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STARE WITH YOUR EARS

KEN NORDINE

SNAIL RECORDS 1979 (44:36)


SIDE ONE

01. ISLAND - 1:35
(John's island redonne)
music by Pat Ferreri and Manfredo Fest

I got me this island
that I'm calling me
whenever I go there
you know who I see
you can see me in me
more often than not
and that's pretty often
my favorite spot
there are plenty of spots
called other than me
but they're someone else's
one look and you'll see
you can try like a fool
to be what you're not
the island you get
is the island you got



02. ANGEL'S LAMENT - 4:16
(who cares about winter
the first day of spring)

music by Pat Ferreri and Ken Nordine

there's a picture in my mind
that I'd like to have you see
in an old and golden frame
see how young they used to be
ain't it funny how they stood
smiling straight into the lens
seems a thousand years ago
like a million way back thens

who cares about winter
the first day of spring
life is a funny
ephemeral thing
how early we're old and
how late we get smart
wise are the foolish
with love in their heart

worked their fingers to the bone
saved their money like you should
then they died like people do
left the children pretty good
kids'll divvy up what's left
after uncle sam's big slice
am i hearing what i hear
gnashing teeth in paradise

who cares about winter
the first day of spring
life is a funny
ephemeral thing
how early we're old and
how late we get smart
wise are the foolish
with love in their heart

hate to say this but it's true
angels sometimes do get mad
see the heirs Las Vegas bound
will their luck be good or bad
hear the rattle of the bones
someone said the dice are hot
will they double what was left
got a feeling maybe not

who cares about winter
the first day of spring
life is a funny
ephemeral thing
how early we're old and
how late we get smart
wise are the foolish
with love in their heart

guess you know how things turned out
please don't blame Las Vegas though
every minute one is born
cookies crumble don't you know
so the wheel of fortune spins
while the blackjack dealer yawns
twinkle twinkle little star
what a lovely desert dawn

who cares about winter
the first day of spring
life is a funny
ephemeral thing
how early we're old and
how late we get smart
wise are the foolish
with love in their heart

there's a picture in my mind
that I'd like to have you see
in an old and golden frame
see how young we used to be
ain't it funny how we stood
smiling straight into the lens
seems a thousand years ago
like a million way back whens



03. ALPHABET - 3:03
(as simple as)
music by Kristan Nordine

A . . . is a two story tent
B . . . is a double D
C . . . is an almost O
D . . . is a half B
E . . . is a broken rake
F . . . is a broken E
G . . . is a C gone wrong
H . . . is one minus one
I . . . is just someone
J . . . is a hook in the ceiling
K . . . is an elbow leaning against
L . . . is an unfinished triangle
M . . . is a V around eleven
N . . . is a tipped-over Z
O . . . is respect for Z ... E ... R ... O
P . . . is a leaking D
Q . . . is O with its tail showing
R . . . is a leaking P
S . . . is a snake on edge
T . . . is an extremely mixed up L
U . . . proves that what goes down
must come up
V . . . is where parallel lines meets
W . . . is u times two
X . . . you know X, the big unknown
Y . . . is a fork in the road
Z . . . two V's sleeping together



04. CRACKS IN THE CEILING - 4:39
(wide asleep and sound awake)
music by Pat Ferreri and Ken Nordine

woke up to the ceiling
cracked above my bed
traced a snaking river
in my inner head
seems so silly simple
gypsy crystal clear
swear there was a message
fear the lack of fear
found a town called only
came across a cry
tried to grab its shadow
much too quick and sly
left me holding pieces
bits of boo hoo hoo
ate 'em all like candy
ate up silly too
kissed the joker trouble
hugged a phoney laugh
almost died of giggles
riffed a riff with raff
did a dozen push-ups
fell into a faint
came to with an angel
angel's name was ain't
threw a fancy tantrum
referee was blind
lost a game of criss cross
where's my absent mind
ran upstairs to peephole
took some dirty looks
turned the outside inside
broke the backs of books
suddenly the end came
shook me by the eyes
can't you see I'm ready
crackerjack surprise
tricky showed his magic
stumbles fell apart
mothers hugging babies
microscopic art
thinkers being thoughtful
lizards in the sun
guess you know your blood type
bradstreet's mister dunn
lit a million candles
carved the melting wax
effigies are legal
paid my income tax
drunken charlie bing bang
sliding through a crowd
pigeons coo a chorus
not so very loud
leaders of the kingdom
looking very dumb
jesus could've loved you
never swallow gum
quickly said forever
new was getting old
coppers catching robbers
what's the price of gold
dimly in the distance
wish upon a star
yes we're open eyelids
wonder where we are
pages of the unbook
frozen fireflies
gotta tap a kidney
where's the door for guys



05. MISTER BLISTER - 2:19
(who has a sister)
music by Kristan Nordine

messy messy messy
mister blister
fidgeting dumb in his smart
hiding his ho hum in ha ha
where does his silliness start

see him where his silly self
goes hee hee
flims of his flam telling lies
slow motion deep in his inside
giggles he foxily sly

as the world goes
around and around
and around . . .
as the world goes
around and
around

blister's got a sister
name of fester
troublesome ick of a chick
honest to goodness to evil
thinly disguising her thick
hear her drum a number
on our hero
riccaty ticcaty tock
blinker than quick in your thinker
nobody's winding the clock

as the world goes
around and around
and around . . .
as the world goes
around and
around

who's to take the blame
for blister's blemish
could be his unlucky star
painful a brainful of your fault
betcha there's hardly a scar

gee gosh and golly
intelligent folly
blistering wet has gone dry
fester and blister and blemish
can anyone honestly cry

as the world goes
around and around
and around . . .
as the world goes
around and
around

messy messy messy
mister blister
fidgeting dumb in his smart
hiding his ho hum in ha ha
where does his silliness start



06. FADEAWAY STRANGER - 2:54
(for my dad)
music by Kristan Nordine

he stood in the doorway
his hat in his hand
hey what's the big hurry
I don't understand
every time that he'd knock
he never could say
something inside him
kept going away

fadeaway stranger
gone from my door
left me behind you
don't see you no more
fadeaway stranger that
I used to know
you're the far-away king
of the kingdom of go

last time I saw him
forgotten just when
but his echoing laugh
comes back now and then
and it moves in my mind
where yesterday's hide
the laugh that he laughed me
it's echo was cried

fadeaway stranger
gone from my door
left me behind you
don't see you no more
fadeaway stranger that
I used to know
you're the far-away king
of the kingdom of go

i'm trying to see him
by closing my eyes
but the blur in my brain
it ain't no surprise
there's no way to find him
the place that's he's gone
sunset is light years
ahead of the dawn

fadeaway stranger
gone from my door
left me behind you
don't see you no more
fadeaway stranger that
I used to know
you're the far-away king
of the kingdom of go



07. ONCE UPON A YOU KNOW WHAT - 2:30
(for my mother)
music by Pat Ferreri and Ken Nordine

once upon a you know what
old as now it was
came a crowd of wonder why
looking for because

mister hoodwink told 'em all
lemme run the joint
money's what it's all about
exclamation point

gives-a-damn went sound asleep
hiding heaps of pain
guilty rides a rocking horse
dripping drops of rain

gardens crack in bending light
gee whiz say hello
lost his way through puzzle park
six feet down below

resurrection sure is nice
all is up from here
angels plucking feathers out
jesus drinking beer

took instructions for a sign
other than the ram
I'll be coming back again
gentler than a lamb

baah'll tell the simple truth
near a pigeon's grave
free as larks are 'sposed to be
god is such a slave





SIDE TWO

08. DON'T YOU WISH - 2:45
(metempsychosis)
music by Manfredo Fest and Pat Ferreri

don't you wish
that you could be
something that you're not
you could maybe
oscillate
deep inside a dot

maybe be
magnetically
ozone high at night
up where all
those dancers are
in the northern lights

imagine you
outside of you
other than you are
you could feel
the falling fall
in a falling star

instantly
as fast as that
shrink way down in size
atom small
you split apart
wind up otherwise

you could be
a vagrancy
other than what's you
hungry shark
with razor teeth
turning red the blue

butterfly of powdered wings
fluttering the warm
you the ghost
of morning fog
nebulous in form

how about
a cricket's legs
rubbing evening cries
maybe better
you should be
chromosomal ties

you could be
soap bubble blown
by some little girl
what about
the optic nerve
in a nervous squirrel

as for me
I'd rather be
some forgotten stem
once that held
an apple up
out of reach of them

maybe
I could glisten hard
sunshine on a stone
what about
the melting drip
down an icecream cone

we could be
a list of things
longer than your arm
find us new
identities
spellbound as a charm

all the days
and nights we've got
we could pick and choose
play the game
of fancy free
what've we got to lose



09. SEVEN WAYS OF THE MEEK - 5:23
(dumbday, bluesday, endsday, blursday,
cryday, shatterday, stunday)

music by Pat Ferreri and Ken Nordine

Dumbday comes
and quick as snap
fall apart begins
mister maybe
not so smart
grins his silly grins
clown around
goes grumble down
deadend avenue
isn't that
old huff and puff
running through the glue

Bluesday sings
its gray of hope
slightly out of tune
laughter stuffs
her cotton ears
pricks a kid's balloon
lady snake
does bumps and grinds
trobbing blinko's eyes
edgy bites off
fingernails
shorter than is wise

Endsday starts out
with a bang whimper wanders by
tells the deaf
on mumble street
hankerchiefs can cry
pooh pooh poohs
the notion down
crowds are here to sway
evil has
sufficiencies
equal to the day

Blursday follows
focus shot
bottle-bottom glass
fuzzy snaps
of one and all's
graduating class
hard to see
just where we've been
tick tock takes a fade
if you meet
sweet sunny shine
save a little shade

Cryday's baby
maybe laughs
tickle deep inside
doctor no no
shakes his head
slowly side to side
opposite
and just the same
sunset sleeps with dawn
bleakends yawn
in front of each
glad that Cryday's gone

Shatterday
the pieces break
fall apart's complete
seems that
mister smithereens
had a fate to meet
told you so
now tells again
get your cliche's worth
wish the meek
could get it all
even just the earth

Stunday smiles
as if it's high
doubtful tommy prays
gibberish
upon his tongue
testing faithful ways
congregations
guess they always will
huddle happy
lean on me
lonely hearts are ill

seven ways
to see the meek
seven kinds of cruel
don't you let them
get you down
don't you be a fool
sure as shoot
tomorrow comes
if you're here or not
grab the goodies
while you can
hell is awful hot



10. BALLAD OF THE FINAL PAGE - 4:10
(it's drinker than you think)
music by Pat Ferreri and Ken Nordine

there's a place I know
where I used to go
a bar called the Final Page
where beer and a shot
don't cost you a lot
time flies around in a cage

the bartender there
he don't seem to care
if the patrons come or go
a smile in his eye
'cause he's feeling high
drinks his whiskey slow

sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
I really don't see me
changing their way
sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
they'll all disappear
a year from today

now the average age
in the Final Page
is maybe 'round sixty-nine
that's close to the span
allotted to man
almost the end of the line

that bartender's odd
says he talks with God
I ain't the one to say no
he's gonna run out of breath
always talking of death
who'll be the first one to go

sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
I really don't see me
changing their way
sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
they'll all disappear
a year from today

there's old high i.q. morris
with dumbo dolores
who married five decades back
hear 'em argue and rage
in the Final Page
who'll be the first one to cack

slick charley the thumb
just a pool hall bum
plays 8 ball last pocket bank
while allison brown
her face falling down
drunk on the one drink she drank

sweet frankie the fag
a transvestite drag
wants to wear old women's clothes
while sugar-tree marge
three hundred pounds large
lusts for a nudist she knows

kind counselor cohen
sells grave marker stone
call him memorial man
he's in that bar
'cause the customers are
buying his lay-away plan

sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
I really don't see me
changing their way
sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
they'll all disappear
a year from today

hear 'em laughing loud
this motley old crowd
bartender's soon gonna close
they know all about
the time running out
couldn't care less I suppose

right after they fade
arrangements are made
go to the place next door
a place where you'll find
no one's left behind
a bar called forever more

sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
I really don't see me
changing their way
sure as day becomes night
and night becomes day
they'll all disappear
a year from today



11. INCHOATE BLUES - 7:19
(8 rear view mirrors)
music by Manfredo Fest and Pat Ferreri

eight rearview mirrors
inside my brain
bothered by something
let me explain
inner distortions
magnified fears
echoing image
stare with your ears
funny how strangely
time alters views
just the beginning
inchoate blues

go behind shadow
dig into dark
flash me some insight
you got the spark
touch the big winner
don't kiss a fool
go get a wise man
just out of school
proudly so humble
pour some more booze
listen to me now
inchoate blues

deep in the buzz bag
time stretches out
tell me what were we
laughing about
must've just happened
decades ago
maybe this highness
is suffering slow
what was I saying
ain't paid what dues
pretty good stuff this
inchoate blues

say me your poem
unstring those pearls
boys of big business
homebody girls
find me the takers
look what they took
wonder do fish feel
snowflake or hook
rainbow of pieces
fragmented hues
jigsaw of changes
inchoate blues

tearducts are clogged up
cheeks have gone dry
eyeballs are hurting
wish I could cry
crying won't help much
eyelids get red
tongue keeps on saying
stuff that's been said
story of endless
left us no clues
only the lonely
inchoate blues

maybe I've done it
made myself clear
really don't think so
not even near
could be the trouble
is all in the mind
imagine a seeker
partially blind
eight rearview mirrors
seven plus one
my inchoate blues
will never be done



12. SMELTS - 0:42
(careful, careful)
music by Ken Nordine

below the light
in the black lake
the mad smelts run
the wet net waits
be careful
little smelts



13. SCRATCH - 2:53
(for my dog and me)
music by Ken Nordine

scratch you old devil
I swear you can talk
go get your necktie
it's time for your walk
where will you take me
guess god only knows
somewhere inside of
where yesterday goes
we're both getting closer
the farther we go
deep in the shallow
of what do we know
feels like forever
this instant we're in
must be right next to
where endings begin
we go where we go
again and again
and nobody knows
the where of our when
sort of a secret
instinctively shared
that I'm telling you
thought maybe you cared
it's only a walk
a short one at that
that scratch and I take
who knows where we're at
he and his sniffing
and me and my rhyme
walking the edges
of where goes the time
angel or demon
come fly by my side
take me wherever
my naked can hide
come see the wind blow
the falling-down leaf
take me where laughter
is louder than grief
scratch you old devil
I swear you can talk
go get your necktie
it's time for your walk
where will you take me
guess god only knows
somewhere inside of
where yesterday goes



Copyright 1979 Ken Nordine wordjazz.com






Silly silly silly me

writing songs

your ears can see,

songs they are

more said than sung,

talking songs

for solo tongue.

Some are sad and

some are not,

some could make you

laugh a lot,

all were written

by my pen,

call me Nordine

comma Ken.

Seems only a dream or so ago (who knows when anything begins?) that whatever it is that's inside this was just a vague something somewhere deep asleep in my slowpoke lazybones head. Now here it is! Finished at last! STARE WITH YOUR EARS. All wideawake and out! As you listen if you do, you'll be watching not only my ambivalent vibrations but also the very special oscillations of a small crowd of very special people without whose help I wouldn't have been able to put this hi how are you together. Like to thank the different ones who helped; here they are in alphabetical disorder: starting with PAT FERRERI (thanks for your right-with-the-words arrangements and virtuoso guitar and avatar); MANFREDO FEST (thanks for your extraordinary sensitivity on the keyboards); KRISTAN VAUGHAN (my middle son who wrote three of the musics and played guitar); THOMAS KINI & DOUG MAZIQUE (bass); DON SIMMONS & TOM RADTKE (drums and percussion); PETER "madcat" RUTH (harmonica); ED DRUZINSKY (harpist); ODEL BROWN (organ); RON KIRK (guitar); ALEJO POVEA (percussion); BONNIE HERMAN & BOB BOWKER (vocal choruses); also KITTY HAYWOOD (vocals); ED REHM (dedicated recording and mixing engineer); DISKWERKS (mastering); JIM DOWLEN (front cover art); RON CROCI (inside and back cover art); CHRIS BLUM (for being his helpful artistic self); MARCIA BERNSTEN (graphic design layout); my son KEN JR. (for keeping after me to get the album out) and a very special thanks with love to BERYL (my wife) for her patience and sweet understanding. And of course, one of the biggest thanks to YOU (whoever you are) now reading this. My hope is that you'll like what's what inside... and tell your friend. Thanks again,

Ken Nordine

more rsm nordine coming soon...