All Saints' Day

by Steve Slagg

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1.
They filled Long Lake with water To cover up my brothers Left them suspended at the bottom of the lake As our boat went sailing over Think we disturbed the border Where sky met water in our wake She hovered o’er the water I wish you could’ve seen her Sailboats for color and a sky to hold her in We couldn’t hardly stand her Because of what we knew was underneath But pretty soon we waded in To whisper your name (whisper my name again) We whispered your name (whisper my name again) We skimmed our hands on the water and whispered your name My brothers said a prayer for us Laughing in the pines above us Up in the treetops their voices mixed with mine We did our best with banjos And out of tune pianos To sing them twangy elegies in kind To whisper their names (whisper my name again) We whispered their names (whisper my name again) At some point a doe wandered in she whispered your name again You filled Long Lake with water And the sky with meteors And in between was our canoe All around us we heard voices Singing praises Echoing your name across the blue So whisper my name again whisper my name again whisper my name again etc I saw your face in the water It whispered my name You walked across the water Lay down with me beside her Held me close to remind me I’m still there I’ll miss you in the morning When all the stars are missing And I can’t find my brothers anywhere
2.
3.
4.
Oh my son You know I loved you You know I called you By name Called you out of there Out of a strange land You know I love you But the more I called you The further you went away And you traded my name For your images I taught you how to walk And you walked away Now you’re back You’re back in strange land And you’re dying under the sword How can I give you up? How can I let you go? Someday the people will follow the Lord They will come from all nations When the lion roars And they will come like a flock of birds from Egypt trembling from the West and I will bring them home
5.
Tonight, love your face is made of shapes I can’t recall Tonight, love I feel like I could break If I’m here at all A year ago we saw you on the news tonight, we’re still confused Tonight, love there is no good, no truth, no beauty and tonight there never was Tonight, love, there is nobody and tonight there never was Besides, love, you’re only in my mind Besides, love, death was kind Tonight, love You never were alone Tonight, love We all answered the phone Tonight, love We’re with you in the dark Feeling around for the guardrail Or hiding in the bushes Waiting Tonight, love the ground’s begun to shake below me now tonight, love if you are still awake where are you now? All night long we searched and never found But for God’s sake, man, you could’ve stuck around And there’s no place now for all this love we’ve got Tonight, love, you are gone We are not
6.
You came again with your wheels again and your teeth again and your timing again and you took another brother into the sky So we cried again all alone, again in our separate rooms we lit a candle for you we lit another and another to get us through and we’ll probably run for cover no matter what you do There’s hole in the sky Where his body should go There’s a hole in the ground Where his body should go There’s a hole in my arms Where his body should go There’s a hole in the ground Put me in it There’s a hole in the sky Where your body should go There’s a hole in the ground Where your body should go There’s a hole in my arms Where your body should go There’s a hole in the sky Where your body should go There’s a hole in my arms Where your body should go There’s a hole in the ground And they filled it up with water Now make it holy
7.
We heard the morning bell Where’d Alex go? The lake, it stood as still As a mirror or a bowl We thought we saw him walking On the opposite shore But then we found his clothes Crumpled with the oars Peter tried to walk On the water to his Lord But he didn’t have the faith And he started sinking down Jesus pulled him out With his strong right arm He pulled Peter out of the water Put Peter back in the boat Alex tried to swim In the presence of his God But the lake, it changed its mind And Alex drowned So Jesus dragged the lake With his strong right arm And he pulled Alex out of the water He pulled Alex out of the water And he didn’t stop his pulling Where’d Alex go?
8.
Light a candle, little brother Everything is new today Pull on your robe of clean, white linen And pray With all the saints who’ve gone before us And all the saints we’ll leave behind Wade into the water, little brother And join that line Don’t be frightened, little brother Don’t be scared if the water’s over your head The day of the living is coming But today, today is the day of the dead Father, hold my body under Father, raise my body up Father, hold my body under Father, raise my body up Sister, take care of my body Sister, take care of my body Brother, lean on my body Brother, lean on my body Mother, hold your son Mother, hold your son Mother, hold your son Mother, hold your son Father, hold my body under Father, raise my body up
9.
Brother, I miss you tonight I remember nights in the city We walked with Jeff Through Boystown to iO You read a sonnet about Kant on the mainstage Del Close's ashes laughed the loudest You solved the problem of evil the next morning at breakfast And nobody noticed Well, brother, we need you tonight! I remember you comin' in from the fields Covered in pigshit and glowing Jody was pregnant, it was weird You still looked twelve And Jody looked maybe fifteen and a half But her belly could've passed for 20 Dan made the joke But you made it funny Stephen, I need you tonight No one else thought this place was as crazy We lay with Jeff on the floor on your birthday All night Lay for hours and talked about How things would never be All right Lay for hours and talked about How we would never be the same Then we talked about a man Who kneeled down in front of a train The month we were born It made us angry “Why would you do that?” we said He had the same name as us, that’s weird Birthday balloons were sinking softly all around us It was 6AM, Jeff got up and made breakfast Christopher We miss you tonight Every relative here looks just like you Dakota does too He's almost two Jody still looks fifteen and a half She's still pretty and smiling She's smiling, I promise In fact Everybody here is smiling, look at us Dan just made a joke That wasn't very funny Brothers, we miss you tonight
10.
There was a minute (hmm) at the beginning of the year When everybody was alive and everything was clear I said I loved you I think I said That you were everything to me I thought I meant it But in hindsight it couldn’t be true It’s been a long year Let’s say he made it Let’s just say that this was all some crazy dream I wouldn’t take it and I know that if he could, neither would he You met me somewhere and I know that somewhere now he is with you And that’s what matters And that’s always been, always will be true But Lord, it’s been a long year It’s been a long, hard year without him It’s been a long, hard year without You For now I’m quiet For now I’m still I’m not too big I’m like a child For once I’m still Oh, Israel For just a minute (hmm) Before I’m finished with this song When nobody else is around And you and me are alone I’ll say I love you I think I’ll say That you are everything I see I think I mean it
11.
When I see you I see you twice or not at all When I see you I see you twice or not at all It’s like putting my nose up to A Sunday on Grand Jatte at the Institute of Art Was gonna go there with my brother but we lost him six months later —and two more— I never see them anymore But when I see you When I see you I see you twice or not at all When I see you I see you twice or not at all It’s like standing on my back porch on a summer evening with the fireflies and stars I wonder where you are cupped in my hands or cupping the sky— Either way we won’t see you in the morning But when I see you (It’s like standing on my back porch on my back porch for a firefly theophany in the dark all I ever see is dots) (It’s like Sunday in the park Sunday in the park We’re pointillists We’re pointillists All I ever see is dots) It’s like rowing the lake with Marty and the Leonids periods and commas scattered artlessly across an empty page But when I see you When I see you I see you twice or not at all When I see you I see you twice or not at all When I see you I see you When I see you I see you When I see you When I see you When

about

There’s a weird poetry in loss. I was twenty when a close friend of mine committed suicide. A few months later, my father died of liver cancer. A few more months after that, my young cousin was killed in a random farming accident in Kansas, leaving behind a wife and a nine month-old baby. I attended my cousin’s funeral on my 21st birthday. All three men were youngest sons.
 
Right after everything happened, I spent three months working at a wilderness camp in the north woods of Wisconsin, writing most of All Saints' Day's songs on a moldy piano I found in a cabin that overlooks 70-acre Long Lake. Then I went back to college, and dragged myself every Sunday to an Anglican church in the Chicago suburbs. This album takes that Anglican church and plants it squarely over the top of Long Lake, like a double exposure photo, or maybe a canoe.

for stories and liner notes for the full album, go here: youngestsonmusic.com/allsaintsday

credits

released June 25, 2012

Steve Slagg: piano, synths, vocals
Allison Van Liere: banjo, accordion, french horn, synths, vocals
Cathy Kuna: cello
Lee Ketch: bass, electric guitars
Michael Schlotter: drums

with guests

Gabriel RiCharde: vocals, duet vocals on "Untitled Memory Song"
Bonnie McMaken: duet vocals on "All Saints' Day"
Trevor McMaken: acoustic guitar on "Untitled Memory Song"

produced by Steve Slagg and Blade Barringer

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Steve Slagg Chicago, Illinois

God-haunted, gay-of-center weird singer-songwriter with death problems

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