Brown Eyes Like My Brothers

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family isn’t just blood. i can’t stress this enough. dna is not all that makes a family. people who aren’t grown from the same parents can still be cut from the same cloth.
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50/50

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this is a sensitive one. first, it’s been a long time since a melody has come with lyrics. this one did.

i go back and forth between loving and hating it. it’s stuck in my head. and it’s been so long since that’s happened, i’ve been staring at it and hearing it, over and over. i can’t decide if i love it or hate it. posting to get some distance.

second and lastly, i self-doubt, over-analyze, overthink…i live so in my head i’m often the last to pick up on details outside of my focus. my naivety is a running gag. but if i infer a thing that interests me, watch out. i’ll be immersed in moments. i can drown.

the lyrics

flipping a coin would provide the same clarity
given a choice i will see what i want to see
raise myself high just to slam myself low
it’s a horrorshow horrorshow horrorshow

picking up vibes like they’re clues you’ve been dropping
i’ll believe what i want given the option
with little evidence i draw conclusions
find hidden meaning in my own delusions

set me straight
i need a good talking to
my head’s way past the clouds
among the stars with you

trace a new constellation
is this intuition
who am i listening to

i’ll take an observation
to a full obsession
is it me or is it you

reading the signs from the angle you offer me
picking and choosing what i count as prophecy
what do i trust of the who where and why
when it’s not written in crystalline sky

i can’t shut down all these signals receiving
and without the facts i have trouble believing
what do i trust of the when where and how
who is living in the dream world now

set me straight
i need a good talking to
put it in black and white
tell me the truth

trace a new constellation
is this intuition
who am i listening to

the smallest slights
turn my days to nights
is it me or is it you

who am i listening to
i don’t know how to lose
tell me the truth

talk about it

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wordpress app, why didn’t i discover you earlier?

i’ve referenced consumers of art adding their own layers before, and while i hate to admit this (because it makes me feel like a cheater), i have a trick that helps me when i’m stuck.

sometimes i get lucky with a song and the words come with a melody. buuuttt this hasn’t happened since high school. i decided i can’t stop trying just because the stars aren’t aligned to give me all my creative bursts at once.

so. if i plateau when writing lyrics, i match the beat structure to a song i like. if i can sing it along to an existing tune it usually helps shake out the remaining lyrics stuck in my brain.

it’s also a bad trap because it makes me lazy on the music…but because i haven’t composed since maybe 2003? i figure it can’t hurt to borrow a tune for my private headcanon until something original comes along.

i feel like a thief when i do this, even though no one would’ve known if i hadn’t spilled my tea everywhere. i don’t perform my words with anyone else’s music without permission. yet the inspiration still makes me feel like a phony. not being real is such a hang-up of mine.

anyway. my partner in faux-crime today was ingrid michaelson’s parachute. i heard it for the first time earlier this month and spent my morning listening to the four remixes on spotify. on repeat. ad nauseum. which is how i like to experience everything i love. i wear things i love so thin they become a ragged security blanket i can’t bring myself to throw away. but that’s a story for another day.

ugh now i’m worried i drew too much inspiration after rereading obsessively but here i go throwing caution to the wind via the post button. maybe i suck but that’s the risk i’m taking!

the lyrics

give me the smile
that buckles my knees
flash me the blues all across this screen

touch my skin
in my dreams
if i could make any mistake i please

but i won’t
no i won’t
but i won’t
no no no i won’t

tease my heart
with such blithe irony
yes i see you but do you see me

hold me a beat
to change our key
of course i want you to dance with me

but i won’t
no i won’t
but i won’t
no no no i won’t

don’t, let’s
talk about it
i can’t
talk about it
no, let’s
talk about it
i don’t want to talk about it

lift me up, up
pull me down, down
i want to talk about it
no more chasing round

don’t let’s
talk about it
i can’t
talk about it
hope we
talk about it
i don’t want to talk about

lift me up, up
pull me down, down
let’s not talk about it
bury my heart underground

touch my lips
i won’t stop you now
wait a minute i’ve tripped i’m falling off this cloud

hit the ground
i can’t figure out
i’d tell you everything if i could only make a sound

but i won’t
no i won’t
but i won’t
oh no no i won’t

take your time
i’ll wait patiently
oh no i won’t i need the cure for this disease

take your time
wait for me
i’ll stand in line while i’m here begging on my knees

but i won’t
no i won’t
but i won’t
no no no i won’t

don’t, let’s
talk about it
i can’t
talk about it
no, let’s
talk about it
i don’t want to talk about it

lift me up, up
pull me down, down
i want to talk about it
no more chasing round

don’t let’s
talk about it
i can’t
talk about it
hope we
talk about it
i don’t want to talk about

lift me up, up
pull me down, down
let’s not talk about it
bury my heart underground

spit it out

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first post from my phone. i am avoiding all responsibility because my body has stopped functioning properly from stress. i had to take a minute to do some blood-letting aka writing.

it’s been over six months since i last posted but at least this time i’ve been continuously capturing my writing snippets. this one spit itself out this morning because my brain couldn’t process anything until i got it out of me. i’m still not okay but fuck it. i will be again someday.

the lyrics

i’m wide-eyed oblivious
no, it’s not obvious
i can’t read into anything because i read into everything

spell it out for me

it’s dangerous
you’re contagious
the spectrum i’m running it’s running away with my well being

this time
it’s not right
but my body it screams every day
to find
the time
some tucked away corner
in my mind
where we
can hide

here i was hoping
heart expanding, contracting
toss turning because i can’t get to sleep

here i was wanting
here i am fading
from living off what you allow me to keep

i can’t sleep

spit it out
spit it out
spit it out
spit it out
spit it out
spit it out
spit it out

Five Songs I Wished I’d Written

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In no particular order, five out of thousands, chosen from the recent rotation (even though many are serious throwbacks), I present the below. What song/book/screenplay do you wish you’d written first?
Matchbox 20 – You Won’t Be Mine
I first heard this in…sophomore year? of high school. I had downloaded it during a LimeWire spree in a pre-requisite computer class that was frankly beneath me. I spent most of my time emailing nonsense to my buddy/brother Ethan who was stuck in another computer class directly across the hall. It was our elegant solution to more efficient programs like AIM being blocked by the school. In between inbox refreshing, LimeWire and the stack of blank CDs I’d bring with me helped pass the time. I’ve always envied piano players. I took a class in junior high but the teacher was a heinous bitch and I learned more just watching my voice teacher play, so I mostly riffed. Maybe I’d be more disciplined nowadays but alas, no regular, solo access to a set of keys. YET!
I wish I had written the piano music, the orchestral arrangement that accompanies and the simple lyrics that so concisely put my feelings on a plate. After I heard it, I sketched a curving sidewalk with piano keys for a curb. I imagined a cityscape behind it and a busking musician with a hat out, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. Another item on the to-learn list.
Amanda Palmer – Leeds United
Ugh. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished I had Amanda Palmer’s LIFE. I know I’m romanticizing and ignoring the subtleties of being another human but, jealousy. I’m currently attempting to curate a life in which I give no fucks and sing my goddamn heart out, look how I want instead of how I have to for work and be generally fabulous. And I’ve always wanted to belt into one those vintage mics. SOON.
I could point to countless facets of the music and lyrics (setting aside the music video performance that sets my eyes aflame with envy), but mostly I’m devastated I didn’t write,
“That never talking thing you do
Is effective, it’s effective
Your shoulder’s icy colder, oh
Than a death wish, than a death wish”
Modest Mouse – Spitting Venom
Picking just one Modest Mouse song was nearly impossible. I have regular fantasies of starting a MM cover band. At the very least, a cover band that has a metric fuckton of their songs in our repertoire. I have a fab group of ladyfriends who are currently humouring me that they’ll get on this train when I move back to MA. I remain cautiously optimistic, but our music tastes are…different, to put it mildly. I’m fairly certain Brittany weeps at my spotify selection on the daily. I don’t listen to much that was released after 2008. I KNOW, I KNOW. Blame my classic rock father and folksy/pop mother.
I love how hard this band rocks. I love the wordsmith lyrics of every fucking song. I wish I could plant myself inside their heads for a few days. Just camp out in Isaac Brock. Don’t worry, Isaac. I’ll clean up after myself and share my snacks.
“Hold on to what you need
We’ve got a knack for fucked up history
Hold on to what you need
We’ve got a knack for messed up history
Well we went downtown and we sat in the rain
Both looking one direction and waiting for a train of thought over
Thought over
I didn’t know you kept track I didn’t know there was a score
Well it looks like you’re the winner and I ain’t gonna play no more
It’s over
Game over”
Cole Porter – Easy to Love
Oh, Cole. One day I will make my pilgrimage to significant sites of your history and the annual festival. There’s a reason his songs are recorded over and over and over in every different style – his incredible, timeless talent. I am just one of his many admirers. I mean, his vocabulary alone, guys. One day in the afterlife, I am going to sit at his knee and bask. Stephen Fry and Edgar Allan Poe will be there, too, FSM willing.
Counting Crows – Rain King
Adam Duritz has had my heart since forever. One of the only concerts I could ever convince my mom to take me to was Counting Crows. She bought me a sweatshirt in the musical afterglow and I wore. that. shit. OUT. By the end of college that was the rattiest navy sweatshirt you’ve ever seen. I’d even managed to shred the killer thumbholes I’d wiggled in the cuffs. I am actually just now learning this song on my guitar. I can’t account for the hold-up. But when I meet up with Porter & co, deliver me in a black-winged bird – I am the Rain King. Make me a crown of pens and feathers and heather.

Ask Me Anything

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Well, go ahead. Ask away.
I feel like I mention the subject of family here often, which is unusual because some days my own biological family feels like a foreign country. Not that there are any major rifts, we’re pretty good in the way of remembering birthdays and all the normal family schtick. It’s just, they’re not really my tribe. A foundation I need and depend on, for certain, but I don’t always get them and they rarely get me. So I found other friends to call family and wouldn’t you know, a lot of them have stuck with me. I can’t exactly speak to why, you’d have to ask them, but I think it’s because I treated them as family once I found them. People love to be loved. If I love someone, I will give them anything they need that I can provide.
Finding your family, your collaborators, is often an exercise in balance; strengths with weaknesses, adding your layer of flavor to the group without overpowering or wrecking others’. I’ve been reading this theme into a few movies: CA: The Winter Soldier & the newest Star Trek flicks, to name a few. Now these may be highly specific, scientifically improbable examples when viewed through the lens of our present reality, but regardless the lesson is the same: what wouldn’t we do for our crew/tribe/faction/family? And to take it a step further, have we made them feel comfortable enough to ask for our help?
We can do our best to be observant while participating in any relationship but sometimes we can’t know what’s going on until it’s shared with us. Sometimes we don’t know someone needs help until they ask for it – oh, and this can hurt like hell for both parties. I have been guilty of letting things fester til I thought the stink of it was so strong it could have choked passersby. So why didn’t the objects of my frustration get it? Well, because even the most intuitive of people need clues, guidelines, sign posts, road maps – help. Communication. Mutual expectations. Shit gets awfully difficult to sort out when we withhold information as important as our emotional reactions.
So. If you’re like me and hold on to pain forever, shake it out whenever you can. And if you’re finally sharing something after you’ve let it rot awhile, go easy on the resentment – no one knows how badly they have hurt you when you hide it.
The Lyrics
Sort out this short out
This fatal breakdown
Take whatever I can offer
Hell, I can give much more
Than you ever bargained for
A quarter for the pay phone
The longest silent ride home
The worst kept secret, I’m a liar
A failing metaphor
Whatever was this for
I’ll give I’ll give
You’ll take you’ll take
Until you can’t take it anymore
Ask of me anything, anything
I’ll give you everything, everything
You need a ride or space or time
I need what’s yours and you need mine
Ask me for anything, anything, anything
The best advice yet
As good as it gets
Have you ever heard words so absurd
I’ve said it once before
But I know you’ve done it more
A book to borrow
My heart to swallow
No need to return the favor
No one’s keeping score
Of what number’s this divorce
I’ll give I’ll give
You’ll take you’ll take
Until you can’t take me anymore
Ask of me anything, anything
I’ll give you everything, everything
Grant me reprieve from this crime
I need what’s yours and you need mine
Ask me for anything, anything, anything
Sort out this short out
This fatal breakdown
Take whatever I can offer
I can give much more
Than you ever bargained for
A shoulder to cry on
A stupid offer withdrawn
Name your price I’m here to barter
What do you take me for?
After that pact we swore
Ask of me anything, anything
I’ll give you everything, everything
Only share with me the punch line
I need what’s yours and you need mine
Ask me for anything, anything, anything

Superheroes of 2015

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I am a weird kid, for sure. But nothing makes that more evident than superhero stories – myths, comics, movies, etc… The good ones, even the bad ones, they find a hole in my heart to climb through and settle there for eternity. I am most assuredly one of the stereotypical movie nerds on the internet, combing IMDB for details and fun facts. But the one bandwagon I can’t get on is the widespread critiquing of comic book hero movies for being less than canon, an insult to the fans, blah blah blah. Firstly, I’m not incredibly knowledgeable on a lot of comic canon so I tend to avoid fights I’m not well-equipped for. Of course my Dad collected the old Marvel & DC comics from the 1960s forward and I’m not allowed to touch them…just wait, Dad. If I outlive you, that shit is MINE. So one day with proper training maybe I’ll be an expert level geek.
Secondly, more importantly, whatever I may think of any piece of art, it’s difficult for me to compare it to another piece of art, regardless of the common threads of creation. The X-Men comic franchise versus the Saturday morning cartoon show versus the Bryan Singer movies versus the prequels, etc. etc. They all make me feel different things. So maybe Banshee is Irish in the comics but American in the later movies. Was I entertained by both mediums? HELL YES. To me, that’s all I care about. What did it make me FEEL?
Art is layering. Sometimes it’s revisiting the work you’ve done and improving on it. Sometimes it’s being inspired by another’s existing work. I can’t bring myself to get online and trash anyone’s efforts and attempts at making art or entertainment. I have had too many voices in my ears telling me what I want to do (write lyrics, perform) is frivolous, not worth the trouble, never going to pay the bills. I may be well-employed at a large company making a very decent salary, able to pay bills, buy great food and see the movies I want in theaters, on cable, Netflix, etc. – but I took the job to satisfy a bizarre societal definition of success. I slog away at lots of excel spreadsheets during the day, come home to my guitar and a blank notepad file on my laptop and feel like the real work is just beginning. I’m trying. So is everyone else.
Art like success is so deeply personal. Your definition is going to vary from others and that is more okay than anyone has ever told you. This project I’m chipping away at, on my bad days, feels like one big revision of the same song. But what inspires me is what’s on my mind and what I’m going through. What inspires me is art (and artists) that is authentically honest about its subject matter, regardless if its base is in reality or mythology. People will always make art. Consumers of art will always add their layers and make it their own personal art. I’ve been inspired by movies all my life. I wrote these latest lyrics based on personal experience but the central theme of looking at the same objects or moments together but separately came from The Incredible Hulk (2008). Ed Norton/Bruce Banner staying with Liv Tyler/Betty Ross under the same roof, both lying awake in bed, eyes on the ceiling, maybe making the same wish. Art can come from anywhere or from anyone.
TL;DR, don’t knock fan fiction. It’s someone’s soul in there.
The Lyrics!
Show up, out of touch
I’m fumbling over how to handle
Staying in the same square footage
Again after all these years
This used to happen easily
Falling asleep with you near me
What’s one more overnight
And maybe this will be the place
Maybe this will be the time
To say what I’ve been thinking
Seeming for eternity
Finally let it out of me
But it wasn’t and I wouldn’t
And that’s on me
On me, on me, on me me me
Oh darling, how I wonder
Do we make the same wish on the ceiling
Eyes open wide because we can’t get to sleep
Scribbling furiously all the things I’d tell you
If you’d only leave your room to speak to me
Cast my eyes out the window, watching the sunrise
I’ve been lying on your couch all night
Eyes wide open because I can’t shake this heartache
I better head out before the light hits your eyes
Show up, barely there
I’m fumbling over how to handle
Staying in the same square footage
Again after all these years
One more opportunity
To say just what you’ve meant to me
One last overnight
Maybe this will be the place
Maybe this will be the time
To say what I’ve been thinking
Seeming for eternity
Finally let it out of me
It wasn’t but I did it
And that’s on me
On me, on me, on me me me
Oh darling, how I wondered
If we made the same wish on the ceiling
Eyes open wide because we can’t get to sleep
Scribbling furiously all the things I’d tell you
If you’d only cross the room to speak to me
Cast my eyes out the window, watching the sunrise
I’ve been lying in bed all night
Eyes wide open hoping you’ll crawl in next to me
I’ll stay til you catch your ride
Here we are again
I’m fumbling over how to handle
Occupying the same space for hours
In such a new context
After all the years gone by
Waiting here to see
What’s left of you and me
I’m out of time
I’m out of time
I’m out of time time time
My darling, how I’ve wondered
If we’d only spoke up sooner
Eyes wide open from hindsight bearing down
My throat screaming all the things I’d tell you
If you’d only cross the room to speak to me
Cast my eyes out the window, watching the sunset
Waiting for this day to fade
Eyes wide open for the next sign
I’m still here for you, that’s no surprise
Look me in the eyes
And when we’re next in the same room
Will you let me
Will you let me
Still hold you, hold you, hold you you you