Kissing in Brackets

by Royal Pine

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released November 30, 2011



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Royal Pine Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

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Track Name: Falling Action
I awoke with this tune in my head in a German apartment. I was visiting you, but I wanted to visit the mountains. Now you're home and instead of a song about us getting started, all I hear when I wake's the eternal, atonal AC. The terrifying fact that everything's fine. Don't watch me open presents--you're putting pressure on my smile. There's nothing left to want when everything's mine. You were gone for a half of a year and it tasted like alcohol, and I stumbled around on a buzz of self-pity and loss. Now you're home, I'm hungover and scared I'll start thinking about breathing. It's a free country. They're welding next door at all hours. The terrifying fact that everything's fine. My chiropractor said my back was already aligned. The terrifying fact that everything's fine. Can a lack of conflict be my conflict, if a plot requires a conflict? Are we into falling action if our love's already climaxed?
Track Name: Geography
You’re already dating the French. You were saving your love, but you’ve spent most. He thought that he'd only be benched, not cut like the crust from your french toast. And I’d have taken any bet offered me that it’d have taken more than geography for what you had to end, and it’s lost on me how you could lose a war to geography. You crossed the Atlantic alone, and in three weeks you did what you weren’t supposed to. I knew how distant you’d grown. Did he know he’d tasted like burnt toast to you? And I’d have taken any bet offered me that it'd have taken more than geography. You’d overcome too many atrocities to lose a little war to geography.
Track Name: The Best Kind of Ill
I’m not whipped, just quite smitten. She don’t fish, but I’ve bitten. She’s my rider, but the bridle’s my idea. It’s not her fault I’ve fallen apart. It’s not her fault I’m dedicated. I’ve surrendered my shirts as legal tender to purchase a pair of bosoms that were offered as promotion. It’s the best kind of ill. I’ve checked in at will. You claim I’m pathetic, I should hate it. But it’s not her fault I’ve fallen apart. It’s not her fault I’m dedicated. You didn’t hear what she whispered that afternoon in the forest--why every evening I kiss her, I want to be the one to deserve it.
Track Name: The Princess of Samoa
I play with the princess of Samoa and get paid. I drove to the Gaspe, met a hot guy and went gay. I spent a tenth of a million dollars in three years when I worked white collar. I’m friends with the constable of Bethlehem. Homeschooled--had no classmates and went summa cum on them. I’ve bathed in the cold Saint Lawrence. But you’ve made it all old and boring. When you text me on my drive home and you rubber band my evening with the L-word or the slow burn of a hydrochloric secret, I don’t want there to be a drive home. I was ten when I saw the light: that listing birds was fun. Put forty grand on the car to find 651, and that was only 2007. But I was alone in 2007. It’s how I can appreciate an hour of empty interstate. I get your text; I wish you were perpetually my passenger. Oh, nothing helps to whip my cream like the rush of cellular whispering. It rips me up, it trips my heart, it’s a stutter-start, it’s arrhythmia when you text me....
Track Name: Chemical Leak
Pizza and wine with the ungrateful. I eat, but I’m finding them distasteful. All the hook-ups of the cynics passed like laughing gas and mimicked. I reach for your thigh under the table. I acknowledge that in medical speak we would call it just a chemical leak, but I was giving you love. Is it nothing if we say what we mean when we’re touching with no layers between and I am giving you love? Later that evening, giving you love, I tell you how I was impatient to leave; I nearly threw up. She was blank-faced like a wall clock, like her blasphemy were small talk. They don’t believe in what we’re proof of.
Track Name: We Are the Lovers
We are the lovers. We have a filter on our lens. We made a movie of our dinner, gave it mm stars out of ten, ’cause we like it where we suck on the white asparagus and praise the hollandaise. We are the lovers. We are the big and little spoons. We read our horoscopes in bed and then we telescope the moon, and we'll force ourselves to watch till we're fortunate to spot a jet in silhouette. They are gonna need us around in the afterlife. We are not believers, but we are the archetypal lovers. We are the lovers. Orgasm in the cafe--we’re not faking ours. Out on a limb but the branch will not break. We are the lovers. And we're forgiven. If on a night of drunkenness, we forget we love the birds and throw our bottles at their nests, in the morning, nonetheless, in the trees above the glass we see activity.
Track Name: Snow Crab
Sequestered on the night of the time change, the breakers in and out with our breaths. Valpolicella and the legs of a snow crab. We want each other like the things that we don’t have. Awakened, you’re afraid of crustaceans. I take you on the edge of the bed. Your legs are angled like the legs of a snow crab. We want each other like the things that we don’t have. The thin wine. The dark sea.
Track Name: Air Girl
Loving what does not exist: I'd done it with God, now with this. Fooling myself again. She said that we should be friends. I bought a ticket for a girl of smoke. One can't lock fingers with a ghost. Insubstantial. Insubstantial--I loved her; she was insubstantial. Loving what cannot exist. I was a boob of an idealist. She said she was too twisted to trust. Was that her voice or a gust? Took for my guardian an angel of snow. Thought she'd made an impression, but I made it, I know. Insubstantial. I sent twelve roses to a girl of cloud. Fell for her and through her to the ground. Actual lovers don't leave vapor trails. I chase comets without bodies and headless tails.
Track Name: High Rise
It's too public to heal in Los Angeles. Call it senioritis, just cut off or seal off or banish us or incarcerate us. Rustle of April. A name without a referent after a single-car accident. If I immerse myself in the first third of things--if I--will you be baptized too, in the blended corporate blue? I had a dream we had our anonymity in a high rise a mile above high school. In natural light through venetian blinds, against stiff, starched linens, our chests and our thighs don't appear as white. Outside, kids are swimming three-quarters naked under the palms demure. We can't tell their futures from this height. Let the drone of a fan in a private room postpone all our plans for one afternoon.
Track Name: Serenade
When I drive alone, I put on a song and I croon. I tend to drone if no one’s along for the tune. But when you’re along, I’m not singing along. I am singing for you, and my seat sinks down and your seat is really a balcony and the steering wheel’s the guitar I need for your serenade. It’s your serenade. When I drive alone, extending my range is the hardest. If I practice, I can hit the high A in that song by the Darkness. You assume this is aimless singing, but I am using peripheral vision to see if you will let down your hair or at least your guard. You have poise and a blouse in fashion. If my voice can arouse your passion, lean over the rail of your heart. I can nail the harmony on this song. It’s a bummer if you feel that Phantom Planet is on just for the drummer. 'Cause when you're along, I'm not singing along. I am singing for you, and my seat sinks down and your seat is really a balustrade and the steering wheel's the guitar I made. 'Cause when you're along, I'm not singing along. 'Cause when you're along, I am singing for you.
Track Name: Spring on the Pacific
Now that I love you more than I love Morrissey, and since I love him more than ornithology, and since I love that more than robots in the cinema, clearly I love you more than I have ever been in love. And since you love me, you are spring on the Pacific to me, a Newport Beach specific to me. You’ve appropriated all of my heart. You’re appropriate to my heart. You’ve crushed my age-old crush on Zooey Deschanel and you have made cold the hots I had for Gael Bernal, and now I need you more than Ryan Adams rarities. I’d give my right arm for you, if you could wear it, please, around your waist, girl. You are spring on the Pacific to me, a blue Laguna of prolific beauty. Now you’re May in Pasadena to me, a California drama streaming to me.
Track Name: The Museum of Modern Art
Aimee’s in the modern art museum, headphones on, a wing to herself. I close my eyes. I can’t imagine seeing anyone else. Walking through the modern art museum, gawking at the works of Duchamps, Aimee thinks her tastes run European, while I’m typed in an American font. In an hour, she will leave the city and fall asleep to the hum of the bus. I would like to visit the museum of the artwork of us. To whom is Aimee listening? Is it M. Ward, or Gibbard? And whom does Aimee want to see? Is it Cezanne, or me? And where is Aimee’s map and guide? In a pocket, unconsulted? The fools! As if they could collapse the greatest stars into these paragraphs and black holes. The assholes! Aimee’s in the modern art museum, its displays arranged chronologically. I, too, am caught up in a timeline: when does she come home? Has she been out to eat?
Track Name: All But Rock
Your eyes attached to someone you were expecting. I fixed mine on our shadows on the ground. Your mind was off again like a boat to England. I fixed mine on our bodies in the ground. Dancing next to you, I felt like a cardboard cutout. So I thought of the guy with the fir tree in his lung. It was in the news. It helps to remember when we're talking, we are just some tendons and some tongues. I need this to blow over--love, existence, all that rot. I need to see us scatter, come apart like a slapdash knot. When we separate, in the sun and wind come unglued, then all will be forgotten, even you. I need this to be over--love, existence, all that jazz. I need to see us fracture, fall apart like a glacial mass. When we melt away into inanimate molecules, then all will be forgotten, all these blues. In the acid rain, when our soft parts have all but dissolved, then all will be forgotten, all but rock.
Track Name: Switzerland (Blow Pops for Big Kids)
Don't you take a side. Don't you take a side. It's impossible not to like a person after you meet their eyes. We knew we were right. We could sleep at night. Now we feel like we're awfully old, we feel like a couple of claustrophobes. We lost our edge. We thought cigarettes were blow pops for big kids. We lost our edge. We quit cigarettes. Now she wants a bigger bed. Don't you overstate. Don't you overstate. Easy to say 'cause you're sated now that you won't want a steak from your sacred cow. We thought they were wrong, mocked their favorite songs. Radio play for our critique; now we're cranking their bands sans irony. It's provisional. It’s provisional--all you believe, like arrangements of sleep.
Track Name: South Bethlehem Love Song
In a nightmare, I thought I lost you on the strassenbahn. In another, the doppler effect of your scream. You went headlong over the railing at the shopping mall. It took a phone call to confirm that it was a dream. If you live, if you live, you can cry in front of traffic on the Fahy Bridge. I don’t have a way of backing you up and it has me scared. If you’re well, if you’re well, we can stand above the Lehigh like the old hotel. When I have you in my arms, what I love is exactly there. Spooning leads to forking--we like making verbs out of silverware. And this feels like a knifing, when I fumble for your frame and it isn’t there. We fit like K’Nex. I get panic attacks. I miss your spine and your vital signs. If you live, if you live, you can cry in front of traffic on the Fahy Bridge. I don’t have a way of backing you up and it has me scared. If you’re real, if you’re real, we can span Sand Island like we’re made of steel. When I have you in my arms, what I love is exactly there. If you’re good, if you’re good, can I rest my stubborn chin atop your soft gray hood?
Track Name: Haha
It’s been a cold July. We’ve been missing our jackets. And our love’s implied, like we’re kissing in brackets. What can’t you commit to? I don’t remember what I asked you. And the music site’s growing self-referential. When they know they’re right, they don’t have to be gentle. I wrote you something tragic, and I know I heard you laughing. This is the sound of you packing your cigarettes. This is the cost of your second tattoo.