Death & Danger

by Juniper Ginger

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Recorded in my attic in Portland, ME in April/May 2017


released May 9, 2017

Duane Asdourian: harmonica on "Cut You In Half"
Alex Millan: all else
and Nikhil let me borrow his guitar


all rights reserved



Juniper Ginger Portland, Maine

Juniper Ginger is the solo project of Portland, Maine songwriter Alex Millan. Her songs are mostly honest stories about the people and places she encounters. When heard live, sparse accompaniment invites listeners to get lost in the poetry. Juniper Ginger's debut album I Saw The Wreckage was released in November 2016. ... more

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Track Name: Just Words
I take my coffee and the paper
I write my scriptures sat in silence
Earmark apologies for later
Send out a prayer someone might buy it

I leave the house some early mornings
Return a weaker, weathered shell
Cast from a home I cultivated with a calloused sense of purpose
Recall the time spent, not spent well

So when you come looking for answers I will state
My heart is not an island but I’ll keep your ship’s men safe
My arms are not a harbor but I’ll wrap you all around
In the warmest waters that I’ve found

The bigger picture writes me daily
But never answers when I call
A kaleidoscope perspective that’s not broken or defective
Says I’m someone, not nothing after all

So if someday we make a meaning out of this
If we string together memories of the moments that we miss
Recreating lessons that we've gathered on the way
You’ll be my favorite game to play

Some nights I drive right past my exit
And find a neighborhood I knew
The nights felt longer when I lived there
I know they must still feel long for you

You’re not inspired, just under pressure
You’re looking worse and feel no better
You’re not romantic, just romanticizing illness
One that killed off the better men we’ve known

So when you gaze up at my shadow, rest assured
I cannot tell you what you got sent to this bar or planet for
This isn’t something that will transcend or endure
It’s just words, and words are all I’ll ever say
Track Name: Lancaster & Pearl
The sun lays low above a northern parking lot
A backlit glow of shifting silhouettes reveals a trade
A get well card, some flowers for his mother
A good luck thumbs up, ready, steady, don’t break
When he boards the bus and shorts the fare
The driver says, “Son, wishing won’t get you anywhere”

As the twilight sets in heavy, he considers
All the times he must have missed the easy way
The solstice marks a decades-long erosion of his spirit
At the center of this longest shortest day

So lift yourself and shout into the mirror
Do it for all the times you thought you never could
Personify your fears
And forgive them for they know not what they’re doing here
Illuminate the path
Allow a shrinking light to guide you back

You’re catapulting secrets from a barstool
Shrouded in a language that you’ve only just made up
A stranger’s shaky hand is little comfort
But it’s an open door to manifest some good luck

"They only think we’re someone if we’re something
They say it’s all game over once you’re dead
The history books will never name our families or our lovers
But it’s not over, no, it’s not done until we say it is"
Track Name: Haunted
I drove down in the morning
My lazy eye couldn’t shake you
My lazy mind didn’t wake you
So you slipped away in your sleep
Alone now with the image
That shatters when I touch it
All blood stains on the sheet set
That wraps up my bed still

Depart Maine on a sharp breeze
Down state lines like a trapeze
The blood rush bees are buzzing
The high wears off
Dope sick of the retracting
It's my kingdom, thanks for asking
Empty throne room, empty glasses
To survey, and then decree: we are alone

My haunt is feeling haunted
All you specters don't belong but
The bar keeps moral bars low
A ghost calls one name
To fake nerves, wield a grand staff
And fuck us all with words that
Assure us of their importance
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

You'll get all that you're owed in time
Gospel spread like a wildfire
But you’re nobody’s savior
My god’s work is much greater
I'm not alone

My haunt is feeling haunted
All you specters don't belong but
The bar keeps moral bars low
A ghost called my name first
Track Name: When I Get Writing
When I get home from this long week of work
I won’t hold my breath about changing the world
I can’t mince my words or make peace anymore
I just smile and say have a nice weekend

The rules here keep changing and I can’t keep up
I left here at dawn with my jacket zipped up
Returned in the summer with heavier bags
And the weight of burying dad

When I get drinking I’ll say I deserve
An audience hung onto my every word
A swelling string section to echo the phrase
That gets stuck in their heads for days

But when I get writing, well, those words sound less smart
So what would it take to trade my good health for art?
I know how it feels to patch up that hole
So let’s shake on it some other time
Who’s ever ready to die?
Track Name: What Shall Be Done
What shall be done with that crack in the wall?
The scuffs on the hardwood, the fuses burnt out?
The bed left unmade one early spring morning
And never slept well in again?

What shall be done with a heart left behind?
When there’s jobs to return to and planes still to fly
There's a piece in the ground, there's a piece in my house
There's a piece of my own missing now
But if it’s not for me, it’s not for anybody

Some days I feel powerful, gentle and wise
Open, infallible, as if I'm perched on some kind of ledge
And I would jump into the ocean for you one more time

Some days I can’t conjure anything kind
Spinning my wheels in the dirt, kicking up mud behind me
Onto anything I might have looked back on with esteem
But if it’s not right for me, it’s not for anybody

What shall be done with that crack in the wall?
The scuffs on the hardwood, the fuses burnt out?
The bed I climb into at night and say, “You can still leave”
But you won’t, if I mean it or I don’t
I could leave, but I won’t, where the hell would I go?
If you invite me to stay I'll build us a home
Invite me to stay and I’ll build us a home
Track Name: Cut You In Half
I cut you in half and counted the rings
You spit smoke and mirrors and started to bleed
You were cracked right down a fault line
Still refused to show your age then

Not quite adult, not quite seventeen
You leaned on my shoulder and started to sing
We were only little kids
How could I not have felt like a child then?
How we lived in the dark
How we let life carry off the spark

On an old city bus, heavy limbs laid askew
Floating out of the present, throwing faces at you
And you volleyed each one back
How could I not have known you’d get stuck like that?
This is grief, this is guilt
This is feelings being felt too late

I cut you in half and counted the rings
You spit smoke and mirrors and started to bleed
You were cracked right down a fault line
How could I not have felt like a child then?
Track Name: Snug City Blues
If I ever need to be quickly horrified
I just imagine my father's face right before he died
You can spend entire weekends counting breaths
But you never know the last one until after there's none left
And if I ever ache to feel less alone
I just pretend that this house that I hate is a home
Where I pay no man to contract my existence
Divided monthly, cause that ain't living

Rachel from the bar says I’m good
So why don't I feel good?
Michelle from next door comes by for quarters
Calls me an asshole
I'll buy my drinks from her for the rest of the night
And probably the rest of my life

If I ever dreamed of leaving this old town
I’d probably never find a reason quite as good as hanging around
Cause there's nowhere to escape the blooming history
I was never convinced when they said that they missed me
So if I ever ache to feel less alone
I just remember my life before your heart made a home
In the caverns of my blood, skin, and bones

Rachel from the bar says I'm good
But tonight, I don't feel good
An old Asian woman gestures for a light
I say alright, and then I go upstairs

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