Julie’s Girl

Julie's Girl

September 13, 2016

Written and recorded in Atlanta, Georgia by Talia Bromstad, 2014–2016. Mixed and mastered by Mike Garrigan at Two Egrets Media & Recording.

Thanks to Ryan, my sisters, cousins, aunt, and those friends who listened and helped along the way.


Beyond her

We never spoke about a day beyond her,
we never gave a voice to our own fear,
as though a prairie could contain a springtime river
and silence could make my mother stay.

Through the turmoil, endless hours,
it never faltered—
her belief that she would not yet fade away.

I think about the things I would have told her,
and I imagine all the words she might have said,
but there’s no comfort that would ever prepare me,
so I guess it’s just as well in the end.

She agreed to go back under.
There was no victim—
just her belief that she would see another day.

Cannot

All aboard on a crowded train heading home,
I’m losing touch, feeling too much.
Just one day, what I wouldn’t give for just one day
to feel her touch, but it’s too much.

So watch me pass,
run to greet me with your arms outstretched,
and walk me home
just like I hoped you would.

Weeping on your shoulder, I’m lamenting.
Whisper in my ear, “I know.”
Nothing that we suffer ever disappears,
we learn to look away—

Until we cannot.
I’m seeing her face everywhere.
When I’m dreaming and when I’m awake it’s there,
so I look in her eyes and stare—until I cannot.

Just like that, in an instant I am losing track,
floating away on a sea of something blue.

Tell me all the things I need to hear,
promise that you’ll never leave.

Maybe we could stay right here.
Would you rock me til I feel no fear?

Because I cannot.
I’m seeing her face everywhere.
When I’m dreaming and when I’m awake it’s there,
so I look in her eyes and stare—until I cannot.

Silver and Gold

They slipped the rings off your fingers,
pressed them in my hand.
Silver and gold—
I’m never gonna let them go.

Every breath for you—
I thought you were gonna die,
but you held on for a while—
I’m never gonna let you see me cry.

You haunt me, your memory.

Words across an ocean blue
unlike a blue I’d ever seen before.
Sailing on a swollen sea,
now when I sleep you visit in my dreams.

Gliding through a twilight all night long,
mountains disappearing into dawn.
I know your scared.
I’m never gonna let you see me cry.

You haunt me, your memory.
You haunt me.

They slipped the rings off your fingers,
pressed them in my hand.
Silver and gold—
I’m never gonna let them go.

Blood and Bones

In my old room, two years ago,
you held me close.
You told me, “I’m not ready to die.”
I’m not ready to die.

ICU, one year ago,
you held me close.
You told me, “There is nothing left to fix.”

I feel you in my blood and inside of my bones,
I feel you in my heart—I’m never home alone.

I miss your voice, how you said my name
when you held me close and told me, “Don’t worry,
I’m not ready to die.”
Don’t worry, I’m not ready to die.

I feel you in my blood and inside of my bones,
I feel you in my heart—I’m never home home alone.

Don’t worry, maybe you were right.
Don’t worry, I think we’ll be alright.

I feel you in my blood and inside of my bones,
I feel you in my heart—I’m never home alone.

I feel you in my blood and inside of my bones,
I feel you in my heart—I’m never home alone.

Mile Long Freight Train

Some days I wake up and the house is falling down.
Mile long freight train, where do you go?
Rattling the rooftop, rumbling the floorboards—
my only wish: for this feeling to go.

When I was young, I was wild,
and I thought that things would stay
exactly how they were,
didn’t think they’d fade away.

Mile long freight train, freight train.
Mile long freight train, freight train.
Am I alone freight train, freight train?
Am I alone freight train, freight train?

Other people wanna know what it’s like,
but it’s hard to explain
losing your mind
when you’ve already gone insane.

Months go by,
nearly two years off my life,
I still miss you
and I miss you more each day.

In my dreams,
things are never as they seem—
when I look away,
you’re still there.

How They Sing

I’ll remember when he died because the rain—
a million pounding heartbeats on the roof,
a choir of bitter tears rehearsing
a complicated melody called life.

How they sing—so blue.
How they sing—bereft.
To rise one day and know that it’s your last,
do you know, do you know how they sing?

The scent of summer prairie on the wind,
the echo of his own footsteps in his home—
alone except for all the memories,
but memories are not a thing that you can hold.

And oh, how they sing—so blue.
How they sing—bereft.
To rise one day and know that it’s your last,
do you know, do you know how they sing—

da da da da da da da da da da

Do you know how they sing? So blue.
How they sing—bereft.
To rise one day and know that it’s your last—

How they sing-—so blue.
How they sing—bereft.
To rise one day, decide that it’s your last,

Do you know, do you know?
Do you know, do you know how they sing?

To Ash

Got a call one morning—paralyzed.
There’d been a fall, he told me—metastasized.

Later on that evening as the sky lost light,
a vivid blue now fading to twilight.

Soon a fog descended. It didn’t lift
til the fourth day of December—but sometimes it persists.

“City girl—that’s what you look like,”
you said to me as I was saying goodnight.

Are you ready to move on?
With every breath on you lips, I am more and more adrift.
Every second that goes by, I am watching you slowly die,
reduce to ash.

Didn’t know it then but, as time goes by,
nothing’s permanent—everything dies.

Are you ready to move on?
With every breath on you lips, I am more and more adrift.
Every second that goes by, I am watching you slowly die,
reduce to ash.

Nothing’s permanent.
Nothing’s permanent.
Everything dies.

Are you ready to move on?
With every breath on you lips, I am more and more adrift.
Every second that goes by, I am watching you slowly die,
reduce to ash.

With every breath on you lips, I am more and more adrift.
Every second that goes by, I am watching you slowly die, slowly die,
reduce to ash.

Dawn

Early in the morning—
streets are dark and empty,
pavement diamond-studded like the sky.

The echo of a freight train
as it rumbles through the city—
a lonely sound when trouble’s on your mind.

I ride across the freeway—
it meanders like a river,
a stream of cars below me in the dawn.

Taillights fade away in the distance,
headlights luminate the path to come.

Will you ride by my side through the dawn?

My mother predeceased me
as her mother did before her—
again, again the spinning of a wheel.

Sadness as we know it
does no justice to the feeling—
only losing something starts to make it real.

Still I’m happier these days
than in the years that came before them,
but there’s grief in getting used to moving on.

I’m not afraid of dying if you’re with me,
and the truth is she was never really gone.

Will you ride by my side through the dawn,
be my guide and my vision when night hangs on too long?

Will you ride by my side through the dawn,
far and wide as the wind blows across Saskatchewan?

Will you ride by my side through the dawn?

Taillights fade away in the distance,
headlights luminate the path to come.

Memory

In memory of a million shades of white.
In memory of when you gave up the fight.

How do you know when it is over?
Where is the sign we’re all looking for?
All of the things I carry with me—
I got a flame that burns for you.

In memory of one hundred days at home.
In memory of the diamond ring you wore.
In memory of hydrangeas in the rain.
In memory of phone calls made in times of pain.

If I think too long about it,
I could drown in something blue.
If there is a reason,
it doesn’t change the flame I carry for you—

In memory of the places that you’d been.
In memory of the ones you couldn’t go to.
In memory of glaciers crumbling to the sea.
In memory of laughter sparkling like starlight.

How do you know when it is over?
Where is the sign we’re all looking for?
All of the things I carry with me—
I got a flame that burns for you.

If I think too long about it,
I could drown in something blue.
Even if there is a reason,
it doesn’t change the flame I carry for you—

In memory.
Memory.
Memory.

Julie’s Girl

You are asleep,
this is a dream,
when morning comes you will forget.

But I remember everything-—
photographs I carry with me.

They are stones inside my pocket
weighing heavy on my day.

Things she brought then left here—
her three little girls.
And though I have not been small for a long time,
I am still Julie’s girl.

An ocean home,
an empty chair,
the gentle purring of a cat.

They are waiting for the turning
of a key inside a lock,

for the footsteps in the hallway
that will never fall again.

Things she brought then left here—
her three little girls.
And though I have not been small for a long time,
I am still Julie’s girl.

The lonely moon
hangs so low
on the Gulf of Mexico.

The tide will wash up fragments,
but they won’t always cut so deep.

Salt will smooth the edges
til they are sand beneath your feet.

Things she brought then left here—
her three little girls.
And though I have not been small for a long time,
I am still Julie’s girl.

I am still Julie’s girl.