Little Bird

by Scott Reu

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Last night, I dreamed that I was wandering again. She put me in the labyrinth, leviathan, leftover, I was lost among the minotaurs, too tired even to pretend that she was next to me. I started making for the exit. There's something here I can't explain. It looks like poetry, but written in the rain and scattered. It feels like getting sober, or trying to remember. I hope I'm getting over you. I woke to find that I was in a burning house and then I smacked my alarm and slept for twenty minutes more and when I woke up again, the world was quiet as a mouse, and then I sifted through the ashes for a solitary moment. There's something here I can't explain. It looks like poetry, but written in the rain and scattered. It feels like getting sober, or trying to remember. I hope I'm getting over you. I burned the postcards and the flowers and the passports. I burned the memories themselves, and I am pretty sure that this is the reason why my house has turned to cinder. I'm a man made out of matches, and I'm learning not to play with fire. There's something here I can't explain. It looks like poetry, but written in the rain and scattered. It feels like getting sober, or trying to remember. I hope I'm getting over you. There's something here I can't explain. It looks like poetry, but written in the rain and scattered. It feels like getting sober; I'm trying to remember. I hope I'm getting over you.
The Fire 02:24
How jealously I guarded you in the waning dusk of something beautiful. We sat in the desert and painted lines and waited for the sky to kiss us dry. The house we broke into and stayed in for the night devoured our hopes like ten thousand termites. That night, you hatched a plan to walk out the door. I slept while you poured gasoline on the floor. I'm lying here in a cold sweat but I can't drag myself from the bed just yet. Nothing sticks in my craw quite like stale blood, and this whole place is drenched in it. Bring on the flood. How fitting it was that my earthly desires were there with the albums we lost in the fire. I long to dream of where we sat in photos where we did just that, I'm lying here in a cold sweat the ashes from your cigarette burned up all the alcohol left in my blood. I'm gonna haunt you forever. Bring on the flood.
The memory of your love is like the ice cream in the back of my freezer. The label says it's made with sour cherries, all the way from Italy, and it's sweet, and it's cold, and it's just sitting there and getting old, and I think a long time ago, I bought it, or you gave it to me. I think about you every now and then, and sometimes I miss you, and sometimes I could burn us both alive for the things you did to me. Yeah, we clawed each other's eyes out and we tore down our own home, and you left this ice cream in my fridge, and I left you alone, and now all anyone tells me is exactly how much worse it could be. And I don't know exactly where you went, but I hope you stay there. And when I leave, I'm not taking the contents of my freezer with me. Yeah, you hung around for less time than I thought you would, and this black cherry ice cream tastes so goddamned good, but it's going bad, it's going bad, and now I've gotta find out just how bad it could be.
Wolverine 03:07
I never did the right thing for you, so here's what I deserve: if I ever try to talk to you again, I hope I lose my nerve. I hope I get dementia and Alzheimer's, too, because, then, at least I won't go to my grave thinking of how I treated you. I need to go where I'll never be seen and feed on what I find like a wolverine. You said that you forgive me, and that should be enough. Maybe, one day, my apologies will chip in to buy you some useful stuff, like a coffee at that old cafe where you stared at the spoons and started to cry on a day when I was somewhere else, not getting closer. Not about to try. Don't let go of whoever's holding you tight right now. Don't let yourself get sentimental. Just let go, and I'll let go, too. The gleam in my eye is incidental. Abdicate your kingdom. Split every stone. Shackle all the rivers. Leave this thought alone. Living things wither. Mountains erode. Promises crumble. Rockets explode. If I had time, if I lived close, I would hold my tongue for the sake of us both.
Little Bird 02:51
Sometimes, I picture you in dreams where I'm still yours. I wake up terrified, and I don't know what for. Sometimes, the ringing of one note is so discrete that you're convinced you love the bell for being sweet. But when I think of you, I think of little birds. They take a bath, and so I think they'll stay; I put out seeds and give them names, but they'll be gone by nightfall, all the same. I used to follow you like a bear follows a stream, up to a glade where winter bleeds into a dream, and where the salmon do their cartwheels in the air. I never questioned it because I didn't care. But now I can't recall the words to all your songs. In brighter days, I learned them perfectly and quoted them relentlessly. I always tried too hard to please. Please don't come back home, little bird. You were built to roam, and I was built to sleep, so my dreams were bought for cheap. I used to beat my heart just like an aching drum. I hoped that it would march me back to where you're from. But now I listen close, it whispers what to do: I've got to find my way upriver without you and circumlocate 'til I find forevermore. I'd build a house somewhere you'd prob'ly hate, I'd stay out nights and sleep in late, no hostage to negotiate. Don't come back to me, little bird. Stay free. We'll leave behind our lonesome things, except for one: you can keep the ring.
If you stand up and walk away from him any time I cross the room, and if you still think about the good times, sometimes I do, too. If it's been a while since we caught up, well, that's a sin, but it's because I miss your smile and I remember what it does. If there's still something there, if we're not beyond repair, and if you still wonder, too, I wrote this song for you. I hope you're happy. I know you're strong. You could've called me all along. But maybe it's better to leave it like this; I'm not sure whether I'd rather have someone to love or something to miss. If there's still something there, if we're not beyond repair, and if you still wonder, too, I wrote this song for you. I've been gone. We both were, but I didn't give all of me to her. You'll get my whole love if you give it a try; let me give you one good reason why to trust me one more time: I've nothing left to hide. I'll come back to you if that's what you decide. We can take it day by day; doubts will slowly slouch away, but these feelings never fled. All of this is just to say: If there's still something there, if we're not beyond repair, and if you still wonder, too, I wrote this song for you. If there's still anything there, would you tell me, if you care? Either way, it's all true: I wrote this song for you.
There's too much summer in this place. They oughta shoot it into space, and I'm still trying to figure out if I can overdose on whatever's in the sunlight reflected by your face. Maybe it's the calm before the apocalypse, but me? I'm just focused on your fingertips: how creative, how destructive, how the air between my eyes and yours used to be conductive. It's little more than a prayer when I ask you to kiss me. Sometimes, I can't tell when you're with me. Do you remember wishing you had more to give me? Back when eternity was never quite enough? Now, just getting through dinner takes an Act of Grace. How the hell did it get so tough? I haven't seen you since Tuesday and I'm not sure you miss me. Then again, sometimes I can't tell when you're with me. From everything I'd heard about falling out of love, I expected to be building a shelter that wants to go to pieces, stark naked on the living room floor, but instead you just get quiet. You get lonely with your best friend. You want to change yourself, but you don't know what for. I'm scrambling like a drowning mouse for any solitary ounce of affection that you see fit to give me. But I know who you're thinking about when you're with me.
The first time I laid eyes on you, you were sweeter than a Carolina peach. I was never much for stone fruit, but you were so easy to reach. I loved you so long, didn't ever want to quit, but that's the thing about peaches: there ain't one without a pit, and that's all you left me with, baby (that and sticky hands). And, honey, you know I love you, but I'd trade you for a fruit stand. That summer we spent up in New York, you were the apple of my eye. But you're just like a red delicious: every part of you is a lie. I gave you my heart. I gave you my hand. You treated me rotten. I know you understand, we can't elope, now. You'd best go pick another man. And, honey, you know I love you, but I'd trade you for a fruit stand. Can't think anymore: what was your appeal? Your heart is just a raisin, and my love was a 2-for-1 deal. I don't mean to sound bitter, but you're awful, right down to the core. Honey: do me a favor. Don't come 'round here anymore. You know, sometimes I still think about the time before we called it quits. Well, if you'll pardon the expression: it really was the pits. You thought I was stupid, I thought you were sweet, and just like the local agrarian sector, I'm getting back on my feet. I'm going down to Camarillo to find a little patch of land. And, honey, you know I love you, but I'd trade you for a You were a bad apple, and I'd trade you for a That marriage was a lemon! It bought the farm! And I'd trade you for a You took me for pomegranted, and I'd trade you for a No sour grapes over here! And I'd trade you for a fruit stand.
If I did something right, if I said something true, I was only trying my best to impress you. It was you who showed my mouth how to make those joyful sounds: the letters in your name. Oh, how I longed to address you. You're not here, and that's alright, 'cause wherever you are tonight, it's better by half 'cause of where you're going. Sometimes things break in two, but there are still treasures that I want to show you before they get swallowed by the rising ocean. There was nothing between us and the southern sky. I can't explain it. I won't try. I could've gone blind in the light you reflected. Pearls of the deep, flightless dove: I promised you everything but love. Love's only a word for what the sound of your name had perfected. You're not here, and that's alright. I'm up late again tonight saying your name and thinking about where you're going. Sometimes things fall apart, and reconstruction never starts. Just show my the ledger and I'll pay whatever is owing. You're not here, but I still am, five hundred miles from Birmingham. I just wish I knew exactly where you're going.
You sent me up the river, girl, and then you burned my clothes. You put a voodoo curse on me and smiled, I suppose. So cloak yourself in shadows, girl, and pray if you're inclined, 'cause I've got a bloody pen in hand and I'm back for what is mine. Your wiles may infect me, and your beauty may confound. Ah, but fortune is shaped just like a wheel and one day, I'll come around. Your love, it seemed to me just like highway robbery. I burned down half of Arizona on may way to you, but what I've done ain't nothing compared with what I'm about to do. I'm coming back for the things you kept, I'm gonna rise out of the brine and take my pride from off your mantle. I'm back for what is mine. Your love, it seemed to me just like highway robbery. When I've reclaimed the things I own and packed them in my car, just know that I'm gonna leave you alone and no place will be too far. I would have ransomed you my soul had you been kind to me, but there is no kindness in your heart, just highway robbery.
Vows 02:54
You tell me you're sorry. I pretend I don't hear you. You're walking behind me. I don't turn around. I can't catch my breath, or even stand to be near you since the couples counseling session ran aground. In that little gray room full of trinkets and books, you smiled as you told me that you were long gone. I know, now, I should have expected an ambush, or maybe I did, but I hoped I was wrong. I counted our sins and I reckoned the tally, and you owe me, but I'll never settle the score. The thing that still eats at me even today is the same wretched void that you left me for. I have seen the black soul of a carnivore in the things you hope I won't bring legal action for, and we have both seen things we should forget. By the time this is over, they'll be tired regrets. I know it won't always be like this. Grief isn't the master I serve. Some days, I hope you get just what you wanted. Other days, I hope you get what we both know you deserve. You promised you'd always stand by me, and you shouldn't have promised that. We both know it now. And I promised I'd never stop loving you. It's a good thing we wrote our own vows. Anyhow. You're a debt I gave back to the world, and that name I used to love is just a curse, now, to hurl. I've lost the map that showed the way to sleep, but you're only as good as the things you can keep. Will you promise to stay wherever you went? I won't live in your shadow. I can't afford the rent. Should we swear on conclusions that have since been foregone? Darling, there's nothing sacred here left to swear on. You're a beautiful wreck, I'm a wide-open door, and I guess that's about all our vows counted for. Did I so badly guess at my value that I thought I was lucky to have you? Yet these works and the days that they fill are as deathless as the love that I'm trying to kill.


released November 16, 2018

Recorded at Tiny Telephone, San Francisco, Calif., USA
Producer: James Riotto
Recording Engineer: James Riotto

Lyrics, Vocals, and Guitar: Scott Reu
Synthesizers, Keyboards, Basses, Vocals, Piano, and Guitar: James Riotto
Percussion: Jason Slota

Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Maria Rice

Album Art and Logos by Christopher Gebhardt


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Scott Reu Boulder, Colorado

Scott Reu has been making original music since 2008. In 2018, Scott released a new album under the musical nom de guerre "Haunted Horse."

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