REPETITIONS OF THE OLD CITY - I (2016)


  1. 1.I Am So Glad to Meet You

  2. 2.The Old Man and the Table Saw

  3. 3.When the Door Opens, It Opens

    on Everything

  1. 4.Epistemology / Even Keel

  2. 5..22, or Denny Takes One For the Team

  3. 6.Videos of the Dead

  4. 7.Whiteout

  5. 8.Fighting the Doughboy

  6. 9.After the Dive



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JACK O’ THE CLOCK


Damon Waitkus, Emily Packard, Kate McLoughlin, Jason Hoopes, Jordan Glenn


Produced by Damon Waitkus


Drums and bass engineered by The Norman Conquest, October 2014. Everything else recorded and mixed by Damon Waitkus, October 2014 through September 2016 in Oakland and Alameda, CA.


Mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland CA



1. I Am So Glad to Meet You (Waitkus) - 1:37


DW - vocals, electric guitar, noises


2. The Old Man and the Table Saw (Waitkus/Hoopes/Glenn) - 10:31


DW - vocals, hammer dulcimer, electric guitar, mandolin, piano,

            pianet, percussion

EP - violin

KM - bassoon, vocals

JH - bass

JG - drums

Sarah Whitley - samples


3. When the Door Opens, It Opens on Everything (Waitkus/Hoopes) -12:08


DW - vocals, acoustic guitar, baritone and piccolo electric guitars,                    

            percussion

EP - violin

KM - bassoon, vocals

JH - bass, vocals

JG - drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba


4. Epistemology / Even Keel (Waitkus) - 5:46


DW - vocals, acoustic, electric, and baritone electric guitars,       

            flute, guzheng

JH - acoustic bass

JG - drums


5. .22, or Denny Takes One For the Team (Jack O’ The Clock) - 6:58


DW - hammer dulcimer, vocals, pianet

EP - violin

KM - vocals, bassoon

JH - bass

JG - drums, percussion

Darren Johnston - trumpet


6. Videos of the Dead (Glenn/Hoopes/Waitkus) - 7:21


DW - vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, hammer dulcimer, percussion

EP - violins, viola

KM - flute, bassoon, vocals

JH - bass

JG - drums

Fred Frith - electric guitar


7. Whiteout (Waitkus) - 2:29


DW - hammer dulcimer, baritone electric guitar, vocals, percussion

EP - violin

Jonathan Russell - bass clarinet


8. Fighting the Doughboy (Waitkus) - 13:43


DW - vocals, acoustic and baritone electric guitars, piano, pianet,

        guzheng, wine glasses, percussion, flute

EP - violins

KM - bassoon, vocals

JH - bass, vocals

JG - drums, percussion, marimba, vibraphone

Darren Johnston - trumpet

Andrew Strain - trombone


9. After the Dive (Waitkus) - 3:38


DW - vocals, acoustic guitar, piccolo and baritone electric guitars,

        percussion

EP - violin

JH - zither, acoustic bass




Lyrics by Damon Waitkus


REPETITIONS OF THE OLD CITY - I


I Am So Glad to Meet You


Hundreds of swifts and one chimney stack:

single file they emerge, single file they go back,

and sure as shit the night comes, but that’s only half the tale.

I must believe the world will carry you if my strength should fail.


Night like a thicket, anything could grow.

The city we woke up in is not the one we know.

You I didn’t plan for. You I can’t resist.

I tell you, the mind’s eye is a beggar in the temples that exist

and I am so glad to meet you.

I am so glad to meet you.


The Old Man and the Table Saw


Old man like a mountain

that steals afternoons,

the day of our party,

collapsed in the sun

and dragged himself home

to a chair in the cellar

where he sat for a long time

by the old table saw

looking frail as a piece of balsa wood

and we sighed at the sight

‘cause our friends were arriving

and this was not the time for pity.


Old man like a mountain,

your woman’s a slave,

your son in a failure.

It’s too late for love,

We are keeping you comfortable,

but this is your hole.


All the slaves and the failures are outside on the lawn

telling stories of soldiers deserting as soon as they landed

on beautiful enemy shores.


Do you think we should check on him?

Do you think he’s still alive?

(Comes a sound from the cellar door)

He is up! He is grinning.

The ferocious blade is spinning.

“Leave me alone!” he snarls,

“I’m building you a spine.”


When the Door Opens, It Opens on Everything


Crawling down a flight of stairs in evening light, 

a tiny house you could never place,

your father stands upon the lawn, his shadow stretching clear across the world.

It was open and closed when you came here,

You don't know how you know but you know you know

There wasn't any dawn.


Now he lay upon the bed, his breathing thin,

you're listening to "The Crystal Ship." The nurse sees

your wife's expecting. "Don't stop there,

I've ten in Port-au-prince," he says. "That's a soccer team!"

And your hair's turning grey as he says this,

like someone that you didn't intend to be

is slowly being born.


Deep down below these stories piled on stone,

a fire chases winter from the building.

If I only had known! If I only knew years ago

there was never a need to fear anything.


The sun is like a dying coal, a feeble slap

across the face of February. Now there's a

vacant house in disarray, the clocks all stopped,

the mirrors face the ceiling.

It was open and closed when you came here,

you didn't have to listen to anyone

and you don't have to now.


They burnt the body, squandered all of its heat

and handed you a cardboard box of gravel.

"Piece of cake," you are hearing him say.

"Don't stand by for even a beat. Just walk

into the room. That's all, you just walk."


Epistemology


Lean upon a metal cane

it could be fair, it could be rain.

Rack ‘em up inside your brain,

a felt despair, a pocket pain.

Chalk the cues, no time to lose,

no time to lose, no time to gain


Saddle up, take the bit,

the cab is stalled, the meter lit.

Grab a dollar, take a hit—

who’s even known the perfect fit?

Sold and bought, I never got,

I never got a feel for it.


Count the doorways one to ten,

walk up the block and down again.

Smiling ladies, scowling men,

the fighting cock, the laying hen.

Hers and his, as now it is,

as now it is it will be then.


Sunday morning, sigh a prayer,

meet the gaze, deflect the stare.

Easy verdict, hard to care:

gold is common, iron rare.

Weathervane it could be rain,

it could be rain, it could be fair.


Even Keel


Be quiet.

Sit and watch the trees.

Oh, they’re coming in great armies—


Even keel, what an odd belief!

Sunday silences are all too brief,

duty’s backbone in high relief

and I’ve been taking shadows for the night again


but this

is a holy place

crusted over with a thousand names.


Even keel, what an odd desire!

Man of straw baled with chicken wire,

lean in closer, the world’s on fire

and you’ve been taking puddles for the sea again.


.22, or Denny Takes One For the Team


Rounding first base, with his eyes on the whites of the second baseman's eyes.

Rounding second base, with his eyes on the whites of the third baseman's eyes.

Rounding third base, and Denny falls shrieking over the foul line.

You see his hand shoot up to his forehead and the blood worm down his arm.

(Huh?)


An idle shot from somewhere across the lake,

fired for the report,

fired at the sun for all we knew.

.22.


Back in school two days later,

a veritable god descended, proof

swollen at the hairline like an egg. 


Strange memory. And they called the game

like it was rain.

Shit, we were ahead!


Videos Of The Dead


You can't erase a hole,

only open it to the sun.

I'm stuck with these lab mouse eyes

watching videos of the dead.

I watch laughter, laughter is praise,

laughter is light flooding through the room.

I laughed at the screen til I couldn't breathe,

then I had violent dreams all night.


Burrow down on a Sunday night

to the broom closet of your childhood

where you find, underneath the junk

a tiny replica of the whole house:

there are additional rooms!


Thoughts are like holes eaten away

from the blazing image,

so I'll press that lever endlessly

and I won't take food,

and I won't take cover. 


Fighting The Doughboy


You're going to fight the doughboy - don't be misled -

he may be a jackass, but he's fast,

and far more vicious than the fight for the top

will be the fight for next to last.


You're going to fight the doughboy -  go for the gut -

he has a funny kind of pride,

not quite in himself, or the parents he embarrassed

who still left him flush when they died.


You look in his eyes - what do you see?

Hunger or fear? Doubt or despair?

Bald disappointment? No, none of these!

You see certainty.


Don't assume you're safe because you're right,

because you know your shit.

The heel kicks up some dust, it's only natural,

the numbers sing.


Watch the things you say when you are weary,

He knows your habits well,

And just before the fight, he'll grab your collar,

and make his plea:


"I don't want to suffer, like you don't want to suffer

but one of us will have to hit the ground,

so I'll just graze your temple and you will turn to rubber,

and I will raise my arms up and be crowned,


and everyone will cheer me as they shuffle home to bed

but as soon as they close all of their doors

I swear by my mother's Carolina grave,

from that moment on the golden crown is yours."


***


You ever feel that you're a body, a rage of pulses, nothing more,

and even memory's hunkered down in there somewhere?

You see the sick become their sickness and start talking to their pain,

you hear time screeching like a siren in the air.


Well it's the same way for the doughboy, though he wouldn't use these words,

in fact he won't use any words at all.

I think that's why the sadness still festers in his gut

That's why you've got to nail him to the wall.


You're going to fight the doughboy - you're going to turn his offer down -

He'll bloody up your nose and tear your shirt.

You're going to turn the color of a wound that will not heal.

You're going to ram his face into the dirt


and soon you will be weeping and doubting every blow

that you rain upon his pink and tender skin,

and you know he will be smiling when he wheezes out this verse

before you finally do him in:


"take my gold, take my fame,

take my picture, take my frame,

take my blood, take my name,

take my shadow, take my shame,

place them there on your scale

they're too heavy for me

May you rest in your justice

You will never be free."


After the Dive


Here is a shim

to hold this chest

open at the heart

against the tide,

the dispiriting tide.


Oh, brother at sea, didn’t I tell you?

I am going to fail you.

Time enough, I will let you down.


I fold over my knees

and press my face

down into the rug

and see you diving,

perfect genderless form.


Oh, brother at sea, don’t you believe me?

I will marshall my thinking.

Like a fool, I’ll forget to breathe,

but I will return to the harbor.

I will seek you again.

I will return to the harbor.

I will seek you—