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The Way The Hook Bends

by Tyler Dettloff

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Recorded at Lost Dog Records #8267 Big Bay, MI 2014


released April 15, 2015

All songs written by Tyler Dettloff. Big Thanks to the musicians David Swanson, Ryan Gleason; to Raymond Little for production, mixing, and tracking time; to Sven and Marcia for hosting me and my dog and my music many times; to my folks for hearing my musical growing pains all these years and for the support; and to you, for listening.



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Tyler Dettloff Marquette, Michigan

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Track Name: Beach Glass
I've thrown my weight against the waves
I've softened my bite.
Strewn across the lake they say
Centuries pass, I'm still broken glass.
Telling long-kneck tales
of whisky, women, and whales.
Crawl soft and slow
but the lake has changed.

I might be easy to handle
but I, too, can break.
Razor blade inside my spine
carve my fate.
The words are the same
but the writing ain't mine, no.
A cloudy wave can fracture what I'm after:
to sink in her depths.
Sands of time rub me bare.
Spare me the storms I'm riding the worm.
The past was then and the future can't be borrowed.
I am now and not tomorrow.

I'll cut your feet on sandy beach,
I'm just out of reach.
Why do all the sands of time
fall apart then organize?
My hue darkens with the weather.
Shifting, drifting like the gulls,
Smashed against your thrusting hulls.
Broken, battered send the rapture
to my rip tide. I got nothing left to hide.
Gasping for water, I'm bitter and bone dry.
Track Name: Waltz The Slug
Hell is too hot so send me back North
where my Banjo won't melt
while I waltz the slug.
I sweat as I dug up all my drinking.
Now I hear Superior sinking.

Hell is too hot but my veins have met concrete hugs:
Sledge hammer slips, jagged entanglement.
Lacerations and lament never went together.
I pluck my own feathers
in this damn heat.
I'm on a nudist bender.

Strip songs naked to bare characters witnessing timeless plots
with no settings, but spots like Hell and North.
Light the torch, burn a hole to my Heaven.
My sins never forgiven.
Let it burn 'cause I'm a ghost.

I don't sear or roast, splintered in purgatory.
Repeating a Northern story:
chains, blades, and walkway stains.
She's adorned the whore, tripped once on the rug.
A fall from grace
into Love.

Was chewed up and swallowed up,
carved up and spit out.
Without a doubt, money will make them buy it.
Money will make them try it,
all thousand acres,
just to be gone.

Walden had his pond and Kerouac had his lanes.
Logging men got madness and fevers.
Chompin the bit, tail chasing their own beavers.
Wearing trails so thin that the demons reach through.

Hell is too hot so send me back North
where my Banjo won't melt while I waltz the slug.

Nobody tells about it but there's a calm after the storm
when the dead beat the drum.
And the smoke sings along.
And the smoke sings along.

The ruins do a slow dance, the floods do a crawl.
Procession of the thunder, recession of prayer.
Waltz the lightning, spirits fill the air.
And the smoke sings along.
And the smoke sings along.
And the smoke sings along.
And the smoke sings along.
And the smoke sings along.
Track Name: Winter Wind
I was floating on the Winter wind
suddenly it all went South, all went South.
I was gambling in the church of sin
when I stood up and shot my mouth off, shot my mouth off.

Said, "if you gamblin with my soul
I can't die old and never live young."
Church bell rang thirteen times,
one for each bullet, every time I oughta died.
Reachin at the preacher he conjured my sins,
fire and brimstone rocked my ribs.

He said, "you caged on the cross
just like my boss. Wicked jabbing thorns
like the pain of being born, like the pain of being born.
Nothin you can do to get the keys to Heaven or to Hell
looking like a fool tranced in a Devil spell.
Hot red coals are your eyes and your blood run cold, blood run cold."

I ain't join down like this, man.
I had a simple plan.
No one traps the should of this man.
Mama never let me step on tombstones
but the wild wind gripped me
and the Devil up and whipped me.
Track Name: Slip Lake
My head's in the West from today on out
but not in a good way.
I can't go without Gizhigami
or the shores that ebb and flow,
friends that come and go.

When I left they told me the road gets lonely.
I walked in the ditches, believed the lie.
A man in Montana drank shine from Atlanta,
moved it in moonlight and prayed to the sky.
A girl from Kentucky whose eyes said I'm lucky,
but her lips spoke "the slip, babe, give it a try."
Track Name: Burning Rats
I want you to tell me lies.
Tell me that between the stars there's life.
Tell me that under the streets is hell.
And that when God laughs
thunder and lightning is the Devil's spell.

It's a spell of rain, you got caught again.
Behind the walls you been hiding wrecking balls.
Under your teeth you let my trust bleed.
A moonbeam shines on trusty honest pines,
lightning and thunder, dinner plates rumble and crash.
The lake's broke loose
and my oven is burning rats.

The sky turns green, silent scream.
Worms squirm beneath your skin,
mountains collide, your dog howls sin.
Your skeleton shadow rattles ribcage and back.
Track Name: The Lone Onion
They call me the lone onion.
I've got many layers.
Some might think I'm shallow.
So cut me, I dare ya.
Ain't it a crime to watch you try and hold back your tears.

They call me the lone onion
in this pumpkin patch.
Some might think I watch the sun
but I just watch my back.
Bad taste between your teeth, I can stick around for weeks.

Put me with the pork, put me with beans.
I'm green, white, vidalia, and red.
I get black at the death bead.
I'm sick and twisted, rarely visited, a hell of roots, I'm a bulb with juice.

Smelly, stinky, gut rot drinky.
Some blame me for lost pinkies.
Peel me, slice me, carmelize me.
Strongest sprit since the Ramp went wild.
Cousin Leek's got flowered shelters, but I still believe in Helter Skelter.
Track Name: Fool Cub
Never ever horsed around at school
but roared like a lion in the woods
just trying to be good.
Now there's ashes in my chest
a pain in my heart.
Never fall apart,
fall together, fall forever
With the brandy, with the rye,
with all other in my life.
Here's to us all who never had it all.
We'll find death before we depart,
triumph before the start.
Hand over heavy hearts
to the ground to the wind.
Spread the dead like smoke spread flame.
We choke cause we know it can't be true.
But the ash in my lungs is me
and the smoke is you.

Well, I'm coughing but not too often.
Smell the blood of ancient lion cub
searching through stones for his own mother's bones.
He roar like thunder for the dead.
The hawk soars so he's fed.
Who's the fool for seeing life through?
If it ends then we're dead, so start living like she said.
Cause we pump all this blood and breathe all this air.
Who are we to care what's next, what's now?
Track Name: Quill
Stand in the shadow of tamarack thicket you’ll see what I mean
by Delirium dance. Golden conifer clumps pepper this swamp.
Reeds and fungus thick with life, microbial heat can melt the ice.

You are the reason I return there, not believing till I bathe
in that mud. Return the blood of primordial gunk.
I promise you: No amount of asphalt or glass can redeem
the junk you keep behind the bathroom cupboard
where even the flies won’t dance.
Even the dogs cower from your collection,
your bottles of pills, enhancers, shots, and plastic necromancers.
Come with me and dance in the goop.
Cattails erect on reeds, islands form sacred hoop.

Oxbow bent backwards--not prescription or vision, no healing incision--stand with me now in the shadow of tamaracks.
Rip the cattail up from root.
Feast with me now on primordial goop.

This is where the dogs play, the flies dance,
toads sing, and cranes romance.
This is the place I was telling you.
I was raised where pine needles drop and water won’t freeze.

**Who, me?**
Track Name: All Saturn's Rings
I shouldn't be this sore at my age.
Everyone movin on, but we stay the same.
Maybe the sun will rise if we'd only open our eyes.
Maybe the moon will bloom.
It's like we're kicking in the womb.

I saw a man the other day
in the street he banging his drum and he prayed
to all the stars above.
He was wondering when the sky forgot about love.
When the sky forgot about love.
Forgot about love.

All the clouds, they started crying.
And the man in the street raised his hands,
he started dying.

I saw a woman in the store, she looking sweet but I know she's poor.
Got a mountain of debt that she ain't touched yet:
scholastic promise dropping like a bomb on us.
Eatin dust from the bones of our grandparents' jobs.
How'd we get so robbed?

We gave the crowns, all Saturn's rings,
to the heads of our empire, a snake with seven heads.
But heaven said, "severed heads ain't good to bring to bed.
Get it right in your heads, what were you thinking.
A snake with seven heads should be dead."
We can drown it with singing.
Track Name: California
She's the kinda gal who'll run away to California.
When the wind blows her hips sway.
She's the kinda gal they warn ya about.

Flowers in her braids, her dress is kinda frayed.
She don't ask direction, knows exactly where she going.

In the hills she sees spirits carry warmth with the sun.
In the woods she hears demons when the moonshine is gone.

She drink clear liquor only, like it straight, like it warm.
Moonlight from Kentucky make her feel like a newborn.
Track Name: American Nighttime
Meet me somewhere
outside, fight fair.
Won't you look me in the eyes
tell me what you hide behind sighs?

Oh, you say that I won't let you
lasso the moon.
But I know you're leaving soon.
I know you're leaving soon.

Wooden floors and knocked down doors,
ripped up tights and burnt out lights,
waves keep crashing and pages are burning.

American nighttime: forget the light this time.
Track Name: Thirteen Cents
I got thirteen cents and seven cigarettes
not a dollar more to my name.
My dog wants to bolt, he growls at my boots,
chases lies like chickens.
What's a man like me to do?
What's a man like me to do?

I got thirteen cents and six cigarettes
I ain't opposed to her leaving.
But when it comes to cleaving that kinda weepin
leave me flat down on my back.
Her summer sun clobbered the lake.
Our summer sun clobbered in mistakes.

I got thirteen cents and five cigarettes
I left my dog at the dock.
The rollers are loaded and the lake's a'quake,
Fall is always outspoken.
She's the oar that won't break.
She's the oar that don't break.

I got thirteen cents and four cigarettes
her tongue dampens the spark.
The only pencil I drawn from the flask
is the blackest of blues.
I renunciate my task.
I renunciate my task.

I got thirteen cents and three cigarettes
patched all my row boat leaks.
My dog sam across the water fast as lost dog holler.
But the lake's never let him down.
Dogs drown harder than love.
Dogs drown harder than Love.

I got thirteen cents and two cigarettes.
Track Name: Petrified
I've grown so tired and weary of protecting my neck.
Just when I let somebody in, I'm a nervous wreck.
Passing up highway signs, how'd I grow so blind?
Can't see the canvas I've covered with blood.
I wish my heart was made of wood.

The brass on my knuckles don't ring right.
When I start a fight my hands are tied.
Blinders on both eyes [&] I've muted my ears.
Is this what I get for being silent for years?
But now I'm speaking up, I'm talking down,
ain't afraid to take a punch now.

So walk with me back to the mountains
where I lost my faith.
All the cruel creatures chased me away
and I surrendered my fate
of walking my own path alone.
I can feel it deep in my bones.
Thunder rolls in and I'm steppin out.
My two feet have no doubts.

The stars of my nights they don't give off light.
When I'm petrified the melody's right.
Foghorns and bellows are grinding my gears.
When the ship hits port it unloads for years.
But now I'm hoisting up, I'm sailing out,
I ain't afraid to get outta here.
Track Name: Long Hard May
Newspaper headlines don't surprise, oh no.
Television weathervane talkshow host
so sultry now, but a ghost.

On our third coast we wait.
We wait for Spring to break.
And on our third coast.
It's a long hard May.

It's Mother's Day, I see the grass growing
but it won't stay.
The Sun shown her eyes, much to my surprise.
Is it the Devil's guise?

If Winter took the strong then there's something wrong with the squall.
If Winter took the weak, Summer will be bleak.
Just be glad we remember the sound of ice melting
and have forgotten thunders.
We all wonder what's under the salt and the ice on our paths.
Crosses bare where slick corners don't care
if a person burns like a wick or a candlestick.
Track Name: The Way The Hook Bends
I remember miracles dripping from her finger tips like honey in whisky.
She'd let me rest, shadowed the morning sun with curls of ivory.

She never liked the way I spread my voice
like jelly on small-town bread.
Booze, the Blues, and untied shoes.
I tripped over every single word she said.

Now I'm feeling like a harpoon
heart beating quick, let me go, I need some room.
But she knows where the rope ends,
knows the way the hook bends.
It's a slow stab through a steady lake.

She'd make one hell of a ghost, a skeleton dreamer.
Even when I told her it's not me it's the muse.
Couldn't take the heat we torched the kitchen.
Let the ashes burn the stars of our sky.
Track Name: Could've Been Graves
Remember we were so afraid to say love we said lizard instead?
We could reach across canyons carved into vinyl records
and touch each other.

I sat on that fresh painted park bench, stood up with and "L" on my ass.
We scoured our diction to say every L-word but love.
Took two years and the funeral of my husk
just to pronounce, just to pronounce that word to you.

Our skulls rammed full of pride.
We said a lie was the easiest way out of love.
I saw your eyes long for and L-shaped parachute,
but we couldn't lie, no we wouldn't try.

So we licked envelopes, sent the last L-words to unmarked benches.
They could've been graves. They could've been graves.
How many sounds could've filled our hearts
if we hadn't filled our heads with words.

Books don't feel
but a song can peel
the wrought-iron
from my spine.
I'll ask for another try.