Schroedinger's Cat

by Johnny High Ground

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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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Track Name: Prelude: Mutually Assured Destruction
(No lyrics here—it’s an instrumental. Sort of.)
Track Name: Words Fail
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.
Track Name: Sendoff
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
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.
Track Name: Paralyzed
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.
Track Name: Happily Ever After
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.
Track Name: Taxidermized
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.

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