Porcelain Hammer

by Kelly Howerton

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This album, Porcelain Hammer,
Is a journey of thought,
A questioning of beliefs,
And a changing of ideas
That ultimately leads to no resolution.
Yet there can be peace
in the acceptance of uncertainty.


released June 11, 2014

I used to think that this particular collection of songs was too introspective and that I was being too narcissistic in writing so much about myself. However, within the last year I read a magazine article about how the millennial generation is a bunch of self-centered narcissists. Now I don’t feel so bad. I’m just a voice of my generation.
Besides, in writing about that subject I know best: myself, perhaps others will find my writing relate-able. After all, people aren’t really so different from one another.

I would like to thank my wife for trouble shooting my computer frustrations and for tolerating all the messes and noise I made in our apartment during the production process of this project. Furthermore, I would like to apologize to my neighbors who shared walls with me. However, I exclude apologies to the neighbor who blasted techno music intermittently throughout the day.

All songs were written and performed by Kelly Howerton, between 2009 and 2014.
All tracks were home-recorded, May 2014.
All of the album artwork was handmade by yours truly, 2014.



all rights reserved


Kelly Howerton Durham, North Carolina

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Track Name: A spirit or a sensation
I’ve been an intellectual pilgrim,
I’ve been sailing on a comfortable sofa.
I’ve been searching for a new persona
On the television and in the movies.
But I think I’m too impressionable
I keep on sticking in each mold I fill
Allowing every new idea
To redirect my view.
But I wasn’t searching for revelation
Just some evidence to prove I was right,
And to justify my reasoning
In a dialogue that I’ve been rehearsing.
Cause I’ve been practicing philosophy,
But I haven’t really told no one,
But I’ve been questioning almost everything,
And self-deconstructing.
And I played the devil’s advocate
So long, I’m beginning to trust him.
I keep stirring up arguments
In matters of little importance
And it seems I’m no longer impartial.
Every debate is personal.
It’s not a matter of promoting an ideal,
It’s just my own need to be right.
But I’m just afraid
I’m just a fraud
I don’t actually believe
Half the thoughts that I express
I’m just opposing everything
Just to be different,
Just to be difficult
Oh the source of this longing,
What is it that I seek?
Is it a spirit or a sensation?
Or simply to be unique?
Track Name: Learning Experience
Learning Experience
Well I’m just a child, naïve and idealistic
Yet to be challenged, yet too be tested.
I’ve got no regrets and the worlds still in front of me.
Any mistakes that I make
I’ll explain them all away
Calling them part of a learning experience.
And if I grow up to be a cynical adult
On the verge of midlife crisis with each ever fading year
And a skeptical perception
conditioned by disappointment.
And as I’m falling out,
Falling away,
I’ll be singing songs of faithlessness.
And when I’m sick and old and I’m living in a home,
And the realization hits me: my ambitions were in vain,
And I begin to redefine
giving up as acceptance.
And as I reminisce about my younger days,
I’ll be wasting away on regrets
As I’m tortured by whether or not
If the only way to learn is from mistakes….

And when my bodies a corpse
Pickled in flamaldehyde
And my spirit hangs suspended
round the stone above my head
I might linger awhile just to see how I was remembered.
And as I’m fading out
Fading away
I’ll be singing songs of faithlessness.
Track Name: choices, consequences, coincidences
Choices consequences, coincidences
Well now I’m not gonna worry bout all this time that I’ve been wasting,
Or all the opportunities that are drifting out of reach,
Because if fate is gonna call my number, then I’ll be waiting patiently.
Oh I’ll be listening with an open ear pressed closely to the door.
Oh cause I always thought I’d like to be a writer of some sorts,
To immortalize my memories in the blood of written words.
But the problem with ideas is actually putting them in motion
Before the fears of reality consumes all hope of the dream.
But in the safe seclusion of my room where my idleness prevails
Yet where there’s a faint but constant flickering
Of inspiring potential.
When life is choices and their consequences, I feel like I’m in control
But when my failures are my fault, then it’s back to coincidence
Well now I’m not gonna worry bout all this debt that I’m incurring
In pursuit of financial security through the promises of education.
Oh ain’t it funny, I’ve been behaving in all the ways I was told too,
Yet now that I am on my own, it seems I can’t think for myself.
When life is choices and their consequences, and coincidences
Then it’s hard to see the unexplained as something meaningful
It took a woman to soften my perceptions of the world
To say our meeting was purely chance is simply far too unromantic.
Well now I’m not gonna worry bout whether not I am remembered
Perhaps it’s better to be forgotten then be known outside of context.
And so if God is gonna read my name from his list of predestinations,
Then I shall rise after he purges me through the fires of refinement.
Track Name: Porcelain Hammer Blues
Porcelain Hammer
Well me and Friedrich Nietzsche, been hanging out in coffee shops
Yeah, well me and Friedrich Nietzsche, been hanging out in coffee shops
And he’s been filling my head with dangerous ideas.
We’ve been hammering at the weak points of articles of truth
We’ve been hammering at the weak points of articles of truth
Stripp’n them naked in the light, oh what a hideous sight
Oh now I was a porcelain hammer, been try’n to break what I thought mattered,
Oh now I was a porcelain hammer, been try’n to break what I thought mattered,
And though I swung with all my power, I left myself in shatters.

And so I strapped myself in the front seat,
next to the crash dummies
While the engineers fired up their prototype car
And as we careened toward the barrier,
Which theories are tested upon,
I saw myself in the review mirror just before we hit the wall.
And as the wheat meets the mill
And the tide meets the rock,
And as the asteroid met the dinosaurs,
I was shattered and I was scattered.

Oh now I was a porcelain hammer, been try’n to break what I thought mattered,
Oh now I was a porcelain hammer, been try’n to break what I thought mattered,
And though I swung with all my power, I left myself in shatters.
Now goodbye Friedrich Nietzsche, it sure was nice to meet’chya
Yeah goodbye Friedrich Nietzsche, I did my best to read’chya
But if I stay here any longer,
I’ll end up crazy like you.
Track Name: Behind the Stone
Behind the stone
I’m so happy, when I’m in church
I’m so happy, when I’m in church
With the preacher up on his perch

No I never had to search
No I never had to search
I’ve had all I ever wanted here at church

No I never feel alone,
No I’ve never been alone,
I’ve got Jesus all to my own
And we’re happy
Behind the stone.
Track Name: Stubborn Old Man
Stubborn Old Man
Sunday morning, church doors open
Big bells ring and choirs sing, the tithers tithe.
I stayed in bed.
Feeling quite proud of me, I did not bow my head
The congregation gathered round
The alter where the saints began to pray
As I held my breath.
Going through the motions, I fooled the rest.
I’ll be a stubbren old man,
I’ll be a stubbren old man,
Oh I’m on my way.
I saw you just the other day
We faked our smiles, pretended we were both okay.
I bit my tongue.
I saved you from the words you well deserved.
Cause when we fight, the less I try,
The more I find that you’ve already made your mind,
I’ll say no more.
Oh yes I’d like to make amends,
But not admit I’m wrong.
I’ll be a stubbren old man
I’ll be a stubbren old man
Oh I’m on my way.
And here I sit with so called friends,
Adopting thoughts of apathy towards everything.
I’m up in smoke.
I haven’t got a thought I call my own.
And I shake and shiver in my sleep,
And in my head I cry out to anyone
To save my soul,
But I only wanna go to heaven cause I’m terrifies of hell.
I’ll be a stubbren old man,
I’ll be a stubbren old man,
Oh I’m on my way.
Track Name: Vows
they came marching in the school room in a single file line
where the teacher stood in front of her desk.
She said place your right hand on your chest and face the flag above the door
As we recite the words we learned long ago.
Oh to be so innocent
To be so frivolous with your trust.
When you’re young it’s easy to make promises
That you won’t have to keep till you’re older
Oh little children, don’t take vows, you don’t fully understand yet.
Oh little children, don’t believe everything you learned in school.

In the Sunday school classroom where we sang the singing songs
And memorized the weekly bible verses.
Where the teacher said, be good, be obedient to God,
Or when you die, you’ll go to hell.
Oh to feel so fortunate
To be born in a family of faith,
Yet to pity all the other people in the world
Whose parent’s religion was mistaken.
Oh little children, don’t take vows, you don’t fully understand yet.
Oh little children. Don’t believe everything your teacher says.

Around the dinner table with extended family,
Listening to the grown ups talking
Grandpa’s saying something how the blackies and the gays
Are the reason why this countries all wrong.
Oh ain’t funny, how we learn how to hate
How to despise those outside our ideals.
To believe so strongly that we are right
That we can’t tolerate a different answer.
Oh little children, don’t take vows, you don’t fully understand yet
Oh little children, don’t believe everything your parents say.

Now that I am grown and living out and on my own
And trying to think for myself,
Well I’ve come to realize that my perception of the world
Was set in stone back when I was young
And so, if there’s some universal truth
Then it will have to make itself known to me
For my mind has long since solidified
It can’t dream beyond it’s shape.
Oh little children, don’t take vows, you don’t fully understand yet.
Oh little children, don’t believe everything your teacher says,
No don’t believe everything they say.
Track Name: the legend of the human animal
the legend of the human animal
“a love story about a dear friend and alcohol”
wandering around upon all fours
just like a stray dog at the door
pledging your loyalty to all
who’ll give ya scraps of alcohol.
sleeping on every welcome matt
wearing them dangerously thin
whimpering for pity paying fools
to take you in.

born of a foolish girl’s mistake
wombed in her wedding dress of pink
a bitter heirloom of the man
a stain on her heart, a blot of ink.
was it the whiskey that you felt
tickling your nose hairs as a child
wafting from your father’s lips
that turned you wild?

or was it up upon the shelf
where your mother put you away
behind the books and picture frames
where you watched her brand new family?
her husband that you never called dad,
their beautiful kids with more love than you had,
was it from here you heard the howl,
that drove you mad?

If we find meaning through self awareness
And we are only what we do,
Then surely you’d have all the answers;
You exist to never try,
But when you’re tired of believing
All that “Ham on Rye” you ate
Then drop your idol,
Cause Charles Bukowski,
Ain’t got nothing on you now.

and we are only sentimental
There ain’t nothing left between.
No solid substance except the memories
Of the friends we used to be.
And all our history is fractured fossils
That we’ve merged chimerically,
Like cryptic science,
We’re self pursuing,
Turning legends into truth.

*You used to sing about
this here American Whiskey,
That kept you company
You said that it’s full of spirit
Fulfilling me.

But why do you drink,
So god damn much?
You said that all I can tell you,
Is pour me another shot.
*Lyrics were excerpted and adapted from Kenian Leavitt’s song: “American Whiskey”
Track Name: Searching in the Dark
Searching in the Dark
Goodbye theologians with your flightless flock of owls
And all your faithful fractures in your deep dogmatic bowels
I used to talk so much like you: with conviction.
But now my voice keeps choking up with hesitation
It seems my stomachs growing sour
With the words that I was forced to re-devour.

Lately I’ve been worshipping Nietzsche’s Anti-Christ,
I’ve been hanging onto every word of his advice.
But now I’m hanging on the edge of a cliff side
Too scared to cut the cord I tied to God.
And as I’m dangling in the air
I’m just waiting till the rope begins to tear.

I met Daniel Johnston once when he was in Chicago,
And I got to shake his hand before he played the show.
And then I watched him as he sat down at the bar,
Next to an open seat that was shining like a star.
Oh but no, I left it vacant
It was never meant for me, or anyone else.

I’ve been searching for something in the dark,
in a strange room,
Not knowing what I’m looking for,
till I find it,
Or if I’ll even recognize it,
If it passed beneath my hand,
Would I realize it?
Track Name: Sacred Grounds
Sacred Ground
I was walking home one day, to the place where it all began.
I was taking note of the difference, between what I saw and I recalled.
And I regret, I never asked Grandpa to retell the stories
About Uncle Charlie and Tage and the post-Civil War,
Before he passed away.
Oh I was feeling nostalgic, so I said a little prayer.
And I talked to God like an old formal acquaintance.
All my religious axioms make for such comfortable patterns of thinking.
They paint my world in drastic shades of black and white.
Sometimes I wonder if my convictions are more blinders to possible truth
And these sacred grounds, shifting beneath my feet,
Don’t feel so stable now.
Well I spend my days in waiting, for something to break me down
I think I could be passionate when I’m undergoing fire.
Because I tried to sing the blues once, but it wasn’t very convincing
My life’s been too easy going. I have yet to meet despair.
So maybe life is simply just coping with the day to day
And my days drag on with the weight of my restlessness
So sometimes I imagine things are worse than they really are.
The other day I almost scared myself to tears.
I was contemplating running, and leaving everything behind.
-I could be a traveler singing folk songs on the road.
But then I asked a righteous man to say some prayer for me
And those hardships I had longed for, well I knew I just couldn’t take em.
Oh cause I thought I’d get religious at the end of my self reliance
I thought I’d find a spiritual power in the midst of desperation.
But in the trial that came, I crumbled in upon myself
No these sacred grounds ain’t eroded none;
I’m just buckling at the knees
Track Name: My condolences
My condolences
To old friends sharing nothing,
Except the memories,
Of a happier time in life:
Well we’ve all moved away
And we’ve little left to say
Except I remember when
Just like it was yesterday
Your mother’s been sick
And I’m sorry to say
That I ain’t cared a lick
I ain’t got down to pray
I’ve seen all the pictures
You posted online
But nothing stirs in me
Or weighs on my mind
I know what I’m doing
I know where I’m going
I’ll drink what I’m brewing
And I’ll reap what I’m sowing
You got plenty prayer pals
And goody wisher wells
I’ll sit this one out
And wait for the steeple bells
I’ll see you at the funeral
Where I’ll be wearing black
To give my condolences
And take a seat at the back.