mercy_seat_repentance_5

The Mercy Seat

The Mercy Seat

by / / 21 posts

It began when they come took me from my home
And put me in Dead Row,
Of which I am nearly wholly innocent, you know.
And I’ll say it again
I.. am.. not.. afraid.. to.. die.

Cold, still, heavy, damp air encourages one to remain ensconsed, the familiar nagging doubt weedling away in the back, make that the front, of my mind, and I concede; I am afraid to die. Alloy, rubber and carbon my Trojan horse, Flandrian Best my only armour, protecting the extremities yet ill-equipped to deal with internal forces.

I began to warm and chill
To objects and their fields,
A ragged cup, a twisted mop
The face of Jesus in my soup
Those sinister dinner deals
The meal trolley’s wicked wheels
A hooked bone rising from my food
All things either good or ungood.

I can see sun, but not feel it. Hills all around, yet only capable of pancake profiles, the fear chips away at me. They were my friends, before, now a mortal enemy. Ungood.

And the mercy seat is waiting
And I think my head is burning
And in a way I’m yearning
To be done with all this measuring of proof.
An eye for an eye A tooth for a tooth
And anyway I told the truth
And I’m not afraid to die.

The V meter never lets one down, all the proof is in the bones, ready to crumble, the lungs ready to collapse, the brain, already there.

Interpret signs and catalogue
A blackened tooth, a scarlet fog.
The walls are bad. Black. Bottom kind.
They are sick breath at my hind
They are sick breath at my hind
They are sick breath at my hind
They are sick breath gathering at my hind
.

The red mist, some call it. Wasn’t expecting you so early, old friend. And you really do need to do something about that breath, if it’s to be expelled upon my neck all the way while climbing this bad wall. Red, black, red, black. Not light or dark, only dark.

I hear stories from the chamber
How Christ was born into a manger
And like some ragged stranger
Died upon the cross
And might I say, it seems so fitting in its way
He was a carpenter by trade
Or at least that’s what I’m told
Like my good hand tattooed E.V.I.L. across it’s brother’s fist
That filthy five! They did nothing to challenge or resist.

Playing the numbers game now. Survival mode kicks in; where once there was power, agility and grace, now only sits a lethargic, forlorn figure, yet still fighting. Five others accompany me, they’ve been here before, we’ve swapped roles now but none are sympathetic. Nor should they be. Five is all I have, but not them. My internal five. Nailing me to my own cross.

In Heaven His throne is made of gold
The ark of his Testament is stowed
A throne from which I’m told
All history does unfold.
Down here it’s made of wood and wire
And my body is on fire
And God is never far away.

Yes, my body is on fire, some places more so than others. No, God is nowhere to be found.

Into the mercy seat I climb
My head is shaved, my head is wired
And like a moth that tries
To enter the bright eye
So I go shuffling out of life
Just to hide in death awhile
And anyway I never lied.

This seat is showing no mercy at all. Not enough time sat on it means that this occasion will be remembered, for a few days at least. The sun has no fight here, the skin usually glimpsed through helmet vents protected not by hair but by cotton, not from heat but from cold. Skin is cold to touch, yet blood is boiling underneath.

My kill-hand is called E.V.I.L.
Wears a wedding band that’s G.O.O.D.
‘Tis a long-suffering shackle
Collaring all that devil blood.

The left hand is the evil one; the one with the power to make the biggest change to the circumstance, from 39 to 53. It twitches, it prods, it’s told by the legs to remain shackled. There is no fight to back up the threat.

And the mercy seat is a-burning
And I think my head is flowing
And in a way I’m hoping
To be done with all this weighing up of truth.
An eye for an eye And a tooth for a tooth
And I’ve got nothing left to lose
And I’m not afraid to die.

It’s so close I can see it, though not feel it yet. The end. A second, third, fourth wind now, blowing their last breaths, every single one seemingly the last. Hope is not a fuel source though, it can only sustain you so much. Nothing left to lose, losing everything that’s left.

Now the mercy seat is waiting
And I think my head is smoking
And in a way I’m hoping
To be done with all these looks of disbelief.
A eye for an eye And a tooth for a tooth
And anyway I told the truth
And I’m not afraid to die.

I must look like death warmed up, the Grim Reaper himself, judging by the reactions of the fishmonger and brewer who I now beg for their revitalising wares. Emptiness has never been so fulfilling, so complete in its void, dead airspace filled with the smoky voices imploring me to join them.

And the mercy seat is waiting
And I think my head is burning
And in a way I’m yearning
To be done with all this measuring of proof
An eye for an eye And a tooth for a tooth
And anyway I told the truth
But I’m afraid I told a lie.

How far did we travel, how long did it take? I have no data, no concrete figures, and it matters not one iota. What is important is the demons are slayed, the toxins purged, the soul emptied and refilled. Until next time, when I expect to be graced with their presence once more, as always giving and taking, giving and taking, until neither they nor I can give or take any more.

// Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. Christ. I don’t even know that song. But what you’ve done there, Brett, is some piece of writing. Chapeau. 

    I’m slinking off to bed now, awed and humbled.

  2. “My internal five. Nailing me to my own cross.”

    There can be beauty in suffering. And redemption. Crucify Your Mind.

  3. one of his best @brett and yours, it’s been a grim month 42 South, but there is a lengthening to our days and when the cleanest air on the planet eases in it’s ferocity off the Antarctic continent we can find our truth again.

  4. What is seen cannot be unseen…

  5. Damn fine piece! Just saw Mr Cave play in Milwaukee on the first night of his tour – awesome show. The man is a born front man – stalking, preening, gliding, stomping across the stage with an incredible band behind him. He even played Mercy Seat along with another hoary old favorite: Tupelo. The version of Stagger Lee was incredible.

    During the encore he jumped off the stage and came up the aisle towards me. He likely saw me and thought “there’s a man who’s too fat to climb but can help me climb onto the back of the seats to sing.” And so I did – holding Mr Cave by the elbow as the clambered up (and down). He was so in the zone it wasn’t funny. One of the most memorable gigs I’ve been to.

  6. YES! YES! YES!!

  7. The acoustic and Cash versions are also good.

  8. Wow, arrived at just the right time in my day/week/month.   Nicely done.

  9. one of my favorites: nick cave & shane mcgowan:

    http://www.mtvhive.com/2013/02/15/best-nick-cave-duets/

    another favorite: nick cave & kylie minogue

    same link, but go to #3.

  10. @actor1

    one of my favorites: nick cave & shane mcgowan:

    http://www.mtvhive.com/2013/02/15/best-nick-cave-duets/

    another favorite: nick cave & kylie minogue

    same link, but go to #3.

    Kylie’s finest moment.

  11. Cool as fuck. He has a movie about his life coming out soon, 20,000 Days or something. Too tired to use google-fu. Check IMDB or some shit. Kylie is in it, from what I remember.

  12. @wiscot

    Damn fine piece! Just saw Mr Cave play in Milwaukee on the first night of his tour – awesome show. The man is a born front man – stalking, preening, gliding, stomping across the stage with an incredible band behind him. He even played Mercy Seat along with another hoary old favorite: Tupelo. The version of Stagger Lee was incredible.

    During the encore he jumped off the stage and came up the aisle towards me. He likely saw me and thought “there’s a man who’s Too Fat To Climb but can help me climb onto the back of the seats to sing.” And so I did – holding Mr Cave by the elbow as the clambered up (and down). He was so in the zone it wasn’t funny. One of the most memorable gigs I’ve been to.

    Whoa! That’s a life highlight right there!

    I’m going to see him solo (with “selected musicians”-hopefully some Bad Seeds!) in December. I’ve been a fan for 20 years, but this will be my first live experience. Maybe I’ll get to touch his person too…

  13. @VeloJello

    Cool as fuck. He has a movie about his life coming out soon, 20,000 Days or something. Too tired to use google-fu. Check IMDB or some shit. Kylie is in it, from what I remember.

    20000 Days On Earth.  Yep, got tickets for that too!

  14. Speaking of Stagger Lee and crowd walking, this is pretty cool… especially around 7.40 in.

  15. Brilliant

  16. Great post. I saw him in 1991 (or around then) when he was touring “The Good Son”. Have tickets for his July 31 show in Toronto. I’m gettin’ ready for it.

  17. @moondance

    Christ. I don’t even know that song. But what you’ve done there, Brett, is some piece of writing. Chapeau.

    I’m slinking off to bed now, awed and humbled.

    Yeah, me either, never heard it but Brett really wrote it up here. Beautiful. Certain songs, music and cycling really fit together. I have to be careful what gets in my head before a ride, the wrong song, of which there are legion,  can ruin a ride.

  18. @brett she may have had her legs around that other bloke’s shoulders at the time, but I’ve a feeling Mr Cave just reserved a spot there for that evening…

  19. @Apex Nadir

    Great post. I saw him in 1991 (or around then) when he was touring “The Good Son”. Have tickets for his July 31 show in Toronto. I’m gettin’ ready for it.

    HooWee! Damn, they didn’t play that in Milwaukee – more’s the – pity. LOVE the back-up singers – they looked like they were having fun. That would have taken my gig to a whole new level of awesome. Sclavunos and Ellis have big-ass beards now that make Paolini look like he missed a day’s shave.

    Enjoy the show!

  20. I don’t know this song either, nor have I even heard of Nick Cave.  But the brilliance of the piece, and Bretto’s adaptation is spot on.

    @Gianni

    I have to be careful what gets in my head before a ride, the wrong song, of which there are legion, can ruin a ride.

    On of my personal go to’s is Cake’s “The Distance”  so appropriate for fighting off the man with the hammer.

    They deftly manoeuvre and muscle for rank, fuel burning fast on an empty tank

    Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns, their prowess is potent and secretly stern

    ….

    The arena is empty, except for one man still driving and striving as fast as he can

    He’s driving and driving and hugging the turns and thinking  of someone for whom he still burns.

    He’s going the distance. He’s going for speed.

    She’s all alone in her time of need

    But he’s racing and pacing, and plotting the course

    he’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse…

    Woah.  Got carried away there.  Yeah, some songs and cycling.  Perfection.

  21. “Playing the numbers game now. Survival mode kicks in; where once there was power, agility and grace, now only sits a lethargic, forlorn figure, yet still fighting.” Love this. So true of so many of my rides. I start feeling like the Lion of Flanders and come back as sluggish and hopeful as the little engine that could. 

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar