contingency

by alyssa kai

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Maxine
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Maxine exegetical heretical is everything I want in a song
Vaughn Cartwright
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Vaughn Cartwright i've listened to Contingency at least once a week for a lot of months now. helped me get up in the morning more than once. Favorite track: shortest route.
Chloé Lamontagne
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Chloé Lamontagne I love your music so much, and it always means a lot to me when I listen to it. When I first found your work I listened to it all day at work each day for a week plus. It was the split album with Foster Carrots, and I loved every moment of it. The saddest songs always hit home the hardest... I just, want to let you know how much I appreciate you making your music. You've impacted my life in a meaningful way with your art. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Favorite track: queen of hell.
Ty Rex
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Ty Rex In between what sound like lost Mountain Goats demos and never-before-heard Rilo Kiley riffs, contingency is saying something entirely new - and yet its stories are so familiar they could have been mine. I listened to this for the first time (and the second time) while riding my bike and it was the perfect soundtrack for getting lost and finding my way again. Favorite track: mood stabilizers.
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    Digital release only; vinyl release coming spring 2016 via Gray Sky Micropress. General cw on the album for depression and death. Y'all know bandcamp takes a 15% cut of sales, yeh?

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about

contingency 34m38s

waking ablaze 3m07s
cardinal virtues 3m45s
mood stabilizers 3m15s
exegetical heretical 2m15s
u hauling 2m37s
gray area 4m06s
shortest route 2m18s
queen of hell 4m49s
sleep patterns 3m36s
ambient noise 1m45s
subway systems 3m00s

credits

released January 27, 2016

words and music and performances by alyssa kai
produced and recorded and mixed by james riotto
with assistance by john vanderslice and meg webb
at tiny telephone in san francisco california
mastered by jeff lipton assisted by maria rice
at peerless mastering in boston massachusetts
art selected from paintings by james tissot
special thanks to fred and jan and michael
released by gray sky micropress jan 27 2016
email lyskoi at riseup dotnet website lyskoi.net
general content notice for depression and death

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about

alyssa kai Greenfield, Massachusetts

writer and performer living in western massachusetts.

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Track Name: waking ablaze
i woke up this morning and rose from my bed
my mind is ablaze with such thoughts in my head
there isn't lot that my living requires
but no one should have to see water on fire
out on my barge I caught sight of a glow
that took from the city a million or more
we pulled water from oily water and sprayed
but the man I love lies hundred miles away

I get home tonight and I lay in my bed
my mind is ablaze with such thoughts in my head
it's my job to fight it but I'm getting tired
some days I just wanna see cleveland on fire
on the front page that the fire anoints
says "ohio pen rebels fed at gunpoint"
I'm off to my post I get no holiday
while the man I love lies hundred miles away

I wake up in pain barely rose from my bed
my mind is ablaze with such thoughts in my head
the riot continued from when it transpired
when powderkeg hearts caught together on fire
last hallowe'en night when the moonshine was full
my lover he fought for the food in his bowl
'gainst the national guard I'll have no peace today
while the man I love lies hundred miles away

I get home again I can't stay in this bed
my mind is ablaze with such thoughts in my head
they'd spit if they knew my source of desire
I'm alone on this river forever on fire
I heard today that they cut off the heat
and if he doesn't freeze he'll have nothing to eat
the wind and the rain come in north off the lake
while the man I love lies hundred miles away

I will not come back home and I won't come to bed
I am waking ablaze with these thoughts in my head
some of the men in those cellblocks retired
but on those who resisted the guards opened fire
the wounded are four the murdered are one
the embers are caged and my lover he's gone
so I'm setting a fire to burn up this whole state
for the man I love lying hundred miles away
Track Name: cardinal virtues
fear is everything you ignorant man
fear is the wall between us and them
fear is the mortar fear is the stone
fear is the rule of the land coming home
fear holds the one with the sum of her side
fear holds the other in silence and lies
I have no army so I open my wings
fear holds my place in the order of things

patience is viral and patience is vain
but patience can keep me from going insane
patience will hold as my insight decays
patience alights me and keeps me ablaze
losing my patience it ruined my life
in patience undone I passed over the signs
with patience in place I would never have strayed
I'll try to be patient 'til the end of my days

gratitude might just hold me in place
gratitude might just assuage my disgrace
gratitude might just reveal my next steps
'cause gratitude gains what ingratitude left
gratitude help me gratitude please
I'm alone I'm ungrateful I don't know what I need
ingratitude poisons and keeps us apart
oh gratitude bring me the truth of your heart
Track Name: mood stabilizers
eyes open one day
eyes closed another
eyes open once more and we're
staring at our hands
pressure on our wrists
pulling in the forearms
pricks in the elbows
pops in the shoulders
twisting in the spines
holding tired heads
in our hands swaying
back and forth back and forth back and forth
back and forth back and forth back and for--

caught alone in public
caught alone at home
caught with the scars that we drew that we
never should've shown
stare up from our desks
at the people all around
wonder if they see us
or if we're already gone
catch us fantasizing on it
catch us too tired to stop
catch our bodies vibrating
back and forth back and forth back and forth
back and forth back and forth back and for--

wake up in the night
with a vision on my mind
run across the city
for some reason I'm alive
breathing in the dark
with a vision on my mind
run across this city
wonder if you've died
run our bodies are burning
run to the shivering north
run 'cause the stars won't stop turning
back and forth back and forth back and forth
back and forth back and forth back and for--
Track Name: exegetical heretical
I think the lake of fire is subject to tidal phenomena
I think the screaming of the damned rises and falls in small intervals
I think that hell is quietly throbbing under our feet
all that kinetic energy has gotta go somewhere

I think below us the beasts and the false prophets and the devils
are staring jealously up at us with open palms
and peter and paul and all those up in the bosom of abraham
are staring pleasantly down at us with crossed arms

and god's gonna bubble up from the mud and none of you motherfuckers will have a clue what to do but don't worry
I'll tell you something else

did you know they sell new women's compact devotional bibles
NIV translations of the old and new testament
75 x 5 x 125 mm
lightweight offset paper seven point pink font

I think some trans woman punk down there in oklahoma
came home from high school one day only to find
the new women's compact devotional bible on her bed
as a confusing gesture from her devout parents

and satan's gonna spill down from the rafters and all of you babies will broil about but I'll tell you, I'll tell you
I won't tell you anything

and being raised catholic gave me divine authority to say really whatever I like in an exclamatory manner
Track Name: u-hauling
I wake up in the woods by a cast-iron stove in winter
a preacher on the payphone warns me of what I need to know
I mumble to myself "I'm not ready" and I worry
you pick me up from the station at sunrise I'm ready to go

you accelerate so slowly it's the kindest thing I've seen in several days
I can never see your eyes darting wildly hidden by your hair
you decelerate to a stop before you loose your slender fingers from my hand
I can never see your eyes but somehow I know they are there

pull out the backyard open wide
the itching in my wrists subsides

kisses like punctuation marks
the burning horizon shooting off sparks
we're stopping maybe it's wrong
we won't be here very long

I slip and slide wildly over your mother's icy driveway confused
inside your mother's boyfriend chops up vegetables and you pack
outside I watch the woodpeckers swarming at the feeder in the snow
outside you give me one of those looks I give it to ya right back

we leave and the mattress bangs wildly on the roof of your car
the same tape whines away three or four or five or six times
we leave the windows fly open at will let the cool air in
and at last the sun gives up and sinks below the pines

pull out of here our smiles wide
I barely know how to drive

kisses like punctuation marks
the burning horizon shooting off sparks
car on fire in the pennsylvania pines
"harder days coming maybe, I don't mind"
freeway winding wide and clear
powerlines draw us tight and near
you and me so far gone
we won't be here very long
Track Name: gray area
walking home from the cinema
on a warm & wintry night
I pause not a moment in my steps up north
to the ballroom filled with light
but my umbrella I kept open
though it rained not one drop down
& I thought like I thought for the last two hours
when ya gonna come round
I have loved you longer than I have ever told you
& more than I could ever ever tell you now
when tell me when will I meet your eyes again
when will raindrops fall back down
I don't wanna cry in some other girl's arms
bout some other other girl who's not you
but in your smile meet your gold brown eyes
& ask to marry you

careful careful we began to care
when we'd see each other soon
I can't even say what one visit means
it's a jewel to visit you
but I keep those jewels in an old gray box
where they tarnish red & brown
I will crack that lid give it one long look
then lower it back down
every soggy step I take
leaves a great big hole in the ground
if these small steps never lead to you
might as well just lay back down
I don't wanna wander the whole world over
wondering what I'm supposed to do
but in your town set my guitar down
& ask to marry you

I don't wanna stay here brattle & bray here
til my face & hands turn blue
alone aground in this rainy damn town
screaming cross the sky for you
the others they ignore me they scold & avoid me
they scramble at my sound
& all my cries whether wet or dry
not one gets off the ground
sometimes I think I see the future
but with you it's crowded round
I can't see what tomorrow holds
I'm so scared I'll let you down
I don't wanna plead here on bended knee here
to tell me when you're next coming through
but in touch one day though the sky'll be gray
I'll ask to marry
Track Name: shortest route
mental health is medical
mental health is not
mental health circulates
hides bides births
small measured steps
short small measured steps
only short small short small
measured steps

you're my geodesic
you're my shortest route
you you a river
me me the sea
don't break through no
please don't go
just hold me close
over miles below

'til word spreads word spreads
misses the mark
to acolytes to statistics
to priestesses
word spreads word spreads
word spreads word spreads
word spreads word spreads
of suspension
Track Name: queen of hell
running from shelter to shelter for so long
& smiling when you finally open up the door
swelling with the memories we're making
throw my wet clothes on the floor
I grimace when I finish
you grin & close the door

long hard & many times I've started
to try to make each rising morning new
I don't tend to turn around when I've departed
but I'm ready to try running home to you
I know I come here often
but not as much as you

when a woman sits in hell
there the sunlight ever swells

so thank you for the many nights of action
tangent lines tied tight inside your bed
covers like tidal waves crosshatching
sheets wrapped tight around our heads
I hold you like I'm living
I sleep here like I'm dead

there's a little more little more of me every morning
a little less lying below the fold
at sunrise when I stumble onto the hardwood flooring
you know it doesn't feel so cold
tell you I don't know my limits
fuck what you've been told

juice runs wild down my lips
woman's blood is in her hips

once upon a time there was a woman
known for her beauty wisdom too
she went picking flowers one morning
& disappeared from view
what happened to me
what happened to you

mine will be a somewhere sun
woman's work is never done
Track Name: sleep patterns
your face indescribable my body inscrutable
we started kissing in seasons unsuitable
but patterns appear here get clearer & clearer
each time I follow you home
I bare what I am with wide-eyed abandon
you utterly recklessly hold to my hand &
sarcastic & smiling dancing in timing
we build us a place we can go

where I will build a bed with you
where I will build a bed with you
I'll put my head upon your chest
& we will know better & better wherever we rest

but the world that walk's a delirious mess
it's made up of decadence drift & duress
while we tend to our purity pray to futurity
the wanderlust waits for us all
our houses will burn our cities will sink
our countries will calcify down to the brink
all of our bonds no matter how fond
are destined to loosen & fall

so I may tend a bed with you
& I may mend I bed with you
but though we're brave we're not the best
we'll wander oh whether oh whether together we rest

different is all we can hope to expect
different than what we made when we first met
cause we gotta be strong & we gotta be set
& we gotta be supple as supple can get
the fire in you doesn't need to be kept
the fire in me is too weak to be wet
so light up the end of your last cigarette
let's see what this world will bring next

when I burn down this bed with you
when I burn down this bed with you
our hearts may break it's for the best
we'll find other ways til forever & ever we rest
Track Name: ambient noise
someone walks by in a beautiful skirt
canvas went rustling by through the screen
the seams cut a line tween the snow & the sky
I cannot tell ya the ways that it hurts
someone made steps there with beautiful poise
striking a hit with their beautiful digs
strutting their leggings past where I sit with my
boring performative ambient noise

someone with pretty hip jeans on their thighs
floats by my table to pick up a drink I
stand here unblinking stuck here unstable I
stay in this basement with tears in my eyes
you wear what you like what you like is a choice
& you chose a desire for pretty hip jeans
with my heart on my sleeve I would only expire in
boring performative ambient noise

somebody tries on a gorgeous new hive
dangling tails on their blushing red ears yeah
maybe the queers we're all destined to fail but
some of us wear what we need to survive
if I wore my true colors you wouldn't enjoy
the bleeding & mismatching colors of thread
patchwork imperiled dead-set crosshatching more
boring performative ambient noise
Track Name: subway systems
my heart is an express train rolling south through 68th
left & right the local trains are slowing on their way
weaving in & out of me as I go rolling by
left & right from either side like flashbulbs shooting out of time
the slightest spark will drag the dark to light

you wanna know if I'm alright just look
I'm an apple of your eye I am an open book
pull me off the shelf when we're apart
you'll see all you need to see but you'll never see my heart
you might make it to the station but you'll miss the subway car

when I get depressed (by which I mean when I am tired & awake) I crane my neck & take the train. you never really know if the train is going inbound to oak grove, or the train's going inbound to forest hills, or the train's going outbound to forest hills, or the train's going outbound to oak grove. you gotta watch & wait. & shuffle your feet up to the bumpy yellow edge of the warning track & wait. & hear the train rumble like arrival like survival coming to rest. I will tell you honestly (as honestly as I can):

I have never jumped in front of my heart yet