PSALM ON SILL

by Tm Novak

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about

Psalm On Sill:

I see windows in lines—often crudely fixed, often shapeless, often like the boxes imagined by tree limbs. I sense the shades, curtains, blinds & drapes drawn, tied, fastened & secured. I pray the wilderness still exists thru these windows—made of what is known & what is not. In that beyond I feel the low tremor thru humming & worship—it becomes me & melody. Then voice, then instrument. The psalm is the flesh of these—the young body slowly growing into its search. The reverence & its remembrance. Often in rigid pews you hear the wind rustling of bones: many in song, most in feral thoughts, all positioned behind windows—partly inside, partly outside.

credits

released October 12, 2010

all songs written by Tim Novak

Guitar/Vocals: Tim Novak
Bass: Rusty Chandler
Pedal Steel/Mandolin: Steve Benson
Engineer/Producer: Jordan Hoffman

Recorded in Sommerville, MA

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all rights reserved
Track Name: These Days
She only writes love songs and I only of fear
She danced across the stage with her halo
She poured into the limo as I was drawing near
Like something I heard on the radio (she asked me)

Why do you need me boy? Is it to deal with your pain
Your comfortable contradictions and your lies? (she asked me)
Why do you need me boy—is there something I should say?
You’ve been waiting a long long time—and you don’t
wanna wait—
But there ain’t no healing in loving a woman these days.

She sang of the future—I sang of the past
The in betweens have gone forever missing
One thing consumed me—does love ever last?
She said yes if you’ve enough to pay for it (she asked me)

Chorus

She left before I could show her—good ol’ Leonard’s songs
But it’s good when the obstacles just float away
And the dreaded empty feeling—Lord thank you I was wrong
My lonliness molded to peace (she told me)

You know you don’t need me boy—let your heart feel the change
Let your wanderlust burn the sky (she told me)
You know you don’t need me boy—something I should say
You’ve waited a long long time—no sense to live in haste

There ain’t no healing in loving a woman
Just sit back down and sheath your burden
Talk to the clouds if your hearts a hurtin’
Do you hear me now or your ear’s averting?
These days
Track Name: Great Dane
Put my dollar down on the fastest thing in sight
Surest thing, if she don’t win I will be hurting
Gambling away my heart on a sleeve leaves you open
Leaves you unguarded
Round and round again they next thing you know
You’re brokenhearted

Graveside of ticket stubs
Empty pockets and she don’t care
You bet on the fastest see how
Fast you lost it—speak dansk to me

Oh my God, can none of this be saved?
Everything I worked is wasted.
Oh my God, why am I in Last place?
I feel haunted by a Great Dane

Everything looks good in the starting box
But a mastiff’s not supposed to run
Leaping for the lure but the lure is fast out of sight
Should’ve bet on a greyhound, on a horse or a car
But I fell for the best and the best cleaned me at the wire

Dry at the wire, wet at the sleeves
This heart indeed is thirsty
Bark at my voice, bark and wake me

Oh my God, can none of this be saved?
Everything I worked is wasted.
Oh my God, why am I in Last place?
I feel haunted by a Great Dane

Waiting at the apron at the escape turn
Marathon maiden you’re slowing down
Won’t even make the far turn run
All my money’s wasted—what do I do now?
My heart’s on a ticket and the ticket’s in the trash
Sleeves rolled up, my arm’s a wreck
Beautiful Dane like a ghost in the night
Fastest thing I’ve seen—all I do is cry
Speak Dansk to Me
Track Name: Packysandra
The dealer flips the jack and ace
He controls all our winnings
I need to know where I stand
When I’m bent on loosing

To turn my skin to red and black
With spades go diamond gleening
In this club it’s the hearts we lack
It’s the life without meaning

Throw gold on this sphere
Clog my ears with praise
Forget why I’m here
Never question my ways

Where do I stand—if you don’t love me
Where do I stand—lamb of the fall?
I’ll be the man without an arm
I’ll be the man without an arm

Who knows the dealer’s hand
Or why he keeps on dealing?
I need to know where I stand
When I loose all feeling

My only gain is wisdom and
The courage to be willing
Reveal my hand to every face
To our puritans bent on sinning

To our priests who mislead
To our soldiers gone off track
To the liars who teach
From a different book of wrath
To my brothers who live like wolves
And my sisters who peck like crows
And my leaders who spit on the world
And my mirror full of holes
And our sons who idolize
And our daughters spent on good looks
And cripples who don’t know their worth
And the darkness without light

Where do I stand—if you can’t love me
Where do I stand—lamb of the fall
I’ll be the man without an arm
I’ll be the man without an arm
Track Name: To The Blue Line
This is the saddest song I will ever sing
The hardest letter I will ever write
I know you expect me home after graduation
But I got new things wrong with my life

It seems I got into some family trouble
And pretty soon I’ll have me a wife
And you’ll both be grandparents again
I can’t come home until I make this right

And it’s a long long way to cross the blue line
1000 miles up I95
and it’s a long long way to cross the blue line
my sentimental heart won’t leave her behind

It seems I inherited father’s taste for whiskey
and grandfather’s old box of pills
I thought if I could mix those two together
I’d be heaven bound, if nothing else

You see it was Sarah who brought me to the hospital
She said, “Your heart, it doesn’t sound right
Like the beating of an old drunken drummer
Slumped low and falling out of time.”

You gotta help me find a way out
To get a job and avoid my wrong turns
I used to be afraid I’d never leave my hometown
Now I’m scared I’ll never return

And it’s a long long way to cross the blue line
1000 miles up I95
and it’s a long long way to cross the blue line
my sentimental heart won’t leave her behind

I gotta find a way to get out of here
A smarter man would have left here by now
Daddy’s only look for the exit
If I’m lucky I’ll leave by dawn
Catch a plane and be home by noon

This is the saddest song I will ever sing
The hardest letter I will ever write
I know a make a lot of promises
I’m leaving, I’ll be home tonight
Track Name: Lips of Bramble
Are you lost or left behind?
Returned or never sold?
Do you feel foreign in the northeast
When the tide’s too cold?
I left my number on a thousand bathroom stalls
But my phone it never rings—
I tack my picture on the post office walls
But no one’s found me

I forgot—how to love
And now I need your help
All this time—it’s been shooting in the dark
To figure it myself

Do you think that it could happen easy
If I let some things go
Across the line
Where there darkness meets the light
And the meadow meets the street—the last threshold

Forgive myself, September morn I’ll be fine
Forgive myself, September morn I’ll be fine
To find that line

Lips of brambles and eyes of stone,
Little taxi teeth, Ted Williams tunnel throat
Fall the piston spring the moon off the road
Ramming the sun
Lower down the coffee cup, lower down the hourglass
Lower down the shades, lower down the grass
We’re all shaking-freezing but it ain’t from the wind
our practice made us perfect
Little icicles, little dagger icicles
Little ponds in pockmark tar, little streams in gutters form
This city’s a dream and the afterimage fire
Of a forest holiday.

I forgot—how to love
And now I need your help
All this time—it’s been shooting in the dark
To figure it myself

Do you think that it could happen easy
If I let some things go
Across the line
Where there darkness meets the light
And the meadow meets the street—the last threshold

Forgive myself, September morn I’ll be fine
Forgive myself, September morn I’ll be fine
To find that line

Pilgrim we’re leaving on a sour note
Hope that doesn’t change what you thought about me
I know these words seem elliptical
Lips of bramble
Track Name: To The Work Line
We can move back to my hometown
My brother has an extra room in the apartment house
I’ll ask my dad, he knows some secretaries—keep you company
Once I get a job we’ll be running, running fast

Oh no I think I hear your heart breaking
Let’s go to bed—put down that picture it makes you sad
Oh no I think I hear your heart breaking
Let’s go to bed—I’ll wait, I’ll wait
It’s just slow times, dust times, dark

We can name him Levi after the founding father
He can wear my old baby clothes if I can find them
You’ll learn this is a nice place to raise a family
Someday, soon it’ll be alright
Track Name: Stratus
In the evening we drowned the sun in the river
Then we let the night out of his cage
We danced in the street till our smiles wore like leather
To hide our souls in masquerade
To hide our souls in masquerade

From strangers beds we saw the sun hung over
Failed to rise in the river breath

Now its grey skies over San Amaro
Broke down cars on 61st
Don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow
Don’t really care let the sun rise first

When the paycheck’s in, it’s off to the barroom
To laugh and languish in our dreams
To find love in the shape of a room key
Something old, new, blue, borrowed it seems
Something old, new, blue, borrowed it seems

Doesn’t matter who, anyone to share the moment
Smaller than a grain of sand

Now its grey skies over San Amaro
Broke down cars on 61st
Don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow
Don’t really care let the sun rise first

I asked for your definition of salvation
You said—“buy me another I’ll tell you plain”
I’ve been waiting and waiting with a river in your glass
And a gurgle in your throat like a landing plane
And it’s all too clear I’ve been coming here for the wrong reasons
A temporary bed and a fleeting hour to waste
When salvation is not retreating to the bottle
It’s running to the garden where from dust we were made
It’s searching for the sun even in a cage
Its not death in the river—it’s life in the landscape

Now its grey skies over San Amaro
Broke down cars on 61st

Don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow
Don’t really care let the sun rise first
Track Name: Prison on the Hill
I’m stuck in the prison on the hill
I’m stuck in the prison on the hill
I don’t know how we do it, how we never get our fill
I’m stuck in the prison on the hill

And the sun refuses to shine
The sun refuses to shine
It’s cold in my prison cell even at noontime
Because the sun refuses to shine

And the river only flows down
The river only flows down
I want to wash my hands there’s no water in the ground
And the river only flows down

The pines keep whispering my name
The pines keep whispering my name
Sure they all know me well but it is only for my shame
That the pines keep whispering my name

And the crow keeps squawking at my sill
The crow keeps squawking at my sill
I want to reach through these prison bars and grab his little bill
Because the crow keeps squawking at my sill

And the moon’s too drunk to rise
The moon’s too drunk to rise
Nighttime so black you can’t tell land from the sky
Because the moon’s too drunk to rise

I’ve found beauty is a fast acting pill
I’ve found beauty is a fast acting pill
It numbs you to the inside and it causes men to kill
That’s why beauty is a fast acting pill

I’ve found money is just a ball and chain
Money is just a ball and chain
Binds your hands and feet and runs cold through your veins
Because money is just a ball and chain

And power is a poor man’s game
Power is a poor man’s game
You sell your soul for the gold in exchange
So power is a poor man’s game

And the devil is the prince of the world
The devil is the prince of the world
He built his kingdom out of human flesh
The devil is the prince of the world
Track Name: Kendall Storm Clouds
Whiskey colored autumn
Fill me up I’ll tell you when
Overflowing into winter
I’m walking up Kendall again

You’re never too old to make-believe
Never too old to pretend
That’s when they change the lock and toss the key
It’s a detour, not a dead end

Give it up son of invention
With these Hank Williams knock-offs
Try to write a song about heaven
Keep your eyes dry—you ain’t that soft

Lord help the present
That carries the past
Under an umbrella
Keep and eye for storm clouds

I kissed a girl at Jackson Pond
Carved our names into a tree
Then sadly she opened her eyes
It’s all don now, just a memory

But I ain’t going to melt
Into a sunset of sleeping pills
Or a tall glass with ice mountains
‘cuz bourbon healing is bourbon killing

it won’t bring back Miss Lovely
or cure my loneliness
so I’ll just wait on this driveway
‘till the moon does his last waltz again

Lord help the present
That carries the past
Under an umbrella
Keep and eye for storm clouds

I don’t mind the for sale sign
It’s got my favorite colors
I’ll be fine still safe to drive
I’ll retrace the world over
Up the hill where the moonlight spills
Through every dream and every corner
Bramble bush, oak, blackberry
Sweat of cattails in Indian summer
Weeds and vines, dandelions
Thick smoke cloud above you
Tree to tree the webs of memory
Catch sunlight pearls and morning dew
Blue bird wings the chamber strings
Wind combed grass and haunting growls
Hungry world, grey fur fox
Tin can songs as ice falls down
Mudslide over broken glass
Rabbit paws blotting sow with tracks
If Autumn’s whiskey then Spring’s gin
Sleep through winter, summer fills with rain

Streetlight’s flicker on and off
Willow-hair dangles in the breeze

Lord help the present
That carries the past
Under an umbrella
Keep and eye for storm clouds
Track Name: Past Dues
I’ve got a blind man’s sense of direction
And all of my affection is wasted on myself
If I had a bigger paycheck, buy you a rain jacket
You’d be warm in this weather

No matter what you forgive my debt, don’t even break a sweat
When I’m too cold to return
The bridges I burn, to chase my dreams
You just smile at me

Why do you have so much faith?
Is it your generous heart or a gift from God?

Either way I’ll give what’s due—
I’ll give it back to you

And for the first time in my life the mirror’s no surprise
And the morning is gentle
My dreams don’t seem like curses and my curses don’t damn me
I found God is a father

But I got to find what’s in between the rise and the fall
The kills and plateau
Fight between sleeping in—
And never sleeping

Why for me is this so hard?
And for you my love it’s like nothing at all

Either way I’ll give what’s due
I’ll give it back to you

I’m duty-bound
Overdrawn to you
I wait by blue windows
For the fog to come it
I wipe the dew from the glass
To see you

I’ll pay past dues, I’ll give it back to you
I’ll pay past dues, I’ll give it back to you