Lookout

by Scott Pinkmountain

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credits

released February 11, 2014

Recorded and mixed at Pinkmountain Studios in Pioneertown, USA
Mastered by Eli Crews
Book design/layout - Neil Doshi

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Scott Pinkmountain California

Scott Pinkmountain (aka Scott Rosenberg) is an American musician and a writer. Over the past 20 years, he has recorded and performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe with many excellent musicians including Anthony Braxton, Jacopo Andreini, Gino Robair, Sam Coomes, Arrington Di Dionyso, Phil Minton, Jaap Blonk, Pauline Oliveros, Tim Daisy, Nate Wooley, and others. ... more

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Track Name: The Wild Ones Tamed
The Wild Ones Tamed

Many mornings I rise, the fog is so dense
I cover the windows and go back to bed

There I lay dreaming asleep or awake
People I’ve known come and visit my head

My mother and father, old lovers of course
But acquaintances too, no idea what they mean
Teachers and colleagues, an ex-fiancé
Who I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen

Men who have wronged me in petty disputes
Women with whom I had but one night to spend
Familiar faces without even names
Though mostly old friends, mostly old friends

Oh where has it gone? The life I intended to lead?
Slipped through my fingers forever? No, I refuse to believe.

I while the hours in close conversation
With ghosts in old clothing long gone out of fashion
I bicker with devils over grudges gripped tight
And linger with phantoms entangled in passion

They wear the same faces, same youthful expressions
They dance as they did and say what they said
But now they are familied or lost to their labor
And their bodies have aged, or worse, I’m afraid.

Yes change often comes in predictable ways, we limit our love, we narrow our gaze
It’s broken my heart to see the wild ones tamed, but it’s sadder by far to see the ones
Who just stayed the same.

The days gone to lazing, whole nights lost in pleasure
Holiday feasts gone drunkenly wrong
Scars of risk taken worn proudly and open
Glorious hours spent wasted in song

Unhinged ideas we tried to explain
Some so complicated we didn’t even try to
Half a day’s drive to throw rocks at cold waves
Calling only to have somebody to cry to.

Oh where has it gone? I can’t be the only one to need
The affection and laughter of friends. No, I refuse to believe.

Yes change often comes in predictable ways, we limit our love, we narrow our gaze
It’s broken my heart to see the wild ones tamed, but it’s sadder by far to be the one
Who just stayed the same.
Track Name: Westbound and Easy
Westbound and Easy

Westbound and Easy, let’s get lost around the next curve.
I got something to tell you, if I can find the nerve.

Slumber when the coals are dim, rise when I stoke the morning fire.
Reach out and I’m there for you whenever you desire.

Let me be your jester, your laughter’s like a song.
Every time I hear it I want to sing along.

Westbound and Easy, let’s take the long, let’s take the long way home.

Wild flowers blooming this spring, sunset orange, Pacific Ocean blue.
But your wild beauty blooms all year round, far deeper and more true.

Big Montana sundown. For hours and hours the whole sky’s drenched in red.
Big Montana sundown. For hours and hours the whole sky’s blood red.
All that I can think, I’d rather be with you instead.

Let’s move to California, out with the cactus and the pines.
Just you and me and the wind in the trees, and that gold sunshine.
Track Name: Love's Labor's Unending
Love’s Labor’s Unending

“I will, I do,” she said.
The wind in the cottonwood trilled.
“This feeling is new,” she said.
I’m listening still.
Flickered a thought,
a pause she’d rather not show.
But I caught its meaning,
then I let it go. I let it go.

One step for you.
One step for me.
From such simple cotillion
such complexity.
Enough for a lifetime
or so it appears
some of our movements are clumsy
some of our movements are clear,
when the music is binding us near.

When I am the cloudcast and you the black ridgeline
harness my haze and scatter my weather,
and when you are the knife point, I’ll be the foaming sea,
the lines that you cut will soon vanish forever.

A moth over water mistakes its reflection
for a predator twin drawing close for the kill.
It forgoes its sharp thirst and follows its fear.
In the dry, lonely shadows it will perish, it will.
There’s also a death in the water
A sacrifice, I cannot deny.
All in its stead I dare offer
is that I will try.
I will try.

Love’s labor’s unending.
The wash flooded over last spring.
But that old river’s been bending.
Soon the silversmith’s hammer will ring, it will ring.
Give your breath to your neighbor’s name,
the whistle, the reed, and the funeral moan.
To their hands surrender your hands,
Your burdens no longer your own.
No, you are no longer alone.
Track Name: The One You Wrote for Me
The One You Wrote For Me

First time I saw Sandy, she was singing in a fair ground band.
She said, “I know they’re awful, but the drummer’s got a mini van.
We did 13 states last August. From Kansas to old Kentuck.
The crowd was pretty good in Lincoln. We even made it home with a couple bucks.”

She played a beat-up, nylon, hand-me-down flat-top, always missing a string.
She’d close her eyes, and open her mouth, she and that guitar would sing.

Sandy played covers at Jericho’s while the regulars were numbing their minds.
She’d drop in a couple originals and it’d feel like she was stopping time.
Her songs were flashes of sulphur in flame, her voice soft rain on a lake.
I can close my eyes and see her in that neighborhood bar and my heart does a double take

I swore I’d loan her the cash to get to Los Angeles
She laughed and said she’d pay me back out of her royalties.

Everything I gave, I gave for free
But Sandy sing the one you wrote for me.

Sandy saw I was serious when I doubled up shifts at night.
She promised that she’d love me forever, I said, “Just promise me you’ll always write.”
Postcards coming in from every town, sometimes three a day.
Playing me songs on the hotel phone, saying you wish you was with me in L.A.

First time I watched you on the television, you mouthed my name while people were clapping.
After nine months in Europe, Australia, Japan, you said, “Come on boy, you knew this would happen.”

I got a box of postcards somewhere and a slightly used diamond ring.
Sandy paid me back every penny she borrowed. She don’t owe me a thing.

Sandy kept her word, she’s still writing songs, and mostly she writes like she means it.
But you weren’t there at the Jericho. Man, I wish you could’ve seen it.
Track Name: Mating Call
Mating Call

Oh lover, oh friend, oh feast without end,
Oh quicksilver shimmer, the bough and the bend.
Oh feathery pine, oh hawkling’s incline,
Oh black wings a’glimmer, dandelion wine.

Oh cardamom trace, oh mountain cat’s grace,
Oh rosy cloud finger, turquoise carapace.
Oh pink cactus flower, oh lemon squeeze sour,
Oh campfire singer, the idle spent hours.

Oooh, claw to claw, beak to beak
Talon to talon, cheek to cheek,
I jut my breast out, sing my voice sore,
Strut my bright plumage to draw you to my door.

Oh summer brushed dusk, oh live ivory tusk,
Oh slapped water splash, love’s labor’s musk.
Oh agile eel, oh scales of spun steel,
Oh flying fish flash, bright mandarin peel.

Oh morning dew beaded, oh shaggy field weedy,
Oh hoppers mad scatter, silk petals pleated.
Oh sap flowing steady, oh its fragrance heady.
Oh tiny paws patter, the oil lamp’s ready.

Oooh, claw to claw, beak to beak
Talon to talon, cheek to cheek,
If you be willing, if you’ll abide,
I’ll garnish your den and curl by your side.

Oh clear running brook, oh rolled boulder nook,
Oh spare sprawling plain, a mischievous look.
Oh broad-breasted doe, oh vision of crow,
Oh battering rain, soft down head-to-toe.

Oh danger of lightning, oh tidal wave frightening,
Oh rattlesnake’s feign, love’s tension tightening.
Oh honeybee dance, oh cottontail’s glance,
Oh coyote’s refrain of a lifelong romance.

Oooh, claw to claw, beak to beak
Sometimes antler to antler, but then always cheek to cheek,
Call us paired or entwined, tangled or mated,
Or whatever your word for love lasting unfaded.
Track Name: Evermore
Evermore

Two warring tribes, to me they look the same.
A thousand years of grievances, I can’t keep straight their names.
They’ll either kill each other or they’re bluffing.
Either I will feel, or I’ll feel nothing.

I have been here before.
I will be here evermore.

Tired man, tired woman, finally off the clock.
She does something legal, he does something with stocks.
Drinks with dinner, television, the occasional bedtime perks.
They both vowed to pay attention, but man, that’s a lot of work.

I’ve heard revolutionary bells ring, then seen armbands on uniforms.
I’ve heard the holy choir sing when false messiahs were born.
Read illuminated pages as evil as they were long.
Heard prophets, seers and sages get every single word wrong.

Once communists and atom bombs, now capitalists and melting snow.
The Baird’s sparrow’s lost her nest to fields of dust where wheat won’t grow.
Everything we’ve known and made will fade without a trace,
And something else, maybe something better, will take its place.
Track Name: The Measure
The Measure

Sacred muse, speak to me, or through me, against me, whatever it be.
Use me ‘til I’m nothing but a ragged spent shell.
Ignore me, deplore me. Whore me, door to door me.
I’ll split it with you 60-40 whatever I sell.

I try to listen close. I crane to hear the ghost,
While it whispers freely to everyone else.
But I don’t catch a word it’s saying. No gossip, no cussing, no praying.
I only hear an echo of my boring old self.

So a jealous salute to the strong. I long to sing your song.
Some plush chorale, a bonfire in the rain, no refrain.
A familial nod to the meek, in greater numbers each week.
Our music too is beautiful, but it all sounds the same.

I sank my sword to the hilt in a castle only you could have built.
It was perfect, lord, and begging for ruin.
I knew it was a crime, but oh, she was sublime.
You’ll take your vengeance pound for pound from me, I presume.

A swarm of insects flying, either feeding, mating or trying.
Mostly they’ll be dead before the dawn.
Am I supposed to feel each death as something real?
If so, you never switched that part of me on.

What constitutes a life? A job, a house, a wife?
Some friends to call so I don’t drink alone?
If so, then I’ve succeeded. Gathered far more than I needed.
But my instinct says there’s nothing, no nothing yet known.

In blush the sun does drop. I rush to catch my thoughts,
Only to discover I’ve nothing to add.
Track Name: Chicory
Chicory

Oh, little Chicory
Remember when we first met, you were living
On a boat that you traded for a color TV
Giving lessons in Griffith Park on which plants you could eat
And which got you high.

Oh, little Chicory
I remember sunsets over water
Watching through the window from your little twin bed
Feeling like we owned every single cloud, orange, yellow, purple and red
Passing through our sky.

Oh, little Chicory
Remember “borrowing” from that grocer?
Just some butter, smokes, a couple of plums.
You felt so guilty, you confessed and he called us a couple of bums,
Then he called the cops (and boy did you run).

Oh, little Chicory,
I remember rising slow in the morning
Making coffee and eggs and taking our time.
Stepping out that front door, no money, no plans, just your hand in mind,
Us getting lost.

Chicory, Chicory, hold my hand.
Help me understand that we can’t stay young forever.
Chicory, Chicory don’t let go.
You gotta let me know there’s laughter and memories together
Still up ahead.

Oh, little Chicory,
Remember I used to play that old roadhouse?
You and your girlfriends would dance through the night.
Then the drummer got busted, the bassist broke his hand in a fight,
Which broke up the band.

Oh, little Chicory
Remember laying back and counting the stars?
Making a wish on every single one.
Dreaming for a car that ran, a cabin, maybe a daughter and son,
A few acres of land.

Oh, little Chicory,
Look at us now, we got that cabin,
Plus a house, a daughter and a couple of cars,
Though I can’t remember the last time we laid back for hours dreaming on stars
‘Til the break of day.

Oh, little Chicory,
No second thoughts, not doubts, no regrets.
Our little family is my solid ground.
But some days find me weighing what got lost and what got found
Along the way.
Track Name: To Conjure a Beloved
To Conjure a Beloved

Come to me, now, in image if only
My body’s demanding, my hands have grown lonely
I’m weary of my mirror, it moves in clichés
I miss the careen of our contrary ways

As when sea crests collide with brash winds and leap foaming
Or the scatter of the cattle sends rustlers roaming
Like the sand-blasted stone sculpturally eroded
Or the pawed sibling cub playfully goaded

Tornadic squall, alley caterwaul
Faint distant trace of the quail’s nervous call
It’s only in your eyes I aspire to rise
And it’s from your grace that I fall when I fall
And often I fall

You’re only a woman though I’m here alone
And in my solitude your memory’s grown
Your stature is heightened to shadow my skin
The line becomes gray where you end and begin

I read your figure in the shifting cloud’s cast,
The smooth curve of sea glass, the spry jutting grass,
The cottonwood’s sweep and the alfalfa sway,
The wild trail spring and the peacock’s array

Petryglyphed wall, lioness’ sprawl,
Grizzly’s bass echo in a deep cave’s great hall
It’s only in your eyes I aspire to rise
And it’s from your grace that I fall when I fall
And often I fall

I see you in hues of ochre and clay
And smell you in fields of ragweed and hay
I find you in folds of thick mountain clover
and wriggling beneath damp rocks I roll over

I recall our sharp sparring in the sea lion’s bark
And our reconciliation in the warble of the lark
Perfumed copse of pine, so calm and so poised,
You bend in my gales and make song of my noise

Lightning’s sharp scrawl, falcon’s brief stall,
Canyon’s grand face, two-thousand feet tall
It’s only in your eyes I aspire to rise
And it’s from your grace that I fall when I fall
And often I fall

I picture you rising in the ash morning haze
Only vague recognition in your sleep-stoned gaze
In that flickering glimpse beyond conscious grasp
Nothing’s for granted, your mind’s polished glass

Some animal sense is all that’s aware
I study those eyes veiled behind golden hair,
Suspended unknowing in that moment when
You decide each day if you’ll love me again

Your slurred drunken drawl, your lazy noon sprawl,
The red of your ears when you’re looking to brawl
It’s only in your eyes I aspire to rise
And it’s from your grace that I fall when I fall
And often I fall
Track Name: An Old Beggar's Prayer
An Old Beggar’s Prayer

I’ve scarred my brow with worry, I sing with a croak.
My looks never charmed, ah but now they’re a joke.
I’m ready though, if you need me.
Surely, you can tell.
Just waiting here in the dark, counting church bells.

I used to be younger. Well that’s no surprise.
And I measured the world through those younger man’s eyes.
Who got what, and why?
Was everything fairly earned?
Like a baby sparrow bawling in the nest, I wailed while I yearned.

Dear lovers, and family, and friends,
If there’s any still out there,
No, I don’t dare ask your forgiveness,
I just thank you for enduring
An old beggar’s prayer.

Grant me humility, grant me peace,
And the patience and strength to let you use me as you please.
Alert and unjudging, I’ll await your instruction
As receptive to your beauty as your death and destruction.

I’ll look for your grace in all the usual places,
But also read for your plan in the palm of the strangler’s hand.
I’ll listen for your kindness in the cruelty of lovers.
I’ll look for your light in the cheap neon sign.
Please let my efforts bring solace to others, if it’s your design.

I don’t expect money or applause,
Or for you to stand there passive and stare.
I’ve done nothing to earn your respect.
I just thank you for enduring
An old beggar’s prayer.

An old beggar’s prayer, like a teardrop in the rain,
Its abandoned last stanza, its unrhymed refrain.
The altar’s unsteady, built from castoff remains,
The choir’s not ready, off-key and untrained.
The congregation’s unshaven, but they’ve filled every chair.
They showed up to sing an old beggar’s prayer.

For the stood up and let down, for the loners and losers
For the jilted and ignored, the abused and abusers.

For the failures and frauds, for the laid off and fired
For the debtors and cons, and the ones never even hired.

For the weaklings and misfits living hidden in books,
For the drunks in the back making cynical looks.

For the sinners exposed and saints easily had
And the mediocre rest of us just trying not to do bad.

Here’s your old beggar’s prayer, a supplicant’s song,
Don’t expect it to be answered, but if you want, sing along, it goes

Grant me humility, grant me peace,
and the patience and strength to let you use me as you please,
but please, please, I beg you,
put me to use.