Tenement

by Jon, The Archivist

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CDs are available for purchase at www.honestfacerecords.com

credits

released November 19, 2015

All songs written and performed by Jon Brien
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jon Elfers
All rights reserved, 2015.

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Honest Face Records Worcester, Massachusetts

We are an independently run label based out of central Massachusetts.

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Track Name: New Years Eve
I parked my bike on 35th and East St
On New Year’s Eve this time last year
I shoved a package store receipt into my pocket
December chill from ear to ear

I slammed the door shut and shook the snow off of my boots
I check my mailbox for your note
And all the while the lights are flickering on and off
The filament had finally broke

Is this a nightmare?
I don’t like dreaming
But the worst parts of this year just keep repeating

At Tommy’s party that night I cried into my drink
The tears and champagne formed a moat
I sank my vessel deep within your champagne memory
But couldn’t fix my champagne boat

The tiny TV set grew louder than a bomb
As the ball fell towards the earth
Amidst the cheers and clinking glasses in the night
I tore myself up searching for my missing worth

Is this a nightmare?
I don’t like dreaming
But the worst parts of this year just keep repeating

Is this a nightmare?
I don’t like dreaming
And as I lay down in my apartment
The blood vessel in my head just won’t stop beating
And the worst parts of this year just keep repeating
Track Name: Telephone Wires
I hold onto the precipice
Of the building’s ledge I carefully embrace
Clutch the wires within my fragile grip
And prepare to slip them all steadily into place

The highways howl below me
And the birds keep soaring right next to my head
Behind each window a television screen
As the city sleeps comfortably in their beds

And I sing
Hold onto your satellites
License all your prototypes
Keep the voices echoing through telephones
Maybe we can convince ourselves we won’t have to die alone

I never wanted to be dangerous
Before the wires I was as timid as can be
And I guess that nothing’s really changed
But now I feel the wind’s become a part of me

I could have joined the army
I could have gone to school or been a movie star
But now I just reconnect the wires
And feed the miscommunication that we are

And I sing
Hold onto your satellites
License all your prototypes
Keep the voices echoing through telephones
Maybe we can convince ourselves we won’t have to die alone

Can you feel the wires?
Track Name: Pigeon
Sit up on the roof with me and take off all your ills
We can feed the pigeons resting on the window sills
I’ll throw them salted flower seeds and bits of orange peels
And they will peck my fingers and they’ll teach me how to feel again

We’ll fly away with wings me made from neon signs and steel
We’ll leave this city far behind our vapour trails and wheels
And if you start to cry I’ll use my wings to wipe your tears
And we’ll stay up on this rooftop hiding from the world for years

I sit with my legs crossed and feed the birds ‘til you come home
But that day never seems to come, I’m still up here alone
I cannot talk about this with the other kids at school
Sometimes the world below the clouds can be so very cruel

So sit up on the roof with me and feel the breezy night
We can build our wings from carousels and hope and strings of light
And maybe on that day we will have finally found a friend
And we can live forever just as long as we pretend
Track Name: V.H.S.
I close up the video store after another night of zero return
I count up the register, it’s the same as it was 8 hours ago
The headlights illuminate the fading posters lining all of the walls
And for a split second I’m startled by Fred Krueger’s face or Steven Segal
Even the tenants who live in the building above me don’t stop by at all
To grab an old v.h.s. copy of Five Deadly Venoms or to play some pinball

And I can’t keep lying to myself that anyone cares about this place at all
I’ll just light up a twelfth cigarette and I’ll kick up my feet and I’ll stare at the wall all night

I shuffle some old trading cards behind dusty cent comics and energy drinks
I count all the shadows that pass from the late night club crowds and the ice skating rink
I pop in a tape of some stand-up on the TV set that I keep on my desk
I remember we watched it together and laughed ‘til it hurt in the heart of our chests
The endless selection of titles is starting to taunt my lonely head state
And I bang my head on the table in a futile attempt to keep myself awake

And I can’t keep lying to myself that anyone cares about this place at all
I’ll just light up a twelfth cigarette and I’ll kick up my feet and I’ll stare at the wall all night
Track Name: The Day Our Mother Passed
The day our mother passed away
The kettle on the stove wouldn’t stop boiling and the steam floated over East St. through the snow
My brother pulled a blanket on her face
He didn’t want her to have to see the unfixed lightbulbs hanging forgotten in the ceiling that wouldn’t glow

The day our mother passed away
I tried to call my father but as expected his phone number had changed again, so what?
He never cared about us anyway, he left us here alone in this apartment wading through dead bugs and the memories of what he’d done.

The day our mother passed away
I ran into the snowy street in front of the tenement and screamed into the cold December night
I banged on the brick wall with my fists and as my knuckled bled in red and plaster I buckled over and slumped into the snow and I regret

Where we always too hard on ourselves?
Did I say enough of the good things in the bad times?
Was the problem really him or was it me?
When she faded out what flashed before her eyes?
Was it the fighting or the picture frame we broke?
Was it the hunger or the kettle on the stove?
Was it my brother standing dead-eyed in the snow?
Did my bitterness ruin the time we had left to know?

The day our mother passed away
I built my brother a new workbench so the droning sound of the hammer’s fall would help me to forget
Each night I stare out at the street and wonder if I’d given this a chance how would I have spent all the time I wasted differently
Track Name: Fire Escape
Sitting on the fire escape
Watch the world float away
As the winter falls in waves
The sky becomes a shade of grey
Sitting on the fire escape
Listen to the hum of cables
Carrying the words we say
To the ears of everyone we care for
Sitting on the fire escape
Holding hands until we break
We do not have a word to say
To each other today
Track Name: Lullaby On The First Snow Of The Year
The first snow of the year and East St. is deserted
I put on my winter clothes and ride my bike to Andy’s
We build snowmen on the sidewalk, we give them each our names
We teach them to fight dragons, we teach them all our games
We ride out to the harbor, throw pebbles on the ice
They skid across the water in shades of blue and white
The streetlamps are our castles, the snowbanks are our beds
Until our parents come to call us we’ll sleep in the snow instead
Track Name: I Regret You Leaving
I left the washer on again for the second time this week
And all my clothes have come out shrunk and the shirts have all got streaks
But I never learned to iron, that was always more your thing
Should have known when I retired I’d regret you leaving me

I sit outside on the front step and boy it’s something else to see
How East St.’s always changing, unless the changing one is me
But I just zip up my old jacket and I sip my cup of tea
And in this soft retired quiet I regret you leaving me

When I’m inside I dust my medals and my old college schoolbooks
I try to read a bit of Derrida but my brain is all but cooked
So I just yawn and look at pictures of the life we used to lead
And in this soft reflective silence I regret you leaving me

And as I roll back into bed I think of the person I used to be
And in this sober bedtime quiet I understand why you left me
Track Name: New Years Day
Woke up hungover as the sun shot through my window
On New Year’s Day this time last year
I knocked my glasses off the dresser in confusion
The shattered lens confirmed my fears

Picked up my phone and placed my head to the receiver
To hear your voicemail cold and shrill
I stumbled to the mirror, steadied myself at the sink
My reflection was primered for the kill

This is a nightmare
I can’t stop dreaming
But the tears I left in the alleyway
And the trips we took with the money we saved
And the time we spent are like lines upon my face
Oh darling, I’m a disgrace

I ran into the daylight outside of the apartment
I shaved my hands into the snow
I felt the cold, cold sun and watched the kids riding their bikes
As a nearby radio began to drone

And then burst forth in song like the birth of a messiah
The colors of the world they swayed
And for the first time I remember in my life
I got down on my knees and prayed

This is a nightmare
I can’t stop dreaming
But the tears I left in the alleyway
And the trips we took with the money we saved
And the time we spent are like lines upon my face
Oh darling, I’m a disgrace

This is a nightmare
I can’t stop dreaming
But the shimmering sun streaming on my face
And the sounds of life swimming in my veins
And the snow melts down and the roots grow in its place

Oh, the worst parts of this year, they will all melt down with the snow