Dance Music For The Condopocalypse

by Non State Actors

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about

Dance Music For The Condopocalypse is the result of a year's collaboration between myself and road poet Brando Chemtrails [http://brandochemtrails.bandcamp.com/]. Together we did our best to create a danceable soundtrack to the grinding lows and defiant glittery highs of wandering a world claimed by people you despise and (barely) living in fucked up fascist boomtowns such as Denver, and quite possibly where you live too. Recorded on/in dying computers, other people's phones, public bathrooms and storm drains but not to be cool or artsy, just out of desperation.

credits

released July 19, 2014

Brando Chemtrails [http://brandochemtrails.bandcamp.com/] - Vocals, words.
Soudou [騒動] - Beats, noises, samples, ugliness, prettiness
Alvina - Banjo gloriousness on Track 12.
Rina - Cover art and logo

tags

license

Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

about

騒動

all tracks recorded live, performed under many names.
I began playing back in '96 by recording strange sounds, looping and manipulating the tapes and running the output through effects pedals.
If you download and you like it, please consider a donation to go toward new equpiment/projects. <3
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Track Name: Traffic
I've been learning how to drive. I spent years never wanting to, terrified that a second's misjudgment could introduce me to people I've never met in the wrong kind of way, the empty seat at the table as much mine as the one who's missing. So instead my relationship with cars has been high speed obstacles to dodge in badly planned crossings, rush hour audiences for messages of cloth that a stage won't cut it for, and a perfect symbol for what humanity has become from the side of a busy highway... watching the endless stampede go by like I'm not there, waiting for a car without flashing red and blue lights to take interest in me, that one in a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, to take me where I already know that it's going, just thirty more miles.

But I got tired of asking other people for distance without even a right foot to offer in return, and I never wanted to get to a point where my foot could save a friend or a stranger and I didn't know how, so I talked myself into getting my permit before I could talk myself out of it.

Now I drive the careful kind of reckless, or maybe the other way around, or maybe that's just how it feels inside the world's deadliest weapon that I still forget how to turn off half the time. I spend every drive thinking of catastrophe, asking in every crossing that looks like a screech honk bang in the making who'd have to pay for new windshields or teeth or restitution because there are so many ways to break or get broken with the flick of a wrist, and wherever there's wreckage there's got to be someone stuck with the bill and it's not always the one who hurts least, it's the one who broke the most rules along the way.

The Colorado Driver's Manual has a section on pets and wildlife and how to deal with them when they cross your path. It says that nobody wants to hit an animal but most of the time you have no other choice. Dogs and cats and squirrels are too small to cause any damage, but there's an art to hitting deer the right way, at the least cost to your vehicle. Either way, it says, do not try to avoid them. You risk more by trying to save them. You have the right of way. Roll on.

I know no better metaphor for modern society than a busy highway: a collection of individuals that mean you no harm transforming together into a force far more terrifying than all of its pieces that will kill you for walking across it or breaking ranks once you've entered, a tag team firing squad where all the participants swear their weapon was loaded with blanks until called in front of a line of gunmen all swearing the exact same thing. The sides of the highways are lined with the dead of every species, including our own, but you cause more pain and trouble by trying to do something different then you do by just moving forward in a straight line. There’s a certain amount of carnage you’ve gotta be OK with creating to make it from point A to point B, and you’ll never make it anywhere if you pull over to check on everything you see bleeding on the side of the highway.
Track Name: Train Whistles and Ghosts [If the Night Belongs to Lovers]
If the night belongs to lovers,
then the parts of the morning long before it gets light belong to train whistles and ghosts.
When your cities biggest street becomes a private place,
and the nightclubs and night lights have gone dim,
the party animals and predators and everyone else asleep
except the train conductors and greasy spoon washers
and the truck stop and Wal-Mart workers with the biggest families to feed and us.
I don't remember why I'm awake this time around,
could be got picked on by some pissed spirit
wanting someone to take revenge on the person who separated them from their tissue and fat,
could be got woken up by the whistle of a freight train that runs all day
that we can't pick out underneath the uproar
of thousands of moaning motors
we've taught ourselves to no longer hear.
Trains howling in mourning for the things the little men made it do,
the body on the tracks it didn't want to break,
the bison and people gunned down through its windows,
the holes blasted through mountains to fit it through.
Maybe got picked on by malicious ghosts at the end of an orgy when everyone else is asleep,
bringing sleep paralysis, questions, ugly pictures never quite finished,
full of pity for a person that might be me,
burning like the temple of a dying religion in an air raid,
knowing if my foundations survive till the dawn,
I'll be more beautiful for the rubble and ashes.
The reason doesn't matter.
It's the kind of time when no one's up to notice a little crash or bang
or a couple people running under a fence
through a hole in a boarded up window,
a car driving faster than the black and white signs tell them to.
The cops aren't looking for trouble, they're looking at their watches
the good Samaritans are dreaming about putting someone else in jail
and we can all be in charge of the blocks we walk on,
or ourselves.
Because the night may belong to lovers,
but times like this belong to us.
Track Name: Maybe The World, Probably America, Definitely The Rust Belt
I live in a country that can make torture boring, where death from the sky is less argued about than putting a sick dog to sleep, where people decline and renew their empathy in four year installments depending on whether their guy wins, where we rule and are ruled by our neighbors from the privacy of a voting booth. I live in a country where hate is a given, the only question is who you're gonna hate-- whether it's politicians or businessmen running this place into the ground, and whatever problem you choose, the solution's always the other one. What group of broke as hell characters that don't give a damn what Rachel Maddow thinks of them you'd rather see cut off from what little gasp of free action that slip into their lives. Whose turn is it, the light skinned ones in the trailer parks and backwoods or the dark skinned ones in the rezes and blocks and barrios, or the ones of all shades by the tracks and in tent cities by the river? Remember, ‘none of the above’ is not an answer. Remember, ‘all of the above’ is, and it’s this place’s favorite answer. These people gotta know there's gonna be a reckoning for finding their own ways to scratch by without ever doing the same jobs as the dads in the sitcoms, for refusing to die or disappear no matter how hard the jails tug like a magnet. But hey, we got choices here, like who gets flooded out when the storm hits: flyover country or city neighborhoods where the pizzas don't get delivered? Like are you gonna leave your home voluntarily, or will they have to drag you out by force?

And hey, we got people working to make things better. Too bad that most who fit that description worry that people here take the words in military funerals a little too seriously, words like "sovereignty", "liberty", "self-reliance", "independence", lies in the mouths of those who ordered them carved in marble but dangerous when taken too deep to heart. Their biggest problem with this place seems to be that we don't ask enough people before we speak or get a drink of water, that we don't know how to live as a community so they hunt for those that do but don't use the word and draft them against their will into one big Community with a capital ‘C’ that you can't run away from. But this ain't Europe yet, thank god. There's still wilderness to flee to. Even when our actions are data fed through a calculator trying to build an empire out of the most tolerable intolerability, the results still come up short.

I write this from the rust belt, this country’s sacrifice zone except for all the other ones, like maybe you, like maybe me too. It's a place where the banks put door and window shaped stickers on plywood to trick the shortsighted out of looting their building's copper guts, where you got better odds of winning the radio station prize money from recognizing Rihanna and Ke$ha songs than you got of finding a job, where the hospitals get dark after 7 but you can watch the colors of the casino lights dance the night away, where other people my age that aren't from here applaud their own courage for living in the same neighborhoods as toddlers and eighty-year-olds. A place that nearly has me convinced ashes aren't enough. I spent the morning in Flint, redecorating a statue of the founder of GM with whiskey bottles and styrofoam and a cardboard sign saying WILL WORK FOR FOOD... NEVER MIND, YOU WILL, exploring a maze built for water but now more a home for spray paint and chalk, swastikas I turned into four square boards, upside down crosses and right side up crosses, hearts and gangtags, FAIR IS FOR LOSERS AND I WANT TO WIN and IN THE END EVERYTHING WILL BE OK, IF ITS NOT OK ITS NOT THE END, all the marks that this place is more alive than you think, all the signs of civil wars to come. Like the WE'LL MISS YOU banner hung from a railroad bridge someone I never knew was killed on, like the knife carving in a truck stop bathroom stall saying "I need god to forgive me" and below it, "just ask". All the things people feel hard enough to not mind breaking the law to say.
I got these silly ideas about this place, like that I can trust it not to kill me, like even if rubble's not enough, it's a start, like that I can talk my way out of destitution saying things my heart knows to be true, no matter how my eyes talk bag, like I can keep adding to my birthday collection with scammed copies of copies of copies of what a shitty and wonderful place this is, and if claps were pennies, we'd have enough gas to get to the west coast on these poems, these postcards from hostile territory saying Wish you weren't here. Wish I wasn't either.
Track Name: Coast to Coast AM
The radio towers are talking about bodybags and underground bunkers in a deep soothing voice like an 1940s ad for menthol cigarettes and if I wanted to disbelieve them I don't know that I could but I don't want to disbelieve them, I can only wait for the details and admire them as they come, fear I've known longer than the word afraid, that I devour every word and crackle of... a free psychic on the dial spelling out my doom four hours a night, and I'd feel more of a fool for turning it off than I do for believing.
They say forty miles away the Russians are playing games inside of a mountain. They say there's a dungeon where all the missing children go. They say that solving the wrong math problems can get you killed if you're not careful. They say the demons are in charge and I keep on listening with eyes wide open, wondering about the sinister intent behind every burst of white noise.
And some people say we listen to these spooky stories because we need easy answers for why we're lost, jumbled and sore. That behind every tale of mind control, blood ritual and alien laboratory there's a faith in the goodness of our species that's as much legend as Merlin or the apocalypse that's always just a few days away. The faith we would have the kindness for life to be an action we are proud of and for death to be a tragedy we're ready to face when it comes, if it weren't for the damn Illuminati ruining it for everyone. And in a room without windows, or around skeptical friends, I know you don't have to look for ugliness beneath the black ink on a classified document, there is nowhere you can go where it isn't and most of the time it is as taken for granted as the turning of the colors of a stop light, always here but never remembered.
Tonight, people who know my name, whose couches I've slept on sleep on government cots as punishment for the crime of trying to help someone else, or letting their lives be their own. And before those cots were their beds, those cots were a bed for someone else and I knew it and so did you but still we looked for atrocities in the shadows. Doom is everywhere, doom and misery and the floorplans to them, under construction, breaking ground, opening it's doors and sometimes it is full of sirens and shouts but just as often the only sound is the sound of a person sucking in ambitions that they want but will never get as they chug on through their lives... the saddest stories don't end with bloody death but a long life ahead with nothing in it to look forward to for the rest of your days. There would still be terror and heartache and injustice printed proudly on the front page of the paper if black helicopters had never taken to the skies.
But they have. I've seen them, along with light formations in the sky that can't be explained, unmarked vans, haunted places making dashboards flash at random while engines fail, camcorders turn to fuzz and horns honk in old Confederate morse code, anonymous phone calls coming with silence and a click five seconds later, more dread than I can handle when I think of the Satanic conspiracy stories of the 80s and pass by DIA. Every town's got a building with a snipers nest that you gotta show ID to enter, where even the people that work there don't know what's being done, and every town's got scary stories spreading tongue to tongue, that have never been put to ink. Kids like me throw rocks at the fences just to hear what the alarms sound like and watch the the tinted windowed vehicles run by, we ask the wrong questions and fill in the blanks from the awkward silences and uncertainty we get in response to draw a picture of terror as violent as movie screens in the summer time. It's not like we need things to be scared of. Our eyeballs and heads make sure those will show up anywhere, as long as it's like any place we've been before, a family arcade, an office park at night, a strip of spas and sunglass stores. Nah, we'd just rather think of the evil with texture, the enemy it'd be an adventure to battle. A courtroom is such a boring place for your future to hit the propellers of the greater good of society. Evil endings grip on in the most mundane places, condos and bungalows and apartment complexes that look like parking garages, office buildings and factories and Wal Mart aisles and schoolyards, wedding chapels and hospital beds, parole offices and DHS offices and tax offices and home loan offices and land auctions and bankruptcy court and retirement communities where the stories come to collect: all the places to puny and plain to have any business bringing a human to their knees. In the holes inside of a mountain, behind the electrified fence, inside the boxcars of trains with military clearance, where the UFOs go to dock... there is danger free of friendly excuses, paperwork and framed pictures of eagles with motivational quotes, a danger it's no insult to die in battle with. If there was nothing in the shadows, maybe we would need to make something up anyways. But there is.
Track Name: When A Dollar's Too Much To Spare
I have a rule when it comes to buying anything. Don't call it morals; I'm not looking for friends when I'm paying the ransom for the things that I need, call it loyalty. I won't buy shit from any store that's ever had anyone I know arrested. Since food is pretty much the only thing I spend money on and it's available most places, this rule doesn't change much for me. When one place gets crossed off my list there's always another store not far from there that hasn't had a chance yet to prove itself the same as all the others yet, and I buy canned beans there until I've been proven wrong.
I woke up this morning in a part of town called "food desert" by people that do not live there. This doesn't mean there's no food there; it means there is no food those people would want to buy. Truth is there are more edibles on sale per square block here than in a mile of most neighborhoods built on liberal guilt built on what used to be neighborhoods like these, and sold by the small family owned businesses they nondenominationally pray for every night. True, the shelves might not look like the ingredients to a long and healthy life, but if I was given the money to buy all I wanted from the co-op, I'd buy most of the same food I buy in stores like these, and the only difference would be the receipt, not the nutrition facts.
Anyways, on the door of one corner shop, they got a hoodie in a circle with a line through it, orders to take your hats off coming in or they'll call 911, a dumpster with ALL CAPS demands not to pee there because we're watching you. At the Dollar General, they got so many hanging cameras on the ceiling that the shadows look like black circle tiles on the floor. Every time I've gone to the North Avenue Deli and Market after sundown, the same cop stands between the registers and the people in line and watches the procession of best behavior, of the respect that comes from a hand resting on a holstered gun and the costume that makes it all OK. At the Family Dollar, they don't play songs on the radio, they play warnings on a thirty second loop about how you're being monitored from some office in Charlotte right now for your own safety, so don't try to pull anything the next time you're in here and hungry and a dollar's too much to spare. I am angry, but it's not the kind of story made for those whose business is outrage from the safety of their keyboard or sofa, no brave main street mom and pops trying to say "no" to a Wal Mart in town, and it's not lone assholes speaking their mind too honestly, never expecting the world will make them suffer till they say sorry like they mean it. It's not something you can wear a button to fix, this is the nature of holding the title to dinner in a place where a dollar can be too much to spare, and free help is always a phone call away. If I knew more people, I'd never buy a thing.
Track Name: Engines Run on Sin
Word is, if you're running— not from acquaintances but from strangers— when your license plate is a bullseye and your name a K-9 Unit whistle and the distance between you and some sort of safety is many hours to kill... drive faster than the road signs tell you to. Everyone knows the speed limit's for old people and fugitives so unless you're both, break it at the same pace as everyone else.

Because everyone's a criminal, it's just a matter of degree and if you're acting like you're not one, then you're one with something to hide. Everybody's convict material for the shit that they've done, but some of us get to hang on to our street clothes for a while.

What some might call a repeat offender, I call someone that’s been watched by professionals like prospectors panning for gold. What some might call a law-abiding citizen, I call someone with better blinds. There's no more secure line of work than living off the misdeeds of others, especially when your list of don'ts grows with every passing business day. Look close enough in anyone's closet or basement or trunk and you'll find something you can't forgive, the only question is how long you’ll be at it before moving onto more tried and true hunting grounds.

We act like pretty cathedrals are the only relics left from the days that cardinals ate banquets off silver plates paid for with the indulgence fees and get out of hell bribes of serf on serf crime. Like our own roads and fountains and fireworks displays weren’t paid for in part with the traffic tickets and wage garnishments of the unruly and astray. Like the made in America tag on the back of your shirt wasn't someone else's forced good work doled out by men that look like priests in buildings that look like temples, then served in places with penitence in the name.

At least the church was ready to believe in the possibility of someone living thirty three years without breaking a single rule in their motel cabinet sized book, but the bishops of law are not so forgiving... their bibles are a whole lot heavier and aren't done being written yet. Some people look for an end to crime by putting their faith in those who'd be out of work if it stopped, others learn the art of pious, of loyal, of invisible, of wasn't me, of what seems to be the matter officer?, of guilty, your honor, of whatever it takes not to wind up decoration for a cell bed or mortuary slab for no other crime than being human.

But those who’ve zoomed to the top in machines that run on sin will not ditch their ride just because everyone decides to behave. After all of the place's it's taken them so far, why the fuck would they walk like the rest of us? When killers and predators can't be found, they'll find beggars and hustlers and red tape scorners, create a hundred new laws then wonder why they wind up with a hundred thousand new criminals. Blame it on the TV, the families, not enough art or beatings in school, the serpent, the wickedness of man… anything but their own thirsty tank that runs on human fuel. You can't talk an engine run on sin into sparing you, cannot guilt it with a sad story it already knows damn well as the story of a job well done. The creature that feasts on our indiscretions will eat well for as long we both live. There is no negotiating with forces that are hungry and count you as prey, there is no such thing as safety for as long as they survive.
Track Name: Unneeded Unwanted [How Good People Lose Bad Jobs]
A couple months ago I got a reservation to sell my plasma for the first time in years. It was in a strip mall where every single door led to people whose job it is to take things away from you and give you back something you need that's worth just a fraction of what you gave... phone cards to a place closer than St. Louis, clean clothes, a check cashed, someone you care about out of jail, a rifle and set of fatigues, a paid up union card, or money for your ring and stereo and the chance you might never see it again. But the bus that was supposed to come and take me to sell my heart's broth came ten minutes late and that took me straight off the list.
This blood market was the only one in town that still paid the same wages it had a year ago, all of the other ones had slashed their paper compensation in half, down to 15 bucks, enough to ride the bus to and from and keep you fed through the day. An hour of lying down with a tube in your arm feeding into a machine that plays both boss and Nosferatu at the same time isn't worth what it used to be. This place is full of people willing to open their veins and thin on real life customers. Blood is cheap, the world is full of it and most miss it less when it is taken from us than money so more and more I learn what substance is more important for our survival. One comes equally to all the living, free of cost and labor, and every beat of your heart brings in more. The other is now just as vital to your continuing pulse but living is a process of losing it day by day, ride by ride, meal by meal, month by month of a roof on your head and most spend their lives trying to outearn our needs by following the orders of those generous enough to pick us to order around, hoping to be drained of enough work to get transfused with the donations of other involuntary donors with the same threat at their back and the same empty dream dangling on the horizon. This whole world like another extraction center, sucking in your time on Earth and then stripping financial worth from what you give, like a plasma center supplying this society with its lifeblood only the plasma folks give you your blood back once they've taken the gold out of you, but I’ve never known a job that gives you back time.
And a year ago you could walk into a shop on 16th and get hired on the spot, waving a sign through the day. This was back when it was legal to stay warm here after sundown, when the mall built to ward off sleeping bags at night with shopping bags by day was failing beautifully, when a walk down this street meant hearing a dozen different different stories that all started in different places and led to here and now, when the drifting class owned this place. They passed through on the way to somewhere else, or went on vacation and stayed on probation or were waiting for a train to take them away, or waiting for revenge on some other towns blue uniformed enemies provided by the ones here in the same uniform, or to sing songs in the street or some industrial building, or from the Springs to get away from all the bumperstickers that carried memories of war, to escape or have mountains to look at, or to become somebody they could be proud of, or cause there was no other place, no other choice, as many options as there were people to have them and it was nobody's utopia but I never loved Denver more. Now I walk 16th and rock rebellion's on the restaurant playlists but everyone's here for one reason and that reason is shopping and if you can't spin sign like you're in Cirque du Soleil forget it cause they've taken to hiring dummies to spin their signs instead.
It's the appearance of humanity combined with a worker whose only wages are the cost of batteries and the industrial strength materials they're built from. They stand impossibly straight and wave the signs without a hitch from dawn to dawn with no need for meals and bathroom breaks and the words on the sign are less important than the message they have for us all. There's no use for you, nothing you can't do that a mannequin can't do better, nothing in your veins worth as much as what's loaded in and out of vending machines every day. You have been living on someone else's generosity all this time but if you're not doing something useful, like writing blogs or interior design or betting on the stocks then you might not be worth the price of a bullet but that don't make you worth the price of a meal and it's on you to live or die in between those two, just do it anywhere but here, and where ever you end up going, anywhere but there.
It's true that it's safer to be wanted and used than to be neither. This is why there are more dogs out there than wolves. But when you are no longer needed in the high score competition this life has forcibly become, then you no longer need the game to survive either, this is why I'd rather be a wolf. Survival was a shitty bargaining chip in the first place, so what happens when you're no longer worth the cost of a the bribe? The mannequins are built to be safely stored and hidden away at night with GPS tracking to hunt down anyone who'd do them harm, and insured in case that fails. Even the messengers are scared to go without protection.
Track Name: Message From the West Coast To All Points East
I know that I’m not perfect. The only thing saintly about me are the names of some of my towns, but I am still… so much better than you.

I'll take credit for Starbucks if you'll take credit for Wal-Mart, I'll take credit for the SWAT team if you'll take credit for the Cavalry and Klan, I'll take credit for all those movies with explosions if you'll take credit for all those explosions. Till then, quit dragging me into your drama

I didn’t kill Dr. King. Wall Street's on your side of the Rockies and so is DC. Zimmerman was one of yours and even my own killer cops are just following rules written long before any part of me had an English name. I don't know what gets into them in LA and Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim, don’t know why they riot better here than anywhere else. I blame smog, second hand smoke, Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s gotta be something I can fix with a few rec-centers and parks because if only my troubled youths had more places to run around in circles till their anger subsides, they might not act out in fire the way that they do.

I'm tired of always getting blamed for your shit. Those ships full of white men had nothing to do with me, it was before my time. I would've turned them away at the coastline, or at least made them take a diversity seminar before setting foot on my shores. I would've handled it so much better if the tables were turned.

And the ships with Africans as luggage, that's not my problem either. I swear I would've blown them back home if they made it to me first, but there was nothing I could do from right here. When the steamships full of Asians started coming my way, I wanted so bad not to become you. I tried to nip that one in the bud as soon as the railroads were done, hoping the smoke from burning Chinatowns would make it across the Pacific as a warning that this was no promised land, but they didn't get the hint so I had to turn them away. Now vehicles cross my borders again with humans stashed inside; they don't get the hint either. I want my conscience to shine nearly as cheaply clean as the floor and sometimes the tile's gotta come first but I don't want to make a habit of this, that's why I turn them away.

And when we killed our Indians... it was more mercy killing than anything else. It would be inhumane to let them go on like that, sandwiched between the fort and the sea. They pled and killed to keep what they had, but sometimes you can't take the word of the gravely wounded on whether they'd be best off being put down, and you trying telling people who just ventured ‘cross a continent to stop fifty miles short of the sunset. After all of that walking or window seat buffalo hunting, there's no way we could let those beaches go to waste. It was as fast and painless as anything can be when there's bounties for grab and victory in sight, and we left no Wounded Knee Trail of Tears buzzwords for the history books to feel bad about because with two hundred fifty years of practice on your belt, this shit is no longer worth writing down.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made my mistakes, but none of them were original. I didn't write these rules, so don't hold it against me that they’ve treated me well. It's not my fault I'm so good looking, that I was perfect for a challenge and perfect for a prize, I can’t be held liable for all the things you did to try and impress me. You were the ocean where this started, I was the ocean that promised an ending. You were the bloody racetrack, I was the pure saltwater finish line. You can't blame the trophy for everything that goes wrong in a marathon. You can't blame the western sea for shining, for sparkling like a gold medal when the sun goes down.
Track Name: Scourges And Proud
It seems like everybody's looking for answers about what great men would do with their foot on the pedal and their hands on the wheel. And the best thing about turning to corpses for tips is that they're not around to contradict you so the advice you get is always that other people should do the things you want done but are afraid to do alone.

And damn near everybody's hoping or praying for reinforcements to come along and turn this tainted world into their personal favorite kind of clean and messy. And for those that use words like "sensible" and "courtesy", the day they're waiting for is the one when everyone finally comes to their senses and realizes how wise they are. But for those of us that prefer exclamation points to citations, our help from the outside looks a lot like the worst thing that's ever happened through the wrong set of eyes. You're rooting for Armageddon, you're rooting for global revolution, you're rooting for zombies, you're rooting for industrial collapse. At my lowest points I put my money and hopes on the volcanoes beneath Yellowstone Park to cover this country in ash and lately most of my points have been low ones. And we're all so sure we'd survive our own granted wishes, but we probably wouldn't. Still we cheer on catastrophes with fingers crossed because we don't yet know how to be the scourge of our scourges, 'cause we aren't disaster enough on our own.

We find each other through symbols and catchphrases that seem to say we hate the shit we're in for similar reasons, but I'm not so sure. You're drawing up verbal utopias and the picture's so vivid I can practically see myself sleeping through the ten hour meetings. But if the things we say are so obviously true than why aren't our hometown ruins or big rock candy mountain yet? You talk about hating yourself like it's the most radical thing you could do: well if that's the case, this place is on the brink of insurrection. Seems like everyone’s either ashamed of the bullets they caught or the bullets they dodged and the only ones immune from this guilt are the ones doing the firing. You put revolt on the backburner, purity on the front, but I’m not waiting till I’m sinless to start casting stones.

And if your problem with most people is that we're too greedy, I beg to differ, I say we’re not greedy enough. What some would call a rat race I call a race for scraps, and as soon as you get near the finish line you watch it get yanked back. You want a scramble for rations that's more just and fair and kind, but I got riches on the mind that are more than buyoffs and bribes. So I won't hate on anyone for hunting for treasure, just doing it uncreatively. Cause no billfold full of presidential portraits all drawn the same could be worth a life in tailored suits playing godawful boring boardroom games. And no pocket sized pictures of the guy that gave us bifocals could be worth betraying a friend or giving up a life I love in this or in any other world you through my way.

So fuck all the guilt and all the denial, I’m greedy for more than paper and trying to be more shameless than the ones taught us shame. So maybe getting this life unrigged will take all the friends we can find, but when all you want is everything that’s one thing that never runs out of supply. And maybe we can be the dead ones the still unborn finally listen to when we tell them to look to themselves, the reinforcements that never seem to come, disaster to our disasters, catastrophe to our catastrophes, scourges and proud.
Track Name: The Sound of Your Name
Tonight your name is too obscure to even make the phonebook, for lack of a landline to tie it to. It’s the kind of name wanted criminals spend hours trying to think up but can’t, an easy name to forget or hide behind. You haven’t heard it spoken loving or excited for years now, only said like the slam of a door, at court dates, at the DHS, at an old friend’s front door. You celebrate most of your birthdays alone, your only presents coming from the alleys, you are only noticed when you get in the way. Tonight, as you look for a shadow to hide in you are no one.
But tomorrow, you will be more popular than you’ve ever been before. A man that looks like a lazy skinhead will blame you for everything that goes wrong for him from here on out, the glory he never got, the job he could have lost. Anyone who ever stood in a line with you in the snow will turn your sighs and casual comments into a story of how close they got to you. The anarchists that mocked you for believing in god, the ministers that wouldn’t talk to you for breaking all his rules, the communists that ended their conversations with you when they saw you didn’t have the money for a paper, they will all speak about you like their hearts are lit fuses and they won’t lie. The mayor will speak your name elegant as taps, like something he shouldn’t be sorry for but is anyways, and slam poets will win thousands of dollars just for telling your story. Printing presses will be carved in the shape of the sound of your name then slammed down time after time after time for months to come, and your face will be pasted onto street lamps to peel off with the storms. People you’ve never met will lie in bed crying about you, how they wish they could have saved you. And people you’ve never met will shout the sound of your name by the hundreds, to bring up the rage, to give them strength. Glass will break for you, cops will bleed for you, banks will burn for you, the world might even shake for you, and your family will never love you more.
You will not be remembered for how you lived, you will be remembered for how you died. You will not be mourned for what you’ve done, you will be mourned for what was done to you. But till the boys in blue make a name for you, you are no one, all lowly and alive. Your name is just a name like any other. The world would rather have you as a martyr than a friend.
Track Name: Honeymoon in Kyoto [Because They Weren't in Love With Any of You]
In 1945, the Target Commitee at Los Alamos put together a list of recommendations for possible atom bomb targets. They were looking major Japanese cities at least three miles by three miles that had not been bombed yet, so the whole world could know just what they were capable of. At the top of the list were Kyoto and Hiroshima. When the plans were given to the Secretary of War, he gave permission to bomb any city except for Kyoto because of its statues and its museums and because, years ago, he had spent his honeymoon there.
To the people of Kyoto— you owe your grey hair and your parent's lives to a man with a magic signature who was in love. If he hadn't been such a romantic, it would've been you. If they'd chosen Paris instead, it would've been your skin roasting at 300,000 degrees. If she left him before that paper hit his desk you would be dust in half a second no one could even touch without wasting away.
To the victims of Nagasaki— you were killed for the sins of your government by the government that calls itself mine, by a president stupid fucking historians call one of the greatest because he had a good speechwriter and talked straight. You died because no white men with magic signatures who never asked yes or no, only when and where had ever biked across your town just after dark to bring home groceries, or been shown every little lake and shutdown windmill that made you never want to leave, because they weren't in love with any of you. You were murdered by the idea that an idea called a government that you can't punch or kiss has the right to kill people that you can in order to get what it's after. People with eyelids that have closed and shut a million times and eyes that have seen a million things, just a sacrifice they're willing to make, without asking you for permission. Now Pentagon men still cry when their mothers die, but what are half a million lives in the affairs of a state?
In the place called a country called the USA where I live, the man with the most magic signature of them all has an iPod, an African father and the middle name Hussein, a hard thing to pull off, but not impossible. He got where he is now by insuring that while he's living in that old white house, many more people with African mothers and fathers will be put into tiny rooms they can't leave and many more boys a quarter of his age with the first name Hussein will be killed by his handwriting. He isn't excited about this, and he wants to keep the numbers as low as he can, but it is something he will never be afraid to do.
It's the root of the power he's chosen-- every nation and every president, that systems are to be protected by all means available, and whatever happens along the way is just sad but inevitable, like highways and poverty, like armies and sin. They took a continent and purged it of its people better than Hitler could've dreamed but gave the world democracy and Saran Wrap, so it must have been worth it. But nothing is inevitable-- no freeway wrecks or poison gas, but we like eating bananas and we like the sound vroom so it all zooms on and on.
And I can't talk about the stock market like I know what I'm saying but I do know this. There is only one of you. You have things you love and things you hate and things that make you laugh. You have things to show that could turn my east into my west and things to say that could make me cry and you are priceless. You only get one life, and if anyone takes away your choice in what to do with it, it is a robbery you can never be repaid for. There is only one of you, and when you are gone you are gone forever, and no dead thing is worth you being lost before your time, no god or amusement park, no industry or tasty snack, no government, no way of life, no economic system or movement to destroy them is worth as much as me or you or anyone like us, and if these things can't last without killing us first, then let them die in our place. Because we are the only thing that can't be replaced and this whole world is ours.
Now let's start acting like it.
Track Name: The Likes of Us [Fuck You, You Don't Know Me Pt. 1]
There is a point when it gets too late for possibilities that don't involve you feeling awful, where this could end any number of ways but none of them that won't hurt. There is a point when it gets too late to be an innocent civilian any longer, no matter how pure you act, where even if you don't deserve what you get, no one's gonna be surprised. Kindness can be just as deadly of a sin as the rest of them, but it's still the one I'll choose till I'm taught hard enough not to. Drain me of blood and put it all up for transfusion, give me up for donation. Let my bones be made into monkey bars and my skin cover you up when it rains, I want no part of this. Fuck this world of wounds and weapons, how can anyone stand to spend 80 years here?
Sooner or later, I'll be a person I can't even relate to from where I'm at today, but I won't let that stop me now, because no matter who you are, there'll be a time when no one will have heard of you or William Shakespeare. A boy that looks like me is crouched in a doorway with a cigarette in his mouth singing The Masquerade is Over and meaning it. A song that's older than any of his problems that still sounds the same as it always has. The cigarette is lit, but it won't always be. A cloud of smoke's coming out of his mouth but in thirty seconds it'll be air safe for babies to breathe, like it was never even there.
If the world were made up of people like us, there'd be no landmines, barbed wire or preschools. We feel what we feel like we are the first to ever feel it and say every word like we're the last that gets to. We treat ourselves like people we'll never see again, treat our bodies and our futures like the powerful treat the powerless... they'll adjust. They'll have to. We're not the "you" diarrhea medicine ads are talking to, politicians can only say they love America as long as we're not Americans. We were not made for this world, or else it wasn't made for the likes of us, and we may never find a piece of it that we can honestly be at peace in so praise the lord for all the places we've never been, let's hope we never see them all so we can still believe in a paradise stronger than our problems we don't mean to fix. We're sure that if we'd wound up with different hometowns and birthday that we could've had it. We could've been Tod Browning movie extras in the 20s, street toughs in the 50's that never saw a front lawn, crazy kids in love in the Columbine 90s, Brazilian pop stars, Seminole warriors, Chinese peasants 5,000 years ago, old Polish vagabonds that froze to death last week, or people we could live with. There could've been a place for us, there could've been a time. It could've been our here and now but it wasn't. We never found a day we hate so much as New Year's Eve, we would end our lives and the world along with it just to stall off midnight forever.
We hang on, accident to recovery, low to high, let the highs last long and the lows be fast and gentle and may we survive. We get hurt, and we get hurt again, so hurt us all so bad we never get hurt again. We pray to find people like us, then we pray to get away, then we pray to have them back but we never learn anything but better prayers for the next time around. God damn us all. God save us all. Drown this filthy world again, it's hopeless. Save it anyways. Give us a speck of this place, or whatever other ones you've got where we feel full forever, that we can call home, that we can call ours, that we can call for the likes of us, pilgrimage stampedes in our heads and prison riots in our hearts, empty all over but bursting with soul, may there be another side, may we survive ourselves, may we survive it all, may we survive.