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North American Birdsong

by Headless Relatives

All my life I’ve been addicted to sorcery I’m compelled To peel back your mysteries Drawn to Study you Your grey eyes Mesmerize The circle’s drawn And I am ready for you now I yearn for The knowledge that you endow With every word My soul is stirred To embark Into the dark I’ll pass through And follow you
Thoth 03:40
The walls of my study are lined With dusty tomes and yellowed scrolls My fragmentary collection Pages torn from musty spines Advance and retreat in scattered patrols In every direction Read in the gaps Extrapolate Let knowledge lapse Elaborate I scratch symbols into the walls And hide them behind the furniture To shield them from illumination And when divine knowledge calls It can be hard to resist its allure To fight temptation Hide from the light Obfuscate Embrace the night Degenerate
Ossifrage 05:41
Down here among the bones I’ve made my meager home Four grey walls At least I think they’re grey In the hall I can hear every word they say I dye my hair in the sink I’m just trying not to think Dull orange strands I guess it turned out okay I’ve stained my hands It’s not like it matters anyway I turn my music up loud Throbbing notes become my shroud I scream along Neighbors bang on the thin walls I know it’s wrong But I won’t hold back at all When I walk down the street People beat a quick retreat They all stare I guess I look quite the freak They’re unaware That I’m just trying to last the week
Corvid Envy 03:09
The jackdaws laugh every night Their humor eludes me Their Byzantine social structures Have always been a mystery But I swear, I swear I’ll learn Mating magpies soften their harsh song They understand dynamics Despite all my best efforts I’ve never mastered that trick But I swear, I swear I’ll learn Rooms in their parliaments Mutter to themselves incessantly When I imitate them I always end up lonely But I swear, I swear I’ll learn Hooded crows feasting on a sheep carcass in the fields of Hertfordshire, England Share and share alike But when I offered you a bite of my chicken tikka masala You went on a hunger strike But I swear, I swear I’ll learn Oh I swear, I swear I’ll learn Yes I swear, I swear I’ll learn
Nightingale 03:36
You stand on top of the roof Looking out Your hair is dancing in complex steps around you We’re all standing below Afraid to breathe Silent eyes tracking everything you do Your mute defiance Of these strictures Your silence Is my scripture You stretch an arm to the sky Maybe you’re pointing But we all lack the requisite context to be sure I stand apart from the crowd Enraptured By your gestures warping the very light around you Your mute defiance Of these strictures Your silence Is my scripture And now the crowd has gone We are alone Just you and your most faithful acolyte I can’t explain how I know But when I leave here I will be swallowed by the sounds of the night Your mute defiance Of these strictures Your silence Is my scripture
You think I’m broken? You think I’m weak? You think I’ve lost The will to speak? You think my silence Stems from fear? See what happens When you draw near You think the shadows Are your friends? Once you enter You’ve sealed your end You think I’m hiding Beneath my wings? Soon you’ll hear My sharp beak sing
Albatross 05:46
By the time the plane touched down we were exhausted Bleary-eyed we shuffled down the jetway You had a green bandana tied around your head In my mind I always picture you that way We were half-asleep for the drive up from Momona I’m not sure how we kept ourselves awake By the time that we checked in to our hotel room We could only collapse onto the bed You took my picture outside the Fortune Theatre The wind blew my hair into my face You laughed and said that that was one thing You sure as hell didn’t miss these days We had lunch outside in a little café It was crowded but you didn’t seem to care And I watched you like every move was a new revelation Another piece of you laid bare We rode out to the Head the next morning To watch the albatrosses dance around You laughed at all their arcane movements I’ve never heard a more beautiful sound Last night I dreamt that I was on the shoreline An you were gliding overhead I watched you awestruck as you sailed out over the water Your luminous body lit up the whole sky
They’ve tried their pills And their needles too They’ve tried everything They’ve been trained to do They say You’re fading away But that’s not What the owls say Give me your hat Give me your shoes Give me the watch That you always use Then I Can ply my trade Performing each task just like The owls say One ear of corn And a muttered spell A sheet of paper And some water from the well And you’ll be back On your feet today At least that’s what The owls say
Harbinger 03:23
I wade in the muck Filth is all that I see But I don’t need my eyes To sense what’s stirring beneath I probe in the mud Looking for omens and signs But it’s only routine I know what’s approaching this time I take off my shirt Paint a complex design on my chest And begin my task For the lucid there is no chance of rest I beat the drums The throbbing it charges the air all around When the storm comes I’ll stand my ground
Skysong 04:17
The ground underneath my feet may be singed But I will take to the wind Everything that you say may be true But I’m not listening to you From up here Everything that I fear Seems so small I can sail past it all The powerful push of the wind at my back Makes up for the strength that I lack Down there I’m only a pawn in the game The open sky is my domain Sing my song Make it up as I go along Set aside my fear Sing it loud, sing it clear I know that someday I’ll have to land Surrender to life’s demands But I will revel in every day That I can keep the madness at bay Feel each shift Ride the swoops and the lifts Land-bound fools I won’t play by your rules
Peryton 03:02
You come home late For the second time this week You’re exhausted but so am I When you ask me what’s to eat We lock horns Almost every night We’ve made this bed of thorns But we sleep alright I send out radio bursts But you’re not receiving And I’ve had my bags packed for a month But we both know that I’m not really leaving You say that my smile’s lopsided And it ruffles my feathers This is a house divided But we built it together I frown at the floor Because my shadow Looks a whole lot like yours And my reflection In the mirror each morning Keeps shifting its features Without warning I hate the sight of your face Except for when I love These signals from deep space Can take their advice and shove it
I nurse the embers, I stoke the flame I am not going down this way I run my hand through my dark hair It’s getting pretty barren up there I am not this Fragile creature you see It’s not me I call up old friends to tell them my plan To unleash the being I know I really am Their words are kind but I won’t be deceived Even well-meaning demons cannot be believed I’ll be reborn And I will blaze like the dawn Show them they’re wrong I check the figures, do one final round As the minutes wind down My equipment casts shadows on my bare walls Encouraging me to answer the call I will throw off This useless machine That hinders me And I’ll fly free
Admonition 03:55
If I’m up before the yellow dawn It’s not a sign of insomnia I don’t need much sleep these days I don’t need much sleep If I mumble words you can’t make out I’m not really talking to myself But to the old ones beyond the sea Beyond the seas and gone You may not understand But that’s not always a bad thing Look out over the desert Remember there are other worlds beneath If I watch the eagles warily Don’t assume I’m being unreasonable I’m checking them for human features I’m only checking If I tell my stories differently It doesn’t mean my memories going The best stories flow like water Like water flows It may seem odd But you haven’t seen what my eyes have seen Look down at the ground Try to imagine what’s underneath If I stare out into the distance My mind is not necessarily absent I may be watching for my olde brother My older brother who’s been away And if a masked man stands before me Don’t question him or throw him out His mask may hide divine radiance His mask may not hide divine radiance You ask me for answers But you’re missing the point of the riddle Look past the words You may glimpse something slithering underneath


Thirteen new songs about birds, inspired by birds, or very loosely connected to birds. There are songs of joy and songs of despair, songs of defiance and songs of surrender.


released April 21, 2018

All songs written and recorded by S. A. Biskind

Grouse drumming in Addicted to Sorcery courtesy of the National Park Service




Headless Relatives Troy, New York

Headless Relatives play songs. These songs feature desperate individuals, bittersweet memories, and ancient Egyptian gods. Some of these songs can be found here.

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