Selected Songpoems 2016

by Unwoman

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about

Periodically, I fund an album via kickstarter, and offer some version of this special custom reward: a song made with lyrics a backer wrote (or a public domain poem, or a poem by a friend of the backer.) This is one of my favorite things to do, and I wanted to share some examples of these I've made over the years.

The price for songpoems has ranged from $70 (for a rough demo done practically spontaneously) and $325 for a fully-produced song with complete instrumentation including cello.

There's a great documentary on the history of songpoems, called Off the Charts, if you want to know more about this history. Unlike the hucksters who sold people on their services back in the day, however, I will promise you that the song I make will NOT be a hit!

I am currently running a kickstarter with an affordable and somewhat polished option at $150 -- www.kickstarter.com/projects/unwoman/uncovered-volume-3-more-cello-rich-cover-songs-fro -- but if the kickstarter is over or I've run out of those rewards, feel free to email me at songpoems@unmediated.net to talk about ordering a custom song.

This compilation is a group of songs I thought showed the range of styles I can cover, that I feel work well enough as a cohesive album. These songs are mostly the fully-produced level, but at least one is a mid-level song like what you would get for $150.

credits

released June 6, 2016

Words by various poets and backers. Music by Unwoman. Cover image is Titania and Bottom by Henry Fuseli (public domain).

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about

Unwoman San Francisco

Unwoman is a San Francisco-based cellist-singer-songwriter. Layered with skillful cello, rich vocals, and electronically arranged beats, her solo music is a futuristic homage to her classical training. Unwoman has been featured at steampunk, goth, and sci-fi-related events all over North America and has performed with Abney Park, Rasputina, Voltaire, Amanda Palmer, Stripmall Architecture... ... more

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Track Name: Hearts
Women on the walls,
women in novels—freeze me
kissing fabric, freeze me among flowers
that are not in season.
You trace my spine and tell me
that this is what it would be like
to have the Nile running through my blood;
you look me in the eye and say
that my veins are the remnants
of great civilizations
flooded by angry gods.

My collarbone is at odds with your lips, and I’ve
had total war raged on my hips, and I’ve
read plenty of books about love,
but none of them ended like this:
the hollow of my throat pillaged and bruised,
a hundred thousand skin cells lost
to the greater good, a city of romantics subdued
in their little homes of shattered bone,
and crescent moon scars that wax and wane
in hot water—

Women who drink hot water
to feel the weight of warmth
on the first morning of the third winter;
sometimes I play a game from the window seat:
how many passerby
show signs of having cried,
and bowing their heads
try not to take the storm personally.
The East Coast
is no permanent address
for lovers craving boiling blood.

Think of all the things that have hearts
but don’t cry;
think of all the things that have hearts
that yield to knives;
think of all the things
that don’t attribute worlds
to their hearts.
Think of all the things that have hearts
and go their whole lives
without even knowing it.
Track Name: Winter's Vanity
Lying still on the back gray
Fallen from the now slide
Hold thumb to give signal
Nothing here but out of focus

Followed this trail to middle stop
Flipping, stumbling over upwards
Now stand in certain nothing
Forgotten in Winter’s vanity

Treading lone in the bitter
In search of a shut it low
No sight of kindle anywhere
With you, the ember’s stolen

At front door, the arrival
To this novel vacancy
No welcome for the modest
In this land of the solemn

Followed this trail to end stop
Cursing, blackened on-wards
Fallen into certain nothing
Still forgotten in Winter’s vanity
Track Name: Explained
Elizabeth Ann
Said to her Nan:
"Please will you tell me how God began?
Somebody must have made Him. So
Who could it be, 'cos I want to know?"
And Nurse said, "Well!"
And Ann said, "Well?"
I know you know, and I wish you'd tell."
And Nurse took pins from her mouth, and said,
"Now then, darling, it's time for bed."

Elizabeth Ann
Had a wonderful plan:
She would run round the world till she found a man
Who knew exactly how God began.

She got up early, she dressed, and ran
Trying to find an Important Man.
She ran to London and knocked at the door
Of the Lord High Doodlelum's coach-and-four.
"Please, sir (if there's anyone in),
However-and-ever did God begin?"

The Lord High Doodlelum lay in bed,
But out of the window, large and red,
Came the Lord High Coachman's face instead,
And the Lord High Coachman laughed and said:
"Well, what put that in your quaint little head?"

Elizabeth Ann went home again
And took from the ottoman Jennifer Jane.
"Jenniferjane," said Elizabeth Ann,
"Tell me at once how God began."
And Jane, who didn't much care for speaking,
Replied in her usual way by squeaking.

What did it mean?  Well, to be quite candid,
I don't know, but Elizabeth Ann did.
Elizabeth Ann said softly, "Oh!
Thank you, Jennifer.  Now I know."
Track Name: The Stolen Child
Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.
Track Name: Switch Off
day in and day out

day in and day out
loser of self
loser of hope
loser at life
day in and day out
day in and day out

Your self-indulgence bans my self-awareness of the real me
I’m chained up inside, I’ve nowhere to hide from your brutality
Nothing’s ever good enough for you
So I’m never good enough for me
Though I know this can’t be true, this can’t be true

day in and day out

day in and day out
loser of self
loser of hope
loser at life
day in and day out
day in and day out

I hate that I am hateful
I despise being spiteful
This shouldn’t be me, no,
this person I’ve turned out to be
I recall younger days
I recall a sweeter self
Where did she go
Who would she be now
God I miss her so much

Shall I cut myself too deep
Should I fall away from the edge
Will I step into deep water
Does it really matter
You watch me every day, slowly digging my grave
As long as you get what you want that’s all that matters

day in and day out

loser of self
loser of hope
losing my life
Track Name: Heaven
Let us sleep while there‘s still time
Then we may find what‘s in the deep
Where down and dark the serpents wind
Around a line I cannot keep

And let us wonder through the day
Which words will play and which will ponder
´Til there will yonder come the May
When every play is torn asunder

Then let us seek the lady fair
Whose darkened hair flows down her cheek
And she may speak of things not there
Of things that were upon the peak

Then let us leave with higher hopes
Ride down the slopes of toil and grief
And disbelief the liars gropes
And tyrant‘s quotes of quick relief

And never glow at what might reach her
Or beseech what woe she hid
For I‘m a poet, not a preacher
Or a teacher that might know it

Just give me peace so I can cry
Bury the miles beneath a tree
While on the breeze the willows fly
And scenes rush by that stop to breathe

And while we sleep, let‘s take the time
To see what‘s mine beneath this heap
Some coffeehouse where poets rhyme
Where turrets climb and angels weep
Track Name: Iso-trinsic Value
Haunting myself through memories,
killing my potential with doubt...
News of my fathers passing;
one whom I'd be dead without.

I had dug this depressed pit,
and escaping alone seemed undue...
But after confronting grief,
I was shown this far from true.

Nirvana how I suffered...

"Always the bridesmaid",
"Living on a prayer";
If I never lived again,
would anyone ever care?

She asked me out, knew me not
from across the counter...
She brought me one step closer,
just from the encounter.

She showed me how to live
and brought me from my shell...
Pushing her away one day-
I sent myself to hell.

Nirvana how I searched...

"Always the bridesmaid",
"Living on a prayer";
Living in my past mistakes,
like living life, body lay bare.

Can one begin to love too much?
I of all should know...
Just helping everyone every-time,
and everywhere I go.

A marriage of ideals:
pacifist, yet protector...
Yet always when I try,
no better than the objector.

Nirvana how I've fought...

"Always the bridesmaid",
"Living on a prayer";
Can I even marry,
among piercing cold stares?

In our pursuit of global truths,
we'll face falsehoods self-made...
All it takes is the right someone
to see through our charade.

Is an apology too late?
She showed me truth, so I should...
What truth do I see?
One differing than you could.

Shelby how you've saved...
Me...
Track Name: Until
You’re having self doubts again
Feelings crushing you deep down inside
You are a master of disguise
If the world only knew the pain you’re going through

I will be here for you and hold you, until
Your clouded thoughts go away, until
You can breathe again, until
You smile from within, until
My love for you ends, but it will never end

You don’t have to lie to me
I’m not blind I can see
The hurt in your eyes
I don’t know what else I can do
To make things better for you

Just remember I will be here for you and hold you, until
Your clouded thoughts go away, until
You can breathe again, until
You smile from within, until
My love for you ends, but it will never end

You learned that life wasn’t going to play fair
It hit hard bruising your heart and soul
I wish I could’ve been your shield
And prevented you from shedding those tears

I will be here for you and hold you, until
Your clouded thoughts go away, until
You can breathe again, until
You smile from within, until
My love for you ends, but it will never end