Sink Like A Symphony

by Fred Thomas

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1.
I fell in love with the world as it fell out all around me As a new existence found me out and sent me spinning down And I fell in love with that spin Like a cloud over an ocean With the repetitive motion With the slow repeating sound Sound in the space between light and surroundings I fell in love with New York Not the buildings or the anthems Like some heavy-hearted handsome ever does what it says it does And I’d fallen in love before Like when I fell in love with Esme And that real love never left me Just informed everything I would become So I fell in love with the world And I fell in love with breathing And I fell in love with leaving And I’ll leave before I’m done And easy & relentless is just as easy, relentless does And that’s everything that I was before I fell in love with the world.
2.
I built a house out of believing and burned it down Serious shouts circled the ceiling then billowed out Flames in my mouth, named after feelings Crackling & proud, burning & beaming I built a house then I decided to leave I built a town, a park, a cathedral Left no structure out Wondered about how one room feels empty And one feels loud with the wonder Of how we had all lived in closets In backyard lightning Then lived alone with many disguises Nobody seed you or me as the same person twice.
3.
Give up the ghost Hold me close Sing me the song that you love most The words hang like diamonds with music inside them Colliding in time with your mouth Find me alone Walk me home Show me a world I’ve not yet known The buildings are breathing They cry when they’re sleeping We’re hurting their feelings somehow So send an apology made of technology Bricks turn to circuits instead Sing like a microphone Talk like a telephone Watch like a film in your head Bleed like a needle Don’t listen to people They only say things so that something gets said Cough like a cigarette Turn like a tourniquet Burn like a fire-truck red Sleep like a pillow And wait like a window in winter With snow-covered ledge The birds will return soon to bend ‘round your bedroom While radios talk to the dead And you dream like a bed Whisper and speak Touch my cheek Show me the smile that makes me weak Cars crash whenever we kiss Everything vanishes Sweetness is all I feel Write on my hand Understand Breathe in the way only you can You know that you are both the love note caught in my throat And the hope that it’s real So end like a funeral Send out the usual Static police from your lungs Swallow like medicine I think you’re better than anything under the sun O life re-mystified! O walking valentine! O unimaginable love! Smoke like a factory Steal my identity Sell it right back to me now Break like tradition in need of revision Transmissions will listen like sound Think like a memory Warm & Septembery Endlessly coming unwound ‘Til you find yourself found with the graves in the ground Tears rolling out of eyes wet as a cloud But it’s only the sound of your joy coming down.
4.
The Holland Tunnel’s two miles long Sink into the aviary Sing another song And put that sewn-on patch to denim jacket Coffee cup to sugar packet Insane feast and beastly racket Every single time But when you feel like something’s wrong Bear in your sweet mind The sun will shine until it’s gone And when your lives collide in dull crescendo Telescope to bedroom window Nervous knees and anxious elbows I fell asleep in the backseat And not for the life of me Could I remember a time more complete But I guess things seem more important When you’re underwater Disease and disorder seep out to the sea And you don’t have to believe Every angry thing everybody says No, you don’t believe every stupid thing If every city’s made of clay Towering scraps of somethings someone someday throws away It must get hard to keep track of everyone What their names are, where they come from RoAtlantAmandaBrooklyn Gene from Centerline But I knew a girl who drove a cab She took polaroids of every boy she’d ever had And she laid them out on the floor of her bedroom Resting on scarves soaked in perfume End to end for all to look through When it came my time I saw the one of me One of my best friend Some kid from some hazy weekend The entire collection with no deletions Kind of blew my mind But when we held hands on her balcony Not for the life of me could I envision a scene more sweet But I guess things seem more important up forty stories Your cares and your worries fall down to the street And you don’t have to believe Every angry thing everybody says No, you don’t believe every stupid thing.
5.
Ethan 00:57
Ethan when you count your friends Don’t count me like a number Don’t hear me like the thunder Don’t wonder, don’t decide Apply no pluralism Like the skies are still the sky And know that if I die I’ll die in love with who you are All the rooms we slept in And the cities where we never lived together Any letter in the file Sharper hearts beat faster rates The car without a license plate Hands full of cake.
6.
Fire 04:02
I held my breath But I breathed in the smoke regardless of my room as it burned It filled my lungs and I was done Then I slept I saw the line between sleeping and death as I stepped over it A small voice sayed “Don’t be afraid”. And a choice was made And I dreamed of an auditorium surrounding me A thousand eyes A thousand hands held up the sky And I believed I heard their voices in my mind say “Don’t be sad, it’s just your time. Go. Make a ladder of your spine. Let every rung be stepped and climbed Make hummingbirds from your insides And let your veins turn into vines And leave your teeth and bones behind. Realize, now realize that you were only walking light And let it go back down and shine On everybody that you loved when you were alive”. So Elit, would you wait for me Even if I was removed from our time and died? Well don’t cry because it’s only the last part of life And I’m still by your side And it will happen to you like it happened to me And the rest of the people we know Like the summers all end And the trees lose their leaves And the water turns back into snow Every grandmother, grandfather, particle We are all here for a while then we go Living for love and love alone And you will be with those angels in disguises Cleverly holding their hands over your eyes To make from your nightmares the night time And you’ll believe one thousand days before you die Maybe nine hundred ninety-nine You’ll feel the numbers’ slow decline But everybody, it’s alright ‘Cause you can’t argue with the sky You can’t argue with fire.
7.
White houses prop up a blue sky And there’s something they are trying to say Through busted fences hounds howl on both sides In a language that we’ve yet to translate Down at the diner the children aren’t waiting for nighttime I grew up in Ypsilanti Writing down every mistake that I made And I found you so many years later Like a cloud hovering over a parade That was me there, waving one hand in the air And the other one glued to an old microphone Yeah, it was me there I couldn’t be seen there For the skin that was stretched so tight over your bones But it was me there, definitely there I was your tears in the tow-away zone I was the sugar at the bottom of the cone I was the long distance call on the phone I was the reason you had to leave home I had a dream where I met you In a windowless room full of wires & clothes And I came to you in that dream with a warning Lest you live your life susceptible to ghosts That was me there, floating in the air I was the horseshoe hanging over the door Yeah it was me there, invisibly there I was the shirt that your grandfather wore O it was me there telling you to beware I was the stuff that you stole from the store I was the flowers you found on the floor I was the white lines on I-94 I was the reason you never felt sure It was me there like the atoms in the air Like a bad check that some bad boyfriend wrote And it was either two feelings or neither You couldn’t have one without having them both Yeah, it was me there You wouldn’t believe where I was the pocket of your winter coat I was the ink on the crumpled-up note I was the name that you kept in your throat I was the reason you felt like a ghost.
8.
Wingspan 04:07
Haven’t we had enough of these apple orchard ideology games? I feel like I can hear my neighbor’s phone ringing even one full block away Why don’t you take me out and show me how you paint the town Or we could drive around and listen for the sound of all of the lights going out Why don’t you give up Why don’t you give in Why don’t you call me back and tell me how you’ve been? Why don’t you fess up Why don’t you cave in Why don’t you condescend to be my friend again? Katarina’s arms are longer than a wingspan And every other day someone new comes around To say there’s nothing left to what you do There’s someone else in front of you And you should just give up You should just give in You should just play it smart and stop before they win Throw both your hands up Throw all your money in Get off the sinking ship made out of your own skin.
9.
Human hands made the highways Little ears still hear the sine waves Mice have little glowing hearts that beat like yours and mine All the bricks that build the buildings All the seeds that feed the children Sprout up from the ground And get cut down by machines breathing beings designed All the way through the trees You can hear me calling for you All the way through the trees you can hear me Human hands made the highways You might need a doctor someday You might need a cop or helicopter landing-pad All the things that you threw away You might need to remember the names You might need to cry because you miss your mom and dad All the way to the sea You can hear me The way I love you All the way through the trees Where I will be following you.
10.
The radio waves sang like enemies in my parents’ house I couldn’t hear all of the frequencies then But I hear them now The world it would turn inconsolably And the sky turned black I walked by the schools and the factories But always turned back And there were apples on the floor There was another world war Piles of plastics at the stores Jimi Hendrix & The Doors There was something on my mind Could not fast-forward or rewind I could just live in that time With too many valentines A candy heart that said ‘Be Mine’ Two empty bottles of red wine Some new impossible design With only intersecting lines The haunted house on Halloween The happy heart you’ve never seen Left leg breaks through the trampoline The red, the gold, the grey, the green The leaves would fall in angry piles You cut your hair in different styles And we would lay there and smile But it was only for a while It’s only ever for a while But sweetness comes in single-files And your heart marches for miles.
11.
Yo-Yo Tricks 04:01
I could come from any direction that I wanted to But I won’t tell you lies about a world that I almost knew To sell my songs to you And I see you early in the morning Taking bottles back after your party Someone’s passed out in the back of your Cadillac And driving off so fast And they’ll ask, “Where are you going?” You’ll say, “I don’t know, but I’ve got to get there.” Lights shine through the snow And you’ll hear voices laughing “You’ll be back here.” “You’ll come back here.” “Don’t think that you won’t.” So when you see me on the corner Doing yo-yo tricks for all the new children They’ll be the same ones I had in ’96 I’ve got nothing new But in the end like the beginning There is trust and sound and no convolutions If your head hurts while you’re singing Take a look around Get back in your shiny car And tell yourself again About how your engine is faster than my heart.
12.
Sweet heart and mind Work at the same time Take in the light of the room you’re in Sweet exhausted passion Sweet hour of thrashing Sweet drunken phone call Sweet asleep in the hall Sweet best friend through the wall like there’s no one there O sweet clouds, rain on down, rain on me now O sweet friends, breathe through me, breathe no end O sweet inhalation, sweet breath, find no space, no fragment Crowded corners Find no audience Find no rooftops, no rooms Find no silence to cling to Find no tying of knots Find no alignment of thoughts Find no incomplete Sweet death, sweet ruin Sweet end, sweet undoing Sweet accidental ingestion Sweet terrified questions Sweet learning of lessons again & again O Sweet end of the world Sweet moving away Sweet start of the day that you can’t stop Sweet want Sweet space where you’ve got to be.
13.
I swallowed my rings in my sleep And dreamed of spitting out my teeth While leaves danced on their branches to some strange time Intrigue held hands with disgust The world turned and I woke up To one more city’s broken-hearted skyline So save me a place in the line to the water I found the bridge right on time but I was on the other side You knew that I had been waiting forever There was a song in my head and it was ruining my life I saw you from the balcony Sinking like a symphony As cars were crashing in my memory two at a time I held my breath to hear you speak Your words made water of my knees But still your voice was softer than the sunshine You know you can laugh ‘cause your life is forever There was a song in the sky It was trying to tell you what to do Fire your guns and beg forgiveness Tell everyone the curse is lifted On to new curses, on to new regrets On to the next expanded fiction On to the next bizarre affliction And whichever curse has missed us as of yet As flowers flung from wedding scenes Filled up the floor beneath my feet I started to believe your trifling timeline And regret held hands With the rust of several civilizations The only option left for us was to rise.
14.
The same as all the burning leaves And fading anniversaries Our new ideas conclude The way we are and want to be A jealous kiss exchanged between Two different ways to lose I dreamed of you before we met And in my dreams I held my breath I felt so unafraid Fresh faces in the photo booths Extracted each like rotten tooths But you always remained And if you’re up on Wednesday night Unlock your door and leave on your light ‘Cause I’ll be coming back again for you Remember all the songs we played Forget all the mistakes we made There wasn’t nothing else that we could do.

about

Originally released in 2006, LP version in an edition of 500 copies on Ypsilanti Records and CD version in an edition of 2,000 copies on Corleone Records, both sold out now. These versions of the songs have been remastered for bandcamp release in 2016.

credits

released August 8, 2006

Recorded at Song Machine by Fred Thomas in 2005
with:
Elliot Bergman: Piano, Accordion
Juan Garcia: Lap Steel, Drum Kit
Warn DeFever: Piano
Jamie Saltzman: Double Bass
Peter Brant: Banjo, Bowed Banjo
Colette Alexander: Cello
Jeremy Peters: Trombone
Justin Walter: Trumpet

and the voices of:
Juan Garcia
Elise Bergman
Elliot Bergman
Kelly Jean Caldwell
Joe LaGrand
Sara Kooy
Eliza Godfrey
Peter Brant

All songs written by Fred Thomas
except “O Sweet Undoing!” which is an extension and
a reminder of the song “O Sweet Lung” by Ben & Bruno.
Mixed & edited at Brown Rice by Warn DeFever.

© 2005 Half-Broken Music (SESAC)

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