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The 12th Letter

by Ford Pier

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1.
Unsupervised 01:36
There’s a dead preppie, dead preppie by the pool Dead preppie dead preppie he looks so cool Dead preppie, dead hippie, dead art fag or a punker Dead serious, is this a joke? There is a secret place By the river, in the malls, in the halls in the cellar The first lap in a race And time becomes space And you run home the ten miles home you run home I don’t know much, I’m unknown And I’m always lonely unless I’m alone I’m a fabulist, a little prick and a ham And all I want in this life is to not be who I am Unsupervised White, lazy, and ashamed of nothing, young, loud, and snotty Jerusalem, Rome, and Ayurvayatti Twin white elephants of my mind and my body Dead serious, is that a joke? I wrestle up front to see By someone’s Big Gulp with Kahlua resting inside the horn And space recedes into mythology And I’m so glad I was born And I’m so glad I was born And space recedes into mythology Today your love, tomorrow the world
2.
Inhuman 02:42
One day your head will grow into your face And you’ll be hard to miss - you’ll be running the place. The standards you set you will meet and exceed And discard and reject as suits your mood or your need There’s nothing there for you to relate to But God willing, one day you will Pray to a God worth being prayed to Shaped like the space you can’t wait to fill So that’s Human, that’s Way Too Human Nobody dreams about the things that they are You’re only human, that’s a very low bar So when you look at yourself, at your faith, at your friends Recognize only hindrances you will some day transcend It’s better to be presuming To take what you need and only then give way There will always be plenty of room in Anywhere you wanna go as long as you don’t stay To forgive is divine, to error is human
3.
Well I could get past this, I bet, if I could only get through it But I can’t escape my hunch that I finally blew it So I turn the TV on just to snipe back to it Hilarity’ll ensue And that’s MISTER God to you And I dreamt they sought my council on matters unrelated to my craft And when I shared this fantasy they rolled their eyes and laughed Goddamn, what can’t they see about me that’s intriguing? Goddamn, I feel my powers beginning to weaken Why is it I seldom finish what I begin? Could be out of my league I’m still MISTER God to you
4.
Easy to suppose This is what you chose ‘Cause you are unique Not because you’re weak That one could have a hidden program That one didn’t know too well That one might never attempt for fear one might not stand out or excel I know there’s offerings I haven’t made yet I know that good things come to those who wait and I know something of mine I haven’t played you GO WILD Not a quick study You hate selling as much as you hate being sold to But the telling will change depending on who it’s being told to Learn by discovery Arrogance without confidence Makes zero sense and fewer friends Do you feel the heat of burning rubber Do you smell the smell of its scent Do you see the tire fire of a pile of wheels you reinvented I know the brightest things are hot to touch I know you don’t fully engage if you ride the clutch I know I say I know way too much GO WILD One day victory, for me, will be much more than merely what I got away with But how I’m acting right now is something I don’t think I’ll ever learn to be okay with I know the biggest things calve off but do not sink I know it happens so fast you’ll miss it if you blink I know some lights grow more intense even as they shrink I know I believe that I don’t know how to think I know unburied bodies start to stink I know I’m teetering there on the brink GO WILD
5.
Get Rooted! 03:27
If I were liquor, I’d be a kind of aqua vitae Good for your ticker, seldom have you hug the bidet Slivovitz or Lion’s Tears or Cuvee Bruts I’ll cop to a penchant for being overly familiar If I’m a mensch and a balebus it wouldn’t kill ya Still sure to quench and rejuvenate so fill yer boots Pray what sort of chap d’you think you’d marry? One who’s welcomed anywhere he roams Speed your departure from the estuary A Manc around the house A Brummie or a Scouse Somebody Gaulish who’d kiss your hand and call you madam Someone with polish who’d waggle his wings if he had ‘em Poised to demolish anything that demolition suits One whose Weltanschauung’s less Germanic One with shorter words and lighter tomes Whose eschatology is messianic A Rasta or a Druze The sub-Saharan blues Maybe I’ll cloister - an ashram or a monastery Mum as an oyster, forbearant as a dromedary No more to roister, forgoing all worldly pursuits When I get back to get back to my roots
6.
Wine, women, and song? I’ve had a bellyful Baby, that’s how I roll I know they won’t always be super-plentiful But I can wait, and I can fast And I can think all of the thoughts I’ve amassed And sort ‘em out and order ‘em according to importance in the furtherance of a goal And shape the shape to carry out my next cavortings in Smoke and mirrors - Geronimo! You make a splash in This Business Of Show Seriously, who wouldn’t be taken aback by what they see? I couldn’t catch every word but I know it was me you were discussin’ I’m a street-walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of Robutussin And I’ve crossed many rivers, and I’ve tarried and bathed And I’ve crawled through the Pit and emerged unscathed The exile in the wilderness, baby was a harsh and pitiless teacher You thought I was gonna sit still for this, maybe? I do not share one atom with that late unfortunate creature His adventures now belong to those he had ‘em with Theseus’ ship, Grandfather’s axe You got the story, you don’t need the facts Sometimes you suck, sometimes you blow No time to catch your breath in This Business Of Show And I’m gonna tell you what I tell all of my detractors The best liars make terrible actors Somebody once told me I could be anything I wanted I took it to heart and I acted upon it So I do what I do when I do just because Do not make the mistake that I am what I was I’m the fourth man seen to be struttin’ through the fiery furnace to some To others I’ll always be lamb dressed as mutton Just like you own it or already knew it You do the thing and you become what would do it Don’t need a reason, don’t need a plan Don’t need to tell you what I’m talking’ ‘bout, man You gotta ask, you’ll never know You think fast in this business of show You can’t just stand there, you gotta grow Or you won’t last in this business of show Na-na-na-na HEY! Na-na-na-na HEY! Na-na-na-na HEY! Goodbye
7.
8.
Thinking it’s about time for a new gaggle of friends One for alienating and making amends New boon allies in work and play To be put upon by in a familiar way When they act like that I can feign impatience-oh! Let’s go: Down with the Tonics Everybody needs a pick-up sometimes I’m no special case You might have seen I’ve got this sweater that I wear every day It’s no great shakes, I guess it’s okay If you didn’t know better you’d think it’s my fave Like if there was a fire, it’s the thing I’d save But I don’t think I’d notice if you took it away from me Ya hey! Down with the Tonics Everybody’s got a hobby, mine’s collecting myself
9.
On Arrival 05:13
5’11” is the most pathetic height to have to put They think you know that you’re only 5’10” but you know that you can’t get away with an even six foot It’s not like filling out your eyes and hair You can change whatever you don’t like there It says so where it says you don’t have to wait for a lift But you can’t go to the party ’til you get off shift You turn up ready to go when they’re starting to rise To get their coats and say their goodbyes Where you going already? I haven’t had enough I coulda gone with the chumps I work with but I don’t need their greasy kidstuff You can share this cab, you shouldn’t drive It’s already four, I’m gonna stay ’til five I’ve lived to see them all get what I wanted most for them come to the very least: The Hose, The Wings, The armies of the East I can ponder them and dream of one day Having an estate of my own to piss away My own country to betray My own spoiling my own myth My own life to get on with If at the moment of the fulfillment of her dreams You’re not wondering at it from afar that isn’t how it seems From up here it looks flat and it looks wide And it looks bare, nowhere to hide And there’s no one worth hiding from Not even those you hoped would come I guess the mail lost my invite A little thing like that’s easily put right Now that I’m here and staked my little plot I’m struck by all the things it’s not It’s not easy, it’s not fun And I can’t see it ever being done Just about all I can see is a fussy little stowaway who looks a lot like me Never letting up until he reaches his mark Never slowed or swayed cutting through the crowd like the fin of a shark To arrive on time On a specified date At a specified hour and have to wait To arrive on time when everyone’s late There is a part of me that looks just like you And I’ve taken great care to see that’s the only part you’ve had exposure to Like one of the teeth of a skeleton key File any one of them down and there’s no more me The more i love you the less you’re shown Like a light that’s intensified the smaller it’s grown I like everyone I’ve never met Who haven’t made their arrival yet
10.
I woke to sounds of dishes stacked and water run Looked round a room I didn’t know and saw no one A breath, a thought, a vacant spot A thumbnail of what has and what has not been done I heard new sounds come echoing up from inside And made like I was good at things I’d never tried Sometimes I might have not been right But when I was it was just like I hadn’t lied It’s fair to say most things will stay a mystery The world is full of things that I will never see But sometimes I’ve been invited in It’s fair to say the ladies made a man of me It’s fair to say the ladies made a man of me And what I want is to be wanted I would do anything to be All I want is to be wanted
11.
12.
Shitcoaster 07:08
How tall you gotta be to ride on this thing? The exceptions are diverse and bizarre They’ll tell you how they got to where you find them They aren’t shy about how special they are It’s like it’s never occurred to them they’re not right What made them think that was a way you could act? What kind of lived experience could make them Believe their preference was a statement of fact? They’re gracious but proud when they win They only lose when they’re cheated so they’re proud of their losses They got no time to be hung up on fundamentals But all the time in the world to explain you their process How tall you gotta be to ride on this thing? There must be somebody with something to say There must be some kinds of rules or codes of conduct In place to keep the crazy people away Where did all the crazy people come from? Do their friends like them acting this way? Where did all the crazy people come from? Do they even have friends anyway? How tall you gotta be to ride on this thing? The trestle clatters as you’re pulled to the top And it hits you you could kick the bucket belted in with all these crazy people when you finally drop They don’t know much about history They don’t respect the things that matter to me Where did all the crazy people come from? Who told them that this was a way they could be? When did our hard-fought-for consensus become a thing we don’t all already know? It’s like these specimens didn’t get the memo These matters were laid to rest long ago Rights, responsibilities, and conventions Whose very existence is best expressed as a dearth This is the kind of a ride that relies on elevation And when you’re elevated you’re not down to earth Where did all the crazy people come from? What’s what any one of them has to say worth? How tall you gotta be to ride on this thing?

about

Remember when I said I hadn’t done any music during Covid? Yeah, well it seems that was a fib. This is a collection of previously unused music from between about 1984 to 2007 that I thought it would fun to demo and beat into finished songs over the last year. They’re arranged more or less chronologically as originally conceived (I cheated here and there) and they’re titled after the succession of most of the bands that I was in throughout the span of their writing, also chronologically. Some of those bands recorded and toured internationally, some lasted a couple of practices. You won't be familiar with all of them, I don't think. The conceit is that the concerns addressed by the song named for one band are expressed in the style of the next band on the list; the preoccupations of the day girt in the motley of the next action taken. These songs are dense with jokes that only I get, references to other songs - my own and others’, and recurring lyrical images of identity, transformation, the topography of unfilled spaces, and things that take on power and significance as they wane. Regarded all together, they present a Bildungsroman of sorts, or likely a bull-dung’s roman, as subjective recollections of emotionally loaded and temporally distinct inner states must always be taken with various portions of salt. Some of them very large indeed. Do unreliable narrators own up to it? A fifty-year-old looking for something worthy in the heedlessness and insecurity of his former selves, and sometimes finding it.

Dedicated to the members of The Dead Preppies, The Inhumans, God, Jr. Gone Wild, Roots Roundup, The Show Business Giants, Tankhog, The Tonics, D.O.A., Operation Infinite Joy, The Rheostatics, Great Aunt Ida, and the bands of Carolyn Mark, Selina Martin, Kim Barlow, Christine Fellows, and Veda Hille. In memory of Jeff Wasserman, Chris Bates, Sally Jackson, Ken Jensen, Brian Goble, and Ken Chinn, who was there for all of them.

Donations for the download of this album will be forwarded to Girls’ Rock Camp Vancouver. girlsrockcampvancouver.ca

credits

released September 24, 2021

Performed, recorded, and mixed by Ford Pier with Paul Rigby (pedal steel on track 4,) John Korsrud (trumpet on track 5,) Hugh Jarms (piano on tracks 5 and 6,) Meredith Bates (violin on track 9,) Christine Fellows (owls on track 9,) Martin Tielli (steel guitar on track 10,) and Michael Jung (guitar solo on track 12.) Those people all recorded their own shit except for Paul, who brought the kids over and hung out for a while, and Mer, who had help from Chris Gestrin. Mastered by Josh Stevenson. Thanks to Barry Mirochnick and Darcy Hancock for the loan of their fine instruments. All songs written by Ford Pier and published by Trite Motifs (SOCAN.) ©2021

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Ford Pier Vancouver, British Columbia

Ford: v.t. to cross by wading (Webster)
Pier: n. a disappointed bridge (Joyce)

Ford Pier has a rock band called The Vengeance Trio and a string quartet called Strength Of Materials. There's eight or nine albums of this stuff, and more on its way. You just watch. ... more

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