Ghost Stories

by Golconda

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1.
“You’re an asshole,” she told me And I thought, well, that’s not wrong I spent that summer puzzling out the meaning of a Guided by Voices song Right away that bass line disarmed me Light from face to face, those kisses were lies And I never parsed a story from the song or from that night I’d have to carry both of them with me When I packed my life up tight And sang, bye-bye to the sweet summer shade Bye-bye to the ones that I’ve betrayed Whether west up to the mountains or east down to the sea Bye-bye, we’re gonna set each other free I only worked from eight to three And the rest of my time was mine Getting home in the heat, I’d sit at the piano And listen to the crickets whine The Liszt E-flat concerto had caught me So this was that and here was there, and so I started again See, I had someone to catch up with later I had a meadow on the edge of town I had fireflies in the gloaming I had ambitions to kick around Now I sing, bye-bye, in that sexy summer way Bye-bye to that thunderstormy day When I was terrified to touch you, and you were hesitant with me Bye-bye, it’s time we set each other free We watched the first two hours, yeah we opened up the book Next day, its Doug fir shadows lingered everywhere I looked The story threw its stones, and I was struck cold Its bluish greenish tones had drawn us in We would race up the hill in the morning You were leaving in two days’ time We had second-story windows to gaze from We had clock towers to climb A-singing bye-bye, to an old familiar tune Singing bye-bye, under a virgin prairie moon And it might be a diversion or it might be where you’re meant to be Bye-bye, we need to set each other free Singing, bye-bye to that swinging summer song Bye-bye to the ones that I have wronged Whether west up to the mountains or east down to the sea Bye-bye, we’re gonna set each other free
2.
The Boat 04:30
May the god Poseidon bless this cardboard boat May he smile on its duct-tape seams May our work in the shipyard be pleasing to him May his favor be read in our dreams Yes, for we’re a-going out to sea May the god sanctify this sun-filled day May our laughter and songs ne’er cease May we lift up our sails, him to glorify And our enemy to decrease May we not be consigned to the deep May we all return, our promises to keep Last night I saw an eagle with open wings And a shroud over his head And he perched at my window and spoke to me As I shivered in my bed They say it’s not the destination, but the road Easy words to write for one who bears no other’s load I’ve seen a path that runs into the ocean wide Only to emerge unbothered on the other side We were shipwrecked at once, the boat was lost For the seams they did not hold And with shouts and with oaths we did cast ourselves Into the water cold Yes, for we’re a-going to the creek May we remember, the water’s not so deep May we stand in the current, our promises to keep
3.
On the bright summer shoals On the beach by the tower You stood with a flower in your forest dark hair And I’d paid all my tolls I came to you freely I’d read all the tea leaves and I was aware Yes, I knew on the bus From the books that you carried Someone would be married And it wouldn’t be us No, when the summer was through And the chill came a-knocking I knew I’d be walking the long way around Not so settled like you were, Happily resting, Metropolitan nesting, too safe for the sound Still, we kept each other warm In that ebbing humidity Patient vapidities left for the phone While the shadowy form Of all of our fleeting lies, evasions and compromise Stewed like a stone But how could we resist Such a gentle connection, Such natural flexion Like a cool morning mist? Yes, I’d say I behaved much Like a page in September When every orange ember of summer’s burnt skies Had grown cold to the touch Left for another man One who would dare fan the flame of your eyes
4.
The Loom 04:23
I’ll take my coffee with some grit I’ll take some tapes of Springsteen, some ‘70s shit And I’ll hop into the van some night, heading some place where it rains The warp and the weave will wobble We’ll be willing, wishing, and wise Waiting for the storm clouds to lift And the bridge to arise It’s only half a centimeter wide So you can’t take your backpack or the precious things inside It’s a filament of memory spun from our pleasures and pains And when our place in the pattern presents itself, Our porous persistence will pause This tapestry is what it will be, Not what we thought it was Yes, the warp and the weave will wobble We’ll be dumbstruck, drunken, and torn Waiting for sunset to come And the bridge to be born
5.
He rides out in the darkness His sword by his side He looks into his chalice And sees the winter wide Stretching out before him With a quilt of untouched snow Across the crooked forest Is where he’s bound to go His steed’s steps are silent His eyes an icy gray He needs no map or compass He’s memorized the way From the village chimneys smoking To the forest’s crooked brow Into the pathless woodland Is where he’s riding now He looks up from his reading He sips a bit of wine He glances at the window Where the darkness is twined In neat four-sided figures And kept from coming in He settles into the story The walls are fairly thin
6.
The Island 03:58
How we first came to this island Is a tale too wild and weird Lost upon the ocean Our captain disappeared And the first mate had gone mad With some mysterious tome he’d found And instead of pointing north, Our compass needles danced around So by the time the storm beset us We were not a bit surprised We shouted to the heavens We atoned and apologized But the ship was split asunder And the sea it stove us in And we washed up on this beach Where our troubles truly did begin Here are springs of water Here are trees of fruit Here are trap doors in the sand that open to dusty chutes Here are headless statues pointing tensely to the sea Here half of us who had survived would plan their mutiny Once we’d beat back the rebellion Our numbers were much decreased We buried those departed and had a celebratory feast Right by the marble staircase that led up to nowhere And that was when we found a tunnel in the rocks up there So we sent a party into the caves And the rest of us stayed outside The sounds of their screaming reverberated wide And the hunting group that set off that day did not return that night And we couldn’t sleep for the jungle’s whispers gave us such a fright So as of this fine morning Our crew is down to three Myself and Sam and Abel And it happens now to be That Sam has lost his sight and Abel’s lost his remembering And as for me, I’ve lost my speech and I can only sing
7.
The King of Stars, he has a city pale and cool and grim When he walks the streets, there’s no one to supplicate to him He savors its blue silences, he smiles as he goes He sees the earth across great distance, he sighs at all our woes The King of Stars, he has a castle on a mountaintop He sits upon his throne awaiting pilgrims that there stop They bring their cares and queries to the castle’s crystal doors And if he deigns to answer them, he speaks in metaphors The King of Stars, he has a book where everything’s made clear The paths of all the planets, the passing of the years He reads it under coal-black skies of comets streaking bright And within him there’s a longing for a breath of colored light
8.
The Rake 04:25
Roll the dice man, don’t think twice, that’s the message I’ve received Throw your pennies at your problems, you will be relieved Make a wish or two or three You may win or you may lose, but doubtless you’ll feel free So I took this guitar down to the crossroads and waited around When the devil didn’t turn up, I threw some money down “Will anyone please tune this thing for me? “I took some lessons but they wouldn’t teach me to play free” Yes I’m looking for temptation, and I’m willing to pay the price But it’s tougher than I’d expected to follow my own advice Why won’t old Nick Shadow come and find me? I’m bored with being boring, need to find some sin to set me free Yes I rolled the dice, did not think twice, and I came out about the same Everything is as it was before I played the game I wish for lust and longing, I wish for infamy I wish for anyone or anything to show me how to be free
9.
Come to me when soggy sorrows hide Come to me in evening when it’s not that warm outside Come to me unburdened, come to me unlayered Come to me uncoupled, come to me unaffaired Come to me when all your bets are lost Come with debts all settled and all affiliations tossed Come with nothing gained to lose, and we like happy fools Will learn to play the game although we’ve not been read the rules Come with me, we’ll go out for a walk The birds will fill the silence, we won’t even have to talk There’s no excuse for staying in, no, no excuses stand No excuse, so please just tell me where to place my hands Come for me when day balances the dark Come for me and we’ll walk anxious circles around the park Strolling in the melting smell of winter’s long goodbye We’ll have nothing to declare about which we could lie Come to me, don’t warn me with your calls Come to me in sweaters, come in rumpled overalls Come to me unbetrodden, come to me unbetrayed Come to me unworried, unlost and unafraid

about

with gratitude to PLAYA, where the seasons meet

music & lyrics by Luke Gullickson  
June 2018, Summer Lake, Oregon
© Two Labyrinths Music (ASCAP)

cover art by Derek Chan

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released September 27, 2019

2LR 014

℗ 2019 by Two Labyrinths Records  
PO Box 10185 
Albuquerque, NM 87184 

Visit www.twolabyrinths.space 

2LR is a division of the Two Labyrinths Institute for Sound and Symbology.

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Golconda Albuquerque, New Mexico

Peripatetic avant-troubadour songs for the discerning vagabond

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