What is Love?

by Brendan Bonsack

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about

This is a compilation of songs around the notion of "love".


This album contains music from previous releases, including,

You Are Here
Once Was Water
Of Burning Things Vol. II
Long Tall Shadow
The Sky that Came Before
Land

All songs written by Brendan Bonsack, except "My Coat", written with Angie LaPaglia (www.angielapaglia.com).

brendanbonsack.bandcamp.com/album/land
brendanbonsack.bandcamp.com/album/long-tall-shadow
brendanbonsack.bandcamp.com/album/once-was-water
brendanbonsack.bandcamp.com/album/the-sky-that-came-before
brendanbonsack.bandcamp.com/album/you-are-here
brendanbonsack.bandcamp.com/album/of-burning-things-vol-ii

credits

released May 19, 2015

Cover art adapted from a sketch by Mabel Dwight, 1937

tags

license

all rights reserved

about

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.

contact / help

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Track Name: Love Love Love Love Love
When they tightened the screws
And dotted the lines,
Pulled back the flap
To let in the sunshine
I felt love, love, love, love, love.

Love for the ant with the load on his back,
Love for the man on his bike,
Fish-like and perspirationalised.
Love for the teller with the soft, beaten smile,
Pressed under glass like a leaf
I felt love, love, love, love, love.

<i>Oooooh, the light is so bright,
Everything is alight,
But I think I'm alright</i>

Love for the runners of kites with their strings,
Fishing in a sea upside-down,
Love, love, love, love, love.
Love for the star that sears my neck,
Stubborn as a haiku,
Love, love, love, love, love.

Leaves fall down,
Leaves are brown and gray -
Have love for the leaves.

River flows down,
Bubbles chatter madly -
So much noise!

<i>Oooooh, the light is so bright,
Everything is alight,
But I think I'm alright</i>

When they tightened the day around my starry nights
And joined all those specks the lines that were left
Spelled love, love, love, love, love.
Love for the egg with her infinite cracks,
Love for the spoon - the promises it makes
Love, love, love, love, love.
Love, love, love, love, love.
Love, love, love, love, love.
Love, love, love, love, love.
Track Name: Weeds
Sort me like a letter
Penned in such a rush
Of passion and abandon
And marked return to sender
And in limbo

She was not inclined
To wash away the dirt
She liked its weight upon her skin
Her own piece of the earth

She said I don't do sex
And I don't do conversation
When you come to see me
Leave your body at the door
A human's such a brittle thing
I don't know what I did
In a past life to be one

Well she wants to be the only song
You've ever ever sung
All those words like bees
On your tongue
Dangerous, unsung

And our love is like a collar
Let us slip it from the neck
Of this creature and then banish it
And see what happens next

She said I don't do sex
And I don't do conversation
When you come to see me
Leave your body at the door
A human's such a brittle thing
I don't know what I did
In a past life to be one

And they say that love is falling
But I never fell in love
I was stone cold still
And it just tangled round me
And everybody told me it was weeds
But I guess that was enough

They say that love is falling
But I never fell in love
I was stone cold still
And it just tangled round me
And everybody told me it was weeds

So sort me like a letter
Penned in such a rush
Of passion and abandon
And mark return to sender
And in limbo
Track Name: We Were Stones
Let me tell you a story
Little baby of mine
You won't remember
A single line

But the feeling of your head
On my shoulder will sink
Into my bones
Where it grows and it grows

I have been here with you
It's a feeling I've known
Like the sound of a statue
If you listen up close

I have been here so long
All the trees turned to bone
And the sands took them
Way down below

We were stones
We were stones
And wistfully we held the bones
Within us

Let me tell you a secret
Little babe in my hands
That I once thought of you
As my line in the sand

And the man that I was
Who you won't know at all
Left a line here
In wait for your sea

We were stones
We were stones
And patiently we smoothed
The earth against us

Will you tell me a story
O' child of mine
I just want to know
That we both survived

Up to the moment
That swaddles us
Here in this room
And I slip out
Beyond all recall

We were stones
We were stones
And we kept a quiet
Gravity between us

We were stones
We were stones
And gracefully we
Wore the world
Beneath us

We were stones
We were stones
Track Name: 1992
Twenty three years is a long time to wait
Will you still be here on this party floor
In the house with the ghost
And the doors that don't close anymore
And the faucets always leaking?

In 1992 we know the end is nigh
But everything is so new
And if you could tell me now
What I wished I'd said to you
Then we'd have no time at all between
Now and '92

2015 is so far away
Will you still be here in your painted toes
The beginnings of a song scribbled along
The gas bill glowed in red
And still no heating?

In 1992 we know the end is nigh
But everything seems so new
And if you could tell me now
What I wished I'd said to you
Then we'd have no time at all between
Now and 1992

Twenty three years is a long time, I say
Will you still be here in this smokey room
Waiting to use the phone
The hairs standing on your arms
And sleepers crashed in all the seating?

Twenty three years is a fine age to waste
By the two of us never meeting
Track Name: National Anthem
There were psychopaths on the day shift
And some on the night shift too
So they flew in a fun guest speaker
With a degree from the NYU

We didn't get paid for coming
Coz they said "this is all for you"
But we got to keep our name tags
And a Safeway voucher too

I assumed my place in the belly
Of the serpent snaking home
A four-tyred scale in a radio haze
Passing our prey along

They were raising the flag as a question
Of red, of white, and of blue
As the sky set fire in pinks and reds
And blackened the towers and rooves

We have children behind razor wire
We have women who have grown, shaped with a fear
We have men who swallowed a war
That fed them with hunger
So all that they wanted was more

And you ask, do I love my country?
And I answer: what is love?

Nobody knew the national anthem
In those stifling assembly halls
We just opened and closed our mouths in the hope
That somebody else had the words

And I remember this kid from The Centre
He'd memorised every line
And he'd walk home alone or in a hail of stones
And sticks in the cold street light

We have children behind prison bars
And city towers full of empty beds and baths
We have something that burns on our tongues
The answer we know but the question's eluding us

And you ask, do I love my country?
And I answer: what is love?
What is love? What is love?

And you ask, do I love my country?
Track Name: Limbs
Did the silent bark of trees
Wonder of your weightless dangling limbs
How it feels to move closer
To the sunsets that you shared?

Every bend in every limb
Was made to reach for something

O' would that you could roll in the horizon
To hold under your arm
Unfurl when miles overwhelm
And meet her in that dusty meridian

You measured out your life with her
The way a shell will slowly band
Around the thing it loves the most
And then be washed up in the sand

Petrichor songs - you never forget them
They're the earth asking you to stay
How far apart must people be
Before they're not sharing the same rain?

All these soft ramblings
That you bore for her to sleep
Will they remain for her companions
When you have finally grown too weak?

You measured out your life with her
The way a shell will slowly band
Around the thing it loves the most
Just to be washed up in the sand
Track Name: Declaration
My wife, I have done a terrible thing
The ink had barely dried
And I was standing in a ruined home
By a grieving mother's side

There was a cruel constriction
Like a hill fire in my chest
Like there was not enough oxygen
In the room for all of us

My wife, will you still love me
Now that history has my hand
I declare I had no choice in this
I am just scoured by the wind

My wife, I have done a terrible thing
The paper in my hand
My hill fire spread throughout the House
In the ayes of every man

And for a moment I was naked
My suit a bloodied rag
And children cried for water
But I could not feel my hands

My wife, will you still love me
Now that history has my hand
I declare I had no choice in this
I am just scoured by the wind

My wife, I have done a terrible thing
I shook the hands of men
And women 'ranged in crisp white clothes
Like bowling alley pins

And my pockets filled with water
And though the cameras didn't see
I could not speak for all the ocean
Swallowed down in me

My wife, will you still love me
Now that history has my hand
I declare I had no choice in this
I am just scoured by the wind
Track Name: When the Shovels Come to Find us
I had a dream of our city
All taken back by the weeds
Vines were pushing past the turnstiles
And crowds of dandelion bursting through
The parliament stairs

The fish were feeding on each other
Down in the City Circle line
A sobriety of seagulls had each night club
And every mall was colonised
By a murder of crows

We are buried
Misfits arm in arm
By the swollen river and the sludge
And in one thousand years
From this time
The shovels come to find us
And think we were
King and Queen of this town

I heard the silence in the statues
Coated all in moss like a disease
Unsexed, unnamed and overcome now
Their bodies bound in blooms
Just deformations in the hills

And I have heard that the mountains
Have such long long memories
That they can remember the oceans
And the touch of fins against their trees

We are buried
Misfits arm in arm
By the swollen river and the sludge
And in one thousand years
From this time
The shovels come to find us
And think we were
King and Queen of this town

I have a memory of the sunshine
Crouched down in the sky to push the trees
Like a trawler's net through our window
To pin me to this bed with you
Clinging to the sound
Of our breathing

We are buried
Misfits arm in arm
By the swollen river and the sludge
And in one thousand years
From this time
The shovels come to find us
And think we were
King and Queen of this town
Track Name: Age of Stone
Does everybody come here
To the reservoir
With its sunken cars
And shifting sky upturned

Does everybody fall here
Into the husky reeds
With their secret speak
Known to only them and water

Don't tell me I'm the first
Don't tell me I'm the last
Just kiss me into the Age of Stone
And wait with me here
While all the other ages pass

Does everybody come here
To the railway bridge
All dressed in mist
Like a dancer posed in stone

Does everybody fall here
Into a rhythm wove
Through skin and clothes
Like the carving of a valley

Don't tell me I'm the first
Don't tell me I'm the last
Just kiss me into the Age of Stone
And wait with me here
While all the other ages pass

Does everybody come here
Your American car
With its painted stars
All spangled on the ceiling

Does everybody fall here
For the gravel sound
Of your voice and how
It made them feel forgotten

Don't tell me I'm the first
Don't tell me I'm the last
Just kiss me into the Age of Stone
And wait with me here
While all the other ages pass
Track Name: My Coat
"The buzzards are circling closer than usual. Something has died again: The five-day-old pizza in the creased foil bag -- spinach, artichoke, olive oil, all half gone. The gray moth caught in the web in the window -- it was my lamp that drew it, beside the bed, half full. The tomato vine -- the last in the garden before the coming fall, its flaming fruit. Death isn't so big, I think.

I go out with three books; I open one. The guy with the beard observes my read. He isn't so big either, I think. I finish my drink. Before I jump I will put on my coat"



Thursday was so full of holes
Some of them for peeking through
And some of them to hold me
Some as fine as needle eyes
And some ragged as a gold dig

Well my coat jumped
Farther than I
It billowed
Like an eagle
Like a flag
And said find me
In the morning
And I will tell you
What it's like
All the way down inside

Thursday was so full of holes
My fingers finding places in
The laden pockets beyond stitching
That you're never meant to find
Where gather all the missing things

My coat was taller than I
And it waited in the hallway
Like a friend
Who said take me where you're going
I know that it's warm outside
But I'll just come for the ride

Thursday was so full of holes
Strands of sun were peeking through
And they filled the highway
And the skin around my nails
And we sat, dappled as a lizard
Too big for our skins

My coat was smaller than I
Dog eared and half open
In the breeze
It said remember when you found me
It was a gold fall night like this
And I had been left behind

"Death is not so big I think
Before I jump
I will pick up my coat"

My coat fell farther than I
Unfurling like a buzzard on the wind
A creature with no edges
As the whole damn night
Took him in
Then it was cold against my skin

Well my coat jumped
Farther than I
It billowed
Like an eagle
Like a flag
And said find me
In the morning
And I will tell you
What that was like
All the way down inside