Civil Unrest

by Purrbot

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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


all rights reserved



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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Track Name: 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!
Track Name: 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
Track Name: 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
Track Name: 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
Track Name: 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…
Track Name: 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
Track Name: 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
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
Track Name: 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?
Track Name: 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
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
Track Name: 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
Track Name: 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,

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
Track Name: 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

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