Absurdity Under

by Tim Koehn

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about

The original release of this album in 2012 was to raise money to help build schools and provide education for marginalized communities in Bangladesh and rural Nepal (contributing to the work of Bangla-Dash and Rural Classes). Because of the urgency of the need, it was recorded, mixed, and released in a very short amount of time. My generous friends and family responded quickly and raised $1000.

This re-release (downloadable for free and intended to replace the previous version) includes a different song order, a new song (Track 9: "Four Letter Words"), instrumental and vocal additions, and is remixed overall. All these changes will hopefully make for a slightly higher quality listening experience.

credits

released March 12, 2015

Thanks to Eivind Lødemel, Buno (sound engineer), Christine, Seth, Jim, Steve, Ahmad, Fall Hollow, Kuwait Students for the Advancement of the Arts (Oops, I Just Arted), and International School Dhaka, Simon Cooke, and Ross Bradley

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about

Tim Koehn Istanbul, Turkey

“I do not wish to close the frontiers of my life upon my own self. I do not wish to deny myself the expansion of seeking into individual capabilities and depths by living in a space whose boundaries are race and nation. Lord, give my poor stammering tongue at least one taste of the whole round world, if you please, sir.” ~Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on the Road ... more

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Track Name: Eyes and Oceans
I can see your eyes straight into me
illumining this place like moon beams
that glow on the ocean.

If I could only be here to see
your eyes that shine like oceans
as deep as your wounds,
wide as your bleeding brow.

Your eyes on me is my direst need.
Your ocean laps at me;
I'll have to take your water at my feet.

If I could only see with your eyes
into the hearts of people who are standing beside
your sensuous ocean,

Everyone would run into this:
your eyes that contain oceans
as deep as your wounds
wide as your bleeding brow.

Your eyes on me is my direst need.
Your ocean laps at me;
I'll have to take your water at my feet.

Save us from our fashions, God--
somebody show me to the door.
Save us from our fashions, God--
I want to get off of this floor.
I'll take a crown of passion, God,
just as your head was pierced by thorns.
Crown me with compassion, God,
just as your head was pierced by thorns.

(I want to see your eyes and feel their penetration,
then comes assimilation single cells at a time.)
Track Name: Absurdity Under
Rural intimations pass me; they blink into me--
they'll blink for you, too, where dogs curl up on ash from trash heaps,
blinking into sleep underneath...

Boys and little girls look up with no pity looking down;
dust is choking the gutters and the leaves are turning brown.
But sky cracks open with thunder, and gray absurdity under
runs into the ground.

I could get green grace from foliage, make this madness budge,
but would it get through to you?
Can these boring eyes bore into the caged bird in you?
With all these...

Boys and little girls look up with no pity looking down;
dust is choking the gutters and the leaves are turning brown.
But clouds crack open with thunder, and gray absurdity under
runs into the ground.

When you look down (or maybe just out from eyes
of kids here on the ground),
you must think how absurd we all look now
fixated on finding things that never can be found.
Track Name: Autumn on the Skin
For at least a second each day,
and then minutes at night,
familiar ghost leaves its shell--forever lost for a spell.
And the horror grows because
madness dances 'round,
face features melting blank into a cellar dark and dank.

But then his takes mine to some forest glen
where the turning grass is the hair of God
and the spruce is so black.
And up from the grass, my name is scrawled
in the arms of fallen branches.

That spinning-headed girl
who thinks her arms are stone: "She cries when I hold her,
she cries when I hold her.
And what makes her eyelids fall
makes mine flood each time--
it's his groping hands that crawl over bodies not mine."

But the woman who's learning to lose her twins--
in her so strong eye there lives the mirror of God
(and so precious were those twins).
"But she's a great mom (I never had one),
and she's melting my hands..."

Everyday, autumn on the skin
Everyday, spring within
Everyday, autumn on the outside
And yet still within,
new robins come and sing again.
Track Name: Cherry Blossoms
Why are the cherry blossoms pink?
Well, my lord was buried beneath,
And his blood coursed up the roots
To make the white flowers bleed.
And my soul sick is sweet:
Those blossoms touched my feet.
Track Name: Shake the Sky
Yesterday evening we were screaming
and ready to kill
all these blind bastards just for breathing
and honking until

A man on a rickshaw started singing
(we'll take what we get).
Like Esperanza, now we're weeping
in the midst of these bricks.

Something lovely grows loud around me...

Shake the sky, you hundred violins!
Someday I'll be free of me, and I'll jump right out of my skin.
I starts to begin...
Shake the sky, you hundred violins!
Someday I'll be free of me, and I'll jump right out of my skin.
I starts, then it ends...

Coconut palm fronds: great green feathers,
the roof for a pile
of cats on a hot tin roof (they're playing
and making me smile).

Their cradle is secret like the barbet's
on top of the palm:
he makes a tok-tok-tok for no one,
and it's making me calm.

Something lovely grows loud around me...

Shake the sky, you hundred violins!
Someday I'll be free of me, and I'll jump right out of my skin.
I starts to begin...
Shake the sky, you hundred violins!
Someday I'll be free of me, and I'll jump right out of my skin.
I starts, then it ends...
Track Name: I Feel a List Comin' On
I feel a list comin' on—
With so much beauty come and gone.
Yet there's still so much that's still so strong.
I feel a list comin' on.

And if I don't record this,
There'll be other things I'll miss,
As magic and mundane as my lover's kiss.
If I don't record this.

So...I saw the moon and a street light,
Each with its own piece of night.
I got them all mixed up, moon was so bright.
I saw the moon and a street light.

I slept in my clean white bed—
Head at the foot and feet at the head.
It was so soft with my limbs all spread.
I slept in my clean white bed.

I was naked (I should've said)
In that clean, wide, white bed,
Like you come in at birth and go out when you're dead.
I was naked (I should've said).

I watched the world wake up one day:
Bird's first cry and sun's first ray.
It made me jump in the sea and the salt and the spray.
I watched the world wake up one day.

I felt the air and I felt the sun
Make a strange mix that made them one:
My first sure sign that autumn had come.
I felt the air and I felt the sun.

I saw wisps of clouds way up high:
Pale pink and blue with palms nearby.
I had waited long, so they heard me sigh.
I saw wisps of clouds way up high.

Then...that very same Moon that played with the street light
Came through a crack in my curtain the next night.
She, naked as I, and my bed still white,
Sank into pink as the world woke up bright.
I felt the fresh air and up came the sun—
And for then and for there, my list was well done.
Track Name: I Saw the Moon Come Out
I saw the moon come out and I started singing about it:
I'll sing it out; I'll sing it loud.
Its perfect circle shape makes a hole through which I can pour
Complications now--they melt away somehow...

And they'll go now, and they'll go now
Like the leaves from the trees when the wind blows.

Gibran, he wrote and told me to not forget that the earth
Longs to feel my feet--soft, clean dirt beneath.
He told me, too, that the wind, it longs to play with my hair,
So I'll let it play and blow my cares away...

And they'll go now, and they'll go now
Like the leaves from the trees when the wind blows.

Ahmad:

Let the wind blow through your hair so
carelessly; feel the breeze on my bare toes.
I place them on the ground (this feelin's rare though):
Oxygen tellin' me to breath and let the air flow.
Let the wind go out the window
with all the problems, complications--let nothing know.
When life gets complex, keep it simple:
Multiple problems? Just keep them single.
Just play it out, live it out, stay dreamin'.
Take a rest, take a breath, start breathin':
Take a moment to appreciate your breathin'.
Don't look back; keep it movin' with the seasons.
Feel the fresh air all around ya;
Feel it slowly creepin' slowly to surround ya;
Defy gravity! Don't let it ground ya;
Bury all the issues--let them bloom like the flower.
Track Name: Lullaby
I've heard the cranes, seen sky curl from their wings,
and in the rain, heard every droplet ring.
But does it matter? It's only in my dreams--
a strange darkness that brings a stranger thing:

I know a strain of hope, a drunken offering,
a winter coat, beneath an early spring.
In spring...

She'll sing a lullaby for sons and daughters.
From lips it will fly to future fathers,
and hope will still ring.

When shadows come, eclipsing you and me,
blink out the sun, moon behind a tree,
beauty comes fractured; it comes painfully.
A disaster--but broken on a sea

you're spent better to hear the waves come carefully;
they're soft and near, and meant only for me.
For me...

She'll sing a lullaby for sons and daughters.
From lips it will fly to future fathers,
and hope will still ring.
Track Name: Four Letter Words
When I felt the wind today, I felt it cold, so cold.
It told what's old, Go away, come back someday
When fearless newness has broken from its mold.
Then we can stand here and say…

As long as there's movement to feel, there's newness.
As long as sunlight's shining bright, there's love in sight.
Four letter words always help us through this:
Love, Hope, or Time usually run through roughest day.

When that old bitch-goddess bays, our hearts grow cold, so cold.
Instead of breath, fur, and face, we get a waste
Of plastic trinkets to measure out our days;
We'll feel how much lightness weighs…

But as long as there's movement to feel, there's newness.
As long as sunlight's shining bright, there's love in sight.
Four letter words always help us through this:
Love, Hope, or Time usually run through roughest day.

I can't tell how this cold air's gonna break this
moment of greatness shapeless, then in a minute
this blue bright trumpet makes this thousands of faces.

I can't tell how this cold air's gonna break this
moment of greatness shapeless, then in a minute
this blue bright trumpet makes this a thousand little places.
Track Name: Crux and Complication
Here's to crux and complication,
to climax and all imperfection.
Their critical mass resolves us back
to that place where we sit
and stare in wonder at it all.