Strychnine

by Ryoki Center

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1.
New Leash 02:25
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
2.
Enthused 03:06
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
3.
Hux 03:40
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
4.
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
5.
The Drip 03:39
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
6.
The John 02:27
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
7.
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
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
11.
Mick Karvo 03:47
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?
12.
Pretty Good 02:55
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
13.
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

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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