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Reunion Tour

by The Weakerthans

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released September 25, 2007



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The Weakerthans Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Track Name: Civil Twilight
My Confusion Corner commuters are cursing the cold away, as December tries to dissemble the length of their working day. And they bite their mitts off to show me transfers, deposit change. I can't stop finding your face in their faces, all rearranged and angry, like you never were. And I ease us back into traffic, dusk comes on and I wonder why I'm always remembering you at civil twilight. For the most part I think about golfing and constantly calculate all the seconds left in the minutes, and so on, etcetera. Or recite the names of provinces and Hollywood actors. Oh Ontario. Oh, Jennifer Jason Leigh. But this part of the day bewilders me. Streets slow down and ice over, dusk comes on and I struggle, stop to stop, to stop thinking of you at civil twilight. Hey, every other hour I pass that house where you told me that you had to go. I wonder if the landlord has fixed the crack that I stared at instead of staring back at you. My chance to say something seemed so brief, but it wasn't. Now I know I had plenty of time. Between the sunset and certified darkness, dusk comes on and I follow the exhaust from memory out to the end of civil twilight.
Track Name: Hymn of the Medical Oddity
Oh, all the words I should not know, that those doctors wrote on me, swell up and thrum their syllables. Won't let me get to sleep. The sun will start late and clock out early so I drive around and wait for it. Follow familiar roads, emptied of every memory, under a sheet of silence and unmarked snow. Then idle in some parking lot, smoke half a smoke and ask St. Boniface and St. Vital to preserve me from my past. Repair our potholes. Prevent plant closures. And if they remember me at all make them remember me as more than a queer experiment; more than a diagram in their Quarterly. Make them remember me.
Track Name: Relative Surplus Value
Find the airport at 7 a.m., my heart pumping pure mini-bar. Sit on the concrete by the carts and some girl throws a dime in my lap. You won't be laughing when you hear how this one ends. So I sleep through the entire flight, don't really wake up til the cab driver says, "Hey where you going? I forget." Think of the time I came to visit you here the year after Jeremy died. The elevator's fast and pops my ears out. They're all waiting patiently. I touch my name-tag, should say, "HELLO I'M too tired to smile today," squeak the chair once, take a deep breath, straighten my tie and say, "What's the damage?" The pause feels like an extra year of high-school. The CEO takes me aside. I'm down 12 points, and they're selling. The graphs in the boardroom show by the time the market opens in Tokyo I'll be worthless. So what I'm trying to say, I mean what I'm asking is, I know we haven't talked in a while, but could you come get me?
Track Name: Tournament Of Hearts
Now the lounge is full of farmers for the 7:30 draw. Teammates all left before they had to buy a round. When they pull the 50/50 and I've lost again, I'll go. Or maybe have one more brown one for the snowy road. All the championship banners going yellow on the wall add my name when it gets closer to last call. So Elvera brings my bottle, I hold it up and let it bend the figures of two rinks battling an extra end. And I'm peeling off the label as they peel a corner guard and dance down the sheet to the tune of "Hurry! Hurry hard!" And my popcorn squeaks a question—wonders why I'm not at home, where you wait beside a silent telephone and doodle circles within circles, all alone. Have to stop myself from climbing on the table full of empties to yell, "Why? Why can't I draw right up to what I want to say? Why can't I ever stop where I want to stay? I slide right through the days. I'm always throwing hack weight." (Right off! No never!) Now the senior bonspiel winners, circa 1963, are all staring, glaring disapprovingly, from their frame in that old photograph, at me. And I know you're out there waiting for an answer I can't give you. Tell me why. Why can't I draw right up to what I want to say? Why can't I ever stop when I want to stay? I roar right through our years. I drift right through our months. I slide right through our days. I'm always throwing hack weight. (Right Off! No never!)
Track Name: Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure
It had something to do with the rain leaching loamy dirt, and the way the back lane came alive—half moon whispered, "go." For a while I heard you missing steps in the street, and your anger, pleading in an uncertain key, singing the sound that you found for me. When the winter took the tips of my ears, I found this noisy home full of pigeons and places to hide, and when the voices die I emerge to watch abandoned machines waiting for their men to return. I remember the way I would wait for you to arrive with kibble and a box full of beer. How I'd scratch the empties, desperate to hear you make the sound that you found for me. How after scrapping with the ferals and the tabby, I'd let you brush my matted fur. How I'd knead into your chest while you were sleeping. Shallow breathing made me purr. But now I can't remember the sound that you found for me.
Track Name: Elegy from Gump Worsley
He looked more like our fathers, not a goalie, player, athlete period. Smoke, half ash, stuck in that permanent smirk, tugging jersey around the beergut, "I'm strictly a whiskey man" was one of the sticks he taped up and gave to a nation of pudgy boys in beverage rooms. Favourites from Plimpton's list of objects thrown by Rangers fans: soup cans, a persimmon, eggs, a folding chair and a dead rabbit. The nervous breakdown of '68-'69 after pant-crap flights from LA, the expansion, "the shrink told me to change occupations. I had to forget it." He swore he was never afraid of the puck. We believe him. If anyone asks, the inscription should read, "My face was my mask."
Track Name: Sun in an Empty Room
Now that the furniture's returning to its Goodwill home, with dishes in last week's papers—rumours and elections, crosswords, an unending war—that blacken our fingers, smear their prints on every door pulled shut. Now that the last month's rent is scheming with the damage deposit, take this moment to decide if we meant it, if we tried, or felt around for far too much from things that accidentally touched. The hands that we nearly hold with pennies for the GST, the shoulders we lean our shoulders into on the subway, mutter an apology. The shins that we kick beneath the table, that reflexive cry. The faces we meet one awkward beat too long and terrify, know that the things we need to say have been said already anyway, by parallelograms of light on walls that we repainted white. So take eight minutes and divide by ninety million lonely miles, and watch a shadow cross the floor. We don't live here anymore.
Track Name: Night Windows
In the stick-count for the song of knowing you're gone, glancing up at where you lived when you lived here, I see you, suddenly alive and nearly smiling. Stop and hold my breath and watch the way you used to be. The full moon makes our faces shine like over-ironed polyester, then disappears behind the clouds, and leaves me under empty rows of night windows. We could walk to where these streets get pulled together—a blinking line with gravel shoulders squared towards an end. Where the radio resounds from doppling traffic. Where the power lines steal esses from the hourly news. De-pluralize our casualties, and drown the Generals out in static. We'd turn and watch our city sprawl, and send us signals in the glow of night windows. But you're not coming home again, and I won't ever get to say, "Remember how... I'm sorry that... I miss the way... Could we..."
Track Name: Bigfoot!
I change the oils and oil the squeaks, patch the holes and fluid leaks, at dusk, beneath a diabetic moon, and wait to take the tv crews across the creaking ice, the news is howling to the timber wolves, and soon I'll go through it all again, and watch their doubtful smiles begin, but the visions that I see believe in me. So praise the things I can't forget with burgers, and a silhouette on t-shirts at the council general store. I'll listen to the south wind sigh with rumours and regrets and I don't want to talk about it anymore. Won't go through it all again, watch the doubtful smiles begin, when the visions that I see believe in me. Oh the visions that I see, they will believe me.
Track Name: Reunion Tour
Rolling cable slick with beer to hang up on the broken stands, the house lights lit our injuries for crowds of plastic cups that clapped beneath bartender's sleepy brooms, and boom, boom boom, boom, went amps and cases down the stairs into the parking lot out back, a burst of moon, a blast of air, an understanding somewhere between the turning signal clicks, the shiny food we found with gasoline, the daily prayers of set-lists, tender jokes about retards and crashes and queers, I lost the chiming ring of keys to everything safe, and safely locked away back home.
Track Name: Utilities
Got this feeling that today doesn't like me. The air tastes like flowers and paint. There's a sink full of bottles and cutlery, and the car's got a list of complaints. I just wish I were a toothbrush or a solder gun. Make me something somebody can use. We can wish on the pop of a lightbulb, or those photos, lying yellow and curled, loose in boxes near abandoned electronics in the corners of the basements of the world. Guess our wishes don't do dishes or brake repairs. Make them something somebody can use. Got a face full of ominous weather. Smirking smile of a high pressure ridge. Got more faults than the state of California, and the heart is a badly built bridge. Seems the most I have to offer doesn't offer much. Make it something somebody can use. Make this something somebody can use.