Otherguy

by Harrison Demchick

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1.
You hit the brakes and pulled aside, said, “I’m on your side, I’m on your side.” I nearly broke right then and cried, so sure you had lied. “I’m on your side, “I’m on your side, my friend,” you told me again as the traffic pushed on by us. It killed me then that I could remain on your side. I’m on your side. The years moved on and so did I— swallowed my pride, shoved it aside. The call came in one autumn night. I gave you a ride, said “I’m on your side.” “I’m on your side,” I said and rolled out the bed as you slept into the daylight. I could run away or learn how to stay on your side. I’m on your side. I watched you slip then, a trail of bottles cracked and dripping down into the plaster of the walls you taught me how to build. And I remembered a lonely talk beside a crowded road. Right then I knew I couldn’t hide cause I am on your side. One morning when the roads had froze, I heard on the phone “I can’t be alone.” I tracked you down, looked in your eyes, said “I’m on your side, I’m on your side, “I’m on your side. My friend, you’ve blown it again, but we all blow through it sometimes, and come what may, I’ll always remain on your side.” I’m on your side. I’m on your side, I’m on your side. I’m on your side, I’m on your side. That’s what I hear you tell me again every time the road is broken. I pull aside and thank god I’m alive on your side. I’m on your side.
2.
At the crack of dawn, we started on the road, left the GPS at home, all my music, and your phone. You said, “Hey, that’s okay— hell, we planned the trip that way,” as you got off four signs late. (Another three days at this rate.) You couldn’t find the on-ramp, I did not know what to do— you without a prayer, my friend, and me without a clue. I took the wheel and yelled till I was hoarse, then pushed ahead with force some fifty miles off-course. So we turned back toward our fate: bedlam on the interstate, on the right path, more or less. (Pretty sure this must be west.) The sun dropped to the clouds with no hotels anywhere, you without a clue, my friend, and me without a prayer. The next day, back on route till the front right tire blew out. “Not only don’t we have a prayer,” I said, “we also have no spare.” You were pissed as hell at me and I’d had enough of you— you without a prayer, my friend, and me without a clue. Eventually, we got back on some kind of pace, and I said, “Might as well be trapped with Chevy Chase.” You glanced outside the windowpane and then started to laugh. I didn’t see the joke at first, but the trees still flew on past, and that’s when I figured out that we’re still getting there— just nowhere fast. It was late on the second day when the maelstrom turned our way— the sign said sixty miles to go. I said, “Hey, look”; you said, “I know.” It was eight or nine to ten and I was half a mile to dead when we pulled into the lot and the car came to a stop. You clicked the engine off and said, “We did it, me and you— you without a prayer, my friend, you without a prayer, my friend, you without a prayer, my friend, and me without a clue.”
3.
Otherguy 03:42
There’s someone I’m expected to be: the hero on the TV screen, the suit, the stare, the gleam, the smile, the textbook man in textbook style. You know the type: a man in tights who looks and acts and feels just like the image we’re raised to glorify. He will be your Superman and I’ll be Otherguy. It’s all about the cape, it would seem— a panel in a comic book scene, each line repeated from TV, each action choreography. Words from his lips come from the script and fall to you so eloquent perfection would be hard to deny. He will be your Superman and I’ll be Otherguy. I can’t work the crowd or leap a decent bound; this cannot be denied. I could dress that way, a red and blue cliché, a panel-bordered lie. I’ve got no X-ray stare; can’t fly through the air. I just stand by your side. There’s superheroes, fakers, and me, the dork who runs on sincerity. There is no model I’m based upon and when I’m sold, I’m forever gone. I’ll never be the guy you see extolled in our society but I’m the one with head held up high. I shouldn’t have to compromise to be the hero in your eyes. To hell with cut-out Supermen. Call me Otherguy.
4.
Foamhenge 04:40
I remember when you said to me there’s a place out there called Foamhenge— a full-scale model Stonehenge made of foam hiding out in north Virginia, and we really ought to go there. Just you, me, and two hundred miles of road. But somewhere we took a detour; you saw potholes in the path as our I-81 turned to rubble. So I gave you your space, knew it wouldn’t be long. I guess everything I knew was wrong, and we’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never make that passage. We’ll never photograph it. We’ll never drive on past it. We’ll never go to Foamhenge, or track down some old poet. We’ll never conquer Renn Fest or make it through Birdemic. We’ll never see the pillars of Foamhenge. Some would say that it’s a way to go just for ninety-three foam tablets, but I’ve seen things turn magic through your lens. And adventure doesn’t need a rhyme when it’s poetry in motion, and it’s not the foam that makes it radiant. But then nothing lasts forever and some things never begin, and no construct of foam stays eternal. I saw miles ahead, but I guess all paths divide when you’re focused on the road behind, and we’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never make that passage. We’ll never photograph it. We’ll never drive on past it. We’ll never go to Foamhenge, or track down some old poet. We’ll never conquer Renn Fest or make it through Birdemic. We’ll never make our way to Foamhenge. We’d ponder all the mysteries of foam and why the Great Foam Druids made it so. They say in Foamhenge, anything can happen. They say in Foamhenge, all your dreams come true. They say past Foamhenge, the road goes on forever together, but we’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never make that passage. We’ll never photograph it. We’ll never drive on past it. We’ll never go to Foamhenge, or track down some old poet. We’ll never conquer Renn Fest or make it through Birdemic. We’ll never fly to Bosnia or celebrate your book launch. We’ll never be together. We’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never go to Foamhenge. We’ll never go to Foamhenge.
5.
Never saw a match that wouldn’t burn, and fire—it warms the coldest heart and melts their misanthropic hold on weapons spread like sticks or tinder in a box. I loved the flame, but nothing ever changed. Saw a road to freedom lined in blood. It ran like water down the drain and flowed from out their severed veins. I bled against their flag and bled them out for mine. It was deranged and nothing ever changed. In the end, nothing changed, and the noble corpses laid their bodies down on the stage for some curtain call or misbegotten bow. Time will fade but the audience still rumbles out my name in vain, and nothing ever changed. In the end, nothing changed, and the noble corpses laid their bodies down on the stage for some curtain call or misbegotten bow. Time will fade but the audience still rumbles out my name in vain, and nothing ever changed. Nothing ever changed save time, as steady as a heart whose blood lives on amidst the dead. The clock reveals the truth— tomorrow is today. I dug their graves and nothing ever changed.
6.
Moving On 04:37
I see the sadness in your eyes; believe me, it’s nothing next to mine, infused in each tile and every room, but I fear I’ve lingered here too long, and that means it’s time for moving on— the death of the old, the birth of the new. You held out your hand when I fell down, clutched at the wrist and turned me around and gave me the only home I know, but all that I have is given me three meals, four walls, and free TV. I need to break free, and that’s why I must go into the sunset line toward the place that’s truly mine, and if I don’t search, I’ll never find. I’ve been the burden on your back, the friendliest foe, the subtlest attack, the parasite guest who came to stay. I’ve been delivered out of need, my back has gone numb, legs atrophied. My feet beg to bleed as they walk away from all those useless things like shelter from all suffering. I will not be the bird who clips his wings. Oh, I feel so cold right now, like I’m throwing it all away, but where you settle down is where you stay. I see the sadness in your eyes. It makes me wish that I was blind. It makes me wish you’d let me die. I’ve let myself languish here too long and that makes it time for moving on. Anything else is suicide. I will feel my roots let go, and there’s no greater hell I know than every day to age and not to grow. I’ve let you bear my weight too long and you’ll be relieved the day I’m gone. That means it’s time for moving on. That means it’s time for moving on. That means it’s time for moving on.
7.
Stocks falling, banks calling, canceling loans. Store hackers, phone taps— we’re never alone. Blood-spillers, spree-killers counting their score with mad bombers, Jeff Dahlmers right out your door. That’s why I’m sitting one mile underground with you waiting for the world to end. Flesh-eating diseases spread everywhere, with bird flu, the plague too, infecting the air. Pandemics, sick medics, bugs in your bed. Ebola all over— we’re already dead. That’s why I’m waiting in these catacombs with you while the fires of hell descend. I’m sitting one mile underground with you waiting for the world to end. The food will last us a thousand years, the water filtered and pure. We’ll close our eyes and sing lullabies as the planet goes to war. We’re waiting out the earth-quaking ground-shaking Richter 10-ohs. On high seas, tsunamis drowning cities below. Winds swirling, trees burning, mountains erupt, each day DOA once the nukes blow us up. That’s why I’m sitting one mile underground with you waiting for the world to end. Kids screaming, loud eating each time I dine. Slow walkers, fast talkers cutting in line. Unkindness defined us; this can’t be denied, but they’ll all go to hell when the zombie hordes rise. That’s why I’m waiting in these catacombs with you while the fires of hell descend. I’m sitting one mile underground with you waiting for the world to end. We won’t be part of the bloodshed now. The bombings won’t make a sound. We’ll plug our ears and remember the years when a good man could be found. We’re waiting for the end. That’s why I’m waiting in these catacombs with you while the fires of hell descend. I’m sitting one mile underground with you waiting for the world to end. That’s why I’m telling you the world we knew is doomed. Is that so hard to comprehend? I’m sitting one mile underground with you waiting for the world to end.

credits

released July 1, 2018

Words, Music, and Lead Vocals by Harrison Demchick
Backing Vocals by AJ Halpern and Jenny Zaret
Produced, Performed, Orchestrated, Programmed, and Mixed by AJ Halpern @ The Voodoo Shack. (monomentalmusicgroup.tv)

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Harrison Demchick Hyattsville, Maryland

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