Impossible Bodies

by Faith Eliott

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1.
Carl Sagan Cosmos Song Today I couldn’t leave my bed because I felt so anxious I watched 6 hours in a row of Carl Sagan's ‘Cosmos’ and I guess it helps a little bit to put things in perspective and think about how the universe is so complex and infinite. So I made myself a poster of geologic time and I put it on my wall so I could try to memorise the names of all the eons, eras, periods and epochs like Hadean, Oligocene, Jurassic and Cretaceous So when I’m overwhelmed or too absorbed by my own ego, I’ll remember that the earth is over 4 billion years old and in that time it’s seen so many drastic transformations from meteor bombardment to five mass extinctions. And every organism that’s ever lived and died has had to fight tirelessly in it’s endeavour to survive each minute protozoa and mutant camelid fungus as tall as skyscrapers and color changing squid So if I was a tetrapod on some late Devonian shore would I cry my little tears of slime for lack of something more than legs to walk and eyes to see, would I dream of wings or antlers? and spend my days hating myself for not evolving faster? An eternity is all very well but you still haven’t called me in three months now... and maybe when this all is said and done I could transcend the laws of space and time 'til we're just drops in a blameless ocean. and I would see it all so clear in flawless high definition! the swirling shapes and contours of this whole situation! the struggles and the triumphs would all make perfect sense, and I would stand back and wonder at it’s beauty from a distance
2.
Loomis 04:19
Loomis Loomis, you were the oldest flesh at first we didn’t know what to name you animal or plant. you stored ancient sunlight in your body and brittle stars clung to your chest it was 500 million years ago that you first broke from the sand. Do you still dream of how it was back then? the water hot and thick with phosphorescence. are you still waiting on that ordovician moon to rise? and do you tremble with the thought of it? I know the world has changed before and it will change again cause here on land... we’ve all got big plans. And soon all those technicolour arms that hold you will be a mass of white scar tissue at the bottom of the world. It won’t be long now until where the dust blows through these hills, a new shining sea will form once more.
3.
Grouper 04:03
Grouper Lately you say you take comfort in these corridors Where it is cool and lit like a jewellery store Tropical fish gleam like painted gargoyles propelled by unknowable forces in their mercury hearts So we drift through these rooms as if deep in a dream transfixed by the effortlessness of absurdity and in praising the grace of these impossible bodies, somehow we too becomes guiltless and free Until stumbling back outside to blink in the sunlight confronted once more with the shapes of our lives you cry on a park bench as strangers pass by and even though I feel hopeless I tell you it’ll all be all right. And when the aquarium coaxes you back again with it’s pearly lights, with it’s living lanterns you’ll be safe for a while from the things that your friends say and the thunder in your chest might drain away. Though somedays I fear I’ll return to find you still there taking refuge in a miniature shipwreck feeding on bloodworm, your skin a colourless gauze on your skeleton as the coral binds your ankles and wrists and the minnows cling to your greening eyelids and squinting through that blue mist you’re say “whose there? who is it?” And I won’t have the courage to wrench you out of the water to gasp and contort on the tiled floor if that’s what it means for you to live in the world.
4.
Lilith 03:57
Lilith There’s a reptile petting zoo just off the city bypass it’s a simulated jungle in a greenhouse of plate glass where the heat curdles the smell of rotting fruit and deodorant as the visitors press up against the rows of tanks Just past the nocturnal house and the terrapins there’s the python enclosure built eight feet by ten where you lay, a coiled ghost, in a plastic basin water falling on your back from a motorised fountain I wanted to save you from what you’ve been condemned from that finite index we both long to transcend for they do not speak for us - they never did and you and I both know that boredom is the true original sin But our time will come and we'll shed our final skin and be free from these bodies we’ve been so long locked in they’ll see that you were never a snake just as I am not a woman And as the horrified schoolchildren look on we’ll burn like primordial gods and we’ll tear through the gift shop and make for the stars leaving the mounds of stuffed lizards all scalded and charred and the traffic along the M8 will screech to a halt as two arrows of light pierce lingering fog and for a moment the whole world will know what you have endured Until the ozone falls away like a sheet of cellophane on fire the oceans boil over and the planet expires but by then we’ll be careening through that exquisite dark with nothing discernible in our liquefied hearts but the ease that is finally ours.
5.
Jungftak 04:39
Jungftak Just over the ridge past the park and the used car lot where this city meets the sea, I ditch my bike by the side of the road and scramble down through the typical shore-line debris and there in the shadows of decrepit nautical machines I watch as two gulls fight cold-blooded for discarded remains of a KFC. It is moonrise on the empire of the obsolete. But I still wonder what wisdom the water has for me and I stand at it’s edge waiting patiently “just to move” that is enough, it would seem. But lately every time I start to speak, I am parrot-tounged and locked in repeat. and by the time the words hatch in my mouth it’s already too late. I feel the push of sharp shell on my gum and the shudder of bone on the back of my teeth I say “hey pretty bird, I love you” but I don’t know what it means. And you reply but how sweet it would be to disappear into that infinite blue some days as clean as copper ore some days as dark as a bruise and you can’t tell me that I didn’t try but I couldn’t take the weight of all that blue you had inside. So down by the docks at the end of the day my boots sinking deep into the heavy black clay I am alone I am a fiction with a hook of bone and one useless wing beating.
6.
Laika 05:50
Laika hey Andromeda! hey Pleiades! Can you hear me? I was thrown into this ocean as black as oil Oh how my heart blazed and buckled like a tesla coil And all the red giants gathered ‘round and dragged my body from the machine and they carried me away on the clouds of helium that they breathe. Roh Cassiopeiae! Cor Caroli! Can you hear me? My limbs darken now at their mineral seams I shed my fur, my phantom claws and teeth. And they scatter through the sky like seed as I become a deathless thing, bright as a blade for all to see, and for their measured space and symmetry their golden domed observatories their astrolabes and careful cruelty I burn. I am burning. But here from the heel of orion the galaxy is quiet and pure below me, I watch it opening like an artichoke flower.
7.
Monkey & Flea I’ve been staring down this same feeling for weeks It sits there in the corner like a dark heap of laundry and I go through all the pockets Like I’m looking for a lost set of keys that will unlock a sealed vault that holds the truth about what you mean to me. I’d display it’s contents in a cabinet Each kindness a polished stone dated and accounted for. The battle-axes safely secured to a smoothly painted wall beside the masks and various disguises And the story of our lives would be told by a paling tapestry - cotton threads would bind it in a neat chronology. And poised beneath the bell jar, we would be the centrepiece. you could be the monkey, and I could be the flea. We’d be deaf to the shuffling parents as they whispered to their babies that we were sorry untameable beasts. Our enamel eyes would be fixed upon each other eternally.
8.
Toy Comet 04:10
Toy Comet The ultrasound showed a dollhouse universe Revolving just beneath a veil of flesh and you, a toy comet, had got loose from the place where you were kept. They pointed out the region where you had collided with the mass of rising breath and told how you had begun to swell how you would soon have arms and legs And so sure you were on a path to land here and that the earth would shake with the impact they sent a shuttle to retrieve you before you have the chance And so, what became of you my love? When they prized you from that expanse? Is there a chamber where you live? Beneath this white washed labyrinth? Are you happy there? Have you made any friends? Now lying in this unfamiliar bed, enveloped by the smell of bleach and supermarket orchids, you’ve come back to visit me again.
9.
Black Rabbit 05:36
Black Rabbit We drove through the night with that spectral smoke clouding our eyes you saw a black rabbit on the roadside and you said it was a sign. You were seventeen when you first touched the glass and felt a spirit with your bare hands and all at once the world fell open and you could never look back And I know it makes you feel deceived when I tell you that i don’t believe in ghosts or supernatural stuff like that But I don’t claim to know what happens when we die but for what it’s worth I know what it’s like to ache to see beyond the confines of our short lives. "These towns are full of sharks", you say, "how do they just look away as this whole fucking valley burns in the wake of their lies?" Sitting out by flathead lake you point to lights so far away yeah, there must be a better place and when they come for you you won’t hesitate. It’s a wretched world and I feel it too but when I’m lying close to you I lose the will to locate what is true. So if I put on this white sheet, and appeared to you as if in a dream would you notice me? Or is it enough that love is something no one has ever seen?

credits

released April 19, 2019

All songs & artwork by Faith Eliott.

Recorded, mixed & produced by Colin J. Nelson @ Her Car Studio, Seattle, WA (except 'Carl Sagan Cosmos Song', which was recorded by Faith.)

Mastered by Reuben Taylor.

Performers:
Faith Eliott - vocals, guitar, piano, synth
Colin J. Nelson - bass, percussion, additional guitar & vocals
Paul Beaudry - synths, keys, musical saw
Anna Arvan - cello
Annie Ford - fiddle & viola
Reuben Taylor - keys on 'Loomis'
Charles Wicklander - piano on 'Jungftak'
Bill Patton - additional guitar on 'Monkey & Flea'

OK Pal Records, April 2019

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