Seven Silver Curses

The Fiery Furnaces

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The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces are a U.S. indie rock band formed in 2000 in Brooklyn, New York. The band's primary members are Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The siblings are originally from Oak Park, Illinois, a near-western suburb of Chicago. more »


 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

[Repeat: x2]
My little sister had a glass of wine,
No doubt a glass of wine too many.
"I bet he's out right now with his Nazi whore, 
That's right, I said it, that's what she is, 
And when he finally saunters back at three or four,
Don't let him in, put the chain on the door."

But of course I'd let him in, the jerk.

Now my silly little sister went to some vlachos coffee-grind reader 
And had a gypsy glint in her eye when she'd smirk,
"Since that's how you feel, I know what to do.
Make sure she gets fixed before she takes him from you."

It's a hot August night and my sister and I are creeping down south Halsted 
Towards a storefront past a storefront stoop 
And a moon and a star and a placard that says Madame Maria's.
"Tell me your troubles,
But five dollars first."
That's what she said and of course, I thought the worst.

Charlatan. Phony. Fraud gypsy bitch whose Greek was bad and English was worse.
I held tight to my purse.
My sister did the talking and I looked down and tapped my foot 
And sort of twisted on one heel.
Madame pointed to corner
And twisted her shawl,
Uncovered a dusty old crystal ball.

I peered in despite myself.

Somewhere on some love seat, my husband was there,
Paying court to his mistress and stroking her hair.
I saw it for myself. "I can't believe it!" I cried.
Madame Maria said, "Well, I had a notion.
So before you came in, I prepared half a potion.
Now you must do the other half.
You must get seven part-silver curses made special out of bullet bits 
By some Pollock I know in Evergreen Park and dip them in the potion 
And drop them in Buckingham Fountain at 3:13 on Friday morning.
And then she'll be gone, you'll be rid of her!"

Quick, for the potion, we have to get three dozen crab-apples that fell off a raggedy old tree right in the southwestern corner of Columbus Park!
Faster, we have to go up to Caputo's Produce and Fruit Market on Harlem and get the garden snake that lives in the banana bin!
Hurry, we have to get the mercury out of the old thermometer 
They have through the north-facing doors to the left 
By the shoe-shine boys in the lobby of the Monadnock building!
And don't be late, for you must get the silver out of the teeth of one George Karmalitis,
Who as we speak lies dead under a dirty wool blanket 
In the basement of the morgue of Laretto hospital,
The silver teeth of a man killed by a jealous wife!

I wasn't always an old maid.
I didn't always walk down the street and have the children yell at me 
Spinny Spinny the Spinster 
And try to knock the hat off my head.
I had a fiancee, or he led me to believe I'd soon be his fiancee, 
And I did believe him, as I had every right to, 
And I'd put on my best dress and we'd go dance at all the dances.

And I'd never let the boys from the barracks cut in.
They'd come out of Great Lakes, usually straight off the farm anyway.
And I'd never really let any of the country club beaus get a chance.
Those cream-colored summer suits were never cut to my taste anyhow.
And those Hyde Park fraternity fellas were out as a matter of course.
I don't enjoy a man in red, so certainly not maroon, that's for sure.

I only had eyes for my guy, see.
But one night he had said he wouldn't be able to take me 
As he hurt his shoulder and had his arm in a sling, 
But I went anyway and saw him with another woman,
And she was wearing his ring.

The silver still smelled and smelted down quick 
Into the copper or lead or whatever else it was.
And when the metal was still soft and hot 
You'd engrave the curse into it with a stylus from an old whale bone.
I thought for a second of what I might write.
Something a little different, but with the correct sort of spite.
One of them asked Panayia Mou to make that blonde's hair fall straight out.
The potion was ready back at my apartment and my sister and I mumbled and crossed ourselves when we dropped the curses in.
And I thought of my husband,
My husband and her,
And I thought of me and him, of what we were.
I thought of our wedding day.

And I was happy, very simply happy.
Do you hear it?
A modest young woman's simple contentment.
It's probably a sunny day, and I think it was.
The birds were chirping,
And I felt like I was dancing on air.
But not very far off the ground.
I wonder if I knew even then that things wouldn't always be perfect,
That one day he'd seek solace in the arms of another woman,
And that to win him back 
To win him back 
I'd have to do this.

On a hot August night everyone is asleep 
But the crows were watching, witching and my temple was twitching.
Twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch,
Fountain, sweet fountain!
Fountain, sweet fountain!
Let your water react and turn the curses to fact and come true!
Fountain, sweet fountain!
Fountain, sweet fountain!
Let your water react and turn the curses to fact and come true!
And they do.

The instant we dropped them in, our hearts started to race.
And a wind came up off the lake,
Make no mistake, 
We felt something released out into the city.
And I swore,
And I swooned,
As I swept back somehow to Austin, I don't remember how,
Scared of what I had wrought,
But terrified I didn't get what I had sought.

Oh Jimmy, where you been so long?

And as the clock struck eight the next morning 
My husband was next to me with a smile on his face, 
And I looked
No blond hairs on his pajamas.
And it was as if I had been awakened from a bad dream.

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Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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