Bones of the Tree

by Jonathan Burks

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    Jonathan Burks sings, Sometimes you gotta fall apart at the seams / to know what youre stuffed with. The line is a good summation of his thinking: losing your mind can be an opportunity to find out what youre made of. Burks' flat tones and sharp philosophy are well-represented on the 12-song CD Bones of the Tree, recorded in Milwaukee and produced by Palace Records veteran Colin Gagon, who backs Burks sparse acoustic approach with inspired touches of instrumentation.

    Bones of the Tree collects six years worth of introspective tongue twisters and frictionless diction, in songs that catalogue the highs, lows and in-betweens of a realistically hopeful hippie-hop folkster jokester. Listening to Burks candid, companionable contemplations offers much to think about and much to drink about, if you should happen to find yourself lost on the long walk home. -Nick Frank
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1.
Big Bad Bodhisattva (C) lying in your bed (F) i dumped out my head and you (G) filled it up with pieces of me i never knew (C) existed when i spilled my guts you (F) scooped 'em right up and (G) put 'em back all (C) crooked -ch- your a big bad bodhisattva a true blue guru Hoochie Mamma angle and a devil through and through Jesus can't bear enough cross to know ya Shiva aint got enough arms to hold ya I know that you aint mine but baby I like you v- you got yourself a whole lot of sin little miss mother Mary Magdalin i just don't know what to make of you you're sweet and gentle, kind and patient then you bitch slap me with your cruel salvation i know that you aint mine but baby i like you -ch-
2.
once the words came to me now I'm chasing around all these lame and useless verbs and nouns I might be lost, I might be found I'm a square, the earth is round over around the bend good lord it never ends they say hope springs eternal but she always been my fair weathered friend I had it all and threw it away not just once but over and over again I must be lost, I must be found the sky was so soft, hard is the ground all this syn tax ing my brain all in all I aint got nothing to say I might be lost but not too lost to find a melody and some bull to ride
3.
I Like You 03:06
as I travel down this path alone memories I keep stitched into the pockets of my soul like whiskey on a winters night making warm the cold I take a pull and think on good people that I've known I like you like I like having fun I like you like I like making love you are the sunshine in the darkness of my soul you are the goodness, the rock to my roll...home I've known women in my life who showed me how to live when all I know how to do was die I've lived long enough to learn to appreciate precious things if your cups overflowing go ahead and take a drink I like you like i like having fun I like you like i like making love you are the sunshine in the darkness of my soul you are the goodness, the rock to my roll...home
4.
once upon a time, sailing on a big ship watching the waves strip the moon from the sky a young man was sitting on a moon beam sipping from a blue dream, killing time a million starry eyed revelations were twitching nervous like a neon sign the night advances standing on a pale dim doorstep sleeping on porches, summertime a desperate and lonely hilltop a southern truckstop, hitching rides the sound of a baby rabbit screaming crow feeds its wings as day turns to night the night advances searching for a halo and a moonbeam following a hollow dripping, thick and low seeking out God's sick revelations mental patients, a pack of smokes the beauty and the sorrow pale tomorrows come and go
5.
your heart is always restless your feet they never touch the ground the truth is what you're avoiding your lost and you don't want to be found it's one, one for the money and two, two for the show your heart is good and golden but your soul is all rock n' roll resting in the arms of a woman who wept for forty days and forty nights but aint no flood or mad amounts of love gonna get you clean tonight all your bridges are burning you sail upon a funeral pyre sure as your still moving your bound to be spreading fire
6.
it's true what you said baby 'patterns repeat' and that old dirty fractal been swallowing me for so long now baby, I don't blame you none for bailing out of this old ship into a fresh sea this old salty seaman been tossing and heaving confusing white whales for personal demons I hit dry land but couldn't see the beach for the sand gotta learn to reach before you grab blue as can be shaking the trunk of the tree making believe gravity couldn't touch or phase me truth was there for the facing but it's so hard when fate's placing the sweetest of fruit on your plate for the tasting skin stretched out thin juice dripping from my chin chewed through to the root of not-so-original sin the sum of the fall times seven is ten all dogs go to heaven in the end mistakes are for making and time is for taking I'm making my mistakes and taking my time after all they've made me who I am hell I'm thanking my lucky stars for the hard luck and heartbreaks they gave me into the hills I make my retreat I've met my match, I claim my defeat I been burning blubber in the belly of the beast mistaking fleshy walls for the bones of the tree it's all good, it's gravy knock on wood, maybe I just might learn to live before I'm pushing up daisies moving through this maze grazing on the hedges and edges that cage me till I'm tasting the eggs and bacon of a new morning breaking seems like I always been watching the show while the fearless and foolish walk the tight rope the sum of the fall times seven is ten all dogs go to heaven in the end
7.
I'm a garbage picking man I do it every chance i can I love to dumpster dive no doubt about it and I never ever feel ashamed in fact I think it's kinda brave making use of what people waste and proud of it found a pair of Nike tennis shoes and a jacket from Sacs 5th Avenue found a pair of handmade leather sandals made in Brazil found a box of Mac n' Cheese and a pot to cook it in i even found a stove to heat it with cooked a pumpkin we found and had a feast we even toasted the seeds burned some candles and listened to an album that we also found now this one you wont believe it was my favorite find of the season found a 12 pack of Fosters beer and down the alley I was drinking it's not that hard to do put on a pair of walking shoes plug your nose and swallow your pride and you'll find something of use I don't do my shopping at the mall or even over the internet I go where the prices are right in the alleys of the East Side
8.
Burs 02:43
am I happy? well, no not really does make me sad? not necessarily you see, when I'm sad it makes me kinda happy to feel so much of something and when I'm happy it makes me kinda sad to know that life don't last life is full of in betweens broken bottles and busted dreams sometimes you gotta fall apart at the seams to know what you're stuffed with life is like walking through a meadow and I got some burs in my pants today if something's too sweet it will rot your teeth so I chew the dirt that surrounds my feet spit out the stones and swallow what I must sometimes it gets you clean to roll around in the dust I aint bitter or especially depressed just giving form to these lumps in my chest it aint pretty, in fact it's a mess but you gotta work with what you're stuck with sometimes a darkness settles on my heart keeps me separate, keeps me apart from all the little things in life I see other people enjoying but it keeps me grounded and keeps me sane keeps me from getting carried away by all the little things in life that really aint that important
9.
Ped Xing 03:21
get out of my face with them gasoline fumes got a real bad case of them walking blues walk to work, walk most everywhere I go don't mind it none, but all them cars got to go away they keep getting in my way honking their horns, spewing their fumes in my face didn't nobody else take drivers ed in the 11th grade? they said pedestrians have right of way I don't care if its a big mac truck or a fancy car worth a million bucks if see me coming don't you get in my way pedestrians have right of way where you gotta be that you wanna run me down you've got the stereo on and the car's nice and warm you've got that steel encased frame to keep you safe from harm and personalized plates that say 'I'm da bomb' you got 4 wheels I got 2 feet don't need to be a rocket scientist to see you're going to get where you're going much faster than me once I got a ticket for j walking had to bite my tongue to keep me from talking back oh mr. officer how sweet, looking out for me would you like to hold my hand while i cross the street? I don't need a crossing guard to cross the street I look both ways from left to right and then I step off the curb like I know who's got the right
10.
Water Sign 02:50
aint got no money lord, I got no girl got no place in this world feel like I'm stuck with my head in the mud can't find no place in this world just got back from vacation ten days of sun, sun and inspiration I miss the water, I miss the ocean and I sure do miss the girl I met she's still swimming in my head bet I'll never see her again it's a shame to think of what might have been but I guess that's just the way it goes just the way it goes I miss the water, I miss the ocean Southern Comfort sweetheart yup, I remember you I knew you were a scorpio I could tell by your tattoo and I could tell you had something sweet way down deep in your soul I miss the water, I miss the ocean aint got no money lord, I got no girl got no place in this world feel like I'm stuck with my head in the mud can't find no place in this world I think I need a vacation ten days of sun, sun and inspiration I miss the water, I miss the ocean
11.
It Aint Much 02:21
home sweet home is where I roam turn the ringer off the phone and strum three chords maybe four don't need too much more from this life pacify my mind with rhythm and rhyme a melody to ease the passing of time it aint much but it's enough sitting on a front porch smoking with strangers quietly soaking up the friendly faces and conversation such a fine and simple thing the common ground on the bottoms of our feet it aint much but it's enough go to work and I pay my bills keep a roof over my head and the refrigerator filled I've seen better days but I cant complain living alone is still living, hey hey hey we all do the best we can on gold and gravel path it aint much but it's enough and we get by...
12.
I wish I could see the things that I cant look boldly into the face of my weaknesses but there's some chains you cant see till they break how can you be something you aint well it's hard sometimes to live you must die and to die first you must live well I'm figuring it out and forgiving myself I'm stuck with being me I try not to cause nobody not pain sometimes that's all you can do anyway the darkness gets thick and I can't find my way tears rolling down my baby's face say what you feel and do what you do if you can't hear what I'm saying I aint talking to you one life to live and one life to die one life to fail and one life to try

about

produced and engineered by Colin Gagon

credits

released January 1, 2006

Jonathan Burks, Colin Gagon, Marc Luther Paul, Elis O'Herlihy

recorded, mixed and produced by Colin Gagon at Herzog

mastered by Trevor Sadler at Mastermind

art and design by Seth Duckens

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Jonathan Burks Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

here's some pro tips:

1) Keep a scream journal. Scream into a camera or microphone at least once a day. Any word or sound will work. "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK" seems to work for me.

2) Dance for 5 minutes daily. Dance on the way to the bathroom or kitchen. Dance as ugly as you can.

3) Make funny faces. Sit in front of a mirror and get strange.
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