Blood&Honey

by Stephen Cluff

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about

During the tenth year of his midlife crisis, Stephen Cluff picked up a guitar instead of buying a convertible. This homespun offering is the first result of that decision.

credits

released May 13, 2010

Written and performed by Stephen Cluff, except the violin on "Texas Boy, Cherokee Girl" which was performed by Sarah Thorton.

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Stephen Cluff Dallas, Texas

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Track Name: Tempest
Its raining again
And her eyes are the sea
Like an ocean in the wind
Tempest and tossed, but still free

This evening howls, the wind’s in her hair
The grey fades into… black
And all that I can see is the light
Alive in her eyes.

Tempest
Tempest

I run through the house, I run through the streets
I run through the alleys where men meet
Into the hills, the higher ground
I’ve got to escape this town, I’ve got to escape this town
I’ve got to escape this Tempest

Tempest
Tempest
Tempest

The rain has stopped its fall
And the water, like diamond on her skin
And though this darkness is fading, fast
I’ll always remember where we’ve been.

Tempest
Tempest
Tempest
Tempest
Track Name: Dreaming of You
Turn your head.
I don't want you to see
What's become of me.
What's become of me?
Sometimes I can't recognize
The thoughts that linger
Behind these eyes
Sometimes I just can't see.
And I'm looking
For the laughing boy.
He became a solemn man.
I'd like to find him again.
I guess its sad I guess its strange
But I can't remember his name.

And I'm dreaming of you
And the night weighs less
Than it used to.
Your presence lingers
Like a song on my mind
Yeah you linger like time
Linger like time

And so we part
Without goodbyes.
The tears in my eyes,
Did you see?
Now I stop and stare
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you still care
My feelings for you
Like a tree's roots they grow.
The breadth and the depth seldom show.

And I'm dreaming of you
And the night weighs less
Than it used to.
Your presence lingers
Like a song on my mind
Yeah you linger like time
Linger like time

And I'm dreaming of you
And the night weighs less
Than it used to.
Your presence lingers
Like a song on my mind
Yeah you linger like time
Linger like time

And I know that I'm not justified
To sit in my corner and hide
And let my life pass me by.
Please understand this is not the way I am
This is not the way I am
This is not the way I am
This is not the way I am
Track Name: Sad American Eyes
Its quiet here in this town
Like a house with all of the children gone
And as this darkness settles
It covers all I own, it colors all I’ve done.
I reach out my hand
She is the nearest star
And no matter what I’m thinking
She can always see that far, always see that far

With bated breath
And muted words
I turn to her
And her sad American eyes
Her sad American eyes

Through the shadows softly breaking
I’m bent by the rain.
There she stands like a monument
Untouched by mortal hands.
I follow her eyes up through these storm clouds
And I can dimly see the stars.
And though it isn’t easy
With her help I can see that far.
I can see that far

With bated breath
And muted words
I turn to her
And her sad American eyes
Sad American Eyes

Starlight,
Falling, tumbling from the sky
And as it falls
It greets us where we lie.
The wind through the trees like the ocean
That’s a sound that brings me to my knees
And when she lets me hold her
That’s all I need.

When days are long
And nights are scarce
A voice like song
And her sad American eyes.
Sad American eyes
Sad American eyes
Sad American eyes
Sad American eyes
Track Name: Lifeline
It seems the riptide knows your name.
She sings it sweetly every time she drags you out again.
Your shore is fading and falling farther behind.
And you’re so tired, weary to the bone.
Wrung out and empty, too far from home.
You shout your lungs out but no sound breaks this tempest whine.
I’ll catch your lifeline
I’ll catch your lifeline
I’ll catch your lifeline.
Who will catch mine?

Now you’re drowning in the middle of a crowded room.
Nobody notices. Why can’t they feel it too?
Cut off and stranded, another little, lonely light dies.
I’ll catch your lifeline
I’ll catch your lifeline
I’ll catch your lifeline.
Who will catch mine?

There are many more miles to go before home and sleep
There are many more tolls to pay with dreams sold too cheap
There are many more molehills, many more mountains in your way.
When your path is rocky and far to steep
When It turns your ankles and it invades your sleep
When your road gets you nowhere and eats up all of your time.

I’ll catch your lifeline
I’ll catch your lifeline
I’ll catch your lifeline.
Who will catch mine?
Who will catch mine?
Who will catch mine?
Track Name: Avalon
The man in the water breathed deeply
And lifted his feet from the stones.
“Gone west” his old friends will say of him
Though they'll never really know.
The water here is inviting
Not barren and cold like the shore.
Even strokes of his arms break the sea-foam
Leaving plenty of strength left for more.

Avalon
It won't be long now.
Avalon
Just a little farther
To Avalon

Through a night of crystal and diamond
Making impossible all thoughts of hell.
Towards that land, a purified Eden
Where only the truly alive may dwell.
There to find enough peace to gather
All of the dreams that have not flown yet.
To seek shelter from all of the legions
And find fulfillment without regret.

Avalon
It won't be long now.
Avalon
Just a little farther
To Avalon

Avalon
It won't be long now.
Avalon
Just a little farther
To Avalon

Fear and confusion finally behind him
Like oil, a stain on the waves.
Ahead only the humble horizon
Alive with the promise of a new day.
In time the Westing man floundered
A swelling blue was the last thing he'd see.
“Avalon is not drowned!” he cried in the end
“Its just a little farther out to sea.”

Avalon
It won't be long now.
Avalon
Just a little farther
To Avalon
Track Name: Happily Ever After
Sunshine follows in her footsteps
While I'm here, always in the shade.
Bluebirds land upon her shoulders
But when I come near they always fly away.

When storms blow they wreath her head with rainbows,
A halo of Spring's early light.
For me though the darkness always thickens
And lightning sends me running for my life.

Can there ever be happily ever after
For this beauty and this beast?
Once upon a time he had all he wanted
But self-doubt leaves little room for peace.

Gentle woodland creatures always gather around her
While butterflies weave flowers in her hair.
For me its mosquitoes, gnats and horseflies
As I try to act like I don't even care.

Skin of cinnamon and ivory
And lips that would beckon any prince.
I'm staggered by all this casual beauty
Utterly undone now by a single kiss.

Can there ever be happily ever after
For this beauty and this beast
Once upon a time he had all he wanted
But self-doubt leaves little room for peace
Can there ever be happily ever after
For this beauty and this beast
Once upon a time he had all he wanted
But self-doubt leaves little room for peace
Track Name: Pop (Dress Me Up)
Dress me up
Then dress me down
But do not take me on the town

I’ll kick and scream
You’ll hold me still
Until at last I’ve had my fill

My pulse will slow
The sobbing starts
You have exposed my shattered parts

Just don’t let go
I’ll float away
Tether me and there I’ll stay

Stay awhile
In this place
Feel my breath on your face

Rock me slowly
Into sleep
Peaceful sleep a slumber deep

A tender stroke
A gentle touch
I am afraid to ask so much

Dress me up
Then dress me down
But do not take me on the town
Track Name: Sigh My Name Softly
You sigh my name softly
Then turn your back to me and into sleep disappear.
The sound of your breathing,
Its rise and fall, is now all I can hear.

Speech always fails
Some things will forever just have to be sung
There’s too much to say
But when the right words come they just stick to the back of my tongue

But my sanctified heart
Like a holy censer so recently rhythmically swung
Testifies with each beat
How I bathed in your water and came out redeemed, newly young
Newly young
Newly young

Now I understand
What you hold in your open hand
It may not seem like I've got a plan
But I do…
I’ll do what it takes to keep you.

All language has fled
And in this full-blooded silence I somehow love you more.
I forget how to breathe
My heart it quakes, my body shakes with this jugular roar.

My skin is aflame
And all flesh is strained by the storm that forms within.
This cacophony cries
Raging behind my eyes, killing all hope of sleep With its din
With its din
With its din

Now I understand
What you hold in your open hand
It may not seem like I've got a plan
But I do…
I’ll do what it takes to keep you.

Then you sigh my name softly
Your hand finds mine, fingers intertwine. You're so near.
The sound of your breathing,
Its rise and fall, is now all that I can hear.

Now I understand
What you hold in your open hand
It may not seem like I have a plan
Oh, but I do…
I’ll do anything to keep you.
I'll do anything to keep you.
I'll do anything to keep you.
Track Name: Break My Spell
There's an unnatural quiet
A falling backwards and away
A feeling creeping up on me,
Sometimes unnoticed as a stray.
Something's missing from the light,
A quality lacking in all sound,
The feeling in my fingertips...
I'm loosing all that I had found

I used to hibernate
Until this fate would pass me by
This time I'll just take your hand
If you don't mind

Break my spell
Break my spell
Help me with these knots
That used to tie me up so very well

Obsessing every waking moment
A mental flood that drowns all sleep
I'm harvesting all that I have sown
But I can keep nothing that I reap.
There's anguish in every detail
There's a worm in every fruit
I'm running through these empty streets now
But I can't shake this cruel pursuit

I used to hesitate
Just waiting for these tangles to unwind
But this time I'll take your hand
If you don't mind

Break my spell
Break my spell
Help me change my course
So this wind will fill my empty sails
Break my spell

I need the courage for something else
I need the strength to just break free
But there is always that looming knot,
That dark pit of uncertainty.
A seedling pressure stirs within me
And now my breathing just won't start
There's a bud of gloom that threatens
To bloom deep beneath this heart.

Once I would tread water
Until the slaughter tide left me dry
But this time I'll take your hand
If you don't mind

Break my spell
Break my spell
Defuse all my doubts
With your voice that rings like cathedral bells.
Break my spell

Break my spell
Break my spell
Guide me through this no man's land
And wait for me if I rebel
Break my spell
Break my spell
Flood me with the faith
That you will catch me if I ever fell
Track Name: Lost In You
Just sit
Sit here next to me.
Within arm's reach,
That's all you need to be.
You showed me so much
And you've seen so much in me too
With unflinching eyes.
I am so in love with you.

And if its not
If its not too much to ask
Can you move closer
And take me in your arms at last?
Just don't be shy
And don't shy away from my tears.
Simply kiss my face
And cure all my doubts and fears.

Take it all
Take everything inside.
I'm laid bared for you
There's nothing more I want to hide.
You are so strong
So strong and defenseless too.
To find myself
I needed only to get lost in you.
Track Name: Deep Breath Before the Plunge
The world is trapped in amber, everything has gone still life
The air has changed, the space between shimmers with new light
No ear can hear, no eye can see, no microscope detect
This something new that has slipped between cause and effect.

This is just the deep breath before the plunge
This is just the deep breath before the plunge

A timeless smile simmers, a burning bridging glance
Two kindred souls are poised now, vibrating at the chance
Now you feel the space between our beating hearts
A borderland that separates this life from where another starts

This is just the deep breath before the plunge
All of this is just a deep breath before the plunge
Join me now in in this deep breath before the plunge
Hold me closer and I'll steal a deep breath from your lungs

A frozen ache, that deep tremble before the touch
Straining flesh and flushing lips that hunger for so much
All secrets are revealed, every hiding place fully bared
The sacrament of blood and honey, is finally fully shared.

This is the just deep breath before the plunge
Join me now in this deep breath before the plunge
Close your eyes, open wide, here I come!
Don't let go, don't let go, our fall has just begun
Don't let go...
Never let go...
Just don't let go...

l do anything to keep you.
Track Name: Silly Boy
He had all the time
He had all the world
But he could not
Get the girl

Friend of a friend
She was quiet, he kind of shy
For him it was surely
Love at first sight
He was just a friend
In her small circle secure
But he envied the arms
That always held her more

What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was

He felt his chance come
Nearly every night
Parked in his father's truck
In her house's pale yellow light
He always dropped her off last
To savor her embrace
But he could never utter his truth
To her pale, pretty face

What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was
What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was

But oh so slowly
She began to notice his heart
It was a quiet dawning
And a glorious start
But their timing was off
Because he had to go
Let the months and mile rage
They'd bravely suffer the blows

What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was
What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was

It was on the phone
When she called it off
He should have fought real hard
But he couldn't talk
All he managed to do
Was just watch her go
While the sinking stone in his chest
Beat heavy and slow.

What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was
What a silly boy
What a silly boy he was

So the years have gone by
A lifetime slowly abridged
And in the dark when all sleeps
He often thinks of his kids
Age makes him wary
Of the memories that he keeps
But into his dreams still pale
And pretty she creeps

He had all the time
He had all the world
But he could not
Get the girl
Track Name: Midnight Garden
Oh I know
That you've grown weary of your heart
You feel alone
Like your life will just not start
You need a place
To let your banners fly unfurled
The time and space to slip beyond this cold, cruel world

Down the road
Out beyond the trees
Hides a midnight garden
Waiting just for you and me
Vine covered gates
Past the last street lamp's glare
Stand open welcoming
Will you meet me there?
Will you meet me there?

By design
Deaf and blind you had to be
But now you hear
And your open eyes now see
Solitude
Inner distance and closed doors
Does not offer
The same cold comfort any more

Come to me
When the bells have all tolled twelve
In our midnight garden
I will help you find yourself
As the wind rises around us
And rushes through the trees
I will fall into you
As you fall into me
As you fall into me...

And we'll stay
Until the dawn splits the night
And our midnight garden
Is filled with the morning”s light
And amidst the lilac blooms
Your lips they will find mine
And we'll leave our sunlit garden
With fingers intertwined
Track Name: Seven Seductive Steps
Heartbeat riot in my chest
Breath in ragged sheets torn from my mouth
Tidal surge pulse pressurizes every vein
Feet hammering out a rhythm on the drumhead ground.
I can't quite remember everywhere I've been
But it doesn't matter cause everything should be ahead
And no one can possibly see where all of it will end
Not until this cannonball's flight is fully spent

If a missed step or uncertain ground
Leaves me in a walk somehow
Just seven seductive steps
Are all that I ever will allow

Can't lift my eyes from five feet ahead
As I follow a route that I've long known by heart
It doesn't matter if I'm running towards or away
Both keep the pressure I know best from spilling out

Remembering how not to run
Given a chance to catch a breath
These seven seductive steps
Haven't all been used up yet

Sometimes my eyes are stung by the sweat
Sometimes an endorphin spike makes me miss a breath
And doubting perseverance coexists
With the victory bought with every successive step

But if I let myself think too much
Start to question all I know
Then these seven seductive steps
Could be the start of another road
Do I dare to contemplate
That this race could ever be done
At the end of these seven seductive steps
Is surrender to walk or run?
Track Name: Texas Boy, Cherokee Girl
She said, “Spin, spin me around.
But don't let my feet touch the ground.”
So he took her hand
And led her out within reach of the band.

As the music started to play
They let themselves fall under its sway

An old man's guitar starts to beat like a heart
The square closes up as the dancing starts
Feet beating dull strike the bare, dusty ground.
Hands reach and swing and hair starts to fall down

But, oh won't you look at that Texas boy!
His long legs loose, feet tapping with joy!
See how he swings that Cherokee girl!
She's red in the cheeks, gasping with every twirl!

Texas boy's hair falls into his eyes
Can't get no air though his mouth's open wide
Look at her panting, see her chest heave
Some say she's winded but don't you believe

The boy and the girl dance one final song,
Because the moon will rise here before too long.
Now they are steppen' away into the dark,
Towards the warmth of the shadows past the dyin' fires' sparks.

And they both think that no one see's 'em go
But they can't be hurt by what they do not know:
That in this held breath all men want to be him instead
And every woman would go where Cherokee girl is led.

Her pa moves to stop 'em cause he clearly sees
But he might as well stop the sap from rising in the trees.
So he stops his walking, feeling weak in the knees,
And watches the dying embers soaring up on the breeze.