Hope is the Thing with Feathers

by Guy Capecelatro III

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1.
Hollow Reminders Biliary I learned a new word today Peritoneal I’ve lost all my feeling I know it’s a tired cliché But I want to sleep all day You played your cards so strong It’s hard to see it go wrong I guess luck trumps everything Clear cell rings like a shuddering bell Taxol Avastin Carboplatin I know that it’s too hard to eat I’ll put on some water for tea When I heard of the trouble This skill I’ve honed like a muscle Seemed utterly inadequate A hollow reminder of how heat leaves a body The tenuous nature of us delicate creatures Sacrum do you even have one Indefinite I hate that I heard that I know you’re feeling afraid I wish I could take your pain It’s all so damn surreal And so super real I hope it stops feeling this way
2.
I Called it First Limping home from the show tonight I guess I forgot what cold was like Seems summer leaked into Autumn Now Winter’s finally come Looking through the frosted glass Of the houses along my path Couples wrapped up like candy bars They don’t know how sick you are Remembering places we’ve lived Seeing the Memorial Bridge I still miss the rusted old one And the way it came undone Seems everybody leaves this place Even the birds have gone away Talking this morning about your funeral It seemed almost humorous It’s been thirty years since I left New York I don’t know why I forget how seasons work Tonight with the air slipping inside of me I question this reality Remember in the grass by the North Church I called I got to leave first Walking home as the bells ring I can’t imagine what this year will bring
3.
Such Possibility You pull the leaves from this Hickory Tree And I’ll say a prayer to the sky All this connection this quiet resurrection Knowing not what to decide All of these rituals seem so habitual I’m hardly working my hands Drop what we’re wearing sleep in the clearing Feeling the way we expand There’s static in the air Feel electricity race through your hair I know you’re indisposed But such possibility hovers so close Off in the distance a blossoming vision Watching the moon crest the trees I swear in this half light out in the warm night Something could make me concede Here at the precipice you in a purple dress Laying this body to waste Lovely and tender a thought half remembered I’m caught in this tangle we face There’s static in the air Feel electricity race through your hair I know you’re indisposed But such possibility hovers so close
4.
Hospital Days I’m not eating so well I’m not taking care of myself A country in decline ravaged by time These hospital days leave me afraid Driving home alone whittled down to bones And I look for you but you’re not here I slip out of my shoes get the cats some food Turn on the TV and try and fall asleep Laying on the couch deserted in our house Imagining your body rid of this disease And I look for you but you’re not here These little pills don’t do a thing to switch me off I’m like a puddle ever listless growing soft Sweating from the heat ready to concede I try and clear my brain cluttered and constrained With my eyes swollen shut I’ve had about enough I hear a subtle noise sounding like your voice And I look for you but you’re not here How could you disappear
5.
This In Between I can’t let go of this fading rainbow It’s a timeless fleeting moment Can you see this string between us That goes electric when we kiss I know your body and its disease Still there’s sunlight through the trees In the morning though I’m not sleeping I stare up at the peeling ceiling I see a fortress in the birches You keep your prayers and hollow churches I know your body and its disease Still there’s sunlight through the trees If I could I’d take this thing The way you easily took my ring If I could I’d take your place And watch you walk make your escape The light dims fast I draw your bath Touch your forehead until it’s passed We’ll try and sleep get lost in dream I used to love this in between I know your body and this fucking disease Still there’s sunlight through the trees
6.
Watch the World Divide What would be left of me after you fall Nothing at all Where would I find myself if you weren’t here I’d disappear Hope in the shape of a bird Fluttering high overhead I’ll hold my hands to the sky And watch the world divide How did we get ourselves stuck in this place We’ve been displaced When will we vanquish this send it away Bring on the day Hope in the shape of a bird Fluttering high overhead I’ll hold my hands to the sky And watch the world divide
7.
Christmas Lament Woke with a headache again Now I’m just lying about Don’t know what time it could be All the clocks are wrong in this house Christmas comes on like a flu Neighbor’s lights dance and flicker I watch the squirrels in the yard As you slowly get sicker And next we’ll leave for LA I’ve never felt so afraid You wonder the days go I haven’t worked in a year Remember the life that we had Now everything feels so weird Lay with your head on my lap Outside the snow piles up Making the world clean again A slow subtle gift from above Somehow there must be an answer Fuck you god damned cancer
8.
Two Fronts 04:25
Two Fronts You’ve been fighting a war you’ve been taken prisoner You’re caught in the crossfire I could be your ally My eagle’s eye your womanly insight We’ll hide in the trees waiting for this disease My stash of guns your opium We’ll meet this battle here on two fronts My camouflage your sabotage I’ll lay on the rooftop waiting for my shot Spread out the map they’re coming back We’re losing tree cover and might just get discovered If it gets to hellish bite that poison pellet I’m taking notes so I can tell it It’s getting way too hot let’s call the bomb squad They’re smashing our defense we need reinforcements It’s like a circus I’m getting nervous Build up our munitions we’re losing our position I’m an atom bomb you’re nearly gone We’re rolling up in mass singing victory songs You’re fighting this war lying on the floor And I’ll understand if you can’t take it any more It’s so extreme but I’m on your team And I’m not nearly ready to concede
9.
Frayed 05:06
Frayed I want to remember you in exactly this light Oozing through the window as day bleeds into night Forget about the chemicals like a hurricane Seeping in through plastic tubes bubbling in your veins Laying on this orange couch sleeping like a cat Everything will melt away with you here in my lap I will snap a photograph of this space in time Lock it like a silo a bomb inside my mind Press your head into my chest Inside this house we made There’s always a hook in my heart Tugging till I’m frayed I’m afraid Looking out into the yard at the swirling leaves I need to clean things up before it starts to freeze I am turning back the clock smashing it in pieces Hoping I can stem this tide battering our beaches Stroking your hair softly as your muscles twitch I think about the course we’ve carved and I start to drift When the sunlight crawls away we begin to wake Sad I let you sleep so long but you say it’s okay Press your head into my chest Inside this house we made There’s always a hook in my heart Tugging till I’m frayed I’m afraid
10.
You Were a Carousel I’m always stumbling somehow you righted me Sharing this precious air always invitingly I’m always in my head somehow you brought me out You are the autumn wind I am a summer cloud I don't know what to do me without you I am an empty shell you were a carousel It seems impossible that you could choose me Now that you’re gone it’s all confusing Sleep is a memory my limbs aren’t working right I’m in a smelly swamp you are a satellite I don't know what to do me without you I am an empty shell you were a carousel You will shine on me and not burn my skin You will illuminate everything You will be guiding me watching my every move You’ll be the brightest light shining through
11.
Frozen in this Moment The dahlias you planted are blooming in the garden Watching from the window our hearts begin to harden I know that I’d feel better if I did what you said It’s hard to say uncle the word gets stuck in my head Hope is just a thing that people say We know what they mean anyway I know you’re better than me And made me better by degrees Still it’s unimaginable To see this glass half full Sitting in the kitchen I reach out for your hand As things inside your body continue to expand I can’t see a future with how things have aligned Wishing for the power to somehow freeze time Hope is just a thing that people say We know what they mean anyway I know you’re better than me And made me better by degrees Still it’s unimaginable To see this glass half full It’s getting kind of crazy I know things need to change Everything seems shaky And I’m feeling deranged Birds are in the feeder making such a racket I’m on the guitar but I am out of practice Lying in the grass reading your new novel Frozen in this moment forgetting all our problems
12.
Light Me Up 02:49
Light Me Up I’m just a zombie now All the life’s drained out Walking these salty streets Words stuck in my mouth I’m just an empty shell All my guts have spilled Stuck in this stupor Turning on myself Bury me in concrete Drop me in the sea Light me up like fireworks Drenched in gasoline… you’re not here Crack this chest wide open Hold my shriveled heart Burn my bones as firewood It’s getting dark Run rope around my legs Hang me from my feet Free the blood that runs these veins Dance through the trees Bury me in concrete Drop me in the sea Light me up like fireworks Drenched in gasoline… you’re not here
13.
Some Small Relief Always holed up in myself You’re a chiming ringing bell Wallowing inside a cage You’re a tiger unafraid Jealous of the strength you wield Recognizing its appeal I don’t know how you go on The conclusion seems forgone Do my best to hold you up Even when you’ve had enough Crumbling beneath the weight Still you never hesitate There’s the clock that never stops Enduring all these stupid shots Feeling tired and weakened As the chemicals leak in I can barely hold it back All these inside job attacks Watching as your belly grows From intruders down below Cold washcloth on your head Hot and clammy from the sweat Try and lull you into sleep Wishing for some small relief All the trouble you’ve endured Hoping for some magic cure

about

These songs came out of a dark, dark time in my life when, last February my wife, Pam, was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of cancer. The words still ring in my head and this past year has been terrifying and debilitating, rife with a wide range of treatments and hospital visits and a wild, roller-coaster ride of emotion. It feels so freaky unfair, given the kind of life Pam has led and how she’s affected so many with her work as an educator and as, truly, the kindest person I’ve ever known.
Through this I was writing songs but didn’t have time to record them and approached my dear friend Chris Decato about helping to realize the album. He took the bare-boned song pieces and transformed them into the album we ended up with, playing ninety-five percent of the instruments and doing all the mixing and arranging. I also enlisted my sweet and talented friends to help with singing and string arrangements.
Having no idea what the future holds, I present an album’s exploration of what this year has been like. This is, of course, dedicated to my Pam. Forever and always.

credits

released March 31, 2017

Vocals by Mara Flynn on 1, Gregg Porter on 2, Jarid del Deo on 4, Juliet Nelson on 5, Seth Gooby and Isis Alis-Gooby on 6, Jason Anderson on 7, Mike Wolstat on 8, Anne Marple on 10, Jim RIoux on 11, Jocelyn Mackenzie on 12 and Anna Vogelzang on 12. Emily Hope Price sings on 3 and plays strings on 3 and 7. Jerusha Robinson sings and plays strings on 9. Jeremy Robinson plays guitar on 9. GC III plays gtr and sings and Chris Decato sang and played all the other instruments and mixed and mastered.

Cover artwork by Diana Sudyka, inside birds and on disc by Kenley Darling. Graphic design by Michael Winters.

All songs written by Guy Capecelatro III

For Pam, forever and for always

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