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On the Other Side of the Window

by David Garland

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On the Other Side of the Window The lifting crane, the crowded train, the slap of glue, the rendezvous. The pavement laid, the payment made, the traveled mile, the answered smile. Out there on the other side of the window. Out there on the other side of the window. the letter mailed, the job that failed, the great success, the warm caress. Out there on the other side of the window. Out there on the other side of the window. What was your intention? (repeated) The building lot, the cultish plot, the conference room, the bride and groom. Cross-eyed seer. Van Goghish listener. Insulated toucher. Mute-buttoned talker. (shoe shod shambler) What was your intention? What was your invention? What was your contention? What was your convention? What was your dimension? What was your —Don’t mention it! The lifting crane, the crowded train, the slap of glue, the rendezvous. Out there on the other side of the window. Out there on the other side of the window.
Good Design 04:52
Good Design Form and function follow purpose, purpose formed in shape and line. It results from your intention, intent defined in your design. Make a mark on your blank paper, take a look at what you’ve found. If it fails, then start all over. Over all, your design is sound. Over all, your design is sound. Take a pencil, make a drawing, drawing on what we’ve discussed. Good design requires planning, and plans require hope and trust —and a little bit of future. Every plan presumes there’s time to reach an outcome. Why design a future if I’m living without one? Nothing gets designed when I’m feeling resigned. Lots of factors offer input. Put ’em in perspective and let ’em combine. Subject it all to distillation. Then what’s left is your design —and a little bit of future.
I’m Here (Secular Prayer #1) In Times Square I sing a song to the people passing by: I’m here. You’re there. Late at night I sing a song to the empty hallway stairs: I’m here. You’re there. On the phone I sing a song to the people I love: I’m here. You’re there. On the train I sing a song to the travelers underground: I’m here. You’re there. With my friends I sing a song in three-part harmony: I’m here. You’re there. We’re here.
How To 07:13
How To Fold along the dotted line, tab A fits in slot 9 like your hand fits in mine. Turn the gasket to the right, secure it good and tight, like when you say goodnight. I have been hunting high and low for the instructions that might show me how to build a birch bark canoe, or a life here with you. I just want to know how to. My instruction manual is written by our years of gestures, each a clue. Look me in the eye and then just follow directions and you too can know how to. On page two-hundred and nineteen, at the top there’s a diagram marked figure four twenty-three. Multiply the vector of my gesture and just add the end result to all the crazy things I’ve done, and all the crazy things I meant to do. By this formula we’ll muddle through, and construe how to. I must say I have to doubt that you could figure out what we are all about. Just remember it was planned, we moved at fate’s command when you first held my hand. Fate or volition, I don’t know how to decode the ebb and flow that draws us near and pulls us apart, shapes us each, mind and heart. I just want to know how to. Close your eyes and then you’ll view the map from me to you, the answer to how to.
Distance 06:35
Distance I can barely remember trees blowing softly in the breeze. Based on my calculations and well-informed evaluations, I should be there soon, or the moon’s not lunar. I think it’s OK to be on my way away. Turn around, and see how far I’ve come. Finite increments elapse; gauges, dials, and maps. Read out the specifications, and watch the universe collapse (expand). Distance, like a lot of defining measures, offers arcane pleasures to the statistician in our hearts. Hold me closer, closer, closer, closer still. Now let me go. There, in between release and hold, time stands still a while, and then grows old. High in the sky stars exemplify how hard it is to reply. Antique starlight shines on me now. Light years further back, where it came from, new light is starting out.
Tea Time (Secular Prayer #4) Here’s my teapot. It’s not so short or stout. It helps me figure out my life. When I’m uncertain, doubting the worth of me, pour me a cup of tea. Let’s go, pekoe
Phantom Limb 04:01
Phantom Limb Out on a limb he sits and saws away, cutting off all his contact with the trunk, the tree, the roots. And as his saw cuts through, he starts to fall. Leaves sigh as they spin around. The wind blows. The branch descends, it arcs and twirls. He holds, he floats and falls; they’re plummeting down. When they land, if they land, they’ll know how to fly. Feel my phantom limb as it reaches out to hold your hand, your phantom hand. Hear my phantom limb make a phantom fist that knocks and knocks upon your door. See my phantom limb as it points the way back home from here, back to your phantom home.
Self Portrait Miscommunication and Mystery were wed, and their miscegenation made every word I’ve said. Similes and comparisons; words in other words, in other words—and other words; a sketch of what I meant to mean. All my casual comments can accrue in complicated ways, Like a close-up benday abstract that resolves into a face. (As I walked out on the streets of my city, I spied on some spies who were spying on me.) The timid hesitation always has a reservation here. Knock on my front teeth and maybe you’ll draw it out. Draw some blood. Draw a crowd. Draw a breath. Draw conclusions. Draw a portrait of me.
Out Here 04:44
Out Here Get from that terminal head to this place. Face thee cabooseward the whole rattled ride. We’ll get you settled, whatever it takes. Sweet recline by eventide. Green adirondacks right-angle the lake. Draw the last sun rays down bottles of wine. Now the hours shiver down dismal degrees. Plastic bags return to their homes in the trees. I’m not moving, even if I turn blue, waiting on you. Out here there’s nothing to hide us. At home right under them stars. All we’ll need’s right here beside us. Ain’t no fun alone. Get out here… it’s all ours. Bring me a present, accountable trace of all that we built, all we are hereupon. I’m itching for something I can’t hardly place. It’s probably gone. Probably gone. Out here it’s silence and hex signs, old songs, and deep reverie. Milestones marking off the “last times.” Everything is wrong. Get out here and save me.
Seem the Same (Secular Prayer #5) Things may seem the same, but they’re never the same. Never again who, what, or why they were. Carry your little awareness like a candle as you go room into room, out the door, block after block, and beyond. A line, not a circuit; one way, only one. Pushed and blinded by the heavy hands of time. I’ll go with you for a while. Can’t I go with you? I’m as happy as I have a right to be.
Grip 04:29
Grip Grab a hold (hold, hold). Hold on for dear life. Where’d that handle go? Get a grip, or you’ll slip, and go down. Take a look (look, look). Look out left and right, and above and below. From all sides, it collides and comes down. Holding still, still holding holding pattern, waiting like the rings of Saturn. Waiting to coalesce or disperse, not knowing if I’m in forward or reverse. Take it in (in, in). In case it’s encased, keep it well contained, or spill the cup, ’cause what goes up must come down. Let it go (go, go). Let go for dear life. If you can, let loose. Let it slip, or you’ll grip and go down.
Pastorale 03:52


Originally issued by Review Records


released September 1, 2003


David Garland: vocals, acoustic and electric bass guitar, piano, vibraphone, acoustic and electric guitar, flutes, chord harmonica, analog synth, accordion, bowed psaltery, percussion, drums, Taliesen quartzite, branches, etc. 

Karen Mantler: vocal and harmonica on “How To” 

Michael “Sport” Murphy: vocal on “Out Here,” backup vocal on “Tea Time” 

Meredith Yayanos: violin; vocal melismas on “I’m Here” 

Ron Horton: trumpet and flugelhorn 

chorus on “...Window”: Anne Garland, Kenji Garland, John Michael Riley, Aurelia Riley • singing friends on “I’m Here”: Mark Abbott, Chris Abbott, Brooke Abbott, Nigel Rollings, Carol Murikami, Rob Schwimmer, Marty Cutler, Cinnie Cole, Meredith Yayanos, Anne Garland, Kenji Garland • The Four Bags: special guests on the end of “Seem the Same”

Music and lyrics by David Garland, except “Good Design” (music by Sport Murphy, lyrics by David Garland) and “Out Here” (music by David Garland, lyrics by Sport Murphy). Produced, arranged, and mixed by David Garland.. Engineering assistance: George Wellington, Edward Haber. Mastered by Peter Katis at Tarquin Studios • recorded in New York City 2001-2003, except all sounds in “Pastorale” recorded around and on Woods Pond, Maine (loon echo 100% natural). Vocals on “I’m Here” recorded on location(s).


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David Garland New York, New York

Composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist David Garland has been steadily shaping songs in new ways since 1980.

"Like many great songwriters before him, Garland pushes the limits of acceptable harmony and dissonance, yet never at the expense of beauty. If it's not possible for popular music to reach the heights of the great classical masters, it seems no one has told David Garland."
--Sean Lennon
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