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The Funeral of the Siren

by Joshua McCormack

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give 'em all a million, give 'em sixteen cents give me two back-slidden Castilians, give 'em their dissent cause the gavel's gotta fall, the rabble in a constant brawl can't hear the fallen angels lament it's a tall order to win a big to do down below when you come back to sin a tall order to win some go out in blindfolds, some go out in bangs some are bullet-ridden centerfolds, some just get to hang it's just that someone's gotta burn, these someones they just never learn about all the fallen soldiers who sang it's a tall order to win devil's counting all your footsteps, every hair on your chin a tall order to win it's a tall order to win you'll never see your wailing shadow when you're caught in a tailspin a tall order to win it's a tall order to win ya gotta learn just when to put on a semi-automatic grin
wish I was a bad, bad street-fightin' man bustin' skulls and changing minds my hands are strong enough to break down your will my rage is all in a bind my killer instinct done gone killed itself ten-ton critter found the end of it's line put 'em up, put 'em down dreamt I was a bad, bad street fightin' man 'fraid of no one on the block firearms are useless and your cigarettes won't kill laws and locks forever mocked my aim is matchless and I'm loaded with shells vision pierces solid rock put 'em up, put 'em down well, you're likely and liable to feast upon your rival you never bring a whimper to a screaming match don't cry at every other bit of sad, sad film you'll always be a violent young tough gap grinned boy gonna learn to hit! metal mouth boy gonna learn to hit! sad hair boy gonna learn to hit! jesus boy gonna learn to hit! math whiz boy gonna learn to hit! naive boy gonna learn to hit! sentimental boy gonna learn to hit! beautiful boy gonna learn to hit! soon I'll be a bad, bad street-fightin' man throwin' all my weight around I clobbered Maximillian and Buddy Revell those seven samurai just skipped town so tell all your children a fairy tale street-fightin' man blow your house down and I'll puff and I'll puff, puff, puff, puff blow 'em down
well, a shoot-out coming, a countdown running hawks clutch erections at the slightest mention of high-noon showdowns in pre-emptive ghost towns the wives and kids get dressed for the final round of a swingin' revival, a benchmark in denial a party to touch the gods a never-ending rotation of the cream of the nations six cowboys nod and set to ride one's got the guns, one's got the numbers one's got the sun dead between the eyes one seeks perfection, one needs directions one's got a hunger for infant cries and the big night has come to the phantoms and the wheeler-dealer shakers, moonrakers conniving corner bakers dressed for success and debonair as hell to the nines and beyond! well, I fear that that five percent ain't faired so well invitations lost in the post so a toast to the tiniest tittle of corporeality of this phantom persecution we feel well, that's a catch-22, a catch-22 a prison cell for the meaning of life it's like a mega-ton bomb dropped on the head of the land mine next to your beautiful wife as the ballroom fills up with costume jewelry, costumed foolery poison-tipped lothario serves strawberries to the tidiest of maidens ending inflated warranties they've been to london, been to france found the means to finance nuclear plants and it's alright if they don't mean a thing that they say because every time I look around it's hellbound, hellbound so turn off the lights and turn up the sound shake, shake, shake it down buckets full of virgins, barrows full of diamonds everything in heaven is free to a public dull and cruel force-fed on common gruel the tap dance turned to a blind stampede it's sunday bloody sunday, hallelujah monday peace be upon us all as the chaff burns inside the furnace of the mind is this your first dance at the ball I see a negative reaction in the fabrics of the crowd so send a message to the man with two heads in his hands you let him know this violence ain't allowed til it's time time to begin that brawl, time to follow great satan's lead as the ballroom floor becomes a butchering shore the right to die becomes a need so spin, spin, spin around the common homemaker make 'em feel the end of the world you ball 'em up inside your empty bottom line it's prayers for peace and death for pearls give 'em an answer, dastards and dancers bring 'em orgasms tonight enemies intrude, everybody's nude everybody chooses to fuck or fight and it's alright if they don't mean a thing that they say because every time I look around it's hellbound, hellbound so turn off the lights and turn up the sound shake, shake, shake it down as your idle classes aim their flaccid arrows over fashionable distractions go on, save that cat and mouse holy gospel of inaction all the martyrs and pornographers, both must be naked before this throne for one it's degrading business, for the other it just feels like home as the champagne flows over history's hump bump the meter to the red bring your scepters and sigils and soldiers kick your heels in the land of the dead while mahmoud spins the records, johnny hagar spits the curse of the lord the margarita leading the damned to dance for the madness of king george so mightn't there've could've been a dire situation? a glorious conflagration with dissension in the ranks when the men in the wigs meet the men on the plank crying atticus, atticus, spare me a square could you spare me some time? can you lock me in the bank until the ballroom combusts? until the canvas is blank? send a note, send a letter, just tell me who to thank for the mercy, the mercy, the truth that won't hurt me the feeling that I might survive this hell as the spell of the night is swept up inside the great vacuum in the sky the cowboys round up everyone who knew the man on the grassy knoll the fireplace gives a warm welcome back to every decrepit soul they take it in stride, burn 'em alive they suffer just the same as you and I they dressed up opinion as a jester of wisdom today's a lovely day to pay that price and it's alright to ignore everything that they say because every time I look around it's hellbound, hellbound so turn off the lights and turn up the sound shake, shake, shake it down
Mary England 06:39
Mary England rips the petals from the rose reorganizes all the clothes she owns by color, size, and now by sentimental value whips the kettle from the stove steeps her tea, enflames a black-rolled clove they'll come in droves to gave upon her latest breakthrough Mary England lines a box with plastic bags wheels it carefully and tries not to drag it through the rocks in socks as thin as Bible pages douses it in kerosene, flicks a cigarette and sips her chun mee green hums a tune she hasn't hummed in ages take a look at my face, think it tastes like honey? a murderess is a hard case, but they'll never take me alive Mary England once was positively sane once was privy to the finest champagne was she smiling then? well, certainly and absolutely now she's smiling once again another letter slithering from her pen gives the hows, the whos, the whys, the wheres and whens do you remember, we used to grind our words together? there's no more speaking in well-mannered tones vultures picking at the bones of every word now just a widowed valentine another wish to be so much older and so much more refined they come in and they swallow death think it tastes like honey cause I was born just like all the rest but they'll never take me alive cause they'll never realize it's been a bad year for love been such a bad year for love the sweet, supple scent of your breath I can taste you, honey I'll find you after my death cause they'll never take me alive Mary England prone to moods, she feuds alone pink monogram of a lover she'd known she weeps a bit and spits on the embroidery two by fours to line the door hammers with a femur all the way from header to floor keeping out the stink of the charcuterie but every moan, creak, crack and ghost groan lumbers through the air of halls that reak of rose water cologne she's crumbling and feeble only wishing for a little truth to cradle in her slumber cause when the number of the beast sounds sweeter than the name upon the sheets and the name of the deceased needled on the shoulder blade of Mary England and the darkness sits down and it's out damned spot the darkness holds and it's out damned spot the darkness folds and it's out, it's out damned spot
The Wilds 03:12
the king was drenched upon his throne staring at the moments counting down for you soldiers scaled the outer walls swarmed on unlit gardens he takes the blade for you we pass the wrecks of debutantes the refuse of the mansions their servants smile for you dam the river flowing wild we're flooding out the catacombs tonight but all the wilds, they never stop these words are my last defense for you keeps his head above the line carries you forever the heart that lives for you
The Line 06:27
little boys on strings never mean a thing faded celluloid of a dream left out of scene where was I when you fell flat on your pretty face? rehearsing my final beguine, such a grim routine which way do I turn? I've been talking to the wrong people with nothing more than nightmares in their plans the streets became trash collections full of sinister souls while I was trying to grow into a man a blanket over my head while I'm learning to smile without a sound it takes more than a bit of time to see a little further down the line it's hard to defend what you intend I still remember when you felt like a friend where was I when you became so very commonplace swallowed every word back then, but never again which way did you go? I've been questioning the wrong people they spin the rumors all around the town their faces were bribes words are spun out clinging on to loopholes the cold, hard truth was warm and watered down I crawl on top of the dead and crane my neck to define the world around it takes more than a hill to climb to see a little further down the line across from my chair the walls are bare body's becoming more impaired but I don't care where was I when you dressed up in shambles and lace? she drapes herself in all her affairs, which are far from rare which way do you burn? likely for all the wrong people pockets lined with diamonds and with gold I'll sit around those dancing dollars while the liquor flows everything for sale has just been sole but I'll drink to your health cause I'm fearing that mine won't last another round it takes more than a bitter wine to see a little further down the line
perplexed lady miss shipwreck finally laid to rest a native ritual a parable a hunter's soft caress all these maritime vanishings get pinned on the one who dared to sing in the sun teenage boys that fell in her trance made her lies into a dance can you feel the words of the songs you never heard? at the funeral of the siren nobody dared to sing pandemonium possessed a natural woman's face an elegant silence a vulgar modern age her last known portrait lost in the maelstrom between hope and holcaust onlookers armed black suits and pride feign respect while they laugh inside bury her mystique her ashes to the sea at the funeral of the siren as the throng trickles on that scene her death rattle turns melody madness takes its form a shudder, then a storm at the funeral of the siren miles beyond the screams two lovers touch their dreams at the funeral of the siren nobody dared to sing
love grand science of man trips and it falls passes by again but you've sketched out alternate plans alchemical doctor the madness spins in your head when you sew a few stitches and pull a few switches you're bound to raise up the dead who are you now? chambers are empty you let the monster out to strangle all the loose ends you've seen these rooms a thousand times but they've never been so still the quiet that kills is likely to strike again maybe she knows? wounds of a giant take years to close seconds to open with fists as hard as steel you try to wage a witless war the bones that you break are yours and yours alone to your overlooks and parapets from your spies down on the streets one by one a tidy sum crying out "kill the beast" it's cause and effect you start a riot just to see a wreck in love with every victim your eyes are devil's embers but your heart laughs like a child the terrors of the wild call the monster home and your unhealthy obsessions illusions built for fools and every coerced confession plead ignorance of the rules stop cradling the creature take hold of your lover stop tearing your secrets in two cause the whole town will rise up and burn down your tower in aims to kill off the beast in you love holds you close again but then you dig in deeper and deeper and deeper in your fiery end and you're staring at those cobbled walls watching them burn crumble and fall she turns and sees right through you don't ever let her go walk through that door alone as your tower of soul turns into a pillar of bone
a dashed hope contains a face with thoughts a bit familiar a world implodes without restraint a simple world from boy to girl moods fall by the wayside drown 'em in a fountain that ends at ten a once thriving clone factory it's a desolate parking lot now retired president hands in his keys a single word to boy from girl made him into genius fell right onto his head somehow neverending plans of men bereft of dignity a sentence passed down is never enough for a boy and girl of words it doesn't seem to matter it just floats into the air and dies
hey! come down from heaven I just want to feel you like I did before hey! I've been too close again and falling from your hands has been the nightmare I pretended to ignore me? I'm just an earthquake waiting for the time to shake it in reply me? I'm just an airbrake I'd stop these processes to take your hand turn the scream into a sigh try and take me down quickly I don't want to wait around and wonder why I was easy and naive but now my hardened shell has been through hell just know you'll never make me cry


Second album from NW Indiana/Chicago based artist Joshua McCormack. Combines a love for Beatlesque pop, Buckley-esque vocals, and Waits-like instrumentation.


released August 15, 2008

Jay Will - most drums
Lauren McCormack - glass bottles, handclaps, and fingersnaps
Eric Morris and Terry Barth - Household orchestra on The Line
Joshua McCormack - all other instruments and vocals

Cover photography by Lauren McCormack
Cover design and liner notes by Will E Fizz


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Joshua McCormack Tucson, Arizona

From the odd acoustic pop of Joshua Mccormack Presents Holiday Girl , to the electronic-tinged rock of The Phantom King , to the collection of sonic oddities on The Dunce Cap, he’s been restless for years.

His recent album Lights Out 4 Baby Grand, shows a more personal side, while The World, Just For You is a collection of cover songs he recorded to survive the dystopian ambivalence of 2020.
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