Shoulder Seasons

by Joel P West

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Recorded in Golden Hill, 11/11

Strings on We'll Learn Them Soon:
Violin: Kelly Bennett
Viola: Travis Maril
Cello: Erica Erenyi


released November 24, 2011



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Joel P West San Diego, California

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Track Name: Desperate, Desperate
Doubt’s pullin’ me, pullin’ me
The way the moon is pullin’ on the sea
Too wide for these eyes to see
I only know it by the shifting seams

They break so fast
And run right back
To what they know

Rain’s comin’ down, comin’ down
On the windows that I’m staring out
A fear in my core longs for more
To be remembered or respected for

And at times I’d take
Any break
Because a man alone is desperate to be great

The white kettle sings out in heat
To where you’re waiting in the tangled sheets
There’s nowhere to be so we sleep
And we steep and you press into me

And I brood and curse
My selfish words
Because a man in love is desperate to be good
Track Name: Ocotillo
There’s color in the brush
In Florida canyon flush with the gifts of spring
Which means a year ago
We slept out in a fold
Of the Pinyon Peaks

The desert rain will bring
The ocotillo sleeves of green again
But me I cannot wait
I’ve only learned to take
And I’m led by greed
So I am never free

I don’t know what taught my blood
This vain entitlement
While the cactus survives just by the dew
And in truth I am mostly water too

My head is full of dreams
Where a tired beggar speaks
In a calm farewell
I know it’s only me
But I listen carefully
As I tell myself

Son you’re young
You’re a raw onion
Spoiled rotten please
Don’t lie to me

He says it’s all in your hands
And you have to hurt someone
To understand

That love is only grace
You’ll know you’re wise when you awake with thanks
Searching for her face
Track Name: Shoulder Seasons
Even these trees
Are huddled tightly in the sharpness of the morning
Wearing nothing but some rotten apples on their sun-starved arms

Small underneath
A wall of grey that hardly lets the daylight to me
And no sound
But my mouth
So loud

An early freeze
Instills in me the wishful dreams of what else could be
Because the vivid ghosts of once before come when our bellies growl

But when I see
The stubborn earth is far more gracious than it could be
I breathe deep and howl

If the cold air made our bodies shake
How could we say the morning was a waste
Sometimes the shoulder seasons fill us more than what we’re waiting for

Cause without warning
We’ll find the new spring
We’ll point the car east
In search of new things
And in the soft heat
We’ll find an oak tree
You’ll find a soft spot
And lay beside me

And under young leaves glowing in the sun
We will agree these moments are enough
I'll admit that times are harder now
But I swear I’ll never turn them down
Like the seabird hovering in flight
If I am sustained, then I am alive
Track Name: St. Helens
Silence came
More suddenly than we’d expected after such a rain
And broken only by our footsteps in the soggy day

With hands drawn in
By the lakeside walking slowly from his monument
With the sky in street clothes passing us its sentiments

Oh those moments passed
Before we saw how long they’d draw us right back

The claims we make
When the mountain range is made and yet still being made
And the color of the sky will never be the same

Just look at me
Choking up at just the smell of all these evergreens
Though I’ve tried I cannot fight how much they mean to me

So this mirror shows
We’re made without a say in how the days pull
Track Name: We'll Learn Them Soon
On my shelf
Your letter’s printed out on the back of something else
From across the room I felt it’s bite
It kept me up all night

If time’s gonna be enough now to make everything right
Or if we just can’t make up
The space that waits between us

Then the dawn arrived loud and hot
Though the night had passed
The pain had not

Cass McCombs
Plays again from speakers I plugged into my phone
It hasn’t rung since I’ve been home and so
The tension still hangs low

Something broke
Split apart by words never spoken all this time
Silence isn’t nothing
The air it still weighs something

From the start I tried to find what’s right
But the passing years have blurred the lines
So there’s doubts about your role and mine
Just another void to miss him by

We are young
But I'm learning we're not promised clean lines in years to come
Only scars with softer skin to show
We know that we don’t know

And so my hope
For both of us is only to gain with every day
Grace for any difference
And thanks for any closeness

I know the colors all went out on you
In that sterile hostile awful room
And though always volatile and new
I hope with all I have we’ll learn them soon