Spine Adagio Part II & The Prince

by Joplin Rice

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Tracks 1-8 are "Spine Adagio Part II."
Tracks 9-15 are "The Prince."
Track 16 is the end.

"Watch out for Joplin's future projects!
-Dying For Bad Music

"[P]olished yet fuzzy pop that reaches toward the high standard set by Merge Records icons like Neutral Milk Hotel, Lambchop, even the lovable melodrama of Arcade Fire. Blend all those bands together with a generous helping of melancholia, and you have the essence of the songs crafted by this Lexington, Kentucky based singer-songwriter."

"joplin rice, a singer/songwriter and bedroom recorder out of lexington, kentucky, brings a lofi miasma of sorrow and lonesome fuzz on his latest album 'spine adagio pt. II & the prince'. unremittingly bleak but beautiful in the tradition of early nineties indie bedroom folk, this lonely homemade tower is what MFOA is all about. sometimes it sounds like the guitar is too sad to strum, other times walls of fuzz, rice's haunting, cry-breaking voice and impressionistic snare hits clatter and wail. i like this one."
-the modern folk music of america


released February 7, 2014

Written, Performed, and Recorded by Joplin Rice.




all rights reserved


Joplin Rice Lexington, Kentucky

Joplin Rice is a songwriter living in Lexington, Kentucky.
He has released numerous other albums both under his own name and as Ezra Triste.
Every band he forms dies.

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Track Name: Spitting Fire Pt. 2 (my spine)
I want a heart, mean and rusted: pumping pistons covered in chrome
iron teeth fit for biting at the ankles of a home
I want a map to the graveyard and an arrow in my spine
a heavy coat made from matches & tender fingers to close my eyes

hello, exploding emptiness
I caught your kiss with my brittle fist

I have no secrets, no belongings: there is no question I have denied
I want a spectre, prim & shallow, behind the curtain & in the sky
I want a soul without limit bursting forth from my sunken chest
ultraviolet lights from those bleeding rings & both my arms bent to the west

I am disgusted, horned & angry: re-envision this changing place
veil your features, cut your losses, pull your strings, constrict the lace

and in the moment when you think you're spitting fire
your tongue will tire
Track Name: The Pipes Pt. 1
what were you wielding inside of me?
would you conceal my apology?
struggle with seething uncertainty
kick it with iron unhurried feet
live with a razor beneath your tongue
whistles have blown now & bells have rung
keep silly speeches inside your lungs
forget rhyming couplets we may have sung

cast off the mainland in quarantine
bandage your abscesses until they cease
bruises on fruit weighing down the trees
precious to you, precious now to me

I see your figure hovering above
I hear you breathe elevator hum
I don't want to spit on myself for love
but I'll push back if I think I feel your shove
handle my insolence with a kiss
your legs shouldn't be quite as strong as this
I can't come up now or I think I'll miss
I'll sleep wrapped in plastic to hear your hiss

millions of possible ruined lives
living alone in the drainage pipes
where do they go if their souls don't die?
where do they go if their souls don't fly?
millions of never-been ruined lives
living alone in the drainage pipes
where do they go if their souls don't die?
will I go there too or just open my eyes
and be a baby again
Track Name: Warheads (straw dogs)
did you run off to your cabin to get high?
to leave me on this island with the president?
they shot him in the head beside his wife
she tried to put his brains back but they wouldn't fit
because you can't reassemble what's been blown away
you ought to know from the times you tried to make me pray

I dream that you leave me every night
we're just straw dogs among ten thousand mighty mysteries

you want to spend all of your time with your glass eye
I tried it once before but it just made me sick
now I'm swallowing white circles to survive
you're disappointed because I can't do much on top of it
but you can't recreate something that's made of skin
or is it better when you're sitting home alone with it?

when every word's a trick just to get by
and every smile's a secret spelled with muscle movements
I dream that you leave me every night
I'm aching but there's no one here to try and soothe it
I crawled across your aching plains and swollen swells
to that sad place where no one ever gets to go now
Track Name: Carcano
they both spent seasons overseas
they both were built in Italy
we both made speeches for prophecies
we both were killed when we could not see

we both suspected a conspiracy
now you have an "X" on that famous street
now I have an ex in the big city
we both suspected a conspiracy

speculation has yet to cease
your killer killed on black & white TV
my killer still living with her iron teeth
my killer still living with her iron teeth
walls still decorated with those magazines
her chest still rising in nativity scenes
masquerading now as royalty
while I stuttered & stepped off into the deep

they both kept reasons overseas
they both were built in Italy
they both were built in Italy
why do bullets run in your family?
Track Name: In The Ditches (a life)
if she were gone I could keep my fingers still
if she were gone I would bury myself alive
it's not that hard
she said, "you're on some serious bullshit."
but what doesn't kill me, I can hide behind
the key is making sparks
before it reaches the heart

isn't every life unfinished?
am I right?
isn't every life unfinished?
left soft on the inside

if your expectations serve to nurture my frustrations
will you throw me in the ditches where the panthers lie?
marry me, forget we spoke, forget we met, fly back home
be satisfied, live in your bed, let it be gone, let it begin
I'm on something serious but it's not that and i fear for us
each moment that our fangs stay locked together in a kiss
wicked tessellations multiply
our precious figurines cry out in delight

if death is life and sex is life
then what's the life that's left inside?
forget the things that I may like
take your own desires
blow smoke out from your spirit
and I'll talk to myself all night
Track Name: The Pipes Pt. 2 (bay of pigs)
did I never tell you about my friend?
you locked him in rooms watching foreign ships
he never spoke of those days again
working your ways in the bay of pigs
he sat me down by the grandfather clock
spoke through the seasons of musical walks
planted a flagpole when clouds came to fall
left me unbraided and pinned to the wall

and I don't know how she fits into this
I brought you to life so you could hear me hiss
I'm still holding her kiss with my brittle fist
why are we left by the ones that we should never miss?

you never built him a monument
a flame for my reckless accomplishments
signing his name on a hospital bed
shining the bullet inside of his head
now he's a stone in a barren yard
she's just a name carved into my arm
you're a historical bleeding heart
I'm a projection of broken parts

and I don't know how we fit into this
I'm still rattling bones for my soul to fit
alone with the ghost & my fake famous friend

she's at the airport & I'm floating by the pipes because I still can't admit
Track Name: Afterkiss
I loved & I lost it & I thought I would go off
It's deep & I'm swimming in your afterkiss

are you sleeping?

I will return to build my nest
to protect those diamonds in your chest
from the stronger hawk with a glassy eye
who watches when the windows rise
and makes sure all is chewed & softened
before it reaches those muddy coffins
filled with jewelry from old women
turned into dust between their linens
if the president couldn't live until his death
and angels took the other's breath
if miracles are monsters, too
then why won't you let me talk to you?
why we run, I'll never see
some just have a longer leash
I will leave this place on a mythic beast
with storied wings and iron teeth
Track Name: Beyond Our Bones (second thought)
I can't tell if it's peace or just a pleasant spell
I don't know if we're dead or just beyond our bones
I don't know

don't decide: either way I'll let you do what you like
I'm not ashamed, I'm just amazed that I know you never came
I'm not ashamed
I am constrained
I am constrained

but even so I know

but even so, the beast is better than the ghost
because the ghost will find you where the beast can't go
Track Name: Cathedral
Track Name: Ruins (anniversary)
I have a palm full of blood
and another facing forward
I am a prophet in this flood
dissecting devils for the cure
we stripped our sheets down to the skin
put our pillows in the ditches
lost all of our feathers in the wind
and held each other for the heat

but august was never far behind
we shoveled in what was left

follow faster past the gate
I'll give the wolves my scent
I'm better off here in this wasteland
I'm better off without my weight
I need these nails for kneeling
tell me you understand
bent by the rail & screaming
darling, hide what's in your hands

all this will fall onto the ground
ruins for the reptiles
litter for the holy ghost
mysteries for the dogs to make their own

we skipped our ceremonies
brass belts for discipline
and funeral rites that we knew to write
before the shame engulfed us: oceans wailing
fighting off the motions
saving lonely nickels for our suffering bones & breath
like hurricanes on islands sinking
drowning out the foliage
we hid behind in a better time
time is all I've got & it's so hard to gain
I think I'm losing my restrain
before I never trembled in your presence
presents for our anniversary
take this curse from me
make it hurt her, please
put your curse on me
take these words from me
Track Name: Homily
maybe I just miss your scent
my senses spent and tangled
could you hold my head again
if it begged you to be strangled?
is it fun for you to watch?
a carnival of skin
it's a game that stole my sins
though I never wished to win

I just want to find your hair on my clothes

tell me I can go
no one to deceive
we can die in peace
and be buried
Track Name: Reliquary
you stood in front of me brittle as birds' bones
ripping ribbons from your reliquarium
your gifts would give as much as they could
dancing partners made from wire & wood
marry me, marionette
marry me, marionette
march on monuments to our weakness
close your cupboards and burn your dresses
I feel it breathing inside me
the heat is getting through the cracks
I feel the stitches tearing open
save your needles for the gash

they were sleeping with their sisters
and they invited me in
you're not the only animal I knew
but I can't leave what begs to be consumed

why are you shaking if it's what you needed?
wanted, succeeded, described, & repeated
your gifts would give as much as I demanded
dancing partners unstrung and unhanded
carry me, marionette
bury me, marionette
in heart-shaped holes through tunnels twisting
letcherous labyrinth waiting & wishing
I hope it dies inside of me
I'll carry it around as my own
make your likeness in these bruises
live inside another's home

they were praying with their eyes closed
and I could not relate
you were the only honest one I knew
I'll die before I give their breath for you

kerosene queen
my machine disease
that I gave you
I forgave you too many times
don't stay alive for me
Track Name: My Spine (the knots)
when did you get this strong?
I watched you walking
I admired your shape
floating by the pipes
I can't make it stop
that's why I'm calling
I know we needed to die

you were tying these knots
when I wasn't watching
I inspired your escape
swallowing fire
I can't look down
that's why I'm falling
catch my bandages: my sky

my spine
my fear
my reckless dependence
my mind
Track Name: My Mane (the violins)
dearly deprived,

why do we keep doing this? there's no shame in giving up. when we fight, the walls turn inside out. they're sick of yelling. well, I am sick of every sound. we keep our vaults filled up with pity on our islands and guard them with our blades: treasure buried alive. still sincere, after shrugging off the tears… I hope you die.

the car is running and I shaved my mane.

you play your role and I'll play mine. or maybe we could switch for a time. fuck the diagrams all drawn to disobey, I mean, sensation full of hatred isn't wrong.

holy ghost,
your paper roses will not die they will be litter when the wind blows in parades of lost condolences.

so let's dig up our grandparents and dance with them like children beneath starlight cemetery chandeliers shattered on this opera that I wrote.
the violins put splinters in our mouths.
Track Name: (november 17th)
infinite denial

floating by the pipes

swallowed by the sound

keep me
whore me
dreaming underground
Track Name: Spine Adagio
the end