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"A MOTHER​’​S CONFESSION": a song with footnotes (Demo)

by Amanda Palmer

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READ ALL 69 FOOTNOTES TO THIS SONG (plus see the gallery) AT: bit.ly/amothersconfession

written by amanda palmer with input from jason webley, who didn’t know what “publix” meant.

amanda palmer - piano and vocals

jason webley - accordion, glockenspiel, bass drum, choral conducting, engineering, mixing, canoe.

the floating drum collective - choral optimism 

anthony or ash for short - himself

recorded in jason webley’s houseboat, february 12, the day after it was written, which was the 11th.

this song is able to be free/pay-what-you-want because it was paid for by the 7,000 people supporting my patreon.
join the community (it is awesome) and help me make more Things at: www.patreon.com/amandapalmer



our son is four months old his name is anthony or ash for short
and he’s too small to do things by himself
we were in L.A. over christmas in a rental and we jury-rigged a place
to change his diapers on a shelf
i was peeing in the bathroom and had left him for a second
cause i thought he couldn’t move and he was safe
as i came out i saw him falling in slow motion to the floor
it was probably the worst moment of my life

and then i accidentally stole a thing of chapstick from the safeway
i didn’t see it ’til i got out to the car
i would have usually returned it but i was overwhelmed
and late to take the baby to my cousins which was far away

in my defense i’d bought like $87 worth of groceries
and the chapstick was a $1.99…
i know it wasn’t the right thing to use
to use my newborn child as an excuse
but it felt like a real reason at the time

and as i pulled out of the parking lot i cried
and as i pulled onto the highway i said “right….
at least the baby didn’t die…right?
at least the baby didn’t die….”

and then we went to sarasota
to see neil’s cousin helen
for her birthday she just turned ninety-nine
we were also there for sidney
who was ninety-four two days before
but he was sick so mostly it was ash and helen time

she survived the warsaw ghetto
and she always says “i love you”
when she sees you ’cause she knows you never know
she’d worked for months while i was pregnant
on a gorgeous handmade blanket
her almost-hundred-year-old hands crocheting every row

i’d been emailing her pictures of the baby and the blanket
every day since she had sent it in the mail
but they were of one that someone else had knitted
she was really nice about it
then i went and shoplifted a pair of stupid sunglasses
from goodwill (they were on my head
i’d tried them on and left them there)
but that’s not really bad compared to
when we left the baby in the car.

at least he wasn’t in there very long.
…and not directly in the sun.
and thank god no-one walking by happened to notice what we’d done.
i’m even scared to put these lyrics in a song.

everything is relative and everyone’s related
i can’t do that much right now
but take care of this baby
i figure everything’s technically all right
if at least this baby doesn’t die.

(i’d also like his dad alive. so honey….careful when you drive).

and then i took a plane to washington alone
so we could visit jason webley who’s his godfather
he’s playing the accordion
i couldn’t wait to see him and share tales of my disasters
over dinners in his houseboat when i saw i’d lost my passport

so i got a rush appointment at the place where you replace them
and i drove the baby in and on the way i got a speeding ticket

when the cop came to the window i was shaking and i said i’m sorry
but you couldn’t hear me that’s how loud the sound of screaming was
cause he was hungry and i think that i was speeding
’cause i panic when i hear him cry
my god what kind of a mother am i

and as i pulled out of the breakdown lane i cried
and as i pulled out on the highway i said “right.
at least the baby didn’t die. right?
at least the baby didn’t die.”

while i was waiting for my passport i was hungry so
i twittered for good coffee in the neighborhood
and there i saw a woman who was sitting at the bar
and it was noon and she was drinking
and she called across the diner at me “how old is your baby?”
and she smiled at us nursing
and she said she had a daughter who was grown
and then she paused
and said she also had a son

and when i’d paid and was about to leave
i picked him up and crossed the room and touched her sleeve
i said “hey this baby wanted to say hi.”
and she held him tight and she started to cry.

and i’m sorry that this story’s gotten long
and that everybody’s crying in this song.

and as i got back in the car i turned the radio and heater on
and sat there with the baby in the back.
and they were talking about syria and climate change and ISIS
and the candidates’ positions on iraq
i feel so useless in this universe
i know i could be doing worse
i’m trying hard to stay at peace inside
i know it’s hard to be a parent
but my flaws are so gigantic
…i wonder if i should have had a child.

and as i pulled out of the parking lot i cried
and as i pulled out on the highway i said


at least the baby didn’t die.
at least the baby didn’t die.
at least the baby didn’t die!! right?!
at least the baby didn’t die!!
(i may not make it to the passport place on time!)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and they might suspend my license for a while!!)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and i might get caught for retroactive theft!!)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and i might get turned into the DSS!)

but at least the baby didn’t die.


released February 25, 2016


all rights reserved



Amanda Palmer Boston

performer, writer, giver, taker, listener, love-lover, rule-hater and co-founder of the Brechtian punk cabaret duo, The Dresden Dolls.


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