Stress, Unstress

by Trochee Trochee

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released February 19, 2016

Text & Design by Amy Tidwell
Cover Photo by Sean Whalen
Written and performed by Trochee Trochee
Recorded and produced by Jack Dougherty for Good English Recordings
Mastered by Eric Castillo
Rhodes on Track 14 by TL

Thank you to Good English, Eric Castillo, Amy, Sean, Cancionsito, Dia Delos, K, Zach W., Zach B., Stan, all parents, all grandparents, Mullarkey & Cat Cassettes, Cake Shop, Bronx Cheer, Neil, Andrew, Claude, Boo Radley’s Half Bath, Levi, Erica, Cord & Gary’s Place, Mari, Huerta, The Kings of Foyle, The Hawks, The Lamps, ABiD, Teen Planet, The Trunk Space, DxBx, Diners, Amadou’s Crew, Ashley, Hoyt-Schermerhorn, Light In August, and The Chicago Cubs.



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Track Name: MST
So it goes
That in the holiest time zone:
The light lasts for hours so the canyons stay visible for days.
They remain and watch the clocks not change.

Stay there.
Don’t go anywhere.
Oh, Old Pueblo,
Here I go.
Track Name: Abstract: Mitchell Park
Well, I was hanging around here
A lot so I moved here.
Now that I live here,
I’m not sure what I’m doing here.
I wanted a change. I wanted to live closer to you.
Oh, good grief. I’m dying to see you leave here.
I’m dying to usher us both out of here.
I’m a coiled spring of soporific longing.
I’m that can of soda, man, you shook too fucking long.
If I can, and I think yeah, I’ll fix this all to blow.

Now that I live here I’ll do what I always do,
Spend all my free time wishing I was some place new.
Now that I live here I’ll do what I always do,
Sit around and drink to some place new.

I was hanging around here a lot so I moved here.
I’m not sure what I’m doing here.
It’s so warm here.
Tempe’s too hot all year.
But I stayed there.
Track Name: Year of the Sheep/Ram
In this Year of Horse gap year
I tried way too hard to clear the canyon’s mouth.
This isn’t my year.
One time in New Zealand,
I went underground,
The Waitomo system with some friends.
The gap went ten yards down
And I descend.
Then I jumped and then I swam and then I climbed a waterfall back out again.

Year of the Sheep, Year of the Ram.
You were asleep, I was on the balcony
Looking down at the Year of the Cow.

This ain’t your year, this ain’t my year.
This ain’t our year. That year’s next year.
We’ll win it next year.
Track Name: East St. Louis Blues
Well, maybe I was hearing things, yeah but you seemed fine
When I was praying that you’d stay alive
As long as I was here in town to see you.
And you did that much.
I was in the guest room and you were in the master.
You were coughing like the end times.
Each successive bout was coming faster.
And I know times are tough. They’re ignominious because we all looked better then.

Call me crazy, call me callous.
Call me Catholic, call me Alex.
I was in the guest room as you gussied up for Mass.
I was praying that you wouldn’t die if I would be the first one to discover you.
I know times are rough. They’re obstreperous and I’m covering
My ears don’t stand a chance from the years that I face next.
Stay up tonight and analyze the family demons crawling out the ground.

St. Louis stay the hell away from me.
Stay on your side of the Mississippi.

When I walk alone to the Circle K to buy a drink you didn’t have at home,
I remember when I lived here. It’s cold most times of year.
When I walk alone to the cemetery and I picture your headstone,
I will drive on the I-55.
I will drive far away, far away.
But nothing stays far away for that long
Or even all that far away at all.
Track Name: (Don't Fear) The Hurricane
Hurricane’s coming, tying down the chairs.
That’s how you know it’s there for real.
Show me, Dad,
Because I’ve been in Arizona
And I’ve been stuck in monsoons
But we all dry out again
And it’s like it never happened.
The check-out line at the grocery store is turgid,
And they’re low on bottled water.
Stock up.

I had just arrived.
My Dad just got furloughed.
I wanted to write to pacify my mind.
Looking down the Gulf Coast
With the furniture all tied together,
I can see a storm is headed straight for me.
I can’t sleep but Mississippi sure can use the water.
Track Name: Niagara County
Last night was the smoking gun.
Cal got drunk, way too drunk,
In the barn with broken cars.
“The motor’s in but it doesn’t run.”
I’ll run to where the river meets the lake and the Falls they break
From the USA.
Roasted pig on a stick, the only one I sympathize with.
Lord, he’s kind with the knife.
Throw the rinds behind the fire pit near me.
Retreat to where the river meets the lake and the Falls they break
From the USA.

State line’s a five mile drive.
State line’s a four mile ride.
State line’s a three mile ride, state line’s a two mile ride, state line’s a mile ride
To Canada.
State line’s been here such a long time.
State line is just in sight
Of Canada.
Track Name: No Disrespect to Northern Illinois
Your new church holds the Guinness Book of Records record
for the most stained glass tiles in a single edifice.
Eighteen thousand.
Well how about that?
And I feel stressed out
Because this is where I started.
This is where we started.
This is where my family
Stays for all eternity.
Endless Sunday masses.
Endless mowing grasses.
Endless trips to Florida.
Endless winding road.
Endless cousins’ birthdays
Endlessly at Hackney’s.
Now it’s all refracting
Eighteen thousand times
As I bid my goodbyes
To Northern Illinois.
Track Name: Breve
I was standing at the crossroads.
I considered where they crossed.
You were standing where you always stood.
I was staring at the cross.
I concluded its height was the right size for me,
So I climbed.
Track Name: Man of Constant Compunction
I am a man of constant compunction.
You were scrupulously hearing me
Break down and catalogue all my neuroses.
I feel unclean to have these types of dreams about you.
I feel unclean most days.
Knelt down in my parents’ house without a sound.
I need water.
I need experience.
I need a shower, not holy water.
I was seventeen. She was sixteen, barely.
My parents married when they were twenty-two,
Graduate into the honeymoon.

In the mirror there’s a smaller rounder mirror used for shaving
But I’m not cleaning up my mess. My hands are full. My love is
In the mirror with your face pressed to its center.
You're a nucleus suffused across its surface.
With your face in the mirror,
You look so in love with yourself.
I am a man of constant desideration.
I am a man of constancy and consideration,
And consistent disintegration.
Track Name: Try Harder
Soon enough I’ll be there,
Boat or plane or train.
Alive and dead on the 10,
A hundred mile smile.
I tried hard to help
But it faded away.
Soon enough, tables will turn.
You will turn to leave.
Alive and dead and you’re not quite there,
A hundred mile stare.
Soon enough.

New Year’s and you’re crying.
Our friend’s here and the movie’s still playing
As I march myself out of your house.
I slam the front door of your house.
I know I play the martyr,
Glowing and daring you doubt
As I stumble back to your house.
I lumber through the front door.
I tried hard to help it.

Try harder.
Track Name: Devil's Hand
Year of the Sheep, Year of the Ram.
Year of the shame of hating where I am.
Year of the fingers twitching like they did
When I was a kid.
Scrubbing down all sides all night
To pacify my mind.
Five times, then the father’s sign.
Five more times, then the father’s wine.

The devil’s hand’s a clean hand.
The black ash
I tried hard to wash.
But it still came back.
Track Name: Pran Mudra
I was down. I was looking down
A fire escape on Avenue A.
I return to canyons after all.
I stood at the ledge like the Savior at first light.
Splendor in his sight, the tempter at his side.
The tempter’s at my side, but I said no twice.
Then I sighed, “Maybe you’re right.”

Now that we moved here I’ll pray how I always do.
Stressful and stressless and desperate and true.
There is a thunder in my hands.
There is a trauma in my hands.
There’s diagnosis in my hands.
My hand’s a hissing cassette.

Now that I live here I’ll be who I always was.
Son of my father out under the sun.
There is a darkness in my hands.
There is a flicker through the gaps.
Me, I’m penumbra at my best.
Six days were numbered, then came rest.
I need some rest
But I’m always leaving bed.

State of mind is a long, long car ride.
State of mind is just outside and five short flights.
Always leaving bed,
Always leaving bed.
Track Name: Mississippi Dads
I was standing on the ledge and
You were sleeping in the bedroom.
Mardi Gras is down below us.
Mardi Gras is all around us.
Mardi Gras was started here.
Your whole self was started here.
At least they were your favorite years.
There was love when you lived here.
Then you moved because your family
Were instructed by the military.
Then you stayed in Illinois
Long enough to start a family.
Begins with you and Mom and then with me.
Ends with you and Mom and sharing custody.
Then in Mobile you recovered.
You found that love that you remembered
From long ago when you lived here.
Thanks for all your love these years.
Though you’ve moved from Alabama,
Though I’ve moved from Arizona,
I remember Mardi Gras when
I found out that which you knew all along:
When you reach the place you can love with all your heart
And then you leave it for a reason, any reason at all,
It stays there.
It’s not going anywhere.
Happiness is always in reach somewhere.
So this is where you began
And this is where you might end
And this is where I’m in the middle
And I won’t end it here if I can help it.