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diane cluck

by diane cluck

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1.
someone's ink and needles have written skin riddles on his body, bare before me except for these sketches signal and semaphore for things he won't talk about quiet and shut about his padlocks and latches my fingers trace his pictures and at each his breath catches he says why are you bare bare as the day day you were born born from your mother i say so you can tattoo me with the marks of a lover the red trails of his fingernails the bumping palette of his boney hip sharp tooth beneath his softest lip the kiss obscures the bite he sketched his designs on me all through the night he finished and was sleeping so i jumped the early flight now a thousand miles away with the passing of the days your colors fall from my skin like the moon smooths out the waves so quietly they left that i didn't see them fade i don't need ink and needles to write me my excuse the body does tattoo itself with old age and abuse with lines pooled / pulled from the inside drawn from pain and reverie my body will tattoo itself with what you mean to me
2.
leave a little something by the door of each place as you're leaving your back will be much lighter on the road on the road people here are kind you'll soon find there's not much you'll be needing the farmers don't mind if you reap some of what they've sowed 4 score lightnings hit the sky that night and i think of you the effect was blinding, frightening for awhile i could see the bones in everything like i had x-ray view leave a little something in the bowl for each mouth that you're feeding you'll find your rations last a fortnight or more sock away a song in the mouth of each lover you're kissing you'll hear it ring out from the opposite shore and it will comfort you in your travels we all need comfort in our travels comfort me in my travels we all need comfort in our travels oh, 4 score lightnings hit the sky that's eighty if you multiply and that's more than a few ! i suspect as the rain's running down my face and neck it's a sign from you beckoning me home from my travels beckoning me home from my travels because you're the spool on which it all unravels the big oak block on which the judges bang their gavels... should i ? should i ? cleave aside the mountains keeping score of what valleys i'm carving rocks and water kicked up for the times when i'm thirsty, i'm starving
3.
monte carlo 05:11
and the three lonely things poking up from the water are her nipples and her nose as she floats on her back and the sand is deserted, except for me standing i stand as the landmark to keep her on track so the ocean won't pull her away i'm guarding our bags since i really can't swim and i don't want to learn, though she does try to teach but thieves who scope tourists at night in this city in daytime all probably hang at this beach you never know in monte carlo from noon until evening her skin changes color from paler than mine to a sun-punished red so i expect havoc, tonight around bedtime she'll want me to blow on her blisters in bed that's the sun in monte carlo the keeper of the lighthouse is sleeping so we creep upstairs to play with his beam making ships stray from their courses intended by highlighting rocks and the shallows between them and the smashing of hulls in the night seemed to have no consequence at all, like the action in dreams in the morning gulls pick over jetsam and junk, over flotsam but feeling no guilt for their screams while we spend three-quarters of our time apologizing for the quarter of the time that we're thoughtless and thoughtless and mean just for fun in monte carlo just for fun in monte carlo we go to the cliffs where the men cruise each other their cars come and go like the change of the tide where Grace Kelly had her last swim on the planet when Grace Kelly's roadster flipped over the side of the guardrail one guy looked so nervous, and standing alone my friend saw him shaking and started to laugh i said, 'wouldn't you be nervous if you knew in ten minutes you'd have the surf at your feet and some stranger up your back giving you his best monte carlo ?' a ten-minute, double-ringed halo... you know, the most breathtaking sight i'd seen in awhile was the sight of french men fucking under the stars we watched them dancing like mermen on fire till cops came and chased them away in their cars we watched them run in monte carlo we watched them and we laid low and my girl is as red as a rare hothouse flower her skin is so burned that she's giving off heat and my girl is as tired as nobody's business but sea-air makes sleeping incredibly sweet two more nights in monte carlo and her burn will be a tan she can't sleep, she just said so so i turn up the fan
4.
ambulance 03:21
an ambulance at the crossroads a crossroads in the city and no one will let it through though its lights are streaming every hue and the bleeder in the back thinks, 'this is the moment of my death-- i'm about to die in a traffic jam and everyone's so angry at me because i have the nerve to die right here because i'm making them miss things at home on tv...' you are at the crossroads this crossroads in the city and no one will let you through though you've waited hours in the queue and the phone in your backpack rings pick it up ! cuz you'll be late call your wife and tell her that she should save you something to eat because you're caught here looking at the blood in the street rushing past the tires and the trash and the feet...
5.
i talked to barbara tonight on the phone she told me penn state has finally won so i guess they don't stink as bad as you said and your birthday wish came true for you today, dad happy birthday, dad happy birthday, dad
6.
they did an experiment with babies back in world war two and the babies all were orphans so no one cared or knew they called it 'touch deprivation' and this is what they did if a baby started crying or put a hand out from its crib-- the nurses glid on by as if they'd seen nothing at all the nurses glid on by and checked the chart off on the wall, writing “nothing unusual here-- subjects continue rocking back and forth as if they sense a thunderstorm is coming” and that flock of springtime babies nesting quiet in the lab were just fistfuls of feathers stuffing pillows after that and those second world war nurses who had killed the orphan kids lived out cursed lives as spinsters in trade for what they did they did a similar experiment in new york and this is what they did-- they rolled out the sheets of tarmac and sliced them into grid then they filled the maze with people but they told them not to touch they convinced them it weren't civilized and we believed as much why do you apologize when you bump into my arm on the train ? and you apologize three times like it really ever caused anyone harm or pain being bumped into do you know you are the first person to touch me in a month ? and sometimes i like the feeling of accidental touch an experiment with ladies with ladies and with men we could decide to lose our language so that we might try our skin strangers piggyback each other for thrill of contact sport and i finally could talk to you but this time without words cuz you don't realize how you pollute the game when you keep speaking circles and your circles sound the same saying, 'i'm fine. how are you ? i'm good. how are you ? i'm fine. how are you ? i'm good. how are you ? i'm finding it hard to relate to situations where i am asked to speak...
7.
viva ! viva you. i appreciate king presley finally when i see you and your dignity as the carpet is jerked out from beneath you you are like elvis on his last legs sweating through his jumpsuit knowing he would be a goner in a few days but giving his all to the present presley audience, anyway viva, viva you and long live your boots with the holes at the seams that let water up through the soles when it rains cuz no one is holding a spare pair for you long life to you and long live the fever that's burning you clean and long live the fade of your everworn jeans cuz no one is holding a spare pair for you
8.
auction 03:30
and the sun, it sets on the auction but the auctioneer is still hawking it seemed we had lots in common before we started talking you said you'd come here looking for a heart and checked out the white elephant table oh, an elephant heart is a size too large but its beat is incredibly stable but its beat is incredibly stable and the sun, it sets on the auction and the things she spent lifetimes collecting trickle home through cross-continental carpools after moments of appraising and dissecting there was a frowning copy of the Mona Lisa i bought a five-dollar phone but i still couldn't reach you after many times trying it was a problem with the wiring 125, 135, 145, sold till shelving and closets and cabinets are cold 155, 165, 175, sold the selling of things you can pick up and hold when what i'd rather buy was the look on your face when you saw me and you started bidding until you had bid up all the money you'd saved and i laughed, and you said "i'm not kidding" and i laughed, and you said "i'm not kidding" and the sun, it sets on the auction it gets darker now, fraction by fraction and i feel it's time to be going but something must move me to action then the auctioneer walks by with his mic in his hand and he says, "i can't do this much longer oh, my tongue's getting slower and i can't keep up with the depth of their need and their hunger with the depth of their need and their hunger."

about

"Learning to record in Brooklyn, NY, fall of 2000. Intended as a demo to be circulated among friends and local clubs, a good example of the kinds of instruments I was playing and carrying with me at the time--guitar, piano, toy zither, handmade copper pipe xylophone-like instrument, accordion, recorder." dianecluck.info/store

-Diane

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released December 1, 2000

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Diane Cluck

Singer-songwriter in Charlottesville, VA

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