RACEHORSES

by Stranger Killings

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04:19
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released February 14, 2016

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Stranger Killings Portland, Oregon

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Track Name: Lethe
Lethe
go on ahead x
make that toast with water X
drink the dead drink X
drink the dead drink and forget
( for there is nothing to rest your hope on, and no sure thing on which for you to bet)

I’ve danced with needles
and slept with bottles
taken smoke down deep in my lungs
I tried to climb the ladder to heaven
but could only swing from the bottom rung
I’ve slept in the gutter
seen my face reflected in wine
like bridges in earthquakes I crumbled
I fell together with faceless flesh
and into dirty beds I tumbled
but I could never forget
then through asphodel i stumbled
crushed flowers
with my boot
that threw up great clouds of pollen
that drowned me and drugged me
but on i walked
over the backs of others who’d fallen
I made my way down through the bowels of the earth
past bones and diamonds
and other things that have no worth
I crept and I crawled
till I found the bottom
there was no heat and no cold
I did not seat nor shiver
through wandering I found
the black banks of a river
the powerful thirst that I carried all my life
was never slaked
by the tender touch of a wife
or god or money or blood
I danced with razors
and ran with bottles
slept fitful in the mud
I hung myself with years
and slashed myself with hours
I fell like all things fall X
be they bombs, or night, or towers
whiskey had no mercy
there was no hope in gin
but when I knelt and drank deep from that river
I found oblivion
some men lay with whores
and some men lay with swine
they’ll always toast with whiskey
and they’ll always toast with wine
in those things there is no comfort
so I’ll always toast with water
and leave my luck, and memory behind X
go on ahead X
make that toast with whiskey
go on ahead X
make that toast with rye
but you’ll just keep carrying on that thing you carry
and bare it’s weight until you die
I made the toast
and drank the water
and I forgot myself
now maybe I’m just a better man X
we all drink to forget
yes we all drink to forget
and god how I forgot it all
I have no memory of fallin when i get up to stand
for now maybe I’m just a better man
Track Name: Naked as the Day
Naked as the Day

Everything is real
And bright
Everything jumps at the touch
Everything is awake
And alive
But I will be empty of this thing

It is my choice
And they will see me naked
Without control, artifice, or shame

They will see me
Naked as the day
And I’ll be so pale
That I will disappear in the light

Chorus

And there is panic now
But there won’t be for long
And fear
cannot keep me
keep me alive

I am not a prisoner
I will be a bright light
In the forest deep
I’ll illuminate
The figures in the trees

I’ll pass through
Breath and song
Ache and age
Gold and rust
I’ll pass through
Lead and dust
Love and crime

Chorus II

And fear cannot keep me alive this time
If I can only keep the panic from my mind
Track Name: Send 'em Off
Send ‘Em Off

my hands are criminals
but my heart is a saint
i splashed all the roads of the world
with red paint

I do my best to keep the world from drowning
to keep it all straight and level

I weep deeply for the damned
when my two hands
send ‘em off
to the devil

I’ve thrown their lights
over their shoulders
fired the ars moriendi
down the barrel of a gun
I’ve spoiled the rope, the razor, and the rod

my heart is a criminal
but my hands are saints
when I
send ‘em off
to god
Track Name: Before the Flood
Before the Flood
Did you know me before the flood
Was I gentle
Was I good
Did you know me before the flood
Did I know you

Did I invite you to my table
Did I give you shelter from the night
Or did I turn my back on you
Or did I cause you pain
Was it me who brought this rain

So I’ll beg you for forgiveness
as the wind screams
and the sky cries
Oh brother won’t you take my hand
as the waters start to rise

I love you brother
I pray it’s our souls he saves
I pray and beg forgiveness
And when the water drowns this world
I’ll still pray beneath the waves

Brother was my heart so ugly
Brother was my soul so stained
Brother did I turn my back on you
Oh father did I bring this rain

Did you know me before the flood
Was I lustfull
Was I proud
Did you know me before the flood
Did I know you
Did I raise my hand against you
Did you suffer long
Brother did I turn my back on you
Oh brother did I do you wrong





Did you know me before the flood
Did I worship idols
Did I bring my woman shame
Did you know me before the flood
Did I know you

Did I give you comfort
Did I keep you in my prayers
Or did I forget your name
Did I bring this curse upon us
Oh father did I bring this rain

Did I transgress a hundred times
Did I live a life of sin
Did I close the door on you my friend
Or did I let you in

Did I live a life son wrong
Did I tell so many lies
Brother won’t you take my hand
As the waters start to rise

Oh father will the devil take our souls
Will he keep us all as slaves
Oh father I pray only for forgiveness
And when the water drowns this world
I’ll still pray beneath the waves
Track Name: Night turns into Night
Night Turns Into Night

who would follow you
who would bother
who would chase you down
who would bother
who would hunt you down
who would bother

the dogs who have your scent
are not dogs at all
the men who want your secrets
are not men at all

and the lace in your head
is just lace
and the silk in your skull
is strong enough
to hold secrets
but the men who want secrets
aren’t men at all
and you know damn well
that you have nothing they want

you could kill for a gun
and die for a bullet

there are men who want everything
there are hands that take everything
but you don’t really have anything they want

chorus
you’ll escape down the alleyways
you’ll confuse the kiss in your dreams
for a mouth full of screams
you’ll confuse a pen full of ink
for a tree full of blight
and you’ll stand all alone
yes you’ll stand all alone
and watch the night slowly turn into night




you know that god
was a gift from your mother
you know how quickly
a face can turn from another
you know the secret of snow
as it falls through a streetlight
and the beauty of the rain
as it falls in her eyes
you know the words
the wind whispers as it dies
you know the secrets of knives
you know the secrets of skin
you know the name of the noise
and you’ve kissed
the mouth of the din
you know the sisters of sleep
yeah you know all their names
but i know
that you know
that the men at your back
want none of these things

you know
you have nothing they want
but still they come x 3
you could die for a bullet
or kill for a gun

chorus
you’ll get lost in the allies
that twist in your dreams
you confuse all the screams
for a kiss made of steam
you’ll confuse the beautiful glow
of a fetch light
for a moon
that is full and bright
and you’ll stand all alone
yes you’ll stand all alone
and watch the night slowly turn into night
Track Name: Bed of Heather
Bed of Heather


Darling, put the knife down
We can just get out of town
There’s gotta be a place to go
We’ll change our names
So no one knows

Darling, put the knife down
We’ll leave tonight
Without a sound
We’ll get married
And we’ll settle down
And live a life that’s free

I cannot put down the knife
I can never be your wife
Even if we built another life
All our sins would still be sins
And we’d see it in our children’s grins
I cannot put the knife down
Though it’s to you my heart is bound
We could never live a life that’s free

Chorus
Come with me
And you will see
That I’ll love you forever

I can not go
And you must know
We can never be together

Just lie down
Next to me
Upon this lovely bed of heather






I cannot put the knife down
I’ll never wear a wedding gown
I will never wear your ring
I’ll never hear the bells sing
It’s time we felt the blade’s sting

There’s no one I love more than thee
Lie down in this bed of heather
And die next to me

CHORUS

If you cannot put the knife down
Put on our mother’s wedding gown
And I’ll lie beside you on the ground
We can listen to the birds sing
And then we’ll feel the blade’s sting
And we will die together
Upon this lovely bed of heather
Track Name: Bride's Eyes
Bride’s Eyes

birch trees and green leaves
pink ribbon and free livin’
bare feet and tall grass
summers to come
and summers past
butterflies of every color
the soothing pretty song of mother
penny candy
bramble bush and brier
songs and stories told round the fire
a bad deed punished
a good one rewarded
green glass beads and pretty rocks hoarded
treasure that will never be replaced

crossed eyes
a breath held long
mother’s soothing pretty song
green leaves on the trees
a song bird found dead
now all the leaves on all the trees are turnin’ yellow and red
it grows colder and she’s not much older
than a lamb
the leaves turn brown
the wind picks up and whips the trees around
and those sad dead leaves are ripped away
and thrown down on the ground

father seals a bond
with words that sound like dead bird song
the tall tall grass and green green field
will never look the same
there she’ll never go again to pray
her heart and body
smile and hand
were given all away






forget-me-nots and cricket song
morning mist and summers long
butterflies of every color
the soft and pretty song of mother
the mud and moss and fiddlehead
all vanish with her maidenhead

look into the bride’s eyes
see that she is terrified
terrified but strong
though her free days are gone
she knows that life round here don’t last too long

stare into the bride’s eyes
try to see what’s left of the innocence and luster

stare into the bride’s eyes
with all the courage you can muster
because never once again
will you see that beautiful luster

stare into the bride’s eyes X

and coldly watch as the light dies
Track Name: Hound's Tooth
Hound’s tooth

long ago the moon was bright
and the birds sang all through the night
but now there’s no more night
and now the birds are just bone
and the moon’s just a heavy heavy stone
and you can’t figure out why the trees are all withered
and the wind just hasn’t blown
in years
seems like it’s been years
this place is just a dead name
on a dead man’s tongue
but now you’re here and there’s nowhere left to run
one time it was hot here
now it’s very cold
seems you were young when you got here
now you’re very old
once you wanted silver
once you wanted gold
now you just want to lie down
and turn to dirt, and dust, and mold

the hound’s tooth in your pocket
you pulled from your good boy’s mouth as he lay dyin’
when you hold it in your hand
it makes you laugh out loud just as you’re cryin’

the viper’s fang on a leather band
that you wear around your throat
you ripped from a serpent’s mouth
in a place that might once have been named Eden
but now you’re here
and there’s no one here
to listen(hear) to your beggin’, and your pleadin’
no sky or sun for you to rejoice in
when you clench that viper’s fang inside your fist
the only thing that you can wish
is that the thing was still full up with poison
there’s nothing to rejoice in
when you hold that fang inside your fist
the only thing that you can wish
is that the damn thing was still full up with poison

you’ve been here an hour
or a hundred years if it’s been a day
it doesn’t make a lick of difference
for here you’ll always stay

there is nothing to rejoice in
when you hold that viper’s fang inside your fist
the only thing that you can wish
is that it was still full up with poison.
Track Name: Abandoned Discarded and Disavowed
Abandoned Discarded Disavowed

he shut up his eyes
and I disappeared
he he shut his eyes
oh that I might shut mine too

his true blood
flowed through my streets
and his breath
came through my windows
he turned his head
and murderous union
soaks in every bed
I am covered in lice
I am choked with waste
I am ornamented
in scum
and bile
and disgrace

he shut his eyes
oh that i could shut mine too

I am painted in mud
I am built from lust
once he walked my streets
but now my stones
are just bare stones

I am a harbour for
rats and pestilence
the men are just dogs
that eat from the table
and the women are just snakes
that strike from the shadows

my tears are urine
and my windows are wounds
my doorways are snares
my alleyways are cunts
that give birth to obscenities
wet with wine
the caul on their heads
are just children
ripped from their beds
who’s dreams were of venom
and vomit
and red
the curves of my arches
are the curves of a whore
oh god I wish I could close all my doors

there was an olive tree
that thrived in me
but now it’s covered in flame

there is no one left
who remembers your name
except me
you could see me even if
you just opened one eye
and ignored all the maggots
that bloomed into flies
the sky is all black
there’s nothing left of the blue

you shut your eyes
oh that i could shut mine too
Track Name: Sugar Baby Doll
Sugar Baby Doll

My sugar baby doll, she came to
With blackened eyes
And all her dresses torn
She’d been handled by two rough hands
Two hands of heavy lead
That scraped and clawed
And cracked her lovely little head

CHORUS:
My sugar baby doll
Was a tiny little thing
She needed comfort and protection
And she needed me to sing
Hush now, baby doll
The dawn bakes cakes of light
And you and I will eat our fill
If we can just survive the night

Sugar shook and trembled
And nary blinked an eye
She held her breath and counted ten
And then began to cry
He was bigger than the clouds
Up in dark and stormy skies
As she wept I took her in my arms
And soothed her broken head
He had pulled her from her cozy home
That hid beneath my bed
He slapped and bit and beat and tore
The rarest of her parts
‘Till they were running red

CHORUS

Each night from that night on
She slept safely in my bed
But each night she woke and cried
‘Till her eyes were crimson red
She dreamed of a cold and stinking hulk
Who was bigger than the clouds
Up in dark and stormy skies
I tried to tend but could never mend
Her tender, rarest parts
And when each night she screamed
It tore my rare and tender heart
I tried to tend but could never mend
Her precious broken head
Each night when she in terror woke
I wished that I was dead

CHORUS

My sugar baby doll
I could not protect
I could not keep her safe
She never slept and never ate
And soon began to waste
And when she died in early spring
I wrapped her up in lace
I buried her in a lush green hill
Upon its eastern face
So she might take comfort in the dawn
And finally reach a state of grace

CHORUS

When I laid my sugar baby doll away
I learned there were no devils
No devils pulling wires
Only men who tend and stoke
Their awful little fires
And when I laid my sugar baby doll away
I learned there are no angels
That set the bell to swing
It’s only wind or man to blame
When the bell begins to ring
There are no martyrs, saints, or sinners
And no god for tiny things