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The only guy who’s honest is the guy who sings in the shower.  Everyone else is a prostitute.

Kim Fowley

 

The collection here, Bouquet of Pitchforks, was recorded in the years 2017-2018 in Ontario, CA (Wrongtario).  In the mastering process I was forced to evaluate a place for a two year body of work (who does he think he is, Cool Hand Luke in prison sweat?).  I sense it might be how maybe an actor feels watching themselves on film (how would he know?), that is to say, at first embarrassed. The struggle is then to stand back (back back a way back) and hear the salty characterization embedded in the song and not of ones own self, barking out bleeding heart insecurities as the whole world’s whipping boy.  The songs are humbly backed by a plethora of imaginary sidemen on steel guitars, fiddles, Weissenborns, and Peruvian charangos.  A band that likes to call itself, The Shadders (Shadows is what he’s a’tryin to mispronounce).  I don’t know off hand who this annoying other voice is over my shoulder constantly but I just can’t seem to shake him (good luck trying).

The cover image of the cotton harvest was taken by my mother-in-law Marco McKnight on her family land which was purchased in 1894 in Daphne, Alabama.   She grew up and presently lives surrounded by one hundred and fifty acres of cotton in a storybook brick house her father built in 1936.  So, she knows from whenst she speaks (are we even certain this guy has a poetic license?).  The production credits for this and all my recordings since 1997 go to my bride Hollace McKnight Brayer who heroically holds down the fort while my sporadic income-flow oft times seems tethered to a unicorn’s ass.  This being volume 59 I hereby apologize in advance and up front to our daughter Eleanore for giving her such a sore and limp-foot legacy to kick under a bed someday.  Who needs fiftynine volumes of work (here it comes) we ask yourself?  Give me a second to think about that (we’re waiting).  The best excuse I can come up with is that it is for reassurance purposes.  I know that there are many fans out there that don’t sleep at night wondering if I’m ever going to get any better.  The answer is happily and sadly a resounding, no.  The positive side to that affront is the possibility that I have been able to sustain a consistent vision over the past forty odd years (did he say odd?). My greatest gift (try as he may not) is most likely that I have been unable to find a fad that would have me. I’m often labeled as ‘crazy’ in regard to content, if not that I’m seen as ‘uncompromising’, but then it’s usually only by people that don’t buy the music.  I was once even referred to as a genius, but don’t worry I shot that guy.

11013150_10153326327167764_3303865874860214141_n.jpgBrayer with Stuart Duncan at The Nikko Hotel in Los Angeles some other year other than this one.

On the subject of threatening integrity I remember getting a call from my pal Stuart Duncan asking me, because he couldn’t afford to fly out for it, if I’d like to use his tickets to go to the Grammy Awards.  I can’t recollect the exact award he was up for but he’s been nominated and won so many that it all becomes a pleasant haze, one I can live with. At first I thought it might be cool, but when I tried to envision it then all I could see was a soot-laden coal miner showing up at Hugh Hefner’s house.  I thought about it and called him back my conclusion which was that I had realized that the only single perk there was to being me was that I didn’t have to go to crap like that.  We both had a good laugh.  Christ, wasn’t he the man who taught Yo Yo Ma about hill justice?  I then realized that having him even think of me in those terms was one of the greatest rewards of my life.  My grandest aspiration for these present recordings is that you might see for yourself that very self same vibe in the midst of the unvarnished works.

How’d I Get This Toe Tag On My Heart?

 

How’d I get this toe tag on my heart,  I don’t remember the end being all that dark.

Life speaks of itself as a hidden art.  Each note a toe tag on my heart

How’d I get this toe tag on my heart?  How’d I get this toe tag on  my heart?

Life coined every side of beauty right.  How’d I get this toe tag on my heart?

Battle flags of cloud, bullet ridden by light

It’s never easy for a poor man to count his wealth

One less thing to do to prolong his health

How’d I get this toe tag on my heart?  How’d I get this toe tag on  my heart?

Your first breath bookends your last in rhyme.  (How’d I get this toe tag on my heart?)

Everything else in the middle like moon dust so fine.

Your hair like barnyard feathers askew.  I wake up with the living yet I go to sleep with you.

How’d I get this toe tag on my heart?  How’d I get this toe tag on my heart?

Huge fake diamond bracelet reaching for the rest.  Like someone kicked an old ice chest

I got one last question before I pull apart.  How’d I get this toe tag on my heart

Written by: Patrick Brayer
(04-25-17)

 

 

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Bouquet of Pitchforks

 

I looked in the mirror at prisoner looking back.  Out the window my fields are on fire

The voice of the road it is the rapture.  Of the hunt down whine of the tire

 Good luck dying no luck trying / Too late to be early for crying

Keep it simple so a child / could misunderstand / A bouquet of pitchforks in my hand

Every dream is a bird’s eye view.  You taking the trash out /in a store bought dress.

I give you nothing but something so special.  Yet you walk and talk away all the rest

The face is made round like wheels and the sun.  I’m gone but my mind’s just begun

The mouth of the world opens but there is not a sound.  A bouquet of pitchforks abound

Steel guitars quiver, make the speaker cones shiver.  Coffee table with a bottle on her.

We take from the animal and we give to our darlings.  Seems the world is just made of fur

 The night is not our only problem now/  Easier for the moon to jump over the cow.

Whatever lights left over might yet vanquish fear.  A bouquet of pitchforks for you my dear

Written by: Patrick Brayer  (05-03-17)

 

 

 

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Cinder Block Heaven

I hear what I can’t paint / I see what I can’t feel

In the carnation’s sway / The direction of the day

Cinder block / heaven’s gate / neon like painted hate

Our muscles / the ropes / that might hang a man

Clouds standing / in place / but believe me they ran

As cool as cinder block to the hand

Dirt parking lot / The color of a monk’s robe at dawn

Mysteriously  / the mystery is gone

Come with me / since your listening

What’s tattooed beneath your skin?

Adult bookstores are closing, bibles posing

As if the world didn’t just begin

Let us fall together  / in unity

The only thing we have in common  / Is me and you and you and me

The skies / undone / blanket of blue

We’re both / doing what / we together do

A place for the poor to rest  / their weary bones

Women are stunning and men ride horse / And there are no phones

With mangos and / corridos / and barbeque

Where even / the biggest / lies ring true

Cinder block heaven’s choir/ Dodge up on blocks display

The color of a diamond someone threw up/ Love just jumps out of the way

Of a cinder block heaven’s array

Written by: Patrick Brayer  (05-07-17)

 

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My Angel’s Drink is Empty

The way eyes seem to follow a woman / Is the way and the means of the world

Sleep dust in your eyes is like a piano you never played / One that the night has hurled

The moon is full brandished simply / My angel’s drink is empty

Starch shirt as crisp as a Gibraltar reckoning / Close-cropped widow until hope

Is like a sidewalk sale / Where saints begin to skip a rope

The moon is full brandished simply / My angel’s drink is empty

Right or wrong is like casting yellow / Death plays a part we force shallow now

Like a south that the mildew forbade / A tobacco stained hunting party stops to bow

The moon is full brandished simply / My angel’s drink is empty

Rough and grateful whispered to and young / In a florid chair I lecture death

As late as it is all clocks sleep / Tea and crumpets meet crystal meth

The moon’s established force / My angel drinks remorse

Crushed upon doubt I growl in the garden / Bestial Fontana ashtray in my fist

You can’t go back and reshape the dust / Life is not a song, it’s a hand-quivering list

Solitude is more full, the missing link / emptying my angel’s drink

Written by: Patrick Brayer   (04-13-17)

 

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Saving the Dust for Last

The sun rises like a glass hoisted in cheer / Yet for a reason long forgotten here

With my lover i quarrel, then off to a factory I toil / Clouds like fresh picked cotton dipped in oil

At my wits-end I call her from work, with phone to chin / i beg her part the linen kitchen curtain then

She put down the blue rotary dial phone / To a mushroom cloud of flaming bone

 Concrete came raining down the size of t.v.s / Like outer space debris

A complex way to spell I love to love thee / Bringing the future down to one bruised knee

Smooth as glass / Saving the dust for last

What I do to you, I do to us, I do to me / Sometimes what you set to fire sets one free

The Celebrity, Red Devil, Astro, and the Trojan factories / Will be in tomorrow’s news with me

All the scrap metal tied a true lover’s knot in the middle of the air

As you walk a waltz around my empty chair

It was the last glow I’d ever make on your face / Every memory frozen like newfound ice on lace

Not to make a statement, not to retaliate / Existence devoid of both love or hate

Trying to make plus out of every subtraction / I’m painting wild birds with my actions

I’m weaving a basket of my past / I was saving the dust for last

Make no mistake about it when I was to be done / She’d know a true love letter when she saw one

Moonlit by the sun, sunburnt by the moon / As bright as fanned out trailer court colors in June

Two people can do a million things together / No matter how they behave

But two people can never ever visit each other’s grave

It’s not as if there’s ever really anything to leave

Just us brushing the brocade of night off our tear-stained sleeve

For every deed there is action / For every soul there is an attraction

But it’s not a selfless man you’ll find / When you take me in your mind

Smooth as glass / Saving the dust for last

Written by: Patrick Brayer  (09-28-17)

 

 

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Hound’s Tooth Moon

Earliest love, the dealing of cards / Cypress seal the long backyards

Dismiss me, asa child’s hair is curled / Morals sewed into the world

Car door the color of chaste starlight / Bougainvilleas sideburn the pea gravel tonight

Opens onto a tire rutted drive / Back when everyone was alive

It’s way different now, some are missing / The blessing is that we forget

Yet the hounds tooth moon shines as always / If we let / it might burn away all regret

Rock a drink to our velveteen hearts / It’s not a god but the universe that starts

To rock our love in the weed pulling June / That cradles the hound’s tooth moon

Hound’s tooth moon the sun has found you / So do our eyes compromise

As we water our lawns with tears of joy / Can’t help but realize

Written by: Patrick Brayer   (10-06-17)

 

 

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photo: Enoch Feroten (Riverside, CA)

Hay Bale Theatrics

The rain fell in fallen puddles / Like the watery eye of a hidden source

Life it had a tabloid title / Until it ran its course

There is no such sullen state / As too much privacy told

Steaming open a tender letter / With the melting ice of the old

I’ve been blackened by the keys to the kingdom / a weed in the moonlight

She said from the teardrop trailer / this wedding ring is on too tight

In the custody of my hearts content / In the autumn of mine eyes

We cut our teeth on our own tears / Smell the rose thorn when it cries

Spill a beer in the garden / do the flowers even know

Underfoot they seem to crack  / Some old motel code

The good time sound / of the gravel and the grits

The music of the shadow that it hits 

Hell hath no wainscoting / of my last and lasting sky

A bluegrass song on the jukebox / Neon teardrop in both eyes

Thank you for the burning bright / Life gets caught in the cloudy net

we never seem to remember / the very last thing that we forget

Written by: Patrick Brayer   (07-13-17)

 

 

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Load of Kaiser Steel

 

headlights tunneling through the rain / leaning on a diesel wheel

down winding glass highways / as slick as a load of Kaiser steel

you might as well take your wallet / it’s your own blessed luck

and throw away those family photos / and put in pictures of trucks

the radio cranks out a good one / roll on rubber wheels

my eyes grow as dark and heavy / as this load of Kaiser steel

you can hug the blue pacific / through the muscles in the mountains

and go like a big black train / ripping through the small cow towns

you can drive things off of your mind / if that’s the way that you feel

but no love is ever as solid / as this load of Kaiser steel

the road gets longer and the times get tougher / and I read where the mill is fading down

but some things are always going to be warm / warm as this load of Kaiser steel

written by: Patrick Brayer

 

 

Trailer Park Velvet

Our park is strong and yet it’s narrow / From fallen mailbox to rust wheel barrow

What sunlight searches through the struggling trees / Orphan dogs define by fleas

We live with and beyond reason / Off a grid that knows no single season

As I comb my hair in an old cracked mirror / Trailer park velvet in every tear

Mythologize hope and if you get it right / To put a black hold then on milky light

Trying to make good will of what’s not your trip / A kiss leaves blood upon your lip

Trailer Park Velvet  / It’s the state in which we abide

Two percent gainful employment / On the trailer park velvet side

Across the street in neon the shadow of bugs / In an opal sundress a woman scores drugs

The Jet Lounge as ready and willing to pounce / As if it weighed nary an ounce

Mariachis in the eucalyptus dump / Birdsong quarreling through the swamp cooler thump

Gunfire in the meadow resounds our luck / Keg of beer stolen from a Mickey’s Big Mouth truck

Xmas lights dangle like fireflies in June / Trash piled high in the left hand corner of doom

Beer tops rest like treasure among the cigarette smoke / Summer just can’t wait to give winter a poke

Trailer Park Velvet  / It’s the state in which we abide

Two percent gainful employment / On the trailer park velvet side

Written by: Patrick Brayer   (10-03-17)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer Park Velvet

 

Our park is strong and yet it’s narrow

From fallen mailbox to rust wheel barrow

What sunlight searches through the struggling trees

Orphan dogs defined by fleas

 

We live with and beyond reason

Off a grid that knows no single season

As I comb my hair in an old cracked mirror

Trailer park velvet in every tear

 

Mythologize hope and you get dander

Trying to make will of what’s not your trip

A black hold then on milky light

A kiss leaves blood upon your lip

 

Across the street in neon shadow

The Jet Lounge as ready to pounce

In an opal sundress a woman scores drugs

As if she weighed nary an ounce

 

Mariachis in the eucalyptus

Gunfire in the meadow resounds our luck

Birdsong quarreling through the swamp cooler thump

Keg of beer stolen from a Mickey’s Big Mouth truck

 

Xmas lights dangle like fireflies in June

Trash piled high in the left hand corner

Beer tops rest like treasure among the cigarette butts

Summer just can’t wait to get warmer

 

Trailer Park Velvet

It’s the state in which we abide

Two percent gainful employment

On the trailer park velvet side

 

There’s old man Dickey who practically owned a Lloyd Loar

And a shelf full of UFO books as soon as you walked in the door

And a view of an aircraft junkyard where there might be flowers

A Stetson Open Road hat hanging on a nail by the cold water shower

 

Heaven is however you imagine it / and imagine it they did

No locks on t he doors / nothing of value is even hid

A bottle and a glass are the chess pieces at ready

A good woman’s eyes are the diamonds never unsteady

 

My mother and father live on in dream there

My wife still fills out her dress

Better than any star in creation

Seems when I close my eyes they open best

 

They say a memory’s just a memory

But they don’t know from whenst they speak

Trailer park velvet

Follows the snake of Lytle Creek

 

Every day is someone’s birthday

But it’s also nobody’s birthday too

Where every dent in your car just frees you

To stop believing the stupid things you do

 

Written by: Patrick Brayer

(10-03-17)

 

 

 

 

 

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