Daisy Wheel

by Penny Arcade

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The second Penny Arcade demo to come out of my closet. It features songs about hospital beds, car crashes, suicide attempts, road construction, books, getting lost, and recliner chairs. I hope you connect with anything in it.


released February 4, 2014



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Penny Arcade Akron, Ohio

Just passing time until a Dashboard Confessional cover band becomes plausible.

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Track Name: Huston
Don't tell me you miss your wife, I promise it's fine. I know why you had to die. It just gets hard some nights, knowing I can't wake up and ride my bike across town to your back porch, and now that you're gone, the reasons why don't even matter anymore. I know you fought it all, the feuding kids, the alcohol. Six months you didn't talk but know your daughter keeps you in her thoughts. I could barely see the road home from the ICU that night, driving through tears working out how to tell my mom her dad had died. I wanted to let you go on my own terms, not as a pre-birthday tragedy. I wanted to mix your ashes in that urn. Somebody please tell them to stop telling me that I can't. Please don't leave me to see you off all alone, to follow your footsteps through February snow. You told me this was your corner of the world, but I can do this on my own if you have to go. I understand.
Track Name: Munzees
Is this the fastest route to breaking your heart tonight? Because I've got other things on my mind. My friends are going to call me up when they're outside, I'll thank them for always being my ride out of here when there's nothing to do. I'm always acting like I have something to prove. After all, I had to if I was going to justify the way that I left you. Because I'm still lost in the dash lights, fists clenched tight, trying not to watch you cry, wondering how I'm going to live with myself after tonight. The aquarium in the back yard is way too small to keep us all contained for long without things being prone to fall apart. I'm hanging in the pines by a zip-tie noose, taped to the clock tower anew. I was graffiti under the bridge you were shining flashlights into. My friends weren't just houses, they were homes. The soles on these shoes had souls of their own. I've been in enough graveyards this summer to satisfy my young and restless teenage heart for years to come, but not forever, because we're just having too much fun. And if I don't get home again until close to seven in the morning because we got lost in the woods, I'll say for tonight, we've done damn good. But tell me I'm not dying here in the back seat with all the pieces they tore out of me, suffering from love and defeat, and lacking something in-between. So take me across broken county lines far enough to where I can feel fine. I've got to stop biting the hand that feeds every single day of the week.
Track Name: Canary Yellow
All the blood in the world couldn't keep my veins afloat over such a brittle birdcage of skeleton bones. I am more exhausted than I've ever been before, rotting my eyes out on the ceiling while lying on the floor. I'm trying hard to ignore all these ghosts taping on the sun porch. There's an innocence and romance in all the ways you kill me like a little kid pitching alka-seltzers to catch between my tongue and teeth. I have swallowed my own weight in pride this week, hesitant and bleeding, dying on your shirt sleeve. Just think of the damage I could do with such small and sturdy lungs and endless air to float these words out upon. I never thought that these would be my few choice refrains, but I got what I deserved from spending my life bathing in ink stains. It's well past midnight, but I still pray hard for fireflies. But I won't see you in school this fall. No, you'll be settling into your new factory job, and all those doubts about having a reason to live, I think they'll fade away now that you'll have a kid. If this is life, I guess I'm fine.
Track Name: New York
It's only January, and the ennui is unsettling. I promise to take you ice skating in New York City. Somewhere between ten and noon, I fall asleep; wake up to steam heat and begin panicking. Front desk tells me there's no fire in this room, try and take it easy. Moon River, calm me down. Sinatra, please don't fail me now. I just wanted to take in New York City the way J.D. did when he wrote it down. But you were right, and now I miss everyone so I won't say a thing from now on. I'm still trying to work out the differences between your pen and a nuclear bomb. Suburban Midwest off of my mind, I pull my limbs out of the power lines, chase your ghost all over Manhattan, and map my veins on the subway trains. It's a study with complimentary coffee, all the Bukowski books you'd bought me. While you're sound asleep in a bed we both had booked, I'm on the floor instead. If Sam Cooke on 45's isn't holy ground tonight, don't tell me until morning when it's gotten me home alive. And I find it's usually worth the drive if just to say I was there tonight, watching cigarettes glow in the street from the top of the Empire State Building. I'm sure the strays behind the Acme dock are the same ones sitting in the record shop, always leaving me far enough behind to make sure hope can thrive. And all those poems that I wrote don't mean anything to me now. Six months was plenty enough time to pick myself up off the ground.
Track Name: Jenga
I spent last night using my fingers to gently trace the scars you'd cut in your thighs. When did my life become this routine of disassembling the people that I love, then doing my best to say I can put them back together? Well, I never was good at being a liar. And I spent eighteen doing the same- a pipe under a kitchen sink leaking dopamine like the bloodstains on these shaking hands would come off if I used anything. But I don't think these sins ever come clean. But I am a temple, not a bunker. I'm a place for prayer, not shelter. I won't ever stop the rain. Can't you see these scars on my ears from certain things they hear, like your head as it hits my chest or her voice dying on the receiver? If we leave a piece of ourself with everyone we meet, I think I'm scattered between Lancaster and Taplin street. There's a piece of me inside of your house that was still there when it burned to the ground. You can sew up the seams and you can wear long sleeves, but those scars don't ever fade away.
Track Name: Alaska
Your ghost hanging on my fingertips, slightly warmer than the rest of it in the room. Always breaking a smile, but not what I needed. Miles apart and towns between, driving the roads that'd bring you to me and I ignored every warning sign to get it off my mind. And I called it defeat. I called it anything that'd get me off this phone and going back to sleep. I brushed it all off, Alaska. Chalked it up to me just licking my old wounds. Your cigarette still burning on the pavement, lipstick-stained the taste of blood lying next to you. I never showed up to the hospital, just deleted your drunk texts to me and tried desperately to fall asleep. So why won't you take off that front that all you are is fine when it's painfully obvious the way you've been stepping out of line? Your hands are reaching out for some kind of stability, but mine shake far too much for you to ever hold on me to. I stayed up all night reading between lines about how you should have burnt up with the pages, but at least you crawled out alive. I am not a gun, but I'll do what I have to if I want to be happy and we're all who we choose to be. So choose.
Track Name: Skating Through Salt
Breaking down in a state park parking lot to Deja Entendu with my fingers crossed. Something about missing spring from a payphone, telling people you love they'll just die alone. Deep breaths in only to let them out between heartbeats trying to figure out this season of love and discontent that just made meth addicts of all my friends. And I got salt rocks lodged in my hands from cutting my palms open on them. I guess I should have learned my lesson and been happy with who I was way back when. When we were always pushing to get it right and I lost more blood every time. I've been fighting this like the tide, and I move on with life. I like the thin soles on these shoes, so battered up and bruised, like the bones in my heel that I still feel the Midwest winters through. I like the three mile long walks, splitting knuckles and blacktops, holding the cold air in in hopes that one day, I will float to the top. And I was right, every promise that I broke was justified.
Track Name: Santiago
Go along and tell all our friends that I simply refuse to continue staying in regardless of all of this summer construction. If you find anyone else alive, I'll drive. But I worry about our bones and how they'll take the season change. I hate to be alone, but I can't stand the company I keep. Some nights it's hard to explain why it takes so much to make good time; to get from your driveway to mine. I've been dodging traffic cones for months now, circling around every block just looking for a way out of this town. I've been staying off the streets in daylight, driving home at four a.m. and praying I'll be alright. But they're filling the pool with concrete I spent so many nights inside of bruising the heels of my feet from diving into it dry. Santiago, give me time. You got yours and I lost mine, but I'm still paying for the line. I guess it's Mother 3 and TV tonight, comic books stacked up knee high, a fish in bleach swimming on its side. Like a bird on a power line outside your window tonight feeling like wet cigarettes and coffee grinds. I know we all leave things behind but the could-have-beens eat me alive. It's always on my mind, and I'll wrestle my sins until I die.
Track Name: Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
Let's talk about the lines running races up your right leg and carving parts out of you that seem to rot with age. I graduated and all my friends tried to move away and now even the summers here are too much to take. Cooling coffee down to get me through tonight, because I won't sleep the way I've been sinking back into my old skin this week. I used to think my heroes had such strong bones until I started visiting them in hospitals. Watching the life in an old man's eyes erode makes me miss the days when I didn't dial area codes. Traded Beatles records for fireworks to last me through until spring, but even that won't keep this weary frame from aging. Mockingbird, wish me luck, I think I'm going to need it after tonight. Mockingbird, wish me luck, because I don't think I'm ready to face what I might find. Mockingbird, wish me luck, because my tired eyes grow heavy. If I close them, can I hide?
Track Name: New Year
Not much has changed this year. I made the switch from coffee to black tea. An overwhelming sense of fear, but I've been grabbing the reigns on anxiety. I've been working hard to document the falls, seems this is the semester that always kills me. Priorities are shifting after all, instead of lying awake anymore I just fall asleep. Still folding paper cranes and tying nooses, hanging them by a string from the rear view; building bridges and throwing matches, the only way to get through to you; sailing boats down the street gutters barefoot in the cold October rain; tearing out of the same books for rudders, and fairly soon nothing will remain. Blank white squares on the wall where the family pictures used to hang above the carpet where you used to sprawl, screaming out about nothing. I'm always working with a dead phone battery, a lifeline I still forget to bring. I changed the color of my ink, wrote poems but missed prose more than anything.
Track Name: L.A.
I slept in an airport in Colorado making my way to L.A. to keep you safe. You burnt every minute on my cell phone, I'm glad the last they heard from me I was doing okay. I'm becoming who I am inside this sewn up skin that I still can't stand. I've been whittled down to this brick apartment key and a two seat couch to fall asleep, and I am sorry this didn't turn out the way you wanted it to be. Three time zones, two weeks, a bullet-proof bible between, so thick this trip won't ever sink its teeth in me. So let's keep this between me and the West Coast that I can barely dictate a single word I wrote. As you're hysterical on the ground in tears, making sure I know you lost faith in me this year. That black cat kept walking, I should have just let it go. There's nothing left for me here in Angel's Knoll. If you stay in L.A., I won't hold it against you. And if I never move away, I hope you won't hold it against me.
Track Name: Bastion
I've been picking out ties that I think I might like, pressed up in origami dress shirts all fall semester, working up the courage to be no one at all. I've been laced up with cigarette smoke for a year or so, stirring frantically against this skin I sew, becoming just as scared as my parents are. But thanks for letting me sleep across your back porch stairs, in my clothes in your recliner chair, driving home at four a.m., you either understand or don't give a damn. One day I'll go blind from these night drive tail lights. Always feeling like wet cigarettes and coffee grinds, like I have five o'clock shadow all the time. And I've been skipping class lately to purge my brain. They tell me I should leave if I just can't stay, but every decision I make is a shade of gray. I've got every good poem you wrote saved in my cell phone for the nights when I need them the most, and thanks for always singing off key from the other side of the passenger's seat. I miss fluid simplicity. Inevitably I leak love nightly. Dear God, I miss Bukowski. Dear Bukowski, I miss God. I watch you perched perfectly on a parking block dancing just outside of Akron and earshot. I've been picturing you with crow's feet and laugh lines and growing older gets easier all the time. "Just like clay, your hands mold me,"- the words Logan wrote to me, the shape I've been holding, but not for long I'm hoping, because if I've learned anything it's never to go quietly. Because we are never really done drying.