by t. gagnon

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five stories i probably should've gotten out of my system a long time ago.


released June 10, 2014

the musicians on this album are:

k. mcnair (guitar on track 1)
j. warren (bass on tracks 1 and 2, guitar on track 3)
m. bacon (percussion on tracks 1 and 2)
j. remmetter (lead guitar on track 2)
j. gosling (rhythm guitar on track 2)
j. lapierre (guitar, production, and programming on tracks 4 and 5)
n. votruba (production on track 5)

produced (except where noted above) by j. warren.

mastered by high vultage studios in west swanzey, nh.

the photography/art in the booklet is by t. gagnon excluding the "slow anthems" picture by j. redmond and the "thanks" picture by n. king.



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t. gagnon New Hampshire

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Track Name: bathtub astrology
all my best friends can be found in a pile on my bathroom floor,
stargazing the dots in the ceiling tiles,
begging the morning off to dream up constellations some more.
we used to think we were lost saints,
communicating with dead guitarists by songs on our mix tapes.
but tonight, my friends leak mascara like it’s war paint,
and i realize saints only find their reputations half a decade below their graves,
and when we drink our love against bathtubs, i find it easier to hold my complaints.

but i miss a friend that used to tell me, “the world’s a collection of drunk dialers and smooth operators and the ones worth a call left their phones off their receivers."
she found love in an empty room he was only passing through,
out of a bedroom window, into a backseat, collapsing in a dorm room,
both trying on old uniforms they met each other in,
before bank slips shorted their intuitions like the snow inside their cableless television.
i believe in their love, but what happens when the voice on the other end stop sounding like something i’d believe in?
i ask, but she’s sleeptalking her vows into the trash bin.

i miss my friend, a girl you’d miss between the wallpaper and carpet at the house parties,
on the floor flipping through records with the drunks who couldn’t rise above.
she was the one i could count five rows down from me in all the yearbooks,
but i couldn’t figure the distance between our armrests and passing looks.
she’d wear her older brother’s clothes and she’d hug people like life preservers;
i always thought she held me longest because sinking together beat fighting air somewhere new.
but then she grew some lungs at parties because that’s how we hide in public now,
and i call her name, but she’s hoarse as she can be as she searches for a seam to unsew.

and i watch the sun come up as my fingers make like combs,
running through the moments I just breathed in, never inhaled and exhumed.
i waited for the reasons these friends of mine still talk to me and come back home,
can i even call myself a home? spill it out from the stomach and out through the mouth,
something we’ll clean up from the floor, gasp and hold our bile down.

i was a backpack full of night lights against all the strobe light waterfalls,
i’m now the kind of person that ignores your calls.
you used to toss your words out like the overstocked soup kitchen,
now you suck it in filterless in some allston cave in,
you used to be the kind of person I could love repeated,
but I’m joining you on the floor as you map the constellations,
and i squint and you point and i drink it in, but i can’t see it,
I can’t see it.
Track Name: november, 1999
I have this subconscious reel of footage,
collections of us flying off bicycles and meeting pavement when we were kids,
looking at our skin splitting and muscles squirming.
Exploring bodies; that’s called experimenting.
Bandage me, call that stability.

I want to cut our fingers open like soul mates with pacts to make,
drain boxes of wine, the kind of crushes you put up your nose,
lick your lips, flip your eyelids,
the things we were aren’t holy if they made us what you see.

It’s November again,
and I can hardly keep my hand steady anymore,
I want these fingers rattling rings, nobody here promises anything.
They just want another and another and another,
a notch on a bedpost, better if they’re sleeping under splinters.

They tell me they can hear me inside a chorus of a remix of a pop song,
the kind that’d tie us down when everyone is floating to the ceiling.
I just want to recognize somebody,
(but I’m scared that’s something nobody’s fearing.)

This time two years ago, you used to take me out of school,
and buy all the discount Halloween candy.
The blood was in your face then, I feel like I tried holding it all when you were falling.
We stayed in the theaters until last show, then you’d fall asleep in my bed,
your arms across my chest, pledge some bravery,
Did I seem like some kind of trembling safety?
I’d watch you get up in the night, look at the pictures on my shelves,
standing on your toes, lifting off.
you’d look so far from the world when you’d drive,
kids wearing dollar store masks fly by,
you started looking right through me at parties.
You thought I was haunting you, but it was just all your hours compacting,
pills from bathrooms you kept retracting.
love seeks only itself to please,
binding you in bedsheets to his delighted needs.
But I know love is two friends in a twin sized bed,
and it felt like overflow when the blood in you was thickening,
your body thrashing when you took too many,
I swear they called ambulances for weeks.
you tried sleeping it off, but your eyes kept rolling like fallen tires,
open me like split knees,
I need that bravery in my chest you kept clinging.

I keep waking up hoping it’s November, 1999,
the last month before we put away our bikes.
white knuckled, i’m crashing
because i’m tired of always spinning something.
i’m holding my arms out
because i’m not scared of the feeling.
Track Name: fold/unfold
I don’t know where you are,
or if I know you yet.
I don’t know if we should go,
We’ll just sit there, folded notes in a teacher’s desk.

I used to think owning property,
meant taking breath in places I’d eventually lose the memory in,
consume all that architecture and the stars you can’t see in the city,
lungs rezoning, intestines unfurling, crack a bone, stack boxes labeled “family”.
Leave your hometowns, it’s just oxygen you’re stealing.

But red eyes just mean I’m seeing rosy,
4 AM flights don’t have a home for me.
“I love you”, I don’t care if it leaves us lonely.
unfold me, if you could,
unfold me before you go.
i just ask that you unfold me.
Track Name: slow anthems
I lost you between massive days,
Our tourist eyes always turn up in awe,
I find you in the night above the minster.
I’m swear I’m tripping cobblestones to reach you.

You said slow was your anthem,
so I turned the student bar still.
Sussed out, I told you “I don’t fear anything here”,
puffy eyed, strung out, jetlagging into another life.

I followed you through Mansion and Tokyo,
yelling for anything before the early 2000s,
you hum it all back to me in a takeaway line.
I hold you with distance, how they taught me at the academy.

I suppose this is love.
I’m watching your delirious dancing in the back of a club.
I wish this was love,
I’m an albatross of insomnia in a city of dreams.

You’re trailing my feet in the spring,
Rijksmuseum, stumbling up the canals, the photo markets.
Take every black and white of couples in love,
develop them in red wines, tidal wave along the Seine.

so suddenly, somewhere in the Frankfurt red light,
you crosscut travel shows on hostel TVs.
cut/copy language into search engines to understand me.

I can’t slow down anymore.
Hostel friends break bread, feast of love.
My morals feel like they root in the earth’s pull,
worry as I fall about, I whisper it all into the back of her mouth.

You shuffled yourself into a back-catalog last night,
I must’ve looked so gluey eyed, crumbly paper mache legs falling through back doors.
Woke as the drunks on the quad fell ring around the rosie, I chased your trains down.
you kept floating to the station ceiling, I held you ‘til you stopped shaking.
You watered my shoulder and you bloomed someone more golden that I thought I ever could.

I fell asleep against the city walls, the grass between my unclean hands.
“I’ll spend the summer wasting if we never have to leave.”

They never play slow anthems when you want them to,
so sway when the floor sinks under drum hits.
Move slower; I can’t touch you, but I want every detail.
Liquid courageous, I say I won’t lose you when this all blacks out.
Track Name: the swoon
I’ve stopped all the demands.
all these parties were search themed, my nose grew red like bloodhounds,
and i just ended up trailing myself underneath the sheets.

I mean, I don’t mean to plead.
I’m mean, I understand if you want to avoid me.
“i’ll tell you about the stars because that’s the kind of poetry you want to read.”
I gather these ideas from the splash section of the mind, send them wet out your mouth,
our mountains and molehills both stampede.

i told you in the fields and the trees that day that my shoulders got broader,
limbs to our sides, nothing clandestine, just massive talks,
the kind we used to run and spill out against car seats,
polos and khakis, sweating god, fearing life on our lunch period.
now we cite our sources in arguments between games of kings;
we drink long after the waterfall dried, but we can’t find a meaning.
you told me your hips curved out the weekend we went to your cousin’s wedding,
the way the zipper on your back moved fast and slow and up and down,
the way we spun an open bar heart swell into something we could believe in.
i don’t know if they make rings for thoughts like this,
but i think i believed in you the minute i met you.

i left because you kept trying to find me a reason not to.

But before you go, before I speed read everything into montaging,
I just want you to know I still let everything about you put me into swooning,
your class notes I find beneath my sheets,
fire sirens and orchestras whenever you took pauses in your speech,
swelling the fear in me to take sabbatical leave.
the designs in my ceiling between the gaps of your teeth,
i swore higher things came closer when i realized you wanted me.
buried our house keys, drove ‘til the spring budded new places to be.
going far and fast on the idea of becoming imaginary, you dancing in your seat,
my anxieties for yours, crucify me against the back doors,
swan dive into my neck, throw my insides like i threw your hips.
the rise and fall of us,
when I’d follow the curves and pauses of your mouth, but never hear the things you’d speak,
“say something!”, but you just go and spill to the nearest bowl or sink.
the week i made six mix cds, the time you smoked menthols for two weeks,
i hate the way you’d bend and take and smoke through everything,
just to feel socially complete.
but I’m choking up on clean air, I need to hire you to make me feel like I could be alone,
to make bedrooms places i recognize outside other people’s staggered moans,
to make me stop missing future wives,
to leave our drinks and hold each other down until the buzz arrives,
‘til we split and rust up,
‘til we find shinier things that better suit us,
‘til we can’t make that swoon feel new,
no matter how many positions we try to.