Thy Tender Care

by Harrison Lemke

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1.
2.
01:55
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03:26
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05:07
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12.

credits

released December 3, 2018

written, recorded, and mixed by harrison lemke between 2013 and 2018 in two apartments and a duplex in austin, tx.

personnel:
harrison lemke - vocals, guitars, banjo, violin, keyboards, bass, percussion, noise.
jared evans - electric guitar on 1, 6, 12.

thanks:
mom & dad; oliver, julian, westley; grandparents, cousins, and all to whom i owe these memories; jared, magdalene, and michael, for their help; troy, for equipment loans and tolerance of noise one room over.

in loving memory of a certain house and everything else that no longer exists

all glory to God and his weird mercies

license

all rights reserved

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Harrison Lemke Austin, Texas

tape-hiss symphonies to God

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Track Name: Principalities and Powers
the barge pushes out to where the black, black water
slaps against the hull
too fast, too loud, too evenly for the cold
that throbs against our skulls.
but in here, in the warm red room
i could almost fall asleep
and your voice becomes a violin playing
playing tunelessly;
it comforts me as lights tear holes in my vision
and send a shock through me

like another world struggling to break through.
like another world struggling to break through.

from the deck, crawling up from the water
we see technicolor shapes
magic treasure, signs & wonders:
a dragon rising from the lake;
the virgin mother with stars all around her;
a unicorn; a candy cane; santa and his reindeer;
a castle with turrets jeweled and gold
towering up through the dark
with a wounded king and lance-and-cup procession,
waiting for someone pure of heart —
not you,
not me,
but someone —
Track Name: Snow
snow fell.
in it, we could —
said that we would —
never did.
Track Name: Seaside Promenade
holiday inn nearly cleared out for the season.
staff looking somehow sorry for some undisclosed reason.
sleeping two to a bed, and two on the floor,
i don't want to stay here anymore.

sulking while my brothers are fighting and laughing.
muffled conversation through the closed door of the bathroom.
wonder what i might have done, or what i might have said,
sky roiling with black fumes from the river of the dead.

drizzle haloes the lanterns on the promenade,
ocean spitting the judgements of an angry and capricious god.
i find a little shell, hold it in my fist.
small certainties like this
don't go amiss.
Track Name: Going to Heaven
you took me for a drive
and you said how mrs. avery died.
the chilly golden sky
seemed not to have been notified.

field smoke on the wind
going to heaven.

leaf-light by the fence:
was it substance or an accident?
your room, we made a tent.
what could save all of the time we spent?

shadows in the den
going to heaven;

the tv whining
the dark dividing
going to heaven

we never die and then
we're going to heaven,
heaven.
Track Name: Upstairs Song
i recall:
we're in the upstairs room after supper, all together, perfectly dark except for a chink of light from the door and the smeary tv glow and the one red eye of the nintendo on the floor. and i am lying on my grandparents' king-size bed, eyes fastened on the skylight overhead — the bright music, the happy screaming, and a great black hole in the middle of the ceiling —

and the wind
presses up against the window
to have a look at us.
and the wind
presses up against the window
to have a look at us

and the snow
flakes
fall.
we are gonna die
after
all.
Track Name: Guest Room Song
i suddenly woke up.
didn't know where I was.
stared up at the ceiling.
let it steady itself.
began to place myself:
it's the dead of night
on the longest night

i went to the window,
saw nothing but snow
snow
snow
and a few pairs of headlights
moving gentle and slow, like
mothering hands
smoothing the white expanse

i was awake at the moment
the course of things shifted.
i felt everything turning.
i felt everything lifted.
i turned it over and over,
i could not get over —
o blessed assurance,
Jesus is mine!
o blessed assurance,
all will be well,
well,
well.
Track Name: Ghost House
pines and prairie grass
pregnant with the long past.
never going back to that house.
but it's in me, and it's never coming out.

i know my bible
well enough to know the score:
ain't got no home
in this world anymore.

dreamt of our neighborhood
and all the roads we never took.
drawer of old diskettes
keyboard demo arabesque

i know my bible,
genesis three twenty-four:
ain't got no home
in this world anymore.

swimming pool i nearly drowned.
father's hands, i'm safe and sound.

got stuck on something so dumb
i can't explain to anyone.
i hope it's safe somewhere
hidden in your tender care.

i know my bible,
revelation twenty-two four:
ain't got no home
in this world anymore.
Track Name: Empty Days
the sigh of the air ducts
every now and then
as if to say
"you'll never be this way again."
i stand on the heat vent,
breathe fog on the cold, cold glass.
the dark and the light out there
are evenly matched

and i am in between,
ghost tangled in the screen,
evening star at my head,
the wound that left me dead.

beg for candy
at the video store;
could holy God
dwell in flesh so tired and bored?
legend of zelda
in the unfinished basement,
something of heaven
sampled without replacement

and you're in the machine,
and i'm shadowed in the screen.
pure platonic form.
cathode bright and warm.

where did they end up,
all those lost afternoons?
the dust of eons
on the surface of the moon.
hold me in your heart.
it's too much for me to remember.
i'm a cold blank space.
i'm a day in late december

and you're nowhere to be seen.
but i'm peeking through the screen.
illuminate my lines.
make my sorrow a sign.
Track Name: Windstorm Blackout
the wind that came in the night
tore down the power lines.
glad tidings in the dusky cold.
the district's closed,
said so on the radio.
guilty relief takes hold.
i prayed
for all the wrong reasons and you heard me.
i prayed
and you showed me some weird kind of mercy.

as yet i only speak in the language
of the carrot and the stick,
i'm still your tiresome slouching child,
biting my nails to the quick
but i prayed
for all the wrong reasons and you heard me.
i prayed
and you showed some uneasy kind of mercy.
Track Name: Tired, Waiting
and the oil rainbows shine in the car park floodlights
and the engines sigh and the pavement listens all night
and the live-oaks shake like they're dying when the sun gets up to leave
and the sky is thinly covered like a dusty tv screen

and i am tired of waiting for you.
and i am tired of waiting for you.

and friends get sick —
though so far mostly friends of friends —
and everything happens
and nothing happens again
and the end is near
and the end's been near for quite some time,
for my whole life.
(and there will be wars and rumors of wars
but the end's not yet)
and the end is near
and the end's been near for quite some time,
for my whole life.
(and there will be wars and rumors of wars)

and i am tired of waiting for you.
and i am tired of waiting for you.
and i am tired of waiting for you.
and are you tired of waiting for me too?
Track Name: Leaving Midnight Mass
there were hymns and prayers at midnight;
i got lost in the houndstooth pattern of a dress
and fumbled at my prayers, distracted like a child,
and dreamed of my name in script across a record sleeve

and a priest waved a blessing over us.
and a priest waved a blessing over us.

and in the car home we are spread out in the backseat
and flickering radio songs roll their way over us
and that low northern city winked its lights at us

and the world waved its blessing over us.
and the world waved its blessing over us.
and the world waved
and we waved back.