February 24th, 2007 - Nomen Est Numen

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ProgressStephen’s ExhibitionNoah’s New ArkBarbieDiscipleFall AwakeAmsterdamFemale FriendGuardiansAtavistic VikingAsshole World Renown

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PROGRESS

Modern man just loves to think and invent
until his brain gets sore
Searching, learning, adding
so our existence keeps demanding more
with each advancement we adopt
Progress
well, it oughta be stopped
Long before they were building fires
we all survived on an uncooked meal
Nature gave us two good legs to get us around
we never needed a wheel
It’s been downhill since we stood up straight
Progress
Yea, I hope it abates
Progress, man
Life was a breeze when we sat around the sun dial
making up a myth for everything we observed
Now we try to understand invisible stars
with imaginary numbers on Euclidean curves
Math was easy when the world was flat
Progress
man, I wanna go back
Once upon a time a bowl of leeches
cured us of our every ill
No such thing as the uninsured
when poultry paid our doctor bills
Sicknesses were all the same
Progress, man
simplicity’s bane
Progress, yea
I’m gonna find some moldy cave
and break off a big stalactite
club some girl and take her home
to breed a little tribe of troglodytes
In the good old days we were all nomads
and everybody knew you either hunted or
died
Thinking made us crazy and we started to
farm
and now we run a charity that serves world-
wide
It’s altruistic entropy
Progress
man, I wanna go back
Progress
Yea, it’s gotta be stopped
Progress, man
Well I hope they build a time machine,
cause a different age would suit me well
send me back four billion years
when everyone was single celled

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/progress.mp3]

Afterword…
This was written as an ode to that irrepressible tendency for people romanticize the past and bemoan the present. Best summed up by the line ” It’s been downhill since we stood up straight “. There are a lot of great lines in this song, and man- when that ska part kicks in this sucker is one cookin’ pop masterpiece.

STEPHEN’S EXHIBITION

Well we artistic types are so misunderstood
everyone’s a critic, they don’t know when something’s good
just let us have our space and freedom to create
and when the work is finished, we’ll tell you if it’s great
My painter friend is Stephen, I’m screwing his wife Mia
No, it doesn’t bother him, in fact it’s his idea
You common people try to pass it off as sick behavior
but it’s how he gets inspired, I’m doing him a favor
Artists want to share their gift, but it’s often that they can’t
thank God that Stephen finally got that NEA grant

Cause Stephen’s exhibition is a masterpiece to see
it’s a series done in oil of his wife in bed with me
In really wild positions, all throughout his home
we cluttered every room with empty tubes of paint and foam
He’s done good work before, but this is closer to his heart
I’m glad that I could help out my friend Stephen with his art

Now Stephen was a prodigy, so growing up was odd
like Mapplethorpe multiplied by Marquis de Sade
When he discovered porno he was instantly consumed
Then he fell in love with Mia and his art began to bloom
Congress tried to pull his funding cause his approach is raw
Well, technically in many states it is against the law
You know the one of Mia with a gerbil in her hand?
It’s called ‘The Veterinarian’, it goes for thirty grand
You may find that insulting, but the cultural elite
line up to throw their platitudes and money at his feet

CHORUS

And all thes sex and violence is a brilliant metaphor
I’m not really raping Mia on the living room floor

CHORUS

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/stephens-exhibition.mp3]

Afterword…
I wrote this after going to see a Jeffrey Koons exhibit at the Walker in Minneapolis. Sometimes it’s just adolescent sexuality in a museum. I, of all people should be able to recognize adolescent sexuality, and that Koons crap was it. Anyway, I wrote this song to make fun of that whole scene, the artistic elite, etc., and because I wanted to imagine myself as that guy who’s helping Stephen out by screwing his wife. Isn’t art tricky?

NOAH’S NEW ARK

We holy children prayed to be delivered from
the cognitive pollution we’ve suffered through and lived among
“Father free us, intervene and lift the curse,
drench this tainted planet so our handicap can be reversed”
And now below the bow we hear the panicked cries of dying men
thrashing in the water, it’s cutting off their oxygen
But we are spared, and providence will clearly show
that all the meek inherit is the doom of their genetic code
The finger-pointing came from God, finding his creation flawed
He decreed a final solution
Off ya’ go, take a plunge, all of you have been expunged
in the service of evolution
Our flagship embarks
to populate a world with perfect genes
we’re Noah’s new ark
three standard deviations from the mean
So, here we float- Mother Nature’s second chance
it won’t be long before the dove returns the olive branch
As for the dead, they only got what they deserved
It’s all too obvious that God is grading on a curve
In His new kingdom there isn’t any simple niche
we won’t need janitors or cretin drones to dig a ditch
We chosen few will sail ahead until we find
the true potential of a cultivated human mind
An unencumbered tribe are we, devoid of mediocrity
every blemish emended
All of us rejoice, and some are even plotting to become
a little smarter than the Lord intended

CHORUS

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/noahs-new-ark.mp3]

Afterword…
I read The Bell Curve and started to imagine God delivering another flood, this time wiping out anyone who wasn’t “three standard deviations from the mean”. For the record, I don’t think that’s what the guys who wrote The Bell Curve are hoping for, and even if some races are generally more or less intelligent than others, all souls have equal value. Don’t send me mail telling me what a crock The Bell Curve is. It’s embarrassing how strong peoples opinions are about a book they’ve never read (it reminds me of the Bible).

BARBIE

I bought you for my daughter’s birthday
but I’m keeping you for myself
I just couldn’t imagine you wasting away
from utter neglect in her dollhouse hell
I peeled off all your tags
and pulled you out of the bright pink box
I knew I had to hide my fantasy bride
in the drawer beneath my socks
Now my family goes to sleep and we go downstairs
so no one will discover what the young lovers share
I pretend that your knees and elbows bend
and you’re all anatomically correct
with a brain above that plastic neck
But I get so, so angry when you just sit and stare
like some inanimate bimbo
there’s gouges and marks all over your body
cause I’ve let my nasty temper go
You’re not as pretty since I broke your foot
when I threw you against the wall
I’ve burned you with my matches, razor cuts and scratches
and you forget and forgive it all
Believe me when I say I’m gonna leave my wife
and find a magic doctor that’ll bring you to life

CHORUS

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/barbie.mp3]

DISCIPLE

This goodness in my heart
this evil in my head
Do not exist in equal parts
for only one is fed
A growing dark veneer
a conscience in repose
tonight as I was sleeping here
both of them arose
I saw a demon stare into my face
and an angel touch my breast
Each one softly called my name
the demon scares me less
Something gentle tries to guide
and occupies my soul
but I never let it override
the mind that I control
If I turn toward the light
it’s beauty cannot last
for I think that it must be destroyed
when I see how we contrast
This wickedness in my reflection
is familiar to my eyes
it’s the image of this love before me
that I do not recognize
Two opposing forces
are measuring in me
the distance of my spirit to
the disciple I will be

CHORUS

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/disciple.mp3]

FALL AWAKE

I was acurious boy with a wandering mind
on a hungry search undefined
in a rigid school full of concrete thought,
a structured day and all that brought
Logic ground in repeatable facts
my big energy faded back
They gave me far less than they stole
they packed my head and they drained my soul
So I learned to sleep in a distant stare
out beyond, unaware
of a clear internal path I’d take
if I’d close my eyes and fall awake
It was an instant lift, my mind grew light
a lucid dream of a graceful flight
Just one push and I learned to fall
into the arms of the energy that voiced my call
Now each dream is an epitome
a beautiful dream of a permanent home
I’m a timeless entity cloaked in skin,
the eye of the universe turning in
And it’s all between my ears
I know my way to a magic sphere
A clear internal path I take
when I close my eyes and fall awake
It’s a world too dense with material toys
and signals laced with a lot of white noise
But there’s a place in me that scientists
can’t explain so they just dismiss

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/fall-awake.mp3]

Afterword…
Have you read The Dreaming Universe by Fred Allen Wolf? This song should be used as a forward to the next edition. I always suffered from insomnia, but at the time I wrote this, it was starting to sink in that sometimes the highest state of consciousness is the dream state. These lyrics are about giving ourselves over to the dream state, and allowing for some mystical input. This song has one hell of a groove.

AMSTERDAM

You met her on the airplane
as I waved goodbye in a teary blur
you pulled some strings
the stewardess sat you next to her
In a gentle voice
with an affecting tone
you touched her hand on the armrest
over the first time zone
Crossing over oceans
will break down boundaries, won’t it?
Like any worldly man
you knew that and you seized the moment

While I was feeling sick
trying not to miss her
at the terminal in Amsterdam
you grabbed her and you kissed her
But don’t overestimate how wounded
I should be
She pretended you were me

Yea, she told me about you
No, she never hid it
Now I’ve calmed back down
and I’m glad you did it
It’s common knowledge
how comforting a surrogate can be
If it’s comfort she needed
thanks for standing in as me
That’s a heros’ instinct
to which all men are true
and if I ever meet your girlfriend
I’m gonna do the same for you

CHORUS You never realized how lucky you could be
till she pretended you were me

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/amsterdam.mp3]

Afterword…
Yes, my girlfriend really did kiss that guy in the airport (twice actually). The song is true, but I’m the one who ended up with the girl, so it’s all ok. Don’t you love Joel Sayles’ harmonies on this one?

FEMALE FRIEND

Sitting in the sound booth’s ambient glow
the engineer sees a woman he knows
“Stephen, this is someone you should meet
She’s a DJ, her name is Mary-you’d make a match”
“Well yea,” we joke, “Too bad we’re both attached”
I stare at her and float out of my seat
But she’s just staring at the soundboard dials
and I’m all smiles
I make a female friend and the moment it occurs
the adrenaline flows and the boundaries blur
They keep it all platonic and I wish I could
but her hair’s too soft and she smells so good
If I act decent, that’s pretend
I really wanna sleep with my female friends
It’s somebody’s birthday and we attend
enter me and my girlspouse
In the course of the evening everybody’s introduced
In particular my old roommate
was standing with his wife by the snackplate
I hugged her longer than I wanted to
When she pulls away everybody in the house
sees I’m aroused

CHORUS

That grocery girl bags my food
and I imagine her nude

CHORUS

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/female-friend.mp3]

Afterword…
I forgot I even wrote this song until Radio K in Minneapolis turned it into a hit. One bizarre day I was driving in my Suburu (I’ve long since sold that hunk of crap to my manager) and I heard a song and a voice that sounded familiar, I swear I did not know who it was. After about fifteen seconds I realized it was me, and I nearly drove that crappy Suburu into a tree. But hey, isn’t it true that many men have a very rough time not including sex in all their interactions with women? Some of us just decide to become monks to take care of the problem, but even that has its’ trappings (I just thought of that now). My girlfriend had to adjust to this song, but I just kept bringing up Amsterdam and that helped my cause some.

GUARDIANS

We join our hands around this table as we pray
I squeeze my parents fingers, as if my touch will say
that all around me a presence is so clear
a joy that would escape this room if one of you weren’t here
And it is my selfish wish that our lives could be one length
cause I’ll forever be the child seeking comfort in your strength
Mom and Dad please promise me, when your time on earth is done
the guidance of your love will still surround your son
So when my heart is twice as wise, I will know that you are close
My guardians will be your ghosts
As the family ages our companion is this fear
the thought that growing older means some separation nears
We dread those awful endings and fail to realize
with the nature of our union, how needless are good-byes
For no spirit in this circle would let another be forlorn
Our vigil is eternal from the time that we are born
Mom and Dad I promise you if my time is first to come
you will feel the love returning from your youngest son
So when your hearts are twice as full, you will know that I am close
Your guardian will be my ghost
Your guardian will be my ghost
We join our hands around this table as we play

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/guardians.mp3]

Afterword…
Definitely one of my most valuable songs. I’ve always wanted to come back here after death and comfort those I love.

ATAVISTIC VIKING

At the state museum in a glass display
a Viking sword and shield lay
Which instinctively I recognized
and my Danish blood began to rise
I smashed the case and pulled the
weapons free and uprooted my family tree
Then I moved up north and built a
laskeshore home
out of tree trunk frames with a
mud thatch dome
I wrapped myself in a sheepskin coat
and climbed aboard my wooden boat
with the pent up rage of my ancient kin
a thousand years inside my skin
Sailing east I spotted a campsite
a group of tourists playing in the moonlight
They pointed at me and laughed like hell,
until I came ashore swinging my sword
Bodies scattered as I plunged my blade
through their gore-tex tents
and set fire to the family mini van
with their Coleman lamos
Then everybody watched daddy dangle
from a birch bark limb
A little visit fomr the instincts lingering
in the Atavistic Viking
As I floated away from the bloody grounds
the beautiful loot weighed my boat down
I made my way to a posh resort
where the rich and famous come to port
and pulling away from a harbor slot
I spied a most resplendent yacht
In the middle of a costume party
a little drunk, so they hardly
noticed me climbing on board in my helmet
with the horns, swinging my sword
bodies scattered as I plunged my
blade through the captain’s chair
and dragged women to the galley by
their hair and underwear
Set a torch to the master cabin,
loaded up my spoils
Another visit from the instincts
lingering in the Atavistic Viking
And the planet hasn’t seen such
horror in a thousand years
The bellicose screams of my ancestors
still ring in the Atavistic Viking

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/atavistic-viking.mp3]

Afterword…
After I read Beowulf I couldn’t stop thinking about my Viking ancestors (yes I’m Danish, thanks for asking). We really kicked some ass, eh? Then this scenario popped into my head when I looked up the word Atavism in my dictionary one day. The rest is pop song history.

ASSHOLE WORLD RENOWN

Bored stiff with my wallet fat, I ordained myself a diplomat
bought a plane and some aerosol, sprayed my name on China’s Wall
Then I pissed all over the Kremlin steps, ounched a monk in Tibet
got drunk and disordered in the old Big Apple, passed gas in the Cistine Chapel
I’ve thrown darts at the Mona Lisa, tied lead weights to the tower of Pisa
sold salt water in the big Sahara, then I tool a shit in the Riviera
Asshole World Renown
Went to Rome and spread V.D., robbed the homeless in Tahiti
was slapped by a woman in the great Euphrates, kidnapped kids in the slums of Haiti
Poisoned livestock in Korea, tainted foodshelves in Tanzania
torched Saigon like a Buddhist pyro, slashed tires in the streets of Cairo
I chucked eggs at Castro’s doorway, I once puked on the king of Norway
for eighteen days I roamed Japan, choking little kittens with my bare hands
Stuck my gum on Venus De Milo, did Zimbabwe shooting rhinos
ran nude straight through Nepal, spit my chew in the Taj Mahal
Asshole World Renown

[audio:http://www.dreamusher.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/sounds/nomen est numen/asshole-world-renown.mp3]

Afterword…
The count off intro to this song kills me every time I hear it. It is greatest count-off since NASA sent that first thing to the moon. A crowd favorite, and a lot of people have mooned me at concerts because….because I asked them to. Hey, this guy described in the lyrics, he’s a real jerk, huh?

All Songs © Copyright 1992-2004 Stuart Davis

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