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macy's day bird

by Diane Cluck

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about

"recorded at home in Brooklyn in the fall of 2001. the album incubated over a breezy summer along with a new marriage and new romances...the process of making “macy's day bird” felt literary--i really enjoyed editing its lyrics for form and content.

i worked on the packaging from home in the evenings, printing up covers on pink construction paper and stitching together lyrics sheets which folded like accordian bellows. at that point, hand-distributing cd-rs was still relatively new for independent musicians.

many nights were spent at the Sidewalk Cafe in New York's East Village sharing these songs and listening to the amazing creations of Turner Cody, Seth Faergoalzia, Dave Deporis, Jeffrey Lewis, Ish Marquez, Kimya Dawson, Barry Bliss and many, many others...

"macy's day bird" was later distributed by Important Records as part of a double-cd package along with "black with green leaves": www.dianecluck.info/ordering/?item=2 "

--Diane

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released November 15, 2001

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Track Name: save me
no way out of this one, baby
i got out before, but now !
half walked
half ran
half couldn't wait to get to
my end
my end
my end
but sure something would save me
draped in weakness
i stop moving
and it comes for me
crawls up my legs like vines

save me
draped in weakness
i stop moving
and it comes for me
crawls up my legs like vines

with my mind free, ah me !
anything my eyes settle on is a whole lot more than i can stand to see
with my blown mind, i find
this is not the first time that i wish something would run up alongside
and just save me
drape me in weakness
make me excuses
ohhhhh
save me
drape me in weakness
tell me i don't have to choose this

cuz there's no way
out
out
of this one baby
i got out
out
before but now
save me
drape me in weakness
make me excuses
tell me i don't have to choose this
please
save me
drape me in weakness
make me excuses
tell me it's okay to lose
just save me
one more time
save me
crawl up my legs like vines
and drape me in weakness
make me excuses
tell me i don't have to choose this
tell me it's okay to lose
cuz really there's no use
Track Name: god made it rain
god made it rain
so i'd run to the bus stop
god knew otherwise i'd be late
i grab the umbrella torn from a pawn shop
drop all my keys down a grate
but i have to give up and keep running--
i choke on my cough drop
the neighbor's dog's launching itself at the gate,
barking
tossing itself like a ship onto rocks
a creature that will not resign to its fate

i say, “gimme five”, to my neighbor, a lefty
he thought i meant money and handed me some
i gave it back to my four-fingered lefty
he slaps me five
by adding the thumb from his right hand
he says, “diane,
why don't you quit that job that you've got?
if you always run late, you must hate it.
you know, if i were a woman
i'd get me knocked up
so i could sit home and look out at the snow”

we watched the rain make old snow into glass
snow into glass like the sun does to sand
he says, "do you want to ?" and i say, "i guess..."
he shivers under my five-fingered hand

my spent neighbor leaves our sleight-of-hand alley
and i am alone until something gets thrown at me
blood on my cheek
and the laughter of children
the sting of a snowball embedded with stone
i see neighborhood mothers wig out from their windows
watching their archangels arc in the snow
in sub-zero tempertures
rigid and rosey
kids stagger by with a frostbitten glow

god made it rain so i'd run to the bus stop
god knew otherwise i'd stay home
calling in sick is no final solution
hiding in bed and unplugging the phone
sometimes you must work
until you give out
sometimes you must work
until all work is done
look at the way the rain clears a path
for the sky to conceive an immaculate sun
Track Name: heat from every corner
careful--
morning is coming
morning is coming
stay the hell away from the sun !

my love fell asleep
uncovered last week
she was burnt away by the sun

merciless and driving
heat from every corner
merciless unending
heat from every corner

the hand that pitches horseshoes
hitting ringers in the sun
the horse will recollect his shoes
when all the gaming's done
and hear me hitting ringers !
i will pitch until i'm gone
the sundial shadow of a stallion stretches out
long across the lawn
merciless and driving
heat from every corner
merciless unending
heat from every corner

careful
morning is coming
morning is coming
stay the hell away
from the sun
careful
morning is coming
stay away from the sun
Track Name: hover not
hover not !
bend down to give
one kiss more and then i'll leave
you sense all this love beside you
you sense how it's all you'd need
but i can't spend this day beside you
though once out,
mark out how hard it was to leave
cuz i do
i do do do not want to

sacrifice all time to sleep
wading in till i'm thigh deep
you shake off the world that wants you
let it find you here in bed
though him and bed will surely drown you
so go
leave both here behind, instead
and though you do,
you do do do not want to
Track Name: macy's day bird
the perfume of her hangs in the air
like an atmosphere promising thunderstorms
the window is cracked, letting november in
but her body beneath these blankets warms me
her hair in wet feathers, pressed to her head
the washed-out splendor of macy's day parade
glitter and tinsel are clogging the drains
causing a runoff that's flooding the city...

she gives me a red rhinestone ring
that fits only my thumb
and i wonder--
was it her ex-husband's, or father's,
or someone's cheap souvenir
from a somewhere he took her ?
i decide i won't be a gift-horse-mouth-looker
so i wear it for awhile
till' it gives me a rash
i am not sentimental
i toss it in the trash
cuz i don't care
if she likes me
or not
if she likes me
or not
i don't care if she likes me or not

she was marching in the macy's day parade
in a row of dancers decked out in the rain
women in heels executing military drills
goosestepping in lynchpin six-inch stilettos
towards central park
where the mud from its meadows
runs into the gutters
all glutted
with pink ostrich feather
the plumage that falls
from a macy's day dancer
answer me...
it's raining
crowds run for cover
shoving, complaining

streets full of women
that beg you to praise them all
lower their lashes
and then slowly raise them
they'll stare you down
and then turn away
but when they're hunting you
can't you hear their eyes say,
'do you like me
or not ?
do you like me
or not ?
hey...
do you like me or not ?'

camera crews leave with rain on their lenses
we leave with the first ones to befriend us
i followed the holes her heels left in the mud
while behind us the city was starting to flood
her hair in wet feathers
blue, blonde and red
the washed out splendor of macy's day parade
hair in wet feathers pressed to her head
the washed out splendor of the nest unmade
with sheets strewn over with sequins and trash
cast off by parades that have already passed
and i'm not the first
this role gets recast
the macy's day bird
calls out from her nest--
'do you like me ?...

hey--
do you like me
or not ?
hey--
do you like me
or not ?

hey--
do you like me ?'
Track Name: a beast in a barn
and if i touch you plain as a beast in the barn
to siphon its heat and in that way keep warm
warm and slow and gentle and sweet
if i move to you to siphon your heat
will i feel you giving as simply to me ?
effortless and silently

or will i be read through the glass of mistrust ?
like men who make passes when drunk, in disgust
revealing the captive they've kept of their need
a horrible flower
a beautiful seed
who would not recoil from this if they saw ?
and though i'm afraid i might feel you withdraw
i like to think of the beast in the barn
that breathed on the baby to keep him all warm
i know in my heart i am innocent too
i cannot make my defense to you
beyond what i say
beyond what i do...

so i move to you like the beast in the barn
there are holes in the roof, and outside the storm
sends some of its snow down to rest on your coat
i bend my head to the heat of your throat
and as i move to you
you move to me
effortless and silently
Track Name: yatzee dice
i am dreaming of the oxtail soup
and the hot fry of scrapple
and the clattering of yatzee dice
across your kitchen table
so i've rolled a snake eyes
you keep score on the brown bag
sharpen pencil with pen knife
like you have done your whole life
in the middle of the county

and you seem so content
buttering your saltine
the pattern on your juice glass
the hole in your door screen
in the middle of the wire

"have you ever known a lover
besides my grandfather ?
did you ever discover
you can't sleep beside each other
in the middle of the night ?"

and grandma, you're smiling
though you've heard no word i've said
i recognize that smile means
her hearing aid's gone bad
and she's coasting in the silence
cut free from conversation...

grandma looks beneath the table
says, “i see your secret now--
you wear white shoes past labor day,
but i promise i won't tell.
and if you wanna know why men fall asleep after sex,
it's cuz they've thrown off their need.
that's why we women stay awake tossing dice--
cuz we've just been shot through with seed
and it's electrifying !
like fireflies sown into your lining.”
Track Name: i liked you as soon as i saw you
i liked you as soon as i saw you
it was something about the way
your sweater and your eyes were blue
and your hair was silver in the sunlight
and your hair was gray when the sun went behind a cloud

we run around and try to make the most of ourselves
then when we stop--
we're haunted by the ghost of ourselves
and i'd been running around and trying to make the most of myself
so that day i stopped and let myself be haunted

ah, me, outrunning myself
so i stop and i hope my heart can find me
oh, i hear it beating in the background
catching up
six or seven streets behind me
you were standing by the water
where the seabirds were circling
i stood at a distance
regarding you, regarding you
your head thrown back
it looked like you were trying to drink the sea
all alone
all alone...

i liked you as soon as i saw you
it was something about your hands
and the way you were smoking like king of flaming faggots
your fingers floating down from your mouth to your knee
gently, gently
as a butterfly lands
we run around and try to make the most of ourselves
then when we stop--
we're haunted by the ghost of ourselves
and i'd been running around and trying to make the most of myself
so that day i stopped and let myself be haunted by you

because i liked you as soon as i saw you
it was something about the way
you simply stood there
as the light withdrew into a passing cloud
what more can i say ?
Track Name: battlefield nurse
[ she's got eyes like a battlefield nurse
the kind that keep you clm
when all around you things are getting worse ] x 2

dying all around me
can i save but one or two ?
he reaches out to touch me
it's the last thing he'll ever do
and sometimes i feel like a battlefield nurse
it's a role that i was born for
and did not need to rehearse
they say, 'lady, tell me, how bad is it ?'
they grimace and curse
and i say, 'don't worry soldier,
things could be a whole lot worse'

i hold his body and wonder
was this comfort that i gave ?
i felt him drowning in me;
he believed he was being saved
so i told him,
'i am not a battlefield nurse.
i've never saved a soldier and the war keeps getting worse.
there is no kindness to be found here,
these eyes are just a curse.
the nursemaid is a liar
she's the chauffer of your hearse.”

she's got eyes like a battlefield nurse
the kind that keep you calm
when all around you things are getting worse
she's got eyes like a battlefield nurse
the kind that keep you calm
when all around you
all around you
all around you
things
are
getting
worse
oh...
Track Name: impatient sun
tonight is colder than the fingernails of bitches
buckled belts on angry men
i was riding when the onslaught happened
i said, 'here we go again'
there was paper blowing all around the ditches
calling me to find a pen
and when i went into the pen shop
i almost stayed too long
if you stop to think
what color ink to write your scriptures in
your vision will be gone
and everytime i bear a vision of you
i admit, i try to stop it
but mothers cannot carry babies past their due
so why deny if i'm a prophet
i see you waiting like an impatient sun
knowing the moon will soon eclipse it
i see greatness in your future
and then
i see you'll never glimpse it
before you're yanked away

and oh, i shiver
for all the unknown painters
who complete their masterpieces
on the undersides of rocks
and everyday
there are fishermen awake at dawn
that find their boats have gone
the ragged ropes still trailing off the docks...
i'm waiting like an impatient son
knowing his momma's gonna leave
when you see death
written on a living face before you
you just get on with it
cuz what are you supposed to grieve ?

the night is teeming with the bloody teeth of traitors
hear it beating with the plastic hearts of liars
the toxic fumes would keep the godly ones away
were they thrown into the fires
but you are waiting like an impatient sun
waiting for its turn to shine
and like the sun
we're gonna miss you
your brightness
when you leave us all behind