Schroedinger's Cat

by Johnny High Ground

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1.
(No lyrics here—it’s an instrumental. Sort of.)
2.
04:08
The empty line buzzes like an insect. I’m well aware of what you expect, but I’m in distress, frozen in the spotlight of your stare. I try to speak, but it’s not easy; I’m worse than stupid with what means most to me. And I know, deep down, I owe you an answer that I’m here to offer. But every time I open my mouth, nothing comes out. Now my head is flailing and words are failing me, selling me out again. I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know where this will end. You ask your questions, perfectly justified; your demands are sensible. But still, I’m immobilized, perfectly tongue-tied, slave to the brutally rational. I try to explain, but it’s not easy. I’m less than eloquent with what means most to me. And I know so well you wait for this answer that I’d like to offer. But every time I open my mouth, nothing comes out.
3.
04:27
Across the quiet street in this quiet town, they finally tore that old, decrepit supermarket down. The screeching music of machinery was calling I stood amid the dust and laughed to watch that building falling. A giant metal arm reached down, tore a huge support beam out, and shook its prize above the mess triumphantly. And I saw without a doubt how we build to tear our buildings down. So it’s always been, so ever it will be. And I can’t think of the buildings left in front of me or left behind. Nothing more than the voyage of discovery this time. And now I’m racing with strange urgency, drawn by some emergency through undiscovered, undistinguished, and unnoticed country, blazing down the road before me, agent of immediacy, hoping that this inauspicious sendoff doesn’t mean the end of me. The coast is calling, ready or not, I’m hoping for deliverance with each ounce of strength I’ve got. Leaving the city’s din, I smell California on the wind, but there’s a thousand miles to go before I stop. The road is singing its lullabye. The pale synthetic moonlight pokes the huge, impassive sky. The cars are dancing in a line through the bare expanses, all keeping time to steel lightposts flashing by.
4.
04:24
You hope and pray and always say you don’t believe in these “futile gestures.” But, in the dark at night, I know you know you do. This doubt is everything to you— your very own religion. Take a look at yourself; you know it’s true. But every time that we sit down it seems you’ve got the higher ground and every word I try to say won’t leave my mouth. So take your time; I’m paralyzed. I’m going nowhere. I’ll be right here when you come home, right here waiting this time. I’m paralyzed. We’re getting nowhere. I’ll be right here when you come home, right here all alone. Call it a masochistic streak; I know my position’s a little weak: an atheist misologist versus a shameless idealist. But still we go around again, hoping this time we both might win, but we can’t even agree on what we’re fighting for. It’s getting late again, and once again we’re stuck in nowhere. It’s past time to turn and walk and never look behind. But I’m not the kind to walk away, even with the battle over; I’m stumped, but still hanging around. And every time that we sit down you know you’ve got the higher ground, and so I sit here like a fool and write it down.
5.
Here we are with the world at our feet now, thinking that we know it so well. Here we are with a smile for the preacher and buck for the beggar ringing on the mission bell. Here we are with the world in between us and our eyes screwed up tight. Here we are, looking, mute, at one another. We’re wondering if we can make it right. Oh lord, we’ll never get it right. It’s the power of the consequence, the iron chains of circumstance, the quiet call of independence— I don’t hear a thing. So when you get right down to the meaning, there’s no meaning there at all. And when you lie awake in the candlelight I know you hear me calling. So you hope for the worst for your enemies, and you hope for the best for your friends. And then you learn one day that it’s hopeless, and that’s where the story ends. You know one day the story ends.
6.
04:10
It started innocently, nothing but bliss before me, but it got ugly in a hurry and I got worried. Not just a trophy you were looking for, but something more: a still-life image at no matter what the cost to me. I never asked to be a showpiece on your mantletop. Now I can’t get up. You’re pressing down, trying to force a fit, and I’m just trying to break free. So stuff me tight and sew me up, my taxidermy love. It’s not enough to gild the cage that locks me up, my taxidermy love. It’s not enough. And now I’m frozen, finally. This sawdust fill defines me, screaming in silence in your prison of childish visions. You bind my arms back to the breaking point, and all the while, you smile, not noticing the tearing, rending, breaking bones. I never asked to be the highlight of your gallery. Now I can’t break free. So, are you happy with your little prize? These glassy eyes look terrified, but you glow with pride for what you’ve done to me.

credits

released June 11, 2000

all songs written and performed by Joe Rybicki, except "Happily Ever After," which features music by Joe Rybicki and Leland James Pugsley, III.

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Johnny High Ground Cleveland, Ohio

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