Ink​-​Stained Fingers

by Derek Brink

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1.
Slip Away 04:35
Used to see no point in having dreams. No tomorrow and no future. No refunds, no regrets. That was me. But now that I am living it, I'm shocked to still be living it. I'm shocked to find I'm dreaming of a time that's yet to be. I don't know how it happened, but now I'm on the other side of the worst years of my life and the future is in sight. If I could give you some advice, you've GOT to keep on fighting. 'Cause to let go of your dreams is to grab hold of dying. And letting go of dying is to stop being afraid-- just stop being afraid of things you cannot change. Don't let it slip away...don't let it slip away. Don't let it slip away. Used to be I'd fall asleep afraid of waking up to face another day to fall asleep again. But after all that rain... After all that darkness... I've never been so grateful to feel sun on my skin. I don't know how it happened...etc.
2.
To the girl with the golden hair... When you fix me with your stare, I sometimes think I could die right there and go to Heaven. And maybe I might as well. Heaven would be better than the Hell of knowing I can never tell you how I feel. 'Cause every time I try the words don't come out right, and it starts to sound like I'm trying to convince you. And you just smile at me... Well maybe, given time, I could find some words that rhyme that would make you realize I'm singing to you. And maybe, given space, you'll see the look that's on my face that grows colder every day I'm pining for you. 'Cause every time you go, it's like watching part of my own soul walk right out the door saying, "See you later..." And you keep smiling at me... What's that supposed to mean? 'Cause I just can't believe that anyone like you could fall for anyone like me. So to the girl with the golden hair... Maybe I should stop right there before this all leads me nowhere, I've been there frequently. Whatever happens, let's make it quick. I've been making myself sick. And I broke another guitar pick trying to work through it... ...and that's pretty much the story of my life.
3.
Oh boy, Danny. The pipes are useless. You know, I'm Irish enough without them and I don't want to sing that song. If grace is so amazing, why sing about it at funerals? The dead don't really need it and I keep getting the lyrics wrong. But I'll be here in sun and shadow, for it suits a wretch like me. Then sings my soul, "Come and walk with me in the garden." I've got songs of death and dying but they don't do that much for me. Even though “Thou art great,” I'm sick of seeking pardon. Oh boy, Danny. Yes I do love you so. But the flowers have all gone now, not a trace left to be found. If I've been there 10,000 years, there might be something wrong here. When I think in awesome wonder, I'd just as soon not stick around. I'll be here in sun and shadow...etc. Oh boy, Danny. I've used all the cliches. The point is that I miss you and I do not want to move on. I'm sick of doing that. But nothing lasts forever. Even loss, in time, can be lost and the band can play along. Oh boy, Danny...
4.
The Girl 02:03
There's a girl in the story, because of course there is... She's enough to make me drink. And she doesn't even know it, if she does, she doesn't care. You know, it really makes me think. Could've been married by now, had a kid by now... Do I really want that, though? I think I only want the girl because she is a girl and she laughs at my stupid jokes. And it just kills me any time I see her walk around with someone else. Never a better guy. Just another guy. And I've realized I'm never going to be that guy myself. If there's a moral to the story it's that there is no story if you keep it to yourself. And I may live to regret it, but at least I fucking said it and I hope she'll wish me well. Could've been married by now, had a kid by now... But I went about it wrong. I think I only want the girl because she is the girl that I've wanted all along.
5.
Holding On 03:10
I'm tired of the leaving. I'm tired of saying goodbye. I'm tired of always laughing for fear of always crying. Thirty years gone and it's almost not worth trying. If this is going anywhere, I could use some kind of sign. What makes it worth it When it's like this all the time? The world is getting smaller and it's everywhere you look. America, Iraq, Iran, irate from reading holy books. Promised more, but getting less. Promises go 'round and 'round. It's a wonder my generation didn't burn the whole thing down. Life ain't turning out the way I expected it to. That may be a cliche, but that don't mean it's not true. But some things are worth the holding on. I'm tired of the anger and I'm tired of the guilt. I'm tired of repenting and of knowing that I never really will. I'm tired of missing all the friends I had once who are gone. Seems my friends keep running out. Or they're dying while they're young. I'm tired of going to hospitals. I'm tired of going to graves. Everybody's getting cancer. Everybody else is getting AIDS. Ain't no use in crying, sometimes things just go that way. But you've got to start to wonder if it's really worth the stay. SOME THINGS ARE WORTH THE HOLDING ON.
6.
I thought about calling you up but I just lost the nerve. Talking to you by myself puts me all out of words. But hearing your voice makes me want to sing out like a bird. I'd sing you a song, but my songs are too long, and there's better ones you've heard. I don't mind saying I love you, but I don't know if I should. If I thought you might say it back, I guess that I would. The few times we touched I thought I might melt right where I stood. The warmth of your skin is enough of a sin to hold me for good. I know you're not perfect I've heard stories of the scars that you bear. But I'm pretty fucked up myself, so I don't really care. If you'd like to try, I think maybe we'd make a great pair. And if you get too stoned, I'll carry you home and keep you safe there. So bring out your skeletons, girl. Bring out your dead. Expose all your weakness and let's put all your fears to bed. And don't be ashamed of the things that you did or you said. Just wipe off the blood, replace it with love, and rest your sweet head.
7.
The Best 03:21
We met as children. Grew up Christian. Grew apart, came together, fell apart again. Hung out in high school. Trying to be cool. Some things never change, you know I'm still trying to win. I've been trying to figure it all out again... And I think that my best guess is whatever it was, it was the best. I found you naked, shipwrecked, and sacred. Exposed to a world you'd never worked out. I called you martyr. You called me brother. Maybe there was hope and maybe there was doubt. I've been trying to figure...etc... I don't know what to make of it. I've thought about it a lot. You brought me religion like an affliction. The blood poured from my wounds and sacred heart. I think I told you. At least I meant to. Should've made my case right then from the very start. I've been trying to figure...etc...
8.
I've got a friend I'll always miss every time I find myself humming one of his songs. Something went wrong and he couldn't stand the thought of singing along. Not in the background. He took a handful of psyche-drugs and speed. Washed it down with vodka mixed with bleach--no chaser. But somehow still survived... at least for a little while... If you can call that being alive. Long slow decline. Long slow decline. What a waste of a good life. It's been a long time since I could say that I was fine without it sounding like it's a line or just a device for saving time. Yeah, I'm just fine. I'm always "fine." Look on the bright side, I still want to fight. I fight for sleep every single night. I fight when I think I'm indignantly right. But I'm starting to hate that guy. Close my eyes...and I hear the old songs... It's a waste of time trying to find anyone who wants to sing along. But fighting with a ghost doesn't change anything that's wrong. And what hurts the most is knowing he was already gone by the time I was begging him to stay. I could never go out that way. And I know that the falling snow probably doesn't mean a thing. It's just snowing. And I hate that I've learned how to deal with this and the feelings that it brings. That's not worth knowing. And I wonder what his last thoughts could have been in the end. You know, he never even apologized. And I know that I should be mad as hell about this...but I just miss my friend. Go outside to get some air. The blizzard didn't care. The whole town is covered over. And oh... Oh isn't that beautiful?
9.
What did I expect? Everything I've caused has an effect. Guilt turns to regret before the ashes can fall from a cigarette. Forgiven before I beg it before I even catch my breath. Blood poured out for my sin? You must be bleeding to death. I'm laughing on the outside and dying on the inside. And I can't own up to anything without losing all my fucking pride. I'm lonely and I'm angry and I'm looking for a friend. And you stand there, arms nailed open. I don't know where to begin... Assured, but unconvinced. Are you certain that I'm worth all of this? Standing in my place while I sit here, sinless, spitting in your face. How am I to feel when I know you got the shit end of the deal? How am I to walk away? And what exactly is it that you expect me to say? Even now. Even still. How am I to add to what I already had in guilt? It's more than I can afford. Good news, kid! Now your failures have killed The Lord. All I hear you saying is that it's going to be okay. I keep knocking you down and you keep rising from the grave. I'm waiting for a tap upon my shoulder. I'm waiting for the scars to heal over. I'm begging you again to draw me closer. And I'm furious that every time I find you bending lower to reach me... I am beyond repair. I am beyond repair. I am beyond repair. You have broken me. And I would not trade this for anything.
10.
There's a wedding ring in my bookcase. It belonged once to my mom. It came to me after she died. I've been doing my best to keep it warm. Some day I may still need it, but it's getting hard to imagine what for. Nobody else seems to want it and I don't look at it much anymore. It's been a lot to carry. She passed away when I was 14. I don't know if I'm ever going to marry. I'm the type that's leave-able, it seems. I keep it there in the bookcase by some books I'll never read. It's just nice to know that it's sitting there, should I ever have the need. I ran into the woman whose finger I would've put it on. She said it was nice to see me and introduced me to her son. I looked him in the eye a while, gave him a smile, and it was time to move along. I'm happy enough for her, I guess, but my smile sure felt painted on. It would've been a mistake if we had stayed anything more than friends. So that kid ain't mine, and that's alright. I'll probably never see him again. But I do regret the things I said and did that made her run to other men and left the ring I almost gave her right where it's always been. Maybe someday I'll find someone to take that ring away from me. Or maybe I'll buy her a new one that someday my own kid can keep. But until that day, I guess I'll pray for some grace to fall back on. And I'll keep looking at the bookcase wondering what's taking me so long.
11.
Give It Up 03:38
When I was a young man, I met a girl with a French last name. I said to myself right then and there... "I think I'd like to marry that girl someday." So far that hasn't happened... But isn't life still beautiful? Sure it's got bad times to write songs about, but those songs are wonderful. You've got to celebrate what you've got, even if there's more you want. Anything else is a slow suicide. You've got to give it up. Most of my whole life, I've lived in a city with a French king's name. When I was a kid, I used to say to myself, "I'm gonna get out of here someday." That'll probably never happen. St. Louis is too beautiful. Sure, it's got bad streets you can walk down, but those streets are filled with PEOPLE. You've got to celebrate what you've got, even if there's more you want. Anything else is a slow suicide. You've got to give it up. Some things never happen. You've got to make it beautiful. So much of this is in your hands... You've got your hands full. You've got to celebrate what you've got, even if there's more you want. Anything else is a slow suicide. You've got to give it up.
12.
Dichotomy 02:44
Born of blood and of water. Chasing after a preacher's daughter. My mistakes are my own. My faith is my own. Tired hands. Tired feet. A man of unclean lips, and my lips repeat, "Leave me alone." Just leave me alone. I've only got so much that's keeping me here in this world that's not my home. I'm full of love. Full of hate. Full of hope in the times I don't lose my faith. If I could just hold on... It's here and it's gone and it's here and it's gone. Praise the one who set me free... But I'm not sure if he knew it was me. Sing a terrible song... and just carry on... It's getting so much harder to face my demons down. They've been here so long. I'm a man and I'm a child. I will wash my hands as the crowd goes wild. I meant it with love, but push came to shove. Peaceful beast in my heart, but these days my heart seems so stop and start. Grace is enough. But sometimes it's too much. Some days, it all seems worth it in the end. But the nighttime gets rough. Some days, it all seems worth it in the end...

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released May 20, 2014

Derek played everything. With apologies to every drummer anywhere ever.

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Derek Brink St Louis, Missouri

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