Imagine a Fire You Can Wear As a Coat by Anthony Graytone

by Mike Young

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about

Mike Young is the author of Sprezzatura, Look! Look! Feathers, and We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough. He publishes NOÖ Journal, runs Magic Helicopter Press, and lives in Portland, OR. Find him online at mikeayoung.tumblr.com.

Waves of thanks to Jenelle Stafford for cardamom in the coffee, sand in the shoes, forests in the forests, love on the team.

Cakes of thanks to the great Kelly Schirmann for being the oracle on the bike to the bats down by the lake.

Orchids of thanks to Rachel B. Glaser for being a wonderful marathoner companion in Black Cake immortality. (These albums' secret doublepak title is 120 North Street).

Licks of thanks to Alan Brandsted for letting me borrow his fancy guitar.

Winks of thanks to Mark Cugini for offering to come up with backstories for my fake Garageband drummers.

Sweats of thanks to Anthony Graytone himself for breaking into my apartment and holding me hostage for two weeks while I made this album. He wore a train conductor's hat. He lived off dried apricots. Whenever he took a shower, silt came out of the freezer. Whenever I said "But that part's not perfect" or "I am not good enough at ___ to make this sound like it sounds in my head" he threw apricots at me until I went ahead and accepted whatever half-ass shit I'd done. Sometimes I tried to give up. I'd sneak out late at night and throw my very cheap microphone into the Willamette. And then I'd think Anthony Graytone was gone, and I'd take a nice afternoon nap, and Anthony Graytone would wake me up at dusk, sopping wet, screaming at me and slapping me with the microphone, which thankfully didn't hurt that much because it wasn't very heavy because it is so cheap. Anthony Graytone is responsible for all the songs on this album, even though I wrote them all, sang them all, recorded them all, played all the instruments, etc. Goddamnit Anthony. He didn't even find the train sounds. But when the album was finally done, I came home at high noon to find Anthony gone, train conductor's hat hanging from a needle of my cactus, a note tucked inside: "Next up is don't water this cactus too much. It doesn't grow that way."

credits

released July 13, 2015

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Black Cake Records Portland, Oregon

Black Cake Records is dedicated to producing, promoting, & archiving new recordings of contemporary poetry & other experiments. All works are the property of the authors. All records are available to listen to, share, & download for free.

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Track Name: Let All Your Fear
Let all your worries breathe
Let all your worries breathe
Fall off your horse, take an ax through your knees
Let all your worries breathe

Let your little eyes fill up
Let your little eyes fill up
With sawdust and mucus and moonlight and blood
Let your little eyes fill up

Let all your skin boil off
Let all your skin boil off
Let all your friends tap ignore on your calls
Let all your skin boil off

Lose all the people you love
Lose all the people you love
The only thing dust has to teach us is dust
Lose all the people you love

Tell yourself you’re going home
Tell yourself you’re going home
Imagine a fire that you wear as a coat
Tell yourself you’re going home
Track Name: Shut Up and
Your boyfriend was dying right down through his bones
So I spent the night at your place
Mixing tarot and whiskey
Called you sugar cookie
After the paint stained your face

There’s always some dumb fucking thing to be done
If you are not sure you’re alive
Sprint through the crosswalk
With all the wrong lights up
Whistle with spears in your side

La da shut up and hold me
Shut up and hold me now
La da shut up and hold me
Shut up and hold me down

You drove yourself west to the state where I’m from
You swallow the fog when you nap
You text me from Texas
And say you’re well-rested
And oh yeah you’re not coming back

It’s Easter, it’s snowing, there’s bats in my house
I found them asleep upside down
So I gave them blankets
And they all said “thanks” then
They wept until I locked them out

La da shut up and hold me
Shut up and hold me now
La da shut up and hold me
Shut up and hold me down
Track Name: Turn the Lights on and Off
One of these days they’re gonna find my brain
On the walls of an Amtrak train
I go through friends just like a canyon fire
All I want is you to moan my name

Haul my stupid beard to a different town
Who am I gonna let down next?
It ain’t that I don’t got feelings for you
I just break every feeling I get

And when I die the sequoia trees
Will still be wearing robes of moss
When I die my apartment key
Will presumably still fit the lock
We’ll tell a few jokes, what a fun guy
Turn the lights on and off
Turn the lights on and off

Bless the ones we never meant to hurt
For trying to trust us more
You know I shoulda just up and left
Instead of slept on your kitchen floor

There’s things about me you don’t need to know
In the shape of my face in the night
I’ll keep a list of what makes you laugh
If you kiss the lids of my eyes

And when I die the sequoia trees
Will still be wearing robes of moss
When I die my apartment key
Will presumably still fit the lock
We’ll tell a few jokes, what a fun guy
Turn the lights on and off
Turn the lights on and off
Track Name: Lay Them Now on Your Face
Your heart is just a tenant and that’s all that it is
Your heart is just a tenant and that’s all that it is
Your heart is just a tenant and that’s all that it is
Like a bluebird with a shotgun underneath your chin

Hand me the peanut butter, I think there’s one scoop left
Hand me the peanut butter, I think there’s one scoop left
Hand me the peanut butter, I think there’s one scoop left
We’ll stay in bed and get the rest of our rest

We always know why we do the things
That we do—we just say that we don’t
We lie and we lie and we lie and we lie—
Kinda hope that everybody knows
Kinda hope that everybody knows

Lift your hands
If you hurt someone
Lay them now
On your face
Keep ‘em there
If you been hurt
Let the blood move on into place
Let the blood move on into place

Hey there wait now what was your name?
Hey there wait now what was your name?
Hey there wait now what was your name?
Picking me out your teeth with a rattlesnake

You hung up the phone you were a mess in love
You hung up the phone you were a mess in love
You hung up the phone you were a mess in love
Don’t matter who or when that’s what you was

(rpt bridge and chorus)

The blood in your face is the blood in my face
The blood in your face is the blood in my face

(rpt forever)
Track Name: Taco Sugar
Start a surf rock band called Taco Sugar
Try not to cry at BBQs
Start a weird pet trend—maybe goldbacked heifers
Share your progress on YouTube

Start a new way to bring people closer
Points if their faces get stuck
Start a place where losers can stare at toasters
I’ll bring my own bread and I won’t touch

There’s always something you can do
If you do it right they’ll remember you
There’s always something that you can do
If you do it wrong they’ll remember you

Start a love affair with the ghost of a soldier
But only if they died getting shot in the back
Start every morning laying thinking over
Mistakes you made that left your face like that

Start a good thing then fuck it over
For reasons that taste like plastic fruit
Start a good thing then fuck it over
Go “Oh so that’s what I had to lose.”

There’s always something you can do
If you do it right they’ll remember you
There’s always something that you can do
If you do it wrong they’ll remember you

(Isn’t that what you want?
Get yourself and put yourself on
Isn’t that what you want?
Get yourself and put yourself on)

There’s always something you can do
Do, do, doobie doobie do
Track Name: How About the Fire of Forgiveness
Always give the cowboy directions
You never know when he might help you out
He’s kissing his boyfriend’s eyebrows
The night it doesn’t hang so much as drown

Always bake an extra potato
You never know who’s coughing up their lunch
When I carried you I wasn’t frightened
But when I put you down oh God I was

Sorry for the ashes in your bathtub
Sorry for the sherbet on your shoes
Sorry for the spider at your book club
Sorry I let go of your belt loops

How about the fire of forgiveness
How about we try to get too close
How about tonight calls up tomorrow
And argues that it doesn’t have to know

My favorite shade of memory is faded
Firefighters practicing on poles
My favorite shade of history is fuck it
These polar bears that I keep feeding coal

Sorry for the words with all their edges
Sorry for the tinsel on your floor
Sorry for the ice cube in my jacket
Sorry I don’t know what love is for

How about the fire of forgiveness
How about we try to get too close
Track Name: I Made My Home Where My Friends All Were
I made my home where my friends all were
Then my friends went home

I made my home where my friends all were
Then my friends went home

I tried to help the ones I loved
But love sometimes don’t help

I tried to help the ones I loved
But love sometimes don’t help

Morning train, wait for me
Morning train, don’t you leave

You sing like you’re crying
I sing like I can’t sleep

You sing like you’re crying
I sing like I can’t sleep

When I’m lost and when I’m scared
When I turn to smoke

You’ll be there, you’ll be there
You’ll be the one I know

Morning train, wait for me
Morning train, don’t you leave

Under the river—no, it’s still the river
Under the river—no, it’s still the river

Morning train, wait for me
Morning train, don’t you leave
Track Name: The World is Not an Argument
The world’s not an argument
The world’s not a hair salon
You’re not allowed to bring your dog
Even if you’re blind

The world’s not an argument
The world’s not a tennis match
Gray hairs in your mustache
You shave one at a time

And I’d like to say the world
Is a rowboat full of apples
Drifting toward some island
That doesn’t have a shore

And I’d like to say the world
Is under the lid of a Snapple
A quip wrote up by copywriters
On the umpteenth million floor

But the world is the world
And I’m sleeping near the door
The world is the world
And I’m sleeping near the door

The world’s not an argument
The world’s not a county fair
Pillow stuffed with horse’s hair
That the store will not take back

The world’s not an argument
The world’s not a bowling league
The world’s not a guy named Steve
At the pool swimming laps

And I’d like to say the world
Is a joke about a ghost
Delivered by your murderer
Who’s funnier than most

And I’d like to say the world
Is a coupon for some cheese
A kind that no one’s ever heard of
And snow chokes all the trees

But the world is the world
And I want better dreams

The world is the world
And I want better dreams
Track Name: History of Falling Excuses
i fell in love with the down of your neck
i fell in love with your army green sweater
i fell in love when she called me collect
i fell in love tho i knew so much better

i fell in love with this great plate of eggs
i fell in love with this little glass moose
i fell in love with a dealer of cocaine
i fell in love, now what's your excuse

i fell in love to her free tibet chant
i fell in love with her feminist jokes
i fell in love with a sniper in iran
i fell in love with the humblest of hopes

oh oh
te amo
oh oh
te amo

i fell in love with the holyoake mall
i fell in love with a drunk santa claus
i fell in love with a green tennis ball
i fell in love with the music from jaws

i fell in love with a chocolate martini
i fell in love with a chocolate mint
i fell in love with a chocolate canoli
i fell in love now i eat m&ms

i fell in the love you danced me to the end of
i fell in love when you borrowed my phone
i fell in love with the names i made up
i fell in love so entangled in loam

oh oh
te amo
oh oh
te amo

i've fallen for girls who sell gourmet cigars
i've fallen for girls who dress poorly for rain
i've fallen for girls and i've lied to stay warm
i've fallen for boys when i just couldn't wait

and i've fallen for you / i'm already too late
i've fallen for you / i'm already too late