Strings

by Rachel Zylstra

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03:58
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credits

released April 24, 2012

Music & lyrics by Rachel Zylstra
Strings arrangements by Matt Gelfer

Rachel Zylstra: piano and vocal
Matt Gelfer: violin, guitar, backing vocals
Greg Williams: viola
Paul Wolfram: cello

Engineered and mixed by Justin Milner
Mastered by Alan Douches

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Rachel Zylstra New York, New York

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Track Name: The Informant
What would you do if you knew how much she feels for you?
I think you'd fall right off your chair
See how her casual smile disguises all the while
How much she's hoped to see you there
She'll say your name over and over
To feel the shapes the sounds make in her mouth
Would it be so bad - this token of her devotion
Or is she bound for the loony house

What would you do if you knew how much she feels for you?
I think you'd fall right out of space
See how her casual wave disguises what extent
She's learned to read the expressions on your face

If she could change your life in some small way - she doesn't know how
Oh you know it'd give her such a thrill
And she plans what she wears in a vain attempt to capture you
When she hears you'll be headed to someplace she's headed to

Don't let her stress you out; don't let her be a pain
She's only this persistent in her own mind
She'll keep her thoughts inside until you make your move
'Cause never would be better than a shed disguise
She won't be made the fool
Though she's long been one for you
Track Name: Oust
I took your book out of the library to see if I could get closer to you again just by reading words that you wrote. I read one page plus ten before my mind collapsed under the weight of your thoughts, and the walls closed in then. I had to start promising myself that I would leave my room on my days off. I defer to the streets with headphones on, Kid A accenting my walk. It's crowded at noon, empty at four in the morning. The rhythm of the city ousts me in and out of motion.

I've stopped asking why you move me, why my mind sits and idles on your memory – it's my thinking food here.

Oh great, I’ve lost my gait and now I can't get past these people. Oh shoot, got a long way to go, long way before making it home. You, my edge, inspiration, you as a haven – I've got to let this thoughts go. I've been making decisions based on a gaping God-notwithstanding plot hole.
I've stopped asking why you move me, why my mind sits and idles on your memory, but these thoughts don't satisfy. I've got to take my mind off, got to take my mind off this…

So last night, I got lost up on Madison. I walked west, and breathed deeply, and fell off into a sanctuary. Oh, why this burst of leafy green, amid these concrete grids – why not? What else to keep us sane, to keep us close to peace? And if we wait for me to make sense of these mumbled jumblings out my mouth, we’ll be here till I’ve turned inside out.

Do you remember when I was your neighbor and my feet would pull me past your porch in just two minutes’ time? There were no restaurants or stoplights along the way – just a whole world of circumstances separating us for another day. And it will remain this way: I’ll stomp on these sidewalks in a city 700 miles east; you’ll keep tending to your life in clean Midwestern grief and bliss. There is a peace to this.

I put your book back in the library to show that I could see something past you through my so-called healthy adult-like will. I wish I could say it was all my doing, all of my forced detachment – but miles of distances and a gracious hand have really dealt it.
Track Name: Stuck
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Forgive me if I don’t properly surmise
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Why is it such a hard thing to admit
You’re stuck on something you claim you don’t want yet
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
I see your strain from time to time
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Why is it such a hard thing to admit
You’re stuck on something you claim you don’t want yet
Sometimes I wish you could just lighten up
And stop pretending that you don’t know how to love

Why is it such a hard thing to admit
You’re stuck on something you claim you don’t want yet
Sometimes I wish I could just be all done
And quit pretending there’s a chance that we belong
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Draw the drapes and call the time
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Make me yours or leave me mine
Baby you’ve got me on your mind
Track Name: Neah Bay
It’s raining on my face
It’s raining in my hair
Oh didn’t you hear the forecast, it’s to be raining everywhere

My fingers are soaked and cold
My neck is cold and wet
Oh let me go inside to be dry, warm my fingers and my hands

I took my shawl, that’s all
You took a light spring jacket
A lot of good these did us when the thunder clouds rolled in

We were gonna go on a boat
Would have gotten wet anyway
Gone off to explore the high tide off the shores of Neah Bay

I don’t know how it feels
Seeing these neat little rows
Rows of aluminum -sided houses each with newly built car ports

Compared to what once was lived in
Log structures on the ocean
Would I be seeing logs or car ports if my kind had not rolled in

I think I smell smoked fish
I think I smell a tourist
We’re pressing near that smoke shack where the New York Times guy said the salmon is best

How do I know? Because the smoker
Taped up the clipping from the Times
Next to his rack of poles and knives at a smoke shack in Neah Bay

It’s tickling at my ears
It’s pointing to the dark
The salty breeze that carries with it sounds I can’t explain

Perhaps it would make sense
If voices lived in whitecaps
Perhaps it would make sense that I hear stories in the wind

My brother says he hears them from time to time
Could they be lying? Could they be only in our minds
And sure we’ll leave here more confused than when we came in yesterday
Who am I to say I have an answer for the world of Neah Bay
Track Name: Shannon
The road bends; the sun sets
The dark falls on the broken line

You see your reflection in
The rear-view mirror as we run behind

You’ve gone away; you try to breathe
The breath won’t come; the day is done

You lost your sight that you can’t see
The stranger you have come to be

Sister calls; your parents plead
Your brother says, “Anything you need”

The people here who love you most
You’ve left behind for a golden ghost

We ask about your newfound song
Oh the tune we know, but the rhythm is wrong

We ask ourselves why we regret
The pretend calm words that you haven’t heard yet

The cat yawns; the dogs fight
The stars rise and we’re still uptight

The last we heard, your cryptic call
And now I fear any news at all

And as we wait, I ponder you
You the heart-filled girl with her dreams to do

And who am I to doubt your mind
To rehearse your apologies, and relinquish mine

Now you’re here, you’re back at home
You might be sad, and you feel alone

You want to run, to go, you want to do
But you’re paralyzed by what you’ve been through

I want to know the weight of your load
Why is the journey back such a long, long road

I wish for you to be broken down
Hear the angels sing as your peace is found
Track Name: Place Time
You there, standing
In your northerly attire
It looks cold there
And you’re smiling like a lover
You’re a fool for the land
Born and bred in Michigan

Sacred Detroit
Built on private transportation
Vies with lakeshore for your tenuous affection
Does a person have a chance
Against monuments and endless sand
How you ache to go on
Like your cities and your songs

It will always be there
It will always change
You’re not missing out on any living thing

You’ve dropped crumbs for every moment documented
Parties, house calls
You thought photos could cement them
But the birds have come at night
Making dinner of your life
How you wish to go back
To the shelter of your past

It will always be there
It will never change
You’re not missing out on any breathing thing

Do you have room in your intent
Room for one without inventions
Room for one made from dust, as fragile as you
And as lost

Now it pains you to commute from a new region
Dear Ann Arbor took your heart in every season
Now each time you return
How it breaks again for her
How you wish to go back
To the shelter of your past

How you wish to go on
Like your cities and your songs
How you itch to go back
But the calendar’s a rat
How you ache to go on
But your love will not prolong you
How you ache to go on
But your love will not prolong you
But your love will not prolong you
But your love will not prolong you
But this love will not prolong you
Track Name: The Pity Party
I finally can’t escape the writing on the wall
Around about this afternoon I knew I’d lost the ball
I finally can’t escape the fact I haven’t showered
Or changed my clothes since yesterday morning at eight

Been lying here stuffed and pruned of the sparkle I thought I had
I am lusterless and ruined – oh poor me, why don’t I eat my pity, too

And what am I to do with all the endlessness I feed
Point me to the thing that makes me full

I finally can’t escape the fact I am a coward
I’ll ingest another layer to shield me from the blow
Of being indistinct, of being not enough
To merit the intentions of someone I could love

Been lying here dulled and dumbed by mindless and anxious consumptions
Dull me to the world, dull me to the words I think I remember you saying
That I wish I’d dreamt

Been lying here stuffed and pruned of the sparkle I thought I had
I am lusterless and ruined – oh poor me, why don’t I eat my pity, too

Oh take your hands and hold them at your sides
Stop your quivering, stop your whining, you giant little mouse
You’ve got the chance to make it up again as you go along
Keep writing, keep listening, keep living, keep moving on

(I finally can’t escape the writing on the wall
Around about this afternoon I knew I’d lost the ball
I finally can’t escape the fact I am a coward
Point me to the thing that makes me full)

I finally can’t escape the writing on the wall
Around about this afternoon I knew I’d lost the ball
And what am I to do with all the endlessness I feed
Point me to the thing that makes me full