Canary in a Coal Mine

by Anna Vogelzang

/
1.
03:47
inside the land mine inside my heart you slide the safety, shoulder the charge so I can breathe I disarm wildly, you fire sweet beastly, these outbursts of almighty heat that light the stars & you, come hell or high water I come home broken, bruised like a peach you make a fruit pie & two whiskeys neat like summertime you make a promise, I'll make a vow each cup of coffee, each eyelash down an offering this house will crumble, this dock will cave weak from the pressure but dauntless, we'll brave the undertow & you, come hell or high water
2.
04:11
I said, 'I keep you around to keep me honest, around to keep me clean, shining fluorescent.' you said, 'as long as you feel ok, as long as you're getting out of bed each day, as long as you're doing your best.' but what if this is not my best? I said, 'you hold this isthmus in your hands. it's the only place I can land - I am a prop airplane.' you said, 'as long as you're showing up on time, as long as they believe that you're really smiling. as long as you're doing your best.' but what if this is not my best? what if I could do better you said, 'I wanted just to hear your voice' I said, 'I wanted just to feel you up against me - see baby, I had forgotten.' you said, 'the birds have been building nests around our porch & in the mornings they keep me up. good god, I wish you were here.' and we lie on our backs and to roof starts to spin and it's all I can do to keep it inside; and we lie on our backs and the roof starts to spin and it's all I can do not to start crying I said, 'it must be my foreign blood, I mean, I'm Dutch, I think that they are known for bad behavior, and I just get so low.' you said, 'as long as your eyes are wide,' you said, 'as long as your throat is open, as long as you're doing your best.' but what if this is not my best? well I'm gonna die trying.
3.
could you make me something metal? could you build it so I’m strong? but please be sure that it is functional for when this all starts going wrong I suppose it could be a pedestal for the weak rhythm of my heart please weld it better, write me love letters for when the doctors say you’ve gone but I can feel the phantom beating of your heartbeat while I'm asleep & will is not the same as follow through, it takes brute force & sometimes surgery heart, beat faster / heart, beat faster make me stronger, I'm six feet under heart, beat faster my fuse is itching to run out is there machinery you could bring? see I was born into this broken mess not even miles seem to fix with every day a little death and I hope that trip is beautiful but maybe the gears that grind against your wheels could spark a kickstart to my chest but I can feel the phantom beating of your heartbeat while I'm asleep & will is not the same as follow through, it takes brute force & sometimes surgery and my defenses have been waning but I have promises to keep & tried is not the same as being true, it takes brute force & sometimes honesty heart, beat faster / heart, beat faster make me stronger, I'm six feet under heart - oh July, you seem so far away your heat parades by threatening fallouts you're just a ghost through my walls you're such a strange charade wrap your sucker punches up in scrap metal oh baby, you make me blush now I will become lion-hearted & stand up brave with arms outstretched and wave my keys in these electric storms till I have out-tempted this test it's just a picture, just a song it's just a secret bound in chicken wire keep it, a keepsake for when I have gone the time of reckoning has come but I can feel the phantom beating of your heartbeat while I'm asleep & will is not the same as follow through, it takes brute force & sometimes surgery and my defenses have been waning but I have promises to keep & tried is not the same as being true, it takes brute force & sometimes honesty heart, beat faster / heart, beat faster make me stronger, I'm six feet under heart, beat faster
4.
03:23
hey kid, you're lightning in a bottle you're sinking to the bottom of the bottom of my arms if only I could dig you up from the belly of Manhattan drag you to the sea then would you say that you were sorry? would you say that we'll be fine? would you sing out like a canary in a coal mine? would you call this a long time coming, would you call me the next in line? I've seen the signs & my dear child, I will try to unhinge your cage this time hey kid, my ancestors were smugglers, I'm brilliant at discovering a place besides this place watch this, I'll build you an escape route a trail made out of hero capes & pillow case t-shirts then would you say the coast is clear now? would you say the water's fine? would you sing out like a canary in a coal mine? could you keep your head above water, would you need me to throw the line? I've seen the signs & my dear child, I will try to unhinge your cage this time if you follow me down tonight we'll stow you safe below oh, if you bring all your warning signs, we'll feed them to the whales... and sail on
5.
02:40
it's so hard to come clean it's so hard to name all your wishes out loud it's so hard reckoning still my full heart sings you are my one & only it's so hard to wake up it's so hard to replace your face with morning it's so hard, I'm burning up still my full heart sings you are my one & only it's so hard, hard to sleep it's so hard in the heat, sheets twist like summer it's so hard just to keep it clean when my full heart's singing you are my one & only it's so hard to pull yourself back up, baby it's so hard when the moon is all you're after it's so hard but kid it's overdue, time to buck up cause you know your heart sings you are my one & only you, you're my one & only
6.
03:02
carve my songs into your chest my name into your knuckles my address to your palms carve your mantra in your muscles your ethics in your wrist with all the secrets you have kept there for so long so long, so long but no, I never asked you for that steady your grip as continents divide as mountains mighty tumble as thunder rolls in slow uptight, uptight poor boy, a little gumption the gods you've disappointed have been planning this redemption for so long so long, so long the tumult is coming for you no matter how fast you run oh it's boiling in your blood & I can see through you believe me, chaos will quickly ensue each second that you stay oh this path is a wicked way but I do wish you would stay, please stay burn your temples to the ground your parsonage in shambles cathedrals up in flames turn on your tears and weep for your destruction the damsels you've left lovesick will be loud in celebration for so long when you have gone oh, when you have gone but no, I never asked you for that
7.
03:00
are you ok? I can't see your face from here I said, are you ok or have you gone dark again? a ship inside a bottle if your body is the bottle and the storms must come from somewhere but you keep trying to drown the sorrow you know that thing that people say about how volcanoes make the most fertile soil like every time your heart might break the heat could create something bountiful it is Sunday I am Mary it is Sunday oh we are so far from grace toy ship inside a wood stove trimmed in Christmas lights I thought of you that night a sigh where a fire should be you know that thing that people say about how one swallow doesn't make a summer like making two or three mistakes well that's just heartache people still adore you I shatter into water when you whisper we each live with a shadow but yours will not get me
8.
04:06
write a story of forgetting, cause every angel is terrifying or are you a white knight? cause I am a princess, I'm locked up I'm drunk on red wine you were drowning pale as concrete me, your yellow bird burn this memory start a family crawl out of this curse & there's a hole the size of Texas in my chest I would love you fierce like water like monsters, like memory spill your sugar watch your valor cause everybody leaves please, let me go hard and fully when it's my time I will be smiling skip a heartbeat, lose your breath you are untethered, I am the storm & there’s a hole the size of Texas in my chest
9.
countless photographs of people I have never met are dragging my heart out west if I packed the car, would you have faith? drop everything, make our escape from the din to the shore? leave these beat down bars ...
10.
light the paper, let it burn shake it up now, make it churn stick with me you knew better, I was smart sent smoke signals in the dark don't close your heart hey whiskey drawn, whiskey drawn you won't get your way this time, dear whiskey drawn goodbye, so long, spit in my palm cause you can't miss what you can't have, get gone sell me stories, pony up cause cowboys don't run out of luck they don't cry but you will never own the stars sad moonshine eyes in every bar so keep drinkin hey whiskey drawn, whiskey drawn oh your face looks so familiar whiskey drawn... goodbye, so long, spit in my palm cause you can't miss what you can't have, get gone when my cards have all been played our secret handshake will remain I'll be here so goodbye shadow, goodbye, fear I'm heading home now worse for wear don't miss me hey whiskey drawn, whiskey drawn I am learning to grow up, I think you should be moving on goodbye, so long, spit in my palm cause you won’t miss what you can’t have you will not miss what you won't have you cannot miss what can't have, get gone
11.
04:02
you will not fade for me you will not swim how do you ask a bird to meet you at the ocean's floor down to the core of me I thought I was safe sleeping here under the ground but now what can I do I'm sorry that you are drinking again I'm sorry you can't see inside my chest wishbone crack it open watch me struggle against the truth lodged in my lungs as we circumvent our circumstance it's just a dodge it's just a cheat no matter how close I hold my cards to my chest you'll still be here with x-ray glasses on dealing the hands so now what can I do there's a secret cedar room locked between my ribs it houses all the guilt packed away in cardboard boxes but two hummingbirds still live there in their rusted birdcages they buzz against the walls they beat against the walls oh, my heart against these walls please take this flame from me it's burning my throat I don't need this harm when all I've got's a thin armor of skin someday I'll want what I've got and you'll get what you want scales level out but for now what can I do I'm sorry that you are drinking again I'm sorry you can't see inside my chest wishbone crack it open watch me struggle against the truth lodged in my lungs as we I outrun our circumstance
12.
04:06
there's a shadow growing in your oldest bones ripping through the mends you've sewn and it'll kill you so put your claws on, gather up your armor you were built with superpowers it gets better where will you go where will you go with all your bravery, with endless space to roam where will you go where will you go just get away from the din, child trace it back to the source there's a journey of leaving between here and there you'll pass through a couple county fairs and it might cost you but go to the water, drive until the road ends bow down to the altar of this hallowed, sacred mess where will you go where will you go with all your bravery, with endless space to roam where will you go where will you go just get away from the din, child trace it back to the source I will love you no matter how far the lands you've crossed no matter how many battles lost you are eternal you brave the silence and I will shed this shame and fear but just before you disappear remember who you belong to where will you go where will you go with all your bravery, with endless space to roam where will you go where will you go when you go when you go
13.
03:34
so we do not lose heart we do not catch fire we disarm our flintlock rifles lay them on the sailors' graves up in your hot air balloon each roof sings a photograph mapped out into perfect paths of suburban woven streets songs out of bee stung palms, songs out of symphonies, songs stuck like pins & needles and your above ground pool songs like Rachmaninoff songs like I've heard enough, please cut loose the sandbags holding me down to the ground we do not lose heart we do not catch fire we fill up the bird feeder until the birds come back again rust colored lungs that I will leave in the mailbox of your house on your porch inside a wicker bassinet hollow a space out of my chest if your mailbox is your heart if your porch anchored this chaos family hearts will run out lungs will collapse bodies will fall so frail when they come up against love we do not lose heart we do not catch fire we fill up the bird feeders until the birds come back again

credits

released February 28, 2012

Performed by
Anna Vogelzang : Various
Joseph Arnold : Fiddle
Emilyn Brodsky : Vocals
Anthony da Costa : Guitars, Vocals
James Frazee : Percussion, Drums
Peter Hess : Clarinet
Franz Nicolay : Accordion
Emily Hope Price : Cello, Vocals
Alicia Rau : Horns
Todd Sickafoose : Bass
Brian Viglione : Drums, Percussion

Mixed and engineered by James Frazee,
assisted by Frank Lopez.
Recorded and mixed at Hobo Sound in Weehawken, NJ.
Additional recording at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ.
Assisted at Water Music by Sean Kelly.
Mastered by Warren Russell-Smith
in the Blue Room at the Magic Shop.

Cello ensemble arrangement for 'Texas' by Emily Hope Price.
Horn arrangements by Anna Vogelzang.
Additional upright composition by Andrew Young.
Additional cello composition by Liz Davis Maxfield.
Photography by Shervin Lainez (shervinfoto.com)
Artwork by Brooke Weeber (brookeweeber.com)

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Anna Vogelzang Los Angeles, California

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