from the stairwell

by Sophie Lev

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a collection of some songs written in the stairwell of the dorm during my freshman year of college. a huge thank you to the 150 residents of Todd/Phibbs hall for putting up with my excessive late night sound-making. this one's for you.


released June 7, 2016



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Sophie Lev Santa Cruz, California

making music somewhere in between santa cruz and seattle.

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Track Name: singing in the stairwell
gone far from flight
gone with the stars in my eyes
gone too soon to know
how i would go

arrived and i touched the ground
arrived, am i stronger now?
for being here
for being here

tell you of the storm
singing in the stairwell in my freshman dorm
never to hold
songs i never wrote
and the days gone by in the blink of an eye

when all is grey: cover me in bedsheets
here i’ll stay, for winters end
i’m not good with pain
i’m not good with rain,

blue bird has gone,
blackbird singing spring song
am I here yet?
am I here?
Track Name: running
its not just me tonight
in the secrets of lightning we spoke
its not just you in the moonlight
dancing down the coast
we wept into the sea
with stars on our skin
you wept into me
breathe you in
running away
in the darkness we chose
in the darkness i'll hold
your skin
your skin on mine
and our feet have become
pieces of the mystery we're running from
running away
Track Name: the highway is the home i know best
i watch the clouds shape-shift this morning from inside the glass cafe
my two hands are my home and i wait for coffee and the paper whispers stories from miles away

dancing through monday to sunshine
on tuesday i wont be found
through lemon grass and leaves, pine trees and weeds, another year has gone round

here i find myself too far north
patiently waiting for the end of the rain
and though i see the mountains different now,
you can bet that the mountains still see me the same

and my feet have grown into the hillside too fast for me to have known
that through bottles and heels, smoke rings and car wheels, none of us are truly alone

because day turns to dusk and we fight and make up and cry and the sun goes to rest
and our bike tires spin like this world we are in and the highway is the home i know best
the highway is the home i know best
Track Name: silence screams the name of our town
bleeding out my fingertips
and scraping down the springtime mist,
i left waiting for the road

to travel down and back again,
to wonder where your home is and
slowly suddenly it is gone

well all that i wished for was the end
couldn’t wait to escape your loving hands
but the end is in the rearview now
and silence screams the name of our towm

i lived in comfort silently,
blanketed in mystery
these same songs are foreign in my ears

the stoplight rings with melodies we used to sing in nursery school
now we are scattered round the states

well all that i wanted was to know;
drunk just enough to hope
for a whisper or a light from up above
and a year ago i loved you once

the indecisive sky will caress you
keep you safe, keep you undressed unless you leave
so don’t you leave
Track Name: for a lover long gone
Let me sing you to sleep
Let me be in your dreams
Let me love you more,
I could i love you more

Let me hold you while you cry
I would stay up all night
Let me love you more,
I can love you more

What are you doing now?
On a train some how
And into the city you’ll grow
And into city i’ll go

Were you thinking of me?
Do i hide in your sleep?
Would you tell me so?
Would you tell me so i know

Well the leaves fall down
And the lights go out
And i stay in bed
And i wash my head

Take a piece of me
Take me in
Take me out
To where you begin
Track Name: don't forget to die
At the end of winter, sitting in the top of atree
Whistling down below to the people on the street
Making cookies in the basement at 2am
With your cigarettes, with your cigarettes

The cold came slowly but we were fine
Dancing our way across the state going 85
The highway hasn’t seen the best of us yet
With our cigarettes, with our cigarettes

Dont forget to die, now, you said to me
Standing in the window with your bruised knees
Don’t forget to cry, now, i said to you
Heaven’s only waiting if you want it to

We ran naked through the sprinklers, pretended it was a storm
Ran naked through the halls of our freshman dorm
Singing in the stairwell for all to head
What a year, oh what a year

Walking to the water, jumping in
I could say that metaphorically you helped me learn to swim
I wrote myself a note so i wouldnt forget
You, the road and our cigarettes

Dont forget to die, now, you said to me
Standing in the window with your bruised knees
Don’t forget to cry, now, i said to you
Heaven’s only waiting if you want it to

The living’s been good, the leavings not easy
I’d never ask you to stay just to please me
You’re headed back home now, where you belong
And i wrote this song, for you i wrote this song

Dont forget to die, now, you said to me
Standing in the window with your bruised knees
Don’t forget to cry, now, i say to you
I’ll love you from across the ocean blue
Track Name: song to myself/song to the trees on the i5 south
you do not have to hide
or we’ll go down

you do not have to fight
to see the light
to share it

you do not have to be good
no need to prove your worth
walking on your knees for miles and miles on the scarred earth

you just have to climb your way to the ends
moving mountains with your skin and your feet growing wider underneath

and you are back now from the battle of the year,
you f ought it strong
you fought your fears

and its okay
to not know what is right
saplings do not grow into giants overnight
sometimes they just find themselves lost, in portland

along the I5
you will grow and i will pass by

and here we stand not half as tall
as the buildings we created by knocking down your walls

my body is aching to grow
my body is aching to grow
how far i have come i’ll never know
Track Name: all at once
and so i wept
tried to be patient in the dark
made small talk with the moon
made space for the stars

on the first night away
with so much time still to go
a million miles away from my home

then it was autumn
still i had fallen to my knees
layed patient on the ground,
pounding down the gasoline

and i had gone
and i was in between
afraid of all i was,
of all i could never be

how the hell could i have known
under the memories thinly worn
i was letting in
the worst of the storm

emerged into spring
found that i had grown new skin
had been hiding from myselff
found out where I had been

because my feet needed time to dig deep and strong and wide
my fingers could not find the space to grow
couldn’t have told you back last may,
that i’d be sitting here today
with my bags packed, the years up, i’m going home

and I live here
i made a little space for me
and all at once
am where i want to be