A Troubled Piece of Fruit

by Stephan Nance

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1.
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02:18
3.
02:48
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05:27
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03:57
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03:42
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04:01
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credits

released 23 July 2012

All songs written by Stephan Nance
Produced by Matt Greco & Stephan Nance
Engineered, mixed, & mastered by Matt Greco
Recorded at MGRECORDS, Eugene, Oregon and Sprout City Studios, Eugene, Oregon

Keyboards & vocals: Stephan Nance
Cello / melodica: Angelica Sather Hodgetts
Percussion: Merlin Showalter
Bass / guitar / trumpet: Tim McLaughlin
Bass on "Song for Losers" and "Japanese Garden": Milo Fultz

Artwork by Rebecca DeMoss
Graphic design & layout by Parker Williams

Published by Stephan Nance, ASCAP

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Track Name: I am not a stranger here
I don’t know this town,
But it’s your town—
So it’s my town too;

I don’t know that girl,
But she knows you—
So she’s my friend too;

I don’t know my way,
But I can count on you
To show it to me;
I am not a stranger
When I’m with you,
When I’m with you.
(D-d-do do do do do.)

Your mother seems to like me,
And you tell me
That it’s true;

Your cousin makes me food
That I have only ever
Dreamed of trying!;

I can tell that I
Could be so happy here
With you forever;
I am not a stranger
When I’m with you,
When I’m with you.
(D-d-do do do do d-d-do.)

Your room is a cave
That offers shelter from the stormy weather and
Beneath a pile of blankets we can
Hide away together, we can
Hide away together, we can
Hide away together, we can
Hide away together, we can...

When it’s time for me
To up and leave, there’s
A part of me I can’t make follow;

All day long
I’m longing for you,
And the tears are so hard to swallow;

After knowing
Life with you,
Life without you
Leaves me hollow... oh...

I don’t know my way,
But I can count on you
To show it to me;
I am not a stranger
When I’m with you,
When I’m with you;
I don’t know this road,
But I can count on you
To lead me down it;
I am not a stranger
When I’m with
You, when I’m with
You, when I’m with
You, when I’m with
You.
Track Name: Cuddlefish
All my antics and my gibberish
Put a damper on my sentences;
I'm a [cuddlefish/cuttlefish]
Trying to cover up my incompetence.
Maybe your fancy just isn't ticklish—
Maybe your heart belongs to another fish—
But on your part that'd be foolish.
Baby, I think you ought to think through this.

The sea is big, big, big,
And it's full of scary things!
Like great white sharks,
And colossal squid!
And I'm worried about you...
I don't want you to get hurt.
I don’t want you to get hurt...
I don’t want you to get hurt.

If you love something
(So they say)
You should set it free.
But I disagree—
'Cause I can safely say that
Catching and releasing
Isn't what I'd want for me.

I know I know better than you do
What is best for you to do—
Can't you see the logic there?
It's superlogical.
My perspective is an outside one,
And that's really saying something
'Cause we don't have mirrors
And since we're under the water,
There isn't a surface
For you to see your reflection in...
Not that you don't look nice!
(In fact, how wonderful you look
Is exactly what the problem is....)

The sea is big, big, big,
And it's full of scary things!
Like great white sharks,
And colossal squid!
And I'm worried about you...
I don't want you to get hurt.
I don’t want you to get hurt...
I don’t want you to get hurt.

It guts me every time
I hear you're frequenting
Such sketchy dives.
It's not like it's a crime,
But what if you get caught by a scuba diver
Just like Nemo and I can't find you?

Still I'd never cease my quest for you—
What else would there be for me to do?
Sure, there are plenty of fishes in the ocean,
But not one of them could ever get a hook in my devotion.
So my love for you supports recent scholarly publications
Reporting that fish have a greater capacity for memory
Than was previously believed,
And I will miss you for the rest of my life.
Track Name: Spring
Spring, and still
Leaves have not all fallen from the trees;

Holding hands and skipping
Stones across the river;

Flowers open
Wider than I've ever seen;

You can see them too,
If you hurry—
You can see them too,
If you come back to me.

Spiral bound
The pages that you wrote to me;

In between the letters lies
A secret that I'm meant to see;

It has been a season
Since I have seen the sea,

But we can go there soon,
If you hurry—
We can go there soon,
If you come back to me.

When I sit and sip my tea,
You're facing me...

You: a day, a month, a year ago—
It's all the same to me.

On every bus I see
On every street I see
In every passing pair of shoes
I see...

You.

You can see me too,
If you hurry...
You can see me too,
If you come back...
Track Name: Fall
I saw you again
For the first time in ages
You looked just the same
But you sounded so different
Your manner of speaking and
The tone of your voice
Were so changed.

If I were a bird
I’d have fluttered away
But as I don’t have wings
I was required to stay
In my place at the register
Ringing you up
In the most awkward way
In that stupid café...

I saw you again
For the first time in ages
You looked just the same
But you sounded so different
Your manner of speaking and
The tone of your voice
Were so changed.

And I’d never seen that shirt before
And I’d never seen that bag before
And I shouldn’t want to see you more
Often, but I do...

And I’d never seen that scarf before
And I’d never seen that hat before
And I shouldn’t want to see you more
Often, but I do, I do, I do...

It’s been a whole year.
It’s been twelve whole months.
The innumerable minutes—
I counted each one.
In a manner of speaking
I still really love you
And I can’t get you, can’t get you
Out of my head.

I’ve spent all this time
In extensive reflection
And in my recollection
The things that I said
Were gratuitous
In their emotional content
And I’m sorry
If saying them scared you away.

I shouldn’t have acted the way that I acted
I shouldn’t have called you
I should have retracted
The things that I said
At the moment I said them
Or better yet
I should’ve never been born.

I should have retracted
The things that I said
At the moment I said them
I shouldn’t have called you
I shouldn’t have acted the way that I acted
I need to be punished
I need to be punished
I need to be punished
I need to be punished...

Every thought inside my head
Is suddenly exploding;
Every object in my room
Is suddenly too dull;

Everything I feel inside my heart
Is fully inappropriate;
Every object in my room
Is suddenly too dull...

There’s only a window there
Only a window there
Only a window, only a window
(You can do it you can do it you can do it you can do it)
There’s only a window, only a window, only a window, only a window there…

There’s only a window there
Only a window there
Only a window, only a window
(You can do it you can do it you can do it you can do it)
There’s only a window, only a window, only a window, only a window there…

...

There’s only a window there
Only a window there
Only a window, only a window
(You can do it you can do it you can do it you can do it)
There’s only a window, only a window, only a window, only a window there…

There’s only a window there
Only a window there
Only a window, only a window
(You can do it you can do it you can do it you can do it)
There’s only a window, only a window, only a window, only a window there…

There’s only a window there
Only a window there
Only a window, only a window
(You can do it you can do it you can do it you can do it)
There’s only a window, only a window, only a window, only a window there…

I close my eyes and
In my memories,
I’m drowning in your coat;
I’m gathering the leaves that fall...

In my memories,
I’m drowning in your coat...
I’m just jumping in the leaves
that
fall....
Track Name: Firecracker
Blue-, blue-, blue-eyed
Scruffy fella—
Helicopters buzzed against
Our cheeks and ears and necks and
Turned us all around
In terms of color:
Blushing, queasy, spinning
And irrevocably endearing
Drinking fountains, puppies, penguins,
Little lambs…

Don’t you dare go
Making me like you more;
I hate you more and more
Every second I’m with you;
Every second you’re making me like you
More and more,
I hate you more
I hate you more.

Firecrackers have no choice:
The fuse gets lit,
The voice comes shooting out
In sparks and sparkles—
And a minute
Lasts a lifetime,
Lasts a heartbeat,
Never lasts for sixty seconds
Like it should—
And no matter what
It’s never long enough—
But it’s still good.

True, true, true, I would
Be your boyfriend
If you’d be mine,
But this whole situation is
Becoming so ridiculous—
Mr. Potato Heart—
Indeed, it seems
You lack a few essential pieces;
Would it be taboo for me
To skip-bo right past go,
Play operation and connect for good
The clues to cure this sorry state of
Constant aggravation?

Don’t you dare go
Pushing my love away
If you’re gonna just
Pick up the slack and
Pull it right back
In a stupid kind of tug-of-war game
That I don’t wanna play—
Unless I’m on your side,
In which case
I’ll be with you all the way.

Firecrackers have no choice:
The fuse gets lit,
The voice comes shooting out
In sparks and sparkles—
And a minute
Lasts a lifetime,
Lasts a heartbeat,
Never lasts for sixty seconds
Like it should—
And no matter what
It’s never long enough—

I could go a day without you
I could go a hundred days
But I’d spread those hundred days
Out over a century
If that’s okay with you
Sometimes I get the feeling
I’m just on display—
Like some little punk’s been
Pressing against me,
Setting me off for a
Pyrotechnicolorful

Don’t you dare go
Don’t you dare go
Don’t you dare go
Don’t you dare go
Don’t you dare go
Don’t you dare go
Setting me off and
Running away
When I’ve got something
I still want to say…
Again!

Firecrackers have no choice:
The fuse gets lit,
The voice comes shooting out
In sparks and sparkles—
And a minute
Lasts a lifetime,
Lasts a heartbeat,
Never lasts for sixty seconds
Like it should—
And no matter what
It’s never long enough—
And no matter what—
It’s never long enough—
But it’s still so
oh oh oh-oh-oh
good!
Track Name: Made in Vermont
Hermit was sleeping
And dreaming
Just like the maple syrup
That was seeping
So sweetly
From the tree
In which he was
Soothed by the buzz
Of a hundred honey bees
Returning to the hollow
From a red clover field

Something’s sure sweet about that tree
Something’s sure sweet about that
Fuzzy warm reality
It’s good enough for squirrels
So it’s good enough for me
I’m not aware of any substitute that I could ever want
There’s no comparison, I’ve found the real deal
Made in Vermont…
Track Name: Paid By Weight
Someday,
Maybe ten, maybe twenty years from now,
There will be a knock at your door.
There will be a man standing there with a clipboard.
And you will sign your name on the dotted line.
The man will hand over
A parcel bundled up in wool.
You will look down to consider it;
You will look up to say thanks,
And the man will be gone...

But a plaintive cry will draw your eyes
To a baby pelican
Sitting on your welcome mat,
And the pelican’s eyes will dilate,
And the eyes of the trees will dilate,
And you will be a sea anemone:
You will contract upon this contact.

Will you feel small?
And will you feel scared?
And will you gasp for air
And find there’s nothing there
But a fatal mistake?
Will you finally weigh what you have given
Against what
You take and you take and you take and you take.

Somehow,
You will think once again of the package in your hands
You will begin to tug at the wool.
It will come off easily in pieces,
But it will cut right through the prints upon your fingers and
It will pile up around you in a mountain of gauze
In a car on a hospital train,
Where the surgeons lack credentials
And the scalpels are just saws.

But a plaintive cry will draw your eyes
To a baby pelican
Sitting on your welcome mat,
And the pelican’s eyes will dilate,
And the eyes of the trees will dilate,
And you will be a sea anemone:
You will contract upon this contact.

Will you open your arms
To the birds?
Will you open your arms
To the trees?
Will you repast them
With your own blood?
Will you finally give back
The breath that you take?
(and you take and you take and you take.
You take and you take and you take and you take.)

Somewhere,
Underneath the many years of stinging fibers,
You will find your gift.
Will you ever understand what it means?
Track Name: Immunodeficiency
Trouble is,
Nowadays,
We go walking in the rain
Protected by our plastic parasols.

From the mists
To the waves,
We don't think we ever will implode again,
The mighty leaden rollers rushing in to kill us all.

But the ships are swiftly sinking,
And the submarine in which I am
Sequestering myself
Is failing to produce a proper answer.
I'm thinking to myself,
I'm telling me that deftly I'll be
Giving my advice to all the world, that
The cells we're in are splitting
So it's looking like
It's likely that it's cancer.

You looked sweet
Standing there,
Smiling at me sleepily
Suspiciously like someone who is dead.

Shake the sheets,
Let 'em air,
We'll go down in history
Conspicuously grinning like the cat who's in the story life we've led.

And the ships are softly sighing
As the sedimental seafloor says
A prayer to bring them home
And sings a sullen cradle song of death.
I'm thinking to myself,
I'm telling me that certainly we
Haven't got the heart to tell the world that
The tumors are malignant,
So the time is coming
When we'll breathe our last breath.

From the start,
Where was I?
I was not the kind of guy
To look a fading flower in the eye.

Cross your heart,
Hope to die,
Hope to soon be sailing smoothly heaven-high,
Surrounded by the seabirds as they skim the starless sky.
Track Name: The Song I Didn't Write
I can’t wrap my head around
The notion that the present is a gift.
You know me well enough by now
To know I know that your devotion
Has a tendency to shift.

I can wait for you forever
If that’s what you want.
I can be a fountain for you
Always filling, always spilling.

I burnish every surface in the house
But still I’m haunted by the dust.
How much of it is your skin?
How could I begin again?

You know the words to all my songs
And you prove it to me every night.
But could you guess the lyrics
To the song I didn’t write?
Track Name: One-Way Sea
You tell me that the boat is moving forward—
Whatever that means when there is no land in sight.
I’d always pegged you as a shorebird—
But in light of certain facts,
I’m inclined to take it back.

Don’t underestimate me;
This field of research is my specialty, my specialty!
I will crack this hierarchy
If it is the death of me,
The death of me!
The death of me…

You tell me we are sailing on a one-way sea—
I nod my head and hold my tongue.
(You are an idiot!)
You gave me a bum steer, crowing of your lofty views;
I might have known you were
A rooster on a booster seat!

Don’t underestimate me!
(Clearly there’s no danger of my underestimating you!)
I will commandeer this vessel
If it is the death of you,
The death of you!

—Must you respond so saltily?
My faculties…
Have long been…
Bursting at the seams…
Brimming as they are…
With onomies,
And ologies,
And
Memories!
Memories!
Memories!

Don’t esterundimate me!
I will hack this crierarchy!
—Cut me, please—a little slack, I mean—
Mental tacking’s never been my specialty.
My knack is for a marked lack of strategy.
But spin around and take another whack at me
Look back at me — and see!
I will stack up properly!
If it is the death of me,
The death of me,
The death of me,
The death of me!
Track Name: Resurrection
Rain falls down,
And the rain compresses all the sounds into the ground.
When the clutter goes away like this,
The silence can be found.

A silent color guard routine
Flows forth from the flowers as they sing.
Do you see?
The stamina are heavy,
But the filaments are glistening.
And this is why we need the rain.

The raindrops falling on my head must remain,
Because the leaves and debris are clogging up the drain to my brain —
But a creek can carve a canyon,
So I’m counting on a clean cut to christen me.
I need the rain.

Do you ever wonder why the rain was invented?
Was it to put puddles where the streets have been dented,
So we’ll have a place to play
When we’ve had a lousy day?

Nah, it was probably to melt the snow.
Nah, it was probably to help the rivers flow.
Nah, it was probably to soak the seeds we sow.
Nah, it was probably to make the wild things grow.
Nah, it was probably to give us all a show.
Nah, it was probably to sooth the winds that blow.
Nah, it was probably to let us know
There’s something out there even when were all alone
And if we listen real close
We can maybe hear the tapping of its toes…

I had lost myself, but I came back around.
And I memorized the map before it seeped into the ground.

I need the rain.
Track Name: Japanese Garden / Jardin japonais / Японский сад
To read lyrics with English translations of the French and Russian sections, please go to my website: http://www.stephannance.com/Lyrics.html

[...]

breaking through the ice, I
scuttle down the riverbank till I
espy the arboretum
in your house…
in your home…

and covered in mud, I
crawl into a carapace,
and down the hallway
you, the coniferous buoy
bobbing on alpha waves,
inspire a siren song,
compose a nodding poem
that will never see the light of day
that will never see the light

(but I)
read in a dream
Japanese garden
head on the shoulder
Japanese maple
read in a dream
Japanese garden
head on the shoulder
Japanese maple
read in a dream…
read in a dream…

crossing crooked bridges,
safe to knit you any garment now, but I
cast off my crafty armaments, I
cast you aside and I
scoot away

but didn’t we ditch those demons?
are we not free to freeze and thaw as we please?
to perch on branches
whittled into benches
built for human
shivering
un cœur en hiver
un cœur qui ne verra jamais la lumière

(mais je)
lis dans un rêve
jardin japonais
tête sur épaule
érable du Japon je
lis dans un rêve
jardin japonais
tête sur épaule
érable du Japon je
lis dans un rêve…
lis dans un rêve…

everything will be
simple someday soon
everything will be
simple, oh so simple
everything will be
simple someday soon…

Простите мне, что я решился к вам писать. Перо в руке—
вырезано имя на стволе.
Меня кожа покраснела на свекольном красителе
Вы меня поймали с поличным, читающего во сне;
Ирландца, ходящего в шотландке, я люблю!
Неразумно, но безмерно— я люблю!
Относительно дополнительной сосновой шишки—
Я не беру в голову, не беру в голову.
Собственно я вырою уютную яму ему.
Очевидно, язык мой — враг мой.
А языка чужого я не опасаюсь;
не боюсь укрепиться в густолиственном лесу!
Тучи собираются над мной, а я пережду грозу—
и как только вы дадите оценку
я дам вам компенсацию,
и секретно, в карман пальто, окаменелую незабудку...

[...]

I don’t want to be forgotten
I don’t want to be forgotten
I don’t want to be forgotten
anymore
anymore

denuding adamant layers
I peel past a period of interregnum and
inherit the gilt cardboard crown from
the downy-crested phoenix—
my predecessor in this queue of
panels in triptychs
painted and pruned.

the kingdom’s a sham;
Hamlet without the Prince—
and though a tree you may well be,
I am not convinced.

copper head on hickory shoulder,
curled under covers,
a fetal web of words…

read in a dream
Japanese garden
copper head on hickory shoulder
breaking through the ice—
un cœur en hiver…
Track Name: Song for Losers
I’m a pretty good guy—
I scrub behind my ears each morning,
And I floss every night.

I care about the environment—
Nowadays people seem to admire that—
And yet,
It’s so hard to find a friend…

If you don’t drink,
If you don’t smoke,
If you don’t wanna poke
Everything with a pulse,
You’re a loser,
A disaster,
They’re perpetually telling you to grow up faster.
Well, if that’s what it takes to be cool,
Someone needs to change the rules.

I’m impossibly kind—
I’ll never ever forget your birthday,
And I’ll always care what’s on your mind.

I’ll go with you to the fair—
And maybe if we’re lucky I can win you a bear—
So where
Is someone when I need someone there?

If you don’t drink,
If you don’t smoke,
If you don’t wanna poke
Everything with a pulse,
You’re a loser,
A disaster,
They’re perpetually telling you to grow up faster.
Well, if that’s what it takes to be cool,
Someone needs to change the rules.

I am a vegan,
And I ride my bicycle whenever I can.
I’ve got a feeling I could save the world—
If I had someone to help me…

Outside on every street
I pass a multitude of people
That I’d never wanna meet—
As they stagger to a place where they’ll carouse all night,
I just wanna cry and yell at them with all my might,
I just wanna stop and tell them that it’s not okay
For them to fritter every second of their life away like that!
I wanna say, hey! Why can’t you see?
You don’t know what a party is
Till you’ve hung out with me…
We can dance through the puddles in the empty streets
We can warm up and cuddle in between the sheets
We can make popcorn on the stove
We can watch X-men
Parts one, two, and/or three…

If you don’t drink,
If you don’t smoke,
If you don’t wanna poke
Everything with a pulse,
You’re a loser,
A disaster,
They’re perpetually telling you to grow up faster.
Well, if that’s what it takes to be cool,
Someone needs to change the rules,
Send me back to elementary school
So I can play all day in my kiddy pool,
Never have to worry about how buff I’m not,
Never have to worry about how tough I’m not, and
Maybe I won’t even notice whether I am loved or not—
I dunno.
I dunno,
I dunno…

I don’t know what to do.
I’m in a quandary
It’s clear I need somebody
But I cannot seem to find out who…

And if they’re anything like me,
It’s likely that this person would be tricky to see,
So if you do,
Would you please refer them to me?

‘Cause I don’t drink…
And I don’t smoke…
But I could brighten up
Your day with a joke—
If you let me…
Once you’ve met me,
Maybe I can make it so you never want to forget me…

Maybe we could change the rules.