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from Sirens by S. J. Tucker

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"Carousel" arrived just after the Winter Solstice, 2005. I was at my mother's house for the holidays, having concluded touring for the year. My all-but husband and another dedicated fan delivered me a challenge, telling me that they wanted to hear more of the type of lyrical songwriting they referred to as 'Sooj-speak'--in which I seem to sing in riddles. Coincidentally, I had seen Mirror Mask in the theatre not long before, and my mind was a-whirl with Gaiman/Mckean imagery. Perfect conditions for the Snake Charmer to waltz in and introduce herself. She is fifteen, has been chain-smoking since age nine, travels with her family's carnival, has more tattoos than most, and has just fallen in love for the first time. The problem is that he's not 'her kind of people.' He's seventeen, lives in the small town she happens to be passing through, and is as normal as they come. And yet, there is chemistry between them. They both know it, and if they aren't careful, so will their respective parents. Doomed from the first, the Snake Charmer pleads with her beau, and with time, to just be still for a moment, to hear the Carousel with both ears, to exist in her world, to try it out, and THEN decide whether to run away with her...or just run away.

"Carousel" is for all of us who know the glory of forbidden fruit, crave the rawness of passions we cannot explain away, and deeply feel the reality of being different.

(Neil, this is joyfully and respectfully dedicated to you! I hope it gives you at least a small smile, in exchange for the heaps and gobs of inspiration you yourself have put into all of our hearts and minds.)


you were the ink in my eyes black with blasphemy
from the night before
the sweet sacrifice that you offered was bitter
dark chocolate, savored it down to my core
where I smolder
no wonder
I am frozen today
The carousel runs on, and I hum along
Hum the morning away

Go on and tango the Gorgon to bed, my dear
best be prepared to get all that you bargained for
and when the curtain comes down
these decisions must be made
On the day that the carnival heads out of town
leaving no trace, just a music box melody running down
would you caravan at my side, my love, will you ride?

See how we smolder
no wonder
I am frozen today
The carousel runs on
and I sing along,
dance the morning away, hey

oh, don't trust the sideshow serpentina
shadows run fierce when the curtain comes down
but no fiercer than those you may find
looking into these eyes
Look into my eyes.

Oh, you were the truth of my running mascara
the moment my mask was no more
I offered me up sweet and bitter,
suspecting you'd courage to savor me down to my core
where I smolder
no wonder I am frozen today
the midway is breaking down
do I let this miracle stay, or do I cast it away
No wonder I am freezing, bleeding today
with the carnival I will leave town
like the melody running down
but darling for now
let the carousel play
running away

They will all say
don't trust the sideshow serpentina
shadows grow long when the curtain comes down
but no longer like those you may find
gazing into these eyes
Look into my eyes.


from Sirens, released October 31, 2006
Words, Music and this recording copyright S. J. Tucker 2006; all rights reserved. Guitars and Vocals by S. J. Tucker. Mixed by Ginger Doss, Eagle Audio, Austin TX.


all rights reserved



S. J. Tucker Perry, Arkansas

“Without our songs and stories, we are nothing.” S. J. Tucker has been captain of her own music career since 2004, when she left the workaday world behind to sing songs and change lives. Tucker is the voice of lore at the campfire and the sharp laughter of modern myth. With one hand anchored in her art and the other held out to us, she is songs and stories, community and wit. ... more


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