Civil Unrest

by Purrbot

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1.
COME OUT! COME OUT! I would turn myself in If I thought that it meant I could end inequity Like your boy coming home Black and blue With what will be permanent damage On his body Not to mention his pride Not to mention: He will change the way he walks at night He will change the way he talks outside Who do you think you are It is not your decision to make What if it was the other way What if how you were born Who you chose to love Was not allowed Not "right" Not smiled upon Not talked about You cannot decide my rights You do not have the right You do not have power over me! Goblin king! No! The time to change is now The time is now so come out! Come out!
2.
03:19
THUMBTACK Thumbtack On this sun-bleached and beaten-up map Worn soft I know my way around But I'm driving blind now Armed for no good reason I have switched gears Even though the water is fine It's not time to deep sea dive I do not want to hold us back Or push us forward Teaching you to bite my bottom lip just right You learn fast I want when you undress me For me to be beautiful I'm afraid of rocking this huge and horrible boat But I want to with you Would it scare you If we could change the world By holding hands in plain view In broad daylight Imagine that! If I said I wanted to With you It must be so easy to do what people do Without hesitation Or fear of being the new strange fruit Armed for no good reason I have switched gears Even though the water is fine It's not time to deep sea dive And I'm driving blind now
3.
02:44
DIM WHITE There is this overall civil unrest And I have put myself under Citizen's house arrest What will happen to the rest of us Who do not contest But keep hushed Who are content— In this onslaught Of blue versus pink With no in between— Wearing yellow I will feel safer, I think When it snows There will be no places to hide Nothing out of sight The ground will be dim white I have been doing my best To not let this get the best of me But it is hard to feel protected To think the police are effective When I carry mace in my pocket
4.
03:00
TENDED NEST I am losing my sense of play You are helping me reclaim it You are helping me lay down my arms And welcome the previously unwelcome You are wise My lady owl And I have much to learn We are shape shifters and partners in crime And I am not running from you And you are not running from me I am red and you are green You are ancient And younger than you think or seem You can grow And you can shrink On command You just might fill or break Any dam in your way On a path made by a glacier's weight And your feet are covered in water You will leave and I will stay And hold the fort You'll return and it will stay fresh The tended nest I am losing my sense of play And you are helping me reclaim it You are wise My lady owl And I have much to learn
5.
FEATHER, WING My group of friends is beginning to thin We are those eight ducks Still swimming in the river When it's twenty degrees and counting down The hoarfrost is sticking On each feather, wing, and beak I am an only child Now a lonely adult If you watch me you'll see I retreat Early in the game Anxious to play the hermit Even now I am doing it! I am not in a place where I can appreciate Efforts to unshell me At the point in time I am not in a place to get anything out of it It's laughable when you think about it The hoarfrost is thickening On each feather, wing…
6.
02:29
HOLOGRAM We thought we were joking But we were serious We touched new ground with our feet Out with it and we can do so many new things Are you just another hologram I've made In this new age Get rid of my telephone So I have nothing to wait next to I will not hold my breath I will erase all pretense I cannot pretend anymore I cannot scrape the bottom of the barrel I cannot read you And I think you're doing your best I cannot invent and invest So much so often So much easier said than done
7.
TWO FRAIDY CATS If we stood here long enough on your stairs I might get up the guts to plant one on your cheek Like a friend would of course Platonically Boys do this all the time right? You said stay up on that step So we're the same height And we hugged goodbye What a brilliant reminder Two fraidy cats that's us Head it off at the chase So new And no wonder I secretly like you But it's no secret I've told all my friends And now I have to say never mind, okay
8.
WORK AND PLAY We went out to have tea After not having seen each other in a long time I really had nothing to say But I talked anyway Nothing was interesting that day Your excuse was you were tired of working You were exhausted I didn't sugar my tea Let alone my speech And you lectured me On how hard it is to balance work and play But how many days had it been Since I'd seen you? You said you were sorry You'd put me on the back burner I said it's good you're aware that you did And all I wanted to do was ask you Why was I so easy to let go? I guess it was my job to speak up And tell you how i felt But you hadn't made the effort So why should i be fair? Why should i be fair?
9.
02:27
REST Rest On top of the water now There's no weather, there's no wind And I am in a pregnant silence A calm before it will all catch up and be going full speed And I am trying to keep one step ahead Unguided, as in there are no rules Don't let me crash into the shore Lighthouse! You are who can tell me where is safe Where is sound Also I do not want to tread water Never swimming for fear of it We moved like plants grew No, like continents shifted No, like planets rotated It was the unnoticeable bend of the earth Flat to us One day we will get a rude awakening Saying all we have learned is wrong Or it has no power here In the end this is not a cure-all It won't fill cracks or heal wounds In the end we're the bend of the earth Flat to the eye
10.
EMPTY THREATS I am full of empty threats Passive aggressions and Manic depression and double standards I am full of worry that will not float me here I will sink to the bottom And I think my neighborhood is safe That I will not get bottles thrown at my head On my way home That my cat won't get attacked By unleashed and aggressive dogs Just mimicking their owners of a similar caliber The sun shone for a second Shedding light on my right shoulder And in it the sum: one big diamond Atrophied and faceted With an encrypted color code A rainbow to my two tone I am full of past regret Keeping me static And repeating the same mistakes I am full of minor events and impulsive moments Now the substance of my everyday And reason why I do or don't leave the house I need to get my head out of the sand And go somewhere I haven't been It's hard for me to imagine what I might find I'm afraid that we cannot Make a mark on this world anymore Because it is against new laws So I am counting down the days until 2008
11.
UNEARTHED AND UNDERFED Break water Break the surface For one gulp of air Before I was pulled back under (By my own arm, incidentally) I don't know what I need Or what's best for me So far i've been lucky But now, What am I doing back here? Didn't I get enough the first time around? This is more than me, nostalgic This is what was buried, Unearthed I guess that I'm worried (Big surprise, I know) That my efforts to connect have been misled But what to expect What with me circumspect, Behind bars and underfed
12.
03:31
SHHHHH I'm turning into my father I am so much like him Will I be 27 before I date again I want to kiss my father I want to hold his hand We could trade secrets on which we'd let no one in I want to learn what I don't know about him Share what I have not shared Which is no short order We will be met with cold chipped shoulders Encouraging us to stay our hands They will say, "Shhhhhh! Don't be so loud! Don't draw attention to yourself! Don't talk with your hands! Don't act like you like each other in public! Don't stick out like sore thumbs! What would we do if you raised the bar On father/son relations We'd look so bad! We're already so sub par" I do not know you half as well as I'd like And we live so far away We could trade stories And uncover common hopes and neuroses God, I am just like you, aren't I

credits

released August 8, 2006

Words and music by Nathan Wade Carter
Engineered by Dave Van at Penguin Studios (Missoula, MT)
Mixed by Dave Van and Nathan Wade Carter
Mastered by John Golden at Golden Mastering (Ventura, CA)
Produced by Nathan Wade Carter

Nathan Wade Carter: keyboard, guitars, vocals, plastic box of old things
Molly Madden: harmony/beatbox on "come out! come out! and "two fraidy cats"
Jason Ward: bass on "shhhhh"
Peter Dolan: electric guitar on "empty threats"

Video and photos by Nathan Wade Carter and Ben Rouner
Layout by Satellite Noise Visual Design Studio

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Purrbot Portland

Nathan Wade Carter (he/him) is a queer, grey-a, non-binary poet, musician, & artist living in Portland, Oregon. His chapbook is ROYGBIV (Ursus Americanus Press 2017). His poetry can be found in Hobart, Fugue, Gramma Poetry, Poor Claudia, The Fem, & others. He is the editor and founder of SUSAN / The Journal. He writes & performs songs under the name Purrbot. ... more

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