Stories In Small Spaces (ellen cherry & Bonnie Schupp)

by ellen cherry

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released September 11, 2018

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ellen cherry Baltimore, Maryland

Emmy nominated singer/songwriter ellen cherry (lowercase letters intentional!) is a full-time touring and working performer based in Baltimore, MD. In 2017, ellen presents a new touring project called Portraits in Song that marries her love of storytelling and her passion for history through songs and portraits of interesting women in history to increase love and empathy for all. ... more

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Track Name: Poor Books!
Poor Books!
August 7, 2018

My father said
“Don’t dog-ear the pages,
It disrespects the book!”
I think of him telling me this
Most often in Winter
When I take more baths
And the likelihood of dropping a book
In the water becomes high.
They swell in complaint, but still let me read.

I mean no disrespect.

Poor Books!
I have torn your dust cover
Badly when I crammed you in my bag:
My flight is boarding.

Poor Books!
I have gotten sand in your binding
When I saw a seal on Assateague Island:
I dropped you in surprise.

Poor Books!
Marinara sauce smeared on page 25
In my haste to use you as a disguise
Sitting outside the market:
My old employer walked by.

Poor Books!
I throw you down the library laundry chute:
It’s back to the shelf for you.

Poor Books!
I’ve stepped on you, slept on you,
Smelled you without asking, passed you
To strangers, but
I won’t bend your pages.

I mean no disrespect.
Track Name: When Everything Is Orderly
ellen cherry
August 14, 2018

When Everything is Orderly

When everything is orderly
And nothing is askew
When everything is tidy
I know just what to do

For now I have some minutes
I have all the time to spare
I can sit and contemplate
The disastrous and unfair.

The wandering and confused
The Lovers, so star-crossed
The bleeding and the broken
The damaged and the Lost

The steel we made so strong
Being eaten by the rust
The bridges falling down
The buildings back to dust

The promises we made
To never hesitate
Burn up under the Sun
As our shelter dissipates

I rearrange my face
To show I’m not afraid
I will stack my dishes
And put my clothes away

When everything is orderly
And nothing is askew
When everything is tidy
I don’t know what to do.
Track Name: Do Owl It T
Do Owl It T
(pronounce it. It will make sense)
ellen cherry
August 25, 2018

Fast and slow
Above below
Push and pull
Empty full

Start and stop
Keep or swap
Red or green
Kind and mean

Moonless night
Morning light
Birthday wish
Our last kiss

Should I stay
Go away
Can’t decide
Run and hide

Can’t decide
Run and hide
Track Name: I Deserve a Comfortable Chair
I Deserve a Comfortable Chair
September 2018
ellen cherry

I deserve a comfortable chair.
I’ve had a hard week.

It’s not just the Cone of Blackness
That descended on Sunday
And stayed ‘til Tuesday.
Returned on Friday at noon for
An overnight stay and
Drained the color from
All landscapes, taste from all food,
Made distant and muted, all sounds
Including my own voice.

It’s the President
It’s that senator from Texas
It’s the rich evil brothers from Kansas
Who just want to own everything
It’s the humidity
No, it’s the heat
No, it’s the humidity
It’s a palmetto bug, which is really a roach,
Crawling across my carpet
The spider on my bedspread
And the feral cat meowling upstairs.

Living in a basement is not metaphorical.

It’s me
It’s you
It’s me
It’s me
It’s my email
And my tax return
I’ve proved myself for 23 years
And now my worth is a number printed on a black line.

It’s my voicemail
Loaded up and unlistened to.

I haven’t read a good book in a year.

It’s because I don’t have a comfortable chair.
Track Name: In My Mother's Arms
In My Mother’s Arms
ellen cherry
September 2018

At 3313 Regent Street, Plano, Texas, there is a house that my parents had built in 1974 and it had these arches between the living room and dining room. When the dining room light was on, it threw shadows onto the living room floor. The living room had brown shag rug that I loved to run my fingers through when Bojangles tired of me petting him and moved away, I simply moved my hand down to the carpet. Not as soft as fur, but the repetition of movement was a comfort and he and the rug were almost the same color. Once, a small black cricket popped out from where I was combing and startled me, but it was so small and it stayed for a moment, on the top of single fiber of shag, and even though it’s an impossible memory, I think I saw it breathing and blinking it’s black eye. I must have been a giant.

The rug was pulled up and replaced with something shorter and less worth petting and the orange velour couch that was more likely another brown color, but in my mind is orange because it’s the color I prefer, was replaced by a sofa that could seat four--a stiff upright seating arrangement that helped us create the perfect family photo throughout the 1980s.

My father snapped a black and white photograph of me, in my mother’s arms, with a blanket around us both, sitting in a chair next to the front door. I still had my chubby forearms with my left thumb in my mouth and we looked at him, through the lens, no smiles but with loving eyes. I wonder what I was thinking and if I knew how warm and enclosed I was in that little sheltered world. It was a comfy Queen Anne chair that was moved every Christmas to accommodate a real evergreen tree that came from a place definitely not in Texas, and it surprises me that I can remember the name of a style of furniture when furniture is not my business.
Track Name: Proper Technique
No one taught me how to speak
Into a microphone
I had to suss it out
I did it all alone

First I popped my P’s
I meant no great offense
Sometimes proximity
Really makes no sense

The closer that I get
The more muffled I become
The further that I go
The words you’ll hear are none

Here is what I’ve found
From years of try and fail
To make a pretty sound
Not a whisper or a wail

Find that space between
There is no need to shout
An inch from the windscreen
Let your secrets out
Track Name: Sorrow Is a Wild Horse (FAWM DEMO)
I am confused again
Is it now or is it then?
Isn’t it strange how Time moves
I am confused again

I don’t want to feel like this anymore

I felt the needle hit the groove
That old familiar song
I felt the push, I couldn’t move
I guess I’ll play along

I don’t want to feel like this anymore

How do i stand my ground
In the middle of a hurricane
How do i ride a wild horse
no saddle and no reins?

I don’t want to feel like this anymore
Track Name: DashDashSpaceDashDashDashSpaceDashDash
Not gray but silver hairs
I see you glinting through
I lean in closer to the mirror
Closer than I used to have to do

Yes, a bit of tinsel
Amongst the light brown strands
I watch my fingers write this down
And I see my mother’s hands

Dash and dot along the thread
On my crown this diary of the road
I’m grateful to my future self
She sent the map in code