In Place of Arms

by Gelsey Bell

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1.
02:09
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3.
05:43
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03:07
11.
04:49
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13.

credits

released September 13, 2010

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Gelsey Bell Brooklyn, New York

singer, songwriter, scholar

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Track Name: Sweetness
i want this song to do what it needs to
to make your knees buckle and shake
& i want this song to do what it needs to
to kiss the back of your neck at the end of a long long day
& to put its hands through your hair
when your head is hanging low
& to give you
a little
sweetness

i want this song to hold you when i’m not there
to do it myself
& when i play this song, i’m holdin’ you
though i’m not there to do it myself
& i can play it clean or messy
depending on what you need
i just want you to know you’ve always got a place to go
when you need a little
sweetness
Track Name: Courtney's Song
don’t give yourself any meaning through me
like there is anything to be saved from
& like i have a frame of reference, a frame of mind left that isn’t broken

‘cause i don’t wanna hear it

& don’t say disillusionment, melodrama, arrogance, life
to me anymore
‘cause i’m not looking & i’m not seeing
& i’m not hurting

& i don’t wanna hear it

& don’t give me anything
like you’re doing it for me
like i’m sincere
like you could somehow know
don’t say drugs, depression, culture
like i don’t like hurtin’ myself
like i’ve used those excuses and meant them

‘cause i don’t wanna hear it

just tell me it’s different
tell me you agree
tell me you don’t understand
a word
i’ve said
& smile

or just lie there & try not to lie to yourself
just stop talking
& i’ll be there
lying right back
Track Name: Eurydice
i used to have a dream about myself
me & no one else
& you were right behind me
but i didn’t have to see your face
i didn’t have to

i used to be able to
just wile away the hours
dreamin’ about that face
oh i didn’t have to
but i would anyways

& it’s the greatest shame
that all the things i love have become have-tos
cause the get-tos you have fight to get to
& i got you

under my skin
& over my head
it’s the other things
like today when i didn’t notice that the sun had come out

just give me a day
to sing this song
till i know
that i can’t be wrong
& then i’ll rise to the occasion
& i won’t look back

whatever makes you happy
well you find it & you don’t let go
till it’s part of you
till you don’t now where it is anymore
then go look for it
it’s right there

just give me a day
to sing this song
till i know
that i can’t be wrong
& then i’ll rise to the occasion
& i won’t look back

eurydice
Track Name: American Girl
our american girl
is taught not to love
just to bleed into her
cup of humble dressings

get over yourself
give me a fucking break
maybe you’ll start feeling better
when you’re decent to people

& our american girl
is taught to grow wolf fangs
& to bite into the other girls
when they get out of line
i guess i’m getting out of line

& she cries upstairs
w/ nothing to think about
but all the wrongs against her
she cries upstairs
w/ nothing to think about
but all the wrongs against her
& when he fairy godmother comes
yes her fairy godmother comes & says

get over yourself
give me a fucking break
maybe you’ll start feeling better
when your decent to people

& she’s taught not to care if someone is hurt
she’s taught that she’s a victim of her place
& she’s taught that cruelty is a necessity of survival
she’s taught to be blind to her own hypocrisy
she’s taught to be silent when the truth hurts
she’s taught that only a man can save her
but not to trust the men
‘cause they just don’t get it

& our american girl
she bleeds into her beggars mug
& let’s her pain be her pleasure
& i bled into her beggars mug
& my pain was her pleasure
& his pain will be her pleasure
yeah our pain is her pleasure

& our american girl
gets what’s handed to her
controls her body by scaring it
controls her friends by betraying them
controls her lovers by leaving them
controls her health by being sick
controls her love by being numb
controls her mood with little pills
controls her thoughts with
stories about how she’s done
everything she could to make it better
but the wound won’t heal
& the crack won’t mend
though it still won’t fucking break

& she cries upstairs
w/ nothing to think about
but all the wrongs against her
she cries upstairs
w/ nothing to think about
but all wrongs against her
& when i ask her why she stabbed this knife in my back
& then stands there watching me scream
why do you just stand there watching me scream
she says

i’m taught not to care if someone is hurt
i’m taught that i’m a victim of her place
i’m taught that cruelty is a necessity of survival
i’m taught to be blind to my own hypocrisy
i’m taught to be silent when the truth hurts
i’m taught that only a man can save me
so i’m gonna take the men
& i’ll do anything

& our american girl
gets what’s handed to her
she let’s her pain be her pleasure
& i got to hand it to her
she made my pain her pleasure
& his pain will be her pleasure
yeah our pain is her pleasure

& she’s taught not to take responsibility
for letting herself learn
to not take responsibility
for fighting to think
for not struggling to love

get over yourself
give me a fucking a break
maybe you’ll start feeling better
when you’re decent to people
Track Name: Necessary Fiction
i can’t help
but think that the way we say
there are no hidden messages
it’s a necessary fiction

i know that
the story of what is here
is largely still in transit & we wouldn’t want to sing it away

but i don’t know if you know
& you don’t know if i know
so any hidden messages are often already obsolete

put this poem
in the back of your mind & heart
& when the credits run, you can remember in tongue & cheek

why’s it seem
i’m always singing to you
this song is probably about him
it’s a necessary fiction
Track Name: Lie Still My (song for jack)
my heart stops
at the top
of every peak
when the mountain creaks
& i don’t believe
in angels

at the top
your heart stopped
& i feel you
like time grew
& you ripple back
in the path’s slack
& i don’t believe
in angels

at the top of the wave
nothing stays
& what could last
through the crash

when your heart stopped

lie still my
lie still
Track Name: Delicate Balance
there’s a delicate balance between
driving oneself crazy
& putting on the pressure

there’s a delicate balance between
losing control &
allowing for leisure

there’s a delicate balance between
demanding respect &
insulting with a smile

& just for good measure
i’m not a magician
i get lost
scheming to persuade

there’s a delicate balance between
making a joke &
just feeling sad

there’s a delicate balance between
trying to be wise &
just being creative

solving problems &
gritting our teeth
between headache
& sacrifice

there’s a delicate balance between
it being okay
& it being alright
Track Name: Myself/ to Myself
i’m too tired of
waiting for that sunny day
i’m gonna make a little sun
right here, right now

i sit & patronize myself
i don’t need what you’ve got
this is a good life all round
this a good life i’ve found

don’t tell me definitions
of words i’ve heard so many times
success pride & fame
oh & money that they can see

i disagree

don’t need those letters
don’t need that list
don’t need to explain myself
to myself

i’m too tired for
woody allen misery
i’m too tired
to be anything but happy

i disagree
Track Name: He Was Dominic
he was dominic when he smiled
i linked onto him like a child
& we danced like red velvet
doesn’t mean i’m stuck

means it’s a dried flower that i can moisten
the rose has undoubted thorns
doesn’t take the time to tell me
but i linger

still looking for that messy haired boy
the one who’s always tryin’ to fix it but never can no never
& wanting wanting wanting

he was sixteen from Jackson, Mississippi
lost in the woods but i loved how he held me
w/ spinning eyes
‘cause he was dominic when dominic smiled
& wanting wanting wanting
Track Name: No Question
he fell apart in the middle of the kitchen
still standing on two legs
his face red & eyes terrified

& when he came to me
there was no question
that i would keep on loving him

i demanded that he put his arms around me
& hold tight
his head to heavy to hold on his own as if his bones had never hardened

it didn’t matter who i was
i was all for him

& when he came to me
there was no question
that i would keep on loving him

he fell apart in the middle of the kitchen
still standing on two legs
his face red & eyes terrified
Track Name: This Time
it’s neither i nor you
just this time
nothing left to say
it’s gonna be okay my baby

nothing you do wrong
will last for too long
you’re gonna make that lonely lady
smile
& she’s gonna forget for a little while

you & i & her
just this time
nothing left to say
it’s gonna be okay my baby

‘cause you’ve got strength for
all the weaknesses that flair
& i’ll help you till the moment when you’re
just being there

this is why it falls
this is what the doomed mirror chord meant
when the moment calls
just take up that tore up mangled thing all rent
mangled thing

it’s neither i nor you nor them
it’s just this time
nothing left to say
it’s gonna be okay my baby

my lemongrass sonoma pear
pixie w/ the crazy stare
no lipstick ladybug
good-for-way-too-much thug

my gas station blue jean itch
my laughin’ loud jazz hands kitsch
silent by the seaside sue
singin’ am i blue am i blue

rockin’ to the beat & to the sobs
hard workin’ all shift jobs
tatter tots of two & six
rubbin’ bones w/ stones & sticks

my bob dylan ghost town pack
my jacques derrida smokestack
my yoko ono tree limb swing
my baby lovin’ thingly thing

fire up those callused shoes
shipwreck the flags & clues
hold yourself close & tight
this time w/ all your might


it’s neither i nor you
just this time
Track Name: Light Punctures Through
light punctures through
the crack in the door
the holes in the blinds
my open-ended afternoon
light punctures through
through to you

you puncture through
my sensory battalion
my painter’s stare across the room
my costumed bed sheet twist
you puncture through

hardly through thoughts
just through this feeling of joy
that i wake up in the morning with
i’m gonna wrap myself around the sunny breeze
i’m gonna open up the window & stick my head out
like my room is a fast moving car
& i’m a care-free puppy
with a long tongue
& kind eyes

i puncture through
wildly
& anxious free
dancing with everybody
as they accept the joy
unconcreted & starving
for a night where we shine
unknowingly
& we wrap each other in our
light punctures through
wrap each other in our
light
Track Name: Diner Omletes & Rummy
you are so articulate
about not wanting to articulate
we meet silence
with so much to say
& i don’t want to assume anything
like i’ll see you soon

so many words are just promises
waiting to break
& don’t make any promises
for my sack
i just wanted to say
i had a nice nice time
with you last night