[Jandek] The cosmic question and the ultimate response

Seth Tisue seth at tisue.net
Tue May 24 10:23:05 PDT 2005

Here's the lyrics I jotted down for "The Cell".  I only wrote down about
half of what was sung.  I did my best to add blank lines below to show
either where I stopped writing or where there was an instrumental

There are some apparent references to his day job and to his health.

I'll add these to the site soon.  Anyone have additions or corrections?

You should imagine the words being sung in a hushed voice, sometimes
nearly a whisper, pitched fairly high in his vocal range, halfway
between sung and spoken.  The delivery didn't have the bluntness of the
voice-only albums at all; instead, these were his most delicate, poised
vocals in quite a while, distinctly recalling the high, breathy delivery
on many songs on the first five albums, as well as early-90's records
like "Graven Image" and "Glad to Get Away".


(instrumental intro)


I crashed and burned
And phoenixed out of there
It was moving too fast
Compared to the hormones
I could not catch


What do I have?
Some ability to pay the bills
Well let's get that done

I can break the barrier
If it means brushing up against death

Spit out the virus
Starve the monster
It's so basic, these needs


What do I have?
An insight into the past
So contrite (?), knowledge
??? the beast is difficult
Take it down

What do I have?
Nothing is acute
Nothing is imminent (immanent?)

Best I'm alone
Was I ever anything else

Hear the cosmic question
And the ultimate response
Gravity, where are you


What do I have?
A ship without a crew
Dead leaves in the forest
Scurrying little things

I left without knowing
Without caring
Experience was first and last

I sleep in the tree
I know the night
Try/trying (?) to bother me
I have rocks (?)
I have intelligence
The instinct of a human
But the occult is another thing


What do I have?
The ??? of acquisition
What do I have?
A ball and chain
A cell, solitary
Well, doctor, the wound has healed
I'm strangling all the rats
The leaves are dripping water

And do I see the sun?
Maybe a glimpse
I'll lay down flat for weeks
Getting through all the addictions
I'll keep thinking
It's what I have to do
Aiming for the dankness

The calling of mountains
A barometer
Needless to say
I'm hearing something far away
Cancel all my appointments
There's another focus
That can I cannot explain
Nor do I want to

I found golden floors and blue cushions

I took the other road
The one that left me sullen here


What do I have?
A mental ring exploded
All the mitochondria screaming/streaming?
Desert and the swamp

Peripheral vision tells me I can be
Something I like
What do I have?
A soundtrack
??? video ???
A vision
I don't give anything
What do I have?
I don't know


All-knowing creatures
Chariots in the sky
White horses on high
??? my life

I have to fight the lack of air
This courageous spirit
Could down any foe
Beware dark destruction
In the circle (?) cell

The key is out there
The mystery revealed
Stopping the influence
Of the straight ahead path
Canals full of ???
Fresh water for the desert bound
I don't care if it takes forever
Not counting the hours
Some kind of ecstasy grows every day


I'll take all the revelations
After the fall
I'll use these ideas
The crutch is temporary
But the aid of it endures

White light, blinding
Kiss (?) of light
What do I have?

Where does it end?
It doesn't
Why should it
Infidel, that you doubt possibility
What do I have?

In the cell
I have possibilities
I'll lay down for weeks
Whatever it takes
It's not concluded
Seconds, rat-a-tat-tat
Take one
What do I have?

Seth Tisue - seth at tisue.net - http://tisue.net
"We have some ontological problems and now I think
a whole pile of shit is coming from the cosmos." - Bela Tarr

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