Castaways And Cutouts

by The Decemberists

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credits

released 06 May 2003

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Track Name: Leslie Anne Levine
My name is Leslie Ann Levine. My mother birthed me down a dry ravine.
My mother birthed me far too soon. Born at nine and dead at noon.

Fifteen years gone now, I still wander this parapet and shake my rattle bone. Fifteen years gone now, I still cling to the petticoats of the girl who died with me.

On the roofs above the streets, the only love I've known is a chimney sweep lost and lodged inside a flue back in eighteen forty-two.

Fifteen years gone now, I still wail from these catacombs and curse my mother's name. Fifteen years gone now, still a wastrel mesallied has brought this fate on me.

My name is Leslie Ann Levine and I've got no one left to mourn for me.
My body lies inside its grave in a ditch not far away.

Fifteen years gone now, I still wander this parapet and shake my rattle bone. Fifteen years gone now, I still cling to the petticoats of the girl who died with me.
Track Name: Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect
And here I dreamt I was a soldier and I marched the streets of Birkenau and I recall in spring the perfume that the air would bring to the indolent town. Here the barkers call the moon down. The carnival was ringing loudly now. And just to lie with you, there's nothing that I wouldn't do save lay my rifle down.

And try one, try two, guess it always comes down to all right okay guess it's better to turn this way.

And I am nothing of a builder, but here I dreamt I was an architect and I built this balustrade to keep you home, to keep you safe from the outside world. But the angles and the corners (even though my work is unparalelled) never seemed to meet, the structure fell about our feet and we were free to go.

And try one, try two, guess it always comes down to all right okay guess it's better to turn this way.

Here in Spain I am a Spaniard. I will be buried with my marionettes. Countess and courtesan have fallen 'neath my tender hand when their husbands were not around. But you, my soiled teenage girlfriend, while you furrow like a lioness, we are vagabonds, we travel without seatbelts on, we live this close to death.

And try one, try two, guess it always comes down to all right okay guess it's better to turn this way.
Track Name: July, July!
There is a road that meets the road that goes to my house and how the green grows there. And we got special boots to beat the path to my house and it's careful, and it's careful when I'm there.

And I say your uncle was a crooked French Canadian and he was gutshot running gin and how his guts were all suspended in his fingers and how he held 'em, how he held 'em, held 'em in

And the water rolls down the drain. The water rolls down the drain. O, what a lonely thing! In a lonely drain!

July, July, July never seemed so strange.

This is the story of the road that goes to my house and what ghosts do there remain. And all the troughs that run the length and breadth of my house and the chickens, how they rattle chicken chains.

And we'll remember this when we are old and ancient, though the specifics might be vague. And I'll say your camisole was a sprightly light magenta when in fact it was a nappy bluish gray.

And the water rolls down the drain. The blood rolls down the drain. O, what a lonely thing! In a blood red drain.

July, July, July never seemed so strange.
Track Name: A Cautionary Song
There's a place your mother goes when everybody else is soundly sleeping, through the lights of Beacon Street and if you listen you can hear her weeping. She's weeping because the gentlemen are calling and the snow is softly falling on her petticoats and she's standing in the harbour and she's waiting for the sailors in the jolly boat. See how they approach.

With dirty hands and trousers torn they grapple 'til she's safe within their keeping. A gag is placed between her lips to keep her sorry tongue from any speaking or screaming. And they row her out to packets where the sailors' sorry racket calls for maidenhead and she's scarce above the gunwales when her clothes fall to a bundle and she's laid in bed on the upper deck.

And so she goes from ship to ship, her ankles clasped, her arms so rudely pinioned, 'til at last she's satisfied the lost of the marina's teeming minions (in their opinion). And they tell her not to say a thing to cousin, kindred, kith, or kin or she'll end up dead. And they throw her thirty dollars and return her to the habor where she goes to bed. And this is how you're fed.

So be kind to your mother, though she may seem an awful bother and the next time she tries to feed you collard greens remember what she does when you're asleep.
Track Name: Odalisque
They've come to find you, Odalisque, as the light dies terribly. On a fire escape you walk, all rare and resolved to drop.

And when they find you, Odalisque, they will rend you horribly stitch from stitch 'til all your linen limbs will fall.

Lazy lady had a baby girl and a sweet sound it made. Raised on pradies, peanut shells and dirt in the railroad cul-de-sac.

And what do we with 10 baby shoes, a kit bag full of marbles and a broken billiard cue? What do we do?

Fifteen stitches will mend those britches right and then rip them down again. Sapling switches will rend those rags all right. What a sweet sound it makes.

And what do we do with 10 dirty Jews, a thirty-ought full of rock salt and a warm afternoon? What do we do?

Lay your belly under mine. Naked under me. Such a filthy dimming shine, the way you kick and scream.

And what do we do with ten baby shoes, a kit bag full of marbles, and a broken billiard cue? What do we do?

Lazy lady had a baby girl and a sweet sound it made.
Track Name: Cocoon
This cocoon, caught in Vesuvius' shadow. Only the ashes remain. And I waited there for you. Why couldn't you? Here we lie, waiting for something to startle, to shake us from gravity's pull. And so the sleeping hours are through. What can we do?

The tainted election, the low dirty war, it happened before you came to.
But this is solution, and this is amends. The joke always tends to come true. But there on your windowsill over the unmoving platoon, written in paperback: the key to the quarterback's room under waning moon.

This quiet serves only to hide you, provide you, what I knew: it'd come back to you.

Take this palm, follow the lines here are written and script out the rest of your life and feel your fingers falling slack and all folding back.

The sorry conclusion, the hole in the sky, command what is tried, what is true. But without solution, with feet on the ground, it won't make a sound 'til you're through. So loosen your shoulder blades. This is your hour to make do. Because there on the timberline deep cold November shines through, soft and absolute.
Track Name: Grace Cathedral Hill
Grace cathedral hill, all wrapped in bones of setting sun, all dust and stone and moribund. I paid twenty-five cents to light a little white candle for a New Year's Day. I sat and watched it burn away then turned and weaved through slow decay. We were both a little hungry so we went to get a hot dog down the Hyde St. Pier. The light was slight and disappeared. The air, it stunk of fish and beer. We heard a superman trumpet play the National Anthem.

And the world may be long for you, but he'll never belong to you. But on a motorbike, when all the city lights blind your eyes, are you feeling better now?

Some way to greet the year: your eyes all bright and brimmed with tears. The pilgrims, pills and tourists here all sing "Fifty-three bucks to buy a brand new halo." I'm sweet on a green-eyed girl, all fiery Irish clip and curl, all brine and piss and vinegar. I paid twenty-five cents to light a little white candle.

And the world may be long for you, but he'll never belong to you. But on a motorbike, when all the city lights blind your eyes, are you feeling better now?
Track Name: The Legionnaire's Lament
I'm a legionnaire, camel in disrepair, hoping for a Frigidaire to come passing by. I am on reprieve, lacking my joie de vivre, missing my gay Paree in this desert dry. And I wrote my girl, told her I would not return, I've terribly taken a turn for the worst now, I fear. It's been a year or more
since they shipped me to this foreign shore, fighting in a foreign war, so far away from my home.

If only some rain would fall on the houses and the boulevards and the sidewalk bagatelles (it's like a dream). With the roar of cars and the lolling of the cafe bars and the sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine.
Lord I don't know if I'll ever be back again.

Medicating in the sun with pinch doses of laudanum, longing for the old fecundity of my homeland. Curses to this mirage! A bottle of ancient shiraz! The smattering of distant applause is ringing in my poor ears. On the old left bank, my baby in a charabanc, riding up the width and length
of the Champs Elysee.
Track Name: Clementine
You slept in your overalls, after the wrecking ball bereft you of house and home and left you with sweet fuck-all so we got in your car with our kickabout hearts and we hollared out 'Sweet Clementine.'

Tell your mom to marry us, a candle to carry us. With cans on our bicycle fenders. So sweet and hilarious. And we'll find us a home built of packaging foam that will be there 'til after we die.

And I'll play the clarinet. Use clamshells for castanets. We play with our bags on our shoulders, my sweet lady lioness. And I watch as you sleep
so indelibly deep and I hum to you 'Sweet Clementine.'
Track Name: California One / Youth And Beauty Brigade
Take a long drive with me on California One. And the road a-winding goes from golden gate to roaring cliff-side and the light is softly low as our hearts become sweetly untied beneath the sun of California One.

Take a long dram with me of California wine. And the wine it tastes so sweet as we lay our eyes to wander and the sky it stretches deep. Will we rest our heads to slumber beneath the vines of California wine? Beneath the sun of California One.

Annabelle lies, sleeps with quiet eyes on this sea-drift sun. What can you do? And if I said, O it's in your head on this sea-drift sun. What can you do?

We're calling all bed-wetters and ambulance chasers. Poor pick-pockets, bring 'em in. Come join the Youth and Beauty Brigade.

We're lining up the light-loafer'd and the bored bench warmers. Castaways and cutouts, fill it up. Come join the Youth and Beauty Brigade. Nothing will stand in our way.

I figured I had paid my debt to society by paying my overdue fines at the Multnomah County Library. At the library, they said "Son, go join up.
Go join the Youth and Beauty Brigade."

Nothing will stand in our way.