Buttons & Keys

by Adrienne Anemone

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Ride to the west with your men and tool chest bring your hammers and heartaches and glue spirits ride in the dust of our trails and they bite at the heels of our boots over your face a black veil of lace ensnaring your demons like flies your baby is all gone and your sweetheart died young but your gold towers up to the skies brass bullets shine and wink in their shadowy chests they speak howling, “You are the one with your gold and your guns, murdering families! We’ll find our way back to thee!” as the hammers stay beating their nails I’m still keeping them off my trail building doors in the floors under rooms that lay bare except for a lone lock of hair my little one you will live there pray they choke on the saw-dusted air climbing stairs stepping up to nowhere
I have many children they hide behind the walls some are round as peppermints some have no shape at all skin dusted with cinnamon eyes purple raisin holes they used to run for days and days but now they are too old after communion is fed I fall asleep in my bed and dream of nothing at all a single spoon to fed them full of breadcrumbs, water and salt without a stove to warm my meals I’ll cook you in my mouth and if there’s a demon to remove by God, I’ll beat it black and blue isn’t that what your father told me to do? one night from the belly of my pillow there sprung a dream of weeping willows bending over me and from the lookout of this tree squirrels and sparrows sang off-key: say goodnight Mrs. Wright wicked witch broken stitch on the hem of a mast sinking ships and heart attacks oh the horrors that came when you opened your eyes and the terror remains from the morning she died the abysmal echo of a voice that said no please don’t trade scales for skin we don’t want the devil in when the morning crowned her skin broke the spell we’d fallen in squirrels and sparrows hid their tails neighbors squirmed as mothers wailed we shook our heads and hung them low oh no oh no you were our mother you should have known now I dream of tiny hands and feet that point and pinch and refuse me to eat oh how they grew with a fury that flamed my wounds ‘til that old house caught ablaze each and every soul doomed
Boys and girls mice and squirrels bow your heads and straighten your curls quiet all your quick tongues hold your bodies small fold your praying hands and give the greatest song of all oh holy, oh holy, holy hallelujah amen oh holy, oh holy we will not be frightened boys and girls his Calvary trading toys for artillery his truth is marching on let the children right our wrongs his truth is marching on we are weak but he is strong his truth is marching on hear the children sing this song oh holy, oh holy voices sending angels a’ soar oh holy, oh holy hallelujah this is our war we’ve a mission we’ve permission from the lord’s almighty law sending evil down a river in a basket made of straw
Seeds and water for to bake them a daughter stirred up with a stick of cinnamon a bowl turned from ironwood held the dough until you stood and sought to fill yourself with what was good but angry mouths are dripping kerosene sneering, “Oh Jelly Bean, what will fill your belly up this time?” twigs and twine 8 bottles of wine even the kittens and the mice hide at feeding time so with his lumber and her thunder they built a home to tuck you under and away from shadows rising in the night but the wood will rot if it is not taught to hold it’s family tight upon a lightning’s strike hammer and nails and puppy dog tails won’t keep you safe from the great white whale chop chop the wood and count its rings see a strong oak curl into ribbons of shavings some woods will split like bricks of mud some splinter and sweat and cry out blood some peel and fold like gypsy moth wings that rock-a-bye back to earth and build a nest in the spring soon you will do this very thing as they watched her grow Lumber and Thunder began to know a shapeless shadow resting in her eye pins and wires held her head still as she was told to go to bed beneath a ceiling made of rabbit fur and eyes Thunder handed her a bone so Jelly wouldn’t be alone and a scraggly dress done up in shiny stones well Jellybean gave quite a show flaming hoops and red lassos orbited her throat as it would sing all eyes on the glow of my big round bone you make think me small but when I am grown I will be known but jealous Thunder came and shook the crowd to satisfy her belly growl their ghosts cooked up a vengeful stormy cloud thunder and lightening split the sky into shards of blackberry pie seeing the mess that she was in Jellybean began to spin until all of her colors soiled her pen still she crafted an escape through a painting on a wall of a lady who agreed to share the shade of her parasol finding she had fled her pen poor lumber’s heart fell broken and when his eyes did open salty seas spilled over lungs went pale as tears set flow with a heave and a ho the wood let go chop chop the wood and count its rings rock-a-bye back to earth on wood chip wings some woods will split like bricks of mud some splinter and sweat and cry out blood some peel and fold like gypsy moth wings that rock-a-bye back to earth and fall apart at the seams way down in the Spring I’ll be waiting
Gather your children 
tell them not to bite
for the way we've gone
 seems oh so wrong 
so just sit tight for tonight 
mean people will tell us to go 
they frown without moving a muscle
 they're making our mouths
move up and down 
to the tired old talk of their sounds
right here is where we fold our fears and lay down all of our frowns 
the road we'll make will keep us safe and friends will see us again 
our homes are right here
buried in our backs 
all of us know we are loved 
we don't have to feed ourselves much 
right here is where we fold our fears 
and lay down all of our frowns the road we'll make will keep us safe and friends will see us again making our homes in our backs
Said the squirrel to the tree I just couldn’t agree with you more your fruits would be sweeter if you hadn’t happened to meet her but I’m coping you see I’ve grown bark I wear leaves I am strong still it’s hard in the winter the days are so cold and so long come to me I’m lonely I’ll feed you fruits if you only sit still by me the earth feeds soil and seeds to mend to give to grow at the top of a hill on a white window sill she will wait for the queens courtyard grounds to put on the sun’s crown her love is a sweet little cumbersome shape on the wall and the wall is of granite stone heavy and cold and tall oh come to me I’m lonely I will feed you fruits If you only sit still by me the earth feeds soil and seeds that swell and split their bellies why can’t I give until I burst ripe mulberries look down from their tree shiver’n and shakin’ so terribly frightened to leave but not a fox nor wolf has detected the fear on their leaves in fact the ground below them is the loneliest place they could be oh come to me I’m lonely the grass grows high and I fear it will swallow me copper nails and salted roots the crimes I dream as I pursue my belief of you still the earth feeds soil and seeds that swell and split their bellies why can’t I give until I burst
Your baby’s tucked under by salty sea foam lovers that hide her ears and eyes to sailors cries and drag her slowly under
Hold on to your hats and your heads she’s opening wide she’s sucking up air and she’s spitting out monsters from inside 400 nails to build her a boat went sliding down her throat safety pins, silverware, bottle tops she won’t stop till she tears are you well sea Shell swing your hips abandon ship tiny cry swallowed up inside nurses can’t shut her jaw hide your children hide your face pills and needles won’t puncture this voyage as she sails farther away till her belly’s too heavy and she sinks like an anchor and rises a savior and the sea is filled with awe sails will catch your breath pull you to your death hunger rots the hull is she trying to save us all you aren’t well here’s a spell are you cured who can be sure here’s your cup swallow up round her waist around the sea bellies ache with buttons and keys ring around your tiny throat the faces will sink and she will float
listen for the bell you’ll learn it well the doctrines of our handsome gaol better hold your tongue and mind yourself less you spoil your health chained to the wall of a concrete tomb voices in the hall warn of infinite doom maybe I pinched some pennies but there really wasn’t any other way to feed the babies crying dawn til morn’ when you hear the bell it’s time to tell the harms that brought you to our gaol the lord is here to see (and so are we) that your punishment is fit I was shorn like the lamb of the antichrist all my dresses tossed away to be eaten by the mice is it really necessary to be kept in a cold and scary place because I chose to end the wretched life inside my belly when the bell does sound we’ll come around matrons and doctors of the town we really want to see you hysterically so do put on a show knitting needles drew me an excellent plan I could lose this baby but still sew gloves for that one’s hands life is hard and cold and if I’s to as I’m told we’d be buried six feet under snow and hunger hopes and spirits wrecked asunder without a blessing on our soul the evening bell tells you to bow confess your sins and repent them now meek as a child we’ll mold you mild break your wills and bend your smiles you had better put away those feminine wiles for we all know that you murdered your child
One little death one broken body scatttered like seeds from the plow left all alone on an island unknown shippwrecked from family and home from high on a hill I stood fearless until from beneath me a rumble awoke then the earth heaved a sigh and my path broke like pie and I cried as I feel from the sky ahhhhhhh what am I to be? tangled bones among the tree roots what will be my name? sulfur, iron, silt and clay where is it I'll go? is it far beneath the earth? Lolite! find the light! once my heart stopped birds flew down from treetops and they clipped my long hair with their beaks weaved into their nest to warm robins breast my tresses served considerably the beetles marched over to demand a look over and decided I looked good enough to eat I will feed your family thumbs knuckles and toes plant me in a garden red blood for your rose drop me in the ocean but where will I rise? Lolite! Find the light! the foxes there were three took my ankles and a knee and they rolled them back home happily and all the fear-laiden muck wrapped in veils in my gut were taken and tossed into the sea all the while I lay still gazing up at that hill as the creatures sang blessings to me bless you flesh aged to wood and there a tree stood blood boiled to magma spilt from a wounded mountain bones crumbled to sand but where will they land? Lolite! find the light! rest on my eyes little window to the sun rest on my eyes little window come out of my pocket don't leave me all alone come out of my pocket little window rest on my eyes don't leave me all alone come out of my pocket little window
Open up your pockets she’s giving it away beautiful ladies blushing roses in their cheeks tracing all your birthday wishes with painted toes in the sand all your enemies are dead we’ve eaten up their bodies the witch and the stepmother, the neighbors, the older brother we’ve taken out their eyeballs we’ve floated them to sea but oh, there’s time she’s building machines out of snow wires and sealing wax she’s filling up the holes as she goes the witch and the stepmother the neighbors the older brother we’ve taken out their eyeballs we’ve floated them to sea but oh there is time she’s holding her head in her hands the places we’ve been seem broken and bent they haven’t really helped us at all open up your pockets she is giving it away beautiful gifts giving beautiful feelings to everyone who hears what she sings
Her roses are in bloom thorns to pierce your doom help help help help their petals trick my skin flesh is all I am to them rip rip rip rip me in two falling to the ground that is where the worms have found my brains! mangled under them I’ll leave my bones to choke their roots till they fall down down down back into the earth
As the fire burns the kindling sings where will I go now and what will I be my darling you are farther along than you can see but its hard to see the night says I’m all alone and the stars are pointing fires telling me that I’m wrong rains are coming soon oh how will I find my way to you my hands are lined with treks over great lands and greater seas follow these lines and find yourself beside me but the storm cloaks the yellow moon I can’t see the ground beneath my shoe if the storm cloaks the yellow moon then we’ll pick a star and follow it’s tune give to me your arms that carry bodies we will burn and bury use my ears to catch the songs of diamonds cutting holes in the dawn fall fall fall through the mouth of the dawn until we find our bodies gone


released March 3, 2012

The Brilliant Musicians on this album:
Skip Akin (banjo on track 2, 5, 10; glockenspiel on track 3, vocals on track 5 & 12), Pierre Choucroun (glockenspiel), Manda Clair (accordian), Ian Cook (live drums) Ryder Cooley (singing saw), Sandra Covin (accessory guitars), Chris Farrell (mandolin), Mollie Fischer (cello on tracks 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12; glockenspiel on track 9; vocals on track 3, 12), Storm Garner (violin), Jerold H. (ghostly vocals on track 11), Aimee Norwich (basses, prepared piano, keyboards and synths, programming, pedals, string arrangements on tracks 1,4,11,13), Aimee Norwich and Valerie Kuehne (cello on tracks 4,11,13), Jess Rowland (piano on track 1) Collin Smith (electric guitar), Laura Vuksinich (glockenspiel and metal percussion on tracks 6, 13), Rachal Winard (violin arrangements and performance on track 6).
Aimee Norwich - co-production and recording on tracks 1,4,6,11,13 (2011).
Matt Smith - co-production and recording (tracks 2,3,5,7,8,9,10,12) at HotTracks!!! Recording Studio, Austin, Texas (2007).

Album Art:
Alina Postula (design, drawings), Jon Wasserman (photographs)

So much gratitude to Bethany, Khattie, Abe Louise Young, Claudia, ghosts, trees, bugs and womyn in the woods for inspiring me to write these songs.


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Adrienne Anemone Brooklyn, New York

Adrienne Anemone, former ringleader of Mimicry Records' The TunaHelpers, is the lullaby banshee that visits Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and guitarist, Adrienne Sneed, in her slumber. Operatic vocals and gentle guitar pickings tug at the listener's heart through thoughtful ruminations on fear, Christianity, child abuse, eating disorders, witchery, bravery and utter despair. ... more

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