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The Family Swan

by Mecca Normal

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credits

released August 20, 2002

David Lester: Guitar
Jean Smith: Vocals

Produced by Dave Doughman

℗ 2002 Lester/Smith SOCAN
© 2002 Kill Rock Stars
www.killrockstars.com
meccanormal.tripod.com

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about

Mecca Normal Vancouver, British Columbia

“Empathy for the Evil” (2014, M'lady's Records)

Press Kit meccanormal2014.wordpress.com/press-kit

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Track Name: Family Swan
Golden-eyed pigeons fly in pairs
grey squeaklings
linking space

"Swans mate for life,"
the old git on the news turns to the camera
for the last word
"life"

Even the wizened are media-savvy
Swan families sticking their beaks
mounted on long thin necks
into other family members’ business

the sickness of one means the rest
won’t go to fill their
swan-bellies

No they’ll stick together
floating around until the poison kills
That bullet was outlawed years ago
lead shell-casings litter the area

The damaging quotient can’t be picked up
can’t be totally removed
with even the best of the finest-toothed combs

He was a family-swan
dead
bit the bullet
heavy head hanging on a long limp neck

"It’s hard on your mother
It’s hard on your mother, you know."
In my head I say
(yes, you are hard on my mother)

He wants to shout out, “You’re killing your mother! You’re killing your mother again!”
Family-man tried to down a bottle of pills. Family-mother had to get farm-woman from next-door to come and get the pills out of his mouth. Flipping him over, cursing, like pulling on the fringe of a rug, caught in the vacuum cleaner.
His lips tightened over dissolving pills -- white, cream, blue pills --tiny logos carved into them; tiny logos carved in the dissolving pills.

"Are you trying to kill your mother?"
That was his crazy cry when at twelve, I got caught playing nicky-knocky-nine-doors. Seemed absurd.
Mother passed us in the hall heading for her hot bath. For the first time I noticed, and wondered why a woman’s ass is wider than a man’s.

Foolishly I’d asked, "How did mom get cancer?"
Turned out I was to blame. The answer:
"Having a child later in life and not breast feeding caused the cancer."

Oh, bitter pill. Bullet with a name on it. A tiny message carved into it; a tiny message carved in my dissolving heart.
I think I’ll go to my room now and set a spell
please pass the smelling salts

When I moved
away from their madness
Family-mother put on her tweed going-to-the-doctor suit
and came to my little attic apartment

She didn’t say hello to my boyfriend
sitting on the edge of my bed
she was there to inform me
that I would have to move home
my leaving had affected her sleep

Oh, now she’s eighty, she has terrible nightmares
I prompt her to reveal them and
I learn that she’s integrating me
into the disasters she sees on TV

Family-man tells me a million terrible things
all at once one after another
my stature decreases
I become short and ugly again

Oh, my voice is hollow small
I can’t do anything right
I am worthless
hanging on
to blame

My thinking forms awkward words
to be twisted and thrown back
in my tiny 41-year-old face
Family-man sets me straight

"Your mother is going to live another twenty years
she’s going to live to 100."
Family-man rants, family-man gets confused
"She’s going to live another 100 years."

Oh, I wish he’d make up his mind
I wish he’d make up his mind
either I’m killing her
or she’s never going to die

Family-man tells me a million terrible things
all at once one after another
Family-man sets me straight
Track Name: No Mind's Eye
I want to know more about this conditon
This conditon
of having no mind’s eye
Kumbayah, no mind’s eye
Auld lang syn, no mind’s eye

Can you remember when the cowboys
filled the movie screen?
Can you remember the red velvet curtain
and how it hung-ung-ung-ung-ung-ung ?
OK eeeeeeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeee
How bout
a plain white screen?

Look down at your hands
Can you see them when you were small?
la la la la la
Picking raspberries pick pick pick pick pick
cherries pick pick pick pick pick
beans pick pick pick pick pick

Can you see your small hands?
Does it help when you close your eyes?
Close your eye eeyeyeyeyeyeyeye(s)

And think about
an orange
pushing your thumbs in
pulling back the peel

Can you see the segments?
orange
You must be able to see
an orange in your mind’s eye

You know
your mind stores this information
in
memory banks
memory banks
memory banks
pick pick pick pick pick

I want to know more about this conditon
This conditon
of having no mind’s eye
Kumbayah, no mind’s eye
Auld lang syn, no mind’s eye eeyeyeyeyeyeyeye

You don’t need to see an orange every time
pick pick pick pick pick
to know what an orange is
lalalalalalala lalalalalalala lalalalalalala
how it
hung-ung-ung-ung-ung-ung
from a tree

orange lalalalalalala
Track Name: Ice Floes Aweigh
The queen mother calls to mother west wind,
"Let's be nice, all right.
Bless the castle, and the titles, and protocol."

Dad asks if there's anything I'd like to ask, like, before he dies
Anything I'd like to know.
I ask, "Dad, where did your dad come from?"
What I'd really like to ask is,
"Why did you throw that huge glass of chocolate milk
at me when I said I was moving out, at 17?
And did either of you read my last book?
And why do you tell people
you're going to kill the man in the trailer next door?"

I'm waiting here alone,
drinking tea instead of gin, I'm respectable.

My brother tells me, on the phone,
that civilized people do not leave their parents in their old age.

I have ice floes in my mind, everywhere white.
Fur-trimmed mittens, arms linked.
The backs of hooded parkas.
The mist whips between them and me.
Ice floes aweigh.
I feel guilt and relief.
I should run after them,
bring them back, and serve them tea.

The desire to run after them disappears.
I grab the door of the plane, hoist myself in.
The propeller starts, I don't look down.
Are they waving up at me?

They have no plan, I suspect this means
I'll have to take over, and rescue them.

Tea is at 11 and again at 3.
Breakfast comes right after coffee,
which is at 8, with a muffin or a scone.
Breakfast is oatmeal and lunch is at noon.
Dinner is at 6 right after the 5 o'clock news.

Dad talks too much, stories from 35 years ago,
something someone said at the office
is still bothering him.

Or what about the time he threatened to throw
the tax auditor down the stairs?
Or the time he turned the hose on the guy next door?
Or what big losers Margaret Atwood and Joni Mitchell are?

The queen mother calls to mother west wind,
"Let's be nice, all right.
Bless the castle, and the titles, and protocol."

What I'd really like to ask is,
"Why did you throw that huge glass of chocolate milk at me
when I said I was moving out, at 17?"

The queen mother calls to mother west wind,
"Bless the castle, and the titles, and protocol."