Drawn Onward

by Jordan O'Jordan

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The gravity of friendships. The inertia of your endeavors. Here's to our inverse-squared lives.


released September 1, 2011

Jordan O'Jordan: vocals, banjo, percussion
Bob Schwenkler: Effects

Recorded and mixed Bob Schwenkler.
Mastered by Mel Dettmer.



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Jordan O'Jordan Seattle, Washington

These are the sounds that we use to woo water. Issuing forth from some human or other (i.e. Hydrogen bonding; banjo- and heart-strings).

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Track Name: Clouds Swirled
I was moved by a song. I can tell you how it happened: I saw the whole world opened. Clouds swirled around, not above me, but within. And their motion prickled my skin.
Track Name: Bryn
Bryn, how shall our love begin? Arriving by good fortune, due to the errant mention of a clever yellow vine. But never had I thought that tendril-heart might me entwine, and wrap around my brain, encase me in a thought-cocoon. But there I planned to dwell, and make this shell a hallowed hall. But Bryn, when pleasures seem far-flung, and pressures quick are mounting, persistence is astounding in the way it guides us forth and steels our shaky steps and quick-corrects our curving course. But one must bear in mind, it’s quite inclined to warp our worth—such that our time investments make us less allowed to fail. So Bryn, how shall we venture on? Though steep it seems our slope is, I know our only hope is to continue hand in hand. And with this mutual grip, I feel equipped to scale this road. Regardless of the heights or caustic sights where it may lead. Though in bad dreams I tossed; I thought I’d lost you, arm and all.
Track Name: Pink Peony Flower
I thought my heart was a bloom of a pink peony flower, in your East-facing room. And I said, “O! My friend, you look fetching in suspenders!” And you told me the story about the recent trend where people would stop by with Mason jars of greenery, and you’d sit and stare at stars, drinking holy basil tea. I arrived uninvited, but demanding your attention, with designs beneath my eyelids and a mind of expectations. And you graciously obliged, dropped dried nettles in a jar, boiled water, gave good banter, and dispatched my every care. But, alas, there’s no water that stands still upon dry land--once transformed into a vapor, it’s as slippery as the wind. And while heat may fuel infusion, a solution such as this leaves a tingle-taunted tongue, and a breeze-blown farewell kiss. But I’m sad, I thought my heart was a bloom of a pink peony flower, in your East-facing room.
Track Name: Auckland Sky Tower
Now’s there’s nothing that’s quite so peaceful as the two of us just watching people gamble in the Sky Tower, in Auckland city, after hours. So we stand discussing silly things, like the neural role of dopamine and the need for all us human beings to find the patterns hid in everything. But despite the lights that flash above the Keno and the craps, and the way the dealers dance behind their cards at hands of blackjack, with the two of us both knowing in seven hours I’m headed back. Still we stay to bet emotion—that’s the most amazing trick. Like the day we drove to Bethels Beach, climbed a cliff and sat atop a tree, watched the waves and wonder at the sea, “Is it deep or shallow? Blue or Green?” But the sun set sooner than we planned, so we stayed and sat upon the sand, ate a picnic dinner in a cove, watched the full moon rise right up above. But this rumble-roar is some sure sign the tide is coming in, and a billion clockwork bugs are biting burrows in my skin. Still it seems that I can’t stand or stretch my legs to walk or run. And this path I planned to lead now seems to be a silly one. So we hopped a fence and headed South, toward the waiting Whanganui’s mouth, and our sleep was filled with delta dreams from our memory’s tributary streams—like the night we spent in Kowhai Park sharing stories in the shimmering dark, weaving words of love both false and true on a slide inside a woman’s shoe. But these Mother Goose constructions they’re all made of fiberglass. And this telltale fairy forest--they all offer slight release. But if we did kiss this minute, we could break a witch’s spell. But regardless of this, Pumpkin, I can’t keep you very well. So we spent a sunny afternoon in a odorous alchemist’s room—scented candles and these French perfumes smelled like stars and nearly made us swoon. We felt like rakes and libertines, spent our pennies on these pretty things. We rationed out such grand expense, citing “Modern need for Modern scents!” But these fragrant trails are bells that ring and summon up new dreams with citrus peel and rose and jasmine, musk and ambergris, and vetiver assurance seems to blossom from your skin. And these hands that clasp in friendship, well they’ll surely meet again. So I offer you a parting bow, with three gallant words: “Farewell, for now.” And a knowing sadness sparks the air with unspoken hope—somehow, somewhere we’ll come across each other soon. Or if not, we’ll both remember when we did chance to meet and then to conjure a score of small and sweet adventures. But I’m never one to leave without first offering a treat, so I’m quick to scribble lines upon the back of this old bank receipt, and I place it in your palm and say, “It’s an atlas of the clouds between here and Old Seattle. Feel free to follow where in leads.”
Track Name: Lever, Leave Here
Evening time: up and down again. And I have even tried waving with my hands. But darling, leaving is so hard you know; it’s leaving that’s so hard. Hark! What is that sound I’m softly hearing in one ear? Is that a siren inviting simple sailors near? Or else it’s tinnitus, I fear—my sailor-self has been deafened, dear. Too long we’ve dealt with the din, and again we’re exposing ourselves to the sound of status quo insistence. But no, no, no! Hey, I’m fine. Yes, I’m fine. No, I’m serious, I swear. I make a mission of finding fineness anywhere. And yet, there’s still effort in this active extraction of happiness: to taste the sweet in the sour. But now you’re about to be faced with your serotonin-glass half empty. But how did this occur? Did I return against my will? I see myself as a person who has substance, still it’s not what I thought it would be—there’s not escaping this gravity, this weird attraction of mass in the form of the past, that is made from the present, which seems never-ending.
Track Name: Mountain Lullaby
When I sleep, I am a mountain of stone. And trees trickle down my spine and tickle my rock brain, to cause a golden vein to form, just like a dream in my mind. And there are flowers that bloom from the tips of my fingers, and soon I will be completely covered in a soft fur of those flowers. And when I dream, I am a forest gone green—the leaves weave ‘round my sides like sequins on strings, to catch the golden beams that flow like brilliant streams from your eyes. And there are thousands of birds, making pretty little nests on my arms. And I hold them up the best I can, by joining hands with my close friends: this forest clan. And when I wake, I am an antler in Spring: a bone grown from my skull, draped in velveteen. A heart of wooden grain, and polished amber stone for my hide. And on this antler-bough-branch, I shall hang the harvest moon for my watch, so I’ll know the seasons as they pass, with dreamlike grace, by the forms that I find on my watch-moon face.
Track Name: Sweet William and Lady Margaret
Sweet William awoke one May morning, and dressed himself in blue. We want you to tell us something about the long love between Lady Margaret and you. Now, I know nothin’ of Lady Margaret’s love; I know she don’t love me. But tomorrow morning, at 8 AM, Lady Margaret my bride shall see. Now, Lady Margaret stood in her own hall door, a’combing down her hair. She saw Sweet William come a’riding by, bringing his new love near. She first threw down her ivory comb, she tied up her long yellow hair, then out of that hall went that Lady gay, to never return any more. It was late that night, when William was in bed, and most all men was asleep. Lady Margaret’s ghost came to Sweet William’s side, and stood at his own bedfeet. She asked, “Now, how do you like your snow-white pillow? How do you like your sheet? And how do you like that new-found Bride, who’s a’lying in your arms asleep?” And he said, “Very well, now, very well do I like my pillow. Better do I like my sheet. But the best one of all is the pretty little girl, whose a’standing at my own bedfeet.” Now early next morning, when William awoke, and most all men was at work, Sweet William said he was troubled in his head by the dreams that he dreamed last night: “Such dreams, such dreams I do not like! Such dreams they are no good! I dreamed that my hall was filled with wild swine and Lady Margaret was drowning in blood.” So he called his comrades to his side and numbered them One, Two, Three: “And the last one of you, go and tell my bride Lady Margaret I’ve gone to see.” So William rode till he came to Lady Margaret’s door, he pulled all on the ring. Now there was none so ready as Lady Margaret’s brother to rise and let him in. And William asked, “Now is she in the garden? Or is she in the hall? Or is she in the upper parlor, among them ladies all?” And Margaret’s brother replied, “She neither is the garden, nor yet unto the hall, but yonder she lies in her cold coffin with her pale face turned to the wall.” And William cried, “Now, turn down, turn down them ivory sheets, made of linen, so fine! And let me kiss them cold-clay lips, which so often did kiss mine.” So William kissed her on her lily-white cheek, and he kissed her on her chin, and he kissed her on her cold-clay lips and his heart was crushed right in. Lady Margaret was buried in the old churchyard, Sweet William was laid a’nigh her. And out of her grave grew a red, red rose, and out of his—a briar. They grew and they grew up the old church tower, till they could grow no higher. They grew and they twined in a true-lover’s knot—the red rose around the briar.
Track Name: Dangers, Egos, Faults
Well, they tried hard to scare us with some threat of some virus that had killed scores before we were born to bear witness. And I said, “Hey, man, that’s fine, but it’s not where I’m living. I’ve been safely residing here, inside of this synonym. It’s a similar meaning, but a whole different question that I’ve been asking and asking and asking and asking,” And your life got much harder when your dreams were bombarded by those pictures of people flaunting fame that they’d garnered. And you said, “Hey, man, I’m nice and I’m cute and I’m diligent. But some people I meet greet my smile with ambivalence. It’s my right to be liked in almost every instance…well now is it or isn’t it or is it or isn’t it?” And a fella might make a mistake in not knowing, or by flying full-force in the face of his feelings, or by taking the side of his bird-bruising window, or by wasting the time of a group of his friends. So I’ll keep trying to define it till I get some sense of all these fears of the intimate that appear in the pit of it.
Track Name: Introducing the Scientific Method
1. 1. Ready, gather: Datum
2. 2. Compile: Data
3. 3. Question your results: Is there some pattern?
4. 4. Analyze: And there’s a pattern!
5. 5. Discuss: And there’s a pattern.
6. 6. Re-analyze: And there’s a pattern.
7. 7. What do you have: Conclusion.
8. 8. Amend.
Track Name: Silver Dagger
Don’t sing love songs, you’ll wake my mother. She’s sleeping here, right by my side. And in her right hand, a silver dagger--she says that I can’t be your bride. “All men are false,” so says my mother. “They’ll tell you wicked loving lies. And the very next evening they’ll court another—leave you alone to pine and sigh.” My daddy is a handsome devil. He’s got a chain five miles long. And on each link a heart does dangle of another maid he’s loved and wronged. So go court another tender maiden, in hopes that she will be your wife. Cause I’ve been warned, and I’ve decided to sleep alone all of my life.
Track Name: Pinecones
Now, I can’t admit to a singular purpose for pinecones, for peacoats, for pens that I purchase. They’ll all keep me warm in their ways, keep alighting, keep sharing the storm in these stories I’m writing. But I hear it rains when it pours, and it’s coming on down. But I can tell by your looks. I can tell by your shelf full of books that it’s just absolutes. It’s just fuel in your schooling pursuits. But there’s mud on your boots and it’s tracking around. But I should be more honest in describing these times that keep falling upon us: our crimes weren’t egregious and our end results gave neither famine nor surplus. The worst, though superlative, babe, ain’t quite bad as it sounds. I said, “The worst, though superlative, babe, ain’t quite bad as it sounds.”
Track Name: Winter Solstice
Can you thus imagine us: slipping sideways through the snow. Leaving trails like rails, interpretation always seems to melt so slow. Wondering just how far and fast these bodies and these sleds can safely go? And if anyone’s around? Dear, there is no one around. Then we’re trudging, barely budging, through the neighbor-lady’s yard. Leaving marks with muddy boots inside the snow, it seems this sod is scarred. Can you tell me when did covering your tracks become so awful hard? With nobody else around, just this slippery double-agent: Muddy Ground. Dusk is nearing, and the steering wheel is frosty to the touch. Water melting off my boot sends my foot slipping from the clutch. But despite this chilly wind, my friend, my cheeks have heated far too much for these feelings to be chance, so I steal a sidelong glance. The heater’s blasting, a puddle fastly-forming ‘neath your thawing cuff. The moon it shines; a thousand pines reflect its light from on the bluff. As we pull up to your house, a silver icicle breaks off your roof—hits the ground and splits apart. Falling is a dying art. Halfway home, remembrance revealed you had left your hat alone in a field. White hat, white-out, wild winter seed. White hat, White hat, why have you now gone away? Could it be that you got cross and couldn’t stay. Lonely are the days stuck inside when weather’s bad. Snow is so appropriate for hiding winter garb. Now let’s kiss. Just stand like this: put your mitten in my glove. As these flakes of snow come down, silent from the sky above. With a twinkle in my eye and wrinkled nose, I give your chest a shove. Stumble backwards into white. I hope we take this tumble right.
Track Name: Teal Suede Travelin' Shoes
“It’s six short hours in the car,” he said. And I did gladly go with him, past plateaus spiked with snow so grim--my sleeping bag and his sister’s van. Oh, Harrisburg! You’re a memory now. Your Susquehanna slowed me down. Your springtime leaves, once fresh and green, have turned to gold, then dusty brown. The north is ice and Syracuse: a salty truck and a drafty house, a phone call filled with family news, and my new teal suede travelin’ shoes. Now some roads go and double back. And some roads end in cul-de-sacs. And some roads make the whole car shake. But some roads make your life less bleak. Oh, you’ve got me. Oh, the Road, you’ve got me.