Two on a Bench

by Dax Schaffer

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1.
Twenty one from Nantucket Went aboard a rusty bucket And for the grand Pacific they set sail Their mariner’s hearts beat louder As they went across the water Ever closer now to the whale But some things are learned too late So why should they berate Themselves for not knowing in advance? If you attack an ocean's giant That it might not be compliant And decide to sink your boat at second glance They're stranded on their own In the water all alone At least a thousand miles from nearest shore But on the island of Tahiti They think that there's a city Of five hundred cannibals or more "Well, then we can't go west" Said one abating breath "They'll eat us all upon that savage land I say we go to Chile It's not much farther, really Unless the rest of you've a better plan" So for Chile they went sailing And in row boats they were hailing With memories of family as resolve Though three thousand miles long The southern current should be strong Enough to get them back, no time at all They came upon an island In the middle of their quest Not much food, but fresh water was abound Three men said, "We're staying" But left the others praying The crew would soon reach southern ground They're stranded on their own In the water all alone Trying now not to fall to starvation How were they going to eat Without a means to feed? Was probably now worth some contemplation As each one died To live they tried Eating fallen crew But when none more were passing And the survivors were fasting They knew not what to do So they drew lots For a black spot To be the sacrifice One in less than half a dozen Owen, the captain's cousin Drew the lot that night "Lend me his place" Was the captain's grace But Owen stood his ground In his voice there lay no stutter "My lot's as good as any other" And for food they shot him down From score and one To few and none The crew had dwindled down But so disjoint Now at this point They might as well just drown 'Cause when you are gone From land so long The things you see might end So much now was this That they could not notice The ship that had found them The crew came to With their rescue Livid and turned pale When asked of what had happened So said the Essex’ captain "Our ship had been stove by a whale"
2.
Once it was that I was told, life has deadlines Though different for every soul to shine Let for you an ending pressure the sense of urgency To make all living worth its while in everything you'd maybe be In the edge of nowhere, I had a funny dream Of if I went into the middle, what I might've seen A lot of people waving to strangers I don't know In the middle of this nowhere, they had learned to say hello Another funny question, one which you might have asked What became of all the moments we had let to pass? Shouldn't we have idled here less than all our time Searching for the problems that were never..... yours or mine? Where, where did I go? You would never follow Me, what could I say? You would only have your way Though an undergrad romantic, I have played the bachelor's game Why would I need my doctorate? I am called by my first name Modify the gradients of words you choose to say And after tonal studies, reinvent your..... shades of gray Write from a guilty memory your semblance of what's real In stream of conscience rambling, you'll only get a feel (That's consciousness!) For a sense of true essence, all wit now is receding In all the things you'd like to say are words..... devoid of meaning Never feeling how it was you felt that you should feel Never realizing all it was you thought was real Freehanding the lifelines that you couldn't trace Never knowing why it was we couldn't leave this place Giving only what it was you knew you could give Behaving like an introvert does not make you pensive No time for peripheral friends, keep who matters most For every important loved one, well here's a healthy toast Storing up relation for eventual recurrence The social life you're saving's a self-assessed endurance (Overlapping thought and word, one facade is enough In all my literary years, I've yet to call the bluff On what it is I'm trying to say and what I really mean My semiotic factory is just a word machine) Distracted by tangential thought, won't someone shut me up? I'm getting tired of myself, all notions are enough To send away what lingers of a bare and swollen eye To the beauty of a world that I have let to pass me by (Why is it that I can’t find myself to be ok? I keep on thinking all the time that maybe someday I’ll find my place, and I will be very much happy If I could only get back to where I see) Palm the yawn into a face, exacerbating sighs Exhaled carbon dioxide will fill an empty sky Too bad facial gestures aren't seen on the phone Bilingual differences aren't set in Rosetta Stone In the edge of nowhere, I had had a funny dream Of if I went into the middle, what it all would mean How every person gathered there, I still have yet to know In the middle of this nowhere, they had learned..... to say hello
3.
Rorschach Moon Reflect my tune And come back soon Projecting lies Rorschach Moon I importune As I see you In memories I can't describe We might see What we want to see Is it my want to be The man in your mind? Imperfect sphere But the lines are clear And I'm not here In cratered lines that I find Your bumps are braille too far to touch Or am I not reaching far enough To read the moonbeams in the light Surrounding you and me at night? And then I find you In your old disguise And I would like to Be one more of your lies Both: Rorschach Moon I importune You'll come back soon And tell me more lies Him: Your bumps are braille too far to touch Or am I not reaching far enough To read the moonbeams in the light Surrounding you and me at night? Her: Rorschach Moon I importune You'll come back soon And tell me more lies Him: Your bumps are braille too far to touch Or am I not reaching far enough To read the moonbeams in the light Surrounding you and me at night? Her: Rorschach Moon I importune You'll come back soon And tell me more lies Him: Your bumps are braille too far to touch I'm not reaching far enough To read the moonbeams in the night Surrounding you and me with light Her: Rorschach Moon You're not immune When I impugn Against your lies Him: Rorschach Moon Please come back soon Don't change your tune Or tell me goodbye Day or night that you might shine 'Cause the moonset won't always be on time
4.
I thought I could depend on you, I guess that isn't true But part of me still justifies everything you do Let's repack the artifacts and build in some place new I said I can't depend on you, I know that isn't true Extend to me some courtesy you reserve for yourself In time, you'll give it to someone else And to protect from loneliness, we'll buy fancier phones But will future children know the sound of dial tones? The latest alarm clock that you set is how late you'll wake up And how am I to know what's real from what my mind makes up? I say we go to some jungle and build our huts to keep As we lie, the bugs might try to eat us while we sleep So if that shack is too far back, we'll move to suburbia A dead end cul-de-sac, is that enough? We'll have the bestest appliances and the nextest gen iPhones But will those children know the sound of dial tones? So let's regret our love and get some Androids and iPhones I'll text you all of my love when you're alone Perhaps one day, you'll be ok to let me in your home But will our children know the sound of dial tones?
5.
Burning zeitgeist haunted lies Wipe nostalgia from your eyes A wealth of wisdom I'll ignore For all the myths you've heard before So we wander off alone Searching for what's never home Painting eyes too plain to see For all missed opportunity
6.
So you found it again, I see The path away from where you want to be Still bucking like a colt Though you want to be adult And prove how you're more grown-up than me Now who's living a fantasy? So I say it all depends If we're making more than we'll spend But that's where I'm wrong And you come along To say the mistakes that I should mend It seems I've hurt us once again So we laughed And cried And you asked Just why we had lied I would not tell you, if you weren't unhappy These things one needs not to say You had just lost it when life had accosted Now everything is the same So we go searching, in spite of the anger For dreams we should not pursue You were not happy, and I was just lucky That's all I knew After all we'd gone through I could not tell you what to do So we can go there, if you want an answer But I'm not ready to leave You were the hurt one in a game I'd begun But now you thrive And come alive Though you don't know where you're going to So you say follow me Like a wanderlust Romani And in discovered lands, we'll travel through The places we were never going to So we laugh And cry And years pass Until the days we die.
7.
I'm not asking you to hear me out But hear me out one more time The things you fear in me are not insurmountable And somehow over them I'll climb But in the meantime, you find yourself unable To deal with the pressures of yourself And in order to keep your mind preoccupied You pick another man up off the shelf I'm not saying that you don't really love him But I don't think it's love he can receive And in the end, you'll be a little sadder when Your newest toy decides to finally leave I can say now, I know why it happened Stagnant water's hard to sail across But if we had only waited for this pond to be a river We could have avoided all this loss And if you had only stated why you thought our love might wither Maybe I could have fronted the cost So my fingers dance upon the strings I played for our affair With calluses that mar sensitivity of fingers once fair No, I don't know if your heart is something I'll repair So my fingers dance upon the strings I played for you there With calluses that mar sensitivity of fingers once fair And just maybe when you're done getting hurt By people who will not love you back You'll take a moment to recall the one who cared for you Your one and only honest lover, -Dax
8.
9.
Meet Gertie, my pet dinosaur, she's kind but sometimes mean And if you spend a while with her, she'll do a dance routine She makes me laugh and makes me sad, puts me through my hell Reminds me quite a lot of you, I love her just as well And I'm filled with all these thoughts about someone just like me Another rat with bulbous ears to keep me company I don't have much oh Minnie Dear, but I can be a lover We'll ride out these black and white years, 'till Walt discovers color And if you're kidnapped by Cab Calloway, I'll save you Betty Boop Miss White, this is the day your prince has come to rescue you Your life is drawn in pictures played back to me in motion The zoetrope that's spinning on the shrine of my devotion Now do you remember Bluto? Built just like a house Wants to take you for his own again, that sorry louse Well hold on tight my Olive Dear, it's time for our big finish Wrap your noodle arms around me, and I will eat my spinach And this little run away from home has time to give us pause Despite all that you thought you knew, my world has different laws Once or twice you might have said, "My breed's a lot to handle" But how much less should this mutt expect from a stuck-up Cocker Spaniel? And as always, you remind me of where I'm meant to be Like a rag doll that taught some king of Halloween to see But you're a pseudo Disney princess, just like Anastasia And you know that I would fall for you like Spike fell for Julia But now we're on a flying ship, there's monsters wearing hats The backdrop has nostalgia and sometimes talking cats War is bad, and nature's good, this world is full of whimsy You're a strong female protagonist in a film by Miyazaki But of all the heroines out here, the decision is still tough I couldn't stop you Nausicaä, Mononoke's had enough Chihiro and Kiki found their names, plus they're way too young But Sophie, my heart's in your hands, I think you are the one And I'll miss you always Ellie, from my homemade dirigible And though I've hurt you Helen, together we're Incredible I'm just some silly spaceman, if you're a cowgirl, call me! You're the most important one to me, the EVE to my WALL-E
10.

about

"Two on a Bench," is a collection of playful melodies on ukulele and acoustic guitar with a joyously melancholy songwriting style.

"Don’t let the cheery ukelele accompaniment fool you. These are serious, well-thought out songs by Dax Schaffer about human frailty and the unanswerable questions. Beginning with the macabre tale of the 'Essex (and the Whale)' and going on through the passing into history of things like 'our love' in 'Dial Tones'... these songs are melancholy, but not maudlin. Just a true songwriter attempting to communicate his feelings to the world."
-Jan Seides
Singer/Songwriter/Storyteller

credits

released November 5, 2013

• Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Steven Ray Morris.
• Words and music for all tracks by Dax Schaffer.
• Additional wordsmithery on tracks 1, 3, 9 by Erika Ishii.
• Dial tone sample on track 4 by CGEffex from Freesound.org

Endless thanks to Steven for putting his time, love, and passion into helping craft these songs with me. Please check out his own music:
thankgoodness.bandcamp.com

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about

Dax Schaffer Los Angeles, California

Singer/Songwriter. Some of my more personal songs are collected here. Mostly melodies written on ukulele and acoustic guitar. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy listening.

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