Drew Breath

by Paul Gonzenbach

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    Handsome artwork. Good/sad tunes. Also: will help you get great performance reviews at your dead-end job.

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released September 2, 2014

Written, performed, recorded and mixed by Paul Gonzenbach. Stuart Hake plays cello on tracks 3, 4 and 8. Mastered by Carl Saff.


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Paul Gonzenbach Seattle, Washington

lovers weekend records, ex-jim yoshii pile-up

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Track Name: Breakneck Speed
It's the first thing out of your mouth every morning. it's the last thing in your head every night. At breakneck speed it all goes south. You had your warning. It seems so different in your bed. You think you might visit your sister, help her move house or call in a favor, sort it all out.

The nurse was sleeping at her station when you snuck out. The headlights blind your blue, blue eyes. You stare at the broken yellow lines. You drive so fast. You're fleeing something, something you can't even put your finger on. So visit your sister, help her move house or call in a favor, sort it all out. Keep up your writing, the ones that you can't share.

Keep your lights on all night long. LA is so pretty this time of year.
Track Name: The Crunch Of Tires On Snow
If you pull the IV out, then your arm will be free to unplug the alarm. If you wait by the window, you will see my car's interior lights go on. Your breath comes out in white clouds, but you're cold. It's half past three. Left your coat that has the paper with the address on it. I guess you're staying with me tonight. Christmas lights behind your profile. You don't look half bad. Skipping solid food will do that. You light a match. I'd forgotten that you're smoking again. You're the only one I'd let smoke in my car. I know I'm not the first one you called, not the car you'd like to be getting in tonight. It's not uncommon. There's nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be at peace with now for me. Do your parents know now? The only sound is the engine and the crunch of tires on snow. The air hangs heavy with the words, the words that I can't find. There are no words. It's the best way, it's the only way you've found to try them, and they all fall away. Sam is in Pittsburgh with family for almost a month. He hasn't heard yet. Jess has a new boyfriend. She texted you once. You know she's had enough. And me, when will I have enough? You're not getting younger.

A vocal group of men, maybe your age. An insignificant drink or four and you're feeling fine. You're not getting any younger.
Track Name: Every Woman For Herself
Nuzzle your head into her neck. She doesn't have the room to breath or take a step. It's a nightmare to stay. It's a nightmare to be free. It's a cold case that keeps you wide awake at half past three, oh sister.

She asks, "If I were not a girl, if I turned out to be something other than you thought, would you still feel the same? Could you get past the blame? It's a cold sweat that I've had that drenches me like rain."

Someone struggles with the locked door in the back room. Brace yourself. Free yourself. It's not a time to blink if you can help it. Slamming the window shut. And only just a minute ago, you were entwined and making promises. And now, now it's every woman for herself. And now, now it's every woman for herself, and what does that say?
Track Name: A Neon Sign Reflected In Unfocused Eyes
You take your measure in the mirror. You give the widest smile you can muster. And just like that, it accentuates how ravaged your face looks these days. The hospital smell is coming from you. You tuck your hair behind your ear. Rewind the tape to the afternoon when you were so posed, draped across his couch. Brace yourself against the wall. Know that you won't sleep tonight. Tell yourself it's not a hold in one, which you knew when it was through. The faint imprint of someone's body left upon an unmade bed. Ghosts and shadows of those still alive. Pull your drapes for your own sake. Looking at your face like the first time. Like a puzzle that you have to solve soon. Like an obligation you just took on against your will tonight.

You pushed your fists in your pockets and stood there a long time staring. You clenched your jaw and relaxed, hesitated and then took a few steps.

Do you think about your dad still all the time? The neon sign reflected in unfocused eyes. What will you reply? Sister sighs, "I'm done playing this game."
Track Name: Say It Like A Secret
So it's the only conversation your friends seem to have anymore. You can't pretend you're unaware, not like you were before. You say it like it's a secret and I pretend to be shocked. You play it like you could keep it, and I can't ask you to stop.

There's nothing that gives you away, but I still smell the beer from last night.

We both know you'll leave us tomorrow. You'll turn off your phone. And I will still smell the beer from the night before on you as you turn to go.
Track Name: Weeping Windows
Weeping windows face your lawn. A broken bike that you swear will soon be gone. You write a word on the humid glass. Then you erase the letters just as fast, oh. Hey man, you don't have to think twice tonight.

Watch your hands. You've had a few. You think it's best, and I do, too. Watch my hands. You're half a man. You've had a few, well I have, too. Under the street lamps the sidewalk spins tonight.

Your words, your words can't get unsaid. They're gone, they're gone when they leave your head. Oh.

Oh, your heart's been hollowed out, and the undertow has got you now.

Four pages long and single-spaced, poor word choice and awkward pace.

There is no one to show us how tonight. There is no one to show us how tonight. There are no laws that cover this now. There are no laws that cover this now.
Track Name: Being Clever
A muffled bang from deep inside your dad's car as you hit the curb at high speed outside the bar. My jaw slams shut, pain that you can smell. My flimsy head ringing like a bell. Jumping out, don't bother to take the keys out of the ignition. Rushing in, you blow past the distracted doorman. You know that it's so childish, so unbecoming of your age. Where has all your good judgement gone tonight?

Driving up behind us is the patrol car they called on you. So protect these thy smallest in so far as we can.

In your haste you couldn't think of a reasonable way to ask the question, so you blurt out, "What's his name?" Probably calling, calling for backup in the worst way. I join the gathering group of onlookers in my own way.

The ambulance is on its way in a heartbeat of confusion. It dawns on you a moment too late that you're wearing white. That won't come out maybe ever, like all the words you exchanged forever seared in your mind. Being clever, a three-word suggestion for the one down on his side waiting for backup in his mind.
Track Name: Embers
Embers from the burning house streaking in the cold night sky. You and a hole in your gut. Snow blanketing the lawn. He lies fully clothed in bed. Tom watches TV in the next room. He hears the whispers in his head, conjures up the pictures he wants to see.

When are you coming home again? You can have anything you want. Broken tiles on the kitchen floor. Open a window, the icy air floods in.

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