O MY BONES GET UP OFF YOUR ASS {the live sound of peter j hochstedler}

by peter j hochstedler

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    The bonus video from June 2013, directed by Quinn Young, was shot as part of a public access series on original musicians in the South Bend area. Many thanks to Quinn and the others who helped make it. I apologize that I am so awkward in it.

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about

Recorded August 30, 2013:

Ezekiel found himself in the valley of dry bones. I am one of those skeletons, this year; it's been a dry, skeletal year. I have not written much, have had little energy to direct toward my own recording work. The hours of the days have ossified on the floor of a strange valley in an old book of startling images and strange wording.

Here is my best effort, in time for my 27th birthday. It's a mix of old and new songs. We had a potluck, ten or eleven of us, and hot-summer-sticky-sweated with the doors and windows closed in the unused, empty living room of an old mansion in South Bend, IN.

There are some electromagnetic glitches from humidity. There are mistakes in the performance and editing. There are jagged bits scattered all over this huge, astonishing world. Of course it would be unreasonable to expect oneself to pull off even such a minor feat of resurrection with neither hitch nor glitch.

Still I am immensely grateful. Many thanks to those of you who came--Kate, Nick, Kelly, Gus, Miyuki, Shaena, Aaron, Chad, Tim, Malcolm, and Nora. It was a long, hot haul.

For Nick--thank you for your love, companionship, help, and encouragement over the last year.

credits

released 12 November 2013

cover photo by Malcolm Phelan

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Track Name: saltpeter
they set me up.

all hail the unarguable cock-click
all hail the impossible party trick
saltpeter in the veins of a mountain
saltpeter in the chamber of a gun
peter come to your place where the people are
peter strumming eyes-closed on the guitar
smallpeter with his brain there rattling
tinyass peter with his mouth there, muttering
petermutter about a mountain in his brain
peterstutter bout a chamber in his veins
peter beat around the pit where the trouble is
can’t look straight at the place where the devil lives
see his head there bent by the light rays
see his body there rent in a light fray
head here, body there, with the bullet marks
making slight quark waves, bullets in his slight frame buckled

give me a moment to explain this abyss!

“we could trap him in a corner of space time
we could strap him to the shaft of a saltmine
we could pin him with the point of a light cone
vandalize his inner chamber when he isn’t home
cock-click, clock-tick, how about them mountains now?
talkpeter, saltlick, you and your broken brow,
you got some nerve with your tinyasspartytrickpickle
making noise with a sock stuck in your mouth.”

when all the world over will love one another, will be a beautiful sound
when all the rumbling chambers crumble together,
will be a beautiful sound,
will be a beautiful--

I, peter, have a rock loose
you could collapse me if you want to
make me scramble up my metaphors
make me ramble bout a saltwar
keep your pickle cockhard with my salt brine
keep your rifle cocksure with my saltmine
cock crowing out the corner of my space time
your cock crew with a saltpeter gunchime
witness! I saw jacob in the desert land
witness! trading blows with a strange man
adonai, you can wrestle down a mountain
and capitalize, conquest but can’t nationalize
what you headlock, pop sockets,
short circuits, spark sprockets,
it’s in your pocket, fuckit I get it
my knees broken, but that isn’t bending
you can end me, I will never surrender to your rending
you got me on the bottom
but my heart is saltpure and all you got’s sodom
o you gods of the saltwars
I was born wrought from rock of this mountain!

they set us up with this brain we were born in.
Track Name: rocco
you were only four weeks old
when they broke the story
a man beaten down at the border
he died, he was not resisting

where will you lay your head?

and your mother--my sister--
she held you close in an apartment in pilsen
and your father was gentle--he kissed you--
I never knew what gentleness was until then

where will you lay your head?

I was out in the desert, newly divorced
I was happy and lonely
I was watching democracy now! and
heard the cries of departed Anastasio

how do we lay our heads?
blood on a border bed
who will raise a fist
for on who does not resist?

and Hernando--
there are some worlds we can’t save
people lie down on the earth before your eyes
and it’s all you can do to set it down
on your video tape
for the pearly gates

raise your fist, the one you clasped around my finger when I met you a couple weeks ago
your father was gentle and your mother was good
I wrote it down: there are sounds
that no one should ever hear!
I wrote it down: there is a sounding in the chest of
your parents holding your head to their breast

where will you lay your head?
Track Name: honey bunny bumblebee
THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO ME IN MY YOUTH AND OBLIVION AND SPAKE THUS, IN FOOLISHNESS AND PRETENSION O MY GOD HAVE MERCY UPON YOUR UNWORTHY VESSEL FOR YOU HAVE SPOKEN THUS UNTO MY YOUTH AND OBLIVION I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD AND THUS SAY I UNTO YOUR WOUND:

remember me?
I made your sad hands out of clay,
I made the way your ribs get beaten in,
I stretched your plastic skin,
and I will make it up to you, I will
make it up to you.

remember me?
I pulled the weeds beneath your tomato vines.
I made my peace--
I sang my threnody along the front lines.
we're all still waiting for a sign.

there's nothing left!
they took my potter's wheel,
trampled down my dahlias,
cursed my doorframe and memory,
and now all I can sing is--

"honey, bunny, bumblebee . . ."

spin a spool around the sun
catch a bluebird for everyone
make a wish, now

remember me?
I spun the circled webs into your head.
I grew the gruesome thorns from out your pores.
I cried at what I'd done
and swore that I would make it up to you.
I will make it up to you

remember me?
I set your hair on fire
and doused it out again when we were children.
I made water wine,
now your fathers are drunk and gone
and I will make it up to you

I WILL MAKE IT UP TO YOU!

I--I will make it up to you
Track Name: smoke that rose from the old house
the smoke that rose from the old house
was the same smoke that smoldered in my chest the other night
and it said, “what if you are mistaken—
what if this fire in your gut is burning you alive?”

and I, with my hunger,
was suddenly just jot someone tittled from an old-fashioned pen
and the house, for all its familiars
was undone by the same flame that warmed our wintered hands

it was money that made me angry
that cut me loose on the world with my soap-dodgin’ rhymes
it was capital, said “come all you weary
and I will give you pills and products to make your sick skin shine!”

and I, with the road that rides me,
I pass through towns where the anger hangs limp-limbed from the eaves
and the smoke of an occupation
just one last twitching of the fingers of a soldier
ground out by a war-machine

how does a bomb feel?
buildings don’t just blow up on their own!
mountains don’t just die!
they go on twiddling their thumbs in quiet, headless lives

we pulled into the station
I was humming this song in a soft tremolo
we were cattled, like dogs in a cage,
starved frantic to find some object for our rage

I struck a match into a gas tank
like a band strikes up a song or a child strikes an animal
we floated between the flames
saints unsinged but unsure of to which god we had prayed
amen.
Track Name: find me out, friend
(for rachel laitman)

find me out, friend, won't you?

won't you skin this paper-thin membrane I've been a-caperin' in
flay this comic cape I've been a-drapin' in
crack the rim of the gasconadin' grin-of-the-brain I've been a-breakin' in

find me out!
find me out!

jack o' the wood
jack of all t'rades
I've been
jackin' around this whole world that we made, we made it--
bloody and hollowed (fruit)
blood 'round the fuckhole
blood on the ax
and the ax at the root

o friend, I got this worn out song
it was over long ago but it plays on
I am a pawn and you are a pawn
and they're selling what sells
of our whistles and bells; won't you--

spin this grim politic so slick I can swallow it? no--
soul me a rabbit slowly down the hole so I can follow it? no--
make me a man I can handle!
some star-spangled hobo!
some infinite candlestick burning holy so I can hallow it--

won't you find me out?
find me out?

cat got my cradle
cat got my tongue
cat's been
doing what a cat will since the years I was young
cat's been
caterwaulin'
come quick, come crawlin'
there's a sound in the evening
it is sickened and bawlin'

o friend, I got this worn out song--
it died years ago but half-lives on
but if you lie close to me now that the day is done
I will go down on you with the words of my tongue

you are bold as a birch!
badass as a gail
that wails out the windows in the spire of a church
though you weary of heart be,
I am quickened in your heartbeat
danced in your pulse
resurrected in your glory, won't you--

speak the word only--
you are god to me--
and I will well be

find me out fully--
know my entirety--
and love me, withal, tell me--

let's make us a bright banner unfurled--
cell unhinged, hell out-hurled--
some new world grown out this shell where we fell be--

find me out!
find me out!
Track Name: antiphone
i was in the lion's mouth
the day they bombed bin laden out,
the night they bombed the fucker
who bombed the fuckers who rule the world
i watched it from a brooklyn flat
the president a slender cat
tv shat out words like rats,
their bodies blossom and unfurl

i caught the greyhound out of town
through subways trembling in the sound
of cloven bodies whirling round
the axis of our land
through port authority, gaping hole
and easy target, lincoln tunnel,
burrow beneath the skin of my soul,
combust (come bused?) back up to ground

some central pennsylvania station
saw glenn beck address the nation
news in some new permutation,
comment from a can
said, "now we realize obama's failure--
oops--i mean osama--
well, god bless our americana
and you and freud be damned."

cleveland fox brought on a band,
rode horseback from dixieland
oopahed out an anthem grand
and if that ain't the news--
callers-in gave us the scoop,
"thank you god, thank you troops,
but we want the body close at hand,
live on pay-per-view."

i know that words won't make us free
they've all been chewed by our enemies
a mangled, tangled, hackery
that cleave us from our home
i bundle up my words and hurl them
at the fucks who bomb the world
and they, coherent hymns return
against my antiphone

toledo, where border patrol
pulled all who smelled of mexico
out off the bus to the depot
with handcuffs and a grin
"well, we bombed out the mohammedans
who bombed our freedom market land,
damn right we'll cuff them mexicans
who think they can just walk in,
who think they can just start working."

fuck the songs your children sing
fuck our mountains' freedom ring
fuck the party, fuck the cop
fuck the gun, fuck its crop
fuck our pride, fuck its spawn
fuck our vacant lexicon
fuck our fear, tongue is dumb
fuck our pandemonium
grow up with war--well, fuck it too,
fuck the red, white, blue
and fuck the green and fuck the gold
and shit, the pentamanifold,
causticasian polyanus
parashittle valedictatious
magnifunction crucedible
crack the crown, gape the hole,
creditable bifurcasian
frock the credible!
defrock the credible!

i was in the lion's mouth
the day they bombed bin laden out
i groped through the gaping jaws
of a television screen
and every word was chewed to bone
and hobbled alone and not (quite) alone
and i, i whispered antiphone
against the scripted scene

(antiphone)

i'll be making you a part of me
Track Name: mother julian
lover, our religion is a smallish house
where we read the paper
drink our coffee
pick our parsley for the butternut squash
and lay out on the floor the blankets from the wedding
I still feel the dancing, drumming, and wine

julian's an island at the edge of the ocean
in the wood behind the parish church
cooking at the fire
and now the rooms are full
and now they're empty
spinning her tea leaves on by

o mother julian, hear my confession:
my lover and I, we read the times
the foaming wine
the gathering sky and ash and lime
and you and your north sea are slowly rising
and the market drowning
the leaves are turning
the drums are calling
and you go back inside

lover, all our cards are out on the table--
we build a house
but the wind is drumming
the guns are singing
the leaves are murmuring
the sibyl wailing
and the kings and the pages all gyred above our heads
like the room was a teacup
now it's full
now it's empty
now I wake in your soft breathing

julian's an ocean round the navel of an island
I hear her waves in the wind
I hear her break in the window
I can feel her rafters moan with beseeching
the earth-shook ground of it all,
the earth-shook ground in the wind

o mother jesus, come be our pumpkin
come grow our chives
I touch your navel
I curl in your hand
and if I get to heaven I hope it's empty
I hope you and all your angels have gone spelunking
to the house of hell
i hope peter and julian and a million mourners who couldn't eat--
they just couldn't breakfast--
'til all made well

lover, if they come and take us away
to a lonely place
in the bowels of the war I'll still taste your cumin body
and the rooms of our house will ivy over
the crooked fingers of mother jesus
and now the drums
and now the parsley
Track Name: prayers for a new year
snowfall in the evening streetlamp spirals
let it be a prayer for a new year
tasting of car exhaust, acid clouds
above this lovely city
let it be all the hope we have left

I recall in the still glow of the winter each candle I have lit
on nights like these when all the world seemed to float
like in a puddle by the sidewalk
and I have plunged my crooked sin
and washed my hands of it
and smiled in the candles warmth
then carried on

CRY MERCY!
WE HAVE ROTTED OUR BONES IN THIS JANUARY SMOG
AND WRAPPED OURSELVES IN ITS DARK CANVAS
THOUGH WE CLAIM SOME LIGHT WITHIN NOW
CRY MERCY!
FOR EVERY BEAUTIFUL SONG OF AN UGLY SOUL
THAT I HAVE SUNG FROM THE PUDDLY DEPTHS OF MY ART

O MY GOD I HAVE LIT SO MANY CANDLES
AND PLACED THEM SIDE BY SIDE ON THE WINDOWSILL
NOW LET THEM BE
LET THEM BE
PRAYERS FOR A NEW YEAR
BUT MAKE ME A NEW SONG OF YOUR LOVE
ONE THAT DOES NOT CLOSE ITS EYES
TO THE HARD, BLOODY CROSS
OR THE SWEAT OF MY LORD IN THE GARDEN

pass this way and my spirit shall breathe
let life spring from dead things
come this way where snowfall spirals down
come in the spirit of spring
come as the rain, or in a cloud

come as a pillar of fire and lead us through the night
dissolve these petty candles
let us need no other light
and let all our puddles be swallowed in one mighty river

what good is a new year?
but let us be new
Track Name: my city, it is burning
oh, my city, it is burning
oh, my city, it is burning
and the flame, it is a restless child
swallowing to smoke the ancient loves
on which we built our lives
not to topple, not to crumble, not to ashen be

oh, my road, it is winding
oh, my road, it is winding
and it winds around my oaken heart
tethering me to a country i--
i have come to love
with a restless love, a reckoned wonder, a sad disdain

oh, my story is unfolding
oh, my story is unfurling
and it is not the story i would have
chiseled on the stone of my day
no, it is written on a city that is burning
with a road that is unraveling

and it is spoken on the tongue of a love
who is burning for another . . .
Track Name: trickydevilgoatman i
now that the world is ending
in the scrape of steel and the churn of the wheel
the turn of the sky and the hole in the face
of a child and the ocean reeling

and we set it up!
we built it with the hands of our minds and the hammers of our lines
you see, the beast's been driving me
my back is bending
but the world has an ending

out on the edge of the world in the landfill foothills
we could dig out a home
the beast won't bother with us there
where the rats are kind among assorted plastic things

paul, jacob, katherine, we'll slip out under the night
down the road's wicked wending
you see, the rail's been riding me
but the rail has an ending

the holy tree became a fist
I gather my fingers
I made my peace

how will the finger claw?
babylon
the results are in
julian, could you anchor me to your treehouse
wheeled about
dorothy, with your big coat, ashen hair
said, "if you want peace there, then put it there."

ran into a goat man in a dusty, bureaucratic suitcoat
on the corner of jefferson and main
he said:

"now that the world is over
why don't we build another one, new and improved in every way?
environmentally friendly! we'll make a farm
grab your songs, take my furry arm and come along!"

there was child's laughter in his teeth
and a fire in his throat, that cloven foot, crazy frenchman
the trickydevilgoatman
Track Name: trickydevilgoatman ii
(mmm-aah-oo)

i met him downtown
he was furry and brown
goateed and groomed
with a burger king (TM) crown

and a suit a la mode
he'd been sleeping around
put his hoof in my hand
he was cloven and grand

he'd been working the crowd
growing grain from the ground
he said we're finding a cure
oh we're impossibly near

see these scars on my brow
thorns are old hat now
we've got pills, we got flour
i smell peace in the air!

(mmm-aah-oo)

i beat the tarnation out of him
chipped a chalice from his chin
scratched his lip on the rim
filled that cup to the brim

i made a cadaver out of him
tore out his intestine
gave it to my friend
so she could eat again

i made a pile out of him
socket and limb
built a ladder from his bones
it reached up into heaven

i climber a ladder out of him
saw angels descend
they were righteous and grim
they were kicking him in the shins

they soaked his meal with gin
struck up some flint
it was a beautiful glow
it was a devilish show

we made ash out of him
he got turned to carbon
it was the sexiest sin
i wore the grossest of grins

(mmm-ah-oo)
Track Name: invisible lace
invisible lace
figure eights
run between two grey tombstones

empty footprints
trod by infants
in the snow across my mind

and all that I can think of
are the campfires and the beach
where lives were pulled together
in the vice of vulnerable speech

a million miles
of see-you-soon smiles
as the plane flies off into a grey-black sunset

and all that I can think of
are the campfires and the beach
where lives were pulled together
in the vice of vulnerable speech
Track Name: dark sails of the moonboat
it comes in a moment, you see
the old demon in me
and I'm awake in our dark room

and the four walls
four corners
four chambers and the dry womb

and I stroke the white head
of my regret
and the house is a continent

all floating a vast iron conical cast
in the evening ocean globe

only the rinds
left of the melony day
sweet smile of the mooncat
slip,
sleep,
trust and obey

it comes in pill-form to me
in the clasp of a dream
in the latch of an ivy door

and you can smell the musk
and feel the breath of the dust
making microcosmic war

what awful lines!
seedling and vine!
they were digging up death from my chest

it comes so quietly--
devil, flee!
the fever-jesus-sweat-song of my pores

hey, calico children
clomb the top of the world
dark sails of the moonboat
whip,
whirl,
tickle and twirl

give me another day
tethered together

light me a candleway
my wax-waning brother

o god, let me carve you out
melon and skin

your bed is a turning place
in my wandering
my wandering
Track Name: I don't want to write you a letter
I don't want to write you a letter--
it's just my worries, mine alone

I don't want to learn you a lesson--
it's just my worries, mine alone

snow is falling hard in indiana
I suppose it's cold in minnesota--
I suppose it's cold; I hope you're sleeping warm

but your worries are not my own

this country is a wilderness
where I'm eking out a living
eking out a life, I guess
eking out what I'm eking in

hell with my worries

but I don't want to sing you a sad song
I don't want to pour you a bourbon
I don't want to learn you a lesson anymore
it's just my worries, mine alone

my worries are mine alone.
Track Name: bones
o sunshine, won't you fill my cup?
won't you wake me up out of this slumber?
I've had enough.
in the dark veil of winter--
deep vale of ezekiel--
dismembered skeletons wide-strewn about my brain--

O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS
O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS

and sunshine--
it's a dark world where vacant armies clash and the rich and wicked laugh.

o whiskey, won't you fill my cup?
won't you lift me up out of these blues?
I ain't drunk enough
and there's a war on the radio--
cops cutting kids down like grass
but oh, how you shimmer just like sunshine in a glass--

O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS
O MY BONES COME WAKE UP WILD AND DANCE
HOLY, MY PEOPLE, THIS WORLD IS OUR OWN
IT'S A BABY

and I would not set it on a raft--
I would not shove it to sea--
I would remember our world--
oh, do you remember our world?

o jesus, won't you fill my cup?
won't you fill me up?
I've got a hunger; it's not enough.
won't you lay a table for me and all who are hungry?
young and old, here in the presence of our anomy?
and bind our bones back up in marvel and mystery?

O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS
O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS
O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS
O MY BONES COME GET UP OFF YOUR ASS

and sunshine, could you remember me?
sing soft and low into the temples of my memory