Broken Bone Ballads

by Ceschi

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about

By Ceschi Ramos & Factor Chandelier

BROKEN BONE BALLADS

Broken Bone Ballads, the fourth LP from New Haven, Connecticut’s Ceschi Ramos, was written from the perspective of a man battling in court for over three years and anticipating a prison sentence while trying to maintain an indie record label and pay bills as a working musician out on bond. The album draws its title from a 2007 arm wrestling match with a Marine at a house party in Hawaii that left Ceschi with a spiral fracture of the humerus. Accentuated by Saskatoon producer Factor’s first foray into acoustic minimalism and a host of talented background players and vocalists, including a powerful guest verse from Sage Francis on “Barely Alive,” Ceschi’s narratives explore the plight of the modern working musician, the drop-in-the-ocean nature of pouring one’s life into art in a disposable digital age, and the eternal tug-of-war between despair and hope.

With a sound largely eschewing the contemporary standards of drum machines and trap rap, Broken Bone Ballads relies on manipulated live instrumentation, analog synths, and samples as it moves seamlessly from breathless bars to acoustic punk-influenced folk. The 12-track album was inspired by community, mothers, girlfriends, fellow musicians, the writings of Xosé Tarrío González, Mayan artwork at the Yale Art Gallery, the loss of some of the most important people in Ceschi’s life, and a dehumanizing prison stint on dubious marijuana charges. With lyrics channeling Jeff Mangum (“Bite Through Stone”) and a delivery reminiscent of Freestyle Fellowship (“Forever 33”), Ceschi voices his frustration with a rigged system that ensures a life of groveling servitude for most and greedy excess for a few (“If a CEO can make billions / Then the world we know is filth ridden”) while holding out hope that through solidarity we can prevail (“All these tiny teeth together can bite through stone”). Ceschi meditates on the suffering he has experienced personally and witnessed on the road and in his community from junkies detoxing in jail cells, undocumented worker wage slaves, and corner boys running the 4AM New Haven streets. Broken Bone Ballads is simultaneously Ceschi’s most personal effort to date and a collection of stories and sketches that parallel the broader concepts of human suffering, failure, uncertainty, and perseverance.

credits

released 07 April 2015

Lyrics & Vocals by Ceschi Ramos (ceschimusic.com)
Produced & Mixed by Graham "Factor Chandelier" Murawsky (factorchandelier.com) at his house in Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Music by Factor Chandelier, Ceschi Ramos & guest musicians
Ceschi's parts recorded at The Morton family garage studio in Madison, CT
Mastered by Carl Saff in Chicago, IL (saffmastering.com)
Cover & All Sculptures by Derek Weisberg (derekweisberg.com)
Photography by Tim Mannle (tbmphotos.com)
Design by 319 Heads (319heads.com)

with musical contributions from :
David Ramos, iCON the Mic King, Shoshin, Sage Francis, Enver, Levitron, Danny T. Levin, William Ryan Fritch, Adam Matlock, Alex Burnet, Robin Rütenberg, Rickolus, Natalie Carballo, Jeans Boots, Tommy V, Keith Kawaii, Poeina Suddarth, Brycon & Cars and Trains

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Fake Four Inc. New Haven, Connecticut

Fake Four Inc. is a record label based in New Haven, CT that specializes in experimental hip hop, indie pop and anything else we like.

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Track Name: Choke Parade
Choke Parade
(for all of our fellow working musicians & to the families who have supported our goals. )

Barely noticed puberty as hair grew subtly onto my virgin flesh,
permanently burning away at my baby fat chest.
"Ceschi the stretch marks from when you were 16 are still there to tell you that you're going nowhere…
fast at least...
no masterpiece will last a week
while giants and dragons jump onto the canvas sheet.
How you gonna prove you're not another sucker with a dream
living under your Grandpa's roof in a room with your brother."
All of us want to be someone better
until the moment when the ominous comes
and jumps stomps on our festival.
It's a fucking rainy day,
plain and gray
in Connecticut waiting for a saving grace
to take us away
and it's just

One Quick Moment For The Parade To Arrive
In Just One Moment All The Floats Will Choke The Sky
One Quick Moment For The Parade To Arrive
In Just One Moment All The Floats Will Choke The Sky

Helium filled monstrosities wave in the wind above a cheering crowd
that's tearing down our city
simply with the blaring sound
of OOOHS and AHHHS
and huge applause
as people scurry to catch a glimpse of balloons in fog.
Everybody in LA was looking for a lucky break
but all I really wanted was to get out of that fucking place.
I never wanted to be that big blimp in a parade
that just sits in deep haze
waiting for the day that it deflates.

One Quick Moment Till The Parade Comes Alive
In Just One Moment All The Floats Will Choke The Sky
One Quick Moment Till The Parade Comes Alive
In Just One Moment All The Floats Will Choke The Sky

Then we'll chuckle in sync
like after Snarf jokes on Thundercats episodes.
We'll reminisce about bullshit we walked through on this wretched road.
It was a mess, I know.
Tough to pass the test of growth
but we never let those foes
question our endless sense of hope.
This is a song for all my friends trying to live off music.
A song for my people who are told every day that they'll never do it.
Even though we'll all wind up in space under graves,
at least we kept our legs strong moving along the whole way.

Wait One Moment for The Parade To Arrive
In Just One Moment All The Floats Will Choke The Sky
Wait One Moment for The Parade To Arrive
In Just One Moment All The Floats Will Choke The Sky
Track Name: Say Something
Say Something
(For my good friends in DIY Bandits for always having my back & for teaching me to see the world differently in many ways.)

"Say something meaningful please."
It's been 3 years of stagnation,court dates and fees.
Wondering if I will go free.

Nothing will satisfy me
even if I burn this whole planet down
it seems.
Won't learn a thing.
I'll die from risking.

I've got friends who would rather end society
because there's no way of fixing these flaws.
And that's starting to make far more sense to me now
'cause we're lazy and used to what's wrong.
It's been embedded inside us since our first breaths.
We're destroying the world where we live
but I'm sitting here watching a T.V. in bed
wondering why i lack happiness.

Oh disappointing mouth
say something more than
another word about
how's your life's difficult
NOW!

la la la la la la

Life is all monotony
sprinkled with some moments of unforeseen extremes
in between more sleeping.

How will the prison showers be?
Will I have to punch somebody just to get clean?
Will there be something for me to eat?

All of us are just frightened roosters in a ring
ready to pounce and fight anything.
Though none of us will ever know what freedom is,
we have certainly felt lack of it.

Proverbs and clichés remind me that
I should learn to appreciate what I can get,
but they're forcing us to live within our own shit
and I wasn't born to be a pig.

Oh disappointing mouth
hold your tongue
so the cops don't come and beat the words from you.
Sing in tune NOW!
Track Name: Forever 33
Forever 33
(for all of our Fake Four family - if you consider yourself to be a part - you are a part.)

On the road again.
Here's an obligatory reference to Kerouac.
He was eating apple pie in a diner,
I'm sneezing, sleeping on a rug with cats.
Still trying to convince myself that exposure will fend away life long allergies
while waking puffy eyed as a boxer every other day of the week.
These songs are spare change signs
under rain
dripping and smudged.
Near the freeway entrance,
New Haven Connecticut I - 91.
I've gone on a mission
from a vicious dickhead God
who loves to torture for fun
and I'll die trying to please him.
This tour will never be done.

I've gone from point A to point Z,
from salt lake to Dead Sea,
and I've lost faith in humanity
though I badly want to believe.
While conscious rappers
sample
"I have a dream"
I'll discuss life with Latin Kings.
Wondering what freedom means
in a cell with junkies detoxing.

I could really give a shit about a critical opinion.
If a CEO can make billions
then the world we know is filth ridden.
Some of us rock shows to make a living.
Some of us rock coke to feed our children.
Some of us flat broke
and we all know that the fast food dough won't cover 4 kids' clothes.

Back on the road.
Parole let me leave for a week.
Out of prison but I Still can't believe that they locked me for weed.
Kingpin to the CTPD
'cause a rat told them that it was all meant for me.

If Factor can finish this beat
then the album is close to complete.
Forever 33.
Christ-nice like Onry.
Fake Four Till I stop breathing.
Peace.
Track Name: This Won't Last Forever
This Won't Last Forever
(for our Mothers (Margherita Tortora & Marion Murawsky) & all good Mothers who go beyond what's expected and show us endless love even through disappointment & struggle.)

Every single breath that I've taken has created me.
Endless thank yous to the women who raised me.
Try to keep my head cool though life keeps burning me.
Sorry that i never learned how to respect authority, forgive me.
Mother I swear that I'm a grown man.
You taught me how to walk holding my pinky in your hand.
30 years later,
bearded,
ready for whatever.
They can hold me down for now but this won't last forever.
Promise I'll be back and better.
Fallen 40 stories only bled.
Been trampled down and beaten, left for dead.
Gambled and i lost.
Gambled and i won.
Don't think that i would ever take those bets back, none.
From the bottom of my heart I believe in what we're doing
and don't care if it's unattainable I'll still pursue it.
Oh my god I'm sorry for the sins that I was born with,
but a life without a single sin is simply boring.
Forgive me.

Any minute now all could be gone
but i know together we're strong.
Any minute now all could be gone.
Stay strong.
Stay strong.

Adolescent rage still swimming through my veins.
Knew this world was unfair at an early age.
Mother, I know they never paid you a proper wage
so thank you doubly for every sacrifice you made.

If we reach the end of days or i ever lose my way,
i'll follow crumbs back to you and will never stray.

Loved ones found.
Loved ones lost.
Just know that I will never forget any of them, none.

They can lock me up for now but the seeds were still sown,
and when i make it out I know that they'll be fully grown.

Never gave a shit about a boss or president.
If we want some real change we need to make it with our friends.

Back when I was 10, sang "fuck the police".
20 years later - know exactly what that means.

They made it a sin to believe in equality.
Called it criminal to fight in solidarity.
To stop me they're gonna have to bury me.

Any minute now all could be gone,
but i know together we're strong.
Any minute now all could be gone,
but together we'll still be strong


Barely fucking breathing - I'ma keep fists swinging.
Thank you Mother for teaching us to embrace our differences.
Taught me to believe that everyone is worth the same.
"They'll never take us out!"
i'll scream it till I hit the grave.
I could give a fuck about another ephemeral trend.
I'll never waste a single word trying to please them.
One minute we're here,
next minute we're dead.
It's all about how we will be remembered in the end.
The end.


Any minute now all could be gone,
but I know together we're strong.
Any minute now all could be gone,
but together we'll still be strong.
Track Name: Bite Through Stone
Bite Through Stone
(A song about tasting freedom through any means necessary & about realizing how strong we can be together. To the memory of Lise Waxer who taught me about the strength of community & education through music. The marimba on this recording is hers, passed down to me by her husband, Medardo Arias.)

For every bicycle in China there's a
cryogenically frozen embryo
that will
wake up in a cold sweat,
run around the veteran's hospital,
wondering what gave birth to it.

Then we'll sing the national anthem
while the government rounds up zygotes
in the latest titanium nets.
So they will keep their baby mouths shut
and suck down freedom with the other runts.

But I'm an impostor here.
I feel it in my bones
and in the way that I have never cared
about American hope.
Yes, you're an anomaly just like me.
So let's fuck in the street
to show them what it's like to be free.

You'll give birth on a highway.
With fifty frozen babies on all sides.
Curled up in their ice cube wombs,
sweet, closed eyed.
We'll come up with their names one by one.
Till every letter's used
and they've thawed out in the sun.

Then we can sharpen swords in sync with local textile workers
and sew together sinew for our injured ally warriors.
Building in solidarity beneath coniferous giants.
Planning to shove spikes into the backs of sleeping tyrants.
The subtleties of war are loud and so obnoxious
that they can shake stem cells out of test tubes and leave the deaf unconscious.
Nobody ever taught us the most valuable lesson.
Now there's a tragic lack of expression on the faces that we've dissected.

We're impostors here.
I know it in my soul.
I also know that we can rip through the skin of monster's throat.
I know that all our knuckles combined can break a mammoth's bones,
and all these tiny teeth together can bite through stone.
Track Name: Beauty For Bosses
Beauty For Bosses
(for Tim Holland & Pat Schneeweis & all comrades working toward a beautiful, "impossible" future. I wrote this after looking at Mayan art in the Yale Art Gallery during a visit with my father, Julio Ramos, who reached out to me & kept me inspired upon release from prison. The book "Huye Hombre Huye" that Pepe lent me also inspired some of this thinking.)

Today I learned:
that I wasn't built for the game;
that I'd rather play floor gigs for 40 kids
than any fucking festival stage.
I'm a martyr at most.
I'm a failure at least.
In the eyes of history I'll be no more than a leaf on a tree.
3000 years of work surrounding me,
by forgotten anonymous artists.
Beauty for bosses
before fame was even a concept.

Some of them were stoned to death
for the way that they expressed.
Today we're only stoned by debt and dope
and twitter feeds of jokes.

Hand me that Obama phone.
Text me love notes.
Lay my head to rest on a museum bench
and hope that they properly mummify me one day
so generations can learn from my broken bones
dug from under man made mountains of ATMS and motherboards.

I am alone.
Self aware,
Fat,
Getting old.

Capitalism is violence.
They say it's all we know.

I read about a time before prisons existed,
heard of an era before banks,
before civilians were born victims.
Dreamt of a place with no cops,
where skin color was insignificant,
where you could love whoever you wanted
because it's nobody's business.

Fuck a world
where justice is impossible,
where governments call cynics hostile
and equality is a utopian concept.

Fuck a world
that forces me to suckle its teat,
pay to breath,
and charges legal fees for a chance to be free.

If this is free,
somebody please beat the life out of me.
(Just kidding….but seriously)

I will die an artist, an artifact, a bad joke - from a naive time when human beings still had hope.

This will sound better when I'm dead.
Everything sounds better when you're dead.
Track Name: Beyond The End
Beyond The End
(for Rob Koziura & all of us who love & miss him)

Winter froze our crooked fingers into praying hands
at a January funeral for a sweet faced man.
When we pulled black suits out of closets once again
and squeezed our fatter bodies into them
to carry a casket through a catholic parade
full of tissues and condolences
till a priest spoke your name.
In a mundane way he prayed,
claiming you were in a better place.
I'm not convinced but hope that it's the case.

When springtime arrives and melts away the snow around your grave,
I'll still remember you in 10th grade
with a teenage smirk,
disc-man,
works of Richard D. James.
That image will stay burnt onto my brain.

I'll miss you like our younger days.
We'll miss you like our younger days.
Before grays started showing our age
Attempting to love life as much as you did.
Won't remember you painted in a box.
Not a cliché at a wake.
Not a tear drop.

Not a cliché.
Not a tear drop.
Not a cliché.
Not a tear drop.
You are forever.


Mother's house is covered in your photographs.
Every angle of your face,
every age,
every hair style phase
and we puffy eyed droogs
huddle in her memorial gallery
for the first of our gang to pass beyond the galaxy.
Tangled in uncomfortable laughs
masking the cracks in speaking voices.
Unable to come to terms with the fact that you won't be back.
As much as we dream of reviving you,
right now we don't know how to react
or where to find you.
We'd fight for you.
We'd break bones,
bite through stone,
and punch holes directly into the depths of the unknown
till our fists turned bloody red
but today we're sitting in silence
without a life to defend.
Lost without our friend.
And I'm at a loss for words...
Searching for a thousand more ways to say that
"Life is cruel and absurd",
That "it wasn't your turn",
but you're buried in dirt
while I'm still walking this earth.
Disgusted by the fucking world
if this is how it works.

Not a cliché.
Not a tear drop.
Not a cliché.
Not a tear drop.
You are forever.


Battling with faith
and it's hard to say if I'll see you again.
Not sure what I believe in the end,
but I'm at least confident
that I'll catch glimpses of you in contours of your sister's face
or your fiancées gaze upon any mention of your name.

You visited during prison bunk visions
so lucid and vivid
that it almost convinced me
for minutes
that you were still living.

But now I'm wide awake and a cynic.
Chewing on birthday cake and been livid.
Wishing that I could write a song to bring back the dead and fix all things wicked.

But I better leave this selfishness and let you rest.
See you again at the peak of Connecticut fall
when leaves turn red
or within that San Francisco fog
so thick it can blanket the bridges
and cover our damages.
I'll see you again
within the serenity of
Atlanta magnolias,
my friend.

Though I dreamt of fixing all wrongs..
unclogging lungs from blood clots...
Sometimes we're forced to stop
and appreciate moments we all got.
So I'll shut my mouth at last.
Surrender myself to the chaos.
It'll all go by so fast.
Beyond the end,
love you Rob.
Track Name: Elm City Ballad
Elm City Ballad
(for the city of New Haven & all of my friends & family here & to those locked up in Whalley Ave. across the street)

4 am,
driving through the streets of New Haven again.
Baby faced
crack corner kids
working grave yard shifts
with the
diner waitresses.
Everybody trying to break bread.

I'm every lung that's breathing in this filthy city waste,
I'm trick turning street walker,
Mary full of grace,
undocumented worker wage slave,
I'm needle pierced vein,
I am black rose on Grandmother's grave.

We'll find our way the old men said in AA.
They told us faith in God would take the pain away,
but God is nowhere to be found in this place.
We're only half awake
waiting to be served slop and corn cake by inmates.


Love me city, till I'm gray
Elm city love me safe

Love me city, till I'm gray
Love me till I am erased
Track Name: Kurzweil (ft. David Ramos, iCON The Mic King & Shoshin)
Kurzweil
(for all Anonymous Inc. supporters over the years. My verse goes out to all the good people I met in prison.)

Ceschi (Chorus) :
(Yeah)
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Some will fight for survival.
Very few will stand tall.
(Yeah)
Nothing lasts too long.
I'm not advanced,
I'm no Kurzweil,
Just a man
And I'm flawed.

David:
Let's play pretend.
Bend.
Move it on beyond your body, transcend.
I am just a broken version of the perfect person searching for some type of affordable plastic surgeon to solder these wires properly.
Honestly, I bought 1 million vitamins in the hopes that they might end my endless flaws.
Amino acid concoctions that claimed that they would bring me calm.
I wish I could've been a better person when it actually meant something.
Not now.
These retrospective reflections won't reverse my errors,
just an endless apology follows me stuck on repeat.

Mike King:
Made a life in places where dreams die.
X marks where you'll see Y.
I coordinate time in form of space
defy what they've defined.
Long as you can afford it, fine
order mine, I'm in the claws of time.
I'm sorta Jordan Belfortified
I mind the more, til it's more than mine.
Ain't so sure who I used to be.
Even less of his use to me.
Waiting on the singularity
to come and wipe my era/error clean
don't need your memory, truthfully.
I'ma still ghostride this griffin,
but here's the silent difference,
even if my values are questionable
they know my value isn't.

Shoshin:
Got drunk on true love, then threw up.
Lifting liquor to listless lips to liver,
deliver me from the stinking sick in which you sunk.
Six years plus, lost in the fog of lust, we fucked.
Every caustic, colossal sin ensconced in skin sings to be seen,
screams to the beat.
Such awful, haunting hymns, tethering us taut, blood loss to limbs.
Engendering all squalls from frothing lips,
spitting venom in a hostile, toxic fit.
Our trespasses surpass us, all-encompassing shadows cast,
wrapping our limbs up as the rafters come crashing.
Holding on until it falls apart, a holocaust of hearts.


Ceschi:
September 4th I was taken
by Connecticut state and
placed into custody,
shackled roughly,
processed
and stripped naked.

Hispanic "H" on my I.D.
like many men in chains by me.
All we ever really want to do is find peace
but spend lifetimes only fighting.

Im no enlightened being,
just been taught
by the things I've seen.
Violently made mountains of mistakes,
got lost in my faults & greed.

All these men live life like me.
Gamblers who risked everything
to feed their seeds
or breed their dreams.
In the end got caught
under lock and key.
Track Name: Rowing In Circles
(To all partners/wives/husbands/girlfriends/boyfriends/ who support their touring musician loved ones. To Allison Murawsky for being the strongest, most supportive rap wife I've yet to meet. To Amber Roldan for sticking by me through touring, jail time, depression & bullshit.)

It seems hopeless floating on this winding river.
It seems that I'll never get to where I'll lay -
oh so softly on a bed, head on a pillow.
Know the road can make a man forget his age.
Touch me baby till I forget my own name.
Touch me gently on the head or through the veins.
I've been rowing 'round in circles 50 days.
I've been rowing 'round in circles 50 days.

Forget about it.
Money Come, Money Go.
Hustling hard, trying to paint plastic gold.
Happy in my Connecticut hole.
Got that Hemingway 'shotgun to the head' swagger though.
Sometimes feel like a jaded mess.
I'm the ashes of David Koresh or less.
Tangled in webs.
Even at my best, there will never be an S emblazoned on my chest.
So what's next?

It seems hopeless floating on this winding river.
It seems that I'll never get to where I'll lay -
oh so softly on a bed, head on a pillow.
Know the road can make a man forget his age.
I've been rowing 'round in circles 50 days.
I've been rowing 'round in circles 50 days.

Money Come, Money Go .
Many men make many mistakes over money though.
That's the road: always surrounded but still alone.
Spent my last dime trying to live in a musical.
Never lost sight of my goals, but it's so cold
with rats crawling into your home.
That clichéd cloud over my head is so real.
My Grandmother's death was so real.
I'm so fake.
Ten cop guns to my head were so fake.
Can't feel a goddamn thing, but I'm awake.
Will I ever learn from these stupid fucking mistakes?
Rowing in circles, trying to turn ponds to lakes.
I'm so me, so bored of it.
Bullet in my mouth, spit out ornaments.
Was I really born for this shit
or will I be torn to bits
by a swarm of regrets.
Is that it?
Track Name: One Hundred Dragonflies
One Hundred Dragonflies
(for Nonna, Mafalda Mazelli Tortora who we miss every day. Also for my brother David & Grandpa, Frank Tortora)

Woke up to one hundred dragonflies circling our heads.
The day after you left us so alone.
Now all that I can see are bright lights in spaces where you were.
You were always singing.
You were always there.

Woke up alone today,
again in the dark,
and the storm outside couldn't hide my brother's cries.
Violent moans like those of our father when dope left his system.
We need you more than you know.
We need you more than ever.

History left your mark on my face with this nose and hair
that still grows wild as grape vines
kissing my cheeks.
I know you're here.

So I'll hold my breath till I see shapes or see your face again.
Whichever comes first.
If that doesn't work, I'll summon heaven
to pour down onto us all
and leave us drenched wet in your scent.

You are always listening.
You are always here.
Track Name: Barely Alive (ft. Sage Francis)
Barely Alive
(For everyone who has supported our music through good & tough times. You're all greatly appreciated!)

Ceschi:
Another year gone.
Stomach fatter, beard fully grown.
Waiting for the nothing and I'm awfully alone.
Sunday went and visited your grave.
Put a wild rose on the Virgin Mary engraved.
Mother sang her song,
brother kneeled,
and I just kept on wishing that the last year wasn't real.
Teeth have sunk into my neck.
Teeth have sunk into my neck.
Build us a holiday out of stones and holograms,
holy relics and hummingbirds,
all to fill this hollow man.
I'm alright.
I'm alright, but don't fuck with me tonight.
These fists are clenched and I will fight for every breath left in this life.
All the mosquitoes in Saskatoon couldn't quite suck the tough out of me yet,
although I know I'm a three legged dog hopping and begging like Vietnam vets.
These years were only appetizers, swallowed quick and wet
but I will not forget the remnants that were left.
Build us a holiday out of straw and out of sticks,
out of claws and out of bricks,
out of gauze and spit.
We're alive, barely alive, but we're alive!

We're alive, barely alive, but we're alive!

Sage Francis:
I make a fist,
stare at it and think,
"This is how big my heart is and I'm scared of it."
'Til they use scissors to open my shirt
I go to work overworked,
in the business of holding a smirk.
Private jokes telepathically shared
from the present me to the past me,
when I had more hair.
The tub remains clogged.
Sloshed through the memories of hooking up friends in need of jobs.
Didn't stop them from requesting loans.
It started with them calling me "Boss" in a condescending tone.
Put an indefinite extension on the zero interest.
Better business bureau better be damn well prepared to be impressed.
We're reporting back to duty, heavily wounded.
Steadily losing our gains.
The enemy moves in.
Gotta choose your weapons wisely
when I bust open my ribcage and I unleash the fist that's beating inside me.
It'll punch more than clocks.
Check your peephole, 'cause there might not be more opportunity that knocks.
Door to door I'm selling artificial tears for your eyes.
Using a stethoscope just to hear your cries.
We're alive. Barely alive, but we're alive...
Surprise.