Dark Blue

by Steven Lambke

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credits

released March 29, 2019

Performed by:
Steven Lambke – vocals, guitars, percussion, organ
Daniel Romano – drums, percussion, guitars, vocals, organ
Dave Nardi – bass, organ, guitars
With:
Mark Lalama – piano, accordion
Ian Romano – drums on White Horses and second drums on At The Start Of The Song

Recorded by Daniel Romano
Additional recording by Steven Lambke
Piano and accordion recorded by Mark Lalama
Mixed by Graham Walsh
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal

Cover Art by Shary Boyle. Swallow, 2015. Porcelain, glazes.
Photo by Sean Weaver
Layout and Design by Daniel Romano

Thank you: Kenny Meehan, Roddy Richmond, Kay Berkel, Sebastian Buzzalino, Colin Medley, Shotgun Jimmie, Mathias Kom, Arial Sharratt, Darren Brown, Amanda Jernigan, Jon Mckiel, Jay Crocker, Colleen Collins, David Trenaman, Paul Henderson, Matt Charlton, Vish Khanna, Bucky Buckler, Robin Walker, Mark Goldstein, Andrea Stratis, Kevin Howes.
Thank you Shary, in art and life.

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You've Changed Records Toronto, Ontario

You've Changed Records is an artist run label established in 2009.

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Track Name: Fireworks
Watch me firework.
Watch me turtle.
When you draw a circle
you can begin anywhere.

The sky goes dark
with crows and eagles,
an arched cathedral
overhead.

Tell me a story,
beginning and ending.
Most of what happens,
happens again.

This time I’m listening:
leaves rustling;
feet shuffling
towards the door;

there’s dust and coughing;
“you call that singing?”
I’m always beginning
again.

A flower explodes,
dust and pollen.
I hear someone calling
my name.

My squeaky blood
started swirling,
like an old planet turning
on a rusted hinge.

The sunlight is shocking.
It often comes early.
It was there in the morning
after the show.

I made you a coffee.
You opened the curtain.
My head was hurting
today.

I felt like a scarecrow.
I hid like a turtle.
When you draw a circle
you can begin anywhere.

Watch me firework.
Watch me turtle.
When you draw a circle
you can begin anywhere.

Folded ticket.
Lucky numbers.
It’s the middle of summer
but you can start anywhere.
Track Name: At The Start Of The Song
I was sleeping in the bed of a smoker,
lipstick stains on the sheet, a black mess of eyeliner.
Daniel, is this the start of a song?

I was sleeping with your books piled neat beside the bed
and the wind outside was burning.
Daniel, is this the start of a song?

I woke in the morning. The door slowly opened.
Slowly closed. Slowly opened.
The window rattled in the pane like an orchestra tuning.
The kingdom of paradise is not locked with a key.

I was sleeping in the bed of the pharaoh
and every night she sings to me.
We sing as the nights grow colder.

I woke in the morning with a thousand suns behind my eyes.
Years passed and my hair grown longer,
but my face beneath this mask is younger.

I woke in the morning from a dream.
The window rattled in the pane
when your brother played the drums.
Daniel, is this the start of a song for me?
Track Name: Both Of Me
I lean against the window on the blackened backside
above the tracks. When the train goes by
the window rattles my reflection like a mask coming loose.

I smile then, unrecognized. A smile close to truth.
The moon is in its orbit like the sky has lost a tooth.
Departure and reunion, until the difference has collapsed.

Another train approaches, another day unmasked.
Another whistle for the longing through the liar’s gap.
I’m standing on the platform on the day of the eclipse.
I’m watching from the window as the train is pulling in.
Track Name: I Will Not Lie To You
I will not lie to you
and I ask you to remember
last night and tomorrow
when the sun scrapes the sky
and fills the yawning morning

I will not lie to you
by my tongue or in my bearing
a frame that’s bent and twisted
a picture of that time
I leaned in close to listen

I will not lie to you
Though I was given lie to speak
O Canada fills the yawning morning

I will not lie to you
and I ask you to remember
white mother, white father
you fouled all the water
you hollowed out the stone

I will not lie to you
and I ask you to remember
we’re learning now to sing
across the open pit
into the howling morning

I will not lie to you
Though I was given lie to sing
O Canada into the yawning morning

I will not lie to you
I will not sing O Canada
into the howling morning
Track Name: Major Rager
…and that year we all turned prophet
our songs described ruin and despair.
But you asked me amused “Who’s the muse?”
with grace and wisdom beyond compare.
I, unamused, “what’s the use?
I read the news.” I am diminished
by a European sickness. I conduct business
from the bed, coughing blood upon the page.

Wine of rage
Wine of rage

Seven mountains lift the ocean on their shoulders.
I left my notebook on the table in the corner.
It’s always raining. I’m always feigning surprise.
How fast the days go by.
Confused and holy poetry
Racing through my mind.

Wine of rage
Wine of rage
Shining under water
like a broken bottle

I stand by the window naked and glowing.
Shadows growing. The lights turned low.
I see my reflection like a mirror.
I hear the applause, growing louder and clearer.
I pull you near. I’d pull the stones from our eyes.
The end getting closer and the sky clouded over.

It’s all the rage
all the rage

Sharper under water
than a broken bottle
The sky is clouded over
and the end getting closer
getting closer
getting closer
Track Name: Cut Flowers
My friends, I’d like to thank you
for these things that you have brought me,
a cut of lilac from the neighbour,
and a painting for the wall.
And all these pills and coffee,
and a switch of birch to lash me,
the tea you said brought visions,
and the lavender you grew from seed.

In the silence I heard the engine turning
like the universe undressing.
The tattoo on the shoulder says
some things no one should see.
I put my ticket between the pages
of a borrowed book of poems
and I stab my pen through paper:
“’tis the song I wrote for thee”.

Don’t bring cut flowers to my grave
whatever place will mark me will be wild
Don’t bring cut flowers to my grave
whatever place will mark me will be wild

Sometimes I’ve been reminded
of the stature in the garden,
in the shadows, half forgotten,
and the stubborn growth of weeds.
There’s a black cat on the fence post
and a rat down in the cellar,
but the wind will light a fire
from the last still burning ember.

Don’t bring cut flowers to my grave
whatever place will mark me will be wild
Don’t bring cut flowers to my grave
whatever place will mark me will be wild
Track Name: My Love Is Impure But Enduring
Ripe cherries in the tree,
waste cherries on the ground,
red and wild cherries in between.
The branch and the blood,
the evening sky above,
my love is impure but enduring.

She lived to be a hundred,
with coffee at every hunger
until her bones hollowed
and her heart beat like a bird.
Everything’s in motion,
every atom burning,
with a love that’s impure but enduring.

Unfurl the banners.
Uncurl the ferns.
Love is impure but enduring.

A small crowd gathers
outside the café,
with coloured banners
hanging down,
and, on the sidewalk,
lilac blooming
out of season.

The sky fills with bats.
The sky fills with doves.
There below the crowd is singing.

First there’s darkness,
then light.
Love is impure but enduring.
Track Name: White Horses
Remember how we met with winter coming on
in the costume of the monkey and the soldier?
Ribbons at your shoulder. A uniform in tatters.
Bright leaves like ribbons falling down.
Six white horses coming down
Six white horses coming down

Turn the lights on. Keep them low.
We’ll shed these ancient bloody skins.
Sew them up with spit and twine.
Howl into their bellies. Make them wild.
To run across the naked plane
as the sparrows fly in circles all around.

The sky is narrow between the towers.
The cranes are swinging overhead.
An ambulance arrives with siren flashing.
The golden gladiator descends
and the sparrows fly in circles all around.
Six white horses coming down
Six white horses coming down

1000 storms are coming.
The whale is dead upon the mountain.
and the light shines through.
The earth’s voice returning.
It’s low. Lay your head against the stone.
Six white horses coming down
Six white horses coming down
Track Name: Troubled By The Night
I swallow the sparrow.
I spit out the feathers.
I sing in the voice of another.
It’s the middle of summer,
my hand over my eyes
to shade from this thunder and heat.

Have you ever been one like me,
troubled by the light?

I drank only coffee.
I bathed in saltwater.
My clothes were ragged and bleached.
Mother forgive me
for never calling.
My brother, look over your shoulder.

Have you ever been one like me,
troubled by the night?

I run across the traffic,
a flash of white feathers,
your moment reflected in me.
There’s a scream of the tires,
the smell of black rubber,
a crack in the silence surrounds me.

Have you ever been one like me,
troubled by the night?

I swallow the sparrow.
I spit out the feathers.
I sing in the voice of another.
I stand by the window,
naked and glowing,
with a mask that covers my face.

Have you ever been one like me,
to trouble at the night,
naked and glowing?
Track Name: Back To Back
Blackbirds on the whirlwind,
the blood of the world circling.
Eternal hunger. Hunter.
Scavenger at chance.
Lay down with me in the guts of it.

Back to back, belly to belly
Loose this planet from its spin
Lay me down and love me
Back to back, belly to belly

My faith had grown thin.
Ribs showed through my skin
like the handprints of the sculptor.
Unfinished thing. Restless wandering.
It’s a beautiful world
until you drop down dead at the sight of it.

Back to back, belly to belly
I remember everything
Lay me down and love me
Back to back, belly to belly

There’s a clatter from the tombs,
the sound of trumpets and drums.
Your perfect marble memory –
missing limbs, broken nose –
it’s like a poison in the wells of Rome.

Back to back, belly to belly
I remember everything
Lay me down and love me
Back to back, belly to belly

Back to back, belly to belly
Loose this planet from its spin
Lay me down and love me
Back to back, belly to belly
Track Name: Dark Blue
I’m as slow to change as a north slope in the spring.
But even mud and snow will turn to weather and ruin
when wild rushing thoughts unbind me.

Dark blue in the evening blue

They say that life surrounds you,
like a silver cloud swimming in a salmon sky,
a black stone where the rivers meet
and the common wisdom flows.

Dark blue in the morning blue

A low and sleepless night,
and not a shadow cast between us.
Something in the corner rattled like a tambourine.

Dark blue in the evening blue
Dark blue in the evening blue
Track Name: All My Days Are Light And Gold
Remember, in the beginning the door slowly opens.
The stage is dark. The singer is softly singing
to himself – no one else is listening.

He taps his foot in a kind of drifting rhythm.
The waves are wondrous strange so far from shore.
The sky is pale blue. There’s light upon the water.

Far away.

What I want to know is why he sings so softly?
Like he’s got a whispered message for the king.
A coat of feathers and a crown of heavy stone.

The birds are singing like a scratched and skipping record.
The birds are singing. My days are light and gold.
The birds are singing and all my friends have gone.

Far away.

Of your wild eyes and your wild rushing mind, I must be loving.
Of my wide ears and long face, you must be loving.
I’m like a winged horse. I’m running wild and free.

And on the morning when the earth kindly opens
to reward all of my singing with the pit,
I promise I will step lightly over

and fly away.

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