Blind Spot

by Kathy Sparling

Released 2014
Kitchen Songs
Released 2014
Kitchen Songs
A jump rope rhyme and a ghost story meet by chance in a transit station, pick a forest trail by coin toss, duck out of the rain into a noisy bar, drink themselves dizzy, waltz back home by moonlight, revolt, burn the place down, repent, and end it there.
  • 03:09 Story Lyrics
    Blind Spot

    Any fool could see the risk of you,
    But you said it just like it was true,
    And I think sometimes you meant it too –
    That’s the sky that calls the ocean blue.
    With your gifts, your grifts, your telephone,
    Too chaste to kiss the Blarney Stone,
    Left your snakes all charmed entranced and prone,
    I, disarmed, left you alone,
    On that day I slipped into your blind spot and felt myself disappear.
    I could coast for a time alongside you; now only speed can bring me clear.
    This does not end here. This does not end here.
    Oh Diary, my diary dear,
    Today I felt a sudden fear:
    If we wait around to reappear,
    Will we notice as the end draws near?
    To sing you cry, to run you must walk,
    But we’re only running down the clock,
    Suspended here where time forgot,
    Without a trace, without a thought,
    Since that day I slipped into your blind spot and felt myself disappear.
    I could coast for a time alongside you; now only speed can bring me clear.
    This does not end here. This does not end here.
    This does not end here. This does not end here.

  • 03:06 Story Lyrics
    Fire Sale

    Everything here has to go.
    We've been condemned, as you of all people must know.
    It was risky carrying that torch.
    Leaving an open flame for a light on the porch.
    But oh, it was revelatory:
    I watched you jump to escape our second story.
    And as you were lifting the sash,
    I watched those blank pages lift then curl into ash.
    We'll have a fire sale: goods still warm to the touch.
    We're giving them away; maybe they never were worth very much.
    I was the kid with the book full of matches, trying to read in the dark.
    You came around with your flinty gaze, your uncontainable spark.          
    Still all that smoke caught me unaware,
    Blotting the sun, sucking the air.         
    Now it's lifting like mist,
    To reveal the sure hand of a serial arsonist.
    We'll have a fire sale: goods still warm to the touch.
    We're giving them away; maybe they never were worth very much.
    Oh the sweet smell of brimstone lingers here still; I'm lingering too.
    Sweeping and sifting through ashes, for some charred remembrance of you.
    Let’s have a fire sale: goods still warm to the touch.
    We're giving them away; maybe they never were worth very much.
    Clearing the space of repairs we can't face...

  • 04:35 Story Lyrics
    Dancing With Eleanor

    Can one white-hot moon rekindle the tune that died out too soon?
    Each turn in time winding back through our past.
    That old melody charms my wife back to my arms, safe there from harm.
    But melodies, like mem’ries, burn too fast…
    Maybe by moonlight, maybe under a ballroom chandelier.
    The first time I noticed how she outshone any light source near.
    And after each dip, I’d long for the rise,
    And easily lift the weight of our lives.
    It’s faded, but how this memory revives…
    These stacks of old Victors, and the still glossy black shellac.
    So brittle and fragile, but you can’t scratch the surface of a woman like that.
    It wasn’t a cakewalk, that’s for sure,
    But somehow I never stopped crossing that floor,   
    Always ready for more,
    More dancing with Eleanor, as her gown swept the floor.  
    Dancing with Eleanor, oh my arms never held more.
    So light on her feet, the light in her eyes –
    The small of her back, our larger than lives.      
    And it even survives
    The frozen smiles on our children, our grandchildren at play,
    When she asks so politely, “tell me whose sweet babies are they?”
    Those memories rest now in the old glass and Joy perfume.
    I unstop it sometimes and we glide joyfully around this room.
    She still knows the steps, still knows my name.
    Starts over each day; we’re always the same.
    And it should have been me, then I’d be happy to be
    Still dancing with Eleanor, her nightgown sweeps the floor.  
    Dancing with Eleanor, oh my arms never held more.
    So light on her feet, the light in her eyes –
    The small of her back, our larger than lives.      
    And it all still survives…

  • 03:14 Story Lyrics
    High Holy Days

    High Holy Days, we weather well.
    We wait to hear truths we can no longer tell.      
    We never put up a fight
    There are wrongs here to right
    And we’re mending our ways
    High holy days.
    Ring in the new, ring out the old!
    These secrets are bells, yet to be tolled.
    If we last through the week, our fates will be sealed
    Lives rewritten, revealed.
    Only now we may be paying        
    For all the things that went without saying.
    Words we never really meant,
    Inscribed and sealed and yet unsent.
    Relief, regret, repent…..
    High holy days, awake in the night,  
    Annulling our vows, awaiting first light.    
    Relieve these demands,   
    Lift it out of our hands,       
    Now the sun is ablaze         
    High holy days.         
    Ring out the old, ring in the new!    
    These secrets are knots, we can never undo.
    If we make one more year, maybe they’ll yield         
    Lives rewritten, revealed.

  • 05:10 Story Lyrics
    The Next Thing You Say

    I flipped a coin: one pockmarked penny as we’re calculating costs.
    Watching it fall I heard the call; it was heads you won and tails I lost.
    Thankfully it fell into a wishing well.
    As it sank I closed my eyes and wished I wished you well.
    But that’s no way to make a life decision, leaving everything to chance that way.
    So instead I’m going to stake everything on the next thing you say.
    Choose your words. Second thoughts this time would come too late.
    The coffee was unwise, still I can hold my tongue and I can wait.
    Now what’s the matter baby can’t you speak?
    Your eyes so full and brimming, do you think loose lips might spring a leak?
    And that’s one way to make a life decision, basing everything on signs along the way.     
    So, tonight, I’m basing everything on the next thing you say.
    I’m flipping one last coin: just a gambler’s habit still maybe you’d better choose.
    That graceful arc spells clearly this time: heads I win and tails you loose.
    Dismembering a daisy – one petal, one vote.
    Sweating through the clearing of the jury foreman’s throat.
    I’ll try to draw one more bated breath
    To find out if it’s life again, or if it’s finally death.
    It feels a lot like heartbreak either way,
    So I may as well pin everything on the next thing you say.

  • 03:49 Story Lyrics
    Whisper It

    First I lost sight, flying blind through the night,
    Silent circles, wearing a groove
    Then by the guiding light of your eyes
    I touched down just to watch your lips move
    They keep the volume up high so we don’t have to think of that drop from the sky,
    This brief dance on the brink, every mote, every eye, here then gone in a blink…
    Won’t you whisper it to me, your breath on my cheek
    Our senses grown sharper, the softer you speak
    Waves of sound pound around us, voices raised like a fist
    I won’t hear a word until you whisper it.
    Each time that we come here we say it’s the last time
    There must be some place we can talk.
    Your eyes speak such volumes, each word off the books,
    Turn it down, honey let’s take a walk.
    Outside the fog wraps us close, white noise as it drips, now they’re readying boats,
    As earth loosens its grip, and they’re praying they float, and you’re watching my lips…
    Let me whisper it to you, my voice soft and low
    The clamor in my heart you must already know.
    Flood waters surround us, voices drowned bit by bit.
    Lean closer to my lips, you won’t miss a word, when I whisper it.

  • 04:30 Story Lyrics
    If I Could Feel

    Is this the house, is that the yard? I don’t know when I stopped here last.
    I slow my steps, trace the hard won changes wrung from seasons past:
    That cyclone fence wove vines to keep it warm.
    That brand new coat of paint has turned its collar to the storm.
    My own coat barely flutters as the breeze blows kisses by the door.
    Guess we forgot to tell the wind that you don’t live here anymore.
    Okay I’ll stop pretending that I happened here by chance
    I came back on purpose just to watch those wind-blown curtains dance.
    If I could feel more than I do,
    Finally kneel before rising with you.
    Skin like a veil, pale light shining through,
    If I could feel, could you?
    These new people pick their battles well: white curtains wave from upstairs rooms.
    Signals from the chimney spell out treaties struck by brides and grooms.
    This cottage borrowed from a storybook speaks of bliss.
    This fortress taken from a fairytale tells only this:
    That Cinderella dressed in white
    Went upstairs to kiss goodnight
    By mistake she kissed a snake –
    How many hearts did that break?
    And how long must she lie, awake?
    The wind picks up where it left off, oh every coat at last wears thin.
    It rattles every little pane that kept me out, that kept me in.
    To tell you truly I expected worse.
    The ghosts here seem too stupefied to raise much of a curse.
    Impassive windows watch as I cross over to a world not mine.
    I breach the fence, disturb the ground, pin my coat up on the line.
    It’s cold but that’s the kind of thing that troubles all the real.
    I came back imperfect just to see if I could feel.

  • 02:48 Story Lyrics
    Go Outside and Play

    This spring we can’t be silent; we can’t stem the flow of words.
    Following the flocks in flight, drowning out the real live birds.
    Our children buzz around the hive to lose another day;
    I’ll leave them plugged in here and send myself to go outside and play…
    I know there’s an ebb and there’s a flow.
    These advances come and so we go:
    Dismantling the legacies of every passing age.
    Gripped by mass hysteria, smart mobs engulf the printed page.
    While old wheels of commerce spin their tales of new community,
    We’re waltzing through masked balls: quick rise, short falls, in anonymity.
    Performance all too artful -- now there’s no place left to hide,
    Only in those neighborhoods where it’s not safe to play outside.
    If you smash one loom they’ll only build two more.
    It’s better to be very clear just who the revolution’s for.
    And now I must fly away home.
    Our children are on fire, under house arrest, not home alone.
    Night is closing fast we can’t delay.
    Soon it will be dark, too dark to go outside and play.

  • 03:38 Story Lyrics
    Spin

    I’m airing this right off the bat:
    We met in the laundromat,
    Making change near where you sat,
    I tumbled and my head began to spin.
    In the eye of our magnetic storm,
    Against the glass, your uniform,
    Soap and cloth a cuneiform,
    Shifting shapes and shadows in the spin.
    I was still decoding, you were heading for the door,
    A glance over your shoulder, the engine’s roar, you took me for a spin.
    And now we know just how it feels,
    We’ve shaken off the mute appeals,
    We’ve taken off the safety wheels,
    We’re free to soar or fall in a tailspin.
    Dodging blades on helicopters,
    If we’re hurt we’ll see spin doctors,
    Shelter with dishonest proctors,
    Cheating death their grim scythes twist and spin.
    If we get too dizzy we’ll just turn the other cheek
    leave the earth to turning and inherit with the meek but that’s weak spin.
    Drain this glass darkly let’s begin.
    I close my eyes I see your face I spin…      
    Miss Spider did herself deceive,
    When first she practiced to believe
    A cunning and convincing weave,
    Now she’s tangled up in her own spin.
    But lately I just want to hold,
    The promise of a dream so bold,
    The straw that never will turn gold,
    However fast we spin.
    The score is next to nothing and no one’s in the lead.
    We’ll put it all on next and lose everything to greed one need one spin.
    Particles accelerate,
    Running just ahead of fate,
    A holy rolling running mate,
    While sainted sinners in their graves just spin.
    And we resort to subterfuge,
    Our tears a biblical deluge,
    Whole lives spent in a centrifuge,
    Souls separating cleanly while we spin.
    Round and round and round you find you’re turning like a top.
    It feels alright up until you notice you can’t stop, can’t stop the spin.
    The same again, this time I’ll take it on the chin
    Open my eyes, and see your face, and spin…
    The music throbs, the tables turn,
    The DJ sobs “they’ll never learn,”
    Her mobs approach a real slow burn,
    While records coolly spin.
    If I had not yet learned with you,
    To do those things I’d never do,
    I could promise to be true,
    Could maybe make it through one final spin.
    There’s one for the record books, the furtive looks, the dirty crooks,
    The cotton candy carousel chagrin – let’s make that sugar spin...

  • 04:11 Story Lyrics
    The Walk Back Home

    Lightening bugs blaze through the dim purple sky,
    Shadows gather like whispering friends.
    These woods smell like madness; the moon’s a far cry.
    We’ll follow it as the day ends.
    Now dinners are ready; they’re calling us in -- from each porch step a clarion tone.
    As bicycles set a course in the wind, we’ll get lost on the walk back home.
    Oh anyone can set out for a walk, it takes no time at all to pass down the block.
    Turning home, that’s when your bearings get loose and you question the route
    The turns multiply, and the dusk plays tricks on your eyes…
    Well it seemed a sure thing, so we stayed in the game
    And we placed those exuberant bets
    Till he set down his hand for call of the corner,
    Some air, oh yes, cigarettes.
    Now his dinner is ready; I’m calling them in, those wagers that he’d never roam –
    I’ve watched by this window all night so he must have got lost on the walk back home.
    Oh anyone can just walk away, it takes no time at all to leave for the day.
    Turning home, that’s when your bearings get loose and you question the route
    The turns multiply, and the dusk plays tricks on your eyes…
    Finally I found you my heart’s beaten path,
    My compass rose bearing true.
    Out on the hard roads we traded our ease
    For the beauty of soles wearing through.
    Years I’ve spent stacking the markers and painting these woods just to end here alone.
    You say you’re ready, they’re calling you in: we’re all just lost on the walk back home.
    Oh anyone could walk as I do, we all start the same, my journey’s not new.

  • 03:47 Story Lyrics
    Nine Times Out of Ten

    I’d always met disaster with flirtation,
    Til I pledged to share my love with only you.
    And to stand firm in the face of all temptation,
    And honey nine times out of ten you bet I do.
    Oh the wilderness draws close around our doorstep;
    Dark forest trails stretch farther with each day.
    Though wolves’ hypnotic howls might make me misstep,
    I turn nine times out of ten and walk away.
    Oh the tenth time, I’m only human.
    No I can’t lie and you’re nobody’s fool.
    For the tenth time, I’m not excusin’,
    But doesn’t the exception prove the rule?
    Now sweetheart, can’t we keep this in perspective?
    View the bigger picture here with me a while.
    Your teeth and tears turn out to be selective
    And nine times out of ten they’re crocodile.
    Let’s be careful slamming doors here in this glass house;
    If I were you I’d just set down those stones.
    Sometimes you glimpse an angel here among us,
    But nine times out of ten we’re flesh and bones.
    Oh the tenth time, I’m still just human.
    No I can’t lie and you’re nobody’s fool.
    For the tenth time, I’m not excusin’,
    Or claiming it’s a kindness to be cruel
    But don’t we need the flaw to know how real the jewel?
    And doesn’t the exception prove the rule?
    Don’t we find new grace forgiving once again?
    Oh I guess you do darling, Nine Times out of Ten.

  • 03:23 Story Lyrics
    Stranger Things

    One time in Manhattan, on vacation,
    I ran into my sister in a crowded subway station.
    I was visiting museums; she was headed for her job.
    Under cold fluorescents, we embraced there in the mob of strange civilians.
    Ridership that day: up in the millions.
    You can’t make up things like that; no one would believe it.
    We all want life’s little mysteries in service of a larger plan.
    Your rank and file coincidence, we can take or leave it,
    Awaiting signs that we are seen and known and count for something, while we can.
    I tell you all this only because anyone would think,
    If I hang around this place where you’ve been known to stop in for a drink…
    These familiar sidewalks are no teaming underground,
    Our town no cold metropolis, baby I know you’re around somewhere close by me
    I just stay still; soon enough you’ll find me.
    But we can’t make up life like that, no we can’t conceive it,
    Can’t belabor every mystery, lip service to a larger plan.
    Attending each coincidence, we’ll bear it and receive it,
    Still awaiting signs that we are seen and known,
    Not here alone, and count for something, while we can.
    And count for something, while we can.

  • 04:03 Story Lyrics
    Somewhere the Sky Is Blue

    Blanketing all of the earth like a shroud
    Soft sky of blue, not the hint of a cloud
    While the people beneath move from pleasure to pain,
    Face disappointment again and again.
    And it’s holding its breath braced for cruelty and fear,
    Helplessly knowing it only provides atmosphere….
    Somewhere the sky is blue,
    But not here, not today, not with you.
    We’ve got a cover of soft downy cloud,
    Thunder within and the rain drumming loud,
    While the wind howls then sighs out an old song made new,
    Somewhere the sky may be blue, but not over you.
    Now it’s cheering us on with that bright blue façade,
    Holding back tears like some grief-stricken god.
    Always streaming down sunshine, reflecting off lakes,
    Endlessly watching us make the same rookie mistakes.
    Now if you bore such witness here day after day,
    You’d be sad too, you might turn steely gray…
    Somewhere the sky is blue (etc.)
    I’d like to teach it to storm, and be done.
    Forget at the end of each day.
    I beg forgiveness for all that we’ve done.
    Think of centuries, watching the wreck, never looking away….
    Somewhere the sky is blue (etc.)

NOTES
Blind Spot, singer-songwriter Kathy Sparling's second studio release, features thirteen original "story songs," covering a range of styles and moods.

Highlights from this new release include:

* Fire Sale – The musical spirits of Tony Orlando and Amiee Mann meet and together find the phoenix-like fun in a fiery break-up! Featuring trumpeter Chris Grady.
* Dancing with Eleanor – in this tale, an elderly gentleman reflects on his long history with Eleanor; the shifting musical language reflects the changing “dance” of their lives. Featuring Dennis Finnegan on guitar, Chris Grady on trumpets, and Lila Sklar on violin.
* Spin – a driving, manic, drinking song, a Pretenders-drink-too-much-coffee-and-meet-at-the-circus kind of number, featuring star turns by horn player Ralph Carney, guitarist Steve Kirk.
* The Next Thing You Say – an intimate, contemplative meditation, caught forever in suspense, weaving between the melancholic strains of Dan Cantrell on pump organ and Cheap Suit Serenader Robert Armstrong on saw.
* High Holy Days – yes, those high holy days: the evocative language of the days of awe and repentance finds its way into an intimate pop song featuring the vocal harmonies of The House Jacks’ Austin Willacy.

This record was produced, aided, and abetted by the production team of Tim Rowe (drums) and Myles Boisen (guitar, bass, organ), assisted by a “How'd I get so lucky” lineup of bay area musicians.