The basement windowpanes were rimed with frost
the revelers by the open door were morbidly sauced
there wasn’t any line that hadn’t been crossed
there wasn’t any pride that hadn’t been lost
when Joel climbed into the fireplace.
We thought he was fucking around when he got down on the floor,
shook off his shoes and the clothes that he wore,
but then he jostled the fire into a roar,
stepped over the hearth and closed the glass door.
And someone said Aw, that flame isn’t real!
though the skin on Joel’s arms was starting to peel
He said It sure as hell is but it’s not a big deal
it’s nothing a little bit of rest wouldn’t heal.
And everybody watched for a minute or two
waiting to see what our old friend would do
but the bastard is headstrong as everyone knew
and as he fumed there in silence, our restlessness grew.
I meant to stir the coals and give him one last shot
to let us in on what he really thought
but the air was so thick and the room was so hot
that after a while, I—
The evening fades and the refectory clears
the semblance in charcoal of Joel disappears
the few that remain sit dissolving in tears
cuz we don’t know how to account for the years
or the unanswered letter or the dangling ache
or the quietly skipped-over wedding and wake
and we’re eyeing the door but we can’t make a break
just as long as a part of him might be awake.
A sickening stench rises up from the grill
the great hall is seized by a terrible chill
Does he see us as frigid, does he see us as ill?
We’d all like to ask him but none of us will.
Damon Waitkus – vocals, baritone and piccolo electric guitars, piano, pianet, percussion
Emily Packard – violin
Kate McLoughlin – bassoon, vocals
Jason Hoopes – bass, vocals
Jordan Glenn – drums, percussion, marimba
Thea Kelley – vocals
Ivor Holloway – tenor saxophone