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Negative Space

by Swain

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1.
I’ll build this tower. I’m gonna punch the sky. I’m gonna dig this grave, where I’ll lay and die. I’m gonna take this line, turn it to something else. Keep me in this hole, I’ve finally found my soul. Face to face with me, Prettier can’t be. I’m gonna be here tomorrow, but it’ll feel like today. I’m gonna take these feelings, gonna wrap them up. Put them in box, store it away. Feels better when it hurts like this. Been waiting for my goodbye kiss. This negative space, I’ll give it a try. To beat death, you only have to die.
2.
Same Things 03:43
I’ve been howling mean on this stage since 15. I was sick of the world and got lost in my dreams. It’s so damn easy to wait, to feel mad, to just hate. Open your eyes: you’re pulling dead weight. It’s a mess, all we do is obsess with the negative space in our heads. Our hearts won’t get filled, a smile gives us chills. And the happiness: it kills. We’ll find the time to circumvent. We’ll absorb all the sympathy. We’ll dig deeper in the dirt to find what’s left of the hurt, when we’re all just waiting for what we claim is the perfect opportunity to shine. Are you tired of the sting? Are you waiting for a spring? Are you wishful, are you bored? Will you savour, will you mourn?
3.
I dug a hole with a spoon, found myself in a swoon 20 feet below me. Fuck me like you owe me. Now I’m you, echoing around the room. Bleeding like I oughta bleed, feels like it oughta feel. Seeping through the floorboards, filling cups. I’m shaking out my teeth and I let up. But then what? Melting into my bed, must’ve been those swills I had. Wallowing under excessive slumber, as I come slowly swimming out from my mouth. Into yours now, I’ll float around. I’ve had my fill, I’m clearing up. I revel in the thrill and in the lack thereof. Enough. Now what?
4.
Skin on Skin 04:20
Everything's black. The fear is so thrilling. I'm guided by your swing. Blood's running down my back. Neck is so thin. A vulnerable subject. A dangerous aspect. Feels better when it's skin on skin. Take a good look. This body’s your vessel. I’m waiting for you, still, to savour the sway you took. So kiss me hard. Harder than last time. It's always on my mind. Your soul has me shivered and scarred Somebody to hurt me. Feels better when it's skin on skin. Cut me up, and carve it in. Feels better when it's skin on skin. Choke me with grace. It’s keeping me down again. I’ll figure it out when I’m walking a strange new pace. So hold my head. Let my mind wander off now. I’ll figure it out while I’m counting the tears I’ve shed.
5.
Dispel 01:31
I still taste it on my breath, it’s anywhere I lay my head. But now I finally see the light that leaks out through the seams.
6.
Bask in the pain, and the grime, and the ecstasy of mind. I wanna rest and reside in the gutters of your mind. I’m letting go, as you let go. With fake leather strapped around my neck, I’m on my knees at your feet, spit trickling down my chest. I’m going “oh-hoh”, you’re going “oh-hoh.” We’re down in the hole, where it’s bruise blue and rosy gold. Swallow me whole, I wanna taste you on the inside. Take a fistful of hair, take your soul and lay it bare. Because it’s skin on skin, and the marks are everywhere. I’m not alone, you’re not alone. Flesh of my skin, blood of my blood. Rattle my bones, drag me through my mud.
7.
Big Dumb Boy 03:52
Live for toil, maybe then you'll earn it. Save yourself; “we’re not paying for it.” It's a joke, when you think about it. This story’s getting old. Gather your stones. Bring out your torches. Run amok. Bonfires burning crutches. Age old narrative. This story’s getting old. Rape yourself through Yale, won't you? Judge yourself a version of her future. Laying in your sunbeam. You’re big boy American Dream. Big dumb boy, it doesn't make sense to me. Where do you find the joy? Where's your heart? I think I saw it yesteryear? You’re tearing us apart. Old boys’ club. Calling all the shots. Shut us down. Can you connect the dots? Left unheard. It’s a cruel, cruel plot. When I’m strong, You call me arrogant. When I’m cute, I am incompetent. Left unheard. It’s a cruel, cruel plot.
8.
I’m uncomfortably aware of myself, and my failures. I’ve had my fair share of staring into mirrors. Uncomfortably aware of the way I move myself. It’s a posture that wears you down. Here’s me; or a silhouette, it’s hard to see. I’m a canvas, I’m the paint, but the source is faint. Can’t face the way I’m drawn, the way I’m placed. Hung up without grace, left to dry. So drag me through my mud, I’ll coat it with blood. And fear. To be (a bit) tenaciously sincere; unwaveringly “me”. “Unashamed, unfazed, still in the race.” Hey poster boy, is that honestly your true face? I’ll take some comfort, in knowing that it’s all a play. So play it well. And show, don’t tell.
9.
Self 04:03
We’re floating in rings around the sun, like an endless somersault. You wane like a moon, the dark’s taking root. Your world has shrunk into a room, and you’re a host to a lot of ghosts. This tug of war is such a bore. It just roars, goes on and on and on and on. You’re a host to a lot of ghosts, but you’re not beyond repair. Head is spinning into a pit. Sight is swimming, dive in with it. Cut a smile, float around for a while, and make your way back out. Free yourself from yourself.
10.
Occupy myself, with the thought I’m doing well. Smile at every child who’s young enough to tell. Instigate the others, while I cover up my flaws. My apathy will tear us apart. It’s senseless Too bored to be with people, too alone to never try. Disappointment is the reason that I cover up and hide. Take another stab, at getting through to me. I'll cut you out and keep you away; closely. Take a stone. Hit me 'till I break my bones. Cover me in blood. Make me feel at home. Burn my soul. Spread its ashes on the floor. Take me for a fool. Push me through the door. Some are born in glitter, some are born in gold. Some are born magnificent, but I was born too old. It's a mess, when it slowly gets undressed. I'm impressed, but give me some rest. Being real is a big deal, and now I finally see the appeal.
11.
I can’t believe how the leaves have wilted. In a haze, half asleep, counting days, dragging my feet. Turn it around, catch the light from the ground. Feels like I came down, four whole years in this town. Stuck in an old form, tied down by that loud storm. Through the dark verge a strange light emerged.

credits

released July 26, 2019

Additional vocals by Jeremy Bolm, CASPER, and Caeleigh Featherstone.

Recorded and mixed in January 2019 by J. Robbins at the Magpie Cage Studio in Baltimore, MD.
Co-engineered by Matt Redenbo.

Mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio.

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