The Great Glass Jar

by Arlo Cristofaro

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released August 21, 2013

All songs written and performed by Arlo Cristofaro

Produced by Jonanthan Young
Ian Iverson played bass.
Jonathan Young played percussion.
Emma Kimball took the cover photo

Thank you to:

Antonia for all the help;
Alden, for fixing the J;
Mary Jo and Peter, for all the support;
Jon, for putting your guts into this stuff;
Peter, for all great food, and for the inspiration;



all rights reserved


Arlo Cristofaro Northfield, Minnesota

Reflections from a short time on planet earth

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Track Name: Dear Sergeant Pepper
hold your memories close, fold them with the wind
it's been 7 years, but still sometimes I forget
You don't need to remind me of all the things i've missed

leap-froging through the forest, just 11 years old
spending all our days chasing after the fields of gold
i don't quite recall ever growing old

dear sergeant pepper,
why can't I remember?
you caught me digging through the basket
of my father's sweaters

I'm filling up these shoes, two sizes too big
I'm rolling up my sleeves getting ready to jump in
loosen all these strings before this journey begins

dear mom, dear dad
thank you for the we've that we've had
you've prepared me well, and the future has yet to be sad

hold your lovers close, kiss them in the wind
cause you never know when one journey ends, and when one begins
here comes the moon, let the lights go dim

dear sergeant pepper
forgot, and then I remembered
that all the things that we say outlive what can last forever
dear sergeant pepper
Track Name: Changing Colors
one again this year the summers almost gone
theres a boy down by the railroad tracks chewing on stale gum
kicking through the leaves in the drops of autumn sun
sometimes we've all got to change our colors

and i am standing still making music with the wind
my melancholy branches turns the breeze into a hymn
the chilly air is just a song i long to sing
and I've been busy changing all my colors colors once again

and if you look real close
you can find a place
where you can wrap yourself up
in sunlights warm embrace

and i am left alone, the leaves are off my chest
the boy down by the tracks has a crumpled cigarette
we're unprepared to greet the winter's rest
but now we're both done changing colors

and i've looked real close
but i still don't get
how every year when fall comes round
i always forget
that i'll always be changing colors
we all just keep on changing colors
Track Name: The Space Inside My Mind
April rain, falling hard upon the feilds
the sky is grey, my thoughts are anywhere but real
the steam is pouring from the sky
as i'm stretching out the space inside my mind

someone said that happiness arrives with June
and i'll find a way to keep August from leaving too
but when all is said and done, i'll be content as we're lying in the sun

theres a boy who's been waving to a ship
theres a girl who caught a catfish with a string and paperclip
theres a mama laying laundry on the line
and papa disappeared into the sky

clouds below and i'm soaking in the blue
and I was told there's a whole world worth speaking to
but when the sun comes out to shine
you'll find me stretching out the space inside my mind

there's a boy who's been whispering goodbye
there's a girl down by the creek bed who's pretending not to cry
there's a mama taking laundry from the line
and the april rain is falling from the sky
Track Name: Blend
Never forget the sea,
your enchanting surface.
And never forget the importance
Of the ocean's current
--and when life up here gets hard
that tide keeps on pounding strong.

Never forget the feeling of
of the salt in your hair.
As the sun slowly sets
all the light disappears.

But the best thing about the nighttime
Is the chance to start again,
And caught up in these starry nights
All the days begin to blend.

Are you still awake?
Come on lets go look up at the sky.
Lets take off all our clothes
and get saltwater in our eyes,

because when we wax and wane,
all the stars grow synchronized.
And I am left engulfed by your embrace
pulsating and teary-eyed.
Track Name: Kitestring
do you recall when the lightning struck so bright?
we tossed and turned despite
and I watched the key tied to the kite string tight
you stood tall against the night

do you recall the summer rain?
how the wind stood still before it came
the water washed the leaves from the gutter drains
and swept us away, so far along
and when the time came
we cried till our tears were gone

and we stayed outside, counting constellations
perplexed by how the world changes
grab the old kite,
one last time we'll forget determination
the worry will fall from out faces
we'll walk from the drains, songs on our breath
and when the time came we screamed until there was nothing left

i remember it all
as if looking through the great glass jar
blurry eyes magnify the stars
the clouds overhead
carry droplets of sorrow from afar
and i still smell the storming in the yard
and though the rains known to bring
aching and hardship
we fly our kites through the sky, regardless
Track Name: Yonder Hill
gather your hopes and your fears
and fold them into a tattered suitcase
we'll chip the paint from the years
I'm trying to comfort your tears
by reading you poems that we'd been told
that led us all the way here
and up on yonder hill
theres an oak that grows so high
watching over the life below
between the prairie and the sky

the city was never that great
we found bridges and pigeons to nest with
they never were much to my taste
We said that we'd find a place
so far away from the world ever-changing
our children could never feel hate
up on yonder hill
the sky is so very vast
we'd lay awake at night
counting the shooting stars that pass

we had three baby birds
and we build them a home upon this fine oak
and we split up the meals into thirds
and we tried to keep out the world
but out great attempts could never prevent
the expansion of unspoken words
up on yonder hill
we watched our oak fall
and i heard my babies calling out
and i still cry when i recall
Track Name: Makeshift Sails
I rival facts with fairytale
I chart a course unique with each exhale
I feel the wind tugging at my makeshift sails

I rival fear by singing songs of love
Held by the sea I reach and I pray to the sky above
I'm counting days and hours and minutes and stuff

I rival death and divide by refusing to leave your unconscious side
I rival emptiness wide by greeting each day with a sunrise and tide
I rival wide open eyes by telling myself I'm alive, I'm alive,

i rival facts with all of my fury and fight
I'm not sure if I'll hold, but my makeshift sails just might
so i hold my breath and cross my fingers tight
Track Name: Hey, Everybody Listen!
I ran back through the prarie
the other cloudy day
and listened with my toes to what
the soil had to say

I watched the growling wind
as they rolled across the plains
i watched the fields of inspiration
sprouting in the rain
and i never was the same

hey, everybody listen
there's something we've been missing
and there's a world that needs our fixing

I found myself alive
as i sat on yonder hill
and listened to my thoughts
as they slowly found the still
and damn i've got the will

I'm learning from the children
as they plant flowers in the clay
i'm finding sun in dandelions
and the dandelions say
that love will lead the way

Hey, everybody listen!
maybe thats what we've been missing
and now lets spend some time on fixing
Track Name: The Sparrow & The Plough
"I can feel
the concentration on your brow,"

Sang the sparrow to the plough.

"and it seems
my flight is high and my aim is true,
but I never could turn the earth like you."

"The stallion pulls you through the row,
could you teach me to let go?"

"I can see
the whole wide world it's all around
and I'd swap you the heavens for the ground.

"Could you teach me
the way to grind my sorrows down
remove me forever from the clouds?"

The plough was still and then replied:
"could you teach me to be alive?"

"I've been for 50 years
dragging the soil through my spine
tasting the earth like I taste the things I fear
barely noticing the passing of the time.
And I envey you so!
Could you teach me the way to let my weightlessness grow?
And I figured you would know,

we're both here and now
you're the sparrow and I'm the plough."
Track Name: My Tightrope World
you hold the cord, I'll climb the tree
you hold the wheel, I'll dangle from the tapestry
you'll tell me that I'm free
to walk the tightrope carefully,

you go up first, I'm too afraid
I'm afraid of the height, afraid of falling on my face
you'll tell me that I can
fall from the tightrope again, and again,
and again

I'll be the line, you'll be the beam
I balance you close, and you'll keep me from questioning
and I tell you that I see
my tightrope world spinning quietly,