The Dignity of Man

by These Estates

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1.
It’s not a torch, it’s a cigarette, but it’s still a sacred kind of flame, and it leads you back to the place where you feel youthful again: flickering light on a basement wall, ritual beat of the drum. And, for once, your face is not just a mask you’re staring outward from. Well, it’s the way we live now. It’s always somehow just a little tighter, a little tighter. And it takes a couple beats just to figure it out, and get a little tighter, a little tighter. And I want you to keep me appraised - if you call I’ll be waiting outside, cause when the lovee breaks we’re gonna have ourselves a real good time. Down from your heart through your aching calves, a particular kind of sin waits for its cue, a simple four-count in. “I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait”: that’s the refrain of the song. So for once, you’re not gonna leave til the lights come on, til the lights come on. It’s the way we live now. It’s always somehow just a little tighter, a little tighter. And it takes a couple beats just to figure it out, and get a little tighter now. And I want you to keep me appraised* — if you call I’ll be waiting outside, cause when the lovee breaks we’re gonna have ourselves a real good time. I need you to keep faith and to keep me in the back of your mind, cause when the lovee breaks we’re gonna have ourselves a real good time. Oh my God, we’re gonna have ourselves a real good time. When the love I see is the love I need to break and when the love I feel is a love I’m recreating — when the love you breathe takes all your time then it enters me and becomes mine, well here it comes it’s just the way we live now, it always somehow just takes a couple beats just to figure it out and to keep yourself away from that crippling self-doubt.
2.
Nothing quite like nostalgia to make you feel a little bit older, feel like you’re looking at a photograph of somebody else’s sun. Nothing quite like trying to sell yourself as a part of the world as composed of products. Nothing like trying to tell yourself that you’re the only one. I tried to save a date but it got messed up, it got messed up. Tried to reserve a space but it got messed up, it got messed up. Tried not to make mistakes but I got messed up, I got messed up. It’s tough sometimes to understand that an image is not the image we’re expecting but an image of an image that we saw once long ago It’s tough sometimes to understand why we act as if we’re interacting with the picture of the thing. It’s impossible, but we know.
3.
We’ve got some miles now, so let’s find things to say; you don’t owe me anything, so let’s call it a giveaway. Or crank the stereo: “She Says What She Means.” (And I’m amending my own lines to accomplish the same thing.) High beams on & jackets off, forty minutes to Davidson, and the wind is not enough to replace the blasting sun. I know you’re tired & you don’t wanna go back. And I am sick of working on these same four lines. I’ve got no stories left to help us pass the time, but we’ve still got a hell of a drive. We could just stop the car and shed our earthly forms. Leave our bones in a ditch; we won’t need them anymore. Avoid the impossible — you can’t set a night on fire, and we’ve got subtler means and simpler desires. Do a buck and then two dimes. It’s flat and dark, it’s true, but I drive it all the time, and it’s easier with you. I know you’re tired & you don’t wanna go back. And I am sick of working on these same four lines. I’ve got no stories left to help us pass the time, but we’ve still got a hell of a drive.
4.
I’ve got chords in the back of my throat, and they jangle to life when you say hello: “The bartender here has the most perfect pour — so clean and precise, so self-assured, and brightened by flames off the peel of an orange. Find me a man who could ask you for more (and if you can find him, then show him the door, cause he’s not worth our time).” Sugar and lime and juniper gin, I’ll raise a glass to you, my friend. Speak of it once, and never again; the stripes of faith that did you in. Resting my arms on the fine polished oak I’ll quip a bon mot, tell a good joke. If there’s change in your pockets, then you’re in luck — come on boys, it’s time to get fucked. Pilsner & highballs & Maker’s Mark, neat, Just don’t try to line up your feet You’ll be down on your ass and then out on the street, it just isn’t a great idea. Sugar and lime and juniper gin, I’ll raise a glass to you, my friend. Speak of it once, and never again; the stripes of faith that did you in. Bodies like satellites clutter the space But we’ll stick around, since we’ve been here since 8 And avoid any talk about Catholic beliefs When you’re trying to get laid, they get stuck in your teeth. And then there’s the lights and it’s time to go home — I put my hand up, and say, “One for the road.” The sense that I’m getting’s that I’m on my own But I’ll be waiting here. Sugar and lime and juniper gin, I’ll raise a glass to you, my friend. Speak of it once, and never again; the stripes of faith that did you in.
5.
Inches and columns, notaries of the self, sweat in the tinctures: reminders of something else. Heated to boiling. Bubbling through the cracks, steaming through fissures, burning our chance to relax – feral love. You’ve got a feral love, and I hope that it rips me to shreds. Sinew and follicles. Locations of pressure points. Aches in the muscles lingering deep in the joints. I stayed up late staring at the ceiling, counting myself to sleep with the stippling, living a life not dependent on pleasing an entity deafened from all of the listening, feral love. You’ve got a feral love, and I hope that it rips me to shreds. I know blood, it’s like fine wine: gets better with age, all tannins and full of taste. And as I get older, I want to know the contents of your notes, what you get in the profile — whiskey casks, tobacco, and all of the joys I’ve known waiting to hear from you and then hearing from you. It brightens me up, brightens me up.
6.
Like Skin 05:32
Like a knuckle clenched, like the cheeks on brides — like the way we slough off white and paperlike outdated remnants of ourselves and try to slither out from underneath our pride, I’ll be a blemish or a scar, a blister on your thumb: you’ll be thinking about me on the drive home. Like an ingrown part. Like the calloused feet, like the way the frost bursts capillaries just beneath the surface of something quite different from how we construct ourselves to seem, I’ll be a blemish or a scar, a blister on your thumb: you’ll be thinking about me, I’ll be on your mind. I’ll be on your mind. Like the feeling of the bed we used to lay upon and like the flavour of your skin, I used to know it once, but now it’s gone.
7.
Mt. 03:22
I’m stepping out, caught on my feet this time, for once. Drunkenly slipping on your lawn, feel the wind through my fingers, & then I’m gone. Mistreated it first, took it as an article of faith — I don’t care what you were told, I just know it’s my fault you’re not sleeping alone. I know, I know. Sorta misjudged, thought I could see it off tonight. Raised a glass to toast your health; had a reaction to myself. I know, I know.
8.
This is a call for a new dictionary for the things that don’t have a voice, born into this world of language and not given a choice - everything from rivers and oceans to intangible notions and thoughts. This is a call to be the unsayable’s polyglots. Brutalist architecture is beautiful in its own way if you just take a second to figure out what it wants to say, cause everything has got its own dialect to breathe down deep into your lungs (e.g. I love the Romantic languages, but I’d do anything for your Slavic tongue). So wrap my guts in curly punctuation marks and then say them out loud. The nuances of the way I feel about you can be difficult to pronounce. Find me a word that means in simple syllables, “To find one’s heart in one’s mouth.” I’m not just making idle conversation, I have gotta hear that other sound.
9.
“You’ve been such gracious hosts, but now we really must be going. We had a very nice time,” and as I say this I’m tracing my fingers down your spine, hold onto it like a rail and pull myself up, noble, undisgraced, stoic and impassive with a breakwater face. But beneath it is no trace of the deliberate or restrained — we’re all animals in a certain way. What do they say? “A good man’s hard to find these days”? They’ve made no mistake; virtue and valour are the province of the brave. It’s more of the same. I see no reason to let that get in our way. Heaven be praised. I’m not afraid of shame, but I’m afraid that something hideous behind my balls now rears its head, and I could eat you whole at any time I chose. What do they say? “A good man’s hard to find these days”? They’ve made no mistake; virtue and valour are the province of the brave. It’s more of the same. I see no reason to let that get in our way. Heaven be praised. If you think there’s nothing inexplicable and evil, you haven’t really met a man. Trim the heart of its silverskin and sear it ‘til browned in a ripping hot pan.
10.
For a start, I’m alive, but I’m always wasting time, cause you’re smart, and that’s just fine, but I can’t jack off to your mind. And you’re not mine, but what is “mine,” and why’s my heart out on the line? All it does is bleach and dry. Maybe I’m lacking in empathy. I know that you know and you know that I know and I know you know that I know. Pay me some attention; we’ll see how it goes. If you’re out, then it’s alright to go fucking other guys. I don’t think it’s impolite, sneaking off and getting high. But when I’m too drunk to drive, you don’t even have to try; you just know, and no surprise, but I could use your sympathy. I know that you know and you know that I know and I know you know that I know. Pay me some attention; we’ll see how it goes, oh-oh-oh.

about

Performed 26 January 2013 at Tri-State Sound, Regina, SK.
Seven microphones were used.
Overdubs: cassette deck solos on “Lovee,” all vocals.

credits

released February 22, 2014

John Cameron: 5'10"
Matt Carr: 6'2"
Mason Pitzel: 6'0"

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These Estates regina

We used to be a four-piece and play power-pop-ish stuff. Nowadays we're a three-piece and everything's a little riffier and it sounds more midrangey. There's probably a metaphor for living in Regina somewhere in there.

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