Human As I Came

by Rachel Efron

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1.
She lay breathing a locked room The earth beneath her spinning round and around She was hyacinth in bright bloom With roots that couldn’t reach the ground, cool soft ground She kept every nightmare Wide awake terror Far from her own sight Tangling pleas of protest Screams of distress Quiet as midnight Closed eyed stare Sap stuck hair Hushed while the singers sing I’ll prefer To be her Now I feel everything Like the sun that shines in the clear blue And this hope that you love me, too When I hear your voice asking what’s ours still to do I changed my mind, I want you She has never had a lover Know what she gave up to survive, just survive Sex was nothing but a cover For ways she wasn’t yet alive, quite alive Now you step to meet me Smile completely See through to her eyes Say her name like warning, “Wake! It’s morning!” Kissed in your sunrise Closed eyed stare Sap stuck hair Hushed while the singers sing I’ll prefer To be her Now I feel everything Like the sun that shines in the clear blue And this hope that you love me, too When I hear your voice asking what’s ours still to do I’m sick with what I conceal Be witness that I am real Human as I came In your arms I claim my longing Closed eyed stare Sap stuck hair Hushed while the singers sing I’ll prefer To be her Now I feel everything Like the sun that shines in the clear blue And this hope that you love me, too When I hear your voice asking what’s ours still to do I changed my mind, I want you I changed my mind, I want you I changed my mind, I want you I changed my mind
2.
Of course It will be yours Love hardened into a crutch What weight can I carry for you today Your money costs too much A mirror for your grandeur A sieve for the stuff you’d regret What pittance would you tender For those precious pieces that you don’t own yet Train me On your cruelty Hit with the absence of touch More air for you when I enter the room Your loving costs too much Say, “Whoa you! Yeah we know you! And how have you come to such harm!” Well what else could I owe you My sentience those pearls decorating your arm Rock me Like a baby Tell me you love me and such Read the last page of this story called home Your money costs too much Last gorgeous page of this story called home Your money costs too much
3.
Naked at the bottom of the well Only warmth the lie that I still tell You’ll bring me home soon There’s an April moon tonight You took my life in our unconscious And made this crude attendant goddess I dreamed surviving wouldn’t end us And now I rummage here in the remains For who I am without you Even as my straining eyes don’t see Wrinkles as emerged humanity You’re my one true love I’m your mourning dove for good You took my life in our unconscious And made this crude attendant goddess I dreamed surviving wouldn’t end us And now I rummage here in the remains For who I am without you Any semblance of worth in me Any good thing I’ll ever be Is still for you My captor, you Tormentor, you Pretender, you You took my life in our unconscious And made this crude attendant goddess I dreamed surviving wouldn’t end us And now I rummage here in the remains In these hinterlands of our remains I’m believing now that what remains Is who I am without you
4.
I can’t begin To tell you where I’ve been My best sentence lacks the words For what I learned to see I meet my death In each resuming breath And move to its violent voice Still calling inside me Turn down the light Let go the fight Before you say goodnight to me Would you hold me in the dark We’ll go to sleep Two divers diving deep And find with the eels and whales Sunk schooners in the sand But would you dare To scour the wreckage there And surface with arms too full For anything we’ve planned Turn down the light Let go the fight Before you say goodnight to me Try to know me in the dark I’ve had forever, now, and never I’m setting like the pale moon Before you say goodnight to me Would you hold me in the dark Would you hold me in the dark
5.
Pull my boots and belt so tight there’s no room left for you And underneath this flower dress my own dragon tattoo Cause I’m done with the crying And compassion undying You want what you ripped asunder Now’s your chance to practice hunger Well I gave you good with all the strength I had Since you think I owe you more Here’s a little bit of bad Every word I read a thirsty tick under my skin But I can tear your letters up before they burrow in As you saw by the stage light I’ve been sleeping the whole night You want what you ripped asunder Now’s your chance to practice hunger Well I gave you good with all the strength I had Since you think I owe you more Here’s a little bit of bad There is a time when love itself’s a crime against the earth And I’ll have to go to places I won’t know to claim my birth You want what you ripped asunder Now’s your chance to practice hunger Well I gave you good with all the strength I had Since you think I owe you more Here’s a little bit of bad Little bit of bad Little bit of bad Little bit of bad
6.
Was there a major chord Before your car spun round A Gibson twelve string playing Your distance to the ground Was Gordon singing strong For early morning rain And did you want to tell him You’d jumped your own jet plane I can’t know who you were through the mist of the long lost brother Just cause two people lose doesn’t mean that they gain each other And though you were finished before your wheels touched down I’ve become a woman who remembers you Like you my body’s weak And yeah, I like to sing My fingers play piano Like missing nylon string That’s Arlo on repeat And I’d swear you’re in his band I got your old guitar back I keep it close at hand I can’t know who you were through the mist of the long lost brother Just cause two people lose doesn’t mean that they gain each other And though you were finished when I was still a girl I’ve become a woman who remembers you Now if it’s alright For every midnight There’s some of your light In how I see My hands are less small I took a hard fall So your last phone call Can be to me Dear Paul I’ll keep living what life of ours remains And I’ll be a woman who remembers who I will be a woman who remembers you
7.
String 03:14
It took a long time to let your lips know More than the words on the page It took some more time to sense the soft glow From every year of your age But you can’t seem to recall The moment you watched as all Of life’s sweet love got blown past the horizon You lost everything To the winds that you weathered But you found a string Good for keeping you tethered to the world This precious world Go on and try the world It wasn’t you ever-orchestrating Some friends just needed to leave It’s not your self-doubt makes you amazing It’s more your largesse to grieve And like luxuriant spring Permission isn’t the thing You need to have to blossom in the sunrise You lost everything To the winds that you weathered But you found a string Good for keeping you tethered to the world This precious world Go on and try the world And sweetheart that there’s the ground And darling that there’s the sound of the birds by your side Now swoop a little bit lower A little bit lower You could repeat their perfected story On every step toward the light And be the right girl in all her glory For so long since you’ve been alright They trained you always to give But you think you’d like to live The doctor sighed, “We’ve got ourselves a heartbeat” You lost everything To the winds that you weathered But you found a string Good for keeping you tethered to the world This precious world Go on and try the world Wild winds that you weathered Now you’re gonna keep tethered to the world This precious world Go on and try the world Hold on and try the world You’re here to try the world
8.
I began like a closing fan Colors kept from her vision Then the stream of my perfect scream Drained her well of emotion Left the fields for a gated garden Wild flowers of her self forgotten I was sure I would think of her Tending her isolation If that God gave His deadly nod Bore her down to His chamber Thin legs spread on His flame-forged bed Tear-stained skin for His pleasure I would rise in my grief and anger Starve the earth with four months of winter But it’s clear that she’s been right here Only I could have raped her At last this nightmare has woken me Made me see her face I’d hurt her more just to sleep again Keep her in her place I would rise in my grief and anger Starve the earth with four months of winter But it’s clear that she’s been right here Only I could have raped her Only I could have raped her
9.
In the dream I see your face inside my mirror Feel your body warm inside my bed I could scream And match the volume of my terror But the loudest sound won’t turn your head And it’s true I start before you end But then you Still see how much more I’ll bend Just how much I will pretend for your love So sweet You call me sweetheart in the morning I’m your Lord of Death by afternoon And repeat As if the kindness were the warning Half the year our fields too cold to bloom This my Hell Men’s shadows all I see As I tell The good parts of your story That’s how much you mean to me, dear Mamma Kill me slowly Break me until I see All that I am as a dirty lie Come to sift through What could be left for you Have me again One last time for our last goodbye
10.
Soft as the sand In drifts where she lies Serene beneath the star-streaked skies Pure as a girl Undesigned to men Until she comes to try her heart again He loved her like guns Haphazardly shot So sure he was he’d not get caught She’ll redress the wound If and only when She’s called upon to try her heart again She kissed goodbye And with one sigh This other ever after She’ll say hello It’s all hers to know Her light, her love, her laughter She’ll bear herself now That God will grant her then The sanctity to try her heart again Until she tries her heart again Until she tries her heart again
11.
Home To Me 03:57
I remember the evening With slight hesitation Details one at a time like waves cresting at sea I remember the feeling A light-headed hoping For the last day of a long stay As you found your way home to me I befriended the knowing Of four in the morning Like the darkness held everything that I could be I arrived there believing But stayed there like praying For the last day of a long stay You lost on your way home to me I sat so still by the door to your room Counting each thing that I knew In that vast silence I learned to presume I stood up, I entered, I loved you I remember the feeling A light-headed hoping For the last day of a long stay As you found your way As you found your way For the last day of a long stay As you found your way home to me

about

Thank you…

To Jon, for the pure joy of collaborating with you and for building such beautiful homes for my songs. To Jon, Matthias, Erik, Matt, Adam, Jeff, Ben, Leon, and Zach, for your exquisite and soulful performances. To Erik, for attuning so fully to the songs… You’re such a fresh and welcome voice on this album. To Jesse, for bringing the sounds of the album to life, and especially for giving me an experience that allowed me to grow as a listener. To Gabriel for being the very best teammate (X2!). To Nancy, for helping me step into myself, and my songs, as a singer. To Adam, for your diligent care with my vocals. To everyone at Fantasy for your ongoing support of my music. To everyone at 25th Street, for the instant creative home when I needed one. To Ken, for your acuity and perseverance. To Julie for offering your ear in the formative stages. To Dave for seeing me. To Mychal, for making it all look so good. To the friends who supported me throughout — it deepened the experience for me tenfold.

And finally, to everyone who listens to the music — I hope these songs mean something to you, as it has meant so much to me to record them for you.

credits

released October 16, 2020

Songs by Rachel Efron. Produced by Jon Evans.

Recorded by Jon Evans at Brick Hill Studios, Orleans, MA, Adam Muñoz at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA, and Gabriel Shepard at 25th Street Studios, Oakland, CA. Mixed by Jesse Nichols at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA, and Atomic Garden, Oakland, CA. Mastered by Ken Lee at Ken Lee Mastering, El Cerrito, CA. Cover photo by Dave Getzschman. Design by Mychal McCabe.

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Rachel Efron Oakland, California

Oakland-based singer/songwriter Rachel Efron writes edgy but deeply felt piano driven alt-pop, nuanced by a forever love for improvised jazz and impressionistic classical music. She takes her influence from The Beatles and Tom Waits, Ben Folds and Feist, alongside the melodic sensibilities of Grieg and Chopin, and the chord voicings of Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau. ... more

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