we were too beautiful to sleep

First of two recent songs, for a series of adaptations of Lithuanian tales… This one’s about a man who falls in love with and then murders a mermaid. I don’t think it’ll survive at that length, but here it is for now. Posting to Soulographie for the hidden Agamben quote!



The neon at the end of the square, the red path of lips

Cold umlauting our vowels

The docks are down to their heaviest ships

Writing a woman in the scallop of a man

Writing a phone book in a Japanese fan

Chill willing to play music on sinew

Robbing our skin for copper wire


Up out of the water and into an old brown Ford

Forget it: like Pluto not a planet any more

Your markers here and everywhere adored

Long tall alley breathing like a horse

We let go the beer and throw

A chapter in the fire


Ship at the inlet; silent giant right angle cranes –

Broken picture frames: quotes around silence

Your hands in my coat a cold kind of science,

Violet code of the flower packed dark

Can’t pay trolley fare we don’t need to eat

Speaking English for 12 hours straight with knives in your feet

Street sleet enough to have shaken out its last creep

Your head a blue mind by a lighter of mine you’ll keep

We are too beautiful to sleep


Pull an alarm in the old asylum, old prison

Stars climb up the houses and jump heaven

Nobody else left awake to blame this on

Completing backwards the history of your confirmation

The testimony of human beings

Calls up a time we were not human

The nighttime finger-slide chrism down neck

Heat at the neck a path to fire

All the way back to your baptism

Night is folded paper, light

We’re fire folding


Three legged dog playing triplets on the sea wall

14 quarters and a homesick phone call

The PA is big but can’t handle all the channels

From the old castle you can see the city down to landfall

Naked on the football field lying still, waiting

We can keep morning out of this for now

You’re only writing


Colder than a window more broken than a cup

Interrupt by going forward, light inside, outside

The more we see the darker it gets

Left my lungs in a dead man’s chest, we sing in brittle bones

Blaise and the blessing of the throats

It’s the hour when people get drunk at home

Trees stand up as language for wolves

Holding back the sun, nights don’t come cheap

We are too beautiful to sleep


Christ forgives the thief on Friday

This is where I forget I ever had hands, the book is in the body

Following in the neon, as drunk as honey

Stop just stop: the one promise we can keep

We were too beautiful to sleep

We were too beautiful to sleep

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