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fish wigs hats rats

by Diana Senechal

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The Ear 04:32
Your utricle senses my fast approach, watch out. Your cochlea gives you the full report of my size, things I never let out. Press close to my womb, no babies but clay. Open your eustacian tube, I'm not as blocked as I seem. I meander your labyrinth, interesting to me, though it might not seem. So press your ear close and hear a song from another room. Vestibular nerves hanging from the walls, drums, drums all over the room. Strings and oval windows steal the light, they steal the day. I'd like to write a song just like a big big hug for you. And maybe, just maybe, someday I will have played.
Gourds 05:43
Out in the garden let's go digging for something bigger than these potatoes. I'm treading very lightly, I see shapes strongly, I let my hands go, risking, risking the wind. Deep in my garden something is ringing, I reach for phones and feel a hand. I won't spoil the sunrise by saying I'm happy. I won't spoil the sounds by naming my shivers. I'll peel potatoes, I'll smile softly, I'll twist gently around your zucchini. The greens are dancing, the gourds are growing, the moon is bleeding, I love your garden.
I hear the wheels from far away, and now I've become the far away. The curly eyes, the dragon smile, his name is Charon and he's ambling through the Haight. He steps inside for a tattoo, a migrant farmer and a mean old clown have just sat down, they're waiting for their dragonflies. He gets himself a fish, a wig, a hat and finally a rat, he swings them round and round entranced, then tosses them aside, He says "I get I get I get I get but I don't use, and that's the secret to these nimble feet... they know the ropes." He grows some wings, gives me a ride down to the pier where the minutes sway and sway. This is my job, he fesses up, this ferry ride, I run back home and lock myself in bed. But while I was away with him the rats ate through my roof and walls and gnawed up all my diaries, unearthing years and years of dirt, and spattered blood over my words and shredded all my final drafts, and left these tooth marks in my calendar. It's time for me to change my life, it's time for me to build some walls, it's time for me to paint from scratch, thanks to the rats. He burns his way into my walls, and points me to the beauty of the walls. They seemed so bleak, but they provide a shadowed passage to the candlelight. A friend was moving all his things, he always seemed so orderly, but when the closet puked its guts, the years the years came tumbling out, the photos, tapes and curios began to stomp a dusty dance, and we, worn out and curious, put on a candle and a song that made the room a silent film with cracks and breaks and happiness, I never knew such happiness, and when the ferryman showed up, we didn't feel too comfortable but stuffed his guts anyway with dragonflies I hear the wheels from far away, and now I've become the far away, I take my keys off of their ring and toss them into the street this blessed night, the walls that seemed a drag before have made it possible for me to have a door, the ferryman kicks up a dance, he steps on all the keys and makes them laugh and laugh, he tosses things so far away, that they themselves become the far away. Are these his dunes, do I provide the nobody around for miles and miles? And fish and wigs, and hats and rats, the candlelight has drawn out all the cats, they dance into the wax of night, they dance for all things lost and bright, and miles away, and hours of play, and all the keys, keys, keys I tossed away, the ferryman heads for the break, I start to think he approached me by mistake, and while I've come to love these walls, I long for somebody to guide me through the halls, but there's nobody around for miles and miles, just dunes and dunes and miles and miles.
Marks 05:09
He's got a girlfriend and a few perversions. Got coin marks in his palm, with barely enough for the booth. I've got a donkey, I snuggle in its fur, and birthmarks in my bra, and lamps shaped like the moon. Now he's getting worried, he thinks he'll go back home, his phone is getting lonely all coiled up in his room. Take to the wind, take to the trafficky door, I pick the darkest shades on the shelf. Unguilt my face, leave me anonymous, hurried your fingers dance through hangers. Donkey outside waiting for me with a grin, grins turn to guns, I watch his ears sharpening. We've got a bumpy road trip ahead, you look away, dart back, away again. We've got a code garbled like soda fizz, I've got a disease called innocence. I leave you with your marks and me with mine, take to the wind, take to the trafficky door. I've got three options, one's the 22 line. It goes right by the drugstore, it's busy through the night. The second's my girlfriend who goes out with my boyfriend. I'll play with her for a while, she sometimes makes me smile. The last is my skin, all dangerous with canyons. I put it on for fun, and shiver all night long.
You run from the sun, you run down the hill into the fog, down from the witty chambers, your hut was on stilts, it kept you on edge throughout the night, the dark still had mercy, the light comes out mean, it's only good for burning things, carnivorous with chatter, they twisted your path, and blocked up with sharp-edged rocks, the cell phone ringing madly, it's harder to run, harder because of aging bones, flesh tearing from the effort, and when will it close, when will the fraying ends be tied, when will you light the candles? A girl cries, come to me please, the bar sneers, go away, go away, dive into your shot glass, the ashtray makes you a bed, the groove a pillow for lifting your head out of the ashes, I call you in from the field, you're chasing goats that won't yield that won't yield to your endeavors, the angles tossing the light, the colors playful and bright as they cut us with their churning, down to the fog, down to the down to the arms to the arms, sometimes gentle. Sick of your name? That's OK, that's OK, find the receipt, there are others. Guilty of birth? What can you, what can you, what can you do, but get even? Wires in my gut, knotted and knotted and tangled with sparks, I'm that happy. And broom after broom swirling each other out the door, muddy with ash, sticky, and mom after mom, we never know a mother's guilt till we ourselves become one. So turn to the things, let's turn ourselves to daily things, and climb up to the showdown. And why do you look so lovely when you turn away, slightly away, straining for the one who turns slightly away from you in turn, granting you half an eyeball? And when will it close, when will the fraying ends be tied, when will you show both eyes? I love you I do, I love you with all my ears and eyes, with all my tears, and nothing.
A dripping candle was your mom, with burning liquid you were born, then you grew taller than your mom, flames shooting out from every limb, and more or less we're all the same, and maybe you are not that tall, and maybe you are not the thing that sometimes overcomes the wind, that sometimes makes the houses spin. But I know when I see a thing that shows me all my puniness, I trudge through dingy neighborhoods, and suddenly a vine lights up, and ailing flowers tumble down, and pixels lift into the sky, and one by one the buildings die, and one lone tree assumes the sky. I lift my glass up to it, and watch it tangle in the flame, and hear it dangling your name, a swimming glass becomes my eye, I'll never know how it's bent, I'll never know, I'll never know.
I've written you a thousand notes, enough to explode my pen, so when the bugs come crawling in, I'll make a toast, I'll drink some gin, I'll take the time to take apart all the time I've taken to heart, too much giving is sin. A lot of love can maim your brain, but a lion's heart can make you tame, the mirror stole my face away, give it back you rainy day, I'll take the time to take apart all the time I've taken to heart, too much giving is sin. I'll take the time to take apart all the time I've taken to heart, too much giving is sin, too much giving is sin.
She wends her way back home with no one riding her. The birds still haven't come, the birds still haven't gone. But that's the way with home, she boils herself some tea, and pays some bills and rests. I found my way back home without a transit map. I missed my little home, I think I built it alone. But that's the way with home, we make things up at times, and still there's wood and glass. Sometimes it goes, sometimes it comes and goes. I see a universe inside you, I see a universe outside you. Things turn, things tend to turn out fine, just like a lullaby, like a water. It's like a ferry ride where all you toss on board are all the things you've guarded tight until right now. No way of knowing what you'll cast and what you'll wind, the flowers and tomorrow we have left behind.
The ferry took longer than they planned, the cold turned the ocean into land. Won't you come here, take my hand? Notihng is clear, nothing banned. A woman sits landlocked like a boat, a necklace of cities round her throat, something's gone wrong, she can't float, I'm helpless here, I'm a moat. And then the hills came rising out of storytale-filled minds, and then a snowfall, snowfall over Sausalito, and all the shi-shi, shi-shi little stores went under. The city a necklace from afar, this bicycle turns into a car, drive me away, evening star, drive me to where we're bizarre. I followed you up with skis and poles, we looked down upon highways and holes, what happened to all those souls? See how they drift through the tolls.... And simple, simple all the ways of knowing, and then a snowfall, snowfall over Sausalito, and then the snowballs made believe that they were playing. You nodded as I prepared to fall, you knew that was how I got so tall, plunging is no sweat at all, I will follow the low call. You stayed up on high, but I know well that hilltops are not so far from hell, look at your tears, how they swell, they became hills when they fell. And so the goodbye leaves me with your cackle burning. You were an angel, angel on a barren hilltop, and then the ski poles silver in the filth of ocean, you were a dolphin, dolphin of the song and slumber, you were a possum, nothing other than a possum, and then the snowflakes, snowflakes glittered up with leaving, and then me plunging, plunging down our parallel lines, and I'm so grateful, grateful that you never hurt me, you're on the hilltop grinning like you lost your marbles, and then a snowfall, snowfall over Sausalito, a funny, funny grief that lets me down and lifts me.


I recorded most of this album at home, by myself, except for tracks 2, 4, and 7, which were recorded by Joe Goldring at Pig's Head Studio in San Francisco.

I wrote all of the songs except for the seventh, "Too Much GIving," which Mahlah Byrd (1968-1994) co-wrote with me.

The title "Fish Wigs Hats Rats" was inspired by a sign I saw outside a shop in Petaluma, California.

The following review by Marcel Feldmar was published in Issue 49 (2001) of The Big Takeover: "Moody and shadowed acoustic tunes slip out like liquid glass from the speakers, moving between classical elegance and experimental sounds. Diana plays the cello, the guitar, the keys, and her voice betrays a wide range of sadness and beauty. The vocals at times hint at Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon's sultry whisper, and other times, placed against the strings which wail Velvet Underground and bleed ecstatic like The Dirty Three, her voice moves between a dry Nico drawl and a mournful Cat Power ache. Occasionally the songs fall into an almost Irish folk feel, but the poetic depth leaves you drifting in solitary joy."


released March 1, 2001

Diana Senechal: vocals, guitar, cello, bass, keyboards, percussion, effects, engineering
Hannah Marcus: percussion and keyboards on track 2
Joe Goldring: engineer for tracks 2, 4, 7
Mahlah Byrd: co-writer of music and lyrics on track 7


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Diana Senechal Hungary

Teacher, writer, translator living in Szolnok, Hungary, originally from the U.S. I have written and recorded some songs over the years. New ones will appear here eventually.

For more about me, see my website: dianasenechal.com.
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