everything that blooms wrecks me

by Dao Strom

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Recorded in Austin, TX in 2007.


released April 30, 2008



all rights reserved


The Sea and The Mother Portland, Oregon

my given name is tiêu-dao....
i was born in Viet Nam, in the wake of a war.
i am the daughter of writers,
i am also the daughter of a political prisoner. but i followed my mother -
i am one of the children divided
between mother & father / mountains & sea / between
i am part of the middle world; a hybrid; a troubadour.

these are my notes from the southern world.
... more

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Track Name: everything that blooms wrecks me
i watched you walk into the fire
that night
you said you were gonna save a
baby’s life
but then five minutes later i saw
you walk out the other side
& i was the one burning up
this halo in my chest
it doesn’t feel right
becuz half the time it’s just
spinning circles around my
did i do it for you or
did i do it for me?
did i live my life just as patiently
as a bird that flies?
i was the one who couldn’t sleep
at night
dreams of you falling kept me
up alright
at the end of time will you be
able to say you said it all?
so give me your wisdom
give me your love
give me precision when we’re
talking of the times ahead
where it might grow darker
than we thought
cuz you are the one
the starry one
only you can open up the wood
& quiet me down
& all you receivers should
assume no weight for why i
don’t know why
everything that blooms (just)
wrecks me
Track Name: caller of spirit
sometimes i think of you
& it’s okay that you’re deaf
& can’t hear me sing this song
for you about the time i lied
& told you i would stop at
nothing, would not even stop
for love
on your parents’ couch
with my legs crossed
paper lanterns in the back yard
we shared a wine cooler
then said goodbye on a curb
sometimes i think of you
& it’s okay that you’re a ghost
(love is)
tightrope walking on a slack line
i never thought i’d fall
this close to earth
so when are you boys gonna
come up from the basement?
& show in the light what you
found in the dark
Track Name: sweetness
i don’t mind if he stays out
all night
i only care if he makes it home
on time to catch me when i
fall awake
my dreams are fine but they take
some time
& girl don’t you know?
there are boys on every side

sweetness comes
sweetness comes
sweetness blows through like a maypole

you bring me pictures becuz you
don’t wanna talk too much
words were never enough to say
all you saw
& all the flowers you gave love
is like a bucket
i fall into it again everytime
we touch
& was it a sweet darkness?
or was it a dark sweetness you
wanted me to get to know?
Track Name: silver
i’ve always worn silver
i never wanted gold
the choice was given to me & i
put it on hold
to hold fast to my heart & not a
band of gold
i guess i didn’t believe it would
really take away the cold

i’ve never worn a dress that i
couldn’t run away in
& it’s taken me years just to
learn how to wear it well
there’s something bout silver
leaves you feeling high and
it’s less of a letdown when
you take it off alone at night

i’ve always worn silver
i never wanted gold
the choice was given to me
& i took all the colors of the
cuz what is wealth if you’re
always in need & you count on
love more than you ever count
your money?

the first time i thought about it
i was maybe thirteen
when i heard my mother use
the word to say how she felt
about her babies
(she said) maybe it wasn’t easy
but i felt rich inside
& i wouldn’t trade a single hard
night to be a common bride

i’ve never walked as far with
anybody as i’ve walked alone
it doesn’t mean i don’t wanna
it just means i don’t want to
do it wrong
i know money won’t buy but a
& all the tears you cry inside it
won’t pay the bills

& i’ll never wear down the path
between you and me
may we meet again and again
wherever we can be free
on a west texas road i watch
my dreams come to life as i
chase a sun that falls into a
silver sky
Track Name: seeds in the ashes
darling i hope the sun that
shines on you will shine
on me too
cuz this never-ending winter
has got me believing our
hearts are meant to stay blue
there’s a way that the road
bends, it’s a lot like the days
the one i’m waiting for always
seems to slip further away

the sun that makes shadows
on the walls also makes
patches of light
i been biding my time for so
long counting stars through
the darkest nights
there’s a way that the heart
bends, it’s a lot like a wave
the wind that blows it ashore
also changes its shape

the stars are burning
they’re dying across the sky
still it takes a million years or
more for a light to truly die

well darling i hope the road
you travel gives as gentle as
& that the green grass will grow
underneath each stone your
footsteps turn
cuz there are seeds in the ashes
of our lonely desert fire
& i’ll find my way back to you if
it takes me a lifetime of desire
Track Name: lebanon, missouri
lebanon, missouri
through these hills of gold
snow falls & the sun goes down
& the winter it’s so cold
haven’t heard in a long time
if you’ve learned anything new
what’s the use in being alone
if i still think of you?

snow in oklahoma & the
treetops are all cracked
once you’ve been through east
texas there’s no point in
looking back
& didn’t we once have a
promise about a place that
we would meet?
five years from a yesterday
ten years ago

california is a long way back
sometimes it feels like a heart
attack is coming on, is going

& the trees are as lonely here
as a hurricane
sometimes i feel the lightning is
writing your name in the sky
in my eyes
Track Name: traveler's ode
sometimes i see the future
& it looks alright
to a man who’s been waiting his
whole long life
to be returned to that land
it was north of somewhere
it was cold but oh so bright
& everyone was happy there
i’ve memorized every promise
that was gave on that night
we were told we’d have to go
& had better learn to travel
across a sea that would
disappear once we reached its
other shore
there we’d wear our hearts
inside no longer easy for us to
for we could not yet be beings
of light
& we were no longer men
like the ones who walked before
innocent of wrong or right
father oh now i know why you
moved so far away
but your poor mother she
waited for your return till her
last day
Track Name: slow
why the heart bends is anyone’s
it’s been so long since i felt this
trembling mess strong and so
take me slow
it takes so much to hold me
down here
well i may not ask for much
but i need you so
to be a place i can fall when it
gets cold, like a temple in the
take me home
it takes so much to know why
we’re here

& i may not talk that much
but i hope you will know that
words are not the way i speak
when the going is good
don’t you know?
we’re only here to love while
we can
Track Name: fields of california
take me away out of these
take me off these snowy ridges
for i am yours my sweet darling
i will haunt you forevermore
in the daytime you might forget
but in the night you surely won’t
& she will wonder why your
hands are always so deathly

& the fields of california
aren’t as gold as they claim
though the hills rise up to warn
you soon they’ll carry you

like a long-forgotten picture
sewn in the lining of a coat
lives a man who bears no secret
‘cept the one that stole all
from a girl he sees now falling
falling back a thousand times
into the waters of this mountain
river that swirls beneath the
Track Name: only angel
i don’t wanna be the one
caught waiting downtown
caught in a rainstorm without a
(you thought i would just be
hanging around)
baby you believe you can set it
up, one for every town
& no one’s gonna stop & ask
what’s up?
why me this time around?

if you believe we were made to
then you’d be the only angel
that i ever had a dream of
& i’ve dreamed about a
thousand loves
& they’re all of you

even the oceans can turn
to rust & what’ll we do with
the salt & dust that is clinging
to our clothes?
as we’re calling hallelujah to the
back of god
& he says the waves i sent
were not for the faint of heart

i’m your girl
& i always have been the only
one can see the light on your
but i’ll take my time telling you
what i see or where i’ll be
when your light shines on me
& it calls me back to sea like it
always does