On Shower Walls

by Stephen Wordsmith

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about

Variations on a theme of ensuring that those odd little flashes of shower philosophy and literary insight do not escape and become lost forever.

You can only write a story only you can write. The Time to write is now.

This album is dedicated to the memory of Paul 'Hoopshank' Turrell, without whom the world is a lamentably less mad place.

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released March 1, 2017

See individual tracks for artist credits and websites.

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Stephen Wordsmith Wellington, New Zealand

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Track Name: John Crossman - You
You enter the pines from the outskirts
But eat pie from the inside out
You lose your power to fly
The moment you begin to doubt
You've only ever succeeded
Through pretending when sleep is near
You've only seen one sunset
And it's been setting for billions of years

CHORUS
You laugh, you love, you push, you thrive
You cry, you love, you struggle, survive
Sometimes you succeed
And sometimes you fall
You will either be you or nothing at all

If you live threescore years and ten
Surviving all and sundry
You'll have languished for a decade
In the prison we call 'Monday'
You're all you'll ever have - to
Compromise would be a crime
Your name is your name only -
One day it will slip
From a muttering lip
For the last and final time

CHORUS

BRIDGE

Someday
Someone like you
Might just like you
And hold you close
They'll see
The best of you
The worst of you
And they'll choose both

CHORUS

You laugh, you love, you push, you thrive
You cry, you love, you struggle, survive
Sometimes you extinguish
Sometimes you ignite
You can only write a story only you can write
Track Name: Klaus - Said Father to Kate
Said father to Kate
'You arrived very late
Kept us up until seven AM

We were worried, you see
Your poor mother and me
I don't want this to happen again'

'But father', said kate, said kate, said she
'It never can happen again'

Said father to Kitty
'A terrible pity
You always were good as a lass

But there's no debating
That you kept us waiting
'twas truly a pain in the ass!

'But father, said kitty, said kitty, said she
'It can never again come to pass -

Dear father, I swear, as sure as I'm here
It can never again come to pass'

...

Said father to katie
'Your burden was weighty
We didn't know what we could do

It felt like a crime
To go through it one time
I don't think our hearts could take two!'

'But father, said katie, said katie, said she
'It never again can ensue'

Said father to kat
'You know where my heart's at
All wounded and rent into chunks

You've hurt me and mum
Perhaps the time's come
For you to start packing your trunks!

'Oh father', said kat, said kat, said she
Desist with this being a dunce -

For pity's own sake, please give me a break
I can only be born bloody once!
Track Name: Izaak Alexander - A Curious Thing
A curious thing, the umbrella
Its ruse overfloweth my cup
I'm told it can go up a chimney down
But not down a chimney up

A curious thing is the leggy
Such wonderment never will stop
It hasn't a top at the bottom
But a bottom, indeed, at the top

A curious thing, the birdkeeper
Confounding the cleverest sage
It's known he can cage any swallow
But he plainly can't swallow a cage

A curious thing, this election
In sating my ponderous thirst
To make presidents of first ladies
We must make lady presidents, first!
Track Name: Woody Muller - Tilt-slab Phoenix
From rack and ruin and rubble
Empty lots on empty routes
The seed of modern architecture
Germinates and shoots
Arising from the ashes
With the splendour of a king
Like a glassy, boxy, cornered
Tilt-slab phoenix
Sort of thing

A thousand walls of windows
But without a single ledge
These sentinels of steel
Rub their shoulders, edge to edge
To every block encircle
Squarely as a boxing ring
Like a glassy, boxy, cornered
Urban stonehenge
Sort of thing

And all that once had stood before
Lies scattered on this forest's floor
A testament unto the dates
Where souls were snatched by shifting plates
And history, I'm sore afraid
Was all at once destroyed and made
Yet what serves as their epitaph?
A hundred hueless photographs
In stolid frames on solid walls
In boxy, cornered, tilt-slab halls

But seek - and you might find it
Where no mixer churns at all
A pool of former glories
Midst the concrete waterfalls
Where a scattered church will whisper
'I survived - and that's enough'
Little lonesome gothic diamond
In a rightly-angled rough

From rack and ruin and rubble
Empty lots on empty streets
A stirred and shaken city
Clambers to its dusty feet
To rise up from the ashes
With the splendour of a king
Like a glassy, boxy, cornered
Shiny, classy, prop'ly ordered
Sharply winged and softly bordered
Tilt-slab phoenix
Sort of thing
Track Name: Wobbie Wobbit & Susan Chewter - I Thought I Found a Song
In an old trunk in the attic
I thought I found a song
Entrapped within its canvas cell
A prisoner far too long

I turned the key within the lock
So gently raised the lid
The song returned my startled gaze
And this is what it did:

It yawned, it blinked, before my eyes
It tenderly unfurled
It drifted from its confines
Set out into the world

*instrumental refrain*

Although it was from darkness
That it crept, it showed no fear
Around my mind's eye soft it swirled
Alighting on my ear

Where, in the deepest recess
Of my wrinkled matter grey
A band of former centuries
Took arms, began to play

They told a testimonial
With rhythm strong and true
A bygone world of black-and-white
Discerned through eyes of blue

*instrumental refrain*

And when the band was finished
All things ended, as they must
The air again fell silent
As the falling of the dust

My eyes then chanced to settle
On the prison whence it came
A photo of a girl appeared
A face without a name

In the old trunk in the attic
Where I thought I found a song
And a girl with eyes of sapphire
Knew alone I wasn't wrong
Track Name: @Barbara - Made of Tree
Look, Look
I have a book
Of pages ninety-three
A caper
Stamped in paper
Made of tree, made of tree

Snip, snap
It's time to wrap
And tape it up with glee
With jolly
Men and holly
Made of tree, made of tree

It's not hard
To write the card
To father, love from me
With no stencil
But a pencil
Made of tree, made of tree

Then lock it
In this pocket
To maintain the mystery
It'll cope
This envelope
All made of tree, made of tree

Complacent
I'll then place it
With a fellow gift or three
No wonder
It's all under
This great tree, this great tree

And ignore
This thought that gnaws
That one day we might just be
Caught bereft
With nothing left
That's made of tree, made of tree
Track Name: Nadia Cripps & Dawn Nguyen - Horizon
She lay down in the sand
On a warm summer night
Her breath hung in a mist
On the horizon

She clutched at her neck
At an unbroken chain
As she saw the next link
On the horizon

Then she took with the shackle
Her life in her hand
And she drew a deep breath
On the horizon

And the night air eddied with tragic magic

She succumbed to the drag
Of an unbroken chain
Pulling her ever near
The horizon

As she lay in the sand
On a warm summer night
And she saw her last sun
On the horizon
Track Name: Sapient - Self-perpetual Rebirth Spider
SWELL!
ROAR!
SPAWN!
TEAR!

CRAWL!
BITE!
SUCK!
TEAR!

SWELL!
ROAR!
SPAWN!
TEAR!

CRAWL!
BITE!
SUCK!
TEAR!

SELF!
PERPETUAL!
REBIRTH!
SPIDER!

SELF!
PERPETUAL!
REBIRTH!
SPIDER!

An end to myself, untold generations
A thousand forefathers with mad mastications
To pluck out your eyes, and suck out your juices
An infinite web, resistance is useless

CHORUS

I'm legion, I'm lethal, I leave no survivors
I crawl and enthral you with delicate fibres
I feast upon fear and take pleasure in pain
I'm one, I'm a million, I cannot be slain

CHORUS

I NEVER DIE!
I MULTIPLY!
SPIDER AM I!
AND I TERRIFY! x2

I've eggs for expanding And silk for enthralling
A venomous cycle of poison and crawling
A thousand forefathers and legions of children
I cannot be slain, I am one, I'm a million

CHORUS
Track Name: The Pannacotta Army - Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Deftly alit from the steaming train
Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Soon enough ne'er to be seen again

Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Breathed in the night air cloaked in myst'ry
Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Soon to be sent to the realm of hist'ry

The weary typewriter went chinkity-chun!
A t wandered errant - too late, it was done!
One, two, and the ribbon reluctantly spun
And started again from the square we call one

Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Planted a heel at the platform's rim
Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Vanishing soon in the air so dim

Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Visions of murderers crossed her mind
Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Soon to the depths to be consigned

The weary typewriter went clickety-clack!
A J wandered errant - alas and alack!
One, two, and the scissors went snickety-snack!
She left the world, never to be coming back!

Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Held in a hasty finger's thrall
Kristjana Guttmundsdottir
Sent to hell in a paper ball

Girl detective Anna Johnsson
Deftly alit from the steaming train
Our new hero Anna Johnsson
A soul reborn with a simpler name

(A soul reborn with a simpler name)
Track Name: Aquino - No Footprints
O'er the vast, edgeless desert
I walk on, step by step
Though the heat wavers never
Still I walk, step by step
And upon the seven thousandth pace
I stop, and turn my weathered face
To see the carved horizon line
But no footprints of mine

Every grain of the burnt sand
Lies at peace, all as one
Stretching out through this vast land
Safe at rest, all as one
And I see for seven thousand miles
This bronze cathedral's endless aisles
Call forth to the horizon line
But no footprints of mine

Yet every foot I lay down
Leaves an imprint in its wake
And each eye misses nothing
As this barren earth they rake
And every speck along my course
Lies undisturbed by outside force
From here to the horizon line
Still I see no footprints of mine

*instrumental*

O'er the vast, edgeless desert
I walk on, step by step
Though the cold wavers never
Still I walk, step by step
And upon the seven thousandth pace
I stop, and turn my weathered face
To see the carved horizon line
But no footprints of mine

Every flake of the soft snow
Lies at peace, all as one
Stretching out through this vast land
Safe at rest, all as one
And I see for seven thousand miles
This white cathedral's endless aisles
Call forth to the horizon line
But no footprints of mine

Yet every foot I lay down
Leaves an imprint in its wake
And each eye misses nothing
As this barren earth they rake
And every speck along my course
Lies undisturbed by outside force
From here to the horizon line
Still I see no footprints of mine
Track Name: Alex Klages - The North Road and the South Wind
The north road
Met the south wind
At the east gate of West Haim

And said
'What ho, fool south wind
We're one, we are the same!

Why bear with you this label
O queen of wicked weather?
'tis north where we are going
Come, let us go together'

The south wind
Kissed the north road
While vaporously grinning

And said
'My name, dear North road
Describes our shared beginning

Why bear with you this label
O king of twisty-turny?
'tis south where we have come from
Let's carry on our journey

The north road
And the south wind
Blustered for all they were worth

When forthwith
Came a rumbling voice
From deep within the earth

'Why bear you both these labels?
Fie, end this foolish tryst!
You cling like fleas to North and South
For me, these don't exist.

So carry on your chosen path
In sweet collaboration
Your journey's more important
Than the start or destination.'

The north road
And the south wind
Heard the great orb as it spoke

Then joined themselves together
Dusty arm in misty cloak

And moved forever onwards
Striding forth to who knows where

While a veil of blessed stillness
Hung about the silent air
Track Name: Pete Murphy - (One) Nightstand
Through a flickering eye
We see no surprises
As the day breaks,
A soul wakes
And the sun rises
On the prison she's known
Since the day she was twenty
Black curtains, black carpet,
Double bed, mostly empty
Single chair, lying waiting
In the shape of a hand
Two nightlamps, one broken
On one nightstand

Once again comes the night
Five pound cab, Ten pound entry
The same prison she's known
Since the day she was twenty
Black dress, black stilettos
Double shot, mostly empty
Singles night, single-minded
She stands...
Heart in throat, drink in hand
Soon to be in for much more
Than one might stand

But tonight, he'll surprise her
The next one to entice her
Will be different this time
Strong and kind, rather nicer
Altogether...
And perhaps, God willing, even willing to receive
Her suggestion
that they leave
Without question
Together...

They'll cast off their clothing
And cares
Casting glances
And shadows
And passionate stares
While casting their magic
Together...
As the night sky is torn
By the hands of the morning
Two lovers now lie
In a dream, softly seen
Through a flickering eye
Together...

Then one might stand
And go...

...

And the flickering light
Reveals no surprises
As the day breaks,
A soul wakes
And the sun rises

Not on a soulmate

But the prison she's shared
With a cellmate
or twenty
Same curtains, same carpet
Double bed, mostly empty
And a life she could hold
In the palm of her hand
And one heart, unbroken

And one nightstand
Track Name: Geoff Geis & Erin Natrin - Little Star
Little star
You twinkle twinkle
And our brows
We once would wrinkle
As we wondered
What you were

Little star

Now thanks
To the march of physics
We're much less inclined
To quiz it
Our passions
No longer stirred

Little star

Its a shame
That due to science
We now act
With swift defiance
When we're faced
With mystery

Little star

Star by any
Nomenclature
But the riddle
Of your nature
Cast aside
To History

Little star

Knit within
The womb of fusion
Help us shatter
Disillusion
Let us see you
Through the lens
Of children
Or a bygone men

Keep us looking up
afar
Let us wonder
what you are.

Twinkle,
Twinkle,
Little star
Track Name: Ankari - On Shower Walls
A home is where the heart is
For all the charm it lacks
Like carpeting or ceilings
Or walls devoid of cracks
What would it take a soul to make
A house a home again?
The tradesman has his paintbrush
The writer has her pen

Your aching walls of plaster bare
Transform, as now you write
A scribbling pad without an end
A canvas infinite
Where every theme and narrative
Will spindily unfold
Across the holey weatherboards
To help keep in the cold

CHORUS
So fill your home with words alone
From each wall to the next
A cunning swarm of cuneiform
A tapestry of text
With every phrase from bygone days
The tales of why and how
Reborn as scrawls on shower walls
The time to write is now

A splash of paint will one day fade
The best wallpaper tears
A lockwood wall, however strong
Begins to show its years
And every steadfast picture glass
Will not forever last
For earthly objects come and go
But stories always are

So set your pen in motion
From each wallpaper rip
Let every letter of your songs
Come flowing from its tip
And soon your house a home will be
Emblazoned from your mind
Unleash the scrawls on shower walls
Let joy be unconfined
Track Name: BONUS: Hoops - I do my Best Sleeping in Lectures
Forgive me, if this class you take
Will see my concentration break
For pressures real and demons fake
Conspired to keep my soul awake
All through the yawning night

Oh, teacher of humanities
Your vanity's insanity
It borders on profanity
Five words of your inanity
And I'm out like a light

I do all my best sleeping in lectures
Couldn't care less for your crooked conjectures
Or your obstinate and odious oratory
Your sermon's sedative, a stuffy soporific
I'm tired of your vagaries, so let me be specific
Our story's both beginning and it's ending at Z

No student bold has earned their card
By sleeping when the sky is starred
Their shell at rest, with conscious jarred
The pillow soft, the pressure hard
They can't give up the fight

But in your languid lecture halls
A troubled head that softly falls
To join the thousand tired thralls
As you orate to weary walls
Has never felt more right

I do all my best sleeping in lectures
Couldn't care less for your crooked conjectures
Or your obstinate and odious oratory
Your sermon's sedative, a stuffy soporific
I'm tired of your vagaries, so let me be specific
Our story's both beginning and it's ending at Z

I do all my best sleeping in lectures
Couldn't care less for your crooked conjectures
Or your obstinate and odious oratory
Your sermon's sedative, a stuffy soporific
I'm tired of your vagaries, so let me be specific
Our story's both beginning and it's ending at...

...zzzzzzzzzz.