let me drive

by Everything in Pen

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thanks to patrick, melanie, brian, vernon, casa cahill, raina, vicki, ronen, ricky, m & d, tom and alexi


released April 30, 2010

elizabeth: guitar, keys, vocals, lyrics, music
patrick: guitar, bass, banjo, keys
melanie: backing vocals
brian: backing vocals

realised by sandy

photograph by skip hubbard
album art by patrick weaver


all rights reserved



Everything in Pen San Francisco

Combining the pop sensibility of Big Star and narrative observations of Jonathan Richman and Aimee Mann, Everything in Pen’s songs cover many topics---war criminals, sexism, and Dave Eggers--through her unique lens as an obsessive reader. She sings the things you won’t say aloud, of the foolishness, the hopefulness and the almost unbearable humanness of us all. ... more

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Track Name: the ballad of san francisco
when we moved here we assumed that we could camp out at my friend's
but when she opened her front door
she said I'm leaving him
all his friends are meth heads, I'm afraid I am one too
I wouldn't stay here if you know what's good for you
I wouldn't stay here if you know what's good for you

so we're living in this dump although we try to make it nice
it always smells like onions, we can't figure out just why
and when it rains outside, you know it rains inside here too
don't tell the landlord, he'll evict us, then we're through
don't complain, we'll get evicted, then we're through

and this city is so beautiful but we cannot pay the rent
so we're doing jigsaw puzzles having not so casual sex
the fantasy is easy, the reality is grim
but i'm too proud to ask, I won't tell the state we're in

our christmas tree is cardboard
all the gifts are off our shelves
we found these dishes on the street
the sofa there as well
simplicity is wonderful when it's something that you choose
it super sucks when it shows up and chooses you
it just sucks when it shows up and chooses you

i'm temping at the hospital, I'm grateful for this job
I answer phones and file things
pretend I'm working hard
when they offer me a full-time gig I know I must resist
my student loans must be for something more than this
please god these loans must be for something more than this

and I say we walk for exercise
but we cannot buy the gas
and I say that we're in love
he's less sure that it will last
we've sold everything that's worth something
we're selling all that's not
san francisco, you have left me down and out
you seduce me, then you leave me down and out

and this city, it's so beautiful
but we cannot pay the rent
we did the jigsaw puzzles
once you left so did the sex
the fantasy is easy, the reality is grim
but I'm too proud to ask
I won't tell the state I'm in
I'm too proud to ask, I won't tell the state I'm in
Track Name: let me drive
it don't take much for me to wonder how you've been
so when the phone rings, I won't ask enough of anything
it's been almost, it's been sometimes
you've been gone
these grand gestures cover over all that's wrong

so here's the wreckage, here's the remnants
here's the story line
you say it's occasional
but your cabinets are telling me otherwise
ashes drown in alcohol in these empties around this room
they say that they love you like this
I can't believe that's true
cause you don't even wake up
when I have to leave on sunday morning
on sunday afternoon

and you're taking chances on my time
this is no long distance dedication
let me drive
let me drive

when you remember this it might not seem bad enough
and I won't fill you in on how I've kept you from yourself
you'll blame me for the things that I did not say
you had not done
and isn't that the way it always is
the way it always was
cause you don't even wake up
when I have to leave on sunday morning
on sunday afternoon

cause it'll take a truck stop or two
a thousand miles
a cup of coffee
top 40 radio singing their sad sad songs
to get this behind me
Track Name: the lord of pipestone
I've been traveling all morning on this border
between dakota, minnesota and nowhere
and the people everywhere, they seem so friendly
and I think it helps I look a lot like them

support our troops magnetic stickers on all their cars
homemade bible-quoting billboards in their yards
so in case I ever think I could forget
I know that the wages of sin is always death

and if jesus really is the lord of pipestone
he won't wanna be hanging around the likes of me
so I pray to god I don't die in this place
where church-going folks say there's no space for me
up in heaven
and I've got a shot in hell

well, lord knows I drink and curse
lord knows I've told some lies
but he likes me anyway and he don't want me to hide
so all you placard-writing residents
telling me what's wrong and right
yes my mother had me
but that don't mean that she's pro-life

and if jesus really is the lord of pipestone
he won't wanna be hanging around the likes of me
so I pray to go I don't die in this place
where church-going folks say there's no space for me
up in heaven
and I've got a shot in hell
Track Name: on clement street
they're hosing down the street again
it's getting dark
this fish-scented water runs around my feet
into the gutter
dinner at the noodle shop tonight
they know me there
they'll give me a menu though they know
exactly what I'll order

when we broke up
you went down to our favorite restaurant
returned some hours later
with an appetizer sampler
as if I wouldn't notice you were moving to Los Angeles
here's a samosa
it'll make the whole thing better

it's an accident I'm living here
but it's no accident that I stay

my love is waiting on clement street
out in the avenues somewhere
and if you like it on clement street
I could guarantee that you're gonna love me

and it's not mission or valencia or haight
it's not the kind of place
that all the guidebooks send you too
if you need dinner or an ice cream or a drink
or brilliant books by authors you have never heard of
but may soon become your favorite
Track Name: kappa sweetheart
let's just remember that I didn't want to come here
you invited me, you begged me to go.
and now the crowd's in silence, watching your guitar god
but he's just a balding man, it's just a show
it's so pretentious, so familiar
it's so thoughtless, it's so boring
it's exactly like you

and I've been nothing here but kind and patient
I said that I'd always be true
but I've been sitting by these empty barstools
I see this means nothing to you

I drink club soda cause we're trying to get pregnant
but you're tossing back shots like you drink for two
and then you're in the alley, smoking with your buddy
getting high again which you said you no longer do
I'm just your designated driver, you're my sperm bank
though I don't think you'll be good for that tonight

and this ring is your trophy
I'll keep it sparkly and polished
my head's the only place where I am ever honest
and I hate it there

and our 10th reunion I ran into all the men that I discarded when I said yes to you
what happened to our kappa sweetheart, social chairman
tell me all about it, come to my room
they're all lawyers, neurosurgeons, they're all someone
does my someone even know where I have gone?
Track Name: you or the jehovahs
well here we go again
it's richard dreyfuss at his table
he's making images out of clay
his family wonders if he's stable
cause there are mashed potato sculptures
on the kitchen floor
and he keeps making them though he's not even sure
why he does
it's just because

well I have seen the map
I know just where this road will lead me
it started off so quietly
it ends up much less innocently
cause there is no how are you
that can be answered much at all
an inch becomes a mile, a mile becomes a hole
it's small at first
but it gets worse

and when the doorbell rings
it's you or the jehovahs
you're the only ones who still are fool enough to try
I never answer cause it's you or the jehovahs
and there's nothing left that you could say
that I would believe in now

it was so long ago
why are you taking second chances
you're on a fishing expedition
messages with false pretenses
you left some stuff here
and I'm sure you'd want it back
I'll bring it by your place if that's still where you're at
how 'bout today?
already on my way
Track Name: boy on a fence
there's a boy on a fence and it's literal
not a metaphor for how he might feel
he climbed up to the top
once he got there he got stuck
the next step's harder than it might seem

the boy on the fence has been crying
I don't know how long cause I just got here
I was unlocking my car
when I heard a strange sound
I looked up and he was dangling there

he says he was just leaving
he realized he left his keys behind
when he went in to get them
he got stuck in the yard
he analyzed every part
he thought this is the safest to climb

but the boy on the fence is now shaking
so I talk him down to his side
and we call the police
though I'm not sure that this is
the best option that we can find

he tells me that he's thirteen
he was twelve just a few weeks ago
lady, thanks for your offer
but I don't need your phone
I don't know who I would call
my mom's working and no one's at home

and this school, it's like a prison, it's like a factory
you're locked in, you're locked out, you're locked up
they don't care what you learn when you're in there
but they sure will blame you for what you do not

the boy on the fence, he is literal
he's not a metaphor for how he might feel
he climbed up to the top
once he got there, he got stuck
the next step's harder than it might seem
Track Name: fourteen
I wouldn't say what we did was criminal
even if it was against the law
those boats were there just for the taking and
it was not breaking in
so much as setting something free

and if we break the lock then we can get the oars
once we're round the bend
they'll never see us from the shore

and it is easier than we first thought
nobody gets hurt, nobody gets caught
we never even had to make a getaway
and there's no regret the next day

then your father taught you to drive his car
in case you were called upon
to have to rush him to the hospital
we used that knowledge to our advantage
stole the keys again
snuck out when driving all night long
just remember the gas tank was half-full
when we get in we'll roll in with the lights off

nobody ever suspects someone like me
I don't fit small town assumptions
of what trouble should be
so when we get pulled over
you should put me in the driver's seat
I'm at the top of my class so
there'll be no questions they'll ask
Track Name: you fly in
when I walked into the bathroom
I didn't think it would be life changing
I was just trying to take care of some needs that I had
you were walking out when I walked in
I'm not sure if we said something
but as I washed my hands I felt sure
that somehow we'd be friends

and next week I'll be sad because you're not around
next week I'll be cranky, I'll be blue

Later on that night, we all went in a pack out to this bar
that someone's friend said someone's cousin said
they'd heard that it was cool
I didn't have id, stuck in the street
you came back out and said let's walk back to the dorm
do you think you know where it might be?

and next week I'll be sad because you're not around
next week I'll be cranky, I'll be blue
but until then there's the promise that
we might laugh for hours
cause this week, this week you fly in

you say, don't write a song about me
will you say I don't return your calls?
I travel too much for work
this year has sucked so far
don't write a song about me
I don't really want to see my reflection

remember when I went to cleveland
just so we could ride together
through the flatlands of ohio on our way to u of m
and somewhere in sylvania
we heard born to run on the radio
we sang until our throats hurt
we couldn't hold the tune, didn't know the words
Track Name: these notes
these notes they don't count for much
they're what we're left with
I think we're still stuck
but I don't need a hospital
it all heals in time, that's what they always say

you, you snuck in the back
and switched the things that we did
with the ones we forgot
and insist, it's not revisionist, everything here is true
or were you not in this too?

and I don't want anything to be different
I see that it mostly is fine
so why am I reading book after book about genocide?

and there is no introspection
the lesson learned slowly hits me in the head
and I'm out, gone in a moment
you'll tell everyone that you thought I knew
all along

these notes, they don't count for much
they're what we're left with
I think we're still stuck
but I don't need a hospital
it all heals in time
that's what they make you say
Track Name: could you not?
see you don't know her like I do
she's not half as hard as she might seem to you
she's talking like you could be the one
she'll read between your lines 'till she finds enough
that she can hold onto
so I'm asking

could you not fuck with her today?
could you not tell her lies that make her think you'll stay?
you don't know me at all
so you don't owe me at all
but could you not fuck with her today?

I know you've always been quite clear
when you first met you told her
you don't know who you're dealing with here
she just took that as a dare
once you see how fabulous I am
you couldn't help but care
so I'm asking

these are the lessons that I thought I already learned
when they don't say they love you
that's just cause they don't
and if he never calls first
he's hoping that I won't
I can't believe that I am here again
do you believe that I am here again?
Track Name: don't stake your claim
next time I'll write my name on everything in pen
so it'll be easier to know what stuff belongs to him
and then we won't end up in this most awkward place
where you want to come and get your things
and I don't want to see your face

take the garlic salt, the basil plant, the old bay
hell, you should just pack up all the condiments
cause I never cook anyway
but there's a box in the hallway, I just don't know
if these are pieces left from us
or from some other man I loved

but if there's lines on my face
they belong to you
any gray hair, you can have that too
but if there's joy or laughter
those don't deserve your name
all that stuff is mine, don't stake your claim

take the keyboard, it's a gift from me to you
so you can write your songs of lust and betrayal
and sing them to someone new
I'll keep the guitar, but don't take the credit for yourself
although you taught me these three chords
the rest I learned from someone else
Track Name: radio silence
I know I never thanked you for the card
it was so unexpected
you know I'll never reciprocate
in july I'll remember you had a birthday
you didn't say it, I heard you got a job
at least I read it on your blog
I wouldn't have to go there
if you would ever tell me any details

I guess it must be how you spend your time
and I am never on your mind
or else I always am
either way explains the radio silence

in our first year on that last day
I stayed late putting everything away
you said you were coming by
I made sure I packed things oh so slowly
but the floor was swept and the closet clear
no sign of footsteps drawing near
david byrne on auto-stop
you make me go down to knock on your front door
you call me up in the middle of the day
everything is swimming, melting
and I don't really know where I am
but I'm sure you'll know just where to find me

somewhere early on in our history
somehow you must have been afraid of me
that I could only think less of you
if you would ever say what you were really thinking
let's take an hour, a week, a day
you can say the shit you've got to say
and I could do it differently
I could try or at least pretend to listen
I won't interrupt when I disagree
until we argue constantly
I'll lose patience
you'll storm off to where it feels more normal

is there a time a place a box
deep within the land that time forgot
we'll give this another shot
I will be less annoying

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