Fish Karma

The internet home of Fish Karma.

"Schwa" lyrics


Twice a day is not enough, once a month is far too much/the yellow teeth of commerce revealed/The broken bones, the shattered vows, the dying words, mispronounced/the weary tracks and arms of rusting steel/ Collective memories franchised, the tissue pale, uncircumcised/maps altered to accord with transient truths/We await updated orders, watching episodes of “Hoarders"/as the angels mate on prison roofs/I went to the prayer meeting by the stockyards in the sun, where mouths were filled with different grades of dirt/I went to the ethnic cleansing, drank a beer and watched them run, but all I got was this lousy t-shirt/Funnel clouds and funnel cakes, tunnel vision, squealing brakes, rendered flesh and discounts every day/The surgeon and the farmer’s daughter under ever rising waters, hastily updating their resumes/From the sky: a burning mist; from the ground: a methane kiss/from stock footage: we all start to fade/But leave a trail of emulsion, a distant echoing compulsion/& motel paintings lined up like graves/Minerals and catalogues and regional ideologues/who importune in blood-stained khaki pants/In the warm, acidic waves, the eels mutate, the eels engage, while thyroids swell and start to dance/The sniper aims, his mercy rains, on stalled cars and burning trains, on ATMs that glisten in the night/On corpses’ hands still clutching phones, on fading ads for payday loans, on silhouettes and carriers of light


Mrs. Fortescue, she won’t integrate/her coefficients skew to a different interest rate/On the ice or in the fire, there’s no emotion she won’t fake/all she needs is one spare tire and a roll of masking tape/Mrs. Fortescue, she won’t propagate/one too many barbecues that she was forced to curateOne too many preacher’s sons, out there in the dying barn/one too many loaded guns, waiting with open arms/But if by chance you find her misplaced proton/I’m sure she won’t mind/if you throw it away/it’s so yesterday/She’s not in the mood for all these cowboy songs/She’s walking through Wickenburg on the backs of fallen birds that refuse to be used as symbols/She’s dancing in Ehrenberg with all hopelessness deferred until she hears the knocking on (breaking of) her window/Mrs. Fortescue, she won’t correlate/on her designated pew she refracts and undulates/Seeking polarities on wind-eroded trails/tracing filigrees and reading undelivered mail/Mrs. Fortescue, she won’t cooperate/a womb without a view, a seed that can’t germinate/In silence she decries those needles that oscillate/waiting for her turn on the cross, this could be her lucky break


But soft! the windborne Paraclete gives voice to ancient claims/the open circuit now complete, 12 hunters taking aim/Barkers change their dialects, the crowd responds in kind/by tempest toss’d, the clocks now lost, and all our ways of time/Shorn of logic’s fevered grace and having played its hand/the last motif, expressing grief and milk, removes the stand/From the courthouse we imagined, in the fields beyond the dell/where patterns weep and druids leap through visions jointly held/A shadow felt, a cloud inferred, an echo that’s received/by systems lost, by age interred, while self-aware machines/Vouchsafe their faith in trade winds we can no longer feel/we limp until we are well met by fate’s predictive wheel/But soft! the inborn parasite feeds on the skin that’s left/scholars clutching monographs, take refuge in the clefts/That were revealed when stars aligned, with signatures affixed/to warrants, affidavits, and the president’s kill list/Solutions gratefully proclaimed by those few still upright/hands are raised and toasts are made—all praise to mercy’s night/The targets chosen are notated on stained vellum sheets/the scars reprise the standard lies and fill the empty streets/Making change for Saracens, and helping Picts adapt/stacking piles of Finnegans, pulling lodgers from the mast/Though the hours are quite long and the pay less than ideal/the gods allows us to retain those crumbs that we can steal


Hey Emily Dickinson, come on baby, let’s indulge in some sin, yo, Belle of Amherst, won’t you listen to me? I got a thing without feathers that’s guaranteed to please/Hey Simone de Beauvoir, baby, let’s go to your boudoir, ain’t no need to ask pour quoi, my love baguette is je nes se quoi/Hey, hey, hey George Sand, listen here, baby, I got me a plan, I’ll put on a dress and pretend you’re a man, you can call me Big Daddy Chopin/Hey Jane! Jane Austen, baby, let me carve your pumpkin, with the seeds removed and my flesh candle in, you won’t need much persuasion/Hey, hey Flannery O’Connor, oh baby, won’t you spank me, please? Tie me to a sycamore tree, show me what Southern Gothic really means?/Hey, hey, Katherine Anne Porter won’t you take me by the hand? We’ll spray chem-trails all over the land, if you be my Eve, I’ll be your Onan/Hey, hey, hey, hey Nora Barnacle let me light your menorah! And as for you, Virginia Woolf: I can’t think of nothing that rhymes with Woolf/Hey, Maya Angelou, come on, baby, let me sniff your glue, I’ll show you what my caged bird can do as I rise up into you


NATO bullyboys in the Arctic, playing war games, seeking truffles/keeping tabs on any Inuit they intuit to be trouble/Melting ice, no more obstructions: platforms rise above the sea/seeking fossil hydrocarbons; seeking death by entropy/Spanish dreams of Asian bounty; copper-sheathéd Viking boats/In weather calm you can sometimes see Sir John Franklin’s screaming ghost/The Northwest Passage calls to all who seek her bounteous offshore favors/The Grand Game with modified rules, but most of the traditional players/The melting Permafrost emits both CO2 and CH4/wildfire, dancing peasants, queues in front of Apple stores/Waves engulf us as we’re texting “WTF?” and “LOL”/While submerging, we’re uploading selfies of our drowning selves


Every action seems predetermined and every fraction feels slightly German/We’ve all been here before, despite the landscape; from freedom’s hunger, there is no escape/Avoiding the vectors still seeking victims; we crouch in burning stores, caressing mannequins/Under statues, we yearn for passwords; throats awaiting steel; words no longer heard/Wrists accepting chains; and limbs with new tattoos; the market’s posting gains, her lips are turning blue/Crawling down the sidewalk, bleeding in the big top, smiling for the cameras, waiting for the money shot/There’s a party in my basement (It’s party time!) ...You bring the shovels and I’ll bring the quicklime/Every action has repercussions; no more time for late night discussions/We’re pushing underground and reading entrails; we’re pulling daisy chains and filling rusty pails/Temporary refuge in an old school bus, making traitors of our neighbors, hoping they reward us/While the masters plan, and the derricks thrust, we hold each other’s flesh, and watch the sky combust/Our sins are left unwashed, our debts still mounting; a pregnant pause before the final accounting/Crawling down the sidewalk, bleeding in the big top, smiling for the cameras, waiting for the money shot/There’s a party in the basement (It’s party time!) bring the needles and I’ll provide the strychnine


It’s a refrain you’ve heard a million times before/but I can’t refrain…I just gotta open that door/So don’t complain…don’t call me hypocrite…You know change is the only constant/‘Cause when I’m in her arms, she’s in my head, and when we’re together like a needle and thread, you can throw the rest of your letters away, ‘cause all I need is K/She raises houses from the dirt, ancestors in her eyes, wheeling through the heat, searching alleys for supplies, expanding boundaries of decreasing space, creating worlds from a pen and life from waste/In the sun a silhouette of hardscrabble grace…near a candle’s flame, the light dancing on her face…never met another human who was so alive as she pulls fruit from the sky


Got to keep moving, got to keep moving, blues hatching from an egg/And this dog keeps on humping me…got a hellhound on my leg/If today was Christmas Eve, if today was Christmas Eve, and tomorrow was Christmas Day/All I need’s a pair of pliers just to pry this dog away/Sprinkle hot food powder, sprinkle hot foot powder all around your door (all around your daddy’s door)—Leaves me with a rambling mind rider…what the hell does that mean?/I can tell the wind is rising, I can tell the wind is rising…leaves trembling on the trees (x2)/And this dog has left my ankle and started on my knee


Undertorn: the fading past tenses of thought—the last traces, stillborn (the last lesson, untaught)—the elisions and lesions, and rogue elements underfoot, under orders, a concentric intent...In mandated silence or tandem accretions, in random encounters: forced luncheons, late meetings--frontloaded brute instincts and formalized greetings...the same brittle sound, endless, unrepeating--the same brittle wound, unstaunched and still bleeding…the same brittle sigh from a suspect terrain...the breath last refracted (though the breathing remains) ...and the same brittle answer embedded in stone—the same staid refusal, the same broken tone...all those floaters and converts, all those drowned who bemoan he blade of that fisherman's knife lately honed...the spurious waves, with directions ingrained, all borders transform—all points slowly drain, all lines reconfigure, supplant, or suppress, the wake then created, that serpentine dress—(under threat of repulsion, or threat of duress)...a hand-woven guile long since sanctioned by rite (by turn first submerged, then subducted from light)...The recursive confinements...on white-caps, entoss’d; beliefs through strained filters; strains believed long since lost...though no sign yet remains of that corruscate fate which all, did once, in bridled hunger await...with soft-pleated tissue, eyes ringed with corpse-kohl,  beyond hope of redemption,between coral and coal...In stagnating heat fields, through fields compromised—those vanished field agents, that fatal reprise...of reference shorn, points of contact immersed...points of a compass in transit—ancient ley-lines reversed or rechanneled; reclaiming, with damp lover’s hands, lost sectors, refurbished—all those ducts, all those glands...all that magnetic motion, now fallow and spent; troughs of progress regressing, a just recompense for the hordes that still hunger, all those masses who yearn—an indentured detritus—indistinct, lacking terms, lacking form, losing substance, leaking fluid and hope for the day’s fresh commission—for the right brand of rope to acquit to the branch, to conform with the grain, to adhere to the shards that still circle the drain—