Who's Listening to Van Gogh's Ear

by Jack of None

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about

For our father, Cesare A.X. Syjuco -- whose guiding light awakens the sight of sound and the song of shadows... For our mother, Jean Marie Syjuco -- who is tamer to our tempests.. And for you -- who have been Sien to our earlobe choir.

credits

released April 11, 2016

Mixed and mastered by A.G. Syjuco in Chicago IL, USA

Recorded in N. Jefferson Chicago and Artlab Manila

Music by A.G. Syjuco ("Nocturnes in Dorian" composed as an instrumental [for A.G.'s loving wife, Mica], "Unravel Me" and "There was a Crooked Man" composed with Julian Syjuco)

Lyrics and poems by Maxine Syjuco ("There was a Crooked Man" deconstructed from the nursery rhyme by Mother Goose)

Vocals by Maxine Syjuco ("On the Streets" vocal harmonies by Michelline Syjuco)

Guitars, synthesizers and programming by A.G. Syjuco

Additional guitars by Julian Syjuco

Art, photography and design by Maxine Syjuco
jackofnoneband@gmail.com | facebook.com/jackofnoneband

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about

Jack of None Chicago, Illinois

JACK OF NONE is an experimental rock band comprised of siblings A.G. Syjuco (principal music composer on guitar, bass, synthesizers and programming), Maxine Syjuco (poet-songwriter and vocalist), and Julian Syjuco (session guitar).

The band has received critical acclaim for their forward-thinking approach to fusing electronically-charged experimental music with spoken word poetry.
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Track Name: Hotel Carcass
HOTEL CARCASS

In the morning, a bellboy came to bring me my towel,
which will smell of you, and feel like you, and look
somewhat like you-- the sight of threads
ridiculously woven tightly, as if, in resistance,
someone will threaten to pull them apart.
Blushing to myself, I kept quiet, and politely said,
“thank you.”

In the afternoon, the front desk called
and asked if they could come clean this room.
“Oh no,” I said, “not this room... Not right now”--
the violence here soon mocking our mad nights
of love, as if, in resistance,
someone had told us the neighbors just died.
Blushing to myself, I kept still, and politely said,
“no, thank you.”

In the evening, the cab driver knocked on my door
and asked for my luggage, which weighs heavily
like you, and feels shapely like you, and looks
preposterously like you-- the resemblance
almost uncanny to a juxtaposition of your thousand
sleeping positions, as if, in resistance,
someone had stuffed your bludgeoned body in it
(your bone-bits and ligaments still wrapped in my towel).
Blushing to myself, I kept calm, and politely said,
“meow.”
Track Name: Pater, Ignosce Mihi
PATER, IGNOSCE MIHI

Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi

(Pride)
(Greed)
(Lust)
(Envy)
(Sloth)
(Wrath)
(Gluttony)

Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi

(Pride)
(Greed)
(Lust)
(Envy)
(Sloth)
(Wrath)
(Gluttony)

Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Pater, ignosce mihi
Track Name: Mrs Stitcher
MRS. STITCHER

(Curse you, with devils at your feet,
tap-dancing on my grounded heart)

Once upon a time, there lived a girl with very big eyes. One day, her gigantic eyes popped out like buttons. Being all too apparent, Mama took her eyes, and used them to replace the missing buttons on Papa’s shirt.

“I’m sorry, my daughter can’t come to the phone right now, I am busy stitching her eyes to my husband’s shirt. Could you call back later?”

So, Papa walked around with his daughter’s eyes dangling from his shirt. He liked to play-- Papa liked to play with these gigantic eyes, like jackstones, or skiprope (ringed around like hulahoops)

“Who is on the line, you ask? Well, my Dear, my name is Mrs. Stitcher. Would you like to come over for dinner?”

That night, Papa’s eyes (not apparently big) popped out, too. Mama took them, and stuffed his eyes in the microwave to pop with popcorn. Wearing Papa’s shirt, she sat in front of the TV, and put down the phone.

(Curse you, with devils at your feet,
tap-dancing on my grounded heart)
Track Name: On the Streets
ON THE STREETS

On the streets
a thousand different people gathering like cattle
circling and blotting-out the day;
the sun burns bright, but illumines only the shadows
of cattle mercifully standing in the way.
The sky bleeds embers of crimson
and these cattle march forward with nothing left to say--
they turn, and turn, and turn again
with lullabies blanketed in yesterday.

Today:
a thousand other people will gather like cattle
on a thousand other blotted streets;
herded and collected in an abattoir of pistols
marching aimlessly to the drumbeat
of their own defeat.
In the corner, a woman withers away
like a dusty rose pining for her own bouquet--
but she turns, and turns, and turns again
with lullabies blanketed in old hear-say.

Tomorrow:
a thousand more people will gather like cattle
on a thousand more blotted streets;
polluting the violent voices of mute tongues tangled
in this twisted tango of sleep.
The sky will rain embers of crimson,
and we cattle flood tears of deafened sheep.
Never mind our voices, our daydreams,
our wishes-- we’re all play-things
blanketed in our own deceit.
Track Name: Confessions of a Chop Chop Lady
CONFESSIONS OF A CHOP-CHOP LADY

He didn’t kill her
(no, he didn’t kill her)
he bludgeoned her with an ax first, and then
with a scalpel, and then with a toothpick
he severed her body into tiny little pieces
he fed her thighs to the dogs
he masticated her breasts till they spurt puss
he chopped her ears and hid them in a sack;
he buried the sack, then carried what was left
of her hemmorhaging head
down to his big bad bone.

And what was she to say, you ask?
And what was she to do, except--
Bite.
Chew.
Nibble.
Swallow.

But he didn’t hear her
(no, he didn’t hear her)
so he hammered her bones
till they turned to dust;
he sprinkled them over black, black coffee
he sliced off her tongue and fed it to the birds
he skinned her knees till she could not walk
he fingered all of her locations
with the lubricant of blood
he screwed her with nails of rust
he peeled her down to a wilted rag
he sucked her cat like the big bad wolf.

And what was she to say, you ask?
And what was she to do, except--
Bite.
Chew.
Nibble.
Swallow.
Track Name: (But) Noise
(BUT) NOISE

There are forms of beauty beyond this--
Beyond cocked guns
Beyond pink
Tassels of blue
Your room is filled with dreams of men
Ravines of silhouettes
Shadows
Hands
That touch
(but never hold)
You.

There are forms of desire beyond that--
Beyond yearning
Beyond “yes,” and
“Yes”
Beyond neon
Red
Tassels of gloom
Your room is filled with dreams of demons
Cliffs of goodbyes

Leaving...
Left..
Gone.

You’re all alone
With nothing

But noise.
Track Name: Fire Song
FIRE SONG

When I was a little girl
My father had asked me not to play with fire--
So I didn’t (at least, not to his knowledge)
But I would dream, and in my dreams,
There were horses in the woods
You and I were bareback and restless--
We would ride through the woods
And the woods were on fire
And our hearts were on fire
(and I was playing with fire)

The pounding of hooves
The sharp smell of smoke

And then I would wake from my dream
And my mother would ask me if I had played with fire--
But I hadn’t (at least, not to her knowledge)
‘Though I’d return to that dream
When no one was watching
To the danger, the fire, the desire
And I remember how the woods were on fire
And our hearts were on fire
(and I was playing with fire)

The sharp smell of smoke
The sweet sweat of youth

And then one day, I decided to awaken from that dream
To return home where my mother and father
had waited patiently,
But I couldn’t believe what I had found--
That their house had caught on fire
Track Name: There was a Crooked Man
THERE WAS
A CROOKED MAN

There was a crooked man
Who walked a crooked mile
He stole a crooked heart
Upon a crooked stile
He bought a crooked cat
Who caught a crooked mouse
They all lived together
In a crooked little house

There was a crooked man
Who walked a crooked mile
He stole a crooked heart
Upon a crooked stile
He bought a crooked cat
Who caught a crooked mouse
They all lived together
In a crooked little house

Where are you, my crooked man?
You dirty little thief--
You stole my crooked heart
And now I’m left with this crooked cat
But I don’t want to be your crooked mat

(and you don’t want to be our crooked rat).
Track Name: The Witherling
THE WITHERLING

I have been liar and thief
I have been Sinner-in-Chief
I have been raped by the night
And yet, I hide from the light

Monster, I am clad in your apron
Swathed in blotches of black
I am noose to the rope that binds you
Tourniquet to the needle that devours you

I have been gust, womb and storm
I have been murderer of whores
I have been soiled by serpents
And here, I drown in currents

Vincent, I am Sien to your earlobe choir
As I dance with men, and am ravished by them
I am noose to the rope that binds you
Tourniquet to the needle that devours you

Husband, please--
Turn away.
Track Name: Unravel Me
UNRAVEL ME

Unravel me
Untie me from this bow
Unlock my secret passions
Unfold what once was told
As a sin
An evil
Defy it
Be bold

Unleash these sinful secrets
hidden behind invisible doors
Cascade over curly-top mountains
and candy-caned moors

Unravel me
Strip me down to bone.
Track Name: Nocturnes in Dorian
(Instrumental)
Track Name: Poem for the Invisible
POEM FOR THE INVISIBLE

Inside the leaping girl’s window,
they say
she disappears
with light.

They say
whenever she hides,
the infinite surrounds her--
swallows her whole,
or worse--

They say
if you stand there waiting,
she will follow you home.