The Strange but True Journey of Rikki Casino

by Downrange Telemetrics

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credits

released July 25, 2014

Words/Reading - Becca Barniskis
Music - Nick Jaffe
Produced by Becca Barniskis and Nick Jaffe.
Performed and recorded by Nick Jaffe and Becca Barniskis.
Images by Nick Jaffe.

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about

Downrange Telemetrics Saint Paul, Minnesota

Downrange Telemetrics is poet Becca Barniskis guitarist Nick Jaffe, and bass/cello player Anthony Cox

"Downrange" describes the horizontal distance of a rocket's travel from its launch site.

"Telemetrics" describes the transmission of raw sensor data from a vehicle or a test subject, to a ground or control facility where it is interpreted
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Track Name: The Thrill of It
The Thrill of It

All the living done
in one day
One sun at the start,
another at the end
sinking down deep
into glassine waters.
Wet ink lit from within.
Wet streets hold light
in the pavement shining
near the tunnel near the end
and eight questions
each one separate
on a string blinking on
and off all night.
Track Name: Box to Glove
box to glove; big to love

upholster this hand
in ten-fold velvet
crush the small
jewel-shaped creatures
into awkward typeface
make the words recede
like the lonely look
caught in an eye
scanning the sky
for one more slash
of color before night
falls over the city
so completely even
the lights inside
the seams holding
entire blocks together
hide as the sound of a dog
a child a crow becomes a minor
hook in the ear
an illegible scrawl
covering in ornate pattern
a curtain at the window
a heart embossed in gold
a mind in thrall
to its latest
most lavish love
Track Name: Akron
Akron

You are pressed into the pavement
searching for steel thumbprints
hidden under the bridge a bird
flattens itself against the sky
is wilder and whiter
look at the brown water flowing beneath
the road its smooth blankness
curving away towards fire
towards stone towards the making
that makes the city live
from year to year you take the long trip
towards what you don’t know
what you wish you could
even the words are stacking up
in my mouth the jokes have died on arrival
but give me another
chance or a child
like the one who turns and runs
legs already vanishing around the corner
at the end of the block a tree loosens itself
in the wind the wet driveways slicken with leaves
in the cold rain smell
one’s thoughts can suddenly shift
Track Name: Portrait
Portrait

She is always 4 years old,
clad in tights, in red,
not real but running away.
The glass bubble grows,
and the barrier between
that world and this bursts
in one held breath
suddenly let go.
Too much air at once,
too much love can stop you
from ever returning
to this exact location.

One bird abandoned
on a branch allows
its small still silhouette
to punctuate
the deepening orange sky
a half moment longer.
Track Name: Death is Stupid
Death is stupid

but true and continuous
leaves and sticks swept away
in cold gray gratuitous wind
the stoop left bare

it breathes second chance
idiocy though fresh cut keyholes
have a little mercy please etc. etc.
exhaled in cold syllables

in argument it wins often
enough to seem invincible
grooved granite blank looks
visible above the frozen waves

some kitchens contain clean-faced
clocks to drown time in minute detail
the light goes on and off with a flick
and you are left in the dark

wondering why some hide
knives in the drawer or keep
a gold watch ticking so constant
it’s useless to look away
Track Name: Crows
Crows

flank the roof
cloud in and out
and around
make a black feathered coil
of sound unrolling
falling toward the ground
too harsh a noise
too much warning
all at once

your smallness
will be conquered
each bright thing you love
abandoned to a restless eye
and wing ascending
upwards where you see
fully the same sky
that holds you fast
to this planet
Track Name: Walking the Wing
Walking the Wing

Stepping out into wind
into air
the step that is nothing there
but a gentle lurch in the gut.
You have not seen anything yet
but you will, while you fall,
soft plunge towards cloud,
the whole sky will blur bluish white
in increasing plummet.

In full descent the wind picks up
speed, your limbs whistle,
your mind detaches from its skull,
and as you travel in the space between
this body and the next
you become who you always dreamed—
a self you meant to be,
a body quite celestial.

Track Name: Under the Sea
Under the sea

your mouth swells with baleen.
You suck in streams of creatures
riding the foam.
You become the echo chamber
inside you, your chest turns hollow,
a chapel of bone arching above
the dull roar and music of the interior
where the sea turns to glass,
where the light changes when the sky
shifts from green to gray,
when you turn the page
and sigh your love shifts
and the wall holding back
the night, your thoughts, your fear
becomes soft, transparent, quivers
like aspic, a delicate barricade
against whatever is coming next
Track Name: Heart on Its Own
Heart On Its Own

Each note has been written
in such a way that it chases its own sound
across the miles
of delicate circuitry
wired to perform at maximum efficiency.

One echo is much like the other.
One muscle is always stronger
than another.
The rhythm requires absolute allegiance
to the song of the mind at rest.

A mechanical body can cross over
and disappear inside the cracks
in the wall ever widening.
Out comes filigreed wings to cloud the air,
your throat, stop mine—

In the wind in autumn
leaves might try to spell a message on the sidewalk.
I thought I heard you say you were leaving
but it turns out the only one here
is me.
Track Name: #217
#217

how you left
how I manage now
the threads left untied in between
wires trailing from an open socket in a half empty apartment
old carpet dented by missing furniture
outlines of the posters you ripped down
tape scraps and pencil marks still on the walls

where you kept the remote
where you hid those days
I was here the whole time I did not ever hear
you come back to rummage in the fridge’s yellow slab of light
the counter filled with empties
the cupboards a dark box of dust
fingerprinted, soiled, evidence of habitat

why I’m still here
why my chest fills with the mixed smells
of others’ lives drifting down the corridors waiting to get started
and the overwhelming sense that somewhere you are out there
leading a spacious, modern one-bedroom life
in a complex unlike this one where daily I hook
my hand on the door jamb still splintered where you slammed it  
Track Name: Dark Country Song
Dark Country Song

Get behind the wheel and drive.
The dash says dark,
and the windshield reflects ghosts
and the rear-view mirror holds my life
inside its narrow frame.

Up to this point
the horizon was abstract,
a line drawn to separate the light
from the earth.
The place I see right now
in my head is not located
on any map
but I can picture your heart
and mine traveling
down roads that intersect
just ahead.