Atavist

by T. Hallenbeck

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1.
Apology 01:47
An apology's in order; didn't mean to leave you alone for so long - I know it was wrong. Is my darling okay? Come in and be welcome and warm. There is no news to speak of, except that I'm hearing the voices again - they come now and then, but the vision remains, of a beautiful world. And sometimes strangers stop by, looking for a place to crash and a meal - they show up insane, and at dawn the next day, they leave healthy and whole. Apologies, apologies - didn't mean to leave you alone for so long - I know it was wrong. Is my darling okay? Come in and be welcome and warm.
2.
Somewhere I still have the arrowheads, plucked from Grandpa's old box in the season when I'd pray to the Devil for what only he could give - please forgive my infidel sidewinding. By moonlight I'd serenade your likeness, and you'd come down on high steps, hair in tangles, like unto the green lady who lives in quarry ponds, she who lets arrowheads fall into the hands of children.
3.
When she came to get everything back, I was out in the yard dozing off the sunshine. She asked where he was, I said, "Inside", so she walked up the stairs and I saw she'd been crying. And from inside my funky old house came the voice of my roommate splitting hairs with his girlfriend. For an hour they bickered and screamed, hurling insults, and I heard it all from the yard. She left in tears, but I knew she'd be back, or he'd storm to her front door with flowers. They're like that, and it happens alot - they're in love and it makes them angry. After a while, my roommate came out and said, "Sorry you had to hear our dirty laundry." Then he broke out the pipe and we got really stoned and hung out in the sunshine. In my mind I invented a girlfriend who'd fight with me, throw things, be jealous and nosy. And my roommate, he soon wandered off, leaving me out there hopelessly stoned in the yard. She leaves in tears, but I know she'll come back, or I'll storm to her front door with flowers. We'd be like that, it would happen alot - always at each other's throats. And that day I saw the real me: unemotional, holding it in, much too guarded. I guess the intense things in life pass you by when you're like that. That's why I'm alone in the yard.
4.
Moonbeams 04:50
Darling, the stars are out in the June sky. Kids throw their caps in the air to see the bats fly. The dog in the yard, he's chewin' his fleas, because even at midnight, it's eighty-five degrees. And I'm on the sidewalk in the moon's humid white, watching the moths crash head-on into the streetlights. I'm full of the whiskey I downed at Big Joe's - fifty cents left and I just stubbed my toe on the curb out in front of the duplex you rent with a waitress who keeps pickled yams in the basement. The neighbors in the right half have all the lights on, but your half is dark, so I guess that you're gone. Or maybe you're lying awake in the dark, while the waitress is on the back porch for a smoke. A dog barks in somebody's yard down the block, upset 'cause the neighbor's dog stole the toy sock. But here I am - somehow, it doesn't feel wrong: a night full of whiskey, a head full of song. And if I were someone else, you'd pull the blinds, and beneath your window, I'd sing all the right lines to some silly song about fireflies and lights, and moonbeams, and bad dreams, and sweet summer nights. Darling, it's midnight, I'm in your front yard humming a tune, and I feel like a retard, thinking about you inside your four walls, and I'd better move on before somebody calls the police, and they come, and I have to explain that I'm harmless, shy, smitten, flat wasted, but quite sane. The moon laughs at me from her heavenly dome, and before I pass out, I guess I'll just go home. But there I was - somehow, it didn't feel wrong: a night full of whiskey, a head full of song. And if I were someone else, you'd pull the blinds, and beneath your window, I'd sing all the right lines to some silly song about fireflies and lights, and moonbeams, and bad dreams, and sweet summer nights.
5.
Tomfooler 01:20
I'm the plan-stealer, I'm the gate-jumper, I make the liars dance on red-hot coals. I'm the tape-eraser, I'm the Tomfooler, I send the rats back to their dirty holes. chorus: Not to worry, you're very safe - I take only what the trashmen leave behind. I got bags of knick-nacks and whoosy-whatsies - come on, let's watch the world unwind. When you go and kneel at the big computer, I'm gonna watch you press the keys. Too many dangerous toys, too many popguns - I'm gonna drag 'em all in to the sea. (chorus) I'm the plan-stealer, I'm the gate-jumper, I make the liars dance on red-hot coals. I'm the tape-eraser, I'm the Tomfooler, I send the rats back to their dirty holes.
6.
A Living God 01:21
Bulldozers could not drag him away; he's the living god, the clownface. Ride the time machine, and pray for Christmas fruitcakes, just like last year. No bomb could dislodge him from his funky, funky home. Ride the time machine and hold on to your barf bags. No knife can excise him from my happy, happy head. Come ride poor old Eyeore, and nail my tail back on, please. Meet the living god, the clownface.
7.
Forty Days 01:24
How long is forty days? Only a fool keeps himself awake at night over angels on a pinhead. Is God great enough to make a rock that He can't move? I count myself lucky to have wise friends who answer my impossible questions when I ask them, and they tell me that it's only human not to know. What happens when you die? Is there a God? How do spiders know the way to spin a web? And despite the wise advice from my friends, it keeps me awake at night, even though it's only human not to know.

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Recorded live in seven hours, Oakland CA, 1999

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released October 12, 1999

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T. Hallenbeck Oakland, California

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