The Decision To Karaoke

by 90s Meg Ryan

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credits

released August 20, 2014

Album Art and Header by:
MICHELLE LYNN JOHNSON –
"Making the Decision 1" is a mixed-media collage on wood.

*** Alternate Album Art:
*** i.imgur.com/rN0uTkg.jpg
"Making the Decision 2" is a mixed-media collage on wood.

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90's MEG RYAN is a digital archive of contemporary poetry, prose, and music. It is half literary journal / half digital LP. Yes, it's named after a woman and an era in which she acted, but, come on, this journal doesn't pretend it owns any rights to anything Meg Ryan.

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❖♦❖GUIDELINES❖♦❖
Send the *text* of 1-3 poems or 1 story (less than 700 words) as a .doc attachment in an e-mail.
All left-aligned, no weird spacing, no italics or bolds or underlines.
If I want to publish the words, we'll discuss recording the work.
Feel free to toss a note, a bio, a decent YouTube link, a funny .jpeg, a cool Subreddit, whatever in the e-mail. I like that.
Musicians, shoot me the link to your BandCamp or SoundCloud.
Be smart, use the subject line.

❖♦❖90sMegRyan@gmail.com❖♦❖

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AUSTIN HAYDEN runs 90's Meg Ryan.
I try very hard to get the spacing right in the "lyrics" section.
I try very hard to represent every THPS2 skater in each issue.

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THE DECISION TO KARAOKE

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

90s Meg Ryan Muncie, Indiana

In 1989 Meg Ryan immortalized herself as Sally Albright.
Throughout the next decade, she mesmerized us all.

contact / help

Contact 90s Meg Ryan

Track Name: DILLON J. WELCH: Poem in Which We Live Many Lives and Are Always Happy
–– Poem in Which We Live Many Lives and Are Always Happy ––


I find a constant chime in the way of things.


The tomatoes, ripe.


A rope swing in sway since the windstorm Tuesday.


A Solar eclipse lasts three times as long when You stare at it like that.







This week there are two Tuesdays and no one can explain it.


Try explaining winter to a hopeless Floridian.


Try explaining golf to anyone.


Tomorrow, reservations to that diner you love.







In this one the family dog feels nothing.


The sound of small things slipping away.


Bark mulch piled in the backyard.


You once said you’d raise a batch of chickens.


You once said you’d once raised a batch of chickens.







Keep dragging the kids back to batting practice.


Make them wear long, elaborate sleeves.


Every day is a coupon book.


Elucidate.


Never leave the house without telling their fortunes, no matter the weather.







No matter the weather, we’ll still pull the bright blue tarp out.


It takes fourteen years to pull the bright blue tarp out.


Regimes rise and fall and the earth turns a very specific number of times.


People no longer use the word “longitude.”







In this life we are very happy and eat many ice cream cones.


Nothing ever drips.


We buy an abandoned industrial complex and open seven ice cream shops.


We name each one after each of our sons.


The eighth son is upset but he knows what he did.







The second Tuesday finally comes and we are cold and it is hardly winter.


The grass is still grass.


Everywhere a dog is barking at some animal in a tree.


Neighbor says Perpetual Motion! from behind the hedges.


His nose never shows but we know it’s there.







Proper utensils come boxed and in the mail.


It Is Our Anniversary says another box filled with coupons for dish soap.


Another box shows up but we are sitting on the roof.


Another box shows up but we are sitting on the roof.


Four hundred boxes show up and we can see every one from the edge of the roof.







In this one we have no roof.


Moments waiting.


I try to explain formica to a Jesuit priest.


I fall asleep at the breakfast bar in our kitchenette.


I sleep for a whole lifetime and when I dream I dream of this one little postage stamp, fallen behind the fridge.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
DILLON J. WELCH is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in CutBank, inter|rupture, Jellyfish, Phantom Limb, Pinwheel and other journals. He is currently Editor of AMRI and Poetry Editor of Swarm.

More: www.dillonjwelch.com
Track Name: LEORA FRIDMAN: Atmospheric Particles
–– Atmospheric Particles ––


no one
has found
my address

in hiding
I fight

for us:
the ones
alive now

with slight
improvements

with dishes
of bright light

we move through
for talking

with caves
flooded
so quietly
so clearly

so thin
the layer
of precaution

a court
in bed
with the oceans

*

I tell everyone
they’re compelling

but their case
has not been made

I hope this
is how
I take charge:

waiting
on logic

in this air
so sully

un-humid
and high:

can you see
the skies

have grown
skinny

can you
ever

reach me
if the course

of action
is slight

.
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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
LEORA FRIDMAN is the author of Precious Coast (H_ngm_n B_ _ks), On the architecture and Essential Nature (The New Megaphone), and Eduardo Milán: Poems (Toad Press). With Kelin Loe, she edits Spoke Too Soon: A Journal of the Longer.

More: www.leorasf.tumblr.com
Spoke Too Soon: www.spoketoosoonjournal.com
Track Name: LEORA FRIDMAN: Is This the Place for Telling
–– Is This the Place for Telling ––


What passes
between

our skin tones,
Liat, I mean,

what lets our
skeletons roam?

To the spell
of conversation,

I say, what,
Liat, does

an ant trap have
that I don’t?

What sticks level
to the floor?

I come rising
with the weather,

leaving my friends
at home, where

they will dine
in a civilized manner

on extremely
light leaves.

Is this
the place

for telling?
Full disclosure:

I have
an act.

In my act,
ten social workers

lead a group
of politicians

to a stream
made of caffeine.

Everyone must imbibe
nonstop, for ten hours,

and never discuss
themselves.

Any personal topics
would cloud

the light: the way
our voices rise

to meet us
so well.

They hug
the hillside,

they play
at falling,

they wish
all insects

goodnight.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
LEORA FRIDMAN is the author of Precious Coast (H_ngm_n B_ _ks), On the architecture and Essential Nature (The New Megaphone), and Eduardo Milán: Poems (Toad Press). With Kelin Loe, she edits Spoke Too Soon: A Journal of the Longer.

More: www.leorasf.tumblr.com
Spoke Too Soon: www.spoketoosoonjournal.com
Track Name: DONALD DUNBAR: from Venus Edamame
––"from Venus Edamame"––


Soon, the classical plagues were resurrected.
Blood covered the land, insects, darkness;
famine, Ebola, parasites inhabited the people.
And it was a wild time.
And to make it even wilder, new plagues were synthesized,
which were eventually symphonized,
which was, by then, our way.
Plague Symphony was lauded with every honor,
performed in churches, on major television networks.
As a child I memorized Plague Symphony—
everyone had to—note for note, beat for snare for beat.
And as I grew I began to inhabit it more fully, corporeally,
I wasn’t just listening to or playing it,
but I began to eat it, bite by chew, sinew, gristle, gland.
I lived in it sexually and religiously,
progressing from tattoos to scarification
to skin grafts of plagued flesh.
I worshipped plague, seduced it, sang.
And then, I was over it.
I wondered how I ever enjoyed it at all.
I felt such shame, having posted so many things about it,
blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, such embarrassment at
having desecrated my body.
I threw myself before God,
begging for any cure.
But God had changed too, had lost his innocence.
He’d just sit there, listening,
rubbing seraphim wings all over
the segments of his locust body.
And it was glorious.
And soon a Plague of Wires, this new beast,
had crawled its way to him
and plunged its selves into his legs
before surging up under his skin-soft chitin
and interfacing with his eyeballs,
which were humongous.
Then, plagues were breeding in the wild,
learning from each other, how to kill, how to deform,
how to melt from Plague of Sunsets to Scorpion Boils,
giving each other new, tender names,
and you, my little Charnel-Flower,
even learned how to grow tiny human hands,
and tiny human feet, and maybe even a
glittering little human soul, if you’re lucky,
but still, you’ll face many hardships in this world.
You’ll have to study hard, and practice your skills.
You’ll have to solve huge puzzles by pushing stone cubes
onto pressure plates in the right order.
Accomplishing that, you’ll have to fight
the huge skull reaper that will emerge from the steel gate.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
DONALD DUNBAR lives in Portland, Oregon, where he helps run If Not For Kidnap and edits poetry for draft: The Journal of Process. He is the author of Eyelid Lick (Fence, 2012) and the chapbook Slow Motion German Adjectives (Mammoth Editions, 2013).

If Not For Kidnap: www.ifnotforkidnap.com
Draft Journal: www.draftjournal.com
Eyelid Lick: www.fenceportal.org/?page_id=4406#t2
Slow Motion German Adjectives: www.mammoth-editions.com
Track Name: DANA JAYE CADMAN: #SADNESSinSEATTLE
–– #SADNESSinSEATTLE ––


the first cat I ever had is dead
and I'm in Seattle bitch allergy
to the order of water or

ether falling on ether falling
it isn't even sunrise the sky
monster gulls over cawwww

and I am trying my best
at a peaceful mind the ink
of grief and where it is not

another cat is dead things
die we expect it I watched
him be born yellow orange

gold and grope (his eyes
still closed) for movement
isn't that a beautiful urge?

I called him Magellan then
exploring the earth and then
we called him Ron Howard

because his ears were so big
life is stupid and so much less
beautiful than I wanted a fairy

dressed as a human with a hula
hoop sells me weed and then
a transgirl named Rosie

bright poppy colored red
on her mouth and her friend
who is suspicious of me but

also of everything the ether
sky the night falling he's onto
me he's right I've been waiting

in the park all day crying with
the gulls and weeping cawwww
I don't know when the next cat

dies likely millions are in the act
right now dawn is irreconcilable
out west I've learned that

I smoked all of the weed it was
dead already and I couldn't
bare to leave any left

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
DANA JAYE CADMAN is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY, where she received her MFA and co-hosts Banquet Reading Series. She is a poetry editor at Circus Book. Her work has appeared in North American Review. Blow her up, read her feelings @danajaye.

Circus Book: www.circusbook.org
Track Name: MORGAN PARKER: Song of the Carefree Black Girl
–– Song of the Carefree Black Girl ––


You bury our pleasure. The real
of it. Why we always gotta be on
some in-spite-of shit? My concern:
did I remember to record Scandal.
Did I choose the right bottle
of champagne. My hugged-up
hips. My gold lipstick. My headwrap.
My pain I owned and loved until
it had to go. My kale and chorizo
hash brunch. My kelly-green toes.
My literary tote bag. My man.
Giving it to me and serving me
seltzer in a martini glass. My
salaried gig. My side hustle.
Sometimes I remember my heart
beat is a djembe. My bookshelf
is full of us. I don't want to give you
the satisfaction but we love our hair.
My body: okay I know. My body
is complicated. Historically
it belongs to you. But actually, stop.
I’m trying to text my mom.
So what I mean is I’m just
listening to Roy Ayers waiting
for the eclipse.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
MORGAN PARKER's first book, Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, was selected by Eileen Myles for The 2013 Gatewood Prize and is forthcoming from Switchback Books. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Tin House, jubilat, and Forklift, Ohio. A Cave Canem fellow, graduate of NYU’s Creative Writing MFA program, and poetry editor for Coconut Magazine, Morgan lives in Brooklyn.

More: www.morgan-parker.com.
Track Name: MORGAN PARKER: RoboBeyoncé
–– RoboBeyoncé ––


Charging in the darkroom
while you sleep I am touch and go
I flicker and get turned on
Precisely the future
Exterior shell, interior disco
I like my liver steeled
as a gun, my wires
unbuttoned to you
The reason I was built
is to outlast some terribly
feminine sickness
that is delivered
to the blood through kale
salad and pity and men
with straight-haired girlfriends
The future’s a skirt of
expectation to mourn
This way, hard-cased
you can put your eyes on me
It’s less about obedience than
silvery lipstick stains
It’s mostly about machine tits
Artificially I’m interested
Virtually I’m drunk
The future’s a girlish helmet
with circuits that need doctors
In the future our bodies can’t
I dare you
Tell me apart from other girls
Nothing aches in here
You can never touch me actually
It’s a quiet, calculated shame

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
MORGAN PARKER's first book, Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, was selected by Eileen Myles for The 2013 Gatewood Prize and is forthcoming from Switchback Books. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Tin House, jubilat, and Forklift, Ohio. A Cave Canem fellow, graduate of NYU’s Creative Writing MFA program, and poetry editor for Coconut Magazine, Morgan lives in Brooklyn.

More: www.morgan-parker.com.
Track Name: PORTIA ELAN: Desiccation
–– Desiccation ––


I come home and fill myself with water. I cover my body in lotion.
I sit on the counter leaning over the sink eating cold peaches.

Driving up through the Valley I am convinced
I must have died many miles back and only just not noticed

and I want to call you - God give me self-will but not yet -
give me sun through the mist -
give me something to numb but not yet -

now just give me the memory of waking up
parched in the passenger seat, sometime close to midnight by the dash clock

and by the dash clock your hands hovering above the wheel,
and the bridge rising up before us, I wish you'd call me still,

when you are crossing that salt bridge, when you lift your hands
to keep yourself from careening off the road
and every day I choose you, even when I don't.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
PORTIA ELAN lives and teaches in the East Bay with her Gemini cat. Her work has appeared in Sonora Review, Ninth Letter, Birdfeast, Banango Street, and other journals. Her chapbooks are forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press and Mindmade Books.

More: www.portiaelan.wordpress.com
Track Name: SAMPSON STARKWEATHER: Gag Me with a Spoon
–– Gag Me with a Spoon ––


IMBD me

brief cameo

in your passion play

world’s worst life coach

brake king

hand down the crown

life mulligan

slow country

perfect hurt

takes practice

chain sawing context

invisible sawdust

stillbirth and belief

beauty with its bag

of tricks

remember harmony

stars are round

and chances are

already dead

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
SAMPSON STARKWEATHER is the author of The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather. He is a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. His most recent chapbooks are Flowers of Rad by Factory Hollow Press, and Until the Joy of Death Hits, pop/love GIF poems (a collaboration with Ana Božičević) appearing somewhere soon on the Internet. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather: www.birdsllc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=143&Itemid=56
Track Name: SAMPSON STARKWEATHER: Did I Do That?
–– Did I Do That ––


what up death
this is
the grass
doing what
it do
lie into
a color
become murmur
dumb hum
human muzak
descend sun
awaiting radiance
is draining
our desire
a performance
imperfection
walks out on
no curtain
necessary
tiny creatures
crawl with
kenotic love
anxious ideas
despite dice
action figures
unfold
full of fear
confusion
a fire
called life
alone
is a noun
not to
fuck with
the stars
have no idea
what they’re
missing

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
SAMPSON STARKWEATHER is the author of The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather. He is a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. His most recent chapbooks are Flowers of Rad by Factory Hollow Press, and Until the Joy of Death Hits, pop/love GIF poems (a collaboration with Ana Božičević) appearing somewhere soon on the Internet. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather: www.birdsllc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=143&Itemid=56
Track Name: RYAN WERNER: Dead by the Time I Get to Now
–– Dead by the Time I Get to Now ––


Two dead dogs in as many weeks and now Lily can’t stop singing. The first one got run over by a car, but it’s the second one, the one that ran away, that she’s down about. I think it’s a fool me once, shame on you sort of thing, no real faith in domestic life.

“I’m throwing out my silverware,” Lily tells me. She wants me to go to karaoke with her again because it’s what I’ve been doing since she started going, after the first dog died, every night. The only other things to do in town are get pregnant or coach something, so I keep saying yes.

When we get to the bar, Lily sucks her tongue between her teeth and orders a Dr. Pepper. The bartender tries talking to her about how each can’s different, twenty-three flavors and no guarantees. After she walks away I ask him, “What’s another way to say barking up the wrong tree?”

##

It’s one of those bad songs from the 80’s every time. On the weekends it’s hard for her to get up there more than two or three times, but this is Tuesday, so she’s almost halfway through The Breakfast Club soundtrack about four hours before last call.

##

The only other person to sign up sneaks in for a quick pillaging of Sinatra. Lily sits back down and says, “This is bullshit. I hate waiting.”

“Patience is a virtue,” I tell her.

She presses both of her fists to the table and cracks all her knuckles at once. “And Payless is a shoe store. What’s your point?”

##

The short version of apocalypse according to Lily—Lily who had already given up on certain things before her dog troubles—dictates that people just keep finding ways to sing about how the world will beat you down if you let it.

“Why is everything so terrible?” she says. I want to ask her the same thing in a higher pitch, as if to say Is it really?

She flips through the book, goes up on stage, sings “Voices Carry.”

The long version makes it easier to see that the world is a place worth living in, but it’s the harder one to tell. If I start soon I’ll be dead by the time I get to now.

##

I go to the pet store and get found out. “What were you trying to do?” Lily asks me. “Buy me a heartache?”

There’s this: When we were eight, she asked me if I’d be her friend, because she said nobody else would. “Who else have you asked?” I said.

“Nobody,” she said. “I just know.”

A week later I show up to work looking embalmed enough days in a row that my boss asks me why. I move boxes and he supervises, which means I’m the one who doesn’t have time for it.

“Your performance has been suffering lately,” he tells me.

I go. “Is that all?”

##

Can we flash forward? Move, perhaps, much further past the karaoke mechanism that lasted for another two weeks, further than years of Lily and I acquiring one another romantically and then not, several times until becoming, finally, married and then not? If we’re allowing ourselves to do that, there’s much less to see. Certainly less to feel, too—the short version, back as always for the kill.

It’s important to remember that some songs are timeless, a luxury afforded to no creature yet created.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
RYAN WERNER works at a pre-school in the Midwest. He is the author of the short short story collection Shake Away These Constant Days and the story cycle chapbook Murmuration and the short short story collection If There's Any Truth in a Northbound Train. He runs the micro-press Passenger Side Books, is on Twitter @YeahWerner.

More: www.ryanwernerwritesstuff.com
Passenger Side Books: www.passengersidebooks.blogspot.com
Track Name: AUBREY HIRSCH: Loser
–– Loser ––


Penny loses things. It is her singular talent. She has lost socks, hair pins, pencils. She’s lost six left gloves and three right ones. When she was six, she lost her scarf at the aquarium. When she was eight, she lost her front teeth in a rollerblading accident. When she was sixteen, she lost her first driver’s license and when she was eighteen, she lost her second.

When she was nineteen, she lost her virginity in her boyfriend’s dorm room on an extra-long twin mattress with no sheet. Her mother said she’d lost her innocence. Her priest said she’d lost her way.

She’s lost buttons, car keys, her balance, her moral center. In high school, she lost her religion. In college, she lost her mother. Once, she lost her voice for an entire week. She can’t count the times she’s lost her train of thought, but she often wonders where it goes.

She’s lost things in malls and in restaurants, in transit and in translation. She lost years of her life to dating the wrong men. She lost one boyfriend to alcohol, one to a better job, one to a better woman. She lost two babies—one after the other. When she thinks about them, she worries she’s losing her marbles.

There’s also a list of things she’s found, though, in truth, she’s lost track. But here’s one: After so many years of losing things, she’s found it’s amazing how one can keep on. That you can be so sure you could never live without something. And then when it’s gone, you find you have no choice but to go on living. Almost as if there’s nothing left to lose at all.

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–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–~–
AUBREY HIRSCH is the author of Why We Never Talk About Sugar (Braddock Ave. Books) and This Will Be His Legacy (The Lettered Streets Press). Her work has appeared in journals like Third Coast, Hobart, The Collagist, PANK and elsewhere. She currently lives in Pittsburgh where she teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

More: www.aubreyhirsch.com.
Track Name: GATHERED GHOSTS: Coming Around
–– Coming Around ––

GATHERED GHOSTS is Javier Suarez, who is 27, from Buenos Aires. He lives in Seattle, where he also plays guitar in the band Craft Spells (Captured Tracks). He's a big fan of turtlenecks, of quiche and of his girlfriend.

More tunes: www.gatheredghosts.bandcamp.com
More tunes: www.craftspells.com
Track Name: BAND PRACTICE: Light My Face on Fire
–– Light My Face on Fire ––

BAND PRACTICE is Jeanette Wall, who lives in New York. Jeanette runs a label called Miscreant Records and a zine called The Miscreant. She's originally from Indiana and misses Luna Records very much.

More tunes: www.bandbandpracticepractice.bandcamp.com
The Miscreant: www.issuu.com/themiscreant
Track Name: KELLY SCHIRMANN: Hands
–– Hands ––

KELLY SCHIRMANN is the author of Activity Book (NAP, 2014) & the co-author of Nature Machine & Boyfriend Mountain, both from Poor Claudia. She sings in the band Young Family & runs Black Cake Records, a web label for audio-chapbooks of poetry. Visit her in Portland Oregon, email her things at kellyschirmann@gmail.com.

Lyrics to "Hands" written by Zachary Schomburg. "Hands" is a poem in his third collection Fjords, Vol. 1. Kelly re-worked/translated/did something to the poem to transform it into a song.

Kelly: www.kellyschirmann.com
Zach: www.lovelyarc.tumblr.com
Zach's Fjords, Vol. 1: www.lovelyarc.tumblr.com/fjords
Black Cake Records: www.blackcake.org
Track Name: KELLY SCHIRMANN: The Killing Trees
–– The Killing Trees ––

KELLY SCHIRMANN is the author of Activity Book (NAP, 2014) & the co-author of Nature Machine & Boyfriend Mountain, both from Poor Claudia. She sings in the band Young Family & runs Black Cake Records, a web label for audio-chapbooks of poetry. Visit her in Portland Oregon, email her things at kellyschirmann@gmail.com.

Lyrics to "The Killing Trees" written by Zachary Schomburg. "The Killing Trees" is a poem in his third collection Fjords, Vol. 1. Kelly re-worked/translated/did something to the poem to transform it into a song.

Kelly: www.kellyschirmann.com
Zach: www.lovelyarc.tumblr.com
Zach's Fjords, Vol. 1: www.lovelyarc.tumblr.com/fjords
Black Cake Records: www.blackcake.org
Track Name: PAPER: I Know
–– I Know ––

PAPER is a rock n roll band in Chicago, Illinois. Paper is Chris Wood playing drums & Charles Glanders playing guitar and singing.

More from Charles: http://dirt-bike.bandcamp.com
More from Chris: http://www.christopherwwood.com