Strychnine

by Ryoki Center

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1.
02:25
2.
03:06
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03:40
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03:39
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02:27
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03:47
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02:55
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credits

released January 10, 2020

Music written and produced by Ryoki Center
All lyrics by Samuel Mattingly
Pretty Good written by John Prine copyright 1971
Included with permission of The Harry Fox Agency, Inc.
Recorded live with added vocal and overdubs July 14-18th 2019 at Loud & Clear in Paducah, KY by
Kate Haldrup. Mixed by Kate Haldrup
Mastered by Carl Saff
Artwork and design by Benjamin Mattingly and Ryoki Center
Photography by Amanda Schuster

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Track Name: New Leash
When I was a child
I colored pictures of Jesus
In Sunday school
I was scolded repeatedly
For making him rainbow and all his apostle friends
Now I lay in the manger
You’re in the river, but not to fish

Got a new leash on life
New leash

When I was in traction
The nurses all knew my name
I broke a fever
Fed through a tube or a spoon, it’s all the same
All the same

You’re alone. Or so you think
The reach of the rope, the tighter it’s pulled
I’d cut it off your neck
You’d put it on again

Got a new leash on life
New leash
Track Name: Enthused
The radon took the family
Took the dog, turned the land
The gas fire, faulty wiring
Lit cigarette, negligence
The napalm, it was homemade
Spread downwind, burned so fast
The napalm made from styrofoam and gasoline
Stirred in a can

All our hopes are stirred in a can
And we’ll all watch it go
Amused, enthused

And singing songs in native tongues
Nothing to regret when you don’t know what you’ve done
And we all watch it go
Unamused, Unenthused

The radon took the family
Took the dog, turned the land
The gas fire freed the memory
Of the home where I once lived

And singing songs in native tongues
Nothing to regret and you won’t be outdone
And shuffling south in your wet clothes
Come on inside and feel the warmth

And we’ll all watch it go
Amused, enthused
Track Name: Hux
The vision field won’t widen
I’m clinically sighted
The pulp is soaked and expanding
I feel it in my guts
The mornings aren’t easy anymore
Life reduced to greyscale
I breathe a curse into the ceiling
Every day I wake

I arrive at your house
Hear nervous ticking from inside
The halls you’ve filled with joy
Will meet an alcoholic demise
Because the laws of modern man are so demanding

But you could use some convincing
Rock bottom’s not such a bad place to meet
The more I tell that story
The less sense that it makes
Feel the thread like a noose tightening
A non-believer can fit his head inside
Abuse has shown me it’s easy
It could never turn on me
Never turn on me

Because the laws of modern man are so demanding
Burn and burn what I won’t keep
Dispel, dispel – it gives you some relief
You could use some relief
Track Name: Broken Trance
Silver memory and a gold lining
Ordinary telekinesis
By morning we’ll see what I cannot be

Stretching with me, seeds in our teeth
Grown to the size of this cage
Fungal evening, barricade long sleep
But I could never sort out why

Silver memory
She’s the foreground now
Ordinary telekinesis

Ignore the headache
Not touch the sunlight
But I could never sort out why
She had a beige nothingness about her that got filled up by drugs
Track Name: The Drip
Transpose my memory on blotter paper
Watch the micro-cuts of your hands
If terror foments, you guide my hand
It won’t be the last elastic death

Leak some
Poison
Out from
Your spines

Clipped back and reeling
Coming in with smiles
For a taste of majesty
A bleeding scab-mate
You’ll fold again
Show them your registry wounds

Fucked off the excess
Fingers in the crevice
The drip could eat a hole through the world

Show them all
What you found
Track Name: The John
It never went to trial
An invincible man lying dead in the alley
They wanted to make an example out of him
Gambler oozing prime of life
And she was tender and prime
The witness can’t recall details
It seems he hit his head on the way in
Set in well after midnight
Masonry and original sin

Black night, black jack, in a black car

Pit boss caught the two in the alley
Cool night air replaced by hot rank breath
Never thought his gambler’s debt
Would be settled by reaching into the bag
No sympathy is given
Despite the wife and kids plea
They say a sucker’s born every second
It’s a stupid man’s disease

Black jack, black snake
Viper to be exact
And there’s no anti-venom
Track Name: Lucite Lovers
So, you’ve been thinking
About a way to break the trance
But time is ticking away
Stare and let it pass or treat it like an enemy

They’ve got a way
They’ve got a way to tell

Measure a man by the things he’s said
Might as well make peace with a lie
Make truth my enemy

They’ve got a way
They’ve got a way to tell
What’s your intent?
Go turn the lights on, gang

Lucite lovers
Angered and othered
What’s the spin?
Spin it again
Talking pointers
For fucking joiners
What’s the spin?
Spin it again and again and again

Lights on gang
Find your place in hell
Lucite lovers find your place in hell
Track Name: Rural Access Intercept
Solitary since ‘53
Corporeal debris
With the wind in the trees
You verbalize some hateful things
And the limestone will never tell anyone
Just how wrong you are
Looks like you’re gonna die alone
In these woods
With your collection of guns and old junk cars
The years haven’t been kind
But you’re feeling better

They say it’s God’s country
Well, let him fuckin’ take it back

All you’ve done is reproduce
Your progeny is not a tool
You wield your only living proof
Try to extend your horror clutch of rule

Well, it’s all going away and I’m glad
Track Name: Survival Clause
Forced to call it mansion, afraid to call it home
Timing of a nation, time is hopeless blown
Leader

Where the gears and locks turn, warmth in heart will grow
Accept my sullen values, your ancestors will know
Get on

Led us to this sink hole of Earthly desire
To temptation we fall
Now we’re forced to sign
The survival clause

Where the gears and locks turn, warmth in heart will grow

Death in droves became dull
Remember your ala-mull
Minerals in clay
Washed their memories away

Now we’re forced to sign
Earthly design
Now we’re forced to sign
The survival clause
Track Name: Upstate in '69
You said you were finally seeing things straight
As if your happiness
Was a poison urchin
Lying in wait
Well my kaleidoscope must be broken
I see the same field

Of Humanity
Stinking and heaving
In electric light
Upstate in ‘69

Now I watch you on the screen
I turn you off and on, and off and on
The voyeur - your dream

Same humanity
Stinking and heaving
In electric light
Upstate in ‘69

Another kid on the conveyor
Track Name: Mick Karvo
Comfort coded, cased in shame
Stored away
Activate phobic needs
And return - you neurotic fuck
Empty

If someone was to touch this shell
It might cave in
It might cave in

Down to the minute now and it’s not some kind of premonition
It’s blood and marrow based
Force fed to an LCD prison

‘Just need some time alone’
My reasoning goes
My reasoning goes
It must have happened so slow
Compulsive flesh and a screen
I’ve made my choice, can’t you see?
I’ve made my choice, can’t you see?
Track Name: Pretty Good
I got a friend in Fremont
And he sells used cars, ya know
Well, he calls me up twice a year
Just ask me how'd it go
Pretty good, not bad, I can't complain
But actually everything is just about the same

I met a girl from Venus
And her insides were lined with gold
Well, she did what she did said "How was it, kid?"
She was politely told
"Pretty good, not bad, I can't complain
But actually everything is just about the same."

Moonlight makes me dizzy
Sunlight makes me clean
Your light is the sweetest thing
That this boy’s ever seen

Molly went to Arkansas
She got raped by Dobbin's dog
Well, she was doing good till she went in the woods
And got pinned up against a log
Pretty good, not bad, she can't complain
Cause actually all them dogs are just about the same

Moonlight makes me dizzy
Sunlight makes me clean
Your light is the sweetest thing
That this boy’s ever seen

I heard Allah and Buddha were singing at the Savior's feast
And up in the sky an Arabian rabbi
Fed Quaker oats to a priest
Pretty good, not bad, they can't complain
Cause actually all them gods are just about the same
Track Name: Seldom Come By
They say our love is disgusting
Say it with their eyes
They think our lives are a monstrosity,
But what do they know
I’ve been foolish and paranoid to care
They say our love can’t win as if they hold the secret

Words will fail, time will tell
The sweat we exude could be our only truth

How can our love win?
I don’t know what the answer is,
But I’ll show up every day if only for that look that you give

Words will fail, time will tell
Let go of the masterplan
I can’t take back the years of ill
You’re silent still
The sweat we exude could be our only truth

They say
I’m done with they say

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