Darlings of the Soil

rioux CD cover

“Darlings of the Soil” Lyrics

End of a Story: Ash without fire/Shot without a gun/Squeal without tires/The end of a story yet begun//Voice without a throat/Shine without its sun/Tune without a note/The end…//Time without a clock/Luck without its run/Mountain without rock/The end…//Smile without a face/Laugh without the fun/Winner without a race/The end…//Flash without spark/Whirl without spun/Night without the dark/The end of a story yet begun…

Revelation: Kurby’s gone and quit the drink / saving up for a Mexican bride / Got some kind of twitch or tic/plays havoc with his left eye//Kurby drives an el Camino/floorboards made of plexi-glass/He can see the blur of road/lets him know he’s haulin ass//He lives out there on route 109/waiting for a revelation/Says he’s just buying time/mostly he’s just losing patience//He takes me to the county fair/just across the Arkansas/driving like the devil may care/He’s reeling out the same old saw//Wants to see the five-legged horse/says it makes him feel/The world, man, he says, it’s getting worse/so impotent and so real//Take the dirt roads comin back/weaving through the corn/wants to show me the little shack/the place where he was born//He lives out there…//Ride is rough, he hits the pedal hard/says we’ll clear the ruts/I try to listen to the corn outside/as it rattles in its husks…

Mr. Whisper: Some say he’s a saint/others he’s a killer/All those who’ve spoken to him/say his voice is but a whisper /Many only fear him/by most he’s ignored/while others adore him/and hang on his every word//You’ll find no fear in his eyes/There is no fear in his eyes X2//Many simply pray/that he finds another town/leaves nothing behind/simply drifts away/Some think him a savior/that he’s come with the news/that there’s a holy reason/there’s no soles on his shoes//There is no fear…//Then one day he slipped off/took the midnight bus/told no one goodbye/left without a fuss/But town folk they still argue/about why he came/What was it he whispered/Hell, what was his name…

Tombs: This is the story of Baalam’s mule/his hooves hollow gavels on the stones/Now when he mounts Moriah’s high hills/there’s a burnin’ way down in his bones/It’s not even the heft of those damp grain sacks/or even the crack of his master’s whip/but ever since his jaw hummed those words/his world has lost its script//He curses the day his clumsy tongue spoke/and wonders if he was God’s little joke //What path is this he finds himself on/the ground all shifting; the rocks so strangethe sky’s full sweep he never paid any mind/it’s clouds keep nagging him for names/The olive trees he once knew only for shade/he finds himself drawn to there white blooms/His immense head floats with the distance of things/The half-remembered words like tombs…

Rocketship: If I took a rocket ship to the stars/it would be a one way trip   to where you are//A time before your life became unfair/when you wore blossoms in your hair/A time before you would know your share/when you still wore those blossoms in your hair//Together we can find your harm before it found you/and I would hold you in my arms/until the pain passed through//If I took a rocketship to the stars/it would be a one way trip straight to your heart…

Say Uncle: Uncle Jack had a whiskey laugh/that cracked like sap from a fire/   Uncle Chuck had no luck/but gambled like a man up on a wire/Uncle Tom stilled lived with mom/they is room was a tomb for mice/They took me aside at a party one night/that they might hazard this advice//They said don’t worry about what you want boy/or even what you need/’Cause God’s gonna come out swinging kid/so be prepared to bleed //Uncle Phil, he took all the right pills/ but still his mind was a riddle/Uncle Ed was in the red/He said he got played like a fiddle/Uncle Ray rolled it all away/in a game of high stakes dice/They took me aside… //They said don’t worry…

Pretty Little Scenes: Just wanted a little extra cash/build my wife a little place out back/where she could paint her pretty little scenes/all those colors she said were in her dreams//Too many miles on a one-way road/Too sharp a turn will surely tip the load X2//Shit got heavy when Benny started cooking/Cutting me out, thought I wasn’t lookin/We had it out up on the ridge one night/I’m not the kind of man who shies from a fight/I was long gone before they dragged the lake/Now I’m running and I’m on the make//Too many miles…//I’ve got half a mind to go back home/settle down, maybe get a loan/but the blood’s still hot on my hands/seems I’ve set in motion other plans/But just to see you with your hair pulled back/Do you still dream in colors or has it all gone black?

Bad Hand: Night is hound that sniffed me out/I was all wrong about that cat and mouse/Threw me down, snuffled me/lapped my face ‘til I couldn’t breathe//I’m a bluff/I’m a bad hand…/not enough of the man you think I am//Never stumbled on that easy way/fanned my cards out and I had to pay/Always found the hard way through/Now I live with what I’ve done to you//I’m a bluff…//Walking’s not for me I said/Always felt my life three steps ahead/Now I’ll take it all just lying down/splayed out and smothered no longer proud/I’m a bluff…//And if you can forgive me still/I’ll rise with what love I can—I’ll take my pills/I’m sorry for the way it’s been/Let’s let the night just settle in…

Ahab’s Ghost: We met on a ranch down in Arkansas/both looking to star again/we strung barbed wire til our hands were raw/and we became pretty quick friends//You said the world’s so goddamned liminal/how nothing is here to stay/You said your mind’s a hardened criminal/that someone should lock it all away//You spoke of novels and of poetry/how Ahab was misunderstood/ We should all smash the mask of reality/or at least as much as we could//You played guitar/beneath a full sweep of stars/and sang like the night was your host/We sat by the fire/and I never grew tired/of your voice  moving like a ghost//I said you should read some Kierkegaard/that the world can be taken on trust/ Hunting down truth, it can get awfully hard/especially when it’s scattered like dust//You said the world…//Then from the barn rafters they found you/You were hanging like a puppet, so absurd/And to this day what I saw then it  wasn’t true/I’ll choose to remember your words//You played guitar…

The Gospel According to Death: Give us the marrow/Give us the bone/ We’ll sell you ticket/and we’ll call it a show/Give us the blood/Give us the veins/We’ll cut you wide open/if you don’t name names//Give us the muscle/Give us the skin/We’ll build a cage/to lock you in/Give us the sky/Give us the sea/We’ll fuck it all up/for a fantasy//Strangers we arrive, strangers we depart/What do we know of the  human heart? //We are the dirt of all we don’t know/Give us the eyes to see what love can grow…


Reviews:

“One need only listen to the first track, “End of a Story,” to know that Jim Rioux is a poet.” -Austin Sorette, The Sound