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Calm Fury

by Sarah Hiltz

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    Vinyl with interior lyric sheet and floral image.

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1.
Siren, message bearer When they call her name the crowd turns sour They’re counting on her failure But she stands and says her piece in all her power With her words still heavy in the air I see her chin lift and a cold, hard stare The curtain closes and leaves her there Retching in the wings Doubled over crying Hollowed out adrenaline Leaves her body shook But that’s the cost of living When you are a woman Who has something That she must say Me too, I’ve got bad news But they told me anger’s only for the righteous They say, ‘Ladies should be subdued’ But I don’t know how much longer I can fight this Truth becomes the bow that draws me in Turns my tongue into the arrow flint I let it fly but the kickback wins Retching in the wings Doubled over crying Hollowed out adrenaline Leaves my body shook But that’s the cost of living When you are a woman Who has something That she must say
2.
Calm Fury 03:21
He is young and brave Makes me feel my age Equally able to charm the whole room and exasperate I’m in the middle of A word, he interrupts To tell me what a hero the man in my story was Then cowers when I counter: I am not a subplot This calm fury This is controlled burning Don’t take everything so personally Stay in the blackline In the firebreak He’s long in the tooth Makes me feel my youth Who am I to stand up here and speak to power about truth? Could hear a pin drop I’ve thrown the whole room off Some woman cutting down the patriarchy, is it tough To put up with this malarky when you’re one of the good ones This calm fury This is controlled burning Don’t take everything so personally Stay in the blackline In the firebreak I’m not after war But we need to do a little forest maintenance Have some faith That’s all I’m asking for This is just calm fury
3.
We talk religion, politics, all of the things That families ought to resist After dinner’s finished It’s never been like this before We’ve loved, we’ve laughed, we’ve never been at war I keep eyeing the door I meet her eyes across the room, try to guess what she thinks Of this conversational catastrophe When she walks away and just starts to clean I think, it’s a fine line between love and retreat The TV’s off, we all sit and talk, the night begins To turn into the dawn And the wine is all gone No music in the background now He stands up, cuts me off, and begins to shout He is on his toes now I bring myself right to the edge of my seat And my fingers grip the books in my lap that he lent me I start to fidget with the page corners and think That it’s a fine line between love and retreat We sit across the table at a restaurant To give it one more shot Guess that’s all that we’ve got His parting words are sharp, for sure, But it’s not anything that I haven’t heard I know he’s just bitter After I pay the bill, I take a ride to the beach And I dig a hole in the sand with my nephew and niece I try to act like everything is still in one piece But it’s a fine line between love and retreat
4.
Swim 03:05
I focus on my breath, on my breath I push away from the edge Every exhale measures time Bittersweet symphony keeps playing Ironic quartet of strings So I swim to match the pace Feel my heart begin to race Feel fires rage Lungs burn, hands shake Touch, turn Work it out inside the lane I focus on the place that I am in Water covering my skin And it all begins to fade Carried off with each new wave Feel fires rage Ice form, glass break Lungs burn, hands shake Touch, turn, rethink Touch, turn Work it out inside the lane
5.
I am gonna stand my ground here I won’t hide from all of the things that I fear I won’t rely on safe-space-taking Comfort is anti-ground-breaking Could I come to the end of my days Never step foot into the march against hate? Can I own my own mistake-making? Own my perfection as faking? May I rage for the righting of wrongs May I love even where I see wrong May I rage most against my own flaws May I love, may I love, may I love May I rage, may I love
6.
Radio silence, the more time passes, the louder the quiet I sent a satellite message into the past tense In search of some vestige of you You just might be a figment dream I have when I’m sleeping Some false memory I subconsciously Started to believe in Cuz I don’t know where you are Or where you’re coming from anymore I thought we were somewhere Somewhere together But now I’m just waiting for any answer Alone in another time zone I notice your words, the way they turn My questions to learning More of what I might think, draw me out like string Til I’m frayed at the seams, exposed And I don’t know where you are Or where you’re coming from anymore I thought we were somewhere Somewhere together But now I’m just waiting for any answer For more than an echo stuck in a feedback Loop, I’ve been waiting Such a long time for you
7.
Move On 03:02
Goodbye is the beginning Of somebody else’s song I say it and a scene unfolds They’re away The sound of his laugh is winning I can hear it with my eyes closed The sunshine in her smile glows They’re away, away, away, away… I never know the right time to Move on, move on How does anyone know when they ought to Move on, move on Why can’t I just be glad that you got to Move on, move on I never know the right time to Move on, move on The news come in like a headline: “Newlyweds start again” All they touch falls into order As well it should But good news can be a plumb line Look at how far off-course I’ve tread Why do I need somebody else to tell me That I could, I could, I could Move on, move on How does anyone know when they ought to Move on, move on Why can’t I just be glad that you got to Move on, move on I never know the right time to Move on Move on Move On Move On (They’re off to the sunny side of the continent) Move On (Golden coast for a golden love) Move On (while I’m here stuck in concrete) Move On (my life is concrete, oh my) I never know the right I never know the right I never know the right time to Move On
8.
Bad Cycle 04:39
Shoulders ache with feelings I cannot contain Maybe even my jaw will break From bearing down on this Close my eyes and try to keep this heat inside Don’t want anyone to see this vice But my eyes always give me away Oh my god! I thought I was alright Made my peace with ignoring this fight But now I see a fire spreading wild How can I contain what I deny? Beauty hides beneath a mask of little lies I tell myself to disguise The way I really feel But somewhere deep inside I hear a bell begin to peal It signals what I felt was real Anger doesn’t just go away Oh my god! I thought I was alright Made my peace with ignoring this fight But now I feel some fire spreading wild And I can’t contain what I deny Bad cycle Bad cycle Bad cycle
9.
I know it’s hard to hear About wildfires when you’re in a drought But I’ve suffered for a long time And it was more than you knew I had felt So now what I really need Is for you to help me Ok, this might be a bit much— But I’m asking you to listen I’ve hidden my heart for too long And I need to open up again I need to let you find me Let you come and find me Where I am In a storm of angry feeling That cuts through me like current through the sky Where a flash of light glows red upon the eye Where my heart quakes with hurt I tried to hide Where eventually Sound catches up to the light I don’t want vengeance I don’t wanna hold onto bitter doubts So I practice patience And I try to let go of the fears I have felt That all my love and honesty Won’t be enough to make you see See me
10.
Daylight savings and I’ve been up late Got my second wind, lost track of the date Every year I feel like I’m losing a friend Can’t wait til the day we fall back again Don’t save me any daylight It doesn’t really make me feel better I’m not really a go-getter I don’t wanna lose the moonlight And work in sunny weather Never knowing when to quit So don’t save me any daylight Sixty minutes out of a life Is it the turning point or the edge of a knife? Is it just like any other hour before? Time fades so fast and I want more. Don’t save me any daylight It doesn’t really make me feel better I’m not really a go-getter I don’t wanna lose the moonlight And work in sunny weather Never knowing when to quit So don’t save me any daylight Sunrise, am I Missing out on my own life? Did I work hard or rest well? I’ve forgotten how to tell With numbered days to try and get it right Don’t wanna waste a second chasing after light
11.
I think the light will work here At least it’s better than the last place Popcorn ceiling and no screens But we can buy some, and we can paint What else can we do? We can’t keep crashing on that couch Over on Avenue. Home is wherever I go, wherever I lay my head As long as you’re there, I can be anywhere in the world As long as you’re there We moved here last October The bullet hole was here when we came No, we don’t really mind the neighbours I practice all the time and they never complain Sometimes their snoring keeps me up The walls are thin, no insulation, winters are cold as— But home is wherever we go, wherever I lay my head As long as he’s there, I can be anywhere in the world As long as he’s there Quick, shut of the lights and come see Looks like another police raid How many cops this time? I count fifteen. Is that a record? I think it might be. Do you think things have gone south? Is it getting worse, or are we just getting worn out? Home is wherever we go, wherever I lay my head As long as you’re there, I can be anywhere in the world As long as you’re there. The day we came home with Sadie They said we had to pack up our stuff The shelter was full, but they saw the baby So they took her, that’s when things got real tough We’re still trying to make it work. We got a tent and found a spot Underneath the Gardiner Home is wherever she is, wherever she lays her head And as long as there’s air, we would be anywhere in the world, As long as she’s there And we’re together there.

credits

released March 4, 2022

All songs written by Sarah Hiltz
except As Long As You’re There written by Sarah Hiltz & Ella Paul

Produced by Sarah Hiltz & Howard Bilerman
Recorded and mixed by Howard Bilerman
Assisted by Shae Brossard

Recorded in September 2020 at hotel2tango in Montréal, QC.

Additional guitar on Radio Silence recorded by Sarah Hiltz at St. Stephen-in-the-Fields in Toronto, ON
Strings recorded by Drew Jurecka at home in Toronto, ON
Organ on Calm Fury recorded by Colleen Brown at home in Toronto, ON
 
Vocals arranged by Sarah Hiltz
Strings arranged by Drew Jurecka

Art direction - Josiah Bilagot
Cover photography - Vicky Lam
Prop stylist - Christina Yan
Assistant photographer - Yann Gracia

From the initial spark of an idea to the time spent researching, writing and recording, straight through to post-production and visual representation, The Fury Project has been the most collaborative experience of my professional life. Many hands and hearts and minds contributed to making it possible for me to take a long look at a difficult subject and reflect upon it in a beautiful way. I am deeply grateful for the generous gifts of time, attention, creativity, inspiration and support given by each person that played a part in getting the project to this point, most especially to:

Karolyn Au, Sandi Barrett, Tim Baxter, Josiah Bilagot, Howard Bilerman, Shae Brossard, Colleen Brown, Rachael Cardiello, Bruce Cawdron, Phoebe Chin, Ins Choi, Crissi Cochrane, Charlotte Cornfield, David Francey, Yann Gracia, Kevin Howley, Jeff Junkin, Drew Jurecka, Shad Kabango, Tara Kannangara, Fats Kaplin, Erin Ladd, Vicky Lam, Tamara Lindeman, Rielly McLaren, Jordan Michaelis, Sarah Miller, Harris Newman, Hazel Ottley, Kim Richey, Peter Stone, The Stronks (Dan, Andrea, Elliott and Audrey), Tiffany Stull, Sarah Thawer, Rae Varughese, Renée Villemarie, Connor Walsh, Dustin Welch, Kevin Welch, Travis West, and Christina Yan.

I also wish to acknowledge and express gratitude for the written works of Thich Nhat Hanh, James Baldwin, and Richard Rohr, which directly influenced my thinking throughout this project.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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