by Catthumbs

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CW: Violence, violence against trans individuals, gender dysphoria, abuse, self harm.

This fall, Jesse Morales and I got together to combine my words and his music into a surreal mythology centering around the patch of town and forest in Stroudsburg Pennsylvania surrounding the Analomink creek. This is also my way of coming out as non binary (they/them) and coming out about a hundred other traits, experiences and emotions.

Short summaries of my interpretation of the plot are included in the 'about' section of each track, but if you would find more specifics inhibitive to your imagination, I totally encourage ignoring those summaries. Whichever way you choose to engage in this thing I made, I'm honored that you're doing so and I hope the experience is meaningful to you.


released December 29, 2014

Cody Burawski- Poetry and vocals
Jesse Morales- Music and vocals

Salve a cover of a song by Cud Eastbound, the origional (which is beautiful and highly recommended) can be found at
The song in the background of Travelers in a City with No Atlas is us covering Broadripple is Burning by Margot and the Nuclear So And So's.

Also Jesse's solo music can be found at



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Catthumbs Providence, Rhode Island

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Track Name: Prologue
Yes, I'm talking to you
There is something in that forest leaking magic all over this place.
You'd have to be blind not to feel it rumbling up through the soles of your feet,
Your car keys shivering in your fingers
The ferns on the levee just laughin at man
for thinkin he could build a machine fast enough he could use it to hide from the moon
Somewhere in your guts you remember what it's like to spit out an appleseed and watch it grow into something
I think
I think, at least,
That some piece of you was there when they tried to dam the river
Saw the moonlight standin in front of the foxes den on the banks
Saw the lawman try to drag 'em away,
Done worse when they came out bitin and scratchin,
Saw 'em run into the trees
Say they made a bargain to keep the water running
Went to old gods and gave 'em their voice,
Their long legs and their fingers and their lips,
Walked out of those woods with four paws and fur and no way to tell nobody
Just teeth for bitin and claws for scratchin
And a jittery yip of a howl,
I see you reaching for your phone,
So you don't have to look in my eyes
Or smell the maple sap on the wind
Don't have to remember that you were once a junglegym made of roots that knew how to spit.
You dig your nails into those car keys,
Take comfort in pretending you built a machine fast enough to hide from the moon
The sun's setting earlier and earlier
And they're listening
Track Name: Act I- Here
It's about water
It's about stepping in with your shoes on
The smell of old beginnings
The taste of submergence
The acknowledgement of movement
Walk to the middle with your feet grounded
And see your clothes billow in the current
Understand that we are travelling faster than we know
Accumulating and letting go in bucketloads
At every moment you are greeted and abandoned by new molecules you have never met before
This is natural
This is the rhythm of breath
And the silence of light
To paint a river perfectly artists have to stare at the water for years stripping away all preconcieved notions of how their eyes work
To understand the tumbling magic of green and copper and gray
To recognize that we have never been able to see anything but mirrors
And that the colors are bouncing to and from every surface in a fluid embrace of acceptance and rejection
A flower that is orange and a flower that is blue simply love sunshine in different ways
A rose by any other molecular structure
Is still made of crushed dinosaur bones and stardust
And we will never lose this.
Keep in mind that as you walk into the river
Holding your shape like a lover
Laughter is the act of remembering every time you were not solid
And letting your voicebox explore every form of soundwave
Until you are also a song
You are also a song.
You are everything you have thought yourself.
You are everything else.
Track Name: Dumpster Nest
She was the first one to get my gender right
Told me I was
Some kinda riverskip bellylaugh or something,
With maybe a bit of howl tucked away in the radioscratch bargain bin feralkitten squeak?
She had eyes like World War II era stethoscopes
Heard my heartbeat for every chipstutter leafcrackle sin and called me friend
We were eighteen but nobody ever took her to the DMV
So I bought her cigarettes with the shiniest bottlecaps I could find
While she sat in the grass junkyard behind the gas station
Drawing pictures of the things I saw with my eyes closed
I wasn't good at walking with two legs
She wasn't good at walking without singing the blues
We were the clumsiest musical
Silent as nobody's business
We dumpstered silk flowers from the craft store
Like just another coven of critters from the woods
Picking everything that looked like our dizzy old animal gods off the town like wild blueberries to weave into our nest
It wasn't our natural environment
But like rats found the city and squirrels found the suburbs
we got cozy
We made our home on the island where the river parts under the 7th street bridge
Our house was magic
A hundred feet tall
Winged and hydrated and echoing like a singing bowl
Glittery as snowfall wrapped in tinfoil moonshadow
With serpentine minarets
That tickled the underside of the highway
So whenever cars passed and rumbled our ceiling
Our ceiling rumbled them back
We were so proud to be the monsters under their bed
We picked every piece of broken glass from the riverside
And hung them from the rafters so at breakfast the traffic from the morning commute would sound like a hundred windchime bats settling in to sleep
It was just like how my lungs felt that spring
Every room was a ballroom with discarded cigarette floors and mini mart slushie cup trees all heavy with apple thoughts and apple jacks and apple cores and apple ghosts and apple mythologies stolen or otherwise
It was a crashpad for meteorite people
And we were the kings of infinite space
Our bed was a shopping cart full of feathers
We'd walked here over the water
Or pretended to
Our boots filled up and the wheels rusted shut like an eye infection on a pit bull in a Beatles song
But we believed ourselves
When we woke up with goose down stuck to our skin
We liked to pretend
We'd flown somewhere
Track Name: Travelers in a City with No Atlas
We were dumb kids
Playing a game with high stakes
Cradling our punk rock anomie to our hearts
Like lonely together was the one thing that was honest
Like sisterhood requires binds of sacrifice
Like we were a pair of exploding stars
Chewing cattle spurs for bubblegum
So when we smiled everyone would see the metal shards shining off our teeth
know we were
Houses of Mirrors lost in Houses of Mirrors
Tattooing ourselves raw with sentiments that always washed off
There was never supposed to be salvation for us
We thought our midnight strolls through the city
Breathing in shadows like hungry paranormal photographers
Could keep our stomachs full
We felt sustainable
"For you, a thousand times over," I said,
As I ran for our dollar store kite that only you had any idea how to fly
We didn't think about it
I really believed that I would eat dirt if you asked me to,
That this time, when the test arose I wouldn't make the same mistakes I had before,
That I would pull the moon from it's anchoring
And panting like a stray dog scratching at the door,
Like a shaking Atlas I'd carry it on my back for a million miles if I had to
I was positive I meant it
But Girl Who Knows the Most About Clouds Dancing,
That night, when that shooting star stretched across the sky before us,
And you said "Don't run for that one."
My heart broke. My eyes flooded my colors drained my spirit fractured but I said,
"I won't."
I tried to laugh away the tail of that comet,
Rinse off my radio's reception by the rhythm of our footfalls
But I wasn't laughing at all when I wove through the forest that very same night,
When the mud of the marshes gripped and tugged at my feet
And my identity got torn up by the fingernails of the branches
Something supernatural, had a hold on me
I wanted to turn back
My street morals,
My stray dog Atlas loyalty
Said nothing could excuse what I was doing
Nothing could excuse what I was giving up
But the glow through the trees of that star,
Wasn't something I could give up
I don't know yet, what degree of a sin this was.
You had a boyfriend, and a different love altogether bottled in your heart,
I didn't want to understand why this one glitter in the cosmos,
My one glitter in the cosmos, mattered to you
But I told you I wouldn't.
And I knew deep down that when my word broke
So would our backbone
So would our streetlight shadow home.
There are no good words for this.
There are no easy answers.
I know now that no matter how many sizes my heart grew
Had I tried to carry the moon to you
My knees would have buckled
My knees have buckled
A thousand times over
I'll do what I can now
But the rain swept away our little shrine under the bridge
The water took everything that wasn't anchored
We cannot furnish these shadows anymore
All we can try for now
Is daylight
Track Name: Act II- Gardens
We wrote stories
In your bedroom
With the power off
The whole house dark
And full of plants
Your hands grew gardens
In my hands

We get older
We get older
We get lighter
We get lighter
We get sick
We get sick
But we get better
We get better

Love me sweet
Like ocean water
Love me bitter
Like wild cranberries
Love me crooked
Like our broken bodies
Love me too warm
Love me just right

If I'm a werewolf
We can be penpals
If you're a werewolf
I'll still stay the night
If you're a flower
I'll bring you water
If I'm a flower
Tuck me in your hair

Track Name: North, Pt. 1
I am matted with evidence of your violence and generosity
When I got singed by the townfolk's tongues
You anointed my skin with miracles from your branches
And when your sunshine burned my eyes with the ability to see all the ghosts in the smokestacks like you do
Those same firebreathers forged my glasses from pieces of their shattered streetlamps
Nobody ever means to hurt each other
They just get so scared of the empty spaces inside themselves
That they start frantically ripping at anything that moves
For some piece of something to stuff into the leaking roofs of their lonely bones

I know the city stole from you.
I'm here in the deluge pouring in from your injured canopy
I'm here with my feet sinking into the soil
My shoes are wearing open in the mud like seed pods
And taking root to tell you
I'm not moving until you listen to me.
Just because a star landed in your arms when they fell to earth
Doesn't mean they're yours
Even if they have your eyes.
You have so many perspectives
Right now you're looking down at me as a squirrel in a treetop
And up as a toad in a puddle
You see through all the insects panoramic
You think you know me
Because you can look at yourself through my lenses
But to you they're treason and to me they're mementos of compassion

You have memories like that, don't you?
My first tattoo is of one of your freckles
It's on my foot because you taught me to untie my shoes
While the boys back home were arguing between cigarette powderkeg flick
And shut up don't think about it
You taught me bloom
When those smokestack hands learned that fearful compulsive consumption reflex
symptomatic of adolescent societies
And I was afraid they'd see me all naked and drunk with moonshine
You hid me from their searchlights,
And didn't treat me like I owed you,
Just sprouted some blueberries, made me a new body,
and asked me how that singing thing that people do,
How does that work?

We found them dizzy in a crater on the first day of summer,
Nestled among the green asking the ferns and clovers their names
I said hello, asked where they came from, maybe asked where I came from too,
Held out my hand and
That photosynthesis thing you showed me way back,
Well, when we first touched
I got a little tipsy from the wonder of making direct physical contact
With a light source brighter than a planet
Their eyelashes fluttered out a flurry of sparklerpaints
And all my pores sprouted daffodils and rainbows
It was kinda weird,
Like, when they tucked a flower behind my ear and kissed me
I could hear all the moonlight twinkles on the river going supernova
They called themselves North
Maybe, like the star but, it was conjecture at best
They had eyes kinda like yours
Like they had the ability to hear the whole universe
Just by taking a moment to notice the trees respiration
And when I rested my ear on their chest
It was like what they tell you conch shells do
How does that work?
Falling in so deep the trees are all whispering lullabies
And everything is green
And honest
And wonderful,
How does that work?
Track Name: North, Pt. 2
The first time North wandered out past the trees
Where the suburbs start pushing up out of your borders
Like nerveless teeth in phantom root canals
A parade of those who feel the holes in their feet from when they stopped mourning you
Shuffled our dearest friend into courthouse square
And stood them up on the front edge of the platform built
For the statue of the soldier with a gun
Looked at them like a savior
Thought they were their holy sun
Those folks didn't realize that just because they're golden
Doesn't make them their golden boy
That not every celestial body is a son
J: "Step right up
And see the messiah fallen from heaven
Here to suffer for our sins
So we don't have to"

I wasn't there,
When that traveler felt for the first time
the last of many things the three of us had in common
Involuntary martyrdom through voicelessness
Mobs that don't know how to listen
Systematically break things without realizing it
My friends the thieves didn't know the difference between loving and stealing
With violent words like "Stay with us" and "We need you"

All the people I had trusted
Called them perfect between coughing parenthesis over every way they wanted to change them
First the grammar
The fibers of their name didn't make sense
If they couldn't be differentiated from the whole of everyone else
They couldn't be called they anymore
If they really didn't want to be called He capitalized they'd have to learn by being called he lowercase
If they didn’t want to be called he lowercase
The only other option was it
Second was their presence
The tall moonshine of their laugh
The thunder of their thought
Those people said they made them feel warmer
so they mortared them into the bricks of their chimneys
With binding glue stolen from the spines of misquoted dictionaries
They were so scared and hungry for the clean air
The ashes of the world they were burning
Fogged up their vision so bad that people started looking like oxygen

I miss them too
But pulling the song from their eyes
And tucking that light deep into your storm
Doesn't make you a savior or a mother
It just makes you another thief
My oldest friend,
Turn your ears away from the din of the tug of war
And listen
They're whispering
Soul and body aren't binary
And when you give yourself a second to breathe
You'll remember there's a human being beneath all the glow and sprout and concrete
There's a human being whispering
I know you're scared for them and you only want to help but
People only ever hurt each other out of fear and
You're becoming more and more human every time you use us as mirrors
It's not yours to decide this
Track Name: River Mist Goodbye Song
I think I came here to remember something, ya know?
I think I wanted to put my face in the grasses on the hillside a lot more often than I did.
My advice would maybe be to not sleep in a house so often.
Maybe my advice would be to build a hollow in your stomach where all the animals can live.
That's something I feel okay about doing.
The doctors told me that according to them, I was broken a little?
That I had some girl magic but, a lot of boy magic too.
They offered me pills.
I didn't want pills.
I wanted to carry ferns and wildflowers in my teeth to the abandoned dam in the woods and thank the stone for crumbling.
I wanted to roll around in the mud and get misquito bites
Kinda like tiny blood sacrifices to mother nature for making me something tricky that I could spend lots of time unfolding.
I almost died of lyme disease my first summer here but,
In the scale of things,
I got bit guiding a lover who's soul had left their body up to the stream to drink and find themselves again.
The moment it must have happened, there were seed pods on my skirt and flushed scratches on my knees, streaks of dew and bits of grass stuck to my legs, like it was all trying to heal me as quick as it hurt me,
The lights on the bridge cast gold shadows on us, and I was singing their soul back into their body, singing up the stream.
Bridges and balloons. The pebbles on the shore getting stuck to my hands as I knelt in prayer and kissed the river with my mouth open.
Holy water ghosting over my eyelashes without glasses on.
Everything happened how it did,
I'm okay.
Track Name: Veteran's Bridge
On October 8th 1799
A few well intentioned friends tugged a story out of me prematurely
Until I gave birth to this town from the mouth of a bicycle entombed in concrete
My legs became the levee and I bled until I didn't know how to stay still anymore
My fever dreams became clouds and flooded the Walmart parking lot at night like the ashes of stars
Like the ashes of my first kiss
I had my eyes open when no one else did
Because I was so depersonalized then
It was before they laid me out on the water table for someone else's subconcious Sunday school notions of ancesteral sin
I woke up in the old graveyard beneath a garland of cigarette smoke tinted with the lipstick of a fracked mountain and everybody's business
The grass was wet against my cheek with river mist
And I stared into the future eye level with your shoes in my footsteps
I told you to run but you were as brave as I was in all the wrong ways
And when I stopped bleeding into that river you opened your wrists to the sidewalk
I tried to save you with my eyes closed
I pressed a pocket watch to your chest
Yelled into your ear in your own voice 'take this and go'
But we didn't know how not to be heroes.
I found myself standing vigil in the current in your absence
It's the only thing I've ever been good at.
Track Name: Hearth
I wasn't the first person to leave
It's not novel
People have been doing it for decades
It has set precedents
None of which resemble accountability
I'm sorry
I carry that accountability up the Delaware on my back to you
It's all I can do
We're not holding the smoking guns
But we were all in some ways machines and therefore in some ways weapons
You told me the only way I could save us from the searchlights
Was to throw our bottles into the river
The shards of shattered trust
Worked their way back through the past
To the scratches on my knees
And the chimes on the ceiling
This is a story hollow as my bones
There's no honor in flying alone
Nobody hears their own mistakes
When the smokestack with the trigger clumsy hands
Pushed me from the branches
And swallowed me into his labyrinth
I realized that he called himself chimney
Called himself safety
Called himself home
Burning everything for fuel under hundred year old logic
That said

Build me a mirror I want to subsist off your adaptation
Of what you call sunshine and I call data
You are warm like the blushing sighs of the ocean at night
I am warm like an overheating computer
If I crash against you enough times
We will make sparks"

It's what they taught him in school
He wanted to be like the movies
He wanted to try cattle brand
He wanted to try stick and poke
I said

"Let me go,
I don't want a tattoo from you
I have a hundred tattoos
My tattoos name is spit
My tattoos name is anchor
My tattoos name is glass elevator
Your name is hunger
I didn't make you
Just because I didn't know how to unravel your anger
Doesn't make me responsible
I am irresponsible
I am a tattoo
I am a hundred
I am because a glass elevator
I am rings of flowers
Spinning into thread on a ferris wheel of
Burning the old songs that kicked in my apron
When I was contracted by birth to sew myself into your bones
You lost a needle in my clothes
And I was so scared to move
I asked everyone I'd ever met to leave the room
While I stripped every last feather from my body to find it
I was alone
When you tried to burn me in the hearth of you but choked on my glasses
I carried you up the Delaware because
All the grownups said
I'd have to rescue everyone if I want to be a real boy
And I'd have to be a real boy
To rescue myself
Don't tell me what the river is made of
Don't ask me where the birds go when it's raining
They come here
To the bridge in my chest
It's the only memory I have left
They huddle together under the storm like
They are not trying to spit fire
They are not trying to catch lightning
They are just trying to stay alive
They are a hundred
They are irresponsible
They are a tattoo
They are because a glass elevator
Like a shopping cart torn open by it's own antlers
And someone else's cigarette powderkeg flick
I am go away
I am shut the door
I am done"
Track Name: The Spell
They, the town that is,
Waited all strewn about your roommate's front porch
Crucifixion on their teeth,
Bellies all rainbarrows of wanting
To know how to sacrifice something worth losing.
Everybody all picking pennies from their shoulderblades
And kissing the serrated edges of stray cat's backbones
Nobody telling each other what they gave to the river that one Sunday
After the bars closed down and the old railroad ghosts went swimmin in their church shoes.
It wasn't my territory anymore
I had a den here when I was nothing but the size of an acorn but
This place doesn't look like it did then
Sometimes I find a damp porch to drag some leaves under and pretend but
Everybody's always stomping here
Always lighting each other on fire
Like it's some kind of carnival game
And if they pull a thing like me shivering from the ashes
All copperwire glowing frayed sizzled up fur
That's just another prize to seal into a song or something
I tried to leave a good letter for you
Something gentle and kind to say
When you come back with all the scars
And raise your arms up trying to teach them
How to get out of a building when the smoke rises
But you don't seem much at all the type for getting out of buildings when there's smoke rising.
I've been layin damp leaves over the cinders
But when that smoldering coalmine decides to light up it's veins here
The river's gonna ask you a broken levee of a question
And you gotta know that you'll have to hold your tongue a pretty long extra mile to answer it
I wanted to leave you with something gentle
But all I saw was what my eyes gave me and what they burned into my feet in their sleep
I used to be a champion and I used to be a tree I was a loving embrace on a porch swing
And I only knew about playing chess for folks souls from the movies.
I gave him something when you weren't looking
Slipped a secret into his wallet to make a bargain in the shadow of a fallen king.
So now I'm all four paws and skittish and the knowledge of giving up and running
Going down south to build a new life outta something simpler than tumbling bricks and shopping carts
But you,
You found something in your pocket
And you stand here breathing
Taller than you used to be
Stepping gentle up onto those porch steps
Maybe you're gonna see something I didn't see
Maybe when the river asks that question
You're gonna know something
Track Name: Deer Friends
I was gonna phase out of here like smoke
Annalomink walked with me to the overpass,
Back where we used to build castles and smoke cigarettes,
With her land legs all skinny and sharp hooves
My deer friend,
Gave me our memories in the form of a seed
Told me even now the drillmen's carvings itch in her back like flea bites
She said, bring it somewhere with ears
And strong feet
Metallic riddleteeth, megaphone guts, candy wrapper cattlespur blooddrive
You made the same mistake every fucking one of us made
But you didn't have breaks
We were just walking
You were a blur of headlights and crash and splintered moonlight
I couldn't tell my broken glasses from your broken windshield
From her broken glass body on the road like just another casualty of Pennsylvania highways
You were a metal cannibal and I was something you saw as small enough to swallow
Thought I was nothin' but a jittery yip of a howl
With your hands around my wrists you tried to drag me into the passenger seat
I was broken glasses broken windshield broken antlers broken levee broken eggshell I broke free
Scratched your hands with my claws and flew to the center of town with that acorn in my beak
Dug into the ground in front of the courthouse and planted it as the last action of my silent fox's feet
Then climbed up onto the statue's pedestal on two legs
Bare skin and scraped knees
As that story started growing
I was tired of whispering
I screamed
Y'all are waking up to this tree
Busting up through your sidewalks
Perforating your brickwork
When you find yourself blinking in your crumbling houses high up in the branches
With light flooding in across the leaves
They'll be humming with secrets you didn't wanna talk about
And everything will be green
And honest
And wonderful
And I'll be out west
Cuttin' my teeth
I'm not sorry