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Play for Affection

by Arms of Kismet

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From the confectionary "Emmett Kelly in Love" to the bittersweet "Beautiful in Plaid," Play for Affection charts the topography between life today and someday. By turns both sun-kissed ("My Mercurial Nature") and shadowy ("The Miserablist"), it maps joy, sadness, and the open terrain in-between. Whether characters actively plan their itineraries ("Leaving") or fall asleep at the wheel ("Another Song Called Home"), they roll on, driven by dreams, desire, and the cryptic hand of fate.

Produced by Mark Doyon and mastered by Jon Astley (Tori Amos, George Harrison, Pete Townshend), Play for Affection delivers 10 tuneful tales of mirth and woe -- and the most challenging and rewarding Arms of Kismet music to date.


released November 30, 2010

©2010 Wampus Multimedia.


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Arms of Kismet Winchester, Virginia

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Track Name: The Game
a misstep
a quick quip
and you’ve got no control
a takedown
a stand ‘round
and you’re down the sinkhole

is this a movie
or real, too real?
or is this some kind of game?

I can play it
and I can say it
but I’m in the hollows
I can do it
if you will hew it
when I’m at the gallows

is this the cinema
or real, too real?
or is this some kind of joke?

I am Colonel Mustard
you are Professor Plum
I’ve been hit with a candlestick and
my heart is numb
Track Name: My Mercurial Nature
where would I be without my lust
for a sun-drenched Saturday?
where would I be without my greed
to pull you close to me?
where would I be without my anger
at a world that’s got to change?
where would I be without these sins
made me who I am today?

a ripe Neanderthal
an evolving creature
I grow a little every day
it’s my mercurial nature

where would I be with Prudence?
I can’t find her in the magazines
and Faith and Hope and Charity
are lost inside that scene
how can I thrive on temperance?
good taste is an alien form
how can I fight for fairness
when justice ain’t the norm?

a hatching influenza
an evolving danger
I spread a little every day
it’s my mercurial nature

that little planet ‘round the sun
on a beeline, flying fast
but it’s taken me so long
to take myself to task
sins and virtues
help and hurt you
but I can’t understand
why it’s hard to be a man

sins and virtues
don’t desert you
but I can’t understand
why it’s hard to be a man
with a mercurial nature
Track Name: Emmett Kelly in Love
another stagnant Saturday night
for Antoinette and Leila
killing time on the porch like a couple of spinsters
sipping on tequila
but it’s not every night in a life of the same
when the circus is in town
at the fairgrounds

they saw the lion-tamer and the tightrope-walker
under the big top
they grabbed a seat with a view of the clowns
next to the backstop
a little man in the ring swept the light with a broom
and Toni said, ‘I think that’s Emmett Kelly’
and then their eyes met

Leila said, ‘hey, that’s just fine
but it’s silly
he’s been dead since 1979
this Emmett Kelly’

Antoinette shrugged her shoulders and let out a sigh
and ate some cotton candy
said, ‘I’ve been needing a laugh and somebody like that
would come in handy’
she remembered a painting she’d seen as a girl
and said, ‘I know that’s Emmett Kelly’
and then their eyes met

Leila said, ‘hey, that’s okay
but Weary Willie
has been dead forever and a day
so say goodbye to Emmett Kelly’

Antoinette just looked into his eyes
Track Name: Year of Reckoning
this is how the rocks fell
while she scaled the mountain
reached the pinnacle and what did she see?
it wasn’t everything she thought it would be

this is how the night fell
while she chased a glimmer
in the supernova she did find
a light so bright that it left her blind
but she’s smiling, baby

and maybe that’s everything
and hey, maybe not
when your bliss is what you’ve got
you spread your wings and drop
in the year of reckoning

and that is called stagecraft
the man behind the curtain
found him sitting there, turning a crank
and she really didn’t know who to thank
but she’s laughing, baby

and maybe that’s nothing
and hey, maybe not
you punch your ticket and you take your shot
you wait to see what drops
in the year of reckoning

no sooner did she know she was awake and alive
a year of reckoning turned into five

now she’s hitchhiking to your door
doesn’t need a car anymore
Track Name: Waiting for the Bounce
sitting on the wall, Humpty
perched upon the ledge
staring at the ground below
inching toward the edge
I wondered if somebody
had ever flown from there
raised their arms like wings
and fallen through the air

pennies for the wishing well
are cheaper by the pound
and like every wishful embryo
I thought I’d bounce

in the moment I was flying
and the ground was drawing near
my life, it flashed before me
my heart was filled with fear
I wondered if somebody
could make some sense of it
curled up like a hanging slider
landing in some catcher’s mitt

the dreams that move our bodies
are cheaper by the pound
where every wishful embryo
is waiting for the bounce

like a dancer’s pirouette
on a trampoline
a chance to dance forever
bouncing over everything

now I’m picking up these pieces, I am
picking up these pieces, I am
picking up the pieces of myself
and when I’m back together, well
no matter what the weather, hell
I’ll open my umbrella in the moment when I fall
and glide across the countryside
and through the quiet clouds
to the silence of the heavens
a cacophony that’s louder
than the sound of cracking open
or the sound of breaking down

and there I’ll make my bargain
see if my heart has hardened
there I’ll make my bargain with the ground
Track Name: The Miserablist
I am biding my time
I am standing in line
at a place where I hang
just about all the time
I come to see Holly Near
or maybe Jules Shear
and I see all my friends
and I know they’re all near
I know they’re all acquainted with this feeling

and by the cigarette machine
dwells the miserablist
and no one bothers him
no one steals his thunder
he smokes a lot but doesn’t speak
he reads a book by Cheever
and where he goes at night
I can only wonder

a nice black and tan
and a fine IPA
our old friend is here
from Altoona, PA
see that girl at the bar
I knew her in the third grade
before we were anybody
before we were made
before we were acquainted with this feeling

and where he goes at night
we can only wonder
Track Name: Leaving
show’s done, brow’s wiped
big crowd, fat hype
down the hall, sign said
‘knock twice, get paid’
open up the door a crack
spent hopes upon my back
lava lamps, glassy eyes
ashtray hearts and muffled cries

Philly Phil loosens his tie
sweating gin, no lie
I’m unaware and unafraid
I’m just there to get paid
prefabricated dreams
paintings on velveteen
Phil sighs a voodoo hex
Monkey Girl’s under the desk

I am leaving immediately
I am leaving immediately
these are sights I need not see, so
I will be leaving

Monkey Girl up and speaks
pink rouge, pale cheeks
stories of a former life
when she was a banker’s wife
Calcutta paved with gold
ideals and children sold
paradise, dirty streets
clean hands and broken feet

Monkey Girl glows with sweat
withered heart, swollen debt
ill intent, it did encroach
left her reborn as this roach
legs akimbo, on her back
Mata Hari smoking crack
levitate out of this hole
squalor can raise the soul

paying debts with Philly Phil
past sins, road kill
gravitate out of this hole
free will can save the soul
Track Name: Another Song Called Home
it didn’t matter where she was from
it didn’t matter where she would roam
as long as she was singing
she’d never be truly alone
she was a mistress of the lights
she was an angel of the mic
and if anyone did not love her
they never heard her voice that night

performing a song called home
another song called home
a tribute to the broken
in a world of songs and stones
performing a song called home

her performance was top drawer
who could ever ask for more?
but you couldn’t help but wonder
if it was love or it was war

in a world of hearts and stones
performing a song called home

and on the night that she drove home
over the puddles and cobblestones
her hands were small and trembling
as she fought to dial her phone
and when the yellow turned to red
she heard a phone ring in her head

and it was all too late to answer
too late to greet the living
too late to sing some other song
too late to seek forgiveness

and that’s the way it ends sometimes
that’s the way it goes
Track Name: Persistence of Mercury
keep me waiting
don't let go
keep me chasing
don't let go
Track Name: Beautiful in Plaid
stepping through the clouds
teetering on stilts
you see for miles and miles
you see the quilt
gliding through the sky
time flies from east to west
a glimmer in your eye
the world is chess

the sun is going down
but come on, don’t be sad
the plane has left the ground
and you’re beautiful in plaid

a warning in your ears
a fairway in your eyes
a drive to greener pastures
fills the empty skies
and it’s not that you hate games, you said
the long shots as they rise
it’s not that you hate games, you said
it’s what they symbolize

it’ll never be a fad
for the rest of them, you know
they’ll never dress in plaid
it looks good, it looks good on you, though

like your old granddad
in plaid

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