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Fevers and Mirrors (Remastered)

by Bright Eyes

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You turn on a spindle. You are so much looser now but you’re not explaining how you gained such new repose. I touch the clasp of your locket, with its picture held, some secret you wouldn’t tell but let it choke your neck. So we imagine a darkness where all shapes divide, solids changing into light, with a burst of heat so bright. Well fine, don’t you do what I want you to. Don’t degrade yourself the way I do because you don’t depend on all the shit that I use to make my moods improve. Near a sea of pianos, there were waves of chords that crashed against the shore in one huge and pointless roar. And there were girls bringing water, like a dream they came to cure the fever of my brain, and soothe my burning throat. And they made me a necklace, hanging beads of sweat on a string of my regrets, and placed it round my neck and they were singing, “Don’t you do what you’ve wanted to. Yeah, don’t destroy yourself like those cowards do.....And maybe the sun keeps coming up because it has gotten used to you and your constant need for proof.”
Here is a scale. Weigh it out and you will find, easily, more than sufficient doubt that these colors you see were picked in advance by some careful hand with an absolute concept of beauty. They are smeared and these blurs come in random order to color the eyes of your former lovers. Hers were green like July except when she cried they were red. Now I know a disease that these Doctors can’t treat. You contract it the day you accept all you see is a mirror and a mirror is all it can be. A reflection of something we’re missing. And language just happened, it was never planned, and it’s inadequate to describe where I am in the room of my house where the light has never been waiting for this day to end. And these clocks keep unwinding and completely ignore everything that we hate or adore. Once the page of a calendar is turned it’s no more. So tell me then, what was it for? Oh tell me, what was it for?
Does he kiss your eyelids in the morning when you start to raise your head? And does he sing to you incessantly from the place between your bed and wall? Does he walk around all day at school with his feet inside your shoes? Looking down every few steps to pretend he walks with you. Does he know that place below your neck that is your favorite to be touched and does he cry through broken sentences like I love you far too much? Does he lay awake listening to your breath? Worried that you smoke too many cigarettes. Is he coughing now on a bathroom floor? For every speck of tile there are a thousand more that you won’t ever see but most hold inside yourself eternally. I drug your ghost across the country and we plotted out my death. In every city, memories would whisper, “Here is where you rest.” I was determined in Chicago but I dug my teeth into my knees and I settled for a telephone and sang into your machine. “You are my sunshine, my only suNshine...” I kissed a girl with a broken jaw that her father gave to her. She had eyes bright enough to burn me. They reminded me of yours. In a story told she was a little girl in a red-rouge, sun-bruised field and there were rows of ripe tomatoes where a secret was concealed. And it rose like thunder, clapped under our hands. And it stretched for centuries to a diary entry’s end where I wrote, “...You make me happy when the skies are gray...You make me happy...the skies are gray and gray and gray....” Well the clock’s heart it hangs inside its open chest with its hands stretched towards the calendar hanging itself...but I will not weep for those dying days. For all the ones who have left there are a few that stayed. And they found me here and pulled me from the grass where I was laid.
Now and again it seems worse than it is, but mostly the view is accurate. You see your breath in the air while you climb up the stairs to that coffin you call your apartment. And you sink in your chair, brush the snow from your hair and drink the cold away. You are not really sure what you are doing this for but you need something to fill up the days. A few more hours. There is a dream in my brain that just won’t go away. It has been stuck there since it came a few nights ago...I’m standing on a bridge in the town where I lived as a kid with my mom and my brothers. And then the bridge disappears and I’m standing on air with nothing holding me. And I hang like a star, fucking glow in the dark, for all those starving eyes to see, like the ones we’ve wished on. But now I’m confused. Is this death really you? Do these dreams have any meaning? No, no, I think it is more like a ghost that has been following us both. Something vague that we are not seeing, something more like a feeling.
You follow the footsteps..echoes leading down a hall to a room. There is music playing - tiny bells with moving parts. Here the shadows make things ugly, an effect quite undesirable. The bold and yellow daylight grows like ivy across the wall and bounces off of the painted porcelain, tiny dancing doll. Her body spins, as she pirouettes again, the world suddenly seems small. On an off white, subtle morning you stretch your legs in the front seat. The road has made a vacuum where our voices used to be. And you lay your head onto my shoulder, pour like water over me. So if I just exist for the next ten minutes of this drive that would be fine. And all the trees that line this curb would be rejoicing and alive. Soon all the joy that pours from everything makes fountains of your eyes because you finally understand the movement of a hand waving you good-bye.
Arienette 03:45
The fragile keep secrets, gathered in pockets, and they will sell them for nothing - a cheap watch or locket - that kind of gold washes off. The sad act like lepers, they stick to the shadows and long to ring bells of warning to tell of their coming so that the pure can shut their doors. The angry are animals - senseless and savage. They act without order in logical lapses, they stain their mouths with blood. So take my hand, this barren land is alive tonight. The corn has grown stalks that form a wall that hides. The wind carries sounds that I can’t see from beyond that line. Then the stalks begin to sway...oh stay with me Arienette until the wolves are away. The wicked are vultures, they bake in the canyons. They circle in sunlight and wait for their victims to collapse and call to them. The desperate are water. They will run down forever and soak into silence to just end up together in some dark and distant place. So don’t leave me here with only mirrors watching me. This house it holds nothing but the memories. And the moon it leaves silver but never sleep. And then the silver turns to stay with me Arienette until the wolves are away.
Tomorrow when I wake up I’m finding my brother and making him take me back down to the water. That lake where we sailed and laughed with our father. I will not desert him. I will not desert him. No matter how I may wish for a coffin so clean or these trees to undress all their leaves onto me. I put my face in the dirt and then finally I see the sky that has been avoiding me. I started this letter I’m going to send it to Ruba. It will be blessed by her eyes on the Gulf coast of Florida. With her feet in the sand and one hand on her swimsuit, she will recite the prayer of my pen. Saying, “..time take us forward. Relief from this longing, they can land that plane on my heart - I don’t care - just give me November, the warmth of a whisper in the freezing darkness of my room.” But no matter what I would do in an attempt to replace. All the pills that I take trying to balance my brain. I have seen the Curious Girl with that look on her face. So surprised she stares out from her display case.
The phone slips from a loose grip. Words were missed then...some apology like “I didn’t want to tell you this it’s just some guys she has been hanging out with...oh I don’t know...the past couple of weeks I guess.” Thank you and hang up the phone. Let the funeral start. Hear the casket close. Let’s pin split-black ribbon onto your overcoat. Still laughter pours from under doors in this house. I don’t understand that sound no more. It seems artificial like a T.V. set. Haligh, Haligh, Haligh, Haligh This weight it must be satisfied. You offer only one reply. You know not what you do. But you tear and tear your hair from roots. From that same head you have twice removed a lock of hair you said would prove our love would never die. Well Ha Ha Ha. But I remember everything...the words we spoke on freezing South street. And all those mornings watching you get ready for school. You combed your hair inside that mirror, the one you painted blue and glued with jewelry tears. Something about those bright colors always made you feel better. So now we speak with ruined tongues and the words we say aren’t meant for anyone. It’s just a mumbled sentence to a passing acquaintance, but there was once you said you hated my suffering and you understood and you’d take care of me. You would always be there, well where are you now? Haligh, Haligh, Haligh, Haligh. The plans were never finalized but left to hang like yarn and twine dangling before my eyes. As you tear and tear your hair from roots, from that same head that you have twice removed a lock of hair you said would prove that our love would never die. As I sing and sing of awful things, the pleasure that my sadness brings as my fingers press onto the strings you get another clumsy chord. Haligh, Haligh, an awful lie. This weight will now be satisfied. I will give you only one reply, I know not who I am but I talk in the mirror to the stranger that appears. Our conversations are circles and always one sided, nothing is clear. Except we keep coming back to this meaning that I lack. He says the choices were given and now I must live them or just not live. But do you want that?
At the center of the world there is a statue of a girl. She is standing near a well with a bucket bare and dry. I went and looked her in the eyes and she turned me into sand. This clumsy form that I despise scattered easy in her hand. And it came to rest upon a beach, with a million others there. We sat and waited for the sea to stretch out so that we could disappear into the endlessness of blue, into the horror of the truth. We are far less than we knew. Yes, we are far less than we knew but we knew what we could taste. Girls found honey to drench our hands. Men cut marble to mark our graves. Saying that we will need something to remind us of all the sweetness that has passed through us (fresh sangria and lemon tea). The Priests dressed children for a choir (white-robed small voices praise Him) but found no joy in what was sung. The funeral had begun....In the middle of the day when you drive home to your place from that job that makes you sleep back to the thoughts that keep you awake long after night has come to claim any light that still remains in the corner of the frame that you put around her face. Two pills just weren’t enough. The alarm clock is going off but you are not waking up. This isn’t happening. It is.
Sunrise, Sunset. Sunrise, Sunset. Swiftly go the days. Sunrise, Sunset. You wake up, then you undress. It always is the same. A Sunrise and a Sunset. You are lying while you confess, keep trying to explain. The Sunrise and the sun sets you realize and then you forget what you have been trying to retain. But everybody knows that it is all about the things that get stuck inside of your head, like the songs your roommate sings or a vision of her body as she stretches out on your bed. She raised her hands in the air and asked you, “When was the last time you looked in the mirror? Because you have changed. Yeah, you have Changed.” Sunrise, Sunset. You are hopeful and then you regret. The circle never breaks. With each sunrise and sunset there is a change of heart or address. Is there nothing that remains? For a sunrise or a sunset. You are manic or you’re depressed. Will you ever feel OK? It’s a sunrise and sunset. Your lover is an Actress. Did you really think she would stay? For a sunrise and sunset. You are either coming or you just left but you are always on the way. Towards a sunrise or a sunset, a scribble or a sonnet. They are really just the same. To the sunrise and the sunset. The master and his servant have exactly the same fate. It’s a sunrise and a sunset. From a cradle to a casket. There ain’t no way to escape. The sunrise and the sunset. Hold your sadness like a puppet, just keep putting on the play. But everything you do is leading to the point where you just won’t know what to do. And at that moment you may laugh but there is someone there who will be laughing louder than you. So its true, the trick is complete. Now you have become everything you said that you never would be, You’re a Fool! You’re a Fool! Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset. The Sunrise and the Sunset. Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset. The Sun it rises and then it sets. Sunrise, Sunset. Go home to your apartment and put the cassette in the tape deck and let that fever play. Sunrise, Sunset. Where are you Arienette? Where are you Arienette?
Did you expect it all to stop at the wave of your hand? Like the sun is just going to drop if it’s night you demand. Well, in the dark we are just air so the house might dissolve. But once we are gone, who is gonna care if we were ever here at all? Well, summer is going to come and its gonna cloud our eyes again. There is no need to focus when there is nothing that is worth seeing. So we trade liquor for blood in an attempt to tip the scales. I think you lost what you loved in that mess of details. They seemed so important at the time but now you can’t even recall any of the names, faces, or lines. It is more the feeling of it all. Well, winter is going to end and I’m going to clean these veins again. So close to dying that I finally can start living.
There is a middle-aged woman dragging her feet. She carries baskets of clothes to a laundromat. While the Mexican children kick rocks into the street and they laugh in a language I don’t understand. But I love them. Why do I love them? So the neighborhood is dimming as I smoke on the porch and watch the people as they pass enclosed inside their cars. And on their faces just anger or disappointment. I start wishing there was something I could offer them. A consolation. What could I offer them? When they are sad in their suburbs...Robots water the lawn and everything they touch gets dusted spotless. So they start to believe that they haven’t touched anything at all. While the cars in the driveway only multiply. They are lost in their houses. I have heard them sing in the shower and making speeches to their sister on the telephone. Saying, “You come home. Darling, you come here. Don’t stay so far away from me. This weather has me wanting love more tangible. Something I can hold because its getting cold.” So lets hold up our fists to the flame in the sky to block out the light that is reaching for our eyes because it would blind us. It will blind us. Now I have locked my actions in the grooves of routine. So I may never be free of this apathy. But I wait for a letter that is coming to me. She sends me pictures of the ocean in an envelope. So there still is hope. Yes, I can be healed. There is someone looking for what I concealed in my secret drawer, in my pockets deep, you will find the reasons that I can’t sleep and you will still want me. But will you still want me? Well, I say come for the week. You can sleep in my bed. And then pass through my life like a dream through my head. It will be easy. I will make it easy. But all I have for the moment is a song to pass the time. A melody to keep me from worrying. Oh, some simple progression to keep my fingers busy. And some words that are sure to come back to me. And they will be laughing. My mediocrity. My mediocrity.


released November 4, 2016

Remastered by Bob Ludwig. Originally released 2002.


This album was recorded for the most part in the final month of the twentieth century in Lincoln, NE at Dead Space by Andy LeMaster and Michael Mogis. It was mixed shortly afterwards by Michael and was then mastered at Studio B by Doug Van Sloun in Omaha, NE. The Art Design and Layout by Zack Nipper and Robb Nansel. Wallpaper Photographs by Jamie Williams and Kimberly Hager.

I would like to express my deepest thanks to: Andy, Michael, Robb, Zack, Jamie and Kim for all their work; the musicians who gave their time and energy making this record; All those who have toured and played live with me; My Family and Friends. Thank you all.


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Bright Eyes Omaha, Nebraska

Bright Eyes are the Omaha, Nebraska based band consisting of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nathaniel Walcott.


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