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They Birds

by Nonagon

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1.
The trial is almost over. The jury’s hands are tied. This sudden awkward sorrow will help the crowd decide. All talk. Tongue Tied. Too old. We toe the line to forget what might happen and tuck the long tail under We miss the mark. The perspective is slanted. And every time it’s fixed the leaves are scattered These streets are almost tranquil. The pavement’s warm and dry. Three cheers for upward mobile. Deny. Defy. Decry. All talk. Tongue tied. Too old We toe the line to forget what just happened, and tuck the long tail under. We missed the mark. The perspective is slanted, but every time it’s fixed the leaves are scattered. Locked in. Picked over. This shake can’t define your resolve This din kicks it over. If not for not trying we’d never be back again.
2.
... 00:10
3.
Slow Boil 03:10
Bad designs take over. There, but for the wine we’re sober. We lean into the backslide. No fuck. All fight. All wrong side. Blank stares maintain the flat line. I pound and key the wrong doors. And choose to chase the stains on dancefloors. All talk at jagged angles. Loose lips across wet tables. Sharp words. Dull wit. Shy temper. Station to station. It’s all been po(u)red over. There’s no square-one to calibrate back to. I keep failing-up to the next last chance.
4.
The kitchen light, one last time. The family meal is made for one tonight, without the fights. Long winded. After all was made and tried, the kids have taken and left the worst behind: the bitter rind. Short temper. Long sight. Quiet table, dim light. Forty thousand to blow tonight. Up our stats, ranks, likes handpicked from the rarest vine. I’ll take it sir and make it all mine. Top shelf, a ninety-nine. Bill paid feeling fine. (Once I get right) Something ain’t quite right. Shuttered windows, no lights. What’s that I see approaching me? A dark shape with a sharp knife. Probably just a trick of light. Come back some other time to show the customer’s always right (I’ll make. I’ll fight.) Short temper. Long sight.
5.
Hack 03:03
Deep breaths every time one gets in the back. And the best dance is to model the decorum they lack. The trick is finding a home here. But make the call and I’ll come right over. Jump the stairs. Eat the fare. Take the night off. Take the night off. Turn your light off. Keeps your eyes up. Cycle through it. Safe bets only take a second to stray. And the map says that everything’s an hour away. Low tones. Sidetracks. Lives played behind back. This playback describes what we presume is lost time. The trick is finding your home here. But make the call and I’ll come right over. Jump the stairs. Eat the fare. Take the night off. Take the night off. Turn your light off. Keeps your eyes up. Cycle through it.
6.
Salt 03:23
We turn the light off to keep at bay the overstated. The underplayed. The complications of modest lives break up the drive. So get down and stay down and take a minute to mourn the loss. So get down and stay down. This silence isn’t the only cost. Wake up regretting every other word of every language you’ll never learn. The invitation to overstay is days away. So get down and stay down And take a minute to mourn the loss. So get down and stay down. This silence isn’t the only cost. Saltwater fills the house and carries with it all the things that I’ve been wrong about but hoped will still work out.
7.
June of '14 03:56
The private eye has spoken. Per diems won’t cover this. Tried to find. Tried to follow. But missed the plain sight. Missed the ride. Missed the lightshow. It’s all been done over with nothing done right. The rocks just bounce off us and into the… This version of home’s not invited. And the weather here leaves the work undone. Toed the line and discovered I’m on the wrong side. Found the bottom and uncovered: It’s all been done over with nothing done right. The rocks just bounce off us and into the night. It’s gone. Toed the line and discovered I’m on the wrong side. Found the bottom and uncovered: It’s all been done over with nothing done right. The rocks just bounce off us and into the night.
8.
Jeff(s) 03:23
Reclaim what once was mine. The debutantes, well-past their prime. Let’s preen the manes, gray-toothed spit-shine Gray-toothed spit shine. An error forced. Dark room, blank stares. The crowd wants more. Reject those wasted lies. Down well-paved roads, no alibis. A vaunted liturgy, a no-hit piece can survive. Gray-toothed spit shine. An error forced. Dark room, blank stares. The crowd wants more. Return but don’t rewind a mouth that speaks in asides. I know the face, I know my lines. Gray-toothed spit shine. An error forced. Dark room, blank stares. The crowd wants more.
9.
Boxes 02:27
Once I got right I decided why too few among us had tried to fight. Once full dancehalls died. Soapbox. Bughouse. Hue and cry. Safe space hung and dried. You saw what I saw and still you lied. Bedlam and breakfast take all our time. Once full dancehalls died. Town square. Soapbox. Hue and cry. Safe space hung and dried.
10.
Swing Goat 02:55
Our worst side is opened up to the public. Seen despite every chance to hide. Doubled down on ego, pride, and indifference. Gone to ground. The thread is gone the con is on. One lie fits all This tide claims nothing. This ride, it can’t last long. Oversight takes the teeth of the beast out. Alive despite every fatal flaw. Cover blown, they spend the cash on the backlash. Long disowned. With no regard the fall is hard. Long wind. Short sight. This tide claims nothing. This ride, it can’t last long. It’s all gone sideways on our watch. We took the bait and turned the light out. With dead red eyes, crane your neck as you follow the steep red line that charts the people’s rise to shame.
11.
The Holdouts 03:33
We buy the right to prosper. And build the blight upon your higher ground; abandoned. Dead to rights. Red Handed. And over time we’re stranded. Revenge applied through small crimes prolong the drive on higher roads; abandoned. Dead to rights. Red handed. And overnight we’re stranded here. Declined every offer. Denied every offer. The higher ground; abandoned. Dead to rights. Red handed. While overnight we’re stranded here.
12.
Bells 03:13
Set aside but still alive. No time to decide. The servants tried but the well had dried. No lung can deny the truth in the lie, son. We’re bound but untied and lose on all sides. Message sent. The house is bent. No chance to repent. No lung can deny the truth in the lie, son. We’re bound but untied and lose on all sides.

credits

released March 3, 2021

Controlled Burn Records
Catalog # BURN009

Recorded by Jon San Paolo at Electrical Audio in
Chicago, Illinois over the course of two sessions in 2019.

Pizzas were tasty.
Coffees were fluffy.

Mastered by Bob Weston at
Chicago Mastering Service in Chicago, Illinois.

Vinyl pressing and package printing handled by the
patient folks at Smashed Plastic in Chicago, Illinois.

Package design and illustration by Robert Wm. Gomez.

Nonagon is Tony Aimone, Robert Wm. Gomez, and John Hastie.

All songs were written by Nonagon -as defined above- with the exception of “Hack,” written by Nonagon and Robert Lanham (Malevolum Americanus) who also played guitar on that track.

With gratitude to: Christy Prahl, Wika & Nova, Annie Brinkman,
Justin Foley, Jerry Dirr, Chris Williams, Paul Brinkmann, Grumpy,
Jon San Paolo, Rich Fessler, Garth Mason, Bob Weston, Jon Solomon, Isaac Turner, Andrew Nicolaou, Taylor Hales, Conan Neutron, Areesha Wibisono, Wesley Reno, Payal Rathod, John Barnicle, Caz McKinnon, Amber Kresser, Maple Stave, Body Futures, Knife the Symphony, Escanaba River Dam #3, and the beautiful humans of the creative community known as The PRF.

Additional love and thanks to Jake Nelson.

Excerpt from “Postal Slap Fight” used with
the permission of Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster.
We still can’t believe they allowed this to happen.

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