O Octopus


Two of the six songs from Diana Senechal's 2001 album, O Octopus (recorded in 2001 at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco, engineered by John Croslin), can be downloaded here. (Warning: the sound files are large.)
          Man with a Violin
          Kitchen Phoenix

Man with a Violin

There goes the man with the violin, twisting like a dreidel in the sun. You love him 'cause he carries light things and disappears when you call. Don't we love the things that disappear? Don't we love the things that twist in the sun? Don't we love the things that are almost gone?

I brought my weight to the end of the world. I gave my cello a spin in the sun. It landed on "heh," and half of me went Roman, up the golden rope to nest in the stars. The man with the violin let me down. He's sitting up there with missing lungs. He holds the gallows in his arms.

I brought you a duck, and a penguin and an owl, a platypus and an albatross. But none of these gifts had the light and the air and the twist to match just what you wanted. So I kept them for myself instead, and put them up, up on the walls, up on the walls, both sides of the hall. Then I came unto an island rude with birds. They call them South American terns. Turning around, around and around, silver like the cloak of the man with the violin. I know I saw his face; he stamped a star on me, and I felt the empty trick of the idol known as absence, I read the scripts of absence, the rot of golden ink. And my one gift to you was that I came to see him in the grey, not only came to see him in the grey, but came back again, again, despite all mistakes, to see what we were all about. I give you my mistakes.

Kitchen Phoenix

I left the burner on, the flames had gone all up, dressed up in blue, swaying around the beloved bird, who darted and pecked, beating her burning wings, telling them, go away, they wouldn't go away, telling them, go away, only I obeyed, only I obeyed, and when I came back there was no kitchen or stove.

She told me later how they wouldn't leave, and she became entirely still. It was raining outside Bottom of the Hill, and in the stillness of a million stills, she laid down her head and let her friends lift her, she let the heat lift her, as she rose sleeping, she got up on stage and played the show, she played the f***ing show, it was raining outside Bottom of the Hill, and I had gone back home.

The Portrait (to be re-uploaded as soon as possible)

I hate that painting. How dare you hoist it up the ladder like a Roman with a crown? You gave her a second birth and stamped her head with a star. She's just the way you wanted, a daughter caged in your mind. The halo that spells her tells the world how great you are. They crowd around the star-cage, all marveling at you.

And if one spatter of your brush reminds me of me, I won't be afraid; I'll stare it down, till I admit to it. I won't be afraid; I'll stare it down, till I regret my ways. I won't be afraid; I'll tear it down, and then they'll drag me out.

The people look up to the goddess in the sky. They equate her with the moon, who the painter says is you. You trample on their math. They don't know who you are; the Roman will come down; the painting will come down; the painting will come down. Someday the painting will come down, someday the painting will come down. Someday, someday, someday....

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