Hairy Arms

by Maiden Name

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I’m starting a revolution no revenge, no hate Just laying down the bricks To steer my own family straight Invited my folks along, Turns that they were not able pray it won’t be long before they join us at the table wide open doors, Step across and toss yourself into what is The truth cuts, but that’s what you do to build a bridge I miss my mother she often shows up in my dreams Here’s hoping things are more hopeful than they’ve initially seemed We split like swords We shake the dust We didn’t abandon ship No, that ship abandoned us I had to escape from the family, As well, even you Hard to tell between the tar and glue That held us all together Instead of a part My body stayed and decided split with my heart Christmas will come around soon, there’s snow on the ground And a dull pain in my pocket, a heart tightly bound My freedom may be on the other side of grief I fear that my detachment will provide me relief I tried my hardest, I tried to mend it all I didn’t leave you, I didn’t leave you at all We split like swords We shake the dust We didn’t abandon ship No, that ship abandoned us
My father was a peaceful man I was collateral in his peaceful plan I was isaac, he were Abraham Except without the ram I was placed upon the alter to the god of calm and proper to the god of family secrets My father was a peaceful man Blessed are the peacemakers and those that uphold the status quo David’s daughter, Tamar was raped He was grieved, but he could not take Action against his favorite son, “Forgive and forget” “what’s done is done” What’s wrong with you that you can’t move on? Don’t take it to heart, dear one This family used to be so close, We want you here, and we want your mouth closed They say they want reconcile, Want me to entertain for a while The idea of putting it all in the past As though these things never had any impact They wanna sit down and “hear both sides” They wanna make sure I’m remmebering it right We need to guarantee that this won’t divide We have to make sure we’re hearing the rapist’s side
It’s not the assault itself, it’s something else it’s King David on the throne eating cake all by himself While I’m out here without help you’re sitting back in the sunbelt While I go through hell, no way to tell, if this will end well It’s not like you left, or laid a hand It’s more like Joab -- all the others stepped back at your command, It’s not what happened then, it’s all that’s in between It’s all the years, you made it clear, you’re not on my team. In the light of day, is where I’ll choose to stay Where I cannot pretend things have ever been any other way You offered me a room in that dark house with you Your shelter is a shadow, a room without a view I’d live there, but I don’t think I’d make it through It takes a lot of energy to blind yourself to the truth You erase the past that is Blind to all consequences, And then hold white knuckle tight to your precious pretenses You told my sister in a fit: “He just needs to get over this” So this is me getting over this, this is me getting over you. In the light of day, is where I’ll choose to stay where I cannot pretend things have ever been any other way Wish I’d seen some reaction Some sadness in your eyes When you found out what happened You say you don’t like him because he reminds you of someone An old boss that mistreated you once No use in listing the reasons you don’t like my eldest cousin When you could just say that bastard raped both my sons. But you’re bound by blood In the light of day, is where I’ll choose to stay Is where I’ll choose to stay, is where I’ll choose to stay.
I know I’ve been known to be indirect I come by honestly, possibly But it’s been a rough year Heart held in fear So if you follow me I’ll speak to you candidly I’ve been crying like my parents are dead to me. I mean, they're dead to me No funeral, just grief Hope is not the sort of thing I can see from the darker side of calvary Had an idea that I could write enough songs To pour out of me all that had gone wrong But the work of grief is oh-so thorough Turns out you can’t sing your way out of sorrow I’ve been angry, and I think that that’s okay mostly exhausted by the that things I don’t say thing with these family codes is that they don’t fade Silence is peace, it’s not great, but "it's okay" If I could put into words, what I know needs to be heard I'd just end up repeating, that same song that sinking feeling My dad is already balding, a step closer No balking on that heart halting day of departure I know the Lord will take him, fix him up good So we can walk hand in hand, like we both wished we could I will be sorry, on the day he dies But death is my hope, on the day that we’ll rise I know that he’s struggled his whole ragged life but I’m tired of being one of the ones to pay the price I could be a good son to my father or a good father to my son not sure how I feel about the choice but I know how I'll feel when I'm done
Florescent lights In the morning shined To show that you tried To manage, to be bright And I have to take time to remind myself why Myself that it’s not good enough We’ve all four agreed, that's not good enough What if you’re a Narnian statute No voice but to tribute the one who cursed you? And what if the only way to break through the only way to speak to you is to not to? only talk once your stone eyes soften? Is that the choice you’ve made but forgotten Is it really my decision It feels like it is and it feels it isn’t The force of your shame is a gale that cannot be tamed and now I know who's to blame, I should've changed and renounced my name I'm done with all this trying and plotting and hoping and failing, engaging, withdrawing not good enough -- it's not good enough we're set to self destruct.
We ate at the chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner this year exchanged gifts across the table, like a supervised parental visit we ate pizza, but only for an hour, you chose her over that other little boy I shut down like under a cold shower, and forced my gut to be underemployed And this is how things are ten-thousand miles between our homes and a distance longer between our hearts and this is how I’ve learned to live half of you lives in my heart, and the other half in central Arizona When I hold my daughter close, she runs her palms along my hairy arms reminds me of when I was a child, bike rides in Springtime, going on for miles You guided us through the land of Narnia all those hours sprawled out on the bed, I remember your tenderness the feel of your mustache on my forehead but this how things are ten-thousand miles between our homes and a distance longer between our hearts and this is how I’ve learned to live half of you lives in my heart and the other half in central Arizona
Shut it down, shut it down Keep the feelings underground Fearing if I dip a toe I’ll fall in and quickly drown On the verge of the wilderness Out of oppression, into nothingness Never got much tenderness From the ones I was placed with I went for years living in a glass house I break in just so I can smash out I was born with a phantom limb, and its been itching since day one Can I call it grief if I chose it? It’s an odd, yet reasonable notion I didn’t choose this family system Hearts too heavy to truly listen I don’t say that with a lick of blame It’s the rules of this unfair game You try your best, and then prepare To do your best at repair I just need an apology A promise you’ll be there for me Can’t spell out any clearer yet somehow we never seem to get nearer I’m not holding onto the past Just holding hope for the future That I can speak truth without being harrassed Hoping our family could be healthier I made collect calls, staring at the pavement and neither of you could afford to take them, your heart’s economy already spent on your own family, your own mind’s own lament In a certain way you came around for rent But collecitng from my heart never made a dent In the debt that you owed your own parents Stuck in your own, unknown defunct systems So that’s why I find that I’m singing these songs, Trying my best to not do my own kids wrong Trying to grieve when I can, not let it tie my hands To extend love to know my own children And I know that you loved me best you could But we need to move from ‘your best’ to ‘good’ Or at least halfway decent, so I can see that You’ll have my back like you should guess I’m just waiting on you don’t know what the hell else to do So I’ve grieved so I can move on But hoping this isn’t the end of our song
I own everything that happened, my own glasses, rose colored or mollasses no fear now that your spirits might be dampened It’s my story, all this of shit that has happened Pull on string, unravel a sweater knit it back together, for my mother Trying so hard to make it all better, Hide all these bruises, so as to protect her My hairy arms hide no lies, cannot deny my family ties No one lights a candlelight to place it under a bowl to hide Peace keeping is a tough business, it’s hideous, and somehow still a prerequisite For maintaining, and for not straining My randomly dealt hand of first relationships My fond memories bank is vacant Nostalgia's gone, it’s absence is blatant I only recall feeling slightly connected, vaguely related Mostly forsaken I've every reason to cling to a story composed of lovelier things but when the tide comes in who can choose what it is that it brings trying to hold back the truth that the body tells takes such energy tried to bury it into the ground, but it was buried in me My hairy arms hide no lies, cannot deny my family ties No one lights a candlelight to place it under a bowl to hide
Pry back the mechanisms And You’ll hear no transmissions Just an escape pod foraging forward Those ghost signals are better off ignored Just a jangling jar of crushed up bones My memories of home oriented my sights to where the stars do roam board up all the windows and unhook the phone I know we’ll make our rondavue under our headstones Two bowls full of whipped grief, Milked from two years of sleep, emerged slumberly from the deep Out the folds of lost sheep I slipped in without a peep, a promise I couldn’t keep Hid in a shadow of woe and stepped in my toes, and said hello to a home that couldn’t be beat I was swept away with no plans to stay and I was framed and saved, in such a way that was ended so bitter sweet But here we stand with confidently modest plans broke from the yoke of self-blinded eyes, and goat-furried hands broke free from the family that cannot see, or understand
And I recognized How ill you are; How completely loved Not far from the tree For years blossoming With racism and abuse This passed on to you From your fathers, too patterns break, patterns continue Jesus in your heart sin in your bones Forgiven and obtuse but we won’t come together, no won’t reconcile, ever, no but we won’t come together won’t reconcile, Never. til you’re ready Sullen and sorry No justice no peace No more family gatherings With these men I once believed who led us from the stream and let my abuser run free Broke the steps leaving the sanctuary… No way to call me back, I’m leaving Broken trust by my family No way to call me back, I’m leaving
We don’t create tension, we bring it to the surface stating plainly: this peace is a disservice a negative serene, undertow in the stream A well-oiled machine, rigidly following it’s routine Tried the best I could, tried to hold steadfast Hopes were brought up, then gone in a flash A stroll down negotiations’ path, I know things will turn back as they had been in the past far too fast Hammering nails into the casket, my hands are calloused head out to sea, to scatter those ashes so many decades of damage, don’t look back, there’s nothing left to be salvaged We can only back out now, not fixing a thing We can only wail out to the lord and sing It’s fucked up beyond repair, Drink down the despair I haven’t seen my parents in years Lord come down, off that cross, find all of us that are lost Aren’t there enough crucifixions going on And we’re still waiting for the coming of the dawn Who will worship you if all the innocents are gone? They say please, keep the peace and sweep their sins beneath the carpet of our history “can't you get back in line like the way God ordained it to be.” the idolatry of a false unity
Standing on the sidewalk of my childhood home I’m all alone and all I see is smoke I’ve narrowly escaped the flames And I hear my mother calling out my name So I reach out a hand to save But I just get burned again and again And as the flames grow and the house implodes And I’m standing on the sidewalk All alone, and I lose hope yeah, I lose hope hoping that I could be good enough to broker a deal That would heal the rift between us, that would mend and would heal But as I lose hope, I start to relax No longer trying to do the perfect thing That will win your love and bring you back Hope holds me captive, doesn’t allow me to grieve Holding onto threads doesn’t let me give up, doesn’t let you sleep But as I let go, I feel the relief I’ve never been so happy to sink into grief And I lose hope And I see my son and daughter, and how much the need me now How I can give them what I didn’t get, and love them better somehow And I can break this cycle, I can cut it off at the root No longer in and out, like the tides pull from the moon And I have hope


released January 7, 2018


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Maiden Name Portland, Oregon

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