Dawn Oberg
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This is a record about escape, good and bad: places to which one wants to escape, places from which one wants to escape. Means used and prices paid.



Girl who sleeps with books

There’s an espresso maker where his books used to be
On the nightstand on that side of the bed
Gets me up at 5 so I can type out some trash
silence the monkey, try to clean out my head

There’s a novel and a notebook and some poetry too
On top of covers on the side where he slept
Room enough for all of it and me when I crash
The floor beneath it nearly always unswept.

There is now another bookcase where his bureau once stood
Too many pairs of shoes line the wall
It’s a good-sized room with no empty spaces
One would think that I don’t miss him at all

It’s not the life one dreams of but it must be what I chose
My boudoir companionship is fiction and prose
It’s really both as lovely and as lonesome as it looks
The nighttime spaces of a girl who sleeps with books


I remember gallery kisses, disappearing glasses of rye
I’m just now reaching the point I can think of you and not cry
I keep a portable archive
Secret exhibit on view
And in it I mix a potion with distilled visions of you

And I learn there’s no mixology so kind

The finest rye will always bring you to mind
When I taste that grain I find
Your memory won’t be far behind
The finest rye will bring you back to mind

I remember hiking in the Sierras, getting high and watching South Park
Making dinner and watching the valley turn dark
I recall you with your camera
Capturing gradations of light
Try to find you in that shuttered instant out of sight

And the drink I dream is comparably kind

Gentleman and a Scholar

He’s a gentleman and a scholar, a regular prince among men
He knows the works of Fats Waller, and can play you recordings of them
He likes to read Thucydides but doesn’t mock stupidities
He’s probably read Euripides as well

But he’s really not the type to read and tell.

He’s a gentleman and a scholar, unfailingly kind and polite
Not a pompous know-it-aller
Though I must say he’s usually right
He taught me how to drive a stick
Without once acting like a prick
In general he just doesn’t tick me off
And that’s not a thing at which I tend to scoff

If there are two ways to see a thing he’ll find a dozen more
Always a perspective you had not thought of before
It’s not his intellect you love him for, you’ll come to find
Much as all the stuff that doesn’t suck about his mind


So you wanted out of here without delay
And you didn’t tell anybody who would try and make you stay
They say the effort took off half your face
Now with your remaining vision do you see a state of grace?
What made you pull the trigger? What made you miss your mark?
What wrestling match took place between those angels in the dark?

I don’t know you but I know you love something
A person, place or thing, maybe a song
And it’s not for me to tell you whether that should be enough
I just hope you let it feed you til you’re strong

I’ve seen burnt buildings climb back to the sky
Structures with intact foundations marked for their demise
There’s more to absence than just empty space
More to your demolition than just vacant real estate
What are you gonna build there? What do you love the most?
‘Cause I couldn’t see any point in singing this song to a ghost

Parallel Plane

The memory of my foolishness is never far away
Like a masterpiece I’ve ruined yet kept hanging on display
You were beautiful and kind and of a cast I couldn’t see
For I was blind and chasing damage and you were too good to me

I was cruel, scared and stupid, cowardly and cold
Like a monster with a toy she’d break rather than hold
I ain’t asking for forgiveness, I can take the bed I made
Far from the parallel plane where I loved you right and stayed

I bet she’s beautiful and sweet, smart and funny too
I hope she does for you the things I never thought to do
I know you can’t be expected to care if I’m sorry now
It’s too late for my own love to reach you anyhow.


There’s a tear in your eye
And a soldier in your throat
What did you have to sell
To get into this boat?
There’s a storm in the paint
Raging all the way through
You’ve dropped anchor here
The maelstrom is you

From Larkspur to the Tenderloin
Journey that spans the realm of the coin
Distant as Marrakesh
Proximity of spirit and flesh
With angles so sharp and unkind
As to sever all you hold as true
You keep close to your heart the cracks killing you

The possessed mandolin
Plays a dark melody
The room that you’re in
Gives up nothing for free
Black, orange and red
Colors of your bed
The canvas conveys
How well you hide the dread


You made a lousy rubber man
You never chose it, it sure as hell was not the plan
Was the circus gig all you could land?
Or where you born into the freak show tent by the cotton candy stand?

So tired of contortions, and the way they won’t suffice
You’ll put it all down on the longest odds and throw the dice
Your deepest muscle tissue screams for mercy from the strain
Of you trying to take on shapes you weren’t meant to attain

Ringmaster cracks the whip again
When you can’t hold the freakish pose dictated by his whim
Each one more punishing than the last
Each one the final proof you should kick his sadistic ass

You didn’t ask to be born
Didn’t come into this world requesting any kind of scorn
There was nothing wrong with you when you arrived
Not until they twisted you into what you despised

What happens when you finally snap?
When you can’t take another nanosecond of the crap?
If you could would you walk away?
If you knew right down the road there’d be another place to stay?


Give me garments glittering in such a way
No one can see the cretin there concealed
Cowering and shrinking from the cold hard light of day
Yet laboring to decorate the shield

If I can’t disappear permit me a disguise
let it be constructed of the best textiles devised
so as to obscure the malformations I despise
and the shriveled, freakish flesh of which they are comprised

When exposure looks just like a thousand knives
Whose blades are poised to ceaselessly inflict
The lacerations of
An exodus of love
Disclosure rules are mercilessly strict
The girl behind the curtain wishes to be left alone
She is busy pulling levers, engineering what is shown
Don’t ask what she was meant to do or be or give or own
Just know to know her is to realize she can’t be known

To That Extent

No one was spiteful or vindictive, no one lied
shagged the nanny or the poolboy on the side
No one tried to kill the other with a kitchen implement.
It was a good breakup, to that extent

I’m alone again and I know I’m the only one to blame
I ain’t chasing down the oxy with some liquid kind of lame
Not facedown in the gutter
Or jumping off a ledge
Though my heart is broken like a politician’s pledge

I ain’t sticking pins in dolls that look like you
You didn’t tell all our friends that I’m an evil shrew
I didn’t insult your mama
You didn’t vandalize my car
It was a good breakup, at least so far

End of the Continent

The breakers shining big and beautiful
Will laugh unthinkingly and crush your skull
With scenery spectacular and ever ruinous
Love is cruel, it was ever thus

The shifting of the lithosphere
Will not tell you where you’re supposed to go from here
The instant it takes place
You’ll use to beg for grace
Tectonic plates care not what they displace

You didn’t ask for this seismic event
Tectonic motion is never misspent
The Richter scale won’t show
The fault lines you now know
And you’re all alone
At the end of the continent

It’s too late to ask for it to be fair
When you’ve caused more suffering than your share
You never see in time
The cold, unconscious crime
Of currents coming with your disrepair

Civic High

Bewitching as a young Liz Taylor in her underwear
This is where I wake up happy just to breathe the air
Too many charms to catalog, and I’m enchanted by the fog
To say that I’m besotted is an understatement of affairs

You defy description yet I have to try
To capture all I love beneath your sky
From land’s end down to the Mission
North beach to Western Addition
San Francisco you’re nothing if not a civic high

You’re my favorite hedonistic playground of a place
Where the poets go to retox and refine their falls from grace
From the Gold Dust Lounge to Spec’s your bars are sexier than sex
You’ve intoxicated me in any case.

And as if your scenic vistas didn’t suffice
And further virtues needed with which to entice
You’re the place where it’s OK To be transgender bi or gay
Your progressiveness is infinitely nice

© 2012 Blossom Theory Music