Thy Tender Care

by Harrison Lemke

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    A compact disc in a gatefold sleeve, printed on unfinished textured paper that feels nice to hold. Includes:
    - exclusive liner notes, consisting of one (1) long run-on sentence, which may or may not elucidate things
    - lots of dark reddish negative space, the color of closed eyelids, which might put you in a helpful mood
    - a disc which, in a mysterious way, a hidden way, has the music on it

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1.
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 —
2.
Snow 01:55
snow fell. in it, we could — said that we would — never did.
3.
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.
4.
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.
5.
6.
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.
7.
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.
8.
Ghost House 03:26
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.
9.
Empty Days 05:07
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.
10.
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.
11.
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?
12.
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.

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

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Harrison Lemke Austin, Texas

tape-hiss symphonies to God

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