hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com


Send me $20 for a copy of my record, “Resolve”, recorded in 1995.

Exactly Me

Exactly me
Exactly me

The chains go round and round
I fill the space with my empty head
Stumbling and sliding through the night
Lying painful in my bed

Exactly this moment
And I’m turning side by fire
And when I’m alone
Oh no, again I’m alone
Where this journey ends
The sad-filled time expires

Exactly me
Exactly me

No I see through this dance
I insist its a trance
And the moons they plod in their orbits
The vampires coo
No, nothing’s new
Still the morning falls all the harder


This is nowhere to be
When I don’t know where to go
I want so much to say yes
But I wake up shouting no
Dig in or retreat
Forfeit or cast away
Or quiet, hold your head
There is a way


A Candle for the Sun

I lost a candle to the rising sun
Found myself doing things I’d never done
I left my life as I knew it to rot
I was selling things of mine I hadn’t bought

This story begins in yesteryear
A child sits in a corner of fear
He has one match and a candle to
To come up even he knows what he’s got to do

He strikes the match and the room is lit
His eyes adjust, take in bit by bit
He moves the match closer to the candle
And when the wick fires, that’s his life’s preambleee


He pokes around, asks, What’s this place about?
Without a word, the bones reply, You should get out
This room’s a hole in the bottom of a pit
But your flame is bright, just keep it lit

He cuts his knee and he wipes his brow
He seeks the truth, he’s climbing up and out
The wick grows short, it burns his hand
So what: hear the crack of dawn, feel the gust, it’s open land



While my body stays in
And my soul flies out
I wonder why I’m singing
When I barely know what I’m about

Brother said, Be cool, go slow, just hang
Maybe I’ll feel a change
I trip, I fall, I feel wholly dumb
Still, I keep my pretensions to overcome

It’s the method, not the madness
Though the words be transcendent
Complicated by my false humility
Juxtaposed with an arrogant tranquility


Beaten and cornered, the boy will fight
Then to survive is to know he’s right
If a door open up, he’ll take his flight
The wings of his mind free him from his might


The Truth Is Mine to Know

Thank you
But, no thank you

Oh, heal me, fire in the night
Close these wounds and banish my fright
Lead my from the darkness to light I’ve barely known
Take this feeble heart and tell me what you’ve shown

I’ve given up my upbringing
And all the lies therein
I’ve broken through it singing
I see my soul robed in the colors of heaven

Tearing through the falsehood
Bearing all the truth it could
It’s here
They say the truth is relative
But the rock ain’t relative

Thank you,
But no, thank you

I’m alive
I remember

I recognize I

If these tears are not mine
Then my path you could define
But I hear this wail as my own
And so I cannot fetch your bones

I recognize I
Until the day I die
On that day I can no longer see
I trust you to bury me

There is a picture of you and Father
King-like he holds you as your eyes stream water
Perhaps you were tripped as you chased your ball
And his scepter could not break your fall

Now that we’ve sailed from his realm
I think you’ve seen that one must man his own helm

What do you want of me, won’t you just say?
The sounding of brass must needs drive me away
Act as my consience, you’ll play to a shell
This water’s poison, find a new well



I don’t got it
But I want it
I don’t know what it is
I just know that it’s there

I will search it out
And forsake my doubt
I defy the mob
And its doctrine of despair

I am your child
But I am still doing this
Picking up what was your burden
Gonna find my way to bliss

If you find this song a mystery
You probably grew up with hope and history
Hope that someday things will get better
History of the fact that they never did

You question my anger
You are amused
It kind of makes me wonder
Are your children confused
About their desires
And why they are here
Cause that is just what happens
When you’re born in love and raised in fear


I’m staking my life
On a very dangerous thing
On a 40 year old man
Who knows about what I sing

Who’ll give me the rites of passage
And show me the work of his hands
He’ll call forth my spirit
And I’ll come forth a man

First verse


Gospel mission
City street
Ancient forest
Public beach
There I walked and I slept
There I worked and I wept

Things fall apart

My sadness
Sweet with age
Staled to numbness
Rotted to rage
Rage melted to silence
And silence became my cage

I’m not angry
I am sad
From myself it well
But hiding has broken my back
I’ve been shoveling coal in hell

Something bellows in my brain
Like commandment from god:
You were injured
Unearth the pain
It’s buried under the sod

Things fall apart

Though I want you
I beware you
I will frustrate you ways of harm
I am hurt some day I will trust you
To hold me in your arms


I don’t care about getting ahead
I just want to break even
Yes you heard me right
When I said
After I’ve paid my debt, I’m leaving
For good
Did you ever think I would

So this is my leaving song
I wish to say farewell
I’ll throw down all my possessions
By a healing water well
Watch the face in the shadowy water
Hear it sing my namee
Here the sound the I grew deaf to
While playing this game

To the north woods or the deserts in the south
Wherever I’m allowed to survive
If to Earth, I’m a burden
Let me drown in the river’s mouth
Better dead in harmony
Than discordant and alive

And I’ll be wild as a doe
And watch the flowers grow
Feel a desert heat wave roll
Scorching some truth from my soul

I think they planned for my embittered wrath
Strategically numbing me and diverting me from my path
So I’m on my way, I’m getting off the beaten path
Open up to the signs and find my way back



And time fell on a snowflake

I’m nearly done with farming
Can you see the pines
Waving you goodbye

I am green
With the sounds my bare feet make
On the spongy leaves-will-be-humus

I twist at my ankles
Bugs of joy
Crawl in anticipation
Up my tibia and fibia

And time fell on a snowflake

More pine boughs
Usher me to sleep
At the tree’s base

At the base of a tree
In my Odyssey…

Minstrel’s lullaby

Far away, far away
I must go far away
There is water whence I go
Far away

O’er the hill, o’er the hill
I will climb up o’er the hill
I will quench my thirst
I will drink my fill
O’er the hill

But while I’m here
Reason makes the rhyme
The heart keeps the time
The rooster tells us when to fall asleep

It’s so simple it’s so easy
You can sit all night and grin
And when the child knocks, you let him in

untitled love song

She is ready, she is Tona
She says, I like you, I wanna…
You know what I mean

Yes, I know what you mean all too well
That’s the garden where I was forbidden to dwell
But if you hold the gate awhile
I’ll be along to share your smile
And I’ll bring you a rose
A cutting for the garden

The sun sets, and you tire
The wind through the leaves
Like fingers on a lyre
But tarry longer
Let the gold fire wane
I’m walking straight down the lane
To bring you a rose
A cutting for the garden

I come at dark, you look down
You point the way
I plant the branch in the ground
There I sleep
While you go off to bed
In the morning
You’ll see the rose is red

And you’ll bar the gate
The entrance to the garden
Where I want to live
The rest of my life


Where are my roots?

I take off my shoes I take off my socks
To find with my feet what we what I have lost
I splash in the mud I roll in the dirt
I run on the land that for roots must come first

Yeah, Mother
Yeah, Father
You gave shelter, clothes and food
But you missed something
Where are my roots?

I’m floating up my head’s a hot air balloon
Can’t feel the ground if I don’t have any roots
I was driving through the midwest
Behind a rest stop I ran
I dove my fingers into the dirt
Into the Earth
Into the soil
Into the land


Walking weary by the edge of the road
Thumbing for a ride
Now roots for a displaced people
Roots for them, they grow inside


<   ^   >