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Austerity Measures

by Liam Betson

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Let our mouths distort the words for which there are no words Clumsily shaping, "What can be said can be said clearly," what we've seen but never spoken Ignoring their laughter, their moronic contempt We without children gathered at the table, holding hands with kindness kindling effortless cares The heat covers us I am swimming in your mouth I am a lisp articulating, enunciating, crawling from your tongue Shadows dance across the edges of your lashes Colors turn to dust against your memory And for a little while we wish to change nothing Our love gestured Our words mispronounced
Remove Me 04:13
Do not affirm me Close your eyes over me In so far as my body is an object Objectify me Do not affirm Close your eyes over In so far as body is an object Objectify In the light, affirm me Open your eyes under me And of course my body can be seen and touched I am more than what is seen and touched Do not objectify me My voice bends to my will In the light, affirm Open your eyes under And of course body can be seen and touched More than what is seen and touched Do not objectify Voice bends to will The sky fell blue on the window
Sale 02:32
Moonrise over the dollar store Oh moon, you discount, you clearance Alison's curls weaving, bobbing along the sidewalk Everything for sale and nothing sold Verily we merry three watching dusk in transit from one end of the room to another as the birds sing their city-crazed song and fight on telephone wires and tin awnings The church's adjacent yawning in the fog I hear the dog-walker coughing and the dog barking at a car Layers emerge in sequined depth Our love lies dormant but rages with seizures behind hospital curtains
Crane 02:32
Beautiful day No sun in sight Gray spills over the branches, the squirrel's nest Some birds hop around and do whatever else it is they do The crane continues to swing about and the high-rise grows without my even noticing it Like a child Wonderful day I wish I was a mole in the ground I spent 59 cents on an orange and cried my yawning tears These eyes of mine Bless them But enough already! Love and humor have made me strong. Kimpy, let your hair grow long
Boycott 03:56
Rain falls on city streets A bizarre recipe Drunken cook You spilling servant, my gratitude will forever be too little We've passed beyond the fields and wondered, “How sad for so-and-so” Avoiding the snares, our tongues progress Whatever, strange currency The tears in your eyes, the measured breaths betray your moneyed brow Though cloaked expensively, Comrades, we will wear your uniforms in tribute And speak out against imbecility Vanquished thoughts, swiftly denied To the tumbrel, the gibbet this MRA hellscape The dreams aren’t their dreams Okay, amazing An entire world covered with my hands
Weeping behind your opposite Fists denied their openness Desire hidden in the cabinet Oh, private property! Oh, adoration! Thoughts pierced, caught in prayer Obscure intentions laid bare The mind is echoing The mind is haunted The portrait's eyes are following you The communards feast gleefully The weight lifters flex furiously The witches shop for ointments and brooms The ferocious invalids ignore their wounds Stare at others on the street What's required isn't compulsory Sirens (as in police) draw us in Our madness is deliberate Contradictions amounting to the same thing, the same view Bless the comedians and spit at the past Despotic idiots spoke of "Bourgeois science" "Jewish mathematics" Language will see itself out the door
Dreamed about nothing… A hand holding under water, a holding under another Collapsing into confidence, confiding in diminishment Love without contest And if we are to build this if we are to build this in its framework, all things in their given framework, listener, we should become poorer We should become the architects of our own humility Call my name Call to me my name This being my name I will respond
I will go. I am going. I went. The past tense From the wall to the window And saw the wilting ginger plant All green and yellow Not rotting Opposite blossoming Like our love and sentiments inverted: "To sterve in wanhope and distresse Farwel my lif, my lust, my gladnesse" Some jokes aren't funny but must be told Some songs aren't sad but sound just-so Some acts are colonial fantasies but drape the flag of nature Bah! Humbug! Here I am The present tense Paint chips dot the crevices "Spring cleaning" Open the window The sound of your mouth and nose asleep And again my budding love My watering eyes
Soft Wounds 07:07
And for thee my dedications My bleeding Gasping, often casually My flippant cigarette lighting Cat-walking dangerously There is an edge and I shall cross it For my glamour deserves soft wounds I am bosomed and unmoored A little boat A child without a sailor's tongue Seasick and grasping the bedsides, swimming with the speckled trout Oh, provincial stream meanderer I am lost in the underneath, thrashing in the netting I am a remainder, unbalanced Accounts not yet closed For sale what will never be sold And for thee all nervous glances in ATM mirrors A red marker on the binding of your memory My frothy sippings, toothpicking with lavender buds Yawning through games of Snood, or quack-quacking my Pringled mouth Imagining a grandmother pinching the cheeks of your ever pudgy face Your hair cut short Your days grown long Your fingers krazy-glued Her ceramics made whole "This is the body of Christ" These are the stop signs scrivened in delight. The tread upon lawns The overgrown brush The laughter of birds Oh, street of particular width and length May we build our cities without fear of criminals or police I assert my right to silence


"Where there is an œuvre, there is no madness."

The point is to give some order to thoughts. To excavate memory, speech, identity, history. Sometimes approaching things unreasonably, obliquely, or simply against common sense can help. A strange order can help.

The point is to keep yourself entertained, and to do so cheaply. Writing poems outside the grocery store, cross-legged on the parquet, playing music with a child's toy, recording the results in an apartment above a Hungarian restaurant. See the mice scurry amongst pastries left in the window overnight.

So there's the joke about austerity. Setting limits to boost growth. Harper Lee had a regular booth at McDonald's. There is something about the phrase "living deliberately" which sticks in my mind. The only compliment I've received that really made me blush was that I choose my words carefully.

If somewhere the question is asked, "What was 2014-2016?" then this is my infinitesimal contribution to its answer. I am politically and historically located. And however impossible it feels, or may actually be, to pinpoint the significance of this body and this location, or to understand my role as an actor, perhaps these songs will help convey the love and hope I often feel, despite my ignorance.
Liam Betson: vocals, guitar, synthesizer
David Krol: synthesizer on tracks 1 and 2
Jonathan Leblanc: synthesizer, percussion
Recorded at Country Style between July 2015 and February 2016
Produced by Jonathan LeBlanc
Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk
Photography by David Krol
All songs written by Liam Betson
Released by Double Double Whammy, 2016


released August 19, 2016


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Liam the Younger

Liam Betson is a North American songwriter.

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