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subsongs. 


Steven Ball 



Steven Ball 


subsongs. 


Linear Obsessional 
London, 2017 


All lyrics by Steven Ball with the exception of 
OF THE YARD (AFTER TERRY BALL), which consists of 
extracts from the poetry notebook of Terry Ball arranged 
by Steven Ball. 


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CONTENTS 


INSIDE 
OFF OFF ON 
SUBSONG 

OF THE YARD (AFTER TERRY BALL) 
SUBSONGS 

PASSING PLACE OF THE SEAT 

GARAGE/BAND 

THE SIXTH 

PERISCOPIC 


4 

5 

6 
7 

16 

18 

19 

21 

23 


3 


INSIDE 


I am here 
inside. 

Here am I 
inside... 

my head, 
the sound 
inside. 

Here I am 
inside... 

I am warm 
lobal, frontal 
and hippocampus, 
inside... 

I am synaptic 

hear the snap and crackle 

encased bloody flesh 

inside... 

I, in me 
from inside 
aware 
inside... 

I hear that high pitched sound 

more than a sense 

inside. 


4 


OFF OFF ON 


What with this, and that; 
what with when, and how; 
what with chaos, and form; 
what with how, and where... 

Off, off off on. 

Off, off off on. 

Where with why, and whom; 
this which when, and where; 
what with shape, and substance; 
why, with what, and when... 

Off, off off on. 

Off, off off on. 

What with warp, and woof; 
with what weft, and weave; 
what with all, and nothing; 
who, and when, would think... 

Off, off off on. 

Off, off off on. 

When with where, and tear; 
when with thus, and thou; 
what with truth, and justice; 
what with this, and that... 

Off, off off on. 

Off, off off on. 


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SUBSONG 


Where will it go such song sung low? 
Beyond right now, where will it go? 

Ever, nearly, subsong sung long. 

Next verse, blank verse, verse in reverse. 
It fades, dissolves, forms, and resolves, 
from verb to noun, amplifier. 

Cyber corpus, hallucinate, 
inner body, experience. 

Visceral, embowelled, corporeal. 

Somebody, song body, conscious being. 
Volume, song mass, chorus corpus. 

Sung into being, a life of its own. 

To play, to sing subsong so slow. 

Where will it go such song sung long? 


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OF THE YARD 
(after Terry Ball) 

in this month 

at this hour 

the sun reaches over 

into the yard 

and draws up cool shadows 

the remnants of night 

in this month 

at this hour 

the sun reaches over 

and draws up 

slakes its thirst 

in the cool dark shadow 

at this hour 

at this time of year 

the yard is an oven 

when the sun has slaked its thirst 

in the long shadow 

remnant of night 

this hour 

this time of year 

the yard is an oven 

when sun's unquenchable thirst 

swings the angled shadows 

against the wall 

draws up shades 

this time of year 
this hour 

the sun reaches into the yard 
slakes its thirst 
at in deep cool shadows 


7 


remnants of night 

embedded in the ornate carvings 

over the door and windows 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the yard is an oven 

the sun reaches its tongue of fire 

draws up 

slakes its thirst in the remnants of night 
as if darkness could be drunk 
from where it hung 
against the ornate facade 

the yard becomes an oven 
at this time of year 
this hour 

the sun reaches over 

slakes its thirst in the long cool shadows 

those remnants of night 

that hung 

seem to soften 

our early hammering 

the yard is an oven 
this time of year 
at this hour 
the sun reaches over 
slaking in one gulp 
devours deep cool shadows 
those remnants of night 
that hung 

muffling the rhythmic 

ring of our hammering of chisels 

the yard is an oven 
at this time of year 

8 


at this hour 

the sun reaches over 

to devour the long cool shadows 

those remnants of night that hung muffling 

the rhythmic ring of our 

hammering chisels against stone 

at this time of year 
at this hour 
the yard is an oven 
the sun has reached over 
to devour 

the long cool shadows 
those remnants of night 
that hung 

muffling the rhythmic ring 
of our hammers working the stone 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the yard is an oven 

the sun reaches over to devour 

the long cool shadows 

to abruptly drag them up 

leaving a few rags here and there 

at this time of year 
in this hour 

the yard becomes an oven 

as the sun reaches over 

to devour 

long cool shadows 

to abruptly drag up its gift 

leaving patches 

snagged in bisschen mouldings 


at this time of year 


9 


this hour 

the sun reaches over 
into the deep cool shadows 
that hang in the yard 
drags them up 

leaving only scraps here and there 

this time of year 
this hour 

the sun reaches over 
and slakes its thirst 
sharply drags up 
to devour 

the deepest shadows 
that hang in the yard 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the sun reaches over 
to slake its thirst 
to devour 
deep cool shadows 
it hung in the yard 

at this time of year 
at this hour 

the sun reaches over into the yard 

to devour the deep shadows 

that hung there giving us succour 

to slake a constant thirst 

and those remnants of night 

leaving only scraps 

snagged in broken mouldings 

this hour 

the yard becomes an oven 
the sun reaches over to devour 

10 


long cool shadows 
that hung 
slaking a thirst 
in the remnants of night 

this hour 
this time of year 
the yard is an oven 
the sun reaches over 
to devour 
to withdraw 

those remnants of night 
that hung here 

at this time year 
the yard becomes an oven 
each of us working here 
cutting stone 
contrive a shield 
against the glare 

this hour 
this time of year 
the yard is an oven 
the sun reaches over 
to devour 

those cool remnants of night 

at this time of year 
the yard becomes an oven 
each of us here 
working with stone 
contrive a shield 
against the glare 

this hour when the sun arches over 
to devour 

cool remnants of night 


11 


that hung here 
abruptly dragged up 
all shade 

at this time of year 
at this hour 
the yard is an oven 
the sun reaches down 
into the yard 
to slake a thirst 
when darkness draws 
the remnants of night 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the yard is an oven 
no sea laps here 
the sun reaching down 
drags up cool shadows 
that hung here 

leaving only remnants of night's dark air 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the yard is an oven 
no sea laps near 
the sun reaches down 
drags cool shadows away 

leaving only remnants of night darkened air 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the yard is an oven 
no sea laps near 
the sun reaches down 
drags up 

the long cool shadows 


12 


leaving only- 
remnants of night 
in hollow cut vines 
scrolling over windows 

at this hour 

the yard is an oven 

no cool river laps near 

the sun drains 

all shade that hung here 

leaving only rags 

snagged under hollow cut vines 

hung over the windows 

at this time of year 
this hour 

the yard is an oven 

no cool river runs near 

no sea laps 

the sun at this hour 

draws away those remnants of night 

that hung here 

leaving only rags snagged 

in broken mouldings 

of this time of year 
of this hour 

(when the) sun abruptly takes back 
its gift of shadow 

and within it darker remnant of night 
that nourished the early hours 

at this time of year 
in this hour 

the yard becomes an oven 

as the sun draws cool air 

folded in the last remnants of night 

13 


that hung here 


at this time of year 

the yard is an oven 

in this hour 

the sun burns away 

in the remnants of night's moist air 

that nourished 

only rags left behind 

snagged in hollow cut 

of vines scrolling in spirals 

of acanthus leaves 

at this time of year 
at this hour 

the sun abruptly withdraws 
its gift of shadow 

and with it the last remnants of night's moist air 
that nourished the early hours 
leaving behind only dark rags 

in this hour 

at this time of year 

the yard is an oven 

the sun moves over 

drains away 

those moist folds 

in the remnants of night 

that hung here 

leaving only rags 

snagged in hollow moulded 

vines that snake over windows 

the yard here is an oven 

at this hour 

at this time of year 

when the sun's insatiable thirst 


14 


drains away dark moist air 
from the remnant of night 
that was our succour 

at this time of year 

in this hour 

the yard is an oven 

the sun’s thirst seems insatiable 

drains moist folds 

the remnants of night 

that hung here 

only rags are left 

the yard here is an oven 

at this hour 

at this time of year 

the sun’s insatiable thirst 

drains dark moist air 

from those folds 

in the remnants of night 

that hung here gave us succour 

no River Bebida runs 

no Sea of Caesarea laps the stones 

the yard is an oven 

at this time of year 

in this hour 

the insatiable sun 

drains the cool dark air 

from the last remnants of night 


15 


SUBSONGS 


Situated somewhere 
almost in the middle, 
like a progress report 
in a formless lyric. 

If it can't be described, 
it doesn’t exist; 
if it doesn’t exist 
it can’t be described. 

Off, on, for the record, 
the songs write the scene, 
the view, the information, 
written into place, sung into being. 

The deposits and relationships, 
which comprise words before 
they're recruited into action 
of human agency. 

Creation of knowledge 
destruction of subjectivity. 

Not at the same time, 

restoration of the subject, 

landscape, myth, material, 

the present situation, 

other times, other places, other persons 

beyond the sixth extinction. 

If it can’t be described... 
subsongs on the page... 
it doesn’t exist... 
subsongs in the voice... 
ineffable, irreducible... 
subsongs in the air... 


16 


imposter syndrome... 
subsongs on the page... 
if it doesn't exist... 
subsongs in the voice... 
it can't be described... 
subsongs in the air... 
ineffable, irreducible, 
subsongs on the page... 
imposter syndrome... 
subsongs in the voice... 
if it doesn't exist... 
subsongs in the air... 
it can't be described... 
subsongs on the page... 
ineffable, irreducible, 
subsongs in the voice... 
imposter syndrome... 
subsongs in the air... 
if it doesn't exist... 


17 


PASSING PLACE OF THE SEAT 


Passing place of the seat, 
fold axial planes dip steeply. 

A coat of rattling shells, 
sheep graze, rough open hill land. 

One leg, one arm, one eye, 
recumbent nappe folds north west. 

Bismuth, mercury, quartz, 
food denied, the traveller. 

Densely planted conifers, 

wealth and beauty denied the sidhe. 

Hog's Back Ridge, and knobbly ground, 
synsedimentary fault-bound basin. 

Stabs the thatch with willow stick. 
Arsenic, antimony, copper, lead, 

zinc, barium, gold, silver. 

Downward forms, synformal anticline, 

the metamorphic rocks, 
the turbidite assemblage, 

assumes the shape of horse, 
water bird, water devil. 

The shallow water shelf, 
shallow marine deposits. 

Passing place of the seat, 
fold axial planes dip steeply. 


18 


GARAGE/BAND 


We were never really free, 
we never really had control, 
we wanted to destroy it all, 
we wanted it to self-implode. 

We never really had control, 
we were working in a factory, 
we wanted it to self-implode, 
we were pretending to be poor. 

We were working in a factory, 
just some dole queue nostalgia, 
we were pretending to be poor, 
in the bollock freezing cold. 

Just some dole queue nostalgia, 
with the teeth grinding boredom, 
in the bollock freezing cold, 
of dry mouth rock ’n’ roll. 

With the teeth grinding boredom, 
hammering the clothes, 
of dry mouth rock ’n’ roll, 
on the garage floor. 

Hammering the clothes, 
playing fast guitar, 
on the garage floor, 
pretending to be bored. 

Playing fast guitar, 
we wanted to destroy it all, 
pretending to be bored, 
we were never really free. 


19 


We were never really free, 
pretending to be bored, 
we wanted to destroy it all, 
playing fast guitar. 

Pretending to be bored, 
on the garage floor, 
playing fast guitar, 
hammering the clothes. 

On the garage floor, 

of dry mouth rock ’n’ roll, 

hammering the clothes, 

with the teeth grinding boredom. 

Of dry mouth rock ’n’ roll, 
in the bollock freezing cold, 
with the teeth grinding boredom, 
just some dole queue nostalgia. 

In the bollock freezing cold, 
we were pretending to be poor, 
just some dole queue nostalgia, 
we were working in a factory. 

We were pretending to be poor, 
we wanted it to self-implode, 
we were working in a factory, 
we never really had control. 

We wanted it to self-implode, 
we wanted to destroy it all, 
we never really had control, 
we were never really free. 


20 


THE SIXTH 


From Wordsworth on a Kindle turned his eyes towards the 
sea, seated in a rocky cave, kindlings like the morning. 

High privilege of lasting life, exempt from all injury. 

Living presence still persists, stamp wind’s image, send 
abroad. 

Existential risks like those threaten this humanity. 

The axiological argument is familiar, misanthropic argu¬ 
ment, obviously never been. 

Is it wrong to reproduce, procreation, future child? 

Most humans produce children on mere impulse, reproduce. 

Reasonable estimates tending to be subjective. 

Dinosaurs and dark matter, invisible gravity; colliding 
tectonic plates, molten magma near the core; galactic coma 
clusters; luminous objects elsewhere. 

Lensing measurements are used, lines of sight to galaxies. 

Asteroids and volcanoes, gamma-ray bursts, and earth¬ 
quakes. 

Human intervention in ecology. 

Magnitude of loss expected in catastrophe. 

Such modelling assessing serious risk, then permanent 
stagnation, realisation, ruin. 


21 


Future technological breakthroughs in biotechnology, 
self-modifying the post Homo sapiens human qualities: 
whole brain emulations, super artificial intelligence. 

Earth originated life’s sentience is a billion years. 


22 


PERISCOPIC 


Through a full half circle. 

A scientific job, or geographical. 

Maps and charts were drawn, 

lighthouses, light markers against the horizon, 
three months of water, and west of Australia. 

The finger in the wind calculates rate of drift, 
everyday after that I went to the beach. 

And now a land locked mast, a western setting sun, 
half imagined circles describe another line. 

"Main induction open- 
no proof of human life- 
nuclear powered of course— 

—during the last winter" 

Went north for six months to the northern hemisphere, 
everyday after that I went to the beach. 


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Steven Ball 
subsongs. 
2017 


limited edition CD and download available at 
linearobsessional.org 

Linear Obsessional Recordings LOR095 


steven-ball.net 


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