Father, Can't You See I'm Burning?

by Novus spero

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"Father, Can't You See I'm Burning" was originally conceived in 2006 and recorded intermittently between 2008 and 2012 in Hemet, CA.


released July 17, 2012

Jesse McMahon - Arrangements, vocals, guitar, keyboards, ocarina, harmonica, lyrics
Jesus Quinn - Guitar solo on "Yellowbirds"
Tornado (rest in peace) - Vocals on "Number Sickness"



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Novus spero San Diego, California

Experimental / indie project formerly based in Hemet, CA, then Flagstaff, AZ, and now in San Diego, CA.

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Track Name: Quantum Singularities Can Be Fun
Just checking might cause
Your keys to be lost
Just looking back
Will make your lover collapse
Stovepipe hat apparitions
Superpositioned on a microscope slide
Age sixteen
A quantum suicide machine
Curiosity killed
The cat in his box
Now he walks through the walls
Made of chaos, he is able and stable and all
There is something sinister
About the innocence the windowpanes declare
Track Name: Yellowbirds
Before there were languages
People were united in the holy moment
The gravity wells of intersecting planes
Of observer consciousness
But I would have taught you names of things
Then you could reveal to me
The name of the boy you liked
The chords you wanted me to play
So you could sing along with them
Sing all about the yellowbirds
Persephone, you never knew my name
And I never walked you home from school
I still try to decipher your drawings
Still struggle to understand
Persephone, I never knew who you were
You could have been a poet
You could have been a scientist
And I would be content that you just exist
Sing of the yellowbirds
Sing to the yellowbirds
In the language of yellowbirds
Track Name: Crown of Flowers
You did everything right
So it hurts to see you suffer so terribly
Was it all sincere?
Or did you feel caged by propriety?
Don’t let your smile
Be flattened by your anxieties
You made everything right
I miss the space that you inhabited
Not the place I’m stuck in now
You drowned the radio
Made this town almost livable
I longed to tell you
But my mouth made nonsense syllables
Sarah, your crown of thorns
Is a crown of flowers
You were everything true
I should have that said I respected you
But I was drunk on a stranger’s couch
You’ll burn your bridges
While everyone quietly burns out
Draw the spear out from your side
Sarah, your crown of thorns
Is a crown of flowers
Sarah, your crown of flowers
Track Name: Morning Glory Wine
Summer was a green and dizzy walk
I made a universe from shades of orange
And children's dialogues
All folded up and occupying space
On complementary sensory planes
If it doesn't make sense at all
Then you didn't miss anything at all
Life is a drunk ferris wheel
Bowing in porcelain prayer
With its head filled with morning glory wine
The Irishman was smiling through red teeth
With fly agarics in his hands he lisped
To love thy fellow man
And then he pressed one on my tongue
And I saw every color glowing all at once
Like I was seeing them for the first time
Some, I really was seeing for the first time
Life's a remote rationale
With its head in the clouds
And its brilliance concealed like morning glory wine
Track Name: Chords for Persephone
Persephone, Persephone
With sparrows nesting in your cavities
How your father longs to see
You playing in a basket made of reeds
Instead of just floating
In a stillborn sea with Christmas wreaths
Persephone, Persephone
With feathers threaded through your ear
How your mother wants you to be
Splashing in a bathtub filled with teeth
Instead of drowning
Under the weight of all her needs
You’ll be lifted up by bright machines
All dressed up in violets and rainbow rings
Our little queen
How we’d love to find you on
our bed
All twisted up in clover leaves
With harp strings made from dewdrop beads
That you play with your teeth
Persephone, come home
Instead of just laying
In a field with rabbits
Serenading you with broken chords
Track Name: Garfieldism
Creeping in from the halogen mist
His alibi is subverted by the door hinges
And the smell of smoke and foreign perfume
Gripping his denim jacket
But tonight his princess sleeps
In another castle
Sunlight is our common enemy
It exposes our sins and the ugly textures
Of the walls that confine us
Despite the distance between us
The dishes stay dirty
The baby clothes stay clean
Our incarceration is measured
By the cadence of leaky faucets
And the leaky veins of second hands
The sheets stay twisted but who can sleep?
When dreams come, they echo the ghost of a girl
Screaming: father, can’t you see I’m burning?
Father, can’t you see I’m burning?
Once there was so much love here
There was too much love
And it all collapsed
A nuclear family that hit critical mass
Track Name: The Astronaut
When I get home the key won’t turn the lock
The tumblers will rattle but none of them will drop
So I’ll stand in the yard like a grandfather clock
With a cracked eroded face telling the wrong time
And two useless hands frozen at my side
Pointing straight down, down, down
That’s where I’m gonna go
Straight down, like my hands already know
When I get home your face will be staring from the window
And though my pictures line the hallway you won’t recognize me
A flicker of déjà vu and back to a flickering TV screen
A 24/7 marathon of static snow
In four years you haven’t missed an episode
Snow coming down, down, down
Like the voices of angels
Sent down relaying messages
In strange distorted languages
They might be telling you the time and place
That you’ll get sent up to the pearly gates
Or telling you you’re god’s mistake
So there’s no use praying for his grace
But you’d never know
Or maybe it’s a transmission
I sent long ago, now scrambled
Saying I love you and I’ll be home soon
But you’d never know
In a house with all the light eclipsed
By curtains, drapes, and plywood sheets
Where the TV makes the only noise
There’s a sealed-off room with dolls and toys
There are scribbled drawings on the fridge
Autographed by a phantom kid
Evidence there once was life
In this drywall corpse with it’s widowed wife
But with the airlock sealed
And radio contact lost
We can only pretend
That we aren’t here at all
Track Name: Being a Scientist Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
Maybe someday they will find a cure
For the thoughts that I have
What I wouldn’t give for a chance
To kill the god that took my little girl away
The porcelain museum
The happy family exhibit
The disowned pictures
Could face upright again
I hope that there’s a heaven
So I can be with you someday
Chasing sparrows through burning fields
And I won’t be afraid
Because, Persey, you made me not afraid to die
I’m not even afraid of hell
Just a little anxious like I’m going to a party
And all my friends are there
Waving me in, saying “come right in”
There will be watercolor flowers
Melting in the heat
Making watercolor patterns
Running across our feet
And now I can see
The light that blinded me
I’m sorry for sinking through the floor
The husband to wife
At the dollhouse grave
We can work this out again
Track Name: The Missing Mass Problem
Would you open up your heart?
Let me walk into your world
And tear it apart
All these pictures on the walls
Of imaginary lives we discard
What I once called love
Was more than likely just
Some chemicals swirling in my brain
Somewhere between the bedroom
And the empty nursery
There expands a muted space
A nothingness that feeds
On the color of our home
And leaves a silent grey
Once I thought I was in love
But it probably was just
Some chemicals racing through my brain
Nature deceives us
Drags us by heartstrings
Drives us to procreate
We failed at even that
We failed at that
And it tore this hole in our home
So now we close our eyes
And drape tarps over the crib
To shield it from dust
Thank God, it’s nothing but
Some chemicals in our brains
So we might confront
Our terror with the submissiveness
Of slaughterhouse lambs