Fictional Life

by Izzy and the Chimera

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about

This album is a collection of songs that I've written since moving to Portland, Oregon, one I wrote before moving here, and one by my dear friend and bandmate Porch Cat (aka Chan Benicki or The Chan-saw).

Special thanks to The Blue House for letting me record there, Chan and Moonie for being my friends and letting me join their band, everyone I've met since moving to Portland who has inspired me to continue making music, and my friends all over the world for helping me out in life and listening to my songs as I write them.

credits

released August 13, 2015

All songs written by Izzy Unger-Weiss except "Living Art" by Porch Cat

Izzy (and the Chimera): Vocals, acoustic guitar, plectrum banjo, ukulele, electric bass, glockenspiel

Recorded at The Blue House in Portland, Oregon

Album cover: Photo by Porch Cat, design by Izzy Unger-Weiss

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Izzy and the Chimera Portland, Oregon

DIY folk-pop made by a disabled Jewish nonbinary trans girl in Portland, Oregon.

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Track Name: Portland Dream
This song is about my experiences since moving to Portland, and the things I wish I'd known before I moved here.

******

Well I’m still here somehow
I guess it’s pretty hard to die
pretty hard to stay alive as well
but i’m still gonna try

I may not have a lot
I may not have a home
but at least I’ve got this music
to keep me company while I roam

and when the demons overtake
my thoughts again
I drown them out by thinking
that I’ve still got my friends

It’s not gonna be easy
but what did I expect
if you’ve got none to show me
I’ve still got my self respect

I came up here to look for
a better, simpler life
that isn’t what I’ve found, though
just a different kind of strife

but i’ve never been the kind
to pack my things up and go back
I guess that I’ll just learn to live
without the things I lack

and when the demons overtake
my thoughts again
I drown them out by thinking
that I’ve still got my friends

It’s not gonna be easy
but what did I expect
if you’ve got none to show me
I’ve still got my self respect

So if you move to Portland
with a dream and a guitar
I hope you realize my friend
they won’t get you too far

but we can play a show together
or go busking on the street
cuz the only joy I’ve found so far
is through the people that I meet

and when the demons overtake
my thoughts again
I drown them out by thinking
that I’ve still got my friends

It’s not gonna be easy
but what did I expect
if you’ve got none to show me
I’ve still got my self respect
Track Name: Broken
This song is about change, mortality, and discovering yourself.

******

Sitting in a cafe in Argyle Square
Staring out the window, painfully aware
of the very real possibility that I might fail
End up sitting on the streets or end up sitting in a jail

I can’t ignore the possibility that I might die
At any given moment, but it just makes me try
Harder and harder to make it on my own
Cuz I know deep in my heart that I’m never going home

Standing on a corner in the heart of downtown
Singing for change as the sky crashes down
And nobody seems to notice me but that’s really ok
I have my guitar and my sad songs to play

I often think of how I’d like to die
on a stage singing songs or on a street at night
running from your past as fast as you can
can turn a broken kid into a broken man

The city never sleeps and neither do I
our hearts beat as one in the middle of the night
The streets are my neurons the rivers my veins
A piece of a puzzle just riding the train

And I often wonder why my friends die
Far too young far before their time
The world may forget you but I never will
Your memory sits upon my windowsill

And I often think of how I’d like to die
on a stage singing songs or on a street at night
running from your past as fast as you can
can turn a broken kid into a broken man

running from your past as fast as you can
can turn a broken kid into a broken man
Track Name: Candle Lighting Song
This song is about the disturbing frequency with which police officers in America shoot unarmed black people.

******

I’d like to light a candle
for the kids who don’t come home
lives cut much too short
just reaching for their phones

I’d like to take a stand now
for the people who have died
the parents they have left behind
the siblings that have cried

And they’ll light up their crosses
with the fires from the riots
and go back to their day jobs
still pretending to be pious

But we all know the truth
And we won’t let it go unsaid
You’re the reason that these children are all dead
Oh Yes
You’re the reason that these children are all dead

I’d like to light a candle
for the kids who don’t come back
The ones who fucked up all the time
And the ones who were on track

Because it doesn’t really matter
The way they lived their lives
Because not a god-damned one of them
Has deserved to die

And they’ll light up their crosses
with the fires from the riots
and go back to their day jobs
still pretending to be pious

But we all know the truth
And we won’t let it go unsaid
You’re the reason that these children are all dead
Oh Yes
You’re the reason that these children are all dead
And we know
You’re the reason that these children are all dead
Track Name: Fictional Life
This song is about realizing my own relative insignificance in the world, and how I escape the feeling of meaninglessness through books and movies.

******

If my life were a novel
what cliched role would I play?
A sensitive young poet
reading in a loud cafe?

Or would I be the singer
singing silly saddened songs?
Too personal for meaning
or for you to sing along

But life isn’t a novel
or a movie or a play
it’s a tenuous and fragile thing
that’s destined to decay
I think I’d like to escape
become fiction for a day
but the cold weight of reality
it never goes away

If my life were a movie
what tired role would I play?
The kid in a new city
desperate to make their way?

Or would I be the pessimist
the one who always doubts?
Who knows better than anyone
There isn’t a way out

But life isn’t a movie
or a novel or a play
it’s a tenuous and fragile thing
that’s destined to decay
I think I’d like to escape
become fiction for a day
but the cold weight of reality
it never goes away

But life isn’t a novel
or a movie or a play
it’s a tenuous and fragile thing
that’s destined to decay
I think I’d like to escape
become fiction for a day
but the cold weight of reality
it never goes away
Track Name: You'll Be Happy Soon
This song is about and dedicated to my friend Avery. I love you very much, my friend.

******

I’d known you less than two days the first time I made you cry
and I’m sorry
I didn’t mean to

I didn’t have an answer to “why did he have to die?”
and I’m sorry
for what you’ve been through

but something tells me you’ll pull through
I think you have a good strong spirit
and so i’m glad i sang those words
loud enough for you to hear it

The road calls out to heal your heart in the way only it can
and I know
I’m gonna miss you

I’ll cherish the time we have left and the time when you return
cuz I know
it’s all I can do

but something tells me you’ll come back
just like the tide and rain do always
Columbus sunshine on your face
will get you through the long and hard days

I’ll imagine you just smiling wide
beneath Ohio summer skies
and hope you think of me once in a while

Cemented by our songs and tears
and all our talks about the years
where we were fish just caught on lines
hoping heaven was above
Track Name: Living Art (Porch Cat Cover)
My friend and bandmate Porch Cat (aka Chan or The Chan-saw) wrote this song, and we play it in our band The Ragshakers. This is my solo interpretation of it.

******

I’m so tired
That I can’t sleep at night
For fear that I just might
Sleep forever
So tell me
That I am living art now
I’ve got a broken heart now
It’s a thing of beauty

I’ve seen these walls and these floors
I’ve been in this bathroom before
Maybe it will pass with the moon
And the ocean will come for me soon

I’m so hungry
But I’ve got no desire
I’ll light myself on fire
Just to see at night
I’m taking
All my coffee black
My tongue’s starting to lack
The means to taste the world

I’ve seen these walls and these floors
I’ve been in this bathroom before
Maybe it will pass with the moon
And the ocean will come for me soon

Maybe it will pass with the moon
Maybe it will pass with the moon
Maybe it will pass with the moon
And the ocean will come for me soon
Track Name: Don't Need You
This song is about battling internalized oppressions, and my internal monologue about gender identity.

******

There are so many things
I need to unlearn
About the way I thought
the world worked

I want to delete every piece
of information I thought I knew
I want to undo
everything that hurts

I wanna be happy for once
I wanna be proud of myself
I wanna happy for once
Not worried about anybody else
I want to be proud of who I am
Not worried about what I’ll have to do
And I need to teach myself I don’t need you

I don’t need to be thin to be pretty
and I don’t need to love a man
to make myself a real grrl
cuz that’s already what I am

And feminine doesn’t mean small and weak
it means beautiful and strong
I guess if I think on it hard enough
I knew that all along

But I wanna be happy for once
I wanna be proud of myself
I wanna happy for once
Not worried about anybody else
I want to be proud of who I am
Not worried about what I’ll have to do
And I need to teach myself I don’t need you
Track Name: Song For The End
This song is about letting go of people and things that need to move on, no matter how much you want them to stay. It is dedicated to Vaughn Wareham Edwards.

******

Don’t you hang on too long for me
Don’t you hang on if it hurts too much
If you can’t handle the pain
If you feel like you’re too drained
Don’t hang on too long for me

If it hurts too much, then

Don’t you make yourself cry for me
Don’t you let it hurt you any more
If you need to move on
Cuz you’ve been hurting too long
Don’t you make yourself cry for me

If it hurts too much then

Let go please
Don’t stay if you can’t handle it
It’s ok to leave
If you know you’re out of time
There’s so much you’ve done
For everyone
And often not yourself so
If it hurts too much, let go please

You know I’d hate to see you leave
I think that my heart might even break
But I can’t stand to see
You hurting so deep
So even though I’d hate to see you leave

If it hurts too much then

Don’t you hang on too long for me
Don’t you hang on if it hurts too much
If you can’t handle the pain
If you feel like you’re too drained
Don’t hang on too long for me

If It hurts too much then

Let go please
Don’t stay if you can’t handle it
It’s ok to leave
If you know you’re out of time
There’s so much you’ve done
For everyone
And often not yourself so
If it hurts too much, let go please