Ghost Stories

by Golconda

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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


released September 27, 2019

2LR 014

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


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


all rights reserved



Golconda Albuquerque, New Mexico

Peripatetic avant-troubadour songs for the discerning vagabond

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Track Name: Fool of Summer
“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
Track Name: The Boat
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
Track Name: Page of Autumn
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
Track Name: The Loom
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
Track Name: Knight of Winter
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
Track Name: The Island
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
Track Name: King of Stars
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
Track Name: The Rake
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
Track Name: Queen of Spring
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

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