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The Orion Songbook

by Frontier Ruckus

  • Digital Album
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    This release comes in a digipak featuring artwork from singer Matthew Milia, and with an eight-panel insert with all the lyrics from the album.

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released November 6, 2008


all rights reserved


Track Name: Animals Need Animals
The teeth of your black ditch are sweet like the rest
Of the thin-lipped, sharp-hipped
Fierce things that animals show
White like the laughter of smoke in the chest
Long after
The brightness of the fields’ teeth go
The child-mother yells in violent madness
But your tight skin confessed not a vein in your chest
And the way that your breast did hang low

Animals need animals before the winter comes
The metal air swarms across those plains
My long-necked, freckle-specked
Heavy-chested, trust-invested
Sows her breath into my chest and hums
Now what kind of county line
Holds her remains

Your gray frame in winter is delicately hued
The eyes are so wearisome
The greens have all blued
And what could it mean
That they once were so green
And now they’re just starving for food
And I am hungry too
For you
Track Name: The Latter Days
My family does own some land where the river is wide
At night I see my memories dimly dying on the other side
I know that I am now all bitterness and tart
Anatomy to me is a homesick stomach and a broken heart

You rest-stops in the midnight are like friends I’ve worn to bone
I only notice that you’re glowing when I’m feeling so ever alone
Drunken with the children now too many times to complain
Trustful was the mouth I turned into a lustful sopping hole and
Now it’s nothing but a bathtub drain

The latter days are harder than I ever could have known
Come back to retrieve me sometime soon
If the latter days are ending then I hope I’m ending too
And buried someplace where your breath tastes
New to me and always blowing
So my body’s bent and bowing
Deep into the day’s ending in summer
The latter days are always panting like a

All the fleshy statues of the city-square goodbyes
Are flinging smooth-skin trinities and nakedness
Up into my eyes
Naked swan-necked girls, your arching backs into the sun
The highway ditch’s black clouds split
The median and breathing in
Of all the ribs of every bathing one

And in those trash-pit-ponds you bathe and
Oh, how you all gleam
Mindlessly bright where you’re wet in
Your eye-lashing, fluid-splashing, rapid-flashing
Canal-bleaching dream
For me
Track Name: What You Are
You are growing cold and lonely
If only you knew what you are
Our grandfather was a soldier
Now I am older, I know what homes are for

Worried homes have walls
They absorb old phone calls
They spit warm laundry smoke to the cold

But to be a father I must
Take my life and solder
All my neighborhoods of night
To you

You were born into
A pitch-black-nighttime-window-view
The brightest blinding moon came through

That old moon had the cold feet
Over long-gone lawns and streets
But none of those better days do need

You are growing cold and lonely
If only you knew what you are
If only you knew what you are
Track Name: Dark Autumn Hour
Anne, let’s die in some dim town
My brown eyes wait to weigh us down
The candles ’round the tub will drown
In our afternoons

Music from our evening parlor
Darker than the autumn hour
I gave my child twenty dollars
For tearing at our moons

Dark damp men muddied our house
In my dreams to bleed your blouse
I smiled from my sleep to douse
The horror of this hour

Our boy on dark hills blurry crawling
His rain-glazed shaking porches falling
The homes of all his friends just sprawling
Withering like flowers

Anne, I’ve loved you from a boy
No other autumn could destroy
The town our winds fused to enjoy
Whispering dark farmlands

Tearing moons, these moons are tearing
Swearing terror inside their daring
Crumbling prayers, dark autumns faring
Straight out of our hands
Track Name: Mount Marcy
Mount Marcy is growing sparse
She is the farce that I would like to tell
From the bottom of your well

Feel the bushes, brambles rambling
Ample sapling, suckling all the air
And the north from Marcy’s hair

When my death-day comes
When my death-day numbs me
I shall become one
I shall become nothing
And something
Something is the heaven-king for me

Your crucifixion-three-large-hills are
Shadow-making over stilts we built
On the mountain’s silt

Marcy, you’re my favorite love
Seventeen and freckled like a soul
To forget you would be so
Hard on me
Hard on me
Hard on me to cut you from my dream-range

But we shall become one
We shall become nothing
And something
That something is the heaven-king for me!

Birds are chirping, you’re usurping
Things that I would never want to tell
From the top of your landfill

Workers smoking, all evoking
Western counties, full of filth and love
To which you’re bound above

When my death-day comes
For certain, I’ll be sorry
For all that I have done indoors
When outside sons were shining
They are blinding, binding
Reminding me the heaven-king is one
Track Name: The Blood
The black figure of my body above your window as you’re dreaming
I came to wake you and take you up north
The yard was wet, the heavens forget the way things are seeming
For us who must stumble in yards dark as horses

Your dream went like this, John the Baptist came back vapor-veiled
With grand expectations for what he had started
And you couldn’t resist, you gave him the gist about how things failed
And how all but one fire-heart had departed

And that you were her, and you were sure
That you had the Blood, that you had the Blood
That all is made of
And that is alright, that is alright
I can’t think of a better dove
To carry the Blood

The canal was bright, its innards ignite when moon stretches tight
To show the cargo the floating is gliding
The edges are dark, it’s channeled by bark, it carries the mark
Of every speckle of guilt I was hiding

The bathroom does taste of menstruation chasing night-musk through window screen
Like wounded doves all pretty things bleed
Like my highway dream, Judas redeemed for the one kiss he rode on
Our spirits ride canals and never in deeds

Deeds do go, and deeds do not
Carry the Blood, carry the Blood
That all is made of
Carry it right, all through the night
Till you see what we are of
A dove that carries the Blood
Track Name: Bethlehem
Bethlehem is my kind of town
No matter what is born there
Most men find their knees on the ground
Most men find their knees on the ground

And Bethany’s a pilgrim
She’s there by daylight
I thought she was one of the children
But now she’s the mother of dreams I can’t wake from
Now she’s the mother of night

The night lulls in
On biblical lands
And it stands for all I’m missing
And it steals my mind with a half-smile
And it deals the North out in black piles
And it reels me hard ’round the past while
I think maybe I could belong there, too

In Bethlehem, it’s my kind of town
With rooftops where the tar is warm
Where I’m so lonesome I could drown
And no one would kneel themselves down
To fish me
Save maybe Bethany
Track Name: Foggy Lilac Windows
The holes of highway bones are filled
But the tolls of highway loans are billed
To the board of directors of boredom, here

So I slept outside the worried exit
And hurried to avoid the decrepit
Hordes of fallen Lords, I can’t afford’em, dear

But overwhelmed is a laughing word
To say you’ve taken for granted stillness
On an ever-moving planet

Was the glacier’s falling heard
Was the crumbling porch’s utter realness
Made of ash or made of granite?

Oh, I’m so longing for my mama’s kiss
And scratching my old lifetime’s back
That simpleminded tenderness
Is a pity that my searches lack

The graveyard breathes reality
But reality’s blurred outside my gate
No matter if I hesitate
The foggy lilac windows come
And dumb my number one ambition
And it’s too much repetition

The south was knee-deep in the weeds
And I was in a plank-wood parlor
Every flame from every mouth was only worth a dime

Feeling easier to move than shifting reeds
I was wearing my times on my collar
But my colors don’t get bright in season’s time

Your biggest grid did shrink and sink
In one night’s walk of blindness
To foreign sites where bright lights find you out

When evolution is extinct
And lurking is a fossil’s kindness
And there’s no one left under our sun to sign you out

And the piano strings are damp and deep
And the honky-tonk is breaking free
And the second-grader that you keep
Beneath your skin is next to me

Ah, who likes, who plays these games
And who is clutching to the reins
‘Cause I scurried open plains
And the foggy lilac windows come
And dumb my number one ambition
And it’s too much competition

And that bleached canal was rare
And Ma was there
And no one dared to care (about tomorrow)
The road is bare
I go nowhere
And all the joy that I’m aware (is food for sorrow)
The loft upstairs is unprepared
The billboard fields are stoned in pairs
The gravel layers and river dares
And the air is very weary
Track Name: Orion Town 2
I’m going home, I’m smoking my last cigarette
The muffler shop’s shouting that she’s in the city
The North Frozen Landfill I just can’t forget
‘Cause it marks the town of my pity
Orion Town

Oh now Rochester, you son of a bitch
Your psyches and streets are a tumult of achin’
The awkwardest memories I just can’t unstitch
At least they know they’re not forsaken in
Orion Town

I-75 is the swallower of Christmas
The gloom of its gladness is night on our shoulders
Connecting our sorrows like ponds with an isthmus
Frozen and covered with boulders in
Orion Town

The yelling, the holler of the ghost I have squandered
The snow combed tight brightly mirrored false wonder there
That I did follow to the frozen water
As my family stood there and stared at
Track Name: The Back-Lot World
still crackle
Like a motel
Frontier spackle
Summer backyard
Shopping cart
In our shadows
Late-day echoes
Jesus Christ knows your
Freckled heart

To walk North as sun is setting
Hope of getting to
Your ghost-filled brimming field as
The still comes
All those churches
Splint’ring perches
Blacktown searches
Stooping faces
Placing childhoods

It’s a hot-town
Steam from the ground
Roads are unbound
Heart-strung and crowned
Through the lumbered trees
I killed a woman
She had it coming
She was myself and now I am free

Free to love you
You unspooling
When day is cooling rain clouds coming
Are lighter than the night
All is something
Lost in nothing
Your gravelly wiry frightening mind is
Built upon itself

We walk through the Back-Lot World
To the pioneer frontier where you forgot dear
Nights you should hold
Track Name: Rosemont
Oh I know everybody here’s been dying to get back to Rosemont Street
But that road was made of flesh and now it’s dead and now it’s beat
The sun burnt past every rock across the street from that cracked lot
Detroit air just breaths away and that sun died in a petrified way
Onto the driveway, table napkins blown away
Into the alleyway and summer is the strangest time of day

I’ve seen beauty far upstate
A century is all it takes
To turn a homestead to the ground
But there is one thing that I found
I ain’t seen these things in vain

And deep outside the siren’s wailing far from me on the still night
And through the yards the spores are sailing on the toes of those dreams in flight
To the north
Back and forth
Our moments make us off-ramp islands where language tramps and falls to silence
To forget
The T.V. set
And images of stranger feelings rape our walls and wallpaper our ceilings

I’ve seen beauty far upstate
A century is all it takes
To turn a homestead to the ground
But there is one thing that I found
I ain’t seen these things in vain

I was born to the lawnmower’s crying
And the drying of our gilded lot
Trust in God when our roofs are sighing, again
And the hill is crying thanks a lot
Watertowers are drunker than grandfathers
But they’re equally happy
All that’s golden was once eternally unfolding
Now dusktime is the glimpse to see it

But I’m a bursting piece, a questioning priest, like a politician out east
I’ve seen swimming pools full of darkness, on the brightest moonlit nights
And I’ve seen fairgrounds, heard their sounds, and in that ground lies just what I’ve found
Basements are now all we got with decade shades and days that rot
Landbirds flew over my head, flag at half mast no one is dead
Oh I know that that’s not true, but we’re so desperate, what else can we do?

I’ve seen beauty far upstate
A century is all it takes
To turn a homestead to the ground
But there is one thing that I found
I ain’t seen these things in vain

And everybody dying here has made it back to Rosemont Street
The roses shake, the sidewalk aches and
Detroit air is hissing at our feet
Track Name: Orion Town 3
Smoking Turkish cigarettes in
The thumb of the midwest when
The sulfur fills the trees
On the fourth of July
You and I
We travel the gravel going home

Home sweet home, home my brother
Not one mind hones to another
Take these tones, and try to color me
And the liquor lotto store
The bathroom floor
See, we unravel like travels
Drunk and sore
Track Name: Adirondack Amish Holler
So I am the eyes
That my father cried out
In our swamp sunk with doubt
In the dark yards of North Country aging uncles
Caught in the summer horrid
Endless and fluttered torrid
But all of my ditches
Were buzzing green as I grew taller

Family don’t know that
I’ve seen the road end
Far past the bridges where
Salt thaws out to the river
There on the roadside
Passing by I spied
Billboards that relied on
Only I to deliver
The dusk to the years
And old mirrors, in here

Now those windows still bring back memories
Supermarket rusting through the trees
Hearts drawn on invisibilities, like these
Aching spring please bring a ring
For the powder songs these orchards sing
And that shall string the one thing I have left

In Adirondacka, you are the fire escape alley gleaming
I’ve shed your red valleys dreaming
Of spring-town streets and pink-sky sheets
Adirondacka, harmonicas were blowing through the fairgrounds, darling
Life blows their scary sounds on us
But that is why the spirits fly in Adirondacka

So my twitching girl
When I kissed you our dock had been broken
And every word spoken
Were desperate desire seeds
Sown in your raging hair
Blown to your face so fair
But I died five lifetimes
Before I breathed just what I needed

No place is safe no more
‘Cept sometimes in my door
I have something that no one else ever touches
Oh Adirondacka, dust bowl harmonicas
Blew through poor houses
And all sorts of awkward crutches

The city hall poplars soon perfumed of death
The kitchen yellows soon paled every breath
The afternoon lethargy makes our home cleft, and left
Open wide as barns divide the supper swamp and gentle pride
From every side as sunset is upset

In America, the mayor comes
And walks among the green-park benches
Dreams are just like endless trenches
It quenches me halfheartedly
Adirondacka, I am the water you are pumping
The town-end glades are up and jumping
The narrow road, my past implodes in episodes that I’ve forgotten

We love our families
We love our twilight trees
We love our memories
Salt pours out to the river

There on the swamp edge
Skies north of the mountains
My eyes pulse like fountains
And salt pours out to the river

Kiss you in eye-gulps
As my piny heart yelps
In no other manner
Could salt pour out to the river
At dinnertime
Track Name: The Deep-Yard Dream
Most of my dreams are robberies
The family dies the child flees
Through backyards filled with enemies and
Fences fleshed by panicked knees and
Freedom is the deep-night there
The hurried-flight emergencies
Hospital-hell tragedies are finding me in countries
So far
From my home
So hard
The night’s grown
And it seems to holler and glow
So long

The neighborhood is ceaseless where
Backyards kiss like memories and
Nothing is like the hot nightmare of
Hearing them in melodies and
Dangerous cars pull in our driveway
Blast their brights into our windows and
Though they don’t have guns or knives they
Fill me with a fear that takes me
So far
From my home
So hard
The night’s grown
And it seems to holler and glow
So long

So when the backyards finally end
You’ll find me on dark-highway, send
My fear to all the highwaymen at
The foot of the dark-highway bending
Back into a home again
A driveway lit like a dead-end for
So long