All These Dotted Lines

by Beverly Stokes

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1.
Solar storms, constellation girl All these dotted lines, where do they lead? Telephone poles walking you home Oh they line the street like sentries and I can’t breathe In the morning you will know me Better than you know me now Campfire coffee in metal mugs All the smoke in the air, behind our teeth Lightning bugs lighting up All the darkness in between us and I can’t breathe In the morning you will know me Better than you know me now All that 3AM madness wasted on sleeping Making up for time lost in the light That thin air country, that shallow breathing Oh that memory that warms like a fire In the morning you will know me Better than you know me now
2.
04:12
The day that I died, the last day of July Been on my haunches all week, just waiting to leap On the time I could sit by you We were Friday and free, had an hour to be happy But I was only there for you, the bar was just an excuse And I bought a drink I didn’t need to spin my head and feel the heat On the day that I died The EKG line went flat When that little girl smiled and you smiled back And I knew I was in trouble, Yeah I heard the ringing start And my body raised the pitch into a shout My little heart she beat til she gave out The final chord rang out all drums and bells and harmony Oh and you and me, the last day of July The day that I died was a Friday night Playing ping pong in the back yard With black flies and PBR At a picnic table making cautious conversation Trying to keep my eyes from staring, trying to keep my hands from shaking And I’d have thrown my cards away to force the hands of time to stay On the day that I died The death sentence came without a word Just that dress and those shoes that you wore Oh I knew I was in trouble Yeah I heard the ringing start And my body raised the pitch into a shout My little heart she beat til she gave out The final chord rang out all drums and bells and harmony Oh and you and me, the last day of July Play Taps for me, bury me at sea I don’t mind, in your hands I’ll rest Play Taps for me, bury me at sea Oh I don’t mind, in your hands I’ll rest in peace In peace
3.
We walked the old pier in Sault Ste Marie, Long after we first met Long after the first dream We walked you dropped a coin in a well Whispering what, what was it I wanted here? Your family stories: your mother marked time, Your father he painted the carousel horses I was a watercolor, you were the stream All the rain in my coat, the stars in their courses I am peeling back the husk I was wrapped in It is taking me years But in time I’ll stand here before you With no shame, and no fear And say what was it I wanted What was it I wanted here? Out on the old pier in Sault Ste Marie, You wore binoculars What did you want to see? I was fishing nearby, you had no idea With all the play in my lines I fashioned a memory
4.
04:26
My mind’s like an A Train barreling for Brooklyn Packed with screaming children and one flickering light I keep on my headphones, turn em up too loud And look all around for something, or someone, to quiet me down I should’ve known better than to live in the city My heart beats too fast as it is already Gonna put down my roots in a town surrounded by hills of blue And stop writing songs about you I won’t stay out past midnight, take a crack at the good life Instead of careening down the boulevard like a loose cannonball Spend most of my time staring out this window Waiting and watching to see anything new But that black walnut tree will know just what I’m thinking And granted the power I’m sure he’d be winking and saying It’s gonna take much more than a change of view To stop writing songs about you Gonna build me a table, invite strangers to dinner And over long conversation, and good wine, I’ll make me some friends We’ll talk about traveling, the weather and women And maybe the minefields of past lives will come up once in a while Some of them will tell me to run to the Bible, Others will tell me to run straight for the Bottle The wisest among em contend that Time, alone, will do Yeah they say that some day, it’s true I’m gonna stop writing songs about you
5.
05:20
Cold black building of glittering steel Do you know how you’re making me feel? Cigarette ash, red highheels Do you know how you’re making me feel? Come a little closer, show me your teeth Stand where I can see you or get the hell away from me Do you wanna draw blood do you wanna play sneak attack Well I’m down to fool around but you should know baby I bite back Shooting them smiles like a batting machine Do you know what you’re doing to me? Throwing them curves behind the scenes Do you know what you’re doing to me? Come a little closer, show me your teeth Stand where I can see you or get the hell away from me Do you wanna draw blood do you wanna play sneak attack Well I’m down to fool around but you should know baby I bite back Just a fly in your web but you know I’m not anymore Just a card in your hand but you know I’m not anymore Just a pawn in your game but you know I’m not anymore Just a puppet in your play but you know I’m not anymore Go ahead and run away Yeah I’ll cross your mind someday Go ahead and run away from me I’ll do plenty with your memory Come a little closer, show me your teeth Stand where I can see you or get the hell away from me Do you wanna draw blood do you wanna play sneak attack Well I’m down to fool around but you should know baby I bite back Cold black building, but I bite back Shooting them smiles, but I bite back Just a fly in your web but you know I bite back Just a fly in your web but you know
6.
I've been sweeping up the corners of my heart, Hanging paper lanterns in the dark Lining all my sets of Russian Dolls in a row for you to open up, if you want I've been running my hands over personal histories Scars like pins on a map, bee stings, scraped knees And a long straight line of a surgical knife Do you have anything to show me? You played all the strings with your thumb Singing imperfect harmony at a hum But the light around you is dancing with 24 karat dust You can do no wrong And some holographic version of you Is the only one listening to these rivers of speech in my head running rapids and chutes through my bed, With a current that bears for the sea, Sped on by the wondering of do you wanna know how I take my coffee? Because I've been piecing together the shards of my good luck And letting the sun in where most of the windows were stuck The doctors say my heart pumps too much blood I think it's ruined me for normal love You played all the strings with your thumb Singing imperfect harmony at a hum But the light around you is dancing with 24 karat dust You can do anything that you want You can do no wrong.
7.
03:46
Still kicking around this shoebox town There’re shops I don’t go in much anymore Like flowers pressed in a book Open once a year to look then put em back up on a shelf I showed up with my suitcase And woke up six years later after a heavy rain And I found that the terrain, The whole geography had changed and I had too Razor wire memories, they know just where to cut. I don’t need any enemies, I hurt myself enough Why remember Why remember at all I was just some Rodeo Looking at that bull with lover’s eyes At 20 years she let me ride Oh and bucked me to the side eight seconds later. Not much left from those years, Just a pair of spurs that never seemed to work And that necklace that was hers, That for years I wore, I think it’s around here somewhere A silver star belt buckle and a turquoise ring Who knew I’d be brought to my knees by such a little thing Why remember, Oh I remember Why remember, remember it all Time ever brings me forward Just a pilgrim searching for an honest wage And though that bronco had me down There’s still a little fight in this old town, I think I’ll stay But the flowers picked for every girl Who came and went still rope me to the ground Johnny Jump Ups, Hollyhocks, Bleeding Hearts, Forget-Me-Nots how I recall The fields where they were gathered and the freshness of the blooms Their fragrance should be long gone but I’m drunk on their perfume Why remember, Oh I remember Why remember, Oh I remember Why remember they know just where to cut Why remember I hurt myself enough Why remember, remember at all
8.
05:22
Electrify me, take me home where I belong I’ve got all the bells and whistles, plug me in and turn me on Electrify me with all the dance you do My body’s just a wire you can run your current through And ooh, do you see that light? Oh, baby I burn bright Yeah, fire in the sky Oh my my Electrify me, blast me into smithereens Light a match and drop it here on this smear of gasoline Electrify me, wheel that flamethrower around I’ll be your midnight fire alarm reduced to ashes on the ground And ooh, do you see that light? Oh, baby I burn bright Yeah, fire in the sky Oh my my We’re all electrified Do you burn for me like I burn for you?
9.
04:48
Caroline, she's shining like a jewel and sun in the afternoon is her finest gown Greyhound line, she knows that I'm almost home there's a lightning-struck sycamore at the edge of the town and I'm longing for nothing and everything at once and the road bends like a question that answers itself with small towns and big churches I can see their steeples rising just over the ridge and no matter what I happen to believe in sometimes the wheels on the road ring just like a hymn Now I've been running on gas station coffee Just another vacancy light on a road motel and the cars they fill me up but no one ever turns me off and then I've got an empty lot and no one turns me on and I'm wishing on nothing and everything at once somewhere between what am I doing and oh God, what have I done the road, it reaches up like an outstretched hand that fills itself every 20 miles with a sweetcorn stand and a small town with big churches I can see their steeples rising just over the ridge and no matter what I may happen to be believing some days the wheels on the road ring just like a hymn

credits

released May 10, 2016

All songs written by Beverly Stokes, BMI Music

Beverly Stokes -vocals, acoustic guitars
Brooks Miner - piano, electric piano, organ
Jeremy Chatzky - electric and upright bass
Michael Hunter - drums and percussion
Hank Roberts - cello on 1, 3, 5, and 6
Joe Novelli - astral slide guitar on 4 and 7
Anna Coogan - backing vocals on tracks 2, 7, 8, and 9
Mary Lorson - backing vocals on tracks 2 and 8
JD Foster - backing vocals on track 1

Produced by Anna Coogan
Engineered and mixed by Rich Bennett at Acme Hall Studios in Brooklyn, NY
Additional Engineering by:
Matthew Saccuccimorano at Marshall St Studios in Ithaca, NY
Brian Dozoretz at Ithaca College School of Music in Ithaca, NY
Additional mixing by Matthew Saccuccimorano at Scaramanga Industries in Ithaca, NY
Mastered by Matthew Saccuccimorano at Scaramanga Industries
Production and Packaging by Pat Burke
Artwork and Graphic Design by Mickie Quinn

Astronomy Plate image from the 1728 Cyclopaedia

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Beverly Stokes Ithaca, New York

A singer-songwriter with roots in the classical tradition, Beverly writes songs that embody "an extraordinary mixture of poetry and observation, a gentle lyricism that seems to arise simply, organically from [their] experience and observation."

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