Ten Shots Plus a Promise

by Andy Leeming

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released 21 March 2013

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Track Name: Promise at Yorktown
You grab a hoodie
and what’s left of the vodka
on your way out the house.
The screen door slams behind
you and I drown out
the cries from your mother
with the cheap roar
of a 13 year old four cylinder.
It’s 8:30. I grab your hand
and squeeze white knuckle tight
as the trees disappear behind us.
On the radio, Credence Clearwater
Revival protests a 40 year old war
we’re too young to understand.
It’s ok. We understand it now
at 80 mph to Yorktown. There’s
a smell of our swamp town seeping
through the open windows and
a slow repetition of
white house brown house
to either side and three
missed calls from the factory
to fire me and it all makes sense -
I just have to get there faster.
90 mph to Yorktown to fight
the British naval fleet, armed
only with a bottle of vodka and
a few golf clubs in the trunk,
the sun setting behind us,
shadows gaining.
Hushed cries from the lonely
muddled in the turbulence of
two kids -
reckless and true,
heartbeat steady and sunshine
on mind, who aligned depression
with solitude and the British Empire
and checked “none of the above.”
We made the sun shine down
forever - never idle, never sober,
always crashing over
the guard rails of the mind
into those beautiful ravines
we see but never touch.
9:30 and Yorktown is covered
with gunpowder smoke. The air
thick and black and cold, we huddle
on the beach with the vibrations of
the National Anthem riding the surf.
The night impaled us, but not before
ten shots plus a promise - that if we
died tonight at Yorktown our skeletons
would be found smiling in defiance.
Track Name: Yorktown
Hey Dad, I think I finally know who I am.
It only took 21 years to finally form a plan
and all my heroes are crashing beneath the weight of my heart
and if the mountain I’m standing on falls I’ll build it up again.

I sat down on the beaches of Yorktown and wrote down a song and it’s
About how I wish that I was alive back in 1776
Because the 21st century is popping pills to distract from its ADD
When all it really needs is a revolution and a good night’s sleep

And when I drift off
A voice rings in my ears
and it says:
Welcome to the summer of your life, kid
The world will cut you open like a knife, kid

There’s something happening here
What it is is entirely clear
all The kids have their hands raised in a fist
They’ve decided it’s high time to start giving a shit
I think its time we
Take arms against apathy
Overrun the boredom on a living spree
Speak every word like it’s a prophecy
Of the coming times when everybody agrees

And when I drift off
A voice rings in my ears
It says:
Welcome to the summer of your life, kid
The world’ll cut you open like a knife, kid
Unless you choose to put up a fight, kid
So smile in defiance and ignite, kid
Track Name: Song for Josh
I’m going back to
The person I was certain I would be
When I was 8 years old
Ill turn my back to
What’s pulling me apart at night
And be honest free and golden young and bold
And everyone should know.

I made a promise
To drive your hearse from the river to the sea
On what I’m sure will be a sunny day.
I’d sing the best songs
Loud enough for the both of us
Cause I know you would want it that way.

We’d get there in an afternoon in June
And I’d sit alone in the sand.
I’d wake you up from your early grave and tell you -
Josh you’re not dead you’re just trying to behave
And goddamn it’s a beautiful day
You’ve got so much left to say
And hey man we’re not goin out that way.

I’m going back to
The nights spent screaming Thunder Road
When heaven and hell were painted on the moon.
Just two dudes who
Ran right out of fucks to give and we’re
Not re-stocking any time soon

We were the kings of
After hours,
Whiskey sours,
Thunder showers,
Carrot flowers

I made a promise
To write to you after you had gone
On what I’m sure will be a cloudy day
I’ll tell you all about
Life back in America
It hasnt changed much since you went away.

I’m going back to
The person I was certain I would be
When I was 8 years old
I’ll turn my back to
What’s pulling me apart at night
And be honest free golden young and bold
I thought you ought to know

And this transatlantic drunken dial was just to say
That goddamn it’s a beautiful day
We’ve got so much left to say.
Track Name: Nothing at All
pictures of your mother in high school on the wall
the war’s raging out there but the tabloids are moving on
and you were standing on the porch on a Sunday in the jeans
that make you look American and spirited and free
and the light through the star spangled banner caught your eyes
and the promise of a country, though magnificent in size
manifested itself for a moment in your smile
hands in your pockets you’ve been smoking for a while

and joy to the memory of late 2006 when we
ran out to the woods behind your house to get our kicks
and some would get their kicks off a table through their nose
and others got their kicks through the webs in their toes
we had it all – the poetry and prose of the world I suppose

and we’ve been struggling with religion I guess it comes with the age
eternal salvation with the rest stuck in a cage, we turned the page

there’s no cure for the human condition we agreed
not the prescription for Prozac I won’t acknowledge that I need
but you take me by surprise and make me feel like a man
in the middle of a country full of reasons why I can’t

and next to that everything else feels like
nothing nothing nothing nothing at all
Track Name: Wailing on the Angst Train
There were gangs of summer boys
Riding bikes on Wythe Creek each and every day
Crashing into night and noise,
The second born of the Chesapeake Bay

They smoked their first cigarettes
Down on Messick Point in the labyrinth of night
They got mixed up in themselves
And under bed sheets they began to write

They found a hub for disenfranchised souls
At harbor espresso
And played music on the open mic
Pouring out the angst and the soul

And the boys got behind wheels
gunning down Magruder Speedway
Just outside of town
Watch for a moment and they’ve sped away

Bull Island
Was a breeding ground for punks
‘Cause they got fed up
With the racist drunks
They defined themselves collectively
With antagonistic expertise
And scraped it on the bathroom wall
Suburban brat ideologies

And your living in the moment
Wrapped up in the books so long
That you studied wide eyed in the night
And quoted in your songs

And a girl catches your eyes
Laughing quietly with her friends and
then she’s everything that you think about
And everyone knows it so don’t pretend that its not true

Bull Island
Was a breeding ground for punks
‘Cause they got fed up
With the racist drunks
They defined themselves collectively
With antagonistic expertise
And scraped it on the bathroom wall

Meet me in October under the
Festival lights I’ll let you wear my sweater
We can do anything you like
As long as we’re together

Come with me down to the bay
Ill sit in the sand with you
And feel the wind between our bodies
Ill kiss you if you want to

Make a pact with me that we
Will never be like the rest
Bored and old and half asleep
And probably depressed

Let’s make it out of here
And to a city in the west
'Cause no one understands us here
We are living life repressed
Track Name: Credit Scores
I’m still writing songs for kids
who have yet to give a shit about
society and all of it
the waiting room for retirement
and you can pledge yourself to gasoline
chase the sun for years in your dad’s machine
but it’s setting every night
and a last chance power drive
is too expensive in this economy
I keep going back to the giving tree
no taking chances, just sacrifices
no teenage dreams, just compromises
and it’s easy to bitch and mourn
over that which I cannot afford
and my bratty self-entitlement
is embarrassing, but it doesn’t cost a cent

I’m still writing songs for kids
who have yet to give a shit about the
economy and all of it
I’d burn my money but I can’t afford it
so I’ll sail with my friends oversees
to where middle fingers are currency
we won’t have cell phones or industries
just a ravenous bunch of middle finger bookies

I only need a little change
this pack of cigarettes
is twenty cents out of range
can you give me some change?

last night you woke me up at three
screaming you had won the lottery
you said that you would share it all with me
so we had ourselves a burning spree

shut up about my credit score
I know I’m poor, but this fire’s kind of warm
Track Name: Running Away
I’m the kind of guy who believes that there are
two kinds of people in the world
those who read and those who write
the book of the world

summer’s turning into fall and I’m hopeless
the leaves are turning brown and falling down
and most days I choose to be sedated
to the ticking clocks in space, or the ghosts that haunt this place, and the sad look on your face when I told you

that I’m running away
I’m running away
though there’s so many reasons to stay,
I think it’s time I wrote a page

Derek’s been coming over all of the time
he’s a punk through and through
his eyes are foggy with dreams of high fives and stage dives
and good times with good dudes

he’s measured out his life with coffee spoons
and he’s a bastard smoking just as much as me
but he’s bored to death with Virginia
and he’s past all debate, it’s gonna be Washington state, and I think to myself
fucking great

but he’s running away
he’s running away
try to give him one reason to stay

and if you spend your days wishing you were somebody else
then it gets harder each day to maintain your sense of self
and if you’ve lost all hope and drink to survive
take some time to figure out why it’s so good so be alive.
Track Name: Wretch Like Me
I was born in ‘89 in Massachusetts in the summer.
My parents moved me to Virginia when I was eight years old
And I grew up slowly and my momma told me, “son
The world will break your heart.”
And I didn’t know it then, but she was right
Right from the start.

And I cut down every cherry tree
And I lied about it through my teeth
Washington was a better man than me.
And a penny saved is not much at all
I’ve nothing to my name
Nothing at all to call my own.

But my soul was stretching in every direction
And you in fear of love’s rejection
You asked me for my protection
And I met your love with an erection.

And I knew your voice
I learned to love the sound
To save a wretch like me from underground
It’s just a metaphor for being drunk downtown

Started looking for where the angels are
You said “they must be somewhere - they can’t be far.”
And you rolled your eyes when I told you they’re in my car.

But if you drive west straight in a line,
The sun will stop - you can freeze time
January first, 2009 - the day when your love
Was completely mine

So we close out eyes and sign the declaration
Of independence from this nation
It won’t be long before they come
To stamp us out and shut us up.

They’ll have our heads for this -
We’re convicts, you and me,
And we know peace ain’t so sweet
It’s worth chains and slavery

They’ll have our heads for this -
We’re convicts, you and me,
And we better hang together,
‘cause it beats hanging separately.
Track Name: Scars
It’s not insane to blame your bad mood on the rain
You hate the fact that lovers seem to wax and wane
At breakneck speeds too fast to take a mental picture
You don’t remember anything

Your heart worn on your sleeve and beating fast
Gave off a glow too desperate for it to last
I think of you sometimes that way and wince a little
So help me forget the past

And underneath the scars there is
An angel suffocated by the
Close air in the bars
And the daily medication

You took pills seven days a week
And mom took pills seven days a week
And Betty takes pills in her night gown
And I took pills to calm me down

You took pills seven days a week
And mom took pills seven days a week
And Betty takes pills to stay awake
And I take pills so I can fall asleep

And there’s a battle underneath your skin
Most days it seems you just cant win
But I’ve seen that look and I’ve seen that grin
It tells me that some day you’ll shed the
Weight of all that holds you down
and you’ll be yourself again
Track Name: Adults
you didn’t think id make it up to DC
it's been a while since we had cussed over coffee
its so hard to explain when you call how things have been
i've been at war with this year and Im afraid to say I cant win

but I try and I try and I try and I try
to feel alive and get by and stay high on the times after the long drawn out goodbye

so there I am corner seat reeking of pabst
thinking my best years had slipped from my grasp
a junkie romantic shooting up nostalgic smack
you go down that road kid you’re never coming back

and the sad part of it is
that lately you’ve been just a telephone and a reason its hard to stay positive
we used to sit back to back in the sunrise
dreaming up a neverender of passing statelines
and in those dreams we never compromised
so dont compromise.

one day i'll write the story about you and me
only 2 copies sold book of the century

'cause I wanna believe that our lives are
interesting enough to talk about
that we are dynamic characters
in an interwoven plot that’s far from done

so he stumbles through the streets singing old songs to strangers
who the hell thought we were ready to be graduates?
and its so hard to explain when you call how things have been
been at war with the drag and im afraid to say I cant win
Track Name: Dream on Dreamer
im singing as loud as yesterday
and though my voice is giving out after years of abuse and packs a day ill keep screaming
like ive got something to say
and the gaslights keep coming on, and were all loosely hanging on like theres nothing wrong
I blew my paycheck on alcohol like there’s nothing wrong

but my hearts still in what I write
and my eyes burn in the dark please convince me its worth my time
and I know I am a guy
whose position on the punk to poser spectrum was disappointing in its prime
im no cooler than you but that’s just fine

but I keep holding on to my high hopes for this generation
but im too scared to stand for anything ‘cept self preservation
if everything’s dripped in irony then how the hell can we agree
and show the world the range of what the form can be?
so shut up and make history

you think you’re running out of time
and the rate getting older seems exponential as your 20s pass you by
as long as love is on your mind
then the jaws of time recede and you can close your eyes and your standing next to me
let’s keep drinking from that well while it’s still free

but I keep holding on to my high hopes for this generation
its getting cold out in the periphery of the teenage wasteland
and sincere as you may be, however calmly that you sleep
there’s no fire for you to feed, and there’s seldom company
if you’ve got the balls to dream
Track Name: Wrecking Crew
Tonight I’m going out with my friends
Ten bright eyes on fire with a plan
We’re eighty percent nirvana
But one of us is sad again

I told you I couldn’t hang out yesterday
Sometimes I feel like my time is drifting away
But I still think about that day late last semester
When we told each other stories and talked ourselves to death or
That time we fantasized about when our lives were over
And not surrendering to certainty and never going sober

No I cant give up
That hundred proof burn and the bite
The wrecking crew’s alive and awake
Tonight

And I spent my time in a daze
December through June
The highlights of my days
Were the late afternoons when you’d
Call me and say that it was all going down
And then I’d crack a smile under
The soft street lights of downtown

And it goes without saying
I think we can agree
That life is best when singing
To a drunken symphony
Of all these Springsteen coated
Sentiments and defiant poetry
That we read in our textbooks
And dream of as we sleep
So we dance down Main Street
Our rebel yell stuck in repeat
And end it all with a question
That brings us to our knees

“Where the hell do we go from here?”

No I cant give up
That hundred proof burn and the bite
The wrecking crew’s alive and awake
Tonight

Sunday morning is so bittersweet it’s a sin
We’ll do it again.
Track Name: Kill Everyone (Bonus Track)
ill kill anyone
who dares to look at you
and ill kill anyone
who thinks they love you like I do

this relationship is amplifying my antisocial behavior
I’ve joined the ranks of crack addicts and public masturbators
to be locked in my room with the blinds drawn nothing but Dostoevsky and love poems
waiting for a call
but you never call
has it been long enough to call?

and ill kill anyone
whose nice at all to you
and ill kill anyone
who knew you back in high school

if hes got a better job than me
if hes got a faster car than me
if hes got a bigger cock than me
if he’s got more songs on his ep
if he wears skinnier jeans than me
if he takes himself too seriously
if hes got more facebook friends than me
if hes everything I want to be
ill kill him

so ill kill everyone
that way I wont have to worry
and you can kill everyone
that way you wont have to worry

this relationship is amplifying my antisocial behavior
I’ve joined the ranks of crack addicts and public masturbators
to be locked in my room with the blinds drawn nothing but Dostoevsky and love poems
waiting for a call
but you never call
has it been long enough to call?

have I not proven my devotion to you?
ive killed all my friends and some relatives too
and sure as roses are red and violets blue
I killed em all for you ;)
Track Name: Pitchfork (Bonus Track)
you swear you’re moving out next week
prospective jobs down by the beach
you say you’re cutting off your hair
and going vegan on a dare

and nobody knows what you’re trying to say
and I read all your stuff- it’s a little cliché

you point out my hypocrisy
as you steep your herbal tea
I’m draped in plaid and listening
to neon bible on repeat

and I still don’t know what I’m trying to say
and nobody knows what I’m trying to say

we’ve had a lot of time to sit around and think about society
the crowds of people who don’t see the world in all of its suffering
but all our money goes to bikes and vinyl 80 dollar skinny jeans
so we could not afford to give a single cent to any charity

I like dubstep ironically
and I do molly in my sleep
it’s been so trendy not to care
good thing we’ve apathy to spare

but nobody knows what we’re trying to say
or maybe we don’t know what we’re trying to say