The Bath (2005)

by Achilles Tenderloin

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06:48
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All songs on The Bath were recorded continuously in a single, one take session in Richmond, Indiana, in May 2005.

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released May 27, 2005

All songs written and performed by Achilles Tenderloin (Joe Augustin), 2004, 2005

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Achilles Tenderloin Indiana

"...unforgettable, filled with both intense emotion and playful reflection. You’ll never forget the day you first saw Achilles Tenderloin..."

"File this one under brave, new blues."

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Track Name: Unterwasser
There’s so much beauty in this world.
I don’t know if I’ll ever see again.
They say I’ve got my daddy’s eyes.
I keep my eyes closed underwater
in an oceanic uterus, alone
in a swollen belly, rollin’, tumblin’ my soul.
They say that god lives underwater,
cradlin’ all creation down below the swell.
How swell, oh well, I s’pose I’ll never know;
I keep my eyes closed underwater.
I don’t know if I’ll ever see dry land.
They say I’ve got my daddy’s eyes.
Goodbye, are you my mother,
womb I don’t know if I’ll ever see again?
They say I’ve got my daddy’s eyes.
Track Name: Ashes
Some dance in a trance, readin’ clef’s notes at night,
some in an ambulance, listenin’ to lights.
I’d love to see into the minds of the blind,
to imagine the colorful musics I’d find.
It tugs at my heart, so I leave it behind
like a dream of impalpable, ominous signs.

Should I wait for my Beatrice, wait for your god?
I wait for nothin’ to fill me, I’m a darkening rod.
Night wraps up around me, I’m feeling you out.
I eat with my fingers and play with my mouth.
I’m figurin’ sentences, dancin’ about.
I’m a singin’ machine sewin’ tapestries o’ doubt.

Old ghosts up from soil, makin’ dolorous howls,
climbin’ up tree trunks and screechin’ through owls,
slicin’ through coyote throats, spillin’ their whines;
cries tearin’ up footpaths and bouncin’ off pines.
They tug at my heart, so I leave it behind
like a dream of impalpable, ominous signs.

Dance with me—dance with me; meet with me nightly.
Lay palms on my palm and my shoulder, dear, lightly.
Fall back; let your heels lead the way to invite me,
before sleep slips away like a prank-playin’ sprite.
Tug at my heart; I’ll leave you behind.
I’ll leave kisses behind like a trail of slime.
Track Name: Daisy May
When I went down—when I went down—
when I went down, just to see how my lady lay,
she was sittin’ right there, by that that same gray stone
(just where I left her yesterday).

When I laid down—when I laid down—
when I laid me down, in the daisies where my lady lay,
she said: get out’ my garden, you sad, old man.
Get on out; don’t come back, till you got somethin’ useful to say.

When I wept down—when I wept down—
when I wept down’ my lady, to ask her what did she say,
she just pointed a daisy at yonder gate,
with a look like a stone, till I picked up and walk’ away.

When she went down—when she went down—
when Daisy went down, she was down like a dyin’ day.
When Daisy went down, she was askin’ for me,
sayin’: play me my song, boy; don’t stop till I’m gone’ my way.

She said: when I go down—when I go down—
when I go down, I want t’ hear my name in tone of A.
When I go down, don’t let me catch you in tears.
Just play me my song, boy, and lay daisies down on my clay.

When I go down—when I go down—
when I lay me down, lay me down where my lady lay.
Carve: “Daisy May’s man,” above the name on my stone.
Leave a space, just in case I find somethin’ else useful to say.
Track Name: Falls Thistlewaite
I’m old enough to see her ghosts a-walking,
like strains of jazz, through arboretum haze.
Every rose wears a sleeve of thorn,
but this bud knows where he was born;
in a redwood house his mother’s daddy raised.

The time has come to make this rose my home.
I’ve memories enough to hold me here:
my mother’s garden, my father’s grave,
the wood where young boys misbehave.
This Richmond, Indiana holds me here.

The railroad bridge, behind the Spring Grove Heights;
she’s the backbone of the deep Whitewater Gorge.
I used to step between her ties
and scale the gorge with wand’ry eyes,
looking for the path next noon to forge.

Falls Thistlewaite, I skinny-dipped below you,
with Heather, when my love was still sincere.
The mill is gone now, miller too,
whose gristle cut your heart in two.
Falls Thistlewaite, your heartache holds me here.

I never thought this day would come to pass.
I never dreamed I’d hold you for my own.
I left your arms for Ithaca,
for Salem, where the seagulls caw.
I’ve always dreamed, but Richmond is my home.
I’ll always hold her roses dear, my own.
Track Name: Heelstone Mary
Locked in your bedroom
and lookin’ right up at you
shakin’ your hair
in the ceilin’ lamp, wearin'
your fluorescent halo,
like a sunwatchin’ heelstone—
I’m head under heel, as you're
foldin' me into your dawn.

O, Repunzel,
throw down your hair,
like a bible cord pinned
between velveteen covers.
I’m bendin’ your spine
and your body is good,
like the book that he read
to us, Sundays ago.

Don’t worry, Mary.
We don’t have to marry,
like Mary & Joseph.
I’d rather be Sisyphus,
carryin’ on with you,
rollin’ around with you,
turnin’ you over, and
tumblin’ under your

weight—Ariadne,
openin' passages,
I won’t abandon you
there on the island.
I’ll wake up beside you.
We’ll dance like Bacchantes
and pipe-playin’ goatmen.
I’ll move with you, singin',

"Eohoe!"—Mary,
I’m no messiah,
but I won’t be burnin'
the scroll of your memory.
You will be there with me
up on the summit
and I won’t be crucified,
leavin' you nothin',
but bread and wine.
Track Name: Batmarine Man
Hey! Mr. Bat-marine man, fly on through the sea
Use your sonar, so you don’t bump into octopi.
Hey! Mr. Bat-marine man, I’ve no fear for thee;
if a shark comes, you’ll escape into the arms of the sky.

The time for hunting rodent-fish has gone down with the moon.
Now, you’re hangin’ upside-down,
with your wing-fins wrapped around you like tortillas.

Sleepin’ in your cave and clutchin’ like a stalactite,
while I, a stalagmite, stand in wonder and in fright.
Please, don’t use your fangs to bite me, Quesadilla.

Swimmin’ through the heavens, far above the coral trees,
bristly scales and shaggy fleece, on your gills you feel the breeze.
Flap your fins, majestic beast,
you have no need for knees and things could be worse.

I’m followin’ behind you, fingers gripped around your tail.
Together shall we sail, Agamemnon at the keel.
I’ve brought along my Trojan seahorse.

The other kids make fun of you; they call you a fish-bird;
but don’t let your heart be hurt. Their phraseology’s absurd.
If I had to use a word, I’d say fish-mammal.

Don’t take offense at scientists, like ornithologists,
and marine-biologists, who say you can’t exist,
who in jealousy dismiss, ‘cause you have two ecosystems
that you’re travelin’.

Then take me down, spelunkin’ through the seaweed of my mind.
It’s like the blind leadin' the blind, spittin’ sonic beams ahead,
like the whale songs of the dead, heard by sea lion cubs,
as I loose a stream of bubbles from my snorkel.

Yes, to row through skies of lily clouds with one tail wavin’ free,
silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
with all memory and fate, driven deep beneath the waves.
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Track Name: Ivy Fountain Blues
There’s a fountain in Greece that the Greeks left for dry.
Ivy spills from its lips, water changed into vines.

When you left me to die in this town,
did you pour sweet libations to soften the ground?
When you burned me in glistening folds,
did you please all your godheads,
or were you just warming your cold hands?

There’s no pain here.
There’s not even a heart anymore
in this breast of mine;
just a death-web of veins
crawling up through the ribs of my chest,
reclaiming my broken, broken…

There’s an altar beside where priests spilled the ewes’ wine;
where libations would drip down and stain the shorn fleece;
there’s a fountain in Greece.
Track Name: The Bath
I just can’t sleep tonight,
the rain like fingers tappin’ on the panes;
so I’m just going to close my eyes and wait.

Born in 1983
My body is outliving me
My mother has a wedding gown
In the closet where his things are found
We wish that he was still around
Flashes echo home

Photograph of a little boy
His sorrow sleeping, unemployed
Near the broken mustang car
A baseball dropped in the backyard
I slept against the bypass scar
One day I’ll have my own

Lazy locks of baby blonde
A tail and a magic wand
Pajamas like my favorite team
Red pinstripe with a busted seam
That settled life: a coastal dream
Deaf to the building storm

The flashes come to those who blink.
Hard fingers smelled of printers’ ink
Hairy arms and a real embrace,
Silv’ry hair and graying face
Ma took me to the neighbors’ place
Bathwater running warm
Track Name: Cold Hammer Blues
John Henry never dropped that hammer he was born to hold.
His back was strong as steel and, now, his hands is just as cold.

O, John Henry, O John Henry, deep down in the clay,
O, John Henry, O John Henry, drive those spikes of gray.
O, John Henry, O John Henry, drive your railway,
O, John Henry, O John Henry, deep down in the clay.

Groanin’ like an engine—there’s an oven in your chest.
O, John Henry, O John Henry, show ‘em who’s the best.
Drive that railroad crossin’ from the country to the town.
O, John Henry, O John Henry, nail it to the ground.

O, John Henry, O John Henry, nail it to the ground.
Drive that railroad crossin’ from the country to the town.
O, John Henry, O John Henry, lay your body down.
O, John Henry, O John Henry, nail it to the ground.