A Graveyard In My Head

by Bradley Ryan

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The second full length by Wisconsin spoken word artist, Bradley Ryan. This LP also includes his latest EP, Once Worthless // Never Hopeless plus nine brand new tracks.

Compact discs coming soon!


released May 20, 2016



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Home Poet Records Ashland, Oregon

An independent record label based out of Oregon.

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Track Name: Opening Up
I hate to start off brutally honest
But I’ve never been good at opening up
Maybe it’s because my emotions were seen
As unimportant and invalid to others
Maybe it’s because I never want anyone to see
A weaker side of me
I’ve lost count of how many nights I’ve spent
Alone in my room with just my thoughts
Somehow my demons get invited
They just let themselves in
And from then on, it’s hell on my brain

I’ve lost count of how many mental breakdowns
I’ve had in the last few years
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve told myself
I was a worthless man that will never be loved
I’ve lost count of how many moments I’ve waited
For something that never happened
Such as a phone call or a text
I’m always a fool to think it’ll come
I’ve lost count of how many people
I’ve cared about that never cared about me
I’m not sure if it’s because I wear my heart on sleeve
Desperate for someone to care about me
Or I’m just a hopeless romantic
Desperate for someone to call my own
I’ve lost count of many nights I’ve spent
Thinking about how I just might die alone

I’m sorry if this is depressing you
This is why I never open up
I’m not used to anyone caring about my emotions
Let alone giving me the time of day
I’ve been abandoned so many times
I’ve developed a habit of waiting for almost everyone to leave
If it’s not now, it’ll be soon
That’s why I’m always staring at my watch
Or looking up at any kind of clock
Because eventually I’ll be alone again
Track Name: Emotional Scars
You wouldn’t know if from looking at me
But I’m covered head to toe in scars
You just can’t see any of them
These kinds of scars only exist within my brain
They manifest themselves as insecurities
Or constantly reminded of painful memories
All of these scars are from a single person
Someone that never truly loved me
Someone that never gave me a second of her time
Someone that treated me like the dirt underneath her feet
Someone that took me for granted
And someone that emotionally abused me
It’s taken me a very long time to admit that
I mistook emotional abuse for love
I’m not sure if I’m more disgusted with her or myself
She was an emotionally abusive monster
I thought she actually loved me
The signs are all there in retrospect
How stupid could I possibly be?

I shouldn’t blame myself, though
It wasn’t my fault
I never asked to be treated like nothing
I never wanted to be treated like nothing
I just wanted to be loved
I never got what I asked for
Instead I wound up with more emotional scars
Than I ever could anticipate
I’ve come to terms what with happened
It’s been unbelievably hard, don’t get me wrong
There were days I didn’t want to wake up
I didn’t have the heart to confront my demons
Some days I wished I didn’t have a heart at all
I don’t really know how I made it
I’m just lucky that I recovered
The emotional scars still remain
But I don’t look at them with shame
I sure as hell don’t look at myself as a victim
I’m proud of myself for making it out alive
And being a survivor
Track Name: Once Worthless // Never Hopeless
There’s a stigma in our society
That says men are not allowed to be abused
They shouldn’t let themselves get abused, anyway
I’ve never understood this double standard
I’ve never understood why that’s absolutely okay
I don’t even understand peoples’ reasoning
Men are strong, they say
Men don’t express emotions, they say
Last time I checked, men are also human beings
That have every right to feel pain and sadness
That mentality alone makes me very sad
I shouldn’t have to be worried about harassment
After coming out about being abused
What kind of world is that?
I’m not saying men being abused is somehow “worse”
Than women being abused, whether it’s emotionally or physically
Because it’s just as valid and it’s just as awful
I’m just saying that men have a harder time to admit it

There are many reasons why I’ve stayed quiet
I was ashamed of myself
I shouldn’t have seen the signs, but I ignored them all
I thought what I had was love
The more I think about it, the more it never was
She just wanted someone to manipulate
And I just wanted someone to actually love me in return
For a time I felt more disgusted with myself
But now I know my own self-worth
Now I know that I never deserve to be treated that way
I also felt ashamed in the eyes of society
Men who are abused are weak-minded and not “real men”
Let me ask you something, though
Have you ever been emotionally, physically, or verbally abused
By someone that you love?
So many emotions constantly ran through my head
I didn’t know if I should feel angry, afraid, or embarrassed

The only problem was she always knew just what to say
So I wouldn’t come to my senses and finally leave
She had me wrapped around her finger
Her hands were wrapped around my neck
She could have been choking me half to death
But I would’ve apologized for needing to catch my breath
Don’t tell me I should have just left her
Do you have an idea how bad I wanted to?
She made me feel absolutely worthless
She also made me feel like she was all I could get
We accept the love we think we deserve
And if we have a low sense of self-worth
Well, that’s what we’re most likely to attract
I was just looking for someone to finally love me

Being abused by someone you loved
And someone that you thought loved you
Is one of the worst things that anyone could go through
Why is okay for women to come out about being abused
But men are ridiculed and abused even more?
I’m sorry, but I really can’t stay quiet
Say what you will, but I’m an abuse survivor
I’ll never live in silence again
A part of me regrets every second I spent with her
But I wouldn’t be the man I am today
I just never would wish that kind of treatment on anyone
Not even my worst enemies
I was once worthless and I let myself believe it
I’ll never let myself sink that low again
I’ll never let myself become hopeless once more
Track Name: Broken Free (Interlude)
For the last three years of my life
I’ve been held prisoner within my own mind
Trapped in an endless cycle of anger and regret
All I could do was think about my mistakes
And the man I’ve let myself become
I never should have let her back in as many times as I did
That’s what happens when you feel worthless
That’s what happens when you think you’re in love
It was nothing more than a fabrication
She never loved me, not even for a single second
Everything we had was a giant lie
A lie that I told myself for the last three years
I thought someone finally loved me
I really couldn’t have been more wrong
You won’t believe how long it’s taken me
To move on and forget about her
And the emotional abuse she put me through
I never want to go through that again
I’ve finally broken free from her chains
And you bet I’m going to claim what’s mine
A sense of self-worth this time
Track Name: Dear Friends
Some things are better left unsaid
But if I never said a word, I’d most likely go insane
Whether it’s from everything I have to say
The many observations I make in any given day
Or the unnerving silence building in my head
There’s just so much that I need to get off my chest
Here’s hoping someone will listen to me
Maybe I can close my eyes for once in my life
And get a night of peace so I can truly rest
My tired eyes that have seen so much within the last year
I’ve been abandoned by my closest friends
I’ve lost a lover that meant the world to me
I’ve never been sure if it’s just my imagination
Or if I could use some kind of change in scenery
Even if it just happens to be within my state of mind

I’m aware that I’ve been so distant and bitter
Go ahead and tell me something I don’t already know
I’m sorry that was kind of rude
I’ve discovered a temper I never knew I had
And my patience has been getting thinner and thinner
For a long time, I didn’t know if I had any left
I’ve just been so sick of people leaving and things changing
Especially when I never asked for it
And never wanted things to change
I never thought I’d lose any of my closest friends
I never thought I’d lose the girl that meant the most to me
I never thought things would change within the blink of an eye
I’m not the same person I was a year ago
I was forced to grow up when I thought I had it all
I was forced to look reality dead in the eyes
And watch as it took away the things that mattered most
Now they’re just things that I left behind

I’ve learned so many things over this last year
I went from feeling bitter to feeling so much better
But I couldn’t have done it without you
I’ve lost a lot of friends in the last couple of years
If we’re being honest, it still kind of hurts
I don’t let it get the best of me anymore
Because for every friend that’s abandoned me
There’s another that never let go
It took so long to realize that I was never alone
For that I’m truly thankful
You’ve made me the person I am today
And I don’t know where I’d be without you
I’m sorry if we ever lost touch
But just know that you’re still in my thoughts
You’re like brothers and sisters to me

I wish I would realized all of this much sooner
But life has a funny way of working out sometimes
I’m living in a much better state of mind now
I love the view outside my tired eyes
Instead of being so distant towards everyone
I’m stopping to admire my internal scenery
We accept the love we think we deserve
And now I know that I deserve the absolute best
When I stare at myself in the mirror
I’m finally happy with the person I see
Make no mistake, I still have many scars
That run straight through my chest
But I’ve been learning to live with them
I’ve looked reality dead in the face and said,
“I’m not afraid anymore of the things I can’t change
I’m moving on from the things I left behind
Only to focus on the things that matter most
And the people that never left my side in the first place”
Track Name: Sincerely Me
This might sound incredibly obvious to say
But I wish some things in our lives never had to change
We get so caught up in our little routines
Taking things and people for granted that we see every day
There are some things we never want to hear
As they’re very heartbreaking truths
But everything we wish to remain the same
Always has to change in the worst possible way
If only time travel were possible,
I’d kill to relive the days of my youth
I never wanted to grow up
But sometimes reality comes knocking at your door
Demanding that you accept the inevitable
The only thing that ever remains permanent is change
The scenery in our state of mind
Never matches the scenery in our eyes
It’s hard to be happy with yourself
When you only see in shades of gray
And if you could into my head
You’d see I have more enough firsthand experience
I’m almost 23 but I feel like a new person
I don’t know what love is anymore
After it was taken away from me by the cold hands of death
And coming face to face with reality

I’ve learned so many things about myself in the last year
I’ll never be second best again
And this time I know exactly what I deserve
But I wouldn’t have made it through without all of you
I haven’t spoken to some of you in months or years
Some of you I speak to every day
Just know that you’re still in my thoughts every now and again
Looking back on the memories that we once shared
You’ve all made me who I am
And despite how many friends I’ve lost
There are many that have never held tighter
I’m sorry if we’ve ever lost touch
And I’m sorry if I’ve ever pushed you away
For a long time I let no one inside
Afraid that I’d lose someone dear to me yet again
Now I’m not afraid of anything
I’m standing taller than every mighty oak
Ready to take on anything life throws at me
I’ve come to accept that things change
Whether we want them or not
And instead of looking at the things I left behind
It’s time to focus my eyes on the things that never left
My scenery has dramatically changed
I’m standing tall as my feet are planted to the ground
Instead I’ve just moved on to a better state of mind
Track Name: A Graveyard In My Head
There’s a graveyard in my head
Lined with headstones
Of everyone that’s dead to me
Consisting of former lovers
As well as every fair weather friend I’ve known
That stood by my side in the sunlight
Only to disappear at the first sign of a thunder storm
Lately I’ve been digging more graves
Because I’ve been burning more bridges
Watching their bodies burn
Right in front of my ocean blue eyes
At first I was horrified
Now I’ve just become numb to the sight
I once called these people friends
But when I look them now
They’re just strangers I once knew
I can burn all the bridges I desire
And although I can’t see your face
I can’t burn the memory of you
I don’t have any regrets
I don’t have any sense of remorse
That ship sailed long ago
Setting itself on a brave new course
Somewhere I can find some inner peace
Somewhere I can find my sanity
Somewhere I can find myself once again
Because I don’t like the man I’ve become
He doesn’t match the man I’ve always been
I’ve burned so many bridges
I feel like some kind of arsonist
Kerosene is a sweet perfume to me
I know its scent awfully well
I always carry matches in my pocket
Just in case of emergency
You never know when you’ll need to burn a flame
Not to burn a bridge necessarily
Sometimes I wish I could burn myself away
I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell
At least when I’m finally there
I’ll feel more at home
At least if I can remember
What home truly feels like, anyway
Track Name: I'm Not Sorry
Darling, let me be clear about something
I’m not sorry for anything I’m about to say I have nothing to apologize for
I simply wasn’t the one that did wrong
I hate to pin the blame on someone at all But it was completely you
I’m not sorry for anything I said to you Whether it was to make you smile
It was to make you laugh at a stupid joke Or make you kiss me
I’m not sorry for making you feel special
Because I thought you were
You meant the world to me
I’m not sorry for giving you that in return
Even though that’s the last thing you deserve
I’m not sorry for telling you I loved you
That’s honestly how I thought I felt
I feel stupid in retrospect
What we had was anything but love
It was nothing more than a lie
A lie that I was content to believe for so long
I need to keep telling myself
That I did everything I could to make you happy I did nothing wrong
I’m not sorry for spending time with you
Even if all we did was hang out in my bed
It was almost like the world stopped spinning
Just for a little while
I’d forget how I wish I was better off dead
I’m not sorry for caring about you
You certainly never deserved it
But I never got to see your true colors
You look your best in red
Because you stabbed me in the back
And you ran away like nothing happened
All the while blood was still on your hands
I always wonder what you told your friends Did you really tell them what happened?
I was suddenly not good enough for you
So instead of talking to me
You ran away like the coward you are
I don’t know what I did to deserve this I’m still not sorry for anything
I tried so hard to be everything you needed
I don’t know why I wasn’t enough
Maybe I’ll never know
I guess that’s something I need to accept
I’ll just learn to live with it
But when you’re alone in your room
Crying yourself to sleep in your bed
Just know the only thing I’m sorry for
Is how you lost the best thing To ever come into your life
How does it feel to be a murderer?
I watched you choke our relationship dead
I’m not sorry for anything, darling
At least I had the guts to be honest with you
Instead of being constantly distant
And hiding from the sad truth
I’m sorry that you’ve been hurt so much in your life
You push away anyone that actually cares
If you’re wondering why I never pushed back
I just never thought you were worth it
I’m so used to wasting my time
On the ones that never gave me a second of theirs
I’m not going back to being the person I was once
I just wish the person I am
Matched the person I wish I was
Maybe one day that’ll happen
Maybe one day I’ll be enough for someone
Maybe one day you’ll realize your mistake
I’m sorry I won’t be there for that very moment
I’ve got better things to do
I’ve got better memories to make
Track Name: Travelin' Man (Interlude)
I’ve lived 22 years on this Earth
And I’ve been looking for a place
Somewhere I can call my own
Somewhere I might belong
Somewhere I can lay my broken bones
But as it stands, I’m just a travelin’ man
No one remembers my face
Always forgotten as soon as I’m gone
Track Name: Forget Sobriety
I’ve never touched a drop of whiskey
I’ve never touched a cigarette
Not once in my 22 years of life
But I’ve been so beaten and broken
Just one night, I’d really like to forget
My sense of sobriety
And drown my sorrows away With a bottle of whiskey
I’ve never been much of a gambling man
I guess I’ve got far too much to lose I’ve lost everything once before
When I gave my heart to a woman
That only pumped poison through my veins
I should have left her so early on
But that was an option I couldn’t bear to choose
Her words cut like razors on my skin
And she knew the rights things to say
To keep me always coming back for more
My heart was kept locked in her chains
It took me so damn long to move on And I barely made it out alive
I thought I was in love with her
Well, I’ve never looked more like a fool
I thought she just might happen to be the one
Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan
Sometimes you just gotta play it cool
The last year of my life was spent on myself
Rebuilding every wall that came crumbling down
I promise I’m a better man now
But if I said I knew what love finally was
I’d be lying through my crooked smile
At least I know how not to treat a woman
And I finally put my past to rest six feet underground
My old man always told me to live and learn
Well, I’ve been livin’ for quite awhile
I just wish I knew how much I’ve learned
I’ve found myself making the same mistakes over again
Just when I get done building a new bridge
I end up adding it to the list of things I need to burn
Maybe I shouldn’t take any more chances
Maybe I shouldn’t wear my heart on my sleeve
Maybe I should lock myself away
I’m just a man that wants to be loved
That’s usually the opposite of what happens to me
I’ve seen love die right before my very eyes
It’s happened to much to me I stopped wasting any time to grieve
I’m not the same man I once was
I’d like to think that’s a very good thing And I try not to let myself feel blue
If someone’s going to bring me down
They ain’t worth a second of my precious time
That don’t mean we don’t need sadness
Let it rattle through my lonely bones
Just give me one night to forget about it all
I need to drown my sorrows away
With a bartender that doesn’t know my name
And has never seen my face
But will listen to my story anyway
I’ll leave my sobriety at the door for the night
Come the morning, it’ll hurt like hell
But I promise I’ll be okay I won’t be sad no more
Track Name: Devil's Daughter
Pretty girls will be the death of me
I keep falling for the most toxic of them
Maybe poison rushes through my veins
Or I just haven’t learned my lesson
When they flash me a beautiful smile
That’s all it takes for me to fall
But sometimes we make bad choices
We don’t know a person as well as we think
I keep thinking I’ve met an angel
Instead I’ve found a sinner
I’ve never touched a drop of whiskey
But I’m ready to walk into a bar And tell that bartender to pour me a drink
I’ve met the Devil’s daughters
They had me wrapped around their fingers Then wrapped their fingers around my neck Why don’t he just do it himself? I’m sure as hell the Devil wants me dead
What is it about me that attracts his girls? Is there some place I went wrong?
Look, I’ve always been a good man
I might not go to church on Sundays But that’s because I’m working real hard Do I keep breaking mirrors in my sleep?
This bad luck has gone on for far too long
Maybe it’s all apart of God’s plan
I’m just not sure where my faith lies anymore I’ve also never been a gambling man
But every time I take a chance on someone I end up drawing a losing hand I’m convinced I’ll never draw the winning card
Somebody get me a doctor
Pump my veins pull of morphine
I don’t want to feel a goddamn thing
Somebody get me a bartender
Drown my liver in whiskey
I want to forget she ever kissed me
Somebody get me a shotgun
Blow my brain full of lead
I know the Devil wants me dead
And he sure as hell won’t quit Until his mission is done
I’ve been through hell all these years Somehow I keep coming back
I’ve got a sense of hope that just won’t die
I’ve had my moments of weakness and doubt
That’s what the Devil wants
He can send all his daughters after me
You bet I’ll find an angel one day
All the pain will be worth the pleasure
And I can kiss the lips of the woman I love
Instead of kissing a bottle of whiskey
Track Name: Record Shop
It probably ain’t a secret
I’m addicted to the devil called music
Music’s in my blood
Always pulsing through my veins
Always ringing in my ears
Louder than standing next to southbound trains
I spend my time at the local record shop
Seein’ what’s new
Seein’ what just came in
What stepped through that door one day
Wasn’t a new hit record
But a beautiful woman
The likes of which I had never seen
And truly took my breath away
I know music can take you to another place
I felt like I was in a dream
Once that needle started spinning
And we heard the first note
We danced to my favorite song
I fell for you in that moment
It became the greatest song Anyone’s ever wrote
I was looking through some records
Musgraves, Sellers, and Stapleton
I couldn’t stop glancing in her direction
She had long blonde hair
Legs longer than the Mississippi River
A smile that makes my knees weak
And a love for the devil called music I swear she’s the one
I didn’t see her come over to me
Tapped me on the shoulder
And said, “Sir, may I help you?”
“Sorry, ma’am,” I replied
“I couldn’t help but stare
A pretty girl like you
Doesn’t come here often enough
Stay a little longer
And maybe we can fall in love”
She told her name was Caroline
But not before we talked about music Every record we love
And every song we hold dear
I showed her all of my favorite records
But I had one last thing to say
“I gotta show you my faorite song”
I put the vinyl on the record player
And slid the headphones on her ears I held my breath as I pressed play
She closed her eyes
And intently listened to each word
Her toes tapping with every note
When the song was done
All she did was smile at me
She gave me a kiss and said
“That was the best song I’ve ever heard” I replied with a crooked grin
“That’s because it’s the best song
Anyone’s ever wrote
I know we just met
But I think you might be the one”
Track Name: Radio
She always kept the radio on
Because my love and my favorite song
Are all that make me feel alright
I loved her like a raging bonfire
She burned me to a crisp in the end
My heart’s a diner that’s been open all night long
And its only customer is gone
I’ll always keep the radio on ’Cause it’s become my only friend
When I first saw Bullitt
I was only seventeen
I dreamed of so much back then
I wanted to drive every classic car
And appear on the silver screen
Honestly, I just really hated being me
Maybe I’d somehow be cooler
If I grew up to be like Steve McQueen
That was when I fell in love with the radio
It took all of my troubles away
The first time I listened to Springsteen
He told me I was born to run
So I’ve been running my whole life
Away from the dark clouds over my head
That chase me every single day
Because rain is always sure to follow
Every love I had first started out seeing the sun
But turned into a thunderstorm
Just once I’d like some peaceful weather instead
I was 24 when I met Mary­Ann
That woman was an absolute dream
Her smile could light up a whole city block
Her legs were longer than the Mississippi
You’d swear she stepped out of the silver screen
And she was everything I could ever need
I’d never been in love before
I sure as hell had never struck gold
So I won’t forget the moment
She broke my heart right in two
I screamed into the phone
“I thought we were gonna grow old
But I guess you don’t love me anymore”
“It was never love,” she said
“Because I never loved you.”
She said sorry and she had to go
She had another man waiting outside So I left her alone
Got my records spinning on the stereo
I don’t know what else to do
I’ll never turn down the radio
I loved her like she was made of fire
Now I spend every night
Looking at our pictures
And asking myself with conviction
“How can I burn the memory of you?”
You made me feel alive
Now I’ve never felt more alone
In the aftermath of this heartbreak
And at the end of each and every day
All I have are my favorite records
And the comfort of my FM radio To bring a crooked smile to my lonesome face
She always kept the radio on
I always played her my favorite songs
The ones that make me feel alright I thought she loved me like fire
But her love burned out in the dark
Before I saw a glimpse of the sunlight
My heart’s a diner that’s been open all night long
And its only customer is gone from here
I’ll never turn my radio off
Because it’s become the only thing
That I hold even the slightest bit dear