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Way Upstate and the Crippled Summer, Pt. 2

by Frontier Ruckus

Mona’s buying milk and honey From the summer bins in Milford Market Outside the door at six The green bulb clicks On I work nine to five around the hiss Of the ice box compartment When I punch out I want to set The night to bitter flames a-lickin’ The town and all the passion stricken down And Emmy’s twenty years removed now From that morning in July When her father held her in his arms And dipped her freckled neck down ‘neath The river water as flies Were darkening the brightness And all of the baptismal whiteness But darling all those of our likeness Were born so very ready to live And to die I know my way through the neighborhoods From Mona’s house to the interstate I know my way to the greatest things we got Traveling acts, they leave their sounds For railroad tracks in other towns But I want to hold to something longer Something meaner, something stronger At eleven thirty the town’s alone, again And Emmy used to say she loved me Used to be oh so proud of me When she saw her father in my eyes When I dipped her golden head down ‘neath The river water swimming The pine shine all was dimming The kitchen panes were pitch-dark within I thought we were only kidding till Your father cried Mona, you’re my only friend We could take the interstate Though you know the interstate dead-ends Will it lead us to the milk and honey Is the Promised Land just a funny Way to say the strangeness never ceases? ‘Cause Emmy, you have baptized me to pieces © Matthew Milia
I know your blurry winter roads Like the back of the hand that is Michigan But the things they do to me Is something I will never see It’s something I will never understand She will be standing there ‘Neath the frozen bluff The moon’s legs will come skating Down the hill intimidating And I’ll be harmed by what I’ve farmed in my Nightmares Clothes do so very little When the cold’s coming from the heart Homes are in the middle Of the years that are departed In the horror, in the terror, in the helpless Selfishness I found in me She will be standing there ‘Neath the frozen bluff The moon’s legs will come skating Down the hill intimidating And I’ll be harmed by what I’ve farmed in my Nightmares © Matthew Milia
And I remember the song I used to sing “I belong among the weeds Amidst the overhanging trees,” I would sing And you should remember the song you used to sing “I belong atop the road Where the lapping seeds were sowed,” You would sing for me And I remember the storm was wet like birth And the hail would lick the weeds And the battling of trees Above the earth And you should remember the air grew calm and thick We would lay among wet weeds And the drops dripped from the trees Onto our faces, sticking Like the weeds © Matthew Milia
Ogallala 04:29
Take me to Ogallala Where I’m still a new face Where I have a good case That I am sincere Where that night is calling Where the snow is thawing Where I have no fear I remember haunting the darkened landfills The stars were smoke But they spoke in short shrills I held a firm hand But she turned to lake sand, falling The trees, the trees were tombstone markers They kissed each other, blowing darker In some childhood loss Elastic chaos Take me to Ogallala Where everything real is reeling Where the transience is healing Where I stand on my own Where the wood planks line the floor And no one knows the horror Of the truth I did disown The moon can light those trees in many layers The highway to Ogallala bears Five-thousand lakeshores Five-thousand new doors frozen The towns I haunt, the world I’m needing Is just Ogallala’s child bleeding On that dark-shore gaze Inside my doorways The intensity, I know, comes in splatters But the dreams I see Are still all that matters And oh, it’s a great thing to see my road exist And when my intensity’s consistent I’ll lead you down, I’ll take your wrist To Ogallala Our houses in the snow are filled with patters But the homes I’ve known Have been blown to tatters But the homes I’ve known, they still exist And when these nighttime lives escape me I’ll see them there, the homes I’ve kissed In Ogallala. © Matthew Milia
Epiphanies or revelations Too tired to label The fix to your situation Ah, but you saw the sky Today and tomorrow You love me when I’m gone But don’t you Run off too far, though It’s nice to Have someone to miss Surprise me once, show me you know me If I was mistaken, I’m sorry I ain’t looking to last Where the sidewalk fixtures’ Shadows are cast As rosebush songs paint me pictures Such sterling mixtures of glory I just want a love that will stay when I turn My back to Saint Lawrence, to see what Torrents I can burn So my love will learn that I love her At the bottom of Dollar Lake is an old truck And the boards from the bar where my folks first got drunk And all kinds of litter that flickered and then sunk To the shallows of our town’s lagoon Where I say “How could you love me When I am so frightened By the phantoms of my mind and how they are tightened Around all that I find in this world that’s brightened By a magic so tragic each day?” Aw, but love don’t exist neath the realest of coffins And real ain’t a place that we’ll have to dwell often Epiphanies will tumble and soften till Love’s all that’s left to be found It’s the epitomes of revelations You’ll all choose the latter But be so much gladder With your salvation in the sand And the fear of sincerity is a disgrace The shadows of your mind should not take the place When the turquoise that you find is the kind of trace That binds to the skin Inside and within The light that shines behind your face Our heads are dead in the dread of tomorrow And when the sky clears our fears will be hollow Your suburbs are seasons darkening and sullen The harbors are fleeting, the waters are swollen The theater’s erupting, the midway is caving The streets all connect in a way that needs saving The parking lot trees are bending and rotten And so you are too for the love that you’ve gotten And forgotten Epiphanies You’ve forgotten © Matthew Milia


"Way Upstate & the Crippled Summer, pt. 2" is a conclusion to an important piece of symmetry in early Frontier Ruckus mythology. As "pt. 1" is found within "The Orion Songbook" deluxe double-vinyl, "pt. 2" lies therein that of "Deadmalls & Nightfalls". You might say this summery (and by an inherent antithetical nature, icily wintery) document provides denouement to that era marked by the childhood songs of Frontier Ruckus.


released November 1, 2011

all songs by Matthew Milia, Orion Songs (ASCAP)

Matthew Milia—songs, voice, guitar, pedal steel, harmonica
David Jones—banjo, voice
Zachary Nichols—brass, singing-saw, melodica
Ryan "Smalls" Etzcorn—drums, percussion

Anna Burch—voice
Ryan Hay—piano, Hammond organ
John Krohn—bass on 1, 2, 4
Brian Barnes—bass on 5

produced by Frontier Ruckus
recorded, engineered, mixed, mastered by Jim Roll at Backseat Productions in Ann Arbor, MI mostly in April 2009, finished in early 2011

artwork by Matthew Milia and Richard Maisano


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Frontier Ruckus Detroit, Michigan

Michigan band inviting you to enter a dense & dimming world.

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