Atman EP

by Sleeping Cranes

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All songs written by A.J. Ward
Produced by Greg Mikels and A.J. Ward
Mixed and mastered by Greg Mikels at Ishgnu Studios in Springfield, IL
Artwork by Molly Bramley


released August 10, 2010

A.J. Ward (vocals, acoustic guitar)
Leon Johnson (bass guitar, violin)
Kyle Cottingham (percussion)
Conor O'Brien (organ, French horn)



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Sleeping Cranes Saint Louis, Missouri

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Track Name: Still Green Stone Fruit
The ice is shaved like bed sheets over our garden that you let die
My brain's sore from the cigarettes as I search for a savior in the Western sky
I can hear the tape deck straining over the squealing in my lungs
As I forfeit our time that we never found and let the levity of longing come
I'm dissecting my insides in hopes to pin this fleeting happiness
But it's like grinding teeth against still green stonefruit in the end
The front lawn's filled with filters, there's trains in the backyard
There's cold tea in the kettle, I can see the snow caps from where we are
The devil's trumpet's dissonant, but it's spewing past my teeth
I bartered out my plans and hopes for the shallow comfort of stagnant feet
Regret doesn't throttle my ribs, or the hollow in my chest
'Cause I consolidated all its necessary equipment, took its voicebox and split
I set fire to our dead garden, and paved over the flower bed
So the compost can't start shifting and lecture me with its progress
The malleable future's waiting behind the door I've locked
'Cause if my fingers never graze its face, it can always be just what I want
And I've been clean for a couple of weeks now, I think I did my time
Another hit and she'll be out of my mind.
Track Name: Brick Dust Blues
You swear the gears in your brain have grown rusty
From turning over prairies and May snow
The stumbling bluffs steal the passion from your paint
And you're marching in step with a destiny you don't own
So you'll cake your shoes with brick dust
And orphan these blistering plains
For a series of strangers and skylines
To swell and grey your white, vaporous brain
Your window whispers the drone
Of the cold city's chaos outside
And your gypsy bones spill their marrow
In swarms of acrylic relief
And you sprawl the length of your mattress
With no ties to kiss your face at night
But will you still believe in this freedom
Once the good feeling dies?
Track Name: Parlor Wolves
Staring through night to your eyelids
Bathed the white moon's morose
Both swearing that we were content with
The ending we couldn't compose
Your touch couldn't combat the imminent
And my fumbling words were just mist
In the face of such distance
I believed that I would just forget
But I still see your ghost on the pavement
Slithering the streets with the snow
And each moment we stood in that streetlight
Swells out of any string's steady bow
I thought the misery that tied us together
Would starve in its romanticized youth
But I'm not sure I'll ever love anyone
The way I never loved you
I'd still sell my soul for a new map
To draw me from these catacombs
To destroy this splint I've been nursing
And carve me a path to my home
But that house still erodes gently
Underneath each day's oppressing weight
And I know that I traffic alone now
In this glorified interstate break
These blueprints I'd drafted for new states
Emerged a cold, splintered mess
I dragged the snow and dead streets to the courthouse
But the bastards refused to confess
Bestowing upon my reflection
A myriad of free cold readings
Sitting motionless atop my
Windmill cartoon feet
The days have carved lines in my cheekbones
Pushing my face past its age
Souring the South for a sweat lodge
Still hoping someday I'll be saved
Two wolves are at odds in the parlor
Their noses at the backs of my knees
My indifference, my self-love
Just depends on the one that I feed
My capillaries sprawl with congestion
From chemicals and warm nicotine
And when the weed is all out of forgiveness
I'll be baptized in the winding creek
They'll peel my head out from the black banks
The mortar will rot from my doors
I'll unearth grace without mandate
And I'll shackle myself nevermore.
Track Name: Wyoming Citrus Company
the frost is chasing all the swallows from the branches of the citrus trees
and the sun is shaking itself loose from the cattail threads and winter wheat,
colonizing the snow inside the lonely orchard aisles and coughing gravel streets
while my citrus grove laments the wyoming soil beneath its feet
the rocks and the lizards are all speaking
in a language with which my ears can't seem to move
just because i've got nothing left to prove
doesn't mean i've got nothing left to do
patterns are pasted on the walls and stack ten high inside our rugaed brains
though their architecture constructs no truth that i can humbly claim
they mold most elegant pots and jars and bowls out of the finest clay
where i can bootleg excuses from all the fast fermenting blame
i've excused myself from my reflection
and any consequence for this body i abuse
but just because i've got nothing left to prove
does't mean i've got nothing left to do
the setting sun surrounds me like a softly swelling symphony
the stars are shedding their black robes, naked punctuation amongst infinity
the've got no fevered dreams to sweat or destination to dictate their shape
all paths will lead me nowhere
and there's no purpose to glorify my moves
but just because i've got nothing left to prove
doesn't mean i've got nothing left to do.
Track Name: Ceques
The leaves, they fell off green into the September snow
Some faith in a midnight highway to carry me back home
When my feet touched the city, I meandered about like a ghost
Alive in my own memories, connected and completely alone
With our skeletons stretched out across the tile
And your head resting on the cadence in my chest
Knowing goddamn well another hour
Won't help me miss you any less
Cursing at my compass on a magnet's head
An all night drive to detox in the empty Southwest
There's horses on the hillside, a creek between my toes
Thinking the interstates can outrun all the things I don't care to admit to know
Some blotter and a New Mexico hotel room
To pan all of the piss out of my brain
But all the time I spent pointing my finger
Built me a mirrorless tomb where it all feels okay
My fingers grazed the ceques that stretched out across your palm
I tried to memorize your face so when the afterimage faded, you wouldn't be all gone
Autumn stole the legs
Out from under the shelter we'd made
We watched our landscape rearrange
In a separate state
Letting your echo resonate
And smother the thoughts I can't face today
Looking forward to the next goodbye that I can give you
Next to your letter and a telephone
I wish you'd love me forever
But I hope you don't.