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At the literal crack of dawn

by Mark Donato

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1.
Your song that stops me cold I know it's good the soul you say you sold I know It's good I love to hear you yell from the deepest pit of hell the story that you tell I know it's good I know its good The darkness in this room I know it's good the silence like a tomb I know it's good The demon in my dream naked and extreme when I wake up a scream I know it's good I know it's good I know it's right the scene that's set I'll stay all night without regret and when the specter comes again I'll try and treat it like a friend and when the specter comes again I'll try and treat it like a friend The rush from down below I know it's good where it starts from I don't know I know it's good This love I never planned as much as I can stand so sweet it must be banned I know it's good I know it's good I know it's right the scene that's set I'll stay all night without regret and when the specter comes again I'll try and treat it like a friend and when the specter comes again I'll try and treat it like a friend I know it's good I know it's good I know it's good I know it's good
2.
Included 03:31
At the literal crack of dawn yes there's a crack that dawn slips through squirrels were busy in the attic squealing and scolding, the usual racket scratching and skittering the way they do I rolled over and I found you breathing easily, making it clear to me that I was included too In an amphitheater of moms and dads with the sky for a ceiling, so appealing flannel shirts and denim skirts concrete seats so sweet it hurts the 5th grade choir cut all the way through I leaned over and I found you breathing easily, making it clear to me that I was included too Beneath three-quarters of the moon with an outline of the missing piece how'd it grow so full so soon I watch you watch the light increase Promenading with the privileged many pretending it's Paris on a Sunday we have our choice of Easter candy soft and hard both come in handy whichever way we happen to skew I look over and I find you breathing easily, making it clear to me that I am included too
3.
You gotta pay through the nose for garbage removal it's a necessary evil the project's on hold for outside approval it's a necessary evil the jingle in my pocket's gone I'm not gonna put you on we left the debris all over the lawn it's a necessary evil The neighbor's amassed a small arsenal it's a necessary evil he insists it's nothing personal it's a necessary evil the kid feels almost safe in school metal detectors, police in the hall make her a little uncomfortable it's a necessary evil It was different when you grew up buy only in degree werewolves and vampires in the movies you couldn't wait to see the shadow knows what evil lurks it says so on TV at first it seems so far away then it all comes back to me In the driveway there's a truckload of oil it's a necessary evil leftovers are rotting in aluminum foil it's a necessary evil my finger's so deep in the pie it didn't help to stick it in my eye from the inside we'll change things by and by it's a necessary evil It was different when you grew up buy only in degree werewolves and vampires in the movies you couldn't wait to see the shadow knows what evil lurks it says so on TV at first it seems so far away then it all comes back to me then it all comes back
4.
If elected I'll take you poets seriously I won't tolerate for long those who disregard your song which has fed my spirit for so long for so long The national foundation is a paltry thing but we'll build a brand new poets' wing where you'll be treated like a king or like a queen if that's your thing if that's your thing Everyone will love you for the national treasure that you are You'll be able to afford a car and when you walk into a bar they'll mob you like a movie star Need I remind you of this oppressive regime the discrimination you've endured for your dedication to word and your tendency to wax absurd to wax absurd Oh but if I have a say in things your sad and beautiful imaginings will have a place on the capitol stairs catching tourists unawares and converting them in pairs to your sad poetic ways the proletariat will pass their days admiring a turn of phrase Oh yes you've finally found your champion he is me and I am him I won't betray you on a whim If elected I'll be true as my favorite poem by you you'll know your words are getting through And the streets and alleys will ring with couplets your books will fill up shopping baskets and you'll rest easy in your caskets you'll rest easy in your caskets If elected I'll take you poets seriously I won't tolerate for long those who disregard your song which has fed my spirit for so long for so long
5.
There's always some shadow character trying to tell me who I am one moment I'm a predator then I'm a sacrificial lamb I'm not wrong about this it's plainer than the sun we tap the abyss then we let it run tap the abyss and let it run If there's a hand to deal, deal it if there's a deal to seal, seal it if there's a layer to peel, go ahead and peel it and if there's pain to feel, feel it Life returns to semi normal it's never more normal than that write your dreams in your journal and keep 'em under your hat if it's not as effortless as you wish you'll have to make an effort, son empty your glass and clean your dish it's the same for anyone If there's a hand to deal, deal it if there's a deal to seal, seal it if there's a layer to peel, go ahead and peel it and if there's pain to feel, feel it How do you learn to relax trust yourself to see the facts you're too easily discouraged, love it's true below and up above you're on your way so it's alright to say so If there's a hand to deal, deal it if there's a deal to seal, seal it if there's a layer to peel, go ahead and peel it and if there's this to feel, feel it There's always some shadow character trying to tell you who you are who'll talk you into a corner won't let you venture far I'm not wrong about this it's plainer than the sun we tap the abyss then we let it run tap the abyss and let it run tap the abyss and let it run
6.
A totally random person walked into the club today we waited with impatience for what he had to say he spoke in words that we could see were designed to shock the bouncer took him by the collar and sent him stumbling down the block A totally random person with no place of his own to go is there somewhere he's meant to be not as far as I know A totally random person appeared at closing time wanted a six-pack of Corona a little slice of lime I showed her quickly to the door which I prepared to lock she stayed for 20 minutes more she wanted just to talk A totally random person with no place of her own to go is there somewhere she's meant to be not as far as I know I showed up at the celebration thinking I would know somebody I left before the band came on with my nose all bloody there's no way to respond when you're a total nobody there's no way to respond Totally random people filling up the city square as you and I go about our day as if we didn't know or care I'm afraid they'll get in trouble I'm afraid they'll push too far nobody knows what they're up to nobody knows who they are Totally random people with no place of their own to go is there somewhere they're meant to be not as far as I know not as far as I know
7.
Choir Boy 04:02
Choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is satisfied choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is free and in the morning when you rise again sing your song for me Who's listening, who's listening only you, only me the angels in the atmosphere as far as the eye can see little bird, little bird as it flew along it shed a tear your song, it isn't hard to hear all the angels agree Choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is satisfied choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is free and in the morning when you rise again sing your song for me You're allowed, you're allowed float along on a melody you're allowed, you're allowed float along on the sea rise and fall, rise and fall on the sea and on a melody as light as we can be as we can be Choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is satisfied choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is free and in the morning when you rise again sing your song for me Take us home, take us home I know you know the way time for you, time for me you and me, to have a say we were sad, we were sad now it's a better day there's a song to take the pain away take the pain away Choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is satisfied choir boy, choir boy sing until your soul is free and in the morning when you rise again sing your song for me Choir boy, choir boy sing your song for me
8.
Private explosions, who knows where or where you and your loved one give each other a scare when the love and the anger are too much to bear private explosions, filling the air Nursing unacted desires fanning your favorite fires in the midst of your wild rumpus there appears a moral compass anger truly inspires sends a shock along the wires when the scream comes from your spirit your flesh and bones are sure to hear it Private explosions, who knows when or where you and your loved one whenever you dare see through the flash, see through the glare private explosions, filling the air Temperance has its place in the quiet look on your face can you see things just as clear when the wild things are here Private explosions, who knows when or where you and your loved one give each other a scare there's more than one way to show that you care private explosions filling the air Love is as love does and love's all the rage a private explosion and we're out of the cage Private explosions, who knows when or where you and your loved one, whenever you dare see through the flash, see through the glare private explosions, filling the air On the whole, on the whole we're out of control by the sea, by the sea the beautiful sea a private explosion between you and me
9.
I'm used to not hearing from a lot of people but I'm not used to not hearing from you I'm not so far across the table is this the best that we can do Please don't pretend that I'm not here please don't pretend my dear you know I need you very near you know I need you very near I'm like a tree alive in your backyard life is good but today is hard I won't say the fall is unforgiving but I'm partly dying, partly living Please don't pretend that I'm not here please don't pretend my dear you know I need you very near you know I need you very near The weather's strange as it can be I know you change so change with me the thought of settling down is soothing but to settle right, we keep on moving I'm used to not hearing from a lot of people but I'm not used to not hearing from you you can talk about your trouble I'll still be with you when you're through, but Please don't pretend that I'm not here please don't pretend my dear you know I need you very near you know I need you very near you know I need you
10.
You gotta be gentle from the inside out from the inside out, from the inside out you can rock and roll and twist and shout you can show us all what it's all about but you gotta be gentle from the inside out from the inside out, from the inside out You gotta be gentle from the outside in from the outside in, from the outside in nobody knows what today will bring what's gonna shut you up, or make you sing but you gotta be gentle from the outside in from the outside in, from the outside in When you see a yield sign, yield the way you're nothing in the world today the sky is blue, your eyes are gray the weather's gonna have its say You gotta be gentle, through and through through and through, through and through with everything you think and say and do the world needs gentlemen like you to get to where you're going to where you're going to, where you're going to Falling backwards is not a crime prize fighters do it all the time the ones who learn to gently land finally start to understand You gotta be gentle from the inside out from the inside out, from the inside out you can rock and roll and twist and shout you can show us all what it's all about buy you gotta be gentle from the inside out from the inside out, from the inside out Emergency pleasure wound to something sweet you are attuned walk right through the gates of horror is it joy that's now in store You gotta be gentle, through and through through and through, through and through with everything you think and say and do the world needs gentle folks like you to get to where you're going to where you're going to, where you're going to
11.
Don't even try to think yourself out of it just let it hurt you can run around screaming holy holy and get back home still feeling like dirt It's human nature, some human says to bang your head against the wall is that what it takes, sweet Jesus to feel human at all to feel human at all Don't even try to think yourself out of it just let it hurt you can run around screaming holy holy and get back home still feeling like dirt Your social circle's imploding now sinking back into the earth so you can see the folly of how you measured your own worth you measured your own worth Don't even try to think yourself out of it you're in it till it's down at least you've found a explanation why you're not having fun Still it makes you shiver in this life this is the common lot your job is to deliver whether you get paid or not Way up on the diving board the facts are fairly stark without a shield, without a sword you dive into the dark you dive into the dark Don't even try to think yourself out of it there's no way out from under the sun just run around screaming holy holy till the day is done Don't even try to think yourself out of it there's no way out from under the sun just run around screaming holy holy till the day is done till the day is done
12.
A parade of sugary goodness passed through my little town though the window I was witness to the sweetest sight and sound There were people dressed in costumes and people in their regular clothes I saw that you had left your rooms and walked the way the river flows The sidewalk was cinnamon-coated it was sticky but still pleasin' with sap the buckets overloaded for it was maple syrup season A parade of sugary goodness passed through my little town though the window I was witness to the sweetest sight and sound The hint of spring was like a secret nobody cared to keep I felt the dollar in my pocket my only choice was something cheap I made my way to an ice cream cart and asked for a scoop in a bowl you offered to pay for half my part and together we ate it whole At the parade of sugary goodness everything slowly came true we understood the parade was us and I walked along with you We understood the parade was us and I walked along with you
13.
I've got something to do for the rest of my life turning everything into love I won't torture myself, my kids or my wife I'm turning everything into love nobody knows me like you do nobody sees me clear through nobody's better than you at turning the same old me into something new I've got something to do till the end of my days turning everything into love forever we will be counting the ways of turning everything into love There's no magic sword stuck in a stone if we're lucky the world will leave us alone take your fingers off the phone we're blissfully, blissfully on our own We've got something to do in the next ten minutes turning everything into love we'll start up again as soon as we're finished turning everything into love Whoever comes through here all soaked in fear We'll treat her as our near and dear She'll come to know her very nature She'll see herself a perfect creature Somebody pinch me but not too hard somebody turn over another card and tell me how it has to be somebody listen this time to me I've got something to do as I live and breathe I'm turning everything into love it'll keep on turning after I leave turning everything into love We've got something to do till the end of our days forever we will be counting the ways
14.
May all of my debts die with me may my debtors all have mercy on what's left of my poor family I should always have a pencil with me I never get around to writing my will and you never know when the end will be May all of my debts die with me don't wanna burden my baby she deserves her share of the gravy I should always have a pencil with me I'm writing my will from now till next Tuesday everything I think and do and say I'll thank my so-called secretary who works for free to write it all down so I don't have to trust my memory My attempts to live responsibly may not be chosen as an example of what works for everybody In my wake the waves will churn with all that I have left to learn will I know better when I return I should always have a pencil with me I'm writing my will from now till next Tuesday everything I think and do and say I'll thank my so-called secretary who works for free to write it all down so I don't have to trust my memory My attempts to live responsibly may not be chosen as an example of what works for everybody My will and testament won't be through until there's nothing left to say or do anyway I'm leaving it all to you I'm leaving it all to you May all of my debts die with me
15.
Over my dead body Over my dead body Enjoy yourself a cup of tea balance a biscuit on my knee what a privileged place for you to be Over my dead body Over my dead body My apartment's only two doors down you can ring my wife she'll come around to the situation that you've found Over my dead body Over my dead body There's a birthday candle lit in a cupcake on the window sill a notebook you're reading bit by bit that puzzles you and shocks you still it seems I either had a fit or I just had my fill my secret's safe with it do whatever you will Over my dead body Over my dead body The phone is right there in the hall still you've yet to make the call it's your prerogative to stall Over my dead body Over my dead body The note was serious as can be it didn't sound that much like me on that at least we can agree Over my dead body Over my dead body There's a glowing little lamp shining on a book that's open to a page mysteriously damp its corners brown with age instead of reading what's underlined you dial 9-1-1 the secret that was yours and mine now belongs to everyone Over my dead body Over my dead body Is that my spirit or just a little steam hanging there like someone else's dream ask the other members of the team Over my dead body Over my dead body

credits

released March 1, 2018

All songs © 2017 by Mark Donato (BMI), except “Turning Everything into Love,” © 2017 by Mark Donato and Elizabeth Steen
Vocals and acoustic guitar, and drums on “All of My Debts,” by Mark D.
Electric guitars by John Burdick
Basses by Mark Lerner, also electric guitars on “All of My Debts” and “Over My Dead Body,” and banjo on “Dead Body”
Drums by Eric Parker
Piano on “The Poet’s Candidate” and “Turning Everything into Love” and accordion on “Gentle from the Inside Out” by Elizabeth Steen
Keyboards on “Choirboy” and “All of My Debts” by Dean Jones
Drums on “Over My Dead Body” by Lukas Lerner
Produced by Mark Donato and Jason Sarubbi
“Over My Dead Body” produced by Mark Lerner, M.D. and J.S.
Recorded at Jason Sarubbi’s Split Rock Studios, New Paltz, NY (Jason Sarubbi, engineer)
“Included,” “The Poets’ Candidate,” “Choirboy” and “All of My Debts” begun at Dean Jones’ No Parking Studios, Tillson, NY (Dean Jones, engineer), finished at Split Rock Studios
“Over My Dead Body” recorded in Mark Lerner’s studio, Phoenicia, NY (Mr. Lerner, engineer) and finished at Split Rock.
Photographs by Mark Freeth. Design by Mark Lerner.
Lyrics and song notes and other surprises available at www.markdonato.com

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Mark Donato West Shokan, New York

Mark Donato lives near Woodstock, NY, famous for being the place where the 1969 Woodstock Festival didn't happen. He's made 6 full-length records and has played with John Linnell of They Might Be Giants, Flat Old World, The Oswalds, Rosine, and Amy Allison. He has lots and lots of songs, and brilliant musical friends who dress them up in ways that will charm and startle you. ... more

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