The Sea Will Take it From Here

by Brendan Bonsack

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03:41
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03:31
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06:14

credits

released June 28, 2016

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Brendan Bonsack

Brendan Bonsack is a poet and songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. These are his own brand of folk and pop songs, described as poems with dance partners.

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Track Name: That line in the sea
For whom did you chisel
That line in the sea

One side for the drowning
One side for the free?
Track Name: Your Child has the Heart of a Poet
Take a seat, half a seat, Mrs. Married
Mr. Multiply, divide
This information in between you
Like a gift, a lost and found, burgeoning
Wallet full of spiders

Your child has the heart
The heart of a poet
But we have ways
Of correcting that now

Have a light, not that kind
Of a light – you can’t smoke
This kind of fire
The lizard clothes: you must dispose,
Leave collapsed, silver foil by the basin
An egg a day will slowly make the morning birds
All sing the same

Your child has the heart
The heart of a poet
But we have ways
Of correcting that now

You’re not alone, Mrs. Stone, Mr. Stone,
You’re only stones in deed and in thinking
And you’ll confuse the light ascending
For all of your sinking

So have a word, half a word
You’re half of him, he’s half of her
And form one collision
This is where the love is made
And it will feel
Like a surgeon's incision

Your child has the heart
The heart of a poet
But we have ways
Of correcting that now
Yes, we have ways
Of correcting that now
Track Name: Maralinga Blue
I found him hiding in the desert, in Camp 200X
Where you can tell how quickly everyone shot through
Food still in the cupboards, keys still in the trucks
Four years of eerie dust in every room

Some secrets never let you go Absent Without Leave
We were told, with him, to use whatever means
He said, I am Bluey Williams, they can stick their 20 shillings
I’m renouncing all allegiance to the Queen

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the sand
Rule Britannia, down to every last man

He said, I knew a sailor who saw the first bomb
So hot it turned the beaches into glass
Fields of fish with eyes imploring were floating on the water
The crew that day had such an easy catch

Then they shipped me inland and I saw my first one too
A light just like the coming of the Lord
The Brits were over-dressed, of course, like spacemen for the show
And we were just in singlets and our shorts

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the cloud
Fists in your eyes, men, and turn to face about

Now everyone in country knows of the black mist
That killed the trees and made the children sick
Bluey said we used to trade with fellas camped out in the craters
That sure as hell made all our counters tick

But the officers would tell you there’s nothing here of value
Just empty miles of nowhere else to go
And warn, you never saw those blacks, we’re trying to fight the Reds
For the Empire of the white man, Blue

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the dirt
Rule Britannia, and everyone must serve

Bluey said he wasn’t coming back to base with me
Let my prison be to walk this poison land
So I said I never saw him, but I see him every night
Fallen teeth and weeping sores upon his skin

And I wonder about my daughter, still-born and whisked away
And son, who’ll never walk nor ever speak
You know, for all their testing, the doctors never let me
Know the single, simple answer that I seek

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the world
Rule Britannia, down to every boy and girl
Rule Britannia, Britannia rules us all
Rule Britannia, we can’t ever let her fall.
Track Name: Life Insurance
I have begun to pay back my life in installments
Twentysix fifty a month -
That's a pint of lager and a parmigiana
That's a second-hand treasure from the record shop

I'm doing well, saving a life by the change in
My pockets, just six dollars eighty a week
That's two cups of coffee please or
Half a pack of guitar strings
(I'll pay you the other half right after the gig)

A penny for your smile, my friend
A penny for your cheer
A penny for your warm embrace
When I become a millionaire

A dollar a day is barely a ripple
There's hundreds in the fountain, thrown for a lark
Where the lovers dip their toes
And wet their hair and their clothes
The heads and the tails glisten like stars

A dollar a day's a sweet little bargain
You can't even buy decent candy for that
You can find it in a payphone
Or the tubs at the laundromat
Or the curbs at the bars where the punters
Spilled into cabs

A penny for your smile, my friend
A penny for your cheer
A penny for your warm embrace
When I become a millionaire

I have begun to pay back my life in installments
Three hundred dollars a year
That's a ticket to Dylan, dinner and a show
Or a visit for X-rays, just so we know

A penny aside for your smile, my friend
A penny for your cheer
A penny for your warm embrace
When I become a millionaire

A penny for your smile, my friend
A penny for your cheer
A penny for your warm embrace
When I become a millionaire
Track Name: Future First Mutual Life Insurance
Mr Williams putt-putted a small boat
out through the heads

slipped over the side
pulled the dark

dark sea around him
and emerged on land as Mr Jones

the pale, kept-to-himself
new neighbor of Mrs Williams, widow

with her brand-new car and, finally
sending the kids to a “good school”.

word around the clothes lines
and fruit-vined fences was

something's going on
but who are we to poke our noses?

a million, they say,
the insurance claim, and paid

though they never found a body
so Future First Mutual kept the change.

those moonlit nights she would steal
out through the hedge and slip down his blinds

her husband, this man
never so alive than since he was dead

each kiss each kiss the invention of breath
and breathless each kiss would revive them.

but change or no change, there would be deeming
and claiming in the craws of the neighbors

that the widow Williams must have been faking
and fraud! fraud! a million times fraud! they all cried

have you no shame, Williams and Jones
no sense of the value of human life?

it’s people like you make our premiums high
and Mr Williams, exhumed, spent six years inside

and Mrs Williams resumed counting the nights
like coins into piles for the bills.

Future First Mutual tut-tutted through their people
their balance restored like a hole in the water

and later bought-in to Wexton and Co.
engineers of those precision drones

that can wipe out a whole wedding
for just six million a go
Track Name: Fallout Flowers
There are weights in the pockets
Of the coats in the hall
Ways of those who returned
Who had stayed
To wrap the lamplight walls
Round their shoulders
Through the webs of their fingers
And their thumbs
Stay the gallows of the garden sheds and stay
Away from the water's edge

In the fallout zone
The flowers still grow
But there will be no more
Love me, nor ever not to love

There are days between lines
Colored out of the squares
Of the weeks, of the months
Days that strayed and caked themselves in clay
Second skins to shed in place
Of bodies folded away
Second winds, who will roar
Howl and bay, and need some place to stay

In the fallout zone
The flowers still grow
But there will be no more
Love me, nor ever not to love

There is time in the earth
You can smell when the rain
Drags its nails through the soil
A scattered sea just trying to be whole again
There are husks hidden down
Who had staked all their love
On those few tiny drums who only knew
The one song that would break through

In the fallout zone
The flowers all know
The wait underground is so long
(and that is why we glow)

In the fallout zone
The flowers still grow
But there will be no more
Love me, nor ever not to love
Track Name: Closing Time
The trouble with beer is it's made out of water
And the trouble with water is clear
Every drop of blood spilled and ran to the river
Is still bound inside it somewhere

And I see by the stacking of chairs that it's time
Oh, Time, time is the trouble with water

Whittled through reeds and dragged over rocks
Aparted and dumped in the sea
Rolled north and south in the swells and then found
Froze and adrift centuries

And I see by the stacking of chairs that it's time
Oh, Time, time is the trouble with water

Thawed and risen and tumbled by storm
Or banded in mist round the mountain range
And returned to the streams in that murmuring sound
The sounding of forgotten names

And I see by the stacking of chairs that it's time
Oh, Time, time is the trouble with water
And I see by the stacking of chairs that it's time
But I just can't go out in the rain
Track Name: Grace
Behind me, inside, the water coolers hum
Like spools of thread unwinding
To count the fathoms down the corridors
To your shape beneath the linen

Around my shoes, a congress of sparrows
Saying Grace
Grace
The crumblight on my face
Is all that I have today

The flower stall is rolling up the roller doors
Awake, all my lilium companions
They must know me by sight and the perfume of my clothes
My bouquet strong from ageing

Peppering my view, a confidence of sparrows
Saying Grace
Grace
There but for your face
We'd not be here today

The short husky breath of the glass sliding doors
Who are learning your name now
And the call of the cooler water up the elevator floors
Another mark, another day now

How can I tell you about the scattering of sparrows
Saying Grace
Grace
Here's sunlight for your face
Until we meet again

Saying Grace
Grace
Here's sunlight for your face?
Track Name: Will You Take Me Down to the River?
Last night I think I travelled, in the deepest hour of sleep,
To a side of your fence unfamiliar, but exactly how it would be
The driveway meets me, two arms outreached
And the house a stone in the hand
And I stand in the mist that I make from my breath
And my moon-made tinder of skin

Will you take me down to the river
Of icy depths unknown,
Our bodies afire, but we’ll have no fear,
For people destined to burn can never drown
For people destined to burn can never drown

I hear your feet in the hallway, treading beneath every sound
Your gaolers scraping, turning in their linen, like silent snakes over ground,
Matchmakers who sleep with torches to keep
Every shadow aware of its name,
Do they know love has found you by how lately the walls
Have been throwing your cast away?

Will you take me down to the river
Of icy depths unknown,
Our bodies afire, but we’ll have no fear,
For people destined to burn can never drown
For people destined to burn can never drown

But last night I believe that I travelled, awaking all furrowed and cold,
Laid on a crude mess of timber and strewn above me our tangles of cloth
I hear in the mist that hangs like a kiss, unrequited above your mouth
A parting of water and the call of some traveller
Who will turn all my norths into south

Are you taking him down to the river
Of icy depths unknown,
Your bodies afire, but you’ll have no fear,
For people destined to burn can never drown
For people destined to burn can never drown
No people destined to burn can ever drown
Track Name: Intimacy and the tiny drum
will I shimmer
like a cello found
the hairs
wound to almost breaking
could devolve into a music?

love commands us
to be human

skin is only skin
a word in any language
is just a word

if I shimmer
like a cello knows
the creak and groan
of a long forgotten bough

how can I
return from this

comb my hair
and slide my arms
back there into
my coat?


What a tiny drum is love
A skin so worn and yet

Just when you think
The rhythm's lost

It calls you up
To know
That you are breathing
Track Name: Old Lovers
I caught a glimpse in the mirror
As our limbs were tangled and writhed
And I saw that our skin’s become heavy
Like folds in a mountain side

The old dresser photos were rattling
Our two young faces in frames
And I stared and I wondered if they wondered too
Who’d be first to look away

Will we come to know this feeling,
My old lover, my old friend,
Come to know it like the backs of our hands
Or to know it like some secret place
Where you go to start again?

This twilit room cupped our bodies
Like a river wound in a ball
The upstream and down kissed at the creases
Our north become south become lost

Will we come to feel this, knowing,
My old lover, my old friend,
That all those little histories that we tend
To covet oh so dearly can’t come with us in the end

I caught a glimpse in the mirror
Of two old hands in repose
And they stared and they wondered if I wondered too
Just who will be first to know

If we’ll come to be so willing
My old lover, my old friend,
To know each other like the backs of our hands
And still go down to that secret place
When we need to start again
Track Name: A Letter from My Grandchildren
It must have been strange when you were young
We've seen the pictures and we've read about it
For the sake of some sludge in the ground
All the bombs and the guns
And the clouds rained with blood
Were you scared, Grandma?

What was it like in those days?
We try and try to comprehend
For the sake of the color of someone's skin
The walls and the wire and the churches on fire
Were you there, Grandma?

Children of my children
I am the lucky one
To have found you in a better world
Than I have come from
But, children, keep asking questions
For there never was a day
When history wasn't trying to make
The same mistakes

We've read about The Great Decline
Where you saw forests fall and oceans rise
And angry old men in their towers high
Buy and burn, and burn and buy all a man could buy
Till he ran out of time

It must have been sad in his time
For the sake of a face pressed into coins
For the sake of some imaginary lines in the sea
There washed onto shores all those lost girls and boys
Not much younger than we

Children of my children
I never felt so strong
Than to know you ask this of me
Of a world we've not passed on
But, children, keep asking questions
For I never knew a day
When history wasn't trying to make
The same mistakes
Track Name: Remembrance
Our arms remember everything
So the world fills with holes
Shaped the way that people were
In their last known repose

And our toes remember everything
So the sand down to the shore
Parts itself just wide enough
For our secrets to be heard

The breeze will see you from the road
The birds will eye you from the pier
And the waves will speak in velvet tongues
That you have never known
And the sea will take it from here

As if to try her buoyancy
The ocean fills with holes
And the holes all filled with ocean are
Still keeping her afloat

Forgetting and remembrance
They are not so opposed
A memory stays, a memory weighs
As empty as it does full

The mist will trace your braced form
And the shells will hold you to their ears
And the waves will find the measure of your quickened poet heart
And the sea will take it from here

Our arms remember everything
So the world fills with holes
Shaped the way that people were
In their last known repose

And the breeze will fill your folded clothes
Your shoes at rest to hold them there
But this time I will arrive in time to cast this memory free
And for the sea to take it from here
For the sea to take it from here