The Phantom King

by Joshua McCormack

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I am the downtown phantom king you are the mystery in song styx trickles from our toes ghosts that find the way back home fill these houses up with tales of preternatural wails the cold of our embrace ghosts that find the way back home we could be translucent on the opaque plain a masterpiece melting in the rain I'm gonna hold ya til death and back again let's shrink to pinhole size let's become unrevised let's take forever for a moment ghosts that find the way back home wisps of nightmare kisses grown up tears fall the terror and the shine in childrens eyes as they watch the moon rise every night I feel a smile all the time whether we both come back as cats or a fish and bird in love or the sound that shapes the fear ghosts that find the way back home
I'm pleased to meet you but I don't need your name You are my reason for being I've waited my whole damn life for this fleeting chance …just to kill a man I flew my righteous muscles when I can my fingers tickle the cold will of creation I am the savior that bares arms blind beggar of justice rocket launcher of liberty your shift eyes see me waiting for you to pull out that piece I know it's one of you, or maybe two or three but I'm Dirty Harry here and you've never been some mother's child don't blame society or youth I don't need the cause or the root I'm just warming up your grave and there'll be no roses as I spread your ashes into the sky I am the reward for the crime ahh… that's close enough for me close enough to see the whites of your eyes ahh… as I cross your name from the modern murder line as the crowd moves… I wet myself again today they'll know to dub me a hero drown me in kisses crown me an armored saint and if no one makes a move today I'll be back tomorrow to play my vigilante game said you'll never be tamed so I put you down like an animal I see your fatal mistake you sit by and watch as the world dives into the void from a ninth floor window but I'm scanning the crowd for tell-tale signs for cats and birds who step out of line the coins on their eyes change from pennies to dimes the closer you get to the crime ahhh… that's close enough for me close enough to see the whites of your eyes ahhh… as I cross your name from the modern murder line who's lining up to die today cause without the mole there would be no mallet and without the murder there'd be no ballad no, no, no, no sone at all until that trigger goes click...
rode the roller coaster with the devil by my side shook hands as we parted, but he never left my mind started missing that old devil and his love for the obscene I called his name out every night at the crossroads of my dreams the devil found me sleeping in a burned out factory frame said "son I don't recall your face but I never forget a name" he'd changed, that sickly devil, to the villain of the earth at the top of that old stairwell had me questioning my worth i pointed out my winnings, he pointed out my signings I pointed at the sky and said heaven's my only home and as he stood there laughing, hysterically gasping I stood up to his horned frame, I said "it's time for you to go" gonna kick that devil down the stairs make that devil cry all good things eventually make that devil die kick that devil down the stairs make that devil bleed if I told him once, I told him twice to leave
two way mirrors line the paranoia city too much meat and not enough plates when the black hole sucks all the life from your party speak clearly in the mic at the pearly gates fists held high as we face the flood pinch hit mobs throw buckshot stones washed in the water and stained in the blood tower to the sky but you're stripped to the bone galaxy of doom spindle legged star melt into my arms I'm slipping in the dark make me a believer in the words of modern men make me a believe in the hands of fate again I stare at the stars and no one stares back you put your tiny life in my hands oh my god it eats me alive elusive dreamer with the universe unplanned make me a believer in those ghostly words again if he speaks soft to you tell him I miss him like hell I'm hiding underneath my umbrella oh my god it eats me alive
my new bride you wonder what the heavens plan for you do signs align tonight for you when forces from beyond slam matter together collapsing into one the birth of a star is a curious thing the dust clears it's brighter than you've ever seen so hallelu, my baby blue is a new star wise men wandered through the sky for centuries searching for the earth's reprise a world born an unknown form some kind of new experience revolving in the night the birth of a star is a dangerous thing few souls get close enough to see so hallelu, my baby blue is a new star a new life a universe like fantastic voyagers new lands to explore and every night and every day another cosmic miracle this planetary life support the birth of a star is a marvelous thing I never knew until i saw it happening so hallelu, my baby blue is a new star
stranger of the springtime be my only mirror nothing in reverse I'm walking cold and clear in the springtime I was a young man too afraid to die three-foot tall and rising whirlwind in his hair when gravity defies him I try to be right there I don't want to be an old man too afraid to die madman improvising screaming simple songs javelina manners louder than a bomb and I don't want to be an old man too afraid to die half my face and half of hers and double both our moods stubborn boy I love you too much hope you got the news see my true reflection boy in front of me each impatient action curiosity and I grow old I wear my trousers rolled until the day I die
one thousand nights of bitter foreign battles over moonlit lands she walks in the mist and I laugh like I'm home again conquered by a single kiss she moves through my thoughts like an angel with a knife into a war torn life I know that after all the soldiers fall asleep she cracks the walls that hide me from the sea crawl low, sweet boy the killer peddles silence through the shattered air I fall to my knees rain hell in 360 degrees gray skies cry black tears she reaches for my hand over bullet-ridden shores the thickest fog of war I know that after all the guns are snapped in two trenches shift to panoramic views after all the legends have been maed still life captures an angel's serenade but I never thought that you would command the enemy army moment maneuvers cease, I'll sign the jagged line of peace his lover safe in bed, the soldier rests his head on the lunette's edge and waits for it to fall
big fish dig deep tunnel underwater big man pass by let's laugh at the comics that stare at skies for falling change walking on the streets of gold diamonds for rocks plug up the clocks no time in the world little wings take the sky border jumpers the canopy is on fire we're crossing over scythe-like focus lasers melting metal hangman on the moon drops words from his pockets they fill the world like a dandelion blown from a child;s breath impending schemes exploding dreams take over the world little wings take the sky border jumpers the canopy is on fire we're crossing over don't want to fade like fireworks obscured by their own smoke whatever you try I will admire even when it burns little wings take the sky border jumpers the canopy is on fire we're crossing so hop aboard that mystery train border jumpers the engineer lives again we're taking over
with his death sentence haircut he's got some time to bend gets his second glances from the misses on the mend he's an easy operator on abandoned elevators he's a switchboard plaster caster always interviewing natural disasters well, he's paralyzed with motion straddling the ocean trying to make you forget what you just said and spitting out sarcasm in an endless razzem dazzem is it art in the accidental ramblings of the hordes of living dead a world of teenage confusion lording over ruins like a prince with a family portrait smile he sucks the toes of terror addicts more like afterthought than habit if you've had it all you've had it silver platter severed headache style a fantastic mind with chance encounters hoping to find the secrets of the world within your outer orbit your haunted resting place these phantom limbs keep twisting the dreams of peer lachaise he loves you like a bomb a neurotoxin song he is kennedy to ketamine he's every planet in between he's distressed when trying to relax he's stronger than piano wire skips stones on the lake of fire never gonna know him till his horse is busy stomping on your back
my love bullets through the window plotting escape from alcatraz two minds overflow in tandem never wanna leave this bed my love, I'm victim of your gravity wingless in mid-air when I reach terminal velocity will you find me there? my love, posing for the cameras entrance fashionable queens hands held blood-relation minefields I kiss the only girl I need my love, I'm victim of your gravity wingless in mid-air when I reach terminal velocity will you find me there? my love, verbalizing cyclones her words might begin to sting I know they never understand you but it's alright you really seem to get me my love, I'm victim of your gravity wingless in mid-air when I reach terminal velocity will you find me there? a certain type of strange love one false move and everyone is dead
you team up with all-stars but we bought your trademark with bottomless billfolds and fistfuls of power crown the new welfare queen sharpen the guillotine when your dying legs dangle you move like no other she's draining your wishing well do you still believe in magic and where is sweet marie? getting dressed for the party she dances in the tuileries says everything you have belongs to me all the robin armies always trying to co-opt her chemistry she poisons the reservoirs before eating her breakfast in style a figment of your fantasies just laugh at her jokes while she slits your throat in a world of war I want to be uncivilized there's nothing like good old-fashioned war to make you realize her fingers point at lies the truth was in the crime boogeymen in ballroom towers sniping the peasants marie, like a glass doll knocked from my fingertips catapults through the air and waits for collision she creeps in the alleyways makes love to the imbeciles and paperweights she looks up to see the guns are being drawn on the front lawns of a world of war I want to be un-civilized there's nothing like good old-fashioned war to make you realize step into our secret world whole-hearted boys and girls marie thinks so much of you take off your hats and your shoes no one noticed the mad hatter's tea party till madness fell into fashion so have a cigarette marie cause you know where they lead they don't care what you believe hide in our exclusive club like butterflies in paper cups until the match is struck barricades are caving in untouchables chewing your skin multitudes mangle your holy spire why are you smiling while your hair is on fire? in a world of war I want to be uncivilized ain’t no three, four, five ways about it we’re gonna get to the end of the novel these pages burn and your fingers are guilty see history when it’s in syndication I thought you’d won the war, Marie premature effigies collapsing stars looking sweet sucking the lights out your lips spill their shapes marie your showboat eyes fade, Marie the basket meets the blade, Marie
I threw myself into the machine to turn the gears from within I really don't know what separates a false start from a clear win but I can still see the light in the man from the future tied a chain of blankets and sheets from window to street each slips away from the other my story is complete and the ground leans in to give me a good night kiss and I'm back in my room again breadcrumb trail gets eaten by the birds I'm lost deep in the trees I laugh out loud and watch the sun stumble through the leaves as epic men lead epic lives in deep hibernation conquering the castles of their dreams light the sky my firefly the morning is stalking all your midnight friends you never see mother earth sends her sons over unknown waters the man from the future stands up to leave galaxy of doom it isn't very far melt into my arms just let your secrets out mirror of your smile hold me like a child I'm sleeping in the dark
the city without dreams has no place in my head it's leveled instead and all the shop keepers have been executed we leave no regrets the girl of my dreams has a place in my bed watching my breath a combined taste for a violent life space-bending nights let's bend the time back to when we didn't know sex and make love til we never forget rewrite the stories that are only folk tales my memory fails let's sing of love in a world built for death that one hollow breath tear off my clothes like a curious child the wolves of the wild lull me to sleep throw yourself from the shroud I dream aloud


The Phantom King shows Joshua McCormack embracing a combination of acoustic and electronic sounds to showcase a slightly more straightforward style than found on previous releases. Of course, songs like Devil Killin' Blues and Man From the Future still feature his experimental pop style, while I was a teenage confusor sees him dabbling in post-hardcore sounds.


released April 3, 2012


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Joshua McCormack Tucson, Arizona

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