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Night Loops

by Jack O' The Clock

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Ten Fingers 07:40
The same ten fingers snake the cords as wormed around the first late night. remember: we couldn't find her, we thought she'd died. Nothing behind the black doorway but the deafening whir of the swamp. The same ten fingers thread the tape as knotted up the first late night remember: we couldn't find her, we searched the whole house. Gaze out on the beasts and insects The cuticles crack and blood comes. The same ten fingers flick the switch as shorted out the first late night Below the dull red eyes on the radio tower, dim lights swing low over eutrophic water. I've got the headphones on, the gains are high, the microphones are out the window – live air – The hands age quietly before you like dissolute older cousins. The same ten fingers print to tape as paw the filthy, teeming world. remember: there's no erasure and nothing heals. The fingers will do their own work whenever the swamp is burning.
Tom o' Bedlam, sleep in your vitrine Nights are long here and the days are lean. I'll be whistling in the stairwell, you will never leave your cell. Past the workhouse, lightly past the prison, I'll be whistling when the sun has risen. Tom, for better, Tom for worse, There's a penny in my purse. The moon came in between three and four, rolled across the gritty floor, bared its teeth like a carnivore and gnawed the knob off old Tom's door. Six of seven all the world forgets you, Come the Sabbath, the public eye besets you. Tom, for better, Tom for worse, There's a penny in my purse
Chicken Neck, was my life a dirty joke? I was stiff as a rod and then I broke, and I thank you for this shithole out behind the lumber yard that smells of sawdust, freezing rain and woodsmoke. If you think there’ll be justice in the end you’re an asshole, but it’s good to have a friend. You know I built that house with my own hands and she went and changed the locks. Semper Fi: on my brothers I depend. My lungs feel like a swamp I cannot breathe, I cannot move, but you can shove your hospital, I’m not going to improve. Come back tomorrow. No one’s faithful and no one’s immune. Light cigarette on the smoldering moon. That’s all right. We had a fire on the lake in the midwinter –the dogs were snapping at the sparks– when the girls were very young and kept overstepping the trembling armspan of the light. Won’t you go home to your family, Chicken Neck, and take your throne. Every thing I’ve ever finished in this life I’ve done alone. Come back tomorrow. We were stationed in some godforsaken slough. The Sargent caught a gator there somehow and he sat us down all in a line and he let that fucker go. At rope’s end it was inches from my brow. Don’t you let my fire go all rosy- rosy in your head, You’re not worthy of respect if you can’t speak ill of the dead. Come back tomorrow. No one’s faithful and no one’s immune. Light cigarette on the smoldering moon. That’s all right.
Flexing, little algorithm of life-stuff, almost not there but tapping, papery at the lampshade— yes, yes, yes—one wing singed at the tip probably, so you reiterate, compassing the problem, zeroing unawares, but in.
Fixture 05:38
I don't come home in daylight anymore but slip in while everyone is sleeping and steal a few bananas. When I have done this I've found the kitchen light left blazing, and all the streets snowed under. There’s something alive and very small clinging absently to the wall. It’s lived an age beyond its season, too old to move, to drunk to reason. Pour yourself another drink, climb up there astride the sink, hold the fixture, take a knife, scrape the dead bugs from the light. Any more the snow forecloses.
Furnace 01:11
Salt Moon 03:17
Down Below 04:31
Night slams shut on Concord, the poet's come undone. He hasn't written anything since burying his son. Easter waters fell on April but August brought a drought and a famished mind is screaming "time to get the shovel out." Come a need to know - take it down below. Jesus broadcasts sermons from a tower made of wood but we can't hear him when we dig for ore, the reception's not so good, and if you happen down a certain shaft, you may come upon a shrine. You will see and hear and do things but it doesn't leave the mine. It's a whole other show going on down below. The prison guards at Stanford to their arbitrary shame took one tiny dram of power and forgot it was a game. Like those sweating stiffs of Milgram's dumped their burden on the king, it takes so little to renege on absolutely everything. It takes a rock to say no and leave it down below. I'd leave today for Mecca if I thought I could complete the trip but the surface of the human landscape is like a moebius strip. God was hungry when he got here. He will be hungry when he leaves. That gaping hole will swallow anything a fever brain conceives. Don't know where else you're going to go except down below.
[Genesis 8-22] As long as the Earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.




Damon Waitkus - voice, guitar, hammer dulcimer, etc.
Emily Packard - violins, voice
Kate McLoughlin - bassoon, voice, recorder
Jason Hoopes - bass, voice
Jordan Glenn - drums / percussion, mallet percussion, voice


Bobby Akash - log drum
Art Elliot - pipe organ
Karl Evangelista - electric guitar
Ivor Holloway - tenor and soprano saxophones
Sarah Howe - voice
Josh Packard - cello
Jonathan Russell - bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, birdcalls
Eli Wise - vocals
Cory Wright - clarinet, baritone saxophone


released May 1, 2014

All songs by Damon Waitkus except tracks 2 and 4 by Hoopes/Waitkus,
track 5 by Glenn/Hoopes/Waitkus, and track 9 by Packard/Waitkus.

Produced, recorded, and mixed by Damon Waitkus in Oakland and Alameda CA, January 2011 through March 2014.

Field recordings by Damon Waitkus.

Thanks to Josh Campbell and Alee Karim for ideas on Ten Fingers and Down Below respectively.

Text for "As Long As the Earth Lasts" from Genesis 8:22.

Mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland CA.


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Jack O' The Clock Oakland, California

JACK O' THE CLOCK "presents a fine lesson on what it means to write songs that are at once approachable and human while simultaneously being incredibly profound in terms of timbre, depth of emotion, and harmonic complexity," Progulator.

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