The Lost Army

by Sherman to the Fucking Sea

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released January 14, 2011

Image for cover art taken from Barnaby Furnas's "Flood" series.

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Track Name: The Lost Army Found in Savannah
Tie train rails round trees
and say a prayer in a widow's name.
When total war was civilized
the sea moaned my name.

The sea moans my name in its sleep.

Howard's one arm leads the band
in "O' Savannah!" O' Savannah,
I run my fingers through her hair
and write to my wife alone.

Some women smile from their doorways.
Some spit on me from balconies.

While the sea moans my name in its sleep.

Even when I promise not to burn this one down.
I promise not to burn down your town.

But in hatred and for mercy
the South will scream my name.

Train your eyes to the North, boys.
We're headed for South Carolina.
My men have vouchers for their blood.
I almost tremble at her fate.

For this must never happen again.
Track Name: Major Howard's Address at Macon
Get love where you can.

With the wheat fields tinged
cadmium by a Gatling mist,
you'd better get some love.
Get love where you can.

As I walk through the camp
we've set down west of Macon,
these men and boys write and sing
love songs from murderous hearts.

Whether it's the hand of a whore
or a perfumed letter from a young wife,
you've got to get some love.
Get love where you can.

All those red skies at our backs
mean we're marching into
the very heart of hate itself.
Not one warm face for three more states.

And they'll have every right
to want to make orphans of our kids
after we've mangled their horizons
into a mass of twisted tracks.

Our goal is to starve their wives.
Our goal is to bleed them out.
They'll call us murderous cowards.
They'll throw rocks from their porches.

But we cannot and will not stop
until we've snuffed out their ideas.
So if you're lacking for passion
when I tell you burn a home,

think of the mothers of the North
who've cooked their last for their man.
Think of the arrogance and greed,
the plantation owner's whip.

The last nation on Earth
to abide the trade of men.
They might hate us forever
but that shall be our lot.

But I've got to be honest boys.
I don't care anymore
if we win back Tennessee
or sign a full surrender.

There's only one way home.
One way back to loving arms.
And that's one fire,
one fire at a time.

Margaret, I'll be home soon.
Minus an arm and covered in gloom,
but Margaret, I'll be home soon.
Listen for the sound of our boots.
Track Name: An Occurrence at Columbia
“One night I thirsted like a prince
Then like a king / then like an empire /
like a world / on fire.” - James Dickey

One wakes to find
her bed in flames.
Outside they quote ancient rules
but no voices will claim them.

O Death! O Death!
Grace find my feet tonight.

Accidents
are for bleeding hands.
Accidents
are born in the mouths of babes.

Their life is with God alone.
They’ve sworn their wombs to the lord.
You never learned to leave
well enough alone.

Sisters hear us out!
Our swords guide not the wind!
We did this not with white teeth.
Tell not of us black tales.

Liars.

We know the sound of the trumpet.
We’ve drunk the guts of the Saints.
And we know the hand of the Deceiver
It holds a torch and it’s cold to the touch.

Release.

Release my soul to the hounds.
From the jaws of death I am saved.
In the hands of Christ I am found.
My heart has no earthly grave.

Burn what you will.
My flesh feels no flame.
Burn what you will.
The Lord knows not your name.
Track Name: Wrongzilla
The light shone by the knife collapsed.
The assembled fell to murmurs.
First it was just one light for
one light feels many fractures.

When Jesus spoke to the choir he said
there's a reason Helsinki isn't in Texas
but that reason is not me.

His voice sounded like 50 bucks
of quarters in the air.
He said if handstands were magic
every child would fly.

Put those headphones on a skull
and watch it cringe.
He said if trust were a fire
its flame wouldn't burn at all.

Because it's easy to call
the poor man the rich man's poor man.
It's even easier to say
I shouldn't have been born with this third lung.

I bet we could write one hell of a book
just watching his mother's face twitch.
Give those hands some deft advice.

The wretch speaks on, fat man lives on.
The angel weeps on the earth
the devil strides on.

And if he spoke through me
I'd clear my throat and say
Listen! Listen
to nothing this man says.

Hope wears not a telecaster's shape.
Your soul is not a gravity bong.

Crush and glow.
God is rolling in his grave.
Track Name: The Unwitting Widow
My blood is a bloody mess
pooling on the kitchen floor
where I birthed your son
six months after you left.

Now you’re out in Kansas somwhere,
at least you were the last you wrote.
Pray for me, you wrote.
Well who’s praying for us?

You’re out in the fields.
Cutting throats for God knows who.

Making unitting widows.
Of women just like me.
I never gave a good goddamn.
About secession, slavery or states.

I thought we had a deal.
"Me and mine and mind our own."

If I’ve got to march three states.
With your child in a roller.
I’m gonna drag you back.
Before you go and get got.

I'm gonna drag you back.
Track Name: Viking Funeral
Retreat, if it's possible.

We're caught with our backs to the sea.
Outgunned, outnumbered, outrun.

The devil awaits the soul of a coward.
So find your fire and drag a Yank along with you.

I'll be your prisoner when the ocean behind me
opens like the mouth of God and breathes me into its lungs.

Prepare a vessel of tinder and an archer on the shore.
Give this soldier a send-off worthy of a warrior.

There is no glory for the meek.
No stories told of the forgiving.

Let the sky come alive
with red lights as flames
carve a glowing arc to my grave.

I'll rest in peace knowing I've made
widows of widow's tormentors.
Christ curse your heart, Sherman.

My final moment will be the cast iron sculpture of hate.
You killed my cousin's wife. I'll die trying to get to your throat.

You can follow our rancor along an infinite vector
burning through progeny. My grandson's grandsons will curse your name.

Goddamn leadership. Goddamn the memoirs.
I'll die with your veins in my teeth. Knife your daughter in her sleep.
Track Name: Holding High the Head of Medusa
The Lord knows no grace
like the sun-warm earth
of a newly peaced union
beneath a commander’s feet.

And with nothing
left of the rebels
but the scrawl of their blood
upon this parchment

I just want a home-cooked meal
the comforting creak of my floor
a glass of bourbon neat
and my long-tried wife at my side.

But first we’ll march on the Capital
barefoot in tattered habit.
The Northern mothers weeping
at the sight of our faces.

The bronze Persius
the dream whaler writes of
holds high a lesser symbol
than I here carry back to Lincoln.

But there need be no overwrought
sentiments or allusions
to express what every soldier
in the rank and file feels.

Because it’s good to be home.
It’s good to see my mother.
It’s good to be home.
It’s good to see my brother, my sister and father.
Track Name: No Cure
Nothing stops, ever.
Nothing stops everything.

All things peak all at once.
All beings speak all at once.

Life is war.
War is hell.
There's no cure.
No cure for life.

Peak. Speak.

Dry into drizzle into flood.
Hearts into heads into blood.
Men into women into graves.
Love is the glory nothing saves.

Nothing stops, ever.
Nothing stops everything.
Track Name: Survivor's Guilt
The devil’s salted the image
of your half-gone face in my hands
to the back of my eyelids.

I sleep like a statue on fire.
While the wicked rest as though
they were back in the womb.

I’ve been home now 18 months
and still carry my .45
waiting daily for retribution
for this time on Earth I don’t deserve.

My first day back I saw your wife.
She didn’t weep when she confessed
she’d give three times her widow’s pay
if the cannon could have caught me instead.

Any decent man would know
when to take off his funeral coat
how to carry that weight
and proudly go about his day.

But the only peace I find
lies between the oiled clicks
of the spinning cylinder
of the gun I took from your holster.

God take this memory.
Or else I’m coming home.