Heavy Paper

by The Cardboard City

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credits

released January 25, 2016

Vocals and keyboards: Noel Bush
Bass: Micha Bürgle
Drums: Henrik Lafrenz

Banjo on "Jump Rope": Niels Hoogendoorn

Recording engineer: Jochen Ströh
Recorded at Lovelite Studio, Berlin
Producer: Henrik Lafrenz
Mastered at Wellenbad Wedding

Music and lyrics: Noel Bush
Arrangements: Noel Bush, Henrik Lafrenz, Micha Bürgle

Thanks to Rainer Heesch for recording advice.

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about

The Cardboard City Berlin, Germany

The Cardboard City are a Berlin group composed of Noel Bush, who writes and sings the songs and plays keyboard; Henrik Lafrenz, who plays the drums; Micha Bürgle on bass; and Niels Hoogendoorn on electric guitar (though he wasn't yet with the group when they recorded "Heavy Paper"). The group is working on a new album now, due out later in 2017. ... more

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Track Name: each day (could be a whole world)
Each day
could be a whole world

It could
stay frozen in flow
feeding ev’ry other river
Keeping me locked up
becalming ev’ry quiver

Nothing else acknowledged
but the skeleton of a thought
A pose without clothes
An amateur knot

It isn’t such a stretch
to reach across that divide
But when a hungry ghost incarnate
pushes hard against the inside
it looks like you’re bound
it looks like you’re stuck
held down by cords that you
spun out of bad luck

Determined or doomed
seem to be mostly equal
And an uncertain approach
can be delicately lethal

So I don’t know
who to gather together
in my faithless arms
with my neglected belief

Addicted to my misery
A single potent hit
Lured in by the song
Not knowing when to quit

Ev’ry one of these days
a chapter in a book
with the edges of the pages
neatly charred

More than sentimental
Less than yet alive
An interruption born
to survive

Each day
begins inside the next

skipping
ahead of what’s here
breathing into distraction
Speaking out of time
sanctifying inaction

Ev’rything excepted
All reason abandoned to want
A style without form
A cosmological taunt

A keening toward the depths
An intimation of need
The dedication to illusion
Killing silences with greed
It wouldn’t be so wrong
Might hold out some hope
If I could just be still and let
go of this fraying rope

I pushed it to the edge
Filled up the field of view
Stole all the spaces to think
Held on too tightly (to you)

So it’s way past dawn
but the sun is still climbing
swelling into death
saturating time

To rise above mythology
To find a quiet room
To inhabit just the now
To feel the moment bloom

Ev’ry one of those thoughts
a leaf pressed between leaves
held close by definitions out of
date

Laid completely open
Ready to be still
A blank elaboration
of will
Track Name: Jump Rope
Standing by the lake of the mystical mind
Lapping up the roar of the chemical grind
Counting my curses, going to seed
Picking up the traces of abandoned need
Smoke on the water, dust in the air
Coffin on the bed at the top of the stair
Sweeping out the sense of a leftover life
Dancing directions on the edge of a knife

Slaying all the dragons who came to repent
Telling all the children God came and went
Praising the emptiness, draining the now
Splitting the cracks, stealing a bow
Breaking the fast of a dreamless night
Leaving the earth with a rumbling light
Taking the piss, spotting the trace
Tamping the sugar in the shape of a face


Sitting in the cemetery, watching the trees
Waiting to stop, clutching your knees
Shoved against the wall by an endothermic rage
Reeling from a kiss on the lip of the stage
This’ll keep going, this’ll expand
This’ll give the lay of a new loamy land
Let it keep crying, let it go dark
Give it a reason not to miss the mark


I can't remember, I never knew
Can't ascertain where the monument grew
Give it all up, come on down
Shove it in the sea where the memories drown
Thirty-eight steps to the top of the hill
Thirty-eight days in the grip of a chill
Add or subtract, take it in stride
Tickle the subtext, go for a ride

Taking a break, licking your paws
Giving up will to natural laws
Who to consult, what to entrust
How to explain what I currently must
Twenty-one times to remember it right
Eighty-four halves of a crystalline night
Groaning shelves, falling jars
Flying roads, tumbling cars


Simple rhymes, simple thoughts
Towers of rope, blankets of knots
All the way out, no way back in
The line is dead, the air is thin
Meeting on the verge of a moment of peace
Gathering growth in a delicate crease
Twisting it off, lighting it up
Drinking from the bottom of a crumbling cup

Violent bells, Mountains in chains, whole
civilizations shedding their brains
Somebody married the King of the Sea
Somebody rang up and paralyzed me
I had a wish, I had a dream
I emptied it out in a blanket of steam
Come to my island, land on my shore
Build me a house and kick out the door


Pages of love, words of attack
Spirits of ash that follow you back
Crowds of ascension, rivers of doom
Secret transmissions when you enter a room
Seasons of atonement, rippled affect
Flocks of canaries for you to inspect
No more coal, no more train
Factory sun, synthesized rain
Track Name: In the Invisible World
In the invisible world
You are not known and you know nobody
Something about you can change
But it is not seen and you shiver, unseen

Deep in your heart it is cold
Where your blood might run it is barely moving
All of the world is a hole
And you're always falling, barely moving

Each of your thoughts is a link in a chain
That is tying you down to the rest of your life
All of your words have a dull matted edge
Pushing dead in slow lumps through the veins of your voice

In the invisible world
Your love is lost in a mass of curses
All of your friends look away
In your mind they turn, in the room they're absent

Every invisible time
When you hear your name, it is only echoes
All of the naming is done
In a life of breath there is nothing spoken

Twist all you want on the axis of when
It was all left before what has already been
Naught but identity under the bed
Nothing lost, nothing loaned, nothing paid up ahead

Take an invisible clue
When the cord goes slack, it was all a shadow
Limit your song to the sand
Chew it up, spill it out in a pool of dry air

Something is burning and something has burned
There's a way that this all makes an ugly sense
Bring it up gently with God or your boss
Or the man who has murdered your sweet sense of loss

In your invisible dreams
Take this down while it's still in focus
Leave by the back at the end
Stranded all alone in heaven.....
Track Name: Clumsy Country Heat
Since I was too young to walk for myself
I left the business up to someone else who was close to me
But here I'm shelving memories, and lo, there comes a car
with a man, says the land isn't mine anymore

I thwart him with my charging words and he recoils hard
In the yard the townspeople are gathering and noise
Someone raises energy suggesting toward the grave
for the man who will die for the profits he saved

They told him not that the Midwest holds an arm
with a finger in the charming nose of lots of secret senators
The congregation has ordained me as its latest member
I am sad, but I see that the corn looks good

Don't know why there's no sun in my broken morning coffee cup
The Lord is splayed across the states to where I've never been
So in time, so in time I'll be flatter than a blank-faced farce
The charity I have withdrawn has stunk me like a sore

There's ice on your tongue, maybe slip your toes into some salsa
Coal is easy found and not that hard to suck it up
Think of falling glass from a broken window on the moon
with a man tangled up in the boardroom down the hall

Don't think twice, have a look; listen for a flower blooming shut
I am wise, so I am, kick me through to baggage claim
Be a good one and arrest a quota of the finest sky
Love is easy to explain, to explain, to explain

Since I am too young to talk with authority
Since I am too old to have ever been a child
Since I am an interstate and oddly short and roundly wide
Send the gods to bless me when I'm two years old

Painted eyes and reflected in the shingles of a soundless roof
Let him in to stay but knock his knees off at the door
Styrofoam of ancient times enumerates the missing mind
Close the door to keep away the clumsy country heat

Crying now, hope is good, left alone to age and spoil
Get it while it's going, gotten, more for me and you too
Samples of a downer called tomorrow play on HBO
Love is easy to explain, burn your brain

Godly women of miscounted penalty for tired eyes
Relapse into sanctifying everything with school colors
Don't think twice, leave it up to me, my little poundcake
Yellow air can still the best from overactive blood

If I were a train or I was a mudslide on your face
I would not feel shame for my ill-begotten line of work
For in time, you should know that snow can burn as well as light
Light from Chicago, light from Ohio

Sentence comes in heavy drops off Empire State refineries
Deromanticizing dirt and wearing suede headgear
Thrown out floating on the ocean waving to the angelnauts
who remind me with a finger pointing at their feet

Keeps a-raining all the time, shake me up and go to hell again
Carpet suits you nicely like sunglasses on a sheep
Haven't thought of a shower in at least a half a day or more
Growing season's over now and I can go to sleep

Howard is the father's name of someone who was my best friend
when I was in second grade and thought I was from outer space
Once we buried jewelry in my backyard and we never found it
My neighbor's ear rings painfully alive
Track Name: Soul Without Trust
You can't fake it
You can't bake it
You can't buy it for a million pounds
You can't fall into it
Or build up to it
Or find it buried in the ground

It doesn't grow on you
It doesn't suddenly inhere
You can't achieve it with any effort of will
On an analyst's couch
Or in a lover's bed
Or in the molecules of an engineered pill

You can't give it to Jesus
He's not there to receive it even if you could
Everybody wants it
They ask for it by name
They demand it of you for the public good

Deep within
Under the pain
Underneath the childish love and hate
That animate your brain

All wrapped up
In a lifetime of fear
The hope and the loss and the cynical thoughts that
keep your head clear

Something is speaking
In an incoherent tongue
It's making you old
And keeping you young

A vision of a dark land
An unquenchable lust
The hollow lament
Of a soul without trust


Well I was waiting
For a train that never came I was
keeping company with my woes
I didn't see how
You crept up to me
I didn't see how you turned to go

I thought a long time
I stayed up twenty straight nights
I looked my pitiful self straight in the face
I saw a child
I saw a corpse
I saw a runner dropping out of the race

I stopped trusting my body
I left it wasting by the edge of the road
Nobody said anything
I just went down to the bottom
To watch it silently explode

High above
Way off the earth
In between the worlds
Where we die and give birth

Ripped and torn
Over and again
Fed to the dogs and
stood up on its end

Somebody's calling
Hoarse with sincerity
Splitting the air
with a surgical sort of parity

An image of a dead man
A world built out of rust
The fossilized howl of despair
Of a soul without trust


Nothing much in the way of getting
Permanently in your own way
Alienate your friends and go down
Smoking

But you better keep in mind that what you
Leave off to the end
Is never gonna be as bittersweet
As what was actually left unspoken


I can't tell you
I can't hide it
I can't give you any better than a clue
I can't spell it out
Or push it down
I can't promise what I'm not going to do

You brought it out in me
You challenged it hard
You showed me where it failed and where it lacked
When I came back with it
It didn't look right
It was uncool, unkempt, and unpacked

You’re chasing after your killer
I saw that little cap in your clutch
You don’t begrudge me distractions
I might get through it or not
I might forget how to touch you

Far away
Long ago
I met somebody that I
never got to know

Giving up
Isn't hard
Just cut it off quick and
photograph the scars

Nothing is advertised
Nothing is known
All that's lost
Is left all alone

The concrete incantation
The magic flaked into dust
The unarguable cold logic
Of a soul without trust
Track Name: Slaver
In the town where I was born
there was an ugly man
He lived with seven ugly dogs
he brought back from Japan
The rumors flew for decades that he
dined on little kids
But nothing of the truth came out
until he hit the skids
The fortune that had kept him flush
and hidden from our view
was one day taken from him by a
letter from the blue
It came from underneath a pile
of parcels long forgot that some
disgruntled postman had once rudely
stashed away to rot

Seven ugly men
A deathly ugly dog
A wad of dirty yen
A house up in the fog

In the place I used to work
there was a broken door
It stood between the toilet and
the entrance to our floor
We never could quite close it so
we had to face the fact that
a bodily necessity
became a social act
We called in firms from near and far
to try to mend the latch
But no amount of effort could
ensure a solid catch
In summer it might fasten snug
and save us from the smell
But winter’d come and Heaven knows
we’d suffer as in Hell

Fantasies of plumbing
A door without a lock
You hear your neighbor coming
You’ve seen her giant sock

La, la, la, life is com-
pletely fucking fine; I
live inside a marzipan skull and
drink Chernobyl wine
La, la, la, don’t get your
bowels in a roar; the
slaver has completed his task and he’s
heading for the door


So about that ugly man
You thought that I forgot
It turned out that he’d made his fortune
sitting on the pot
He was indeed a danger to the
children of our town
But not exactly in the way we’d
spread the word around
He made them walk his dogs
and sneak them into cars
where they’d quietly stash little packages of
homemade muesli bars
The bars contained a tiny core of ir-
radiated glue that
stuck inside the stomach of who-
ever might happen to chew it

A twisted wicked plot
A secret recipe
A man whom love forgot
A dog up in a tree

La, la, la, life is com-
pletely fucking fine; I
live inside a blueberry skull and
drink Bikini wine
La, la, la, don’t let your
buttocks get too sore; the
master will release you now un-
less you beg for more


So the door fell off the jamb
The man rolled down the hill
The children all escaped and told us
tales that made us ill
The dogs would howl at sunset
and chase delivery trucks
But after all that drama we could
not give zero fucks
A news report came in about a
postman sent to jail
Our company shut down and sent its
slaves back in the mail
We all turned up our smartphones and we
microwaved our brains
We put ourselves in storage and we
wrapped our town in chains
La, la, la, life is com-
pletely fucking fine; I’m
trapped inside an artichoke skull with
putrid maple wine
La, la, la, don’t give me
trouble anymore; I’ve
got to run and find all my dogs and
fix this fucking door
Track Name: Dark Drop
In the back of the garden
by the edge of the pond
where the reeds are rustling with a
blanket-shrouded roar like the
sound of the crowd on the
street down below
your balcony

He is lying on his side with his
ear in the dirt not
breathing lest he miss your
footfalls

And you tiptoe and you stomp and you
prowl along the swamp with your
eyes wide open in the
moonlight

And you fear and you seep and you
melt in your sleep and your
viciousness is tangled in the
trees

And the man on the bench sitting
next to me is
shouting in English and he
stinks of sweat and he’s
shaking me up
and straining my grip
on the hand of the man with his
head by the water

Life treads cold like a
melancholic god
Choking us with words and
throttling simplicity
I’d give up my
ability to speak if I could
just work out the
things you need to hear from me


Lips on shoulder
One year older
Shoving through the carnival to
get back to the sun that’s
burning a hole in the
middle of his head with
vanity

And she kept it under wraps and it
ran out of air and she
peeked back under the
lid

A dried-up little bug
A dessicated toad and a
thick grey layer of
disease

It’s lonely out in space and it’s
loud inside your head and it’s
heavy when you wrench it
shut

And the man on the ground lying
next to me is
snoring in French and he
stinks of booze and he’s
freaking me out
and turning my stomach
with the thought that he might be
me

Life slams in to your
window like a brick
thrown by a kid from a
bridge that goes to nowhere
I’d chase him down and
make him give it up if it
wasn’t too late for it to
matter if you care


You only woke up when the spring wound
down


On a plush blue pillow
in the middle of a room
in the middle of a mansion
in the middle of the road where the
traffic is a solid heavy
core woven out of your
memories

She has opened every box, you have
taken every chance, we have
thought of every wrinkle we could
stroke

And you mince and you sweat and you
blush when you forget and you
keep a little catalog of
hurt

It’s a death-defying story of a
cripple on a cross who’s per-
suaded everybody to
freeze

And the woman in my head tells the
woman in my arms that the
woman in my shoes is a
fake pathetic joke that a
man made up
to cover his tracks
when he dumped my body in the
black and angry ocean

Life rolls in like a
conqueror in flames
radiating pride that will
poison every mind
I’d take back every-
thing I never did, if it
might make up a little bit for
being so unkind
Track Name: My Dog Is Dead
You told a lie when you told me that you’d never die
and now I’m just going to dress up all in black and cry
You are gone in the ground, and you smell really bad
I’ve got to ask my shrink if I am angry or mad
How come it’s always me who’s on the losing end?
My dog is dead; he was my only friend.

You told a story, it was boring, so I got up and left
But all that barking beat this silence where I wander bereft
You are gone, said the vet, ‘cause you drank gasoline
Didn’t I ever tell you what the word “toxic” means?
Oh my dog don’t leave me alone
I miss your wag and I miss your bone


You always licked my toes and nibbled my ear
You taught me how to smoke and bought me beer
You are gone; now I’ve gotta wait ‘til I’m twenty-one
It was a dog’s life, the dog’s dead, ain’t no fun
I’m panting in the sun and I’m up a tree
The spirit of my dog has suddenly possessed me!


Now all of my fun is over and through
I’m lying in the grass and I’m thinking of you
I’ll probably build a statue to your memory
I’ll tie a yellow ribbon ‘round the base of every tree
How come it’s always me who’s on the losing end?
My dog is dead; he was my only friend.
(oh….)
Track Name: All You Need To Know
And she doesn't really know her
And she might think that she's in love
When she folds her arms around her waist and
makes that hungry little sound
And she wakes up in the middle of a breath and can't
tell if her eyes are open or closed
She tests the smoothness and the strength
She stretches out and starts to glow
And finds her huddled in a corner
But that's just the dream that's already done
She's still here but she's long gone
And she says all she needs to know

While he pushes him down in the leaves
And lightly lifts him back to level
And kisses gently every tiny little hair
And counts out heartbeats in reverse
He finds him every side in sequence
And loses track of who he is
He wraps him up inside the rain-spattered morning
He reaches up to hold the air
They'll wait another stretch of slippery time
He'll write him letters from the sea
He'll follow nightly the trails that he left
He'll figure out what not to say

And you can watch them through the window
The fabric only blurs their shapes
You may ask them what they're so intent on
But don't expect to hear it clear
The story's poured fr-om a pool of molten glass
You can sink right in and be totally unborn
They'll hold you tightly down between them
Their breath is dirty with a florid haste
You can't distinguish who is who and who is you
And even two is just a joke
Push on the floor turn down the bed
Say anything that keeps you warm

We are the kind that hold the days down
We roll intently in the sun
We keep a finger on the overlapping corners
We are as many as you like
We are in thrall to a many-membered absence that is
shattering us exquisitely
We gather every little atom to our hearts
We press and knead and breathe into the dark
We are our own most delicious nightmares
We lay our bodies on the ground
We are becoming what we could never mean to be
We live the flash of smitten candor

And so you whisper in the shadows
And so you lie along the stream
And so with one leg leading on the other
You spin the night around your head
With thin abandon and a disciplined attraction you
cut a thousand pathways back into themselves
You ride in silence looking out the window
You brush between the sounds between the words
You roll the dirt between your fingers and your toes
You grab the grass to hold you down
You lay the argument in hand-tuned hues
You are the you you used to know
Track Name: Penance
little white boy
findin his fingers
reachin for the hem of a
robe of chains

brother robin hood
goin to the delta
pickin up the chords and the
voices and names

hey
i'm on the road again
my daddy done you
wrong my friend

three black caskets
draped in flags
a thousand times more but it's
all the same

i'm mixed up with confusion
gonna pay my penance on a six string box
choir echoes in my head man
gotta get it down the way he talks
you could use some tunin up there
tighten your words and knit your brow
got an amplifier manager
if i make money i don't know how

got a call last
night from nashville
time to go down and
roll some heads

nursin home needs
shaking up now
get em on their knees and
knock em outta bed

hey
don't say these was your words
i coulda starved
but you got heard

sweet talkin mama in a
shotgun sugar shack
i'm in the concert
seein red

ain't no time to be quibblin over the
name of an old train bum
i got a hundred thousand memories just like yours
in a file cabinet man your ride done come
now we got the radio, cast iron ballads,
blues that'll blow your WINDOWS out
i got no time for politics and i got
nothin to shout about

it's academic
interview bullshit
nobody hears what you
say anymore

purple poser pencil monkeys
bark on command
how come my fans are
such a bore?

hey
i'm bringin down judgment day
i
got nothin new to say

fête me, love me
color me darkly
put me in a box and
drop it on the floor

sixty-two years
squintin in the moonlight
just got ill and
blowed them down

ninety-nine years
double it, triple it
forty-one counts
run me outta town

hey
they heard it comin like rain
drunk fools don't
feel no pain

meanwhile sideways
shadow on the mountaintop
somethin's open'd up and i'm
lookin down

these shackles are strippin all the old white
flesh off my old white bones
somebody pulled a switcheroo, musta had
bugs in my phones
oh god whatever happened to that blind har
monica player who blew for dimes
he taught me everything he knowed, guess i
lost track of times....