Capital of Conformity (my church is in the trees)

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 22 Sep 2023

In his own words, Aze Avora is a Canadian "writer & director who wants to bring you bizarre & thought provoking content" who "will be creating documentaries mixing reality with science-fiction."  His dystopian short film Capitol of Conformity depicts a strange, utopian nightmare, a world in which everybody wears a mask and is perversely, artificially happy.  The film is enhanced and/or generated by A.I., which makes it even creepier.

"My Church Is In The Trees" is a song I wrote in New Orleans, after fleeing an oppressive black church in Algiers, which may or may not have been legitimately Christian, but which made me want to die, in a bad way, regardless.  From the article on Wordpress,

"I wrote [the song] because I had to get out of that church or die.  It was great and all, but if that lady screamed at me about power for another half an hour while I’m evaporating in my shoes from lack of love & oxygen, I would have quite simply lost my mind.

And so I walked outside into the underwater streets of Algiers and sat on the giant, prehistoric root of some twisted, fleshy tree that resembled a psychedelic circus tent, and looked up at the birds, and let myself go quietly insane.  And it was indeed quite pleasant.  The heat had no effect on me at all."

The title makes it sound like a pagan thing, but it's not.  The song is about finding air and light in a world of oppressive, suffocating darkness.  You may build your artificially-flavored church in the basement of a combination bomb shelter/casino underneath the rubble of the free world, if you please, but I will be praying in the trees, with the broken birds and the burning bees.  I thought it made a good soundtrack for the film.

I've posted the original video at the bottom, underneath the lyrics.

Thanks for listening.

My Church Is In The Trees

In the land where the cotton fields cling
to everything
I'm headed south
on a broken wing
to the headless city rising

There's a downpour,
a rising flood
of flowers blooming in my blood
I may have slipped and slept
in the mud,
but not anymore

A burning sparrow pierced my heart
a flaming arrow,
a fiery dart,
and love is a fierce,
perfect art
no one can master

Behold the diamond in my hand
you can't see it,
but I can
it's not necessary to understand
only to believe

I rolled up in my rotten yacht
to rediscover the long-forgotten plot
but the cemetery gates were locked
as I hoped they would be

I spent the night on Barracks Street
a swarm of fairies swam around my feet
and I dreamed about a love so sweet,
not even we could deny

Lay me down where the lizards sleep
and the daughters run still and deep
where the waters start to weep
with gratitude and joy

Happiness comes to those who wait
until it seems like it's way too late
I can't understand
or overstate
this paradox of life

Take me baby by the invisible hand
of an unseen force
through an imaginary land
I haven't seen these streets
since time began,
if indeed I've ever seen them at all

Loving ravens follow me
from town to town
and tree to tree
they provide for and protect me
from the spirits of destruction

My church is in the trees
with the broken birds
and the burning bees
your sycophantic prophecies
exhaust my heart and mind


©2016 Nathan Payne

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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