by Joseph Ruddleston

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April 2016, I spent each day writing and recording a song with words written by poets from all over. '4.16' is what emerged from it.

It was a self-set challenge that I felt likely I'd give up on quickly. But the addiction to each day set in, and I wrote/recorded 8 songs in the space of 2 days at first. Some days I worked all day on the one track, others I threw together at 3am after a night out.

The aim was to learn... something. I learned how to write in various styles of music, for sure. I learned that I could enjoy getting up in the morning again. That to treat myself fairly is to give myself the chance to fail or succeed, unknowing of the outcome. And yeah, that it might not take a month to feel my strongest, but a month certainly does count for something.


released May 8, 2016

The poets: Evyn Williams, Ellie Wilson-Smith, Brandon Elrod, Natcha Chirapiwat, Saffron Lily, Ted Wells, tbarrett, Musepunk, R-A, MsMino, Sarah Ellen, Paolino, Vickie Avery, Katie Anne, Marc Salley, Tori Watson, Rosella Weigand, Hiraku, Gwen Griffin, Robynj150, Eric Tortora Pato, Symbiote, Roswell Gray.

Voice/Composer/Musician/Producer: Joseph Ruddleston

Inspiration: Evyn Williams' Poem Every Day Project (hitRECord.org)



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Joseph Ruddleston London, UK

London-based Folksinger-songwriter forever making the Atlantic commute for love, music and the pursuit of bliss.

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Track Name: scorch
run now, darling. shake the sand
from your boot.

it's easy to be lulled into nothing, to drink
the weight from your eyes. it’s easy to forget
how quickly blood cakes.

home is a thing that fell past you;
all you have left is what your feet
make from here.

empty your boot; all is ahead.
Track Name: goggles
my feet dragged across the lake
but you didn't hear the water move
in waves
towards you. and even
now that the
are dead (and
taller than i remember)
i can see
rejecting my calls in
and it hurts.
because i thought
flying ten
miles would
make you talk, that
i could cut the
thread between your
lips and
open your voice box, that
with my ear to
your mouth, i would
hear our wavelength, it
because i was wrong.
Track Name: tar & feathers
Spent a beautiful day wasting away all my sun and the sleight of hand was slighted by the moon and its rays and I carried my mouth with little discord and I spoke until the words carried no weight on the floor and the boards didn't bow when I called out your name and the sparrows did shutter at the way the sounds came and we'd seen mountains from our seats on the bus and the states became ugly like paintings of rust and I tried to form my mouth around the love in my throat but it kept getting caught and I couldn't hit the right notes so I swallowed it down with expensive smoke and I made up my mind when I saw you out on that boat before the sun ran away from our misguided youth and the curse of your father kept blaming you for your wayward little stares and your fiendish little hands as they wandered past the off-ramps and into his glare and the way I saw you look at him made me look too and I hated all that skin of his that drew him to you because that's the same shade that pulled my hand to yours but you moved it away like you didn't have a choice and I wished then that devils came out of the pond and dragged me off into the tides so I could drown before long but there were no demons tangled up in the weeds, just fish and some old lures that were lost in that sea and a few solid notes of a song I once wrote that never left my throat because the rhythm was broke and it made no sense to sing it out on that deck because why would I sing to someone gone deaf?
Track Name: 7.4.16
i could make
all the beautiful
things in the world
and it wouldn't
make me any
more like them.

my mouth can speak
pretty poems but
my lips wouldn't be
any more kissable
or my heart any
more loveable.

my eyes can see all
of the twinkling world
and stars but
there's nothing in me
to see like that

and as much as
i want to be held
just once
the way i've held
you in my thoughts—
tenderly, gently, with
soft ideas and
fantastical hope—
i can't see why
anyone would want to.

i'm just the looking glass
into small pockets
of shiny wonder in the world
and no one wants
to love something
that offers nothing
but a glance
when they could have
the things of beauty
Track Name: three days
it’s been three days now
since i last spoke to you
with our skin tingling ice and your
lips dyed blue.

and when you told me those things
so coloured and deep
i didn’t know how i could
not let you seep
into my head and my room
and my skin underlining,
as you pushed your way through
cracking spine, intertwining.

and when you appear in my mind,
you exist in dim red lighting,
in wavering seconds and
lines almost biting
the corners
of my ears repeating soft sounds,
the silhouettes of past laughter
so inky and round.
Track Name: contemnor
i'm giving weightless
reasons to
come undone

i've been
awake for days,
over heaven in the sea
of all things

four hands
a branch
of new faith

for the beauty
in that
which she creates
brings cancelled thoughts
of my restraint

this must end

let lay
my heart
on cathedral floors,
steer leopards' gaze
to loves unborn

your stroke delays,
the hour
Track Name: delicate?
China doll
hot house lily
I ‘spose I was
a skittish filly
Not so anymore
No longer demure
Through circumstance
I’ve learned to dance
like no one's watching me
Because now
if you are
I’ll poke your
friggin’ eye out. :)
Track Name: kill me slow
Irradiate my soul
A furnace without coal
Oh, kill me slow

The darkest cloak
Covers the deepest hole
Oh, kill me slow

You stole the show
With those words you wrote
Oh, you killed me slow
Track Name: tide
as a storm or an ocean,
I know you loved me
as much as you were able to
in your single bed

and I think I still -

a little bit,

enough to make my hand
tremble when it
passes yours.

for the first time in this
time zone,
you let your fingers
explore my palms
(something my leery life lines
have been missing for a trillion months,
at least)

I slowly move my legs
closer to yours
under a painted disguise;
I slowly move my legs,
but they've grown less determined,
more shy.

and even in the Carling,
I can't find the taste of
your dry lips anymore.
and I wonder if I should
be reminded or not.
Track Name: tapestry
you were a tapestry
patterns of colours and wisdom
and light
then the shadows came
sunset slow
relentless and cruel
i watched you
fray and disintegrate
like old lace
i missed you
when you were still
Track Name: tomorrow
I'll quit smoking
I'll start my diet
I'll save some money

I'll pay my bills
Clean my house
Do my laundry

I'll stop drinking
Find a job
Finnish school

I'll stand up
Speak out
Leave him
Start over
Do better

Track Name: suddenly i am
I am,
where the music plays
and the future is now,
where my tears can take shapes
and everything is allowed.
Where real love proves itself,
in a moment, somehow,
while this music keeps playing
while my heart laughs out loud.
Track Name: here
i could lie here
sink into this mattress
'til my skin has turned to cotton
and my bones are tempered steel
coiled and twisted inner springs
aching, creaking, writhing things
bending, crushed beneath the weight
stretched empty once it's gone

i could lie here
i might cry here
scream out "why" here
i'll just lie here

i could lie here
breathe and sigh here
say good-bye here
i think i'll die here

i could lie here
Track Name: ex
after we had been
driving in your car and
after I had said
what I said about music
and people,
after you had laughed and
after I had
changed the song,

we ran out of petrol.

you were angry,
cursing the car and
cursing me

I was sat in the snow,
I felt like I was three
again, back in my parents' house,
I tried not to listen.

then the petrol arrived and
you drove us back home.
Track Name: the essential portion
this is the fine line
behind trial
told not to
because it will burn
into precious pain

that pain complex
and unique in evolution
forward forever

what is the
reason fear sin?

born of consciousness
conduit of the first
that essential portion
creates in turn
burning the lines
Track Name: i could stare all day
I could stare at you all day.
Is that strange?
To want to stay and worship your body
Until the sun goes down?
If it is, then I don't care.
I'll be the strangest man there ever was
If it means my lips will be blessed by your skin.
Track Name: youth/freefalling
i know every word
in every chapter,

can recite every song
and present you all
your saints by name;

i can call everything to fire
that isn't you, isn't us,
but i'll never meet

the needs of your alter,
will never be a thing

you can save by owning.

You pushed
and I pulled,
But when you let up
I fell back.
Past a thousand windows
With a thousand faces pressed against them,
All making bets on when I'd hit the ground.
Track Name: never enough time
somedays i wish for time to slow down
drinking sweet tea in clean clothes
with your mellow singing
wafting in from the kitchen
the hailstones hit the windows
and i have so much to do today
but if i could just find a way
(i squeeze my eyes shut)
to slow down
(i wish and wish)
we could just stay here
in our cocoon
and bask.

the second hand
ticks on

Track Name: homesick
Cloudy, hazy skies swallow the land
As the gentle sea breeze
Slowly drifts me back-and-forth
Carrying me further away from the shore

I can't sleep
Knowing you're all alone

Searching, waiting
Hoping, praying
To find you out here
So I can bring you back home
Track Name: 13.4.16
i feel too old,
like everything
has set its way
in my life now,

and that if, by now,
no one has glanced
my way and felt
their heart pull them

into a double take

then i won't be
turning any heads
for the next two
decades either.
Track Name: antique lunatic romanticism
Blood moon, blue moon, chance in a century, fated meeting
Rabbit, goddess, weaver, and crab, desired meeting
Craters on the moon, shadows on the moon,
Desert on the moon, ocean on the moon
Hermit of the moon, goddess of the moon,
Brother of the moon, alien of the moon
Clan of recluses in solidarity!

Lassos and mirrors, capture of the pearl, desired meeting
Great ships and fireworks, on a barren desert, fated meeting
Moon in the mirror, moon in the sea
Moon in the darkness, moon in the eyes
Moon in your card, moon in your hand
Moon in your dreams, moon in your life
Conceived spirit of inorganism!

Howling into the moon, serenading for the moon
Nightmares and dreams actualized!
Paint the moon in blood red, paint the moon in cerulean ice
Demonic and romantic actualized!
What the sun denied me, actualized!

Let the lurking scorpions carry on,
Let us guide the river into the heavens,
Let the fires become waters of Aquarius,
Let us build a ship out of coppers and irons,
Let us strip the world of its entropy and gravity,
Light up the fuse, and let us count to ONE!
Track Name: alright these days
it's fine these days
doing fine these days
mind the weighted gaze
make eyes at the carpet
like i had a good thought
like i've smiled in the last
six subplots guest spots
gift certificates available
for the price of gift for
the price of free now
act now limited time gift
for the price of the price of
gift get out get free for the
price of a certificate detailing
in swooping ballpoint the
time and date of death free
for the price of a life plot
wasted in a planted pot
Track Name: you and me?
Thank you for the time
when you gave me your love


I really appreciate it
and would like to pay it back

not broken

Everything I have
I want to share with you


When the time is right
I'll drop by, but maybe all I'm doing is

Track Name: marker
There are parts of me you made with markers
Others we tattooed together,
And others done on us by everyone around us.
Some seared in as brands by the lives we were born in,
others tattooed by friends and strangers as we lived those lives with them.
Some made out of pencil by the lies we told ourselves
and others made out of iron by the truth we made ourselves.
And I want it all indelible, every bit of ink or ash that you've left on me,
But I worry that even the most staining ink
Will only stand as well to time
As Sharpie on the surface of the sun
and not even the industrial kind.

So every day I reink outline
Hoping it'll last a little more long.
Track Name: mikado pt. iii
Maybe we were born with the wrong shoes on
Or maybe the bitter taste was always this way
But it's okay that we wander different paths
Because no ordained priests gave us a map that day
To the willows and the deer that drift with us
Into the abyss which stares right back
We'd known peace for so many days
It's no surprise that the sky turned black
I should have buried you and me too deep
To ever be recovered by my hands
But instead I wrapped you up in cloth
Laid you softly amongst these lands
Not forgotten but maybe misplaced
If I ever needed to love you again someday
I should have never let you know
There was a fever in these bones
You're not my medicine
You're not a fragile, little throne
You're you and I'm me and that's all we'll ever be
Until the breakers and waves wash us into the sea
I'm so sorry I loved you, and I'm sorry I failed
To see you as something more than a fairytale
Which you are and have become
More now than before
When I'd seen you in yellow
When you'd opened the door
Now the path is clear of all the traps and the debris
I think all I want is for you to be happy and free
I think all I want is the right shoes on my feet
Track Name: if you feel alone
If you feel bound,‭
it's because I left my arms around you.

If you feel haunted,‭
it's because I left you my voice.

If your heart is heavy,‭
it's because I wrapped it with mine.

If you feel alone,‭
it's because you don't know you are loved.
Track Name: questioning
Be cautious in your asking, Love
Be careful and be wise
You never know what you'll find
Or who is in disguise

The black birds on the windowsill
May be Odin's Ravens
The endless cave in the cliff
May be the safest haven

The steam rising from the alley
In billowing white plumes
Is the breath of many dragons
Dreaming in their tomb

The old man sitting on a park bench
Feeding all the birds
Is an ancient, scheming wizard
Who doesn't want disturbed.

The lady at the coffee shop
Writing in her journal
Is crafting charms to ease her life
Don't mistake her as maternal

Look around you as you wander, Love
Make sure you see what is there
Always know what surrounds you
See that magic's everywhere.
Track Name: lapis lazuli
Glistening a year, a year,
Sleeping in the singing bird.
Lying deep in the pale furnace,
Do you wish these hands'd go away?

You are neither a sparkling gem,
Nor are you a shining star.
Do tell me, what's to love?
Fa li la, what's to love?
Lazuli, lazuli, shimmering in flame.

Glistening a year, a year.
Embraced by the heavenly pyre.
Alive at the price of your flesh,
Do you still feel the searing pain?

You carry the color of the sea,
But you are crude, like the looming storm.
Do tell me, what's to love?
Fa li la, what's to love?
Lazuli, lazuli, shimmering and fades.

Glistening a year, a year,
Beneath the glowing moonlight.
Borrow light from borrowed light,
Without, are you but ashen gray?

You remind me a tale long ago,
of a small star damned by the sun.
Didst he desire love
Before his heart locked away?
Lazuli, lazuli, frozen while you're free.

Glistening a year, a year,
Toyed again, again in my hand.
In time before it becomes cold,
Would you carry my flame in thee?

You are neither a sparkling gem,
Nor are you a shining star.
Do tell me, what's to love?
In my hand, what's to love?
Lazuli, lazuli, who are you, really?
Track Name: hello
you’re a little ache
between my teeth

a tuesday in socks and
old band t-shirts

and a bad reality show
bleeding away

in the background.
i didn’t know there was

any room for you, but here
you are, a beautiful rupture

putting glasses of water
in my hands and remaking

my afternoons.
Track Name: thaw
ours was a winter's love
frozen in time
bodies clinging
bundled tight
stronger together
creating our own warmth
and then the spring came
and with it a thaw
prying us apart
convincing us
we would be fine
on our own
in the warmth
we thought of winter
but could only remember
the cold
so we shed our layers
and each other
and wondered what
summer would bring