diane cluck

by diane cluck



"learning to record in Brooklyn, NY, in the fall of 2000. intended as a demo to be circulated amongst friends and local clubs. a good example of the kinds of instruments i was playing and often carrying around with me at the time--guitar, piano, toy zither, handmade copper pipe xylophone-like instrument, accordian, recorder."



released December 1, 2000


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Diane Cluck


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Track Name: ink & needles
someone's ink and needles
have written skin riddles
on his body, bare before me
except for these sketches
signal and semaphore
for things he won't talk about
quiet and shut about
his padlocks and latches
my fingers trace his pictures
and at each his breath catches
he says why are you bare
bare as the day
day you were born
born from your mother
i say so you can tattoo me
with the marks of a lover
the red trails of his fingernails
the bumping palette of his boney hip
sharp tooth beneath his softest lip
the kiss obscures the bite
he sketched his designs on me
all through the night
he finished and was sleeping
so i jumped the early flight
now a thousand miles away
with the passing of the days
your colors fall from my skin
like the moon smooths out the waves
so quietly they left that i didn't see them fade
i don't need ink and needles
to write me my excuse
the body does tattoo itself
with old age and abuse
with lines pooled / pulled from the inside
drawn from pain and reverie
my body will tattoo itself
with what you mean to me
Track Name: 4 score lightnings
leave a little something by the door
of each place as you're leaving
your back will be much lighter
on the road
on the road
people here are kind
you'll soon find
there's not much you'll be needing
the farmers don't mind
if you reap some of what they've sowed

4 score lightnings hit the sky that night
and i think of you
the effect was blinding, frightening
for awhile i could see the bones in everything
like i had x-ray view

leave a little something in the bowl
for each mouth that you're feeding
you'll find your rations last a fortnight or more
sock away a song
in the mouth of each lover you're kissing
you'll hear it ring out from the opposite shore
and it will comfort you in your travels
we all need comfort in our travels
comfort me in my travels
we all need comfort in our travels

oh, 4 score lightnings hit the sky
that's eighty if you multiply
and that's more than a few !
i suspect as the rain's running down my face and neck
it's a sign from you
beckoning me home from my travels
beckoning me home from my travels
because you're the spool on which it all unravels
the big oak block on which the judges bang their gavels...

should i ? should i ?
cleave aside the mountains
keeping score of what valleys i'm carving
rocks and water kicked up
for the times when i'm thirsty, i'm starving
Track Name: monte carlo
and the three lonely things poking up from the water
are her nipples and her nose as she floats on her back
and the sand is deserted, except for me standing
i stand as the landmark to keep her on track
so the ocean won't pull her away

i'm guarding our bags since i really can't swim
and i don't want to learn, though she does try to teach
but thieves who scope tourists at night in this city
in daytime all probably hang at this beach
you never know in monte carlo

from noon until evening her skin changes color
from paler than mine to a sun-punished red
so i expect havoc, tonight around bedtime
she'll want me to blow on her blisters in bed
that's the sun in monte carlo

the keeper of the lighthouse is sleeping
so we creep upstairs to play with his beam
making ships stray from their courses intended
by highlighting rocks and the shallows between them
and the smashing of hulls in the night seemed to have
no consequence at all, like the action in dreams
in the morning gulls pick over jetsam and junk,
over flotsam but feeling no guilt for their screams
while we spend three-quarters of our time apologizing
for the quarter of the time that we're thoughtless
and thoughtless and mean
just for fun in monte carlo

just for fun in monte carlo
we go to the cliffs where the men cruise each other
their cars come and go like the change of the tide
where Grace Kelly had her last swim on the planet
when Grace Kelly's roadster flipped over the side of the guardrail

one guy looked so nervous, and standing alone
my friend saw him shaking and started to laugh
i said, 'wouldn't you be nervous if you knew in ten minutes
you'd have the surf at your feet and some stranger up your back
giving you his best monte carlo ?'
a ten-minute, double-ringed halo...

you know, the most breathtaking sight i'd seen in awhile
was the sight of french men fucking under the stars
we watched them dancing like mermen on fire
till cops came and chased them away in their cars

we watched them run in monte carlo
we watched them and we laid low

and my girl is as red as a rare hothouse flower
her skin is so burned that she's giving off heat
and my girl is as tired as nobody's business
but sea-air makes sleeping incredibly sweet
two more nights in monte carlo
and her burn will be a tan
she can't sleep, she just said so
so i turn up the fan
Track Name: ambulance
an ambulance at the crossroads
a crossroads in the city
and no one will let it through
though its lights are streaming every hue
and the bleeder in the back thinks,
'this is the moment of my death--
i'm about to die in a traffic jam
and everyone's so angry at me
because i have the nerve to die right here
because i'm making them miss things at home on tv...'

you are at the crossroads
this crossroads in the city
and no one will let you through
though you've waited hours in the queue
and the phone in your backpack rings
pick it up ! cuz you'll be late
call your wife and tell her that
she should save you something to eat
because you're caught here looking at the blood in the street
rushing past the tires and the trash and the feet...
Track Name: psu vs. louisiana tech (67 To 7, 9/9/00)
i talked to barbara tonight on the phone
she told me penn state has finally won
so i guess they don't stink as bad as you said
and your birthday wish came true for you today, dad
happy birthday, dad
happy birthday, dad
Track Name: touch deprivation
they did an experiment with babies
back in world war two
and the babies all were orphans
so no one cared or knew
they called it 'touch deprivation'
and this is what they did
if a baby started crying
or put a hand out from its crib--

the nurses glid on by as if they'd seen nothing at all
the nurses glid on by and checked the chart off
on the wall, writing
“nothing unusual here--
subjects continue rocking
back and forth as if they sense
a thunderstorm is coming”

and that flock of springtime babies
nesting quiet in the lab
were just fistfuls of feathers
stuffing pillows after that
and those second world war nurses
who had killed the orphan kids
lived out cursed lives as spinsters
in trade for what they did

they did a similar experiment in new york

and this is what they did--
they rolled out the sheets of tarmac
and sliced them into grid
then they filled the maze with people
but they told them not to touch
they convinced them it weren't civilized
and we believed as much

why do you apologize when you bump into my arm on the train ?
and you apologize three times
like it really ever caused anyone harm or pain
being bumped into
do you know you are the first person to touch me
in a month ?
and sometimes i like the feeling of accidental touch

an experiment with ladies
with ladies and with men
we could decide to lose our language
so that we might try our skin
strangers piggyback each other
for thrill of contact sport
and i finally could talk to you
but this time without words

cuz you don't realize how you pollute the game
when you keep speaking circles
and your circles sound the same
saying, 'i'm fine. how are you ?
i'm good. how are you ?
i'm fine. how are you ?
i'm good. how are you ?
i'm finding it hard to relate to
situations where i am asked to speak...
Track Name: you are like elvis
viva ! viva you.
i appreciate king presley finally
when i see you and your dignity
as the carpet is jerked out from beneath you

you are like elvis on his last legs
sweating through his jumpsuit
knowing he would be a goner in a few days
but giving his all to the present presley audience, anyway

viva, viva you
and long live your boots with the holes at the seams
that let water up through the soles when it rains
cuz no one is holding a spare pair for you

long life to you
and long live the fever that's burning you clean
and long live the fade of your everworn jeans
cuz no one is holding a spare pair for you
Track Name: auction
and the sun, it sets on the auction
but the auctioneer is still hawking
it seemed we had lots in common
before we started talking
you said you'd come here looking for a heart
and checked out the white elephant table
oh, an elephant heart is a size too large
but its beat is incredibly stable
but its beat is incredibly stable

and the sun, it sets on the auction
and the things she spent lifetimes collecting
trickle home through cross-continental carpools
after moments of appraising and dissecting
there was a frowning copy of the Mona Lisa
i bought a five-dollar phone but i still couldn't reach you
after many times trying
it was a problem with the wiring

125, 135, 145, sold
till shelving and closets and cabinets are cold
155, 165, 175, sold
the selling of things you can pick up and hold
when what i'd rather buy was the look on your face
when you saw me and you started bidding
until you had bid up all the money you'd saved
and i laughed, and you said "i'm not kidding"
and i laughed, and you said "i'm not kidding"

and the sun, it sets on the auction
it gets darker now, fraction by fraction
and i feel it's time to be going
but something must move me to action
then the auctioneer walks by with his mic in his hand
and he says, "i can't do this much longer
oh, my tongue's getting slower and i can't keep up
with the depth of their need and their hunger
with the depth of their need and their hunger."