Brother, Sister

by mewithoutYou

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I do not exist, but faithfully insist Sailing in our separate ships and from each tiny caravelle Tiring and trying there's unnecessary dying like the horseshoe crab in its proper seasons sheds its shell Such distance from our friends like a scratch across a lens, made everything look wrong from anywhere we stood and our paper blew away before we'd left the bay, so half-blind we wrote these songs on sheets of salty wood Caught me making eyes at the other boatman's wives, and heard me laughing louder at the jokes told by their daughters I'd set my course for land, but you well understand it takes a steady hand to navigate adulterous waters The propeller's spinning blades held acquaintance with the waves as there's mistakes I've made no rowing could outrun The cloth blowing on the mast like to say I've got no past but I'm nonetheless the librarian and secretary's son with tarnish on my brass and mildew on my glass, I'd never want someone so crass as to want someone like me but a few leagues off the shore, I bit a flashing lure and I assure you, it was not what I expected it to be! I still taste its kiss, that dull hook in my lip is a memory as useless as a rod without a reel To an anchor ever-dropped, seasick yet still docked Captain spotted napping with his first mate at the wheel, floating forgetfully along, with no need to be strong We keep our confessions long and when we pray we keep it short I drank a thimble full of fire and I'm not ever coming back Oh, my God! I do not exist we faithfully insist while watching sink the heavy ship of everything we knew If ever you come near I'll hold up high a mirror Lord, I could never show you anything as beautiful as You
First came a strong wind, rippin' off rooftops like bottlecaps and bending lamp posts down in the ground. then came a thunder shattering my windows but you were not that strong wind or that might sound You left the bar in shambles, the rabbit hutch in ruins, the split-rail fence splintered and the curtains torn. all the cows out from the pastures trampling of the pumpkins and the horses from their stable ambling in the corn [foreign language chanting:] Isa ruhu-lah 'alaihis-salat was-salam I've flown unnoticed just behind you like an insect And I've watched you like a falcon from a distance as you passed. then swooped down to be nearer, to the traces of the footsteps to pick the fallen grain from the dirt beneath the crooked grass. And I'm gonna take that grain and I'm gonna crush it all together into the flour of a bread as small and simple and sincere. as when the dryness and the rain finally drink from one another the gentle cup of mutually surrendered tears! A fish swims through the sea while the sea is in a certain sense, contained within the fish! Oh, what am I to think of what the writing of a thousand lifetimes could not explain if all the forest trees were pens and all the oceans - ink? [more foreign language chants:] nastagh-firuka ya Hokan ya Dhal-Jalah wal-Ikram Isa ruhu-lah 'alaihis-salat was-salam ya Halim, ya Qahhar ya Muntaqim, ya Ghaffar! la Ilaha ilallahu, Allahu Akbar!
It's the smell of hot summertime trash It's the city noise of a busy street It's a train derailed and a two car head on freeway crash Each time we meet "And if it comes as some sort of a surprise", she said "That I seem so composed, I've kept this moment closer to my eyes", she said, "Than the glasses resting on the edge of my nose" Shadow am I! Shadow am I! The question of a person, no said reply Wolf am I! and Shadow cast on the sheep as I pass by Shadow am I! Shadow am I! or like a wearing-black-socks-and-white-woolen-locks Wolf am I, and shadow she was grace and green as a stem, but I walk heavy on delicate ground I go showing off again Self-impressed by how well I can put myself down! And there I go again To the next further removed level Of that same exact feigned humility! this for me goes on and on to the point of nausea Shadow am I! Like suspicion that's never confirmed But it's never denied Wolf am I, no, "shadow" - I think - is better as I'm not something as the absence of something So SHADOW AM I! the material world seems to me like a newspaper headline- it explicitly demands your attention and it may even contain some truth and what's really going on here? one day the water's gonna wash it away and on that day, nothing clever to say.
we took the twine we used to use to tie up tight our tattered shoes twisted twigs and crooked cross a necklace for the deeply lost Builder with the broken bricks mother to the baby chicks you made this world to look so nice i wonder what the next one's like? yellow spider yellow leaf confirms my deepest held belief...
A cat came drifting onto a porch from the outside cold And with eyes closed, drinking warm milk from my bowl, Thought: "Nobody hears me (nobody hears me) I crept in so soft! And nobody sees me (nobody sees me) As I watched six steps off." Like the peacocks wandering the walkways of the zoo Who have twice the autonomy the giraffes and tigers do Saying: "No one can stop me (no one stop me) No one clips my claws! now everyone watches me (everyone watches me) Scale these outside walls!" you took the puous and profane, turned around the praise and blame, said "A glass can only spill what it contains!" To the perpetually plain and the incurably inane A glass can only spill what it contains! What new mystery is this? what blessed backwardness?? the Immeasurable one is held and does not resist! struck by wicked words and foolish fists of senseless men the Almighty One does not defend! I was halfway listening to what she thinks she knows We're like children dressing in our parents clothes saying:] "Nobody knows me (nobody knows me) No one knows my name! No, Nobody knows me (nobody knows me) Nobody knows me... " I half-heartedly explained But gave up peacefully ashamed as a glass can only spill what it contains! We went from Portugal and Spain And in her mind the entire time it rained! A glass can only spill what it contains! What new mystery is this? in overflowing emptiness! the invisible is seen among the shadows and the mist, Before my doubting eyes, The infinite appears this time. The unquestionable is questioned But makes no reply! What new mystery is this? [x5] "My rabbi" my lips betray with a kiss What new mystery is this?
You were a song I couldn't sing Caught like a bear by the bees With its hand in a hive Who complains of the sting when I'm lucky I got out alive! A life at best left half-behind The taste of the honey Still sweet on my tongue And I'd run (Lord knows I've tried) But there's no place on Earth I can hide from the wrong I've done Then I saw a mountain and I saw a city Steadily sinking but suspiciously calm It wasn't an end, it wasn't a beginning But a ceaseless stumbling on there, strapped like a watch on my wrist that's finished with gold but can't tell time! was all or what little pleasure exists Seductive sold and useless mine Our horse was fast and first from the gate with the lead of a length at the sound of the gun ant the last of our cash laid down to fate (at 17 to 1) but the final stretch in the rear of the pack That nag limping bad in the back We reluctantly gave all the money we'd saved A fifth to the commonwealth and the rest to the track! then I saw a forest grow in the city And a driftwood wall of birdhouse gourds And I'm still waiting to meet a girl like my mom (who's closer to my age) the true light of my eyes is a Pearl Equally emptied to equally shine And all or what little joy in the world seemed suddenly simple and endlessly mine I was once the wine and you were the wineglass, I was once alive when you held me, but G-d became the glass, all things left are emptiness but oh, you're just a little girl if you look out and see a trace of a dark bed that was once my face in the clarity of such grace, you'll forget all about me
Daniel broke the king's decree, Peter stepped from the ship to the sea there was hope for Job like a cut down tree, I hope that there's such hope for me dust be on my mind's conceptions and anything I thought I knew each word of my lips' description, and on all that I compare to You the preference of the sun was to the south side of the farm I planted to the north in a terra-cotta pot blind as I'd become, I used to wonder where you are- these days I can't find where you're not! mine's been a yard carefully surgace level tended foxes burrowed underground my gardening so highly self-recommended, what could I have done but let you down? the sun and the moon, I want to see both worlds as One! mine's been a vivid story, dimly remembered and by the hundredth time it's told, halfway true of bad behavior well engendered what good is each good thing we think we do? find a friend and stay close and with a melting heart tell them whatever you're most ashamed of- our parents have made so many mistakes, but may we forgive them and forgive ourselves the sun and the moon are my Father's eyes
a note we wrote the other day to any mice who pass this way on crumed and sugared countertop: "we must insist your traffic STOP." in their defense, they don't refuse but nonetheless we've come to use snapping traps and poison beans (far less diplomatic means) orange spider, orange leaf confirms my deepest held belief
C-Minor 03:21
our house wrapped in disrepair, a small mouse peeked out from a hole beneath the stairs nearby to where my dad sat in his favorite chair, thinking about the gov't and muttering a prayer so I scattered some oats in hopes she'd stay and sat still to stop from scaring her away- but she hurried on her little way and scurried around my mind ever since, every day open wide my door, my door, my Lord (open wide my door) to whatever makes me love You more (open wide my door) while there's still light to run towards I'm water, you're the dry wood equal parts misguided and misunderstood but all the neighborhood watched a fire burn from where they stood as the smoke said "we're not half as bad as G-d is good" still there's a whisper in my ear, the voice of loneliness and fear, so I say: "devil, disappear! I'm still (ehh... technically...) a virgin after 27 years- which never bothered me before, what's maybe 50 more?" she came back for the oats but she brought along a "friend" (this never ends) the harder the rain, the lower the flowers in the garden bend (this never ends) I'd rather never talk again than to continue to pretend that this never ends
the bird that plucked the Olive Leaf has been circling like a record 'round the spindle in my mind where the needle's worn the grooves too deep, and scratched the wax that's blistered from the heat besides so from any movement in the room- if my cat walked by the arm skipped! but to my surprise, my interrupting cat improved a sound already so severely compromised the needle's worn the grooves too deep I'm a donkey's jaw on a desert dune beside the bush that Moses saw that burned and yet was not consumed she's the silver coin I lost, I'm the sheep who slipped away we pray the fingers crossed but you listen patiently anyway I wrote a little song for you with a melody I'd borrowed put to words that didn't rhyme to repeat what you already knew as the stones thrown at your window tapped a syncopated time you kept a distance out of fear you'd break but what good's a single windchime, hanging quiet all alone? the music our collisions would make is a sound that turns the road-that-leads-us-back-home into Home. the music our collisions make! I had a rusty spade but I'm not the fighting sort if I was Samson I'd have found that harlot's blade and cut my own hair short! then in a market dimly lit I come casually to pay you see my coins are counterfeit but accept them anyway so spare me your goodbyes, your waving-handkerchief-good-byes given my tendency to err so on the sentimental side I'll spare you my goodbyes, the truth belongs to G-d, the mistakes were mine
O, Porcupine 04:31
without a queen the locust swarm turned the ground to black descending like a shadowy tower on a fish's back and scattered the sticks who crawled like snakes in the sand as the red clay took the form of a lizard who rushed like a moth to the flame of my open hand (while, in my little world...) a speckled bird humbly inspired ran across the road when it could have flown and it made me smile at the water's edge, Babylon we laid down and slept as the river wept for you, O'Zion! the stones cry out, bells shake the sky all creation groans... SHHHH!!! listen to it! messes of men in farmer poverty; not much for monks but we pretend to be share a silent meal and a pot of chamomile gypsies like us should be stamped in solidarity I hold you in my fond but distant memory while waiting for the Mother Hen to gather me who regretfully wrote, "you have a decent ear for notes but you can't yet appreciate harmony." O' porcupine perched low in the tree your ees to mine: "you'd be well inclined not to mess with me." at the garden's edge beneath a speechless sky as his friends all slept Jesus wept- and no wonder and now you say you wanna be set free?? and wanna set me free??? well I'm told that can only come from a union with the One who never dies [while, in my little world, I patched a plaster wall and in my little world, I was waiting (just dying!) to take offence at something this is all there is in my sad little world] in darkness a light shines on you and on me I never gathered figs from a thorny branch, I never picked a grapefruit off a bramble bush and for the past five- almost six years now!- you know you haven't once looked at me with kindness in your eyes you say Judas is a brother of mine? but sister in our darkness a light shines and all I ever want to say for the rest of my life is how that light is G-d, and though I've been mistaken on this or that point, that light is nevertheless G-d.
every thing I thought I'd learned ambition and illusion turned to drawings on a loose leaf sheet of tarts and cakes I couldn't eat what in her do I require? the face of gratified desire what in me does she require? the face of a gratified desire brownish spider, brownish leaf confirms my deepest held belief. no more spider, no more leaf, no more me, no more belief.
in a sweater poorly knit and an unsuspecting smile little moses drifts downstream in the Nile a fumbling reply, an awkward rigid laugh I'm carried helpless by my floating basket raft your flavor in my mind swings back and forth between sweet rhan any wine and bitter as mustard greens light and dark as honeydew and pumpernickel bread the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead! as you plow some other field try and forget my name see what harvest yields, and, supposing I'd do the same I planted rows of peas but by the first week of July they should have come up to my knees but they were maybe ankle high take the fingers from your flute to weave your colored yarns and boil down your fruit to preserves in mason jars but now the books are overdueand the goats are underfed the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead! you're a door-without-a-key, a field-without-a-fence you made a holy fool of me and I've thanked you ever since. if she comes circling back we'll end where we'd begun like two pennies on the train track the train crushed into one or if I'm a crown without a king, if I'm a broken open seed if I come without a thing, then I come with all I need no boat out in the blue, no place to rest your head, the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead! I do not exist only You exist


released September 26, 2006


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mewithoutYou Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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