri

All vocals & instruments by Paul Curreri
except electric guitars, piano & vocals on "Wildegeeses" by Devon Sproule
Recorded and mixed in Amanda's Old Room in Charlottesville, VA, by Paul Curreri
Mastered at Greenwood Studio in Greenwood, VA, by Jeff Romano

All songs by Paul Curreri © 2009 Merdaloy Music
except "Wildegeeses" by Michael Hurley (© ⓟ Michael Hurley Snocko Music BMI, administered by Bug Music) and "Stephen Crane" by Brady Earnhart (© ⓟ Brady Earnhart BMI)
Both used with permission

Design & layout: Oliver Betts
Photo by G. Vaughn
"Runner-ups" painting by Steve Keene, photographed by Billy Hunt
Drawings by Paul Curreri

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Track Name: Now I Can Go On
Sweet love, I write you from a midnight
After a long, cold walk toward the starlight
Now I can go on

The painful wonder, over and under, back stiff from the load
The darkness rattled and dogged my boyhood
& I wished I'd stayed at home

Till somebody's fingers played my keys
and now I can go on
Somebody's garden tended to me, and now I can go on

Now guitar strings buzzing without even touching them
From the white light of such mercy
This new inheritance - spaciously spirited - cries it'd always heard me

I'm washing linen; I'm hanging pictures
and now I can go on
I'm placing your hairbrush by the open window
and now I can go on
I will not forget deciphering the most horrifying of certainties
Where any illness I was suffering from was a twisted arm behind me
And there were killers - real killers - and I was unaccompanied
But now I'm leaning toward your finding me and making new memories

I sing this shirtless
I can see Memphis and now I can go on
I press my mouth against a feathered benevolence
Now I can go on

Sweet love, I write you from a midnight
and now I can go on
After a long, cold walk toward the starlight
now I can go on
Track Name: Once Upon A Rooftop
Once upon a rooftop
You was cradling a crap guitar
And a sinking suspicion
That "Man, I know who I are"
Then a shingle came loosening
Sounded like a Velcro Jesus
You missed dinner that evening
And awoke with a soul prosthesis

Doctor come, pills flying outta his ears
Thumbs on insurance papers
Says "Autograph this and enjoy these beers
and enjoy yourself sooner than later"

Don't know what to tell you
But that sure explains a lot
Seems last winter
I had what you got

I found myself burning a piece of French toast
And soon, anything that smelled of sweetness
With a belt-loop lariat, I lasso'd that smoke
And ended up in Encinitas

And that is where I bought the boat
I'm so glad you wrote

Brown-skin Betty
and her friend crying "North Dakota"
Overhearing we Geronimo'n
Coming on all glad to know ya
So with knife eyes kill ya
And mouth holes drink your liquor
We four set sail for
A place where happier's quicker

So with coky come now & fashion go gone
The four forgotten into the vapor
Kids write about them until they're about twenty
They enjoyed themselves sooner than later
Track Name: Here Comes Another Morning
Here comes another morning
Where the sunlight seems surprising
So it's wake and make the coffee
That almost wasn't dranken
And there's nothing on the radio
To help to drown the brake squeak
To help to drown the pen squeak
That's writing down more errands

So it's meet at noon for iced tea
Beside the statue downtown
Where neither knows the name of
The flowers on the median
That bends as trolleys pass them
Full of people passing
Past the people drinking
Beside the statue downtown

Yes indeed
Oh, it's plain to see
Time and me
Move at different speeds

With eyes like bumper stickers
That advertise the future
Women paint the playground
The colors of a sports team
That focuses on greatness
And certain kinds of spirit
And that's rooted for on weekends
By folks who share its cosmos

Do do do do do do the deed
My darling little baby
For some it takes some tugging on
For some it comes innately
Do do do do do do the deed
My crooked little creature
Jimmy Crack Corn, and I don't care
The devil wants to meetcha

Tonight some friends go drinking
Laugh at stories of what usedta
No one eyes the clock hands
No one feels the danger
That'll come in a couple of hours
When there's cut hair in the bathroom
& laughter's echo is just like
A bird against a window
Track Name: Tight Pack Me Sugar
I'ma write this song before I'm tired of the music
A pretty little hour, before the music gets tired
Alone for a minute in the principal's office
Find the strangest of things in his Firefox history

Grab an LP and the AC, and spin them both clockwise
Baby, let's do The Greyhound - real fast and in chase
It's hard not to look at my hands as I do this
The director's directing me, playing me ace

Come a gentle northwestern
How steady she blows
Stowing me sugar in the hold down below
From bright Buena Vista, to Fool's Fortune Isle
Tight pack me sugar in the hold for a while

Downhill from the traffic, there's a family fish market
It's been there for years. You can read all about it
I might like to relearn how to make my eyes sparkle
You get an apron, and a nametag, and sweet softshell discount

You could say the dove circles, or the crow it seeks land
Trying to outrun the black hole when the cock crows again
And that's true, and I love you, but some mornings feel bad
If you wanna have a kid, we can talk about that
Track Name: California
Too few folks know how fun it is
To believe in invisible stuff like this
I'ma drink wine till I can see
The great beyond in the room with me

California
Happy all the time

Burn that bridge and bet that farm
There's risk of loss when one wants this hard
To drift among the untied knots
To get your passport stamped where your heroes got caught

O, to wake and find the webbing gone
And a circular structure in one's song
Playing harmony to both earth and air
And bobbing the heads of the unaware

The all in all is blue
The all in all is blue
Baby don't worry, you're why I'm here at all
Track Name: Off the Street, Onto the Road
Scotty Joplin woke late and saw the sun on the grand
He quickly knocked out the picture and called up Joseph Lamb
And got through
He said "I woke in a room that needed my power
I gave myself to the morning and watched
As night-blooming flowers bloomed"

He was not one
He was many
But he'd be the one if there had to be any
He'd get off of that street & get himself onto the road
Get me off of that street & get me onto the road

A young woman sat smoking in the rain up in Brooklyn
"What I want", she said, soaking
"Is just to do what I couldn't use to do"
And when she hung up, I asked her
She washed out her eyes
She gave me the festoon of roses while I was still alive
Thank you

She was not one
She was many
But she'd be the one if there had to be any
She'd get off of that street & get himself onto the road
Get me off of that street & get me onto the road

A garden untended and a whole lot of wine
Wile take the taken for granted back into a time when
And that dent in your thinking chair where your visions were fed
It won't fit your ass, which will fit your head, my friend
Yeah, we're friends

We are not one
No, we're many
But we ought be the one if there has to be any
And get ourselves off of that street & get ourselves onto the road
Get me off of that street & get me onto the road
Track Name: The Line
For once, maybe it doesn't begin
Where it left off
A navigatable room in the dark
Branches against a raised arm
Bare wires tongueing
Little eyes of a whole people
Fireworking from the cracking boards
Of dustboxes that drone on steady
Like the backsides of islands
The muscle memory of flatlands
Outside Scottsville
Men on vintage Japanese motorbikes signal to one another
Zoom through plumes of yellow leaves
Outside London, coach drivers do the same
Replace both gloves on the wheel
To dodge a turkey someone else didn't
Outside Essaouira, men bathe together
Discuss guimbris, streching calf skin
This, till a beautifully browned forearm
Smacks a river wave at a beehive swinging
Kickstarting howls, gasps for air
And a collective dive towards the deep dark
Track Name: When What You Do Don't Do It Anymore
What do you do
When what you do don't do it anymore?
I'm really asking, what do you do
When what you do don't do it anymore?

With sad eyes, say goodbye
It'd be unwise to go onward
The world really is an oyster for somebody like you
You know that's true
Now, watchu wanna do?

What do you do
When what you do don't do it anymore?
And everywhere you go reminds you where you aren't anymore?

It's a prison cell, so fare thee-well
It's just as well; now go onward
Cause this brought you down to this
And now this just won't fix
But it'd be hard not to miss
What this did when it did
When the fairy tale said what it's supposed to

They say, what did you lose
And how'd you know it was ever really yours?
They say, what did you lose
It doesn't really matter anymore

So with sad eyes, say goodbye
It'd be unwise to go onward
A little bit of downtime
Is something you could really use
Take all the time you need
Till you're feeling back to speed

But really, what can you do
When what you do don't do it anymore?
Track Name: I Can Hear the Future Calling
O Love, I hear myself in the future calling
O Love, seems from a mouth that's used to laughing
How about that?
How'd you like that?

O Love, I must've traced your sandy footprints
O Love, through many years of peaceful living
How about that?
God bless you

O Love, I can see beauty's hiding in the dorm room's curtains
Taking care of some college boy who's getting stoned to my music
How about that?
He's wearing headphones

O Love, I hear blood drying on the mountain
O Love, this future mountain is still expanding
How about that?
Still expanding!

O Love, stick a needle in a rose thorn
O Love, do what you know that I can handle
Track Name: I Can't Return
I can never return
To the sun-swept future's runway
Where it always was my turn
To become what I could daydream
It's as distant as the star that waits for the evening
And somehow as clear
I can never go back, never go back
Now that you're here
I was never that smart
But I could fit into tiny pieces
I had plans to slip
Into that rocket ship's dark glovebox
But as I watched the rocket's tail dive over the stars
And light began to measure years
I knew I could never go back, never go back
Now that you're here

As long as the sing song's sung on high
So long to the left behind
I wish every man and woman could kiss my wife
Friends you are looking at a man
Who is honestly saved
It ain't hard for me to say it, I'm a man who's saved

I can never go back
To making light out've all that darkness
I really used to really drink it in
I tacked it up besides my Van Gogh posters
But the moment I saw you, my house fell to splinters
And Edgar Allen kissed Edward Lear
I can never go back, never go back
Now that you're here

I can never return
To romancing Big Empty
I'm not saying that the highway isn't real
It just starts and stops at home
One can travel perpendicular to 3D space
It's simpler than it appears
I can never go back, never go back
Now that you're here
Track Name: Down by the Water
Just beside the high beams, this side of darkness
It's all still happening down by the water
Down by the water, out in the moonlight
White teeth sharpening, down by the water

Rooted in the soil, black scratching sky
One look in the finite, one foot in Divine
Down by the water, your sons and daughters

Mile-long love line, mile-long eyelash
Dogs are howling - want to get closer
Down by the water, out in the moonlight
Everything matters down by the water

Rooted in the soil, black scratching sky
One look in the finite, one foot in Divine
Down by the water, doing what they oughta

That's not the weather. That ain't no heartburn
Radiator ain't banging. That ain't no big rig
That's something different down by the water
Go back to sleep now. We're down by the water

Rooted in the soil, black scratching sky
One look in the finite, one foot in Divine
Down by the water