RED QUEEN

by Bryan Free

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1.
FORCE 07:51
Don’t settle in, we are merely visiting, distant bodies slowly moving past. Resolute, forlorn, absolved of fight, so what’s worth saving? Marry me, save me, don’t let earth take me; people first, ideas second, both by force.
2.
My baby cleaned up this town, Locked all the rich inside separate bank accounts. And me, with my sordid past and bomb-vested schemes, Sent me to pray and blow the snake dams. I’ll pull you out, I’ll pull you out, I’ll pull you in, I’ll pull you out of your sin. I sent the flood levies loose. I’m not the mastermind, only the driver, But anyone can see the system needs a little pressure From the sex-repressed, and—Honey—you know best I’ll pull you in, I’ll pull you in. Oh, pull me out, I’ll pull you in to your sin.
3.
ALL MEN FALL 04:39
Cyclades, level my history, Train me to pause. Breeze, play like a God would Speak the Endgame. You tell me ALL MEN FALL. This year I’m a priority. I promise: I’ll try. I’ll miss this. Given my history, I’ll miss a lot of things I overanalyze. God, destroy us. Promise Justice. If. We. Let. Up. ALL MEN FALL.
4.
RED QUEEN 09:40
Here’s another paradox: In order to change I must fit Into my body’s nest, My capacitor plague, My own golden-eye child— Into my system: The one thing I may hate but never quit. I convince the land That I want a different land, Yet my goal is, and always will be The forest fire Not trees. The act itself. The mutation. The transitory self between two selves. Without discomfort it may be impossible. I want to say that without oppression, Without shame, Without guilt, Without fear It may be impossible. But I want to include all my shortcomings. I can neither wish for change nor mutation; Both will bring an end to the quest I love most Unless the quest is—more specifically—a process, Not the holy grail Even of my dreams, And this process might endure indefinitely, No matter what I believe And what new gods birth And what animals consume The energy of what animals, What happy hunting grounds integrate Into a much sadder combination Of violent and peaceful reality: A liturgy for the recovering idealist. That this evening may be holy, Good, and peaceful, That we may be pardoned And forgiven for our sins and offenses, That we may be bound together By the Red Queen in communion Of all thy saints And parasites, Entrusting one another And all our lives to evolution.
5.
LESSON 05:12
Ten years down, you’re barely a lesson now. A place my arms learned to go. And I still use you. I’m telling you that all that I say is false. It’s only a process used. Like lovers do.
6.
1. Mark my words: you’ll quit The job soon, comes with view. Costs a few Lean years. Worth it though. Strain then restrain till we break. Heart break through, Keeps him on task, paid, Costs a few. Feels secure. Isn’t. Mis-assumes my body’s all yours to use. Wild life style, leaves less To dream. Soon It’s on you. File that hot: CC. BCC. Those who won’t fail on their own. Plus you get sitcom success If skin stays smooth. Shout when sure, Or barely. Nothing lasts. Strain then restrain till we break. 2. startled awake hit the alarm hit the alarm why are you sleeping & dreaming & thinking it’s healthy to open your eyes get out of bed look at your phone check it & check it & fuck it & get on your clothes how do you decide? usually it’s random break the routine till you’ve spent open the door get in the car hook up your phone waiting & moving & waiting & moving a little to get to your job listen to talk listen to song this is the portion of life where you don’t think at all how do you decide? usually it’s random my life is all theirs to spend cutting the costs cutting the fat trimming the lean tree even the dying can bloom with the right kind of management look at the street it’s not for the weak not for the strong something that happens to species that grow up too fast who gets to decide? who to cut what to kill it won’t get well on it’s own this is a wash this is a joke hit the alarm certainly someone’s deceiving the others & making a show of it all! is it a SHE? is it a GOD? is it a thing that can die if the kids don’t believe? why am I alive? probably it’s random break the routine till you know 3. I’ll take TRAVEL, Even if it never will materialize, I’ll plan it out, route by road. It’s YOU I fear most. Tell the muscles MOVE: Strain, then restrain till we break. HEARTS go cold But the sinoatrial node Keeps it regular, predictable, Just like you. Like you, barely. Honey, I’ve been fooled: My body’s all yours to use. I’ll take your ENERGY Even if it never will materialize; The room was dull. It’s on you. IDEALS. I feel you. Make the muscles MOVE. Strain, then restrain till we break. HEARTS, ENERGY, TRAVEL Everything I stay up so late about And which I can attribute to you. Blank stare. Hear me: make the muscles move, Strain, then re-strain, till we break.
7.
VIOLENCE 02:55
Really? Hope for you? Help me, God, to choose Not between the hearts I keep But which I keep with apathy And which I keep with violence And who, by default, gets imported. You can’t avoid it. I don’t want to hurt others anymore I don’t want to get hurt even more, But this is just a graded scale, I pick who I’m gonna praise, Who I’m gonna fuck, Who I’m gonna maintain or lift up— Everyone’s a graded scale And I choose based on the way you behave, Based on the traits I relate to: Who you’d kill for love or food or sex or cable. Who you’d kill for love or food or sex or cable. Who you’d kill for love or food or sex or cable. Who you’d kill for love or food or sex or cable. Based on the way you behave, Based on the traits I relate to: Who you’d kill for love.
8.
FIELD NOTES 02:24
1. This has become a slow unwind. She’s my best friend. Sure, we can be misunderstood: Saints, with lust-like crimes. So the leanest people live so long; The Lent and thirst, The Tantric Stall, Lonely brief moments of love, Up and down, always. 2. Ever since he tasted blood He’s been so I don’t know It weirds me Out of his mind Not much in mine. [Sigh] I know that The leanest people return Less dust to the earth. I might be gone When he comes With the rain And the crashing Of the waves Over both of us. We lose either way. 3. Grace and peace and joy and love and mercy, Even in the face of hate, For our survival’s sake. It puts me at ease to know What no one else does. Noun, pronoun, verb: The absolute Truth, Contained, defined, observed, Scribbled in my field notes.
9.
REINCARNATE 04:20
I used to say it was conspiracy, But God provides I guess And He brought me here, anyway, Which is more than I can say For what I deserve. My daughter just had her first kid And I—I drove eleven hours to get here— I drove a long way to get turned down Again. How funny, right? When my fuel runs out I’m like a child myself. How bout some love when I need it? I’ll help you too when I’m reincarnate. Well you’re just thirty-some years next to a doppelganger. That guy’s/girl’s you but he/she does the right stuff And here’s where your karma starts. Aren’t all these mythic lovers cyclical? I love mine rough, but biblical. Her steady hand, it grips me Like big cat’s jaws. Well you’ve been thirty-some years next to a doppelganger. That guy’s/girl’s you but he/she does the right stuff And here’s where your karma starts.
10.
I don’t wanna go to bed But I don’t want any media. I just want a little me-to-you. And I don’t wanna get undressed, And I don’t want you all upset. Baby, we need our systems checked. I can see you callin but I can’t hear a thing. We’re out of the woods now, For so long I don’t know how things grow… I just know you’re here cuz I can read from your lips, And I borrow all your books Or your tongue when you’re nervous. You can hear me callin but you don’t see a thing. I talk on and on, Babe, it might not mean anything. Baby, we need our systems checked. I can hear you callin but I can’t see a thing. You talk on and on, Babe, it might not mean anything. What’ll happen when we’re not worth hearing? Baby, we need our systems checked. Will you hear me, Baby, if my life says what my body won’t? What if I’m too far along? What if I can’t stop it now? Will you tell me, Baby, if it’s just not enough? Will you show me where to go? What if I can’t get that far? What if I can’t get it up? Will you love me anyway? What if I give you not enough? Will you love me anyway? Baby, we need our systems checked.

credits

released October 17, 2011

Written, produced, & engineered by Bryan Free.

Mixed & mastered by Kimball Evan Hodge IV.

Performed by Bryan Free, Graeme Enkelis, Matthew Henderson, Kelly Masigat, Jonathan Barker, JR Wickman, Nate Purscelley, Tom Thorson, Jaycob Van Auken, Nick Wellum, & The Julians.

The Julians are: Liz Bacon, Kristen Buhler, Mel Downie, Maria Karlin, Tuesday Rupp.

Additional vocal engineering by Joseph Nicodemous on tracks 3, 5, 7, 9, 10.

“Women Of The World,” tributed on track 4, originally by Ivor Cutler (1923-2006).

Recorded in Portland, OR: January through May 2010.

Cover watercolor by Brooke Weeber.

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