more from

Reconstruction Site

by The Weakerthans

supported by
Richard RR
Richard RR thumbnail
Richard RR OK. Buy this right now. I only found The Weakerthans albums accidentally through a link via Epitaph (records) in Bandcamp. This album is justly rated a "classic"... and it is. John Samson's lyrics are head and shoulders above the best being written today. Every one of their albums is wonderful and I hope Bandcamp will fix its search tool forthwith! Because you cannot find this album directly using their search tool. UPDATE: It's fixed! Favorite track: Plea from a Cat Named Virtute.
Daniel Sitler
Daniel Sitler thumbnail
Daniel Sitler Solid lyrically driven post-punk. Plea from a Cat still melts my heart every time. Favorite track: Plea from a Cat Named Virtute.
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $7 USD  or more




released August 26, 2003



all rights reserved


The Weakerthans Winnipeg, Manitoba

contact / help

Contact The Weakerthans

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: (Manifest)
I want to call requests through heating-vents, and hear them answered with a whisper, "No." To crack the code of muscle, slacken, tense. Let every second step in boots on snow complete your name with accents I can't place, that stumble where the syllables combine. Take depositions from a stranger's face. Paint every insignificance a sign. So tell me nothing matters, less or more. Say, "Whatever we think actions are, we'll never know what anything was for." If "Near is just as far away as far," and I'm permitted one act I can save, I choose to sit here next to you and wave.
Track Name: The Reasons
How I don't know how to sing. I can barely play this thing. But you never seem to mind, and you tell me to fuck off when I need somebody to. How you make me laugh so hard. How whole years refuse to stay where we told them to, bad dog, locked up whining in a word or a misplaced souvenir. How the past chews on your shoes, and these memories lick my ear. How we waste our precious time marching in the picket lines that surround those striking hearts. How the time is never now, and we know who we should love, but we're never certain how. I know you might roll your eyes at this, but I'm so glad that you exist.
Track Name: Reconstruction Site
I'm lost. I'm afraid. A frayed rope tying down a leaky boat to the roof of a car on the road in the dark, and it's snowing. If I'm more, then it means less. Last call for happiness. I'm your dress near the back of your knees and your slip is showing. I'm afloat. A float in a summer parade, up the street in the town that you were born in. With a girl at the top wearing tulle, and a Miss Somewhere sash, waving like the queen. Beauty's just another word I'm never certain how to spell. Go tell the nurse to turn the TV back on, and throw away my misery. It never meant that much to me. It never sent a Get Well card. I broke like a bad joke somebody's uncle told at a wedding reception in 1972, where a little boy under a table with cake in his hair stared at the grown-up feet as they danced and swayed. And his father laughed and talked on the long ride home. And his mother laughed and talked on the long ride home. And he thought about how everyone dies someday, and when tomorrow gets here where will yesterday be. And fell asleep in his brand-new winter coat. Buy me a shiny new machine that runs on lies and gasoline, and all those batteries we stole from smoke-alarms, and disassembles my despair. It never took me anywhere. It never once bought me a drink.
Track Name: Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call
Let the waitress put the chairs up, let the glasses that she broke form a picture of our leader with a halo made of smoke. Let the Golden Oldies station crackle and come through with a final benediction we'll hum along to, before we say goodnight. Let our talk about the ballgame and the weather show we care, like a sound we didn't notice until it stopped and left us there with the traffic and our heartbeats beating in straight time. Let our hatred and affection march in the same line, before we say goodnight. Oh, protect our secret handshake. Once more, with feeling, let the toast to absent members push through the ceiling, before we say goodnight.
Track Name: Plea from a Cat Named Virtute
Why don't you ever want to play? I'm tired of this piece of string. You sleep as much as I do now, and you don't eat much of anything. I don't know who you're talking to-I made a search through every room, but all I found was dust that moved in shadows of the afternoon. And listen, about those bitter songs you sing? They're not helping anything. They won't make you strong. So, we should open up the house. Invite the tabby two doors down. You could ask your sister, if she doesn't bring her Basset Hound. Ask the things you shouldn't miss: tape-hiss and the Modern Man, The Cold War and Card Catalogues, to come and join us if they can, for girly drinks and parlor games. We'll pass around the easy lie of absolutely no regrets, and later maybe you could try to let your losses dangle off the sharp edge of a century, and talk about the weather, or how the weather used to be. And I'll cater with all the birds that I can kill. Let their tiny feathers fill disappointment. Lie down; lick the sorrow from your skin. Scratch the terror and begin to believe you're strong. All you ever want to do is drink and watch TV, and frankly that thing doesn't really interest me. I swear I'm going to bite you hard and taste your tinny blood if you don't stop the self-defeating lies you've been repeating since the day you brought me home. I know you're strong.
Track Name: Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michael Foucault In Paris, 1961)
Just one more drink and then I should be on my way home. I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about. I've had a really nice time, but my dogs need to be fed. I must say that in the right light you look like Shackleton. Comment allez-vous ce soir? Je suis comme ci comme ça. Yes, a penguin taught me French back in Antarctica. I could show you the way shadows colonize snow. Ice breaking up on the bay off the Lassiter coast. Light failing over the pole as every longitude leads up to your frost bitten feet. Oh, you're very sweet, thank you for the flowers and the book by Derrida, but I must be getting back to dear Antarctica. Say, do you have a ship and a dozen able men that maybe you could lend me?
Track Name: Time's Arrow
Smoke falls. Things are created in the violence of fire.
-Martin Amis

So you watch the sunrise sinking, and she's talking in her sleep. A dream of how alone she was tomorrow when you keep all those promises to someone in a mirror you will find at your parents' house in 1989. Terrorized by the ruling party: calendars and commas. Small request, could we please turn around? So you whisper your arrival walking backwards to the door. Wonder briefly what it is you're hesitating for. All the streets lie down, deserted in the darkest part of night, to lead you through the evening to the light. Pulled along in the tender grip of watches and ellipses. Small request. Could we please turn around?
Track Name: (Hospital Vespers)
Doctors played your dosage like a card-trick. Scrabbled down the hallways yelling "Yahtzee!" I brought books on Hopper, and the Arctic, something called "The Politics of Lonely," a toothbrush and a quick-pick with the plus. You tried not to roll your sunken eyes, and said "Hey can you help me, I can't reach it." Pointed at the camera in the ceiling. I climbed up, blocked it so they couldn't see. Turned to find you out of bed, and kneeling. Before the nurses came, took you away, I stood there on a chair and watched you pray
Track Name: Uncorrected Proofs
as for myself, I am always forgetting
what it was I wasn't going to write about
what I wasn't going to say again
-Catherine Hunter

The mirrors and the unacknowledged nods. Dial tones and license plates. The words you didn't choose. Everything the day's too small to hold spills on to the dusk, and shorts the evening's fuse. So you fumble for a voice, and sing "Happy Birthday." Read it to yourself again. The stories always end the same. She can't stay and he won't run, and fear is where they're calling from. Staunch the blood from countless tiny cuts. We're all out of bandages. The heaters rattle, taunt. Sifting through translucent shards of glass, looking for a filament that lit the life you want. So you fumble for the phone, grasp the cord and pull. Will your readership complain the stories always end the same? He can't stay and she won't run, and fear is where they're calling from. Afraid is where you're calling from.
Track Name: A New Name For Everything
When the bus-shelter windows and napkin-dispensers surprise with distorted reflections, it's never the someone you're hoping to recognize. When the rent is too high living here between reasons to live, and you can't sleep alone, and your memories groan, and the borders of night start to give. When you can't save cash or conviction; you're broke and you're breaking-a tired shoelace or a wave. So long past, past-due. A new name for everything. When the one-ways collude with the map that you folded wrong, and the route you abandoned is always the path that you probably should be upon. When the bottle-cap ashtrays and intimate's ears are all full with results of your breath, and the threads of your fear are unfurled with the tiniest pull. One more time, try. Stand with your hands in your pockets and stare at the smudge on a newspaper sky, and ask it to rain a new name for everything. Fire every phrase. They don't want to work for us anymore. Dot and Dash our days. Make your face the flag of a semaphore. All you won't show. The boxes you brought here and never unpacked are still patiently waiting to go. So put on those clothes you never grew into, and smile like you mean it for once. If you come back, bring a new name for everything.
Track Name: One Great City!
Late afternoon, another day is nearly done. A darker gray is breaking through a lighter one. A thousand sharpened elbows in the underground. That hollow hurried sound of feet on polished floor, and in the Dollar Store the clerk is closing up, and counting Loonies, trying not to say, "I hate Winnipeg." The driver checks the mirror, seven minutes late. The crowded riders' restlessness enunciates that the Guess Who suck, the Jets were lousy anyway. The same route every day. And in the turning lane, someone's stalled again. He's talking to himself, and hears the price of gas repeat his phrase: "I hate Winnipeg." And up above us all, leaning into sky, our Golden Business Boy will watch the North End die, and sing "I love this town," then let his arcing wrecking ball proclaim, "I hate Winnipeg."
Track Name: Benediction
you don't get to be a saint the dead man says
you get to warm your hands for a moment
you get to catch your breath and say one thing
-Patrick Friesen

So you don't get to be a saint. Martyrs never last this long. Guess I'll never be the one to defeat desire in song. Here's a marker, here's my naked skin, our Exhibit A. Put a small x where I lost my way. All the actors broke their legs, and it's too late to postpone. The producer's getting high, and the audience went home. Smile and take your awkward bow. Turn and stumble off the stage. Let the rain be your applause, every encore soothe your rage. Squint with one eye, hum a show-tune, and wait for your ride to say, "Oh, that's where you must have lost your way." Megaphones in helicopters squeal, "Hey, are you okay?" as searchlights circle where we lost our way. All our accidents went purposeful and fell, stripped of providence or any way to tell that our intentions were intangible and sweet. Sick with simple math and shy discoveries, piled up against our impending defeat.
Track Name: The Prescience of Dawn
One by one, million by million, in the prescience of dawn, every leaf in that part of the world was moved.
-James Agee

The sirens woke me up again. I know they're coming for me someday, just a matter of when. Count to twenty-five and yawn. Touch the clock and turn my back against the dawn, and hope for that one dream of hardware stores with checkered floors, and buckets full of nails. Or floating, effortless, over the apartment in a boat, and rowing past the office windows. Mother, mother may I cry. Father will you teach me how to die the right way someday. I don't want a second chance to turn my stuttering reluctance into romance, with these documents and kindergarten anthems, with my drunken liturgies. Tune the FM in to static, and pretend that it's the sea. But four words fumble for the microphone: you should have known.
Track Name: (Past-Due)
February always finds you folding local papers open to the faces "passed away," to wonder what they're holding in those hands we're never shown. The places formal photographs refuse to mention. His tiny feet, that birthmark on her knee. The tyranny of framing our attention with all the eyes their eyes no longer see. And darkness comes too early, you won't find the many things you owe these latest dead: a borrowed book, that cheque you didn't sign. The tools to be believed with, beloved. Give what you can: to keep, to comfort this plain fear you can't extinguish or dismiss.