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by Stephen Wordsmith

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It's good that all things Must begin from somewhere For where things start is something Of a riddle As by the time you see that Something's started You're more than likely somewhere in the middle So here you are with something Born of nothing And sometimes that distinction's Mighty fine But though you worked that nothing Into something It doesn't fall to you To draw the line
Thoughts are tumbling Colourful and brash My mind is writing cheques my hands can't cash How fast they flutter, fingers fine But none so swiftly as the mind No man can match with muscle motion Each new thought and every notion Attitude cautious Though the thoughts are rash My mind is writing cheques my hands can't cash Superhighways built of nerves Bring the audience deserved Flowing forth when fingers flex To pass from one world to the next Synapses firing Quicker than a flash My mind is writing cheques my hands can't cash And isn't it a shame That the wealth of your imagination Never trickles to the pockets of your congregation Thoughts still tumbling Colourful and brash My mind is writing cheques my hands can't cash
Don't be owned by what you own For perfect is your enemy The scratch to start may break your heart But the cut will set you free For there's no joy in dusty toys No purpose in a page unread A glinting prize for sorest eyes Holds nothing for the empty head CHORUS So take it, jar it, break it, scar it See it for its proper worth Rip it, bust it, for it's just Another tool to work the earth Break its skin to break it in Etch the sketchbook just for fun Scrawl a mess and start off, yes No need to be good, just done Ban the wraith with a leap of faith Twist the knife and face the pain Breach the dark and leave your mark Better that than leave a stain CHORUS The splinters in your finger From the figures on your phone Bear a testament that lingers To when you struck out on your own Now the skin is less than perfect For a wound was struck anew But the rent is where it entered Where the light came into you
I loop and swoop and tuck and pull And tie my tie in a Windsor full There are lots of knots and the folds are manifold It's tied so tight I can barely cough But it stops my head from falling off And a-tumbling to the floor from off my should...ers CHORUS This charm I've engendered's intended This end is resplendent as heck Don't want a good head on my shoulders It's better off set on my neck Yes, I'd rather it sat on my neck I twist my wrist and swirl and swoop And craft my scarf in a classic loop A swarm of warm merino, don't I know? It's tied so tight I can barely breathe But it stops my head from taking leave And a-leaving not-quite-footprints in the snow CHORUS BRIDGE Sometimes these days, it's hard to keep your chin up Sometimes it's hard to hold your head up high To bear it all the while and try to look up with a smile But there's things at hand - or neck - to fortify Now see my face with grace and pride Emerge from verge of holes inside My jersey purple blessed with neck of turtle It fits so tight I can barely gasp But it keeps my head tight in its grasp So it won't take a fatal downward hurtle CHORUS
I'll take the slings and arrows If you take me back and drop me off I'll bear the blows and turn the other cheek I'll face the day without a shirt Upon my back, and pockets full of holes And crumbs of bread to last the week I'll make the bad decisions And I'll suffer every consequence While seeing the silver lining in the cloud I'll stake my reputation On a life of disrepute And I'll make my mother anything but proud CHORUS Take me back And drop me off For everyone I ever loved Was here And still alive And still with me I'll give up all my riches And I'll give up all my... girls You can have all of my illest-gotten gains I'll toss them like they're holding down My soul in fiery purgatory Enjoy my every pleasure for your pains CHORUS And I don't care how far I've come From where I used to be I'd rather go through hell with them Than paradise with me I'll take the slings and arrows If you take me back and drop me off I'll bear the blows and turn the other cheek CHORUS x2
CHORUS A pillow on the footpath lay And that seemed wrong to me For a footpath surely is no place A pillow ought to be A cloud of fluff and linen For to rest your weary head Would be much better suited To a warm and comfy bed Inside a cozy bedroom In a cozy little home A sanctuary from trouble In the cradling hands of foam CHORUS What strange bird would build their nest Beneath the fall of boots? The well-heeled tread of well-heeled souls In their fancy tailored suits? Who'd lay themselves down to sleep Beneath the pavement cracks? With no soft comfort left to give To soothe their aching backs? CHORUS No sign was there of they who Dreamed dreams upon the pad Their shuffling ghost had shuffled off To somewhere strange and sad With nothing left behind them But this soft shell at the last A silent scream for help ignored By all who walked on past CHORUS
Oh, you kid, I could kidnap a nap, I could Snatch forty winks, take a fleeting snooze A thief to steal his next second of dreamtime For there’s no waking moment left to lose To live with eyes wide open leaves me weary As rings across my cheeks further crept For though my dreams are soft, but many Not one of them was born from when I slept I dream I might become a sleptomaniac And steal the very sand from 'neath the eyes Of Mister Sandman as he sows the seedlings Of slumber in his somnolent disguise I dream I may one night become the dreamer And build a world of nonsense to despise A curse to see the day with sober vision And go ungentle to the world of night To play the king and rule non-fiction Where up is never down, and right is right To never confuse fantasy with hist’ry Secrets long forgotten, ever kept For though my dreams are cloaked in myst’ry Not one of them was born from when I slept I dream I might become a sleptomaniac And steal the very sand from 'neath the eyes Of Mister Sandman as he sows the seedlings Of slumber in his captivating lies I dream I may one night become the weaver Of worlds you’ll spend your precious life to lose As Mister Sandman, I would sow you needlings Throughout this dreamland you could never choose I think I have become a sleptomaniac That steals the very sand as it is swept So my eyes brim with blood and not with tears, Too dry from habit to have ever wept For though my dreams are many as my fears Not one of them was born from when I slept Not one of them a dreamtime I’d accept, And none of them a dreamland I’d protect
CHORUS Coffee or a powernap? Meditate? Self-medicate? Caffeine or a fever dream? Snug myself or drug myself? Five short minutes all I have Five short minutes all I have Drug myself or snug myself? Fever dream or caffeine? Self-medicate or meditate? Powernap or coffee? x2 Five short minutes all I have Energy and time bereft Cannot do and cannot be Pockets empty, seconds left Lonely hours of one to blame Job well done while I'm not well Toes a-lick by tongues of flame Pearly gates of meeting hell CHORUS Stable open, stallion dead Ready, willing, slipped, unable Skivvy static in my head Fight or flight or flip the table Watching wrist at ticking watch Pallet bed or mind a mess Xanthine or a Sandman's kiss Stream of blood or consciousness? CHORUS Cannot do and cannot be Cannot move and can't decide Cannot sleep but cannot wake Cannot run and cannot hide CHORUS
I took my inner critic down to consciousness stream I pushed the bastard in and watched him drown His voicebox full of water, he shut up and let me dream And the cage around my soul came tumbling down I shuffled ever closer til I dipped a big toe tentative Into driftless current drifting past And as I did, a thousand little voices argumentative Cried out until I came to see at last CHORUS There's a truth within the words that never feel revision's subtle brush The words that tumble out and see no edit That cause the mind to fall behind itself and tell the cheeks 'Now blush For naked is your soul when you have said it' I stepped a little back and saw the water turn to wine I knelt before the edge and started drinking The grapes were young and raw, but full of truth and flavour fine All blessed without the spoiling rot of overthinking CHORUS For nothing is so numb, so paralytic Than all the trappings of your inner critic x2 I took my inner critic down to consciousness stream I pushed the bastard in and watched him drown
CHORUS The second drop of rainfall in the city Always falls more reassuring than the first You'll thank heaven heaven opened on the city Even though you never knew you had this thirst For there's more than rain that falls upon the city There's more that slips from even cloudless skies And if you're not looking sharp about the city You'll behold much more than beauty in your eyes Like the fallout from a perfect dry Manhattan Freshly spilled from off the 10th floor balustrade Or the juices of an air condition unit As it weeps with joy at gentle zephyrs made And if you perchance forget the tender buffet Of a rock dove's little opalescent wings It may leave your head instead a stark reminder Spoken from the end from which it never sings You may even find your face awash with sea mist Yet the ocean is a thousand miles away As your gaze then falls upon the broken hydrant Reassuring in a horrifying way Or you'll see your stare reflected in a puddle Stop and wonder how the pool had come to be Anything you lose within is dead forever Better let it just stay a mystery CHORUS
There's a guy who joined me in the lift, he's going up one storey And that rascal really has no good excuse There's a perfectly good staircase ten feet to his left And he's long of leg and shiny-new of shoes But Muggins, on the other hand, is off to level 7 Which is why I shuffled in and flipped the lever And if you think I'm walking up these steps halfway to heaven You can go ahead and jump in lake Geneva CHORUS And that's the sort of thing that used to bother me before we had a virus roughing up the human race When suddenly the little things and nothing-meaning-everythings were put quite resolutely in their place And all the little niggles that formed squiggles in the margins of the largely boring pages of my file Were cast aside in deference to my rather definite preference that I'd like to keep on living for a while There's a guy who does the crossword and he handwrites like a surgeon Leaving bluish worms of God knows on the page And I know he only does it cause the boredom starts to burgeon And I also know he's trouble spelling beige But it doesn't leave me much to do when fifteen minutes later It's my turn to break for coffee and for sanity I'm left with nought but scribbles and sudoku in the paper And a thinly veiled contempt for all humanity CHORUS BRIDGE And ain't it great? And ain't it swell? We beat the bug, we're back to hell The small stuff I at last unlearned to sweat Is back in style And back in force And dripping out of all my pores I never had the privilege to forget There's a guy who's by the window and his politics are terrible An HR violation on his T-shirt I wish him no great harm but hope that no-one finds him bearable Enough to sit and listen to his bullshirt
The teddies came down from the windowsill The teddies came down from the ledge No longer a sight for the sorest eyes A beacon brought down from a hedge Fuzzy Theo observed the commotion Neptune in this ocean of Ted With a grin on his face stitched so firmly in place As he looked o'er his shoulder and said: Hey, wasn't it good for a while, eh lads? Wasn't it fun for a while? We had our day in the sun, eh lads? And brought all the children a smile And brought all the children a smile The teddies came down from the windowsill The teddies went into the box The boxes went into the workshop, then The workshop went under the locks The people came out of the houses Stepped blinking out into the calm And Theo the fuzzy was beaming because he Could shout to his brothers in arms: "We brightened the days at their darkest And had us an absolute riot Yeah, wasn't it good for a while, eh lads?' But all of the lads had gone quiet... The teddies had gone from the windowsills The bears had all vanished from sight The lockdown was lifted, our thoughts had now shifted To setting a country to rights And Theo the fuzzy still lingered With a grin as if he had a choice He turned round to cry with a twitch in his eye And a catch in his cottony voice Hey, wasn't it good for a while, eh lads? Wasn't it fun for a while? We sure had our day in the sun, eh lads? And brought all the children a smile Hey, wasn't it grand while it lasted? He would cry to whoever was there Turn and smile with great charm to his comrades-in-arms... But everything round him was bare
Joy is contagious And we must all face it There will be no Joy in our playing today We all have to suffer One way or another For how could we truly know Joy without pain? Joy is contagious We must keep our distance To make the world better for each girl and boy We picked a forget-me-not Fresh in her memory A flower that blossomed for our own Joy I know that it's hard to contain how we feel When life is a battle, and the casualties are real But after the rain falls, the sun reappears And after the pain dies, Joy will still be here Joy is contagious Keep the torch burning In case there's a place for Joy in our tomorrow Leave the light on For what's lost is not gone We know in our hearts Joy is greater than sorrow
Nobody ever talks about the bottom of the sky, indeed We're rather more concerned about the top And all those things that float around the middle by and by, indeed The sun, the clouds, the stars that jet non-step But buried at the base beneath the black and grey and sky-blue pink You'll find yourself a special little breed Of those like you and me Who live and walk and love and talk and think and thrive and fall and rise and breathe and bleed CHORUS Below the up above He, she, and they, and you and I Living in our little corner Of the bottom of the sky We came and saw and conquered that same moon we all sit under Although we already live in outer space Among the drifting particles of stuff and dreams and thunder Parting softly with goodbyes to find their place As children shade the edges of their art with blue and cyan Leaving heaven hung above the chimney smoke But they make every brushstroke from the doorstep of Orion Where the four winds wrap the birds within their cloak CHORUS And by the time the bridge is crossed The sky with worlds and stars embossed Will hold the earth a little further on Though we stay steady with our feet Stood firm where Earth and Heaven meet And earth will hold us too when we are gone Nobody ever talks about the bottom of the sky, although It's where all of the talkers tend to live And though the cost of living's often talked about with fear and woe We like it more than the alternative CHORUS x2
So COVID won, it's over It's time to go out like we came With a bang Shake up the plates techtonic Send supersonic waves to ring Across the land CHORUS Sing loud, it's now or never When this sun fades to black This time it won't be going back There's no going back Break out the top-shelf bubbles Our troubles won't be ours for long So sing along Light up the sky with fireworks We've all rehearsed, it's opening night For the afterlife CHORUS Dance, join the seven billion Souls in one last rhythm Send the Earth off right Dance, as the last moon waxes Knock it off its axis Let the world take flight Dance It's your final chance Seize the night Seize the night Strip down, dive in the ocean Let motion send you on your way It's your last day With all the stars colliding Keep riding this last sonic wave Just be brave CHORUS Sing loud, it's now or never x4 *cough*


Twentytwentysomething /ˈtw̥ɛ̃ntitw̥ɛ̃ntisɐmθɪŋ/, n:

1. Whatever year is current in this brave new decade, in which the human race took on a bowl of soup and lost, leading time to take a holiday and rendering all temporal laws meaningless.

2. Someone of no certain age, whose life experiences are characterised by caution, uncertainty, social distance, reusable masks, and Microsoft Teams.

3. The long-awaited sixth compilation album by Stephen Wordsmith. Please listen at your leisure.

Featuring songs about things both topical and timeless, from the nature of beginnings and inspiration, to the dilemma of sleep and wakefulness, to the rosying glow of the past and the growing dark of the present. And things falling in your eye from skyscrapers, there's also that.

Much like the Pfizer rollout, this album is a global effort, spanning the continents, and featuring artists from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and Peru.


released October 14, 2021


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Stephen Wordsmith Wellington, New Zealand

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