OH TALL TREE IN THE EAR

by Roman Candle

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1.
There's a pine warbler sitting on a hollow limb he seems to have the whole morning out right in front of him and everything he sings from the branch that he's sitting on seems to hush the leaves and the colors all around. First he sings and then he goes. And what it means? It's hard to know. Baby works down right off of Barbur Blvd and writes down everything on the back of a business card. Everything she writes will turn into a song or two, she puts it on the stage and all goes still. Now if she sings a forest clear, she puts a tree right in your ear. Now why can't it stay with me? Why don't you tell me cause it makes a fool of me Well Eden was a garden you know. The birds were in the trees until the place was gone they scattered to the wind and then they just kept moving on. Just the other night the clocks were moving awful slow. I heard a woman's voice coming up from the street below. I got up from my bed, the song was so enrapturing and found my real to reel just to see if I could capture - by the time I turned it on, and turned an ear that voice was gone. Now why can't it stay with me? Why don't you say it cause it makes a fool of me Well Eden was a garden you know the birds were in the trees until the place was gone they scattered to the wind and then they just kept moving on.
2.
Baby let's take a ride tonight, just you and me and the dancehall light. We'll ride out to Albuquerque and see what's waiting there for you and me. All of our friends have left this town and there ain't no reason to stay around unless you want to smoke weed and sit on the ground. Honey it ain't for me. Sometimes a whistling train will make me want to go. Sometimes it's music playing on my radio. Sometimes we gambled and the money never showed. But everyplace we end up seems to lead to one more road Let's ride on out to where the sand is white and the moon is high on the windowlight We'll watch while the nighttime see is pearled and walk outside and sleep on the world. When the sun comes up on are car so brown you'll look me up and I'll eye you down and we'll be grateful to the bones we're not waking up in the same old bed with the same old luck Sometimes a whistling train is warning in advance Sometimes it's music from another room by chance Sometimes in spite of everything that we've endeared The longer that we hang around the longer it gets weird. Baby let's take a ride tonight while the highway's got nobody in sight. We'll pull off to the side if we get tired, and we'll try to get fed or we'll try to get hired. I've got no desire to run on forever with a romanced hobo heart that tarries but i'm going to take this slot machine by the lever and hope that we pull down three big cherries. I've walked the spanish steps across the streets of Rome. We sat and listened while the old brown river flowed. All trying to find connection looking for a home, but every place we end up seems to lead to one more road. Sometimes a whistling train will make me want to go, Sometimes it's music playing on my radio. Oh baby doll in spite of all that we've endeared, the longer that we hang around the longer it gets weird.
3.
I was down at my favorite watering hole with a buddy of mine that was out on parole and we were flipping through the jukebox, talking how we’d been and how we are. He’d got a library card and he’d pierced his tongue and a buddy in prison had turned him onto Neil Young and he thought that it’d be best to play some for the entire bar. Now he didn’t know, but while he was in jail, I’d had my heart broken by a woman to wondrous to tell and we‘d fallen in love to half the songs that jukebox played. So when he flattened his dollar on the side of the machine and I saw “Comes a Time” come on the karaoke screen I’d realized there was a couple things I had forgot to say: Don’t play Neil Young Don’t play Van Morrison Just let some high school emo band start versing and chorusing Because there’s no way it will break my heart as far as I can see and that’s why modern radio is A OK with me. He said a pop song used to be a powerful thing, you could turn on the a.m. and John Lennon would sing or Frank Sinatra would be talking to all of the girls. And you could think like a hawk or think like a dove or think of a winter afternoon when you fell in love and ten songs on a record sounded like a string of pearls. Now my buddy rattled on till an hour'd gone by and I thought to spit a mouthful of beam in his eye, maybe leave him for dead, but a friend is a friend to stay. So I listened to him talk about Johnny and June And how "I don't know where I stand" is a true love tune I bought another round just in time to hear him say: They don’t play Sam Cooke They don’t play Merle Watson They just trade some Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham for a broke-down Datsun. And there’s no way it'll break my heart as far as I can see – And that’s why modern radio is a sack of monkeys to me. He said it makes me so mad I want to get up and shout it and I smiled and said I hadn’t thought that much about it We walked out the street and parted ways. I might‘ve gone to a movie, but my money was spent so I went on home, and Lord knows where he went but I wrote myself a letter to all modern dj’s: Don’t play Bob Dylan Don’t play "Loose Ends" Don’t play anybody that’s ever read Sir Patrick Spens Because there’s no way it'll break my heart as far as I can see – And that’s why modern radio is a-ok with me.
4.
THEY SAY 04:17
Outside the big red sky is getting dim shooting pool and talking, making new friends. But in the morning they're coming around and in the evening they're bringing me down I started asking what are these words in their lungs if there's a time, if there's a time to be young They say it's over. Found my way in the morning out the door in the dark soft rain and cops chasing a kid through the park and in the evening feeling so tired in my shirt and in the morning walking the hallways at work, you start believing all of these tunes being hummed if there's a time, if there's a time to be young They say it's over. Oh Baby it ain't. Well people talk talk talk and their hearts are getting weathered they remind you with a grin now that nothing lasts forever, well I've spent a lot of time a lot of time I've been stuck and I can tell you what they're saying when they tell you good luck, they say it's over. They say it's over. Oh Baby it ain't.
5.
BIG LIGHT 03:57
Sometimes I get a little lost. And the good life is so hard to see. Sometimes all I can see is the cost when the prize standing right in front of me. And it ain't easy to get along when you've got things going wrong and there is no luck to be found besides. Spend my natural prime, thinking money and time, wondering where they go, and they go. That's when I need you to put me in line. Come tell me something, any words are fine. Fill up these four walls with old melodies. Let me know if the big light is shining on me. Some nights when the wind is blowing soft, it's been so long since a dream filled my head, there's a beauty in every streetlight and every moth, but all I want to do is lay down in bed. And it's along road to travel down when nothing good seems to stay around and I'm a solitary man with my pride at the end of my mind, talking unkind feeling in the dark, in the dark. That's when I need you to put me in line. come tell me something. any words are fine. fill up these four walls with old melodies and let me know if the big light is shining on me. That's when I need some time spent with you. Come tell me something. Any words will do. Fill up these four walls with old melodies and let me know if the big light is shining on me.
6.
SONNET 46 01:55
Some freezing rain is falling on my shoulder and a winter wind is blowing through each lung. Some things about this weather make me older some things about it make me feel so young. There's a quarter moon that knows the hours i'm keeping and a glittered highway showing back its light. There's a baby at home in my room that's sleeping and a woman that won't be alone tonight. So let the lads and lad-ettes keep Ibiza and morning walks home, cocktail on their chin. I'll spill my own drink listening to Aretha with my girl and a fireplace in our den If being young is one prolonged farewell I'll find it undiminished somewhere else.
7.
A HEARTBEAT 02:51
Every night I'm staring out my window wondering what to do. I ask myself what would you think about me if you only knew that I'm looking for a little more than a drink and a walk up the street, and I've got something more in mind when I get you in the passenger seat. I've got a heartbeat baby a heartbeat baby that belongs to you I've got a heartbeat baby a heartbeat baby and there's nothing I can do When I was young my mama sat me down and told me how it goes You'll walk the world but most of what you're looking for is under your nose. Now I've spent plenty of time getting lost in the citites where the hours disappear and I've got something more that's burning up my neck and pounding in my ears. One cup of coffee, two shots of whiskey neat, ambulance sirens blasting down a side street, here you come a walking like a punch right to the gut but I guess until I tell you then I have to keep my mouth shut. And listen to the heartbeat baby a heartbeat baby that belongs to you I've got a heartbeat baby a heartbeat baby and there's nothing I can do.
8.
Well I woke up this morning with love in my heart. It'd been a long time, It'd been a long time. Well I woke up this morning with love in my heart. You know it's so hard to find it. It's good to be reminded. I was moving around my empty hotel room. I had the front door open wide at 4 o'clock in the afternoon It had rained all night and the leaves dripped on the tree the whole day felt straight ahead, and not a bit of it belonged to me And I'm not sure if it's anything to do with you And I'm not sure if I'll feel it again, or forget. And I'm not sure if it's anything to do with you but if I had to bet, but if I had to bet. I woke up this morning, everything tastes good to me: Captain's wafers from the hotel bar, a styrofoam full of lipton tea. I could see the pavement where the sun was shining hot making little heat waves of rainbow across that empty parking lot Well I woke up this morning with love in my mind. I had started to wonder I had started to wonder. I know a thousand people that will tell how the end of the whole song goes. I'm thinking that nobody knows. I'm thinking that nobody knows.
9.
I WAS A FOOL 04:10
Out in the evening past the bridge and below frogs and cicadas left and right growling low. I've spent so much time round here when spring is done been here a thousand times, not heard a single one. Birds in the morning while I'm shoveling the snow coffee pot wheezing soft as my stereo All of the things I've had whether I've known or not All of the things I've known and then somehow forgot When I was young riding aound beer in my lap, one window down bird in the tree, kiss on the mouth I thought that I had figured it out I was a fool. Then I met you. Dusk was the longest hour when I was a kid. Beautiful things sometimes can seem pretty hid. Funny the things that make you want to walk the land are the things sometimes you barely understand. Found lots of crooked road before I found you hard to curse any road but sometimes you do. Feeling all strung out, drawn up from head to gut I was calling out, I didn't know for what When I was young riding aound beer in my lap, one window down bird in the hand, kiss on the mouth I thought that I had figured it out All of these things so hard to find up in my face, lost to my mind hand on the knee, kiss in the mouth I thought that I had figured it out I was a fool.
10.
It's a long walk down from my door to the Cadogan Hotel but I make it every night when the sky gets dark. The serpentine is black and doesn't show a single star And I'm just off work and walking through the park. Girls in evening clothes are talking on the phone, Got their bags from knightsbridge and their walking home. Can't distract me honey I know where I'm going to sit down with a g & t and watch the night so long. Well the drinks they pour at this bar never run too cheap and I've got no plans to meet anyone it's clear. But the history in this postal code runs deep, and it might be lost on most of the ones in here I can't say for certain honey where I'm bound. I've got no rich relations, got no extra time. But when they shut this bar tonight I know I'm going to walk down by the riverbank and watch the night so fine. I don't know how other folks get by. But there's one thing that I've learned for fact. There's a music you can only hear when you're starting from scratch. A roach's wings are fluttering soft and clear in the midnight of this quiet flat. There's a music you can only hear when you're starting from scratch.
11.
EARLY AUBADE 03:40
I'd like to thank all of the stars just for shining out tonight like a hundred scattered eyes in the aether. I know that it ain't normal thanking stars but it ain't normal seeing stars outshine the London streetlights either. So make up your old bed and check the drawers for clothes cause everything outside the world is telling us it's time it's to go. I could wish against the dawn of day, sit and wish that we could stay in this room we could wait till the tears come. Oh but that don't work for me and you doing things the way we do it'd be a conch shell stuck to our eardrum. With every passing minute as a faint heard roar of a rolling ocean talking about some road we'd never seen before. I've often wondered about a room, about these four walls standing, keeping better folks than us from the cold rain. Wondering if every joke that's told, every cigarette that's rolled, every song sung, sinks in the wood grain. If every whisper on the floor and every christmas carol saturates the surface like the whiskey soaking into a barrel. Now If I could I'd pull them down every wall by the panel and I'd build a tree in our back garden. Maybe we could sit beneath it naked reading Paradise Lost while the green leaves color and harden. But watch now how the sun is gathering in the blinds and the time is coming quick for you and me to leave this big old room behind. Now when the roses bloom this year and our soul's up in our ears with some newer music sung in a strange place. oh and all the songs will move through us, giving music to the thrush and every trash can alley a new face, we'll let them linger to their end and watch them go without grieving cause that music as it moves, will let you understand it best when it's leaving. And the last thing we'll leave is a love song for this vacant room sunk in the walls, and trapped like the ocean enshelled - with everything else we ever exhaled.

about

Sonnets To Orpheus: I

A tree ascended there. Oh pure transendence!
Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear!
And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence
a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.

Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright
unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests;
and it was not from any dullness, not
from fear, that they were so quiet in themselves,

but from just listening. Bellow, roar, shriek
seemed small inside their hearts. And where there had been
at most a makeshift hut to receive the music,

a shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing,
with an entryway that shuddered in the wind-
you built a temple deep inside their hearing.

R.M. Rilke 1922

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released May 12, 2009

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