The mark inside

by Pat "the bunny" Schneeweis

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I skipped class and rode the number five bus all the way east, just to see where it ends. I smoked a cigarette at udall station, got back on the bus again. We've been this way since you met me: hearts not heavy, but empty. And once a song could raise me up, but now there's nothing, so I stumbled home a broken man with blood on my hands, dead on my feet, shot down where I stand. With blood on my hands, dead on my feet, shot where I stand. Freedom is beautiful and terrible, it's nothing soft and sweet. It's used bullets on the side walk, fires across the street. It's you moving in with your new boyfriend in Oakland. It's a pack of wild dogs on a road without a street lamp. It's roaches in the bathroom, mice in the kitchen, and no one left to blame for the way I've been living. It's mice in the kitchen, roaches in the bathroom, and no one left to blame. I woke up late and missed class again, so I brewed a pot of coffee and went back to bed. Snatch some bread selling junk from the back of the shed. Hop the fence, because the front's being watched by the feds. We've been this way since we've been alive: reckless and shy, so I set fire to the house and took off running. I hope that you won't mind. I burned down the house to get myself out of this hell alive. I burned down the house to get myself out. I hope you don't mind. Freedom is nothing soft and sweet, it's beautiful and terrible. It's admitting everything that I don't want anyone to know. It's telling people that I love I stole from them when they weren't looking. It's fucking up so many times that they won't pick up when I call them. It's watching people die because they got back in it, and knowing that I don't have any say in it. It's watching people die, and knowing I don't get any say.
I lay down an awful wreck, pissing out my window and smoking in bed. The good don't die young, they just haven't had time to fuck up the same as the rest of us yet. I want nothing, nothing at all. I'd be driving drunk if I still got drunk. Rev the ignition, straight on to oblivion. Into a void as pure as they come. But if we aren't dead yet, then let's not live as ghosts. If we aren't in jail, then we can leave the house. I'll show you that there's reason to hope in the spray paint that's all over downtown. Let's fill up our shopping carts with the things we need and just roll out the front door, past the cashiers and security guards. But the magnets trip the wheel locks before we even clear the parking lot, and take off running through the neighbor's yard. I lay down an awful wreck, mumbling to myself about the government again. Maybe postmodernism's just an extended tantrum about how we don't have our flying cars yet. I want nothing, nothing from them. I'd smash every machine if I didn't have one. Rev the ignition, straight onto oblivion, into a void as pure as they come. But if we aren't dead yet, then let's not live as ghosts. If we aren't in jail, then we can leave the house. I'll show you that there's reason to hope in the spray paint that's all over downtown. Meet me at the diner at six o' clock on every Wednesday night, and we'll get some coffee and pie. I'll smile, tip the waiter, get a ride home: "Thanks for the favor." And hope that that's enough to build a life.
I eat cigarettes for breakfast, and coffee for lunch. For dinner I lay in the dirt and wait for the end times to come. I wish I could tell you the truth, but when I do it comes out sounding stupid. But meet me at four in the morning, and see for yourself. Sunrise, sunset, that's all I really gotta know. The rest is a prison that I build for myself. On my worst nights, I'd still burn down the city just for a peaceful night's rest. But here in your arms, my darling, I think that can wait, or I hope it can. We murdered a chicken for breakfast, and ate it for lunch. She was beautiful, she was scrappy, she was mean as they come. And I told her on the way to the chopping block: "Chaos reigns over us all. One day I'll be worm food, but Jenny, first it's your turn." There's sunrise, and sunset, and then there's the day that I die. All the rest is a prison, or else it's a lie. At my worst times, I'd still murder a traffic cop to get out of a ticket. But here in your arms, my darling, police don't exist, or I hope they don't.
The fences, the wire, the dress code on the wall. The transfers, the searches, the bullshit they paint in the hall. And the walls that hold you in are just a million ashes waiting for release. We'll shake the gates of hell until you're free. The phone calls, the hearings: I hear the public defender's alright. The bailiffs, the judges: shareholders getting paid tonight. Just so many ashes waiting for release make up the walls of a prison cell. We're storming heaven, or we're raising hell.
On Mondays, I do the laundry at a twenty four hour place next to the Dollar Tree. I know that I could walk, but god I love to drive. I thought about calling and asking forgiveness, but hell, I'm afraid of the dogs that I live with. I guess you take it one thing at a time. I thought about Jesse on Tuesday morning; last I heard, he was still doped up in Portland. I could call and ask, but hell, I know he'd lie. Like my neighbor, he's got business. If you don't know about it, better keep your distance. Ain't no one on this street ever called a cop in their life. On Wednesday, ran into Connor, drinking like he was already a goner. He said he'd like to change if he could grow a spine. I said: "When you talk like that, you make me real nervous. No, don't be inviting me to your funeral service. Throw down your fucking chips, let's play for keeps this time." Like on Thursday when you called and woke me up. I heard you started smoking crack again and caught up: catching cases robbing houses, just to stay alive. So I hung up, and called Vanessa, and I told them that I left the rent on the dresser. It wasn't even half of three weeks late this time. On Fridays, I do the laundry at the twenty four hour place next to the Dollar Tree, past the neighbors reaching heaven with their trucks so high. I thought about calling and asking forgiveness, but lately I don't even know what that word is. I've got police on my six, because they think it's a crime.


Paid downloads help us keep putting out music, and are greatly appreciated. Free downloads at

No more CD-R versions are being pressed, as these songs are being collected into a new Pat "the bunny" solo collection called "The Volatile Utopian Real Estate Market." You can find it on this Bandcamp profile!

Creative authenticity is a question I have been thinking about recently. On a certain level, it's arguably impossible: songwriting is always about making characters, however close to your "real life" personality those characters happen to be. On another level, my experience as a music listener has led me to believe that there is an undefinable quality to the writing I identify with that reflects a certain...something.

I hesitate to call it truth. Yet I am forced to admit that old Mountain Goats albums FEEL true, although I know they are works of fiction. They are more true, on this level of meaning, than singing a grocery list would be (although the latter might be "true" in a literal sense). There is something mysterious about creative honesty that fascinates me.

These songs were produced with those thoughts in mind. I present a more fictionalized account of my life in these songs than I have in the bulk of my previous work. In general, my lyrics have been true in a literal sense (and hopefully in an emotional one). These lyrics reflect the broad outline of literal experiences, but I explore a series of characters with a darker interpretation of that experience than I hold personally (and who behave much more dramatically within similar circumstances than I would).

In reality, I am pretty happy almost every day. This has generally been the case for me over the last three years. Life involves struggle, of course, but I do not feel terribly burdened by that reality very much of the time.

But when I write, it's the darkness that interests me. The darkness I believe will always be with us, to greater or lesser degrees. May we be led by it, always to a greater light.



released April 28, 2013

Pat "the bunny" wrote and recorded everything at Pigeon House in April 2013. Artwork ruthlessly pillaged from an online search for public domain images.




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