A Path Between

by Jacob Miller

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released April 27, 2015

All songs written and performed by Jacob Miller.
Sweet harmonies provided by Berenice Tompkins.
Thanks to KDIC and Freesound for use of recording equipment and a sweet tambourine.
Thanks to The Additional Six for some help with creating the album art.



all rights reserved


Jacob Miller Grinnell, Iowa

slow music for slow feelings


page artwork by destini powell

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Track Name: Shaper
Spent sixteen months, breaking stone,
I swung til it was gone;
said goodbye to passing luck
I think I'll make it on my own.

Spent six years making love
to a shadow shaped like sorrow,
so now I must admit
that was a path I chose

Follow light 'til it sets,
fall asleep, train going west;
learn to fix my own mind,
learn to shape the world by seeing.

Make the right shape for an empty space,
fill the silence, feel the changing;
I learn to take the blade in hand
and ask the earth for something better.

I learn at last to shape the stone,
now I take the chisel to my quiet, waiting bones.
Track Name: Myth
I stole an old map from my brother's hands,
stumbled towards the Rockies in the dark.
Our daddy came looking for me with the gun
that he kept for hunting the stars
I hid out in the cornfield, my pockets full of bread,
headed west when I saw the moon rise.
The land was a promise broken, but the sky was so open
the dark cloud could never lie.

By day I am riding a train going west, with a silver dollar and an open hand;
at night I swim in the water, searching for the current of the river that made me what I am.

They said the west never ended, but I found that it stopped,
I could see it from the top of a rise;
There were bodies in the weeds, blood on the stones,
the ocean nearly took my sight.
It's a spoiled old fable, a conqueror's tale
that murder can make you live again;
I turned my back on the west, turn my back on the east,
closed my eyes and headed home again.

By day I am riding a train going nowhere with empty pockets and empty hand;
at night I swim in the water, searching for current of the dirty river 'made me what I am.
Track Name: Marble Beach, July
It's not a way, it's just a game, a half truth, a cheap lay
and it comes with a kiss and a smile.

It's not a way to get better, just an absent forgetting
chasing down the bile with a sigh,

so I know it must be summer,
because I dream without sleep,
find my tongue in a stranger's teeth.
Oh, I know it must be summer,
from my childlike thoughts,
from the sand that I find in my sheets.

Oh I remember the way that the sun played its light
as the days got longer again;

I was still broke but for that desperate hope
that we had to destroy in the end.

I got confused about the truth,
so I went home to cast rocks at the sea,

but the tide never stopped, I fell down and forgot
who I was supposed to have been.

Still, I know it must be summer
because we're gambling with heat,
because I'm far from where I want to be.
I know it must be summer
because the sky is a poem
and I'm rising from my sunburnt knees.
Track Name: Praise for Arms
Won't you hold me just a little longer?
I don't need you to keep getting better,
but it doesn't hurt at all.

We keep falling out of bed and still we
praise these bodies, praise our heads
and all that comes between us.

One more year spent in this sleeping city,
I'm more like the person that I want to be
and I don't mean not to change,
but I want to stay this way,
in a state of grace.

I thought hope was your blue-veined arms,
but now I see hope is just a heart
unclenching like a fist,
turning back into a hand.

You said, every day we're something more;
I think to hope is to become transformed,
to turn back into sky
and it doesn't hurt at all.
Track Name: Circumstance
You're waiting home in Jackson where the crows can see their breath,
darkness creeping along the old pine ridge, and I know I'm not back yet
but something gets inside me when the first notes of frost,
glimmering through blades of sour grass, pressed in earth downy soft,
appear like jeweled daggers pressed against the window pane
and so I reach for the handle of the road until it's all that remains.

I know the year lies like a stone on your chest
and you're waiting for me to come in
but I've got to stand in this cold station line;
without enough for myself, I can't give.
Track Name: New Year
When all you seek is the ocean,
rushing back towards green water,
when all you seek is the open,
now you're free, what comes after?

With a new year against the shoals,
keep working on stability.
Find someplace warmer to go,
start to build something again.

It's time to leave the city
with my dad's old jar of warrior paint;
bright blue streaks across my cheekbones
I travel alone but not afraid.

With a new year against the shoals,
and the future breaking out into the open,
I leave the cities of the past
to be swallowed up by the ocean.
Track Name: Still I Wish
Mud now turned to blood marks on your blue jeans,
waters veins and rivers carved in paper sleeves.
Worry stones all worn out by your thumbs,
as you wove another riddle out of dusk.

In that year when our greatest gift was trust,
long rides home, our lives ribbons in the dust.
You used to let me sleep in your car,
so I thought of creation as a function of the heart.

We were friends until I thought that we were brothers,
we thought we were dying all that long burning summer.
Then you left, you thought destruction looked like art
and me, I filled my brain with cartoon stars

They knew you from the patches on your blue jeans,
It wasn't beautiful, it wasn't poetry.
Now I've learned to tell hearts from artifice,
would that yours was beating, still I wish.
Track Name: Lessons
The rain, it came today to spread gray light,
and the storm rolling towards Denver closed the sky.

Still the clouds come rolling in to crowd my sight
and the cruel thoughts of tomorrow hang heavy on my mind.

The living chase their shadows and the dead stay dry,
and your voice on the radio still seems to make me cry,

So I'll forget all I have known of city lights,
but I won't ever let trouble pass me by.

Though absence paints the future a vacant, starless dark,
there is still time to learn, to conquer fear with art.

So when I walk to the pond, skipping stones
let me sing to mind these days that end alone.

Let the silence in my heart make me blind,
and let time in its way mend my sight.
Track Name: Luck
All my passing luck, it just drained away;
it fell from my body like bronze,
but I'm just a ribbon in the cold green water
I don't know what side I am on.

I'll stop looking for mountains in the sand,
leave the moles to their lonesome hill.
I can't turn time to an easier answer,
so I'll hold that year under water 'til it stills.

Still, change has to come, boy, you can't stay the same
got to drive yourself down through the waves:

When you're splintered on the rocks, you grow some damn legs
and you walk, and you walk away.

When trouble has found me, I'll stagger towards grace
until it turns down the road again.
All that I've lost returns through symmetry:
the story begins as it ends.

A good creature survives to carry on forwards
on a path between safety and doom,
So now that we stand in this opening glance,
our own paths we finally choose.

All my passing luck, it just slipped away,
it fell from my body like bronze
there, in the moment that I did not need,
I realized then it was gone.
Track Name: Great Lakes
Lake Erie took me back after I'd taken off my clothes:
forty years to get here from the sunburnt western coast.
The sky turns the water white as a cold glass of milk.
I'm the sum of glaciation, I'm a moraine left to still,

and way out, clouds break:
our lives in water, pragmatic lakes.

Sediment of memory, turning broken bottle past,
but with my face towards the sky, there's no way to look back,
though I try to turn across the tide towards the years
the endless rush of time, what I have given to be here.

A ripple in the water as a big fish passes by,
my hair looks gray in a certain light, my body looks like sky.
I've got dreams of getting well, redemption fantasies
but there is no real sickness left in me,
just a broken need to be saved
from what I couldn't say,
but the sins of my age.

Way out, clouds break:
we don't look we're changing, but we don't stay the same.

Wind and gulls and cormorants, diesel trailing fishing ships,
through the vacant light of eyes, the whole world rushes in.
I am water, I am ink, I am blood upon the page;
I am the pen learning to write its own true name.
Track Name: Landlocked
The last time I saw the ocean,

it was a cold, windy day,
in a wasted summer.

What it meant to me then
was a question, not worth asking

but I'd spent my whole life
trying to put my lips around it.

What it means to me know,
is the erasure of time,
the mutable center
of what we push towards.

What I am certain of now,
the tide will not leave us strangers
to the lives we've grown to
and though we change without pause
I am certain now,
I am more than I was.